Until March 1, 2024, the Navigarda regular service will be suspended, with the exception of the TORRI-MADERNO route. The whole of Lake Garda by ferry? It seems easy, but it’s actually good to give some clarity about this right away! The Lake Garda Ferry Service runned by Navigarda is the same as that of public transport on land!
There are timetables and connections. This means that you can create your own personalized tour, in different stages. But, in general, the boat has certain departure times and follows very precise routes. In this article I will help you understand how you can benefit from this useful ferry service. Explaining everything you need to know. In addition, I will suggest some ideas to discover Benaco, as well as answering all the most common questions.
Where to buy tickets and check timetables?
I start immediately giving you a fundamental information: the on-site ticket offices always open only 20 minutes before each departure. You will find them easily. After identifying the main port of the town, finding the building is a matter of seconds. In addition to buying your tickets on the day itself, it is also possibile to buy your ticket online.
The price of the one-way ticket is the same as that of the return. So if you pay €5 between Peschiera del Garda and Lazise, it will cost €10 in total to get back to Peschiera from Lazise. If you have not been able to buy the ticket in advance, you can purchase it on board by paying a small extra fee.
Every year, ferries operate on Lake Garda from March to October, except for extra trips during the Christmas period. As you may imagine, timetables may vary in relation to traffic conditions at each port. Typically, in the high season, ferries run from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening… In autumn, however, the days get shorter: it would be a bit complicated and unpleasant to navigate in the dark!
Therefore, return times will begin to decrease progressively, as well as in early spring. In addition, it is worth clarifying that the same boat doesn’t carry out the return service. It is common to assume that the ship waits until it is time to go back… It’s not like that! Ferries only move from north to south and vice versa, not going from east to west or from west to east. The organization of connections is extremely efficient to cover as many countries throughout the day. Precisely for this reason a complete tour of Lake Garda by boat would not be physically possible. On the other hand, for safety reasons ferries cannot exceed certain speeds.
Keep in mind that we are still talking about the largest lake in Italy, with a perimeter of about 159 km. You can understand that seeing in a single day all the places to visit on Lake Garda would be really complicated!
In case of bad weather, do the schedules change?
Remember, if the weather is bad or there is a strong wind, it is always good to check that the ferries are circulating regularly. During storms the routes are usually (temporarily) suspended. To find have this kind of information, you can call the counters or the toll-free number (0039) 800-551801.
Are all ferries the same?
No, there are different types. And each ferry also has a different number of seats that cannot be booked in advance unless you are part of a large group. For this reason, I advise you to be early in front of the cash register, especially during the summer period… However, the classic white and blue boat, imposing in size, is the main vessel by which travel takes place. But it’s not the only one.
Please note: next to the single fares, you will find the express service surcharge, in red. Some races, marked in red and with the wording “SR” on the timetable, are carried out by hydrofoils or catamarans. These boats are faster than the classic ferry and, at the same time, smaller and more compact. That’s why, for this type of travel, you can not take the bike with you. I can already guess your next questions…
On which rides can I bring my bike? Do I have to pay an extra fee?
I start from the second one: yes, you must pay a supplement which, as for the ticket price, varies according to the length of the route. However, the extra is between 3€ and 6€. You will find the exact value in the fare table, next to the quick service fee. Subsequently, identifying the routes on which you can transport bicycles is really very simple. Look at the timetable above each column:
- If the bike-symbol is blue, it means that you can always load it on board of the relevant ferry route.
- If the color of the bicycle on the schedule is yellow, it means that the number of bicycles accepted on board will vary depending on the number of people on board. Usually there is a maximum load that must not be exceeded.
- If the bicycle symbol is red-crossed, as with the red times of the hydrofoils, it is not possible to take the bicycle on that ferry.
Are there daily tickets, subscriptions and discounts? Is there a family package?
Of course, there are also daily tickets. If you want to create your own personalized tour of Lake Garda by boat, this is the perfect solution for you! In particular, the ticket valid for 1 day is called “Free Circulation Card“.
This type of ticket allows you to make unlimited trips, within one day, between all the places to visit on Lake Garda.
The Free Circulation Card costs about € 34,30 per person if you want to move from south to north or vice versa. So to understand, the Desenzano-Riva and Peschiera-Riva sections. However, there are zone day tickets:
- The daily Basso Lago, which coincides with the southern area up to Gargnano, costs about € 23 per person.
- The daily Alto Lago, which coincides with the northern area from Gargnano to Riva, costs about € 20 per person.
Usually, in peak season the family package “Happy Family“, for sailing on Lake Garda, is also promoted. With the purchase of two full day tickets per family, children up to the age of 11 (max 2) are granted free of charge. In addition, there are reduced fares on single tickets.
- Travelers over 65, groups of more than 15 people and residents in the Garda municipalities have a reduction. This is in proportion to the price of the route, between 1-3 €. This reduction is valid only on working, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
- Children aged 4-11 years, school groups and disabled people have a greater reduction, between 1-7 €.
There are also different types of subscription to Navigarda services, you can consult them here: https://www.navigazionelaghi.it/biglietti-e-orari-lago-di-garda/abbonamenti-lago-di-garda/ .
Can I bring pets on board? Do they pay too?
It is allowed to board with your four-legged friend. The price depends on the size; Dogs under 50 cm do not pay anything because they can sit on your lap. Dogs larger than 50 cm, cost the same rate as those for children between 4 and 11 years old.
Are there specific rides on which cars and motorcycles can be transported? Can passengers without cars also get on?
Yes, you can take your car or motorcycle on the Lake Garda ferry service between Torri-Maderno. The exact times can be found in the first link, with the complete timetable, which I have put in the article. If you look at the map of Lake Garda you will see that Torri and Maderno are the two villages oppsite to each other half way the lake. On this specific Lake Garda Ferry service you can take:
- Bicycles, including electric ones, at a price of about € 8;
- Motorcycles: under 250 cc at about 8 €, over 250 cc at about 10 €;
- Car, whose rate varies according to the length of the vehicle, from 10 to 16 €;
- Camper, at a price of about 21 €;
- Bus: under 32 seats at about 20 €, over 32 seats at about 26 €.
The driver of the vehicle is included in the fee. Only the remaining passengers will have to pay a ticket of around€ 6.50. There are reductions for children 4-11 years, groups of more than 15 people and people with disabilities.
Are there villages or places that cannot be reached by ferry?
The Lake Garda Ferry Service is only to the main harbours of the main lake villages. Also the islands cannot be reached with the Navigarda ferries. For example, many visitors ask if it is possible to reach Isola del Garda by ferry, but no it is not, to visit this beautiful island you have to book one of the organized tours, click here for more information about them.
Are some tours organized to coincide with certain special occasions?
During special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, Navigarda organizes boat tours on Lake Garda, including lunch or dinner. These types of special cruises have limited itineraries and availability.
Which are the most beautiful boat routes on Lake Garda?
- First of all, I would recommend the short trip between Malcesine – Limone. On the western side Limone: an explosion of colors, blooms, and bright blue, created by the water crashing against its beaches. The small harbor, the ancient lemon houses and a gentle breeze will welcome you in the beautiful village. On the eastern side Malcesine: With its elegant castle that, located on a promontory, guards the picturesque mountain in the background stands out in the middle of the waves. In addition to scenic trails, crystal clear beaches and the sloping alleys of the historic center, in Malcesine you can go up Monte Baldo… In just 20 minutes. This is thanks to a cable car that, in no time at all, will transport you to high altitude.
- Another wonderful itinerary is the one in which you will be able to visit 3 to 4 towns on the south eastern shore in just one day; Peschiera del Garda, Lazise, Bardolino and/ or Garda. it does not matter from what town you start. By checking the times between this towns you will see you will be able to spend up to 2 hours (max) in each of them.
Finally, the longest trip covering from south to north: during the high season, in fact, you can get from Peschiera to Riva del Garda by boat, without making any changes.
Remember, however, that you will have to get up early: in fact, during the summer period, the ferry leaves at around 8 am – 9 am. How long will it take you to get north? Well, considering the multiple stops along the way, the journey will last about 5 hours!
Even if there is concretely no such thing as a tour of Lake Garda by ferry, this last itinerary is very similar to it. The only problem is that you will have to spend most of the day on the ship. The return, in fact, is more or less of the same duration; unless you take advantage of some quick service. But at least, you can say that you have traveled the whole of the largest lake in Italy.
If you still have any doubts, do not worry. We are at your disposal every day, both in Peschiera del Garda and in Lazise. You will find us in the center, at the Tourism Peschiera Infopoint and at the IAT Tourism Lazise. Otherwise, you can write us an email. We will get back to you as soon as possible.