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Lake Garda in Winter: Tips and Activities for Your Vacation

It’s mid-November… The leaves are almost all fallen, the top of Monte Baldo is covered with snow and I begin to smell the roasted chestnuts. The first Christmas songs are playing on the radio. One of my favorite moments of the year is coming: it’s cold outside, but my heart is warmer than usual. I already start thinking about when I can ski, to visit the first markets or to take walks on the lakefront in clear skies… I never miss the ideas on things to do during your stay on Lake Garda in winter. Are you looking for some inspiration? You will find it in the next lines!

Sirmione – © Fabrizio Biolchi – @fabrizio_biolchi

WEATHER ON LAKE GARDA DURING WINTER

Generally, the winter on Lake Garda is never too cold, but depends on the year. Usually, the month in which frosts are most frequent is January, with temperatures that sometimes even drop below zero. The temperature in November and December on Lake Garda is always quite variable, fluctuating between 0 C in the early morning and 12 C in the early afternoon. In January and February, however, the thermometer usually never measures more than 9 inches.

Is it snowing? Rarely, but if you’re lucky you’ll be in the right place at the right time! Otherwise, you can always reach Monte Baldo. More than in November, from mid-December onwards the probability of snowfall increases exponentially, giving fairy tale landscapes.

It rains often, but do not worry: there are many things to do on Lake Garda in winter even indoors. The opportunities in the territory are not exhausted in winter, indeed… I love to spend the cold period here, in my house. The atmosphere is magical, an indescribable quiet reign and, what about the lake, if not that it becomes even more beautiful than in summer.

That’s why I recommend you with the heart to visit the beautiful places of Lake Garda in the autumn – winter season. You will appreciate the Benàco as if you lived here, taking part in the authentic experiences that locals love to live.

The air is cleaner, the waters become even more crystal clear, and tourism becomes slower. You can browse the corners of the villages, exploring them from top to bottom, while in summer it is sometimes difficult to take a picture.

Spiaggia Sabbioni – © Giuliana Steccanella – @giulianasteccanella

1. RELAXING ON THE LAKESIDE PROMENADE

The best walks on the lakeside I did in winter, in the early afternoon, when the lake shows in all its splendor. In Peschiera del Garda, after passing the Lido ai Pioppi, a walk starts that leads to Pacengo. You’ll cross little harbours, reeds full of Feather of the Pampa… You know those plants with long stems, full of white and thick feathers?

Instead, one of the most romantic walks around the lake is that of Bardolino. Even in winter, the lakeside promenade is embellished by the colors of flower beds, made in collaboration with the Sigurtà Garden Park.

You can walk on the bridge overlooking the marina, continuing to Garda, one of the places to visit in the south of Lake Garda.

Moving a little from the lake, there is also another hidden place, hidden from the eyes of the less attentive… Never as walking inside the Mincio River Park I can recover the inner energy, in close contact with nature and far from the crowd. Just follow the cycle path and you will be sure not to get lost.

Things to do during Winter Time on Garda Lake
Credits: Sabrina Schlich

2. WATCHING SUNSET FROM FAIRY-TALE VIEWS

There are places in Benàco that change during the year, assuming many different outfits, but the magic that is perceived remains the same.

Take Punta San Vigilio, for example. In summer it becomes a lively marina, where visitors from all over the world gather, especially to refresh themselves in the nearby Bay of Sirens. But when the days get shorter, the water becomes icy and the sky clears… Watching the sun set on the horizon from here becomes one of the most evocative things to do throughout Lake Garda during the winter.

To live a unique experience, just go here with the person you love, bring a blanket, and relax while the sunset gives its show.

Another scenic spot from which to take photographs at a sunset of hundreds of shades is definitely the Jamaica Beach. The water that sneaks between the large stones of the beach will create a myriad of mirrored mirrors, from which to admire the colors of the sky.

And finally, San Zeno di Montagna, where I spent most of my childhood! This village, located at 680 meters above sea level, offers from its Belvedere a view of the sun setting behind the mountain ranges of the opposite side.

Among these, Mount Pizzocolo is the predominant. It is one of the best places to visit on Lake Garda for lovers of trekking.

Gardasee: zu tun im Winter - Bardolino
Bardolino – © Anna Maria Jagielska – @amvj.81

3. Wandering around CHRISTMAS MARKETS

To find out where all the Christmas markets on Lake Garda take place and the specific dates, I recommend you read the related article. From the Enchanted Forest of Peschiera in the Catullo Park, to the Christmas markets of Bardolino… To the north, in Riva del Garda, where you will find the Santa Claus Studio and a large ice rink in Malcesine.

How to forget the Christmas Village Flover? It is always my first thought, when I imagine what to do in winter on Lake Garda. If you already start to sing “Last Christmas” at least twice a day, this is the perfect place for you.

In Bussolengo, just 20 minutes from Lake Garda, you can totally immerse yourself in the Christmas atmosphere… Are you fantasizing about some decoration to decorate your home that you think is impossible to find? Here you will be spoiled for choice to make all your dreams come true! The Village is usually open from early November to early January.

Gardasee: zu tun im Winter - Peschiera
Bosco Incantato Peschiera del Garda – © GardaLanding

VISITING PLACES AND VILLAGES ON LAKE GARDA (AND SURROUNDINGS)

Did you know that around the lake there are some of the most beautiful villages in Italy? For example, on the Trentino side there is Canale di Tenno. A medieval village, made of a continuous ups and downs and small characteristic houses that sprout among the cobbled alleys. Sometimes, inside, there are also temporary art exhibitions.

Borghetto, however, is located at the foot of Valeggio sul Mincio. A small village crossed by the homonymous river, where time seems to stop and you can breathe air of love at every step.

During the Christmas season I recommend you to visit Campo di Brenzone: a village of only 10 inhabitants, located above Castelletto. To get there, you will have to walk for about 30 minutes on the climb that starts from the center. The magic that reigns here will become even more intense on the occasion of the event “Cribs in Campo“. Everywhere, even in the fountains or among the railings of the walls, you can see wonderful cribs made with the most diverse materials.

And remember that on Lake Garda you will find many places to visit even in winter, small pearls set on the shores. Limone or Salò, for example, but also Torri del Benàco or Lazise, the free municipality of Italy.

Things to do during Winter Time on Garda Lake
Gardaland Magic Winter

4. LIVING THE DREAM OF GARDALAND MAGIC WINTER

When I was little, the arrival of winter on Lake Garda meant only one thing: Gardaland Magic Winter! The most beautiful attractions of the park reopen every year for the occasion (except those where you get wet, of course).

The most beloved amusement park in Italy is dressed in a Christmas atmosphere, with Prezzemolo ready to welcome you in its fantastic world. Decorations, shows and lights will warm your heart, to live the magic of the holidays with the people you love.

Things to do during Winter Time on Garda Lake

5. SKIING OR TREKKING ON MOUNT BALDO

What to do in winter on Monte Baldo, if not skiing admiring the beauty of Lake Garda? The main slopes where you can enjoy a day of healthy adrenaline are many, such as Pozza della Stella, Prà Alpesina and La Colma. On the Brentonico plateau, instead, 24 km of slopes branch off, in the Ski Area of San Valentino – Polsa.

If you find yourself there at a time when there is little snow, or just stop early, you can venture out on the many hiking trails. You can choose to explore the Malghe, or climb up to the mountain Hut (checking the opening days first). Also, you could take the opportunity to walk in Ferrara di Monte Baldo, in the characteristic historic center. You will find more information about the trails in the related article “What to do on Monte Baldo”.

Things to do during Winter Time on Garda Lake
Villa dei Cedri – © Giulia Bordoni – giulia.bordoni

6. RELAXING AT THE SPA OR VISITING THE MUSEUMS

The colder days are the perfect time to indulge in extra pampering, perhaps relaxing in the heat, while outside it rains. On Lake Garda you can warm up at Terme Aquaria, in Sirmione, while the sun sets and the stars rise in the sky.

Or, if you love swimming in thermal waters outdoors despite the rain, the perfect place for you will be the Thermal Park Villa dei Cedri. You will be face to face with nature, immersed in the water of the suggestive thermal lakes.

Things to do during Winter Time on Garda Lake
Il Vittoriale degli Italiani – Gardone Riviera

And finally, among the places to visit on Lake Garda during winter you could be surprised by those where history is the protagonist: museums.

From North to South, you will find museums that tell all the facets of the largest lake basin in Italy. From the Alto Garda Museum (MAG), the Vittoriale degli Italiani, with both telling tales about landscapes, archaeological curiosities and the history of the lake, to the Oil and Wine Museums in the Lower Lake… To the San Martino’s Tower, from which you can admire the lake, the Po Valley and the Morainic Hills, as far as your eyes can get.

Things to do on Lake Garda during winter will never be a problem, with this digital guide that you can consult whenever you want. In particular, I recommend reading also the article What to do on Lake Garda when it rains“. You will find many ideas to turn a rainy day into an opportunity for fun!

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