Lake Garda is one of Europe’s premier holiday destinations. With golden sunshine and stunning beaches, charming villages and lots of activities, Lake Garda is an ideal place to kick back, relax and enjoy la dolce vita.

But Lake Garda is surrounded by lots of small villages and finding the right one can be overwhelming. Which is exactly why we put together this guide for where to stay in Lake Garda.

Our article breaks down Lake Garda’s best villages into easy to digest bites, so you can quickly find the one that best matches your travel style.

So whether you’re looking to have a few drinks, lounge on the beach, or dive deep into history, our guide will show you everything you need to know – and more!

Let’s just right into where to stay in Lake Garda, Italy.

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Lake Garda

  • Where to stay in Lake Garda first time – Garda
  • Where to stay in Lake Garda on a budget – Desenzano
  • Best area to stay in Lake Garda for nightlife – Bardolino
  • Coolest place to stay in Lake Garda – Sirmione
  • Best neighborhood in Lake Garda for families – Riva del Garda

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN LAKE GARDA

Garda

Garda is a small village surrounded by picturesque landscapes and sloping green hills. It is located mid-way along the eastern shores of Lake Garda and sits in a stunning small bay

PLACES TO VISIT:
  • Chill out lakeside at La Motta & Coconut Beach Style
  • Enjoy the views from Punta di San Vigilio
  • Take a relaxing stroll along the shores of Lake Garda

Where to Stay in Lake Garda

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Lake Garda.

Best Hostel in Lake Garda: Lake Garda Beach Hostel

This fantastic hostel is located on the shores of Lake Garda just a short five-minute drive from Desenzano. They offer private and shared accommodations with air conditioning, flat-screen TVs and free wifi. Guests can also make use of the gorgeous private beach with umbrellas and sunbeds.

Best Airbnb in Lake Garda: Bright apartment right by the water

You can enjoy placid lake views and a welcome rest at this lakeside property. It’s just minutes from the centre of town where you’ll find a plethora of cafe’s and restaurants to explore on the complimentary bikes. The bedrooms are light and spacious, perfect for enjoying a breakfast in bed.

Best Hotel in Lake Garda: Hotel Catullo Sirmione

Hotel Catullo is an incredible three-star hotel in Sirmione. It is close to top tourist attractions, great restaurants and plenty of bars. Rooms are comfortable, spacious and outfitted with modern amenities. You’ll also enjoy free wifi and a sun deck. All of this combined makes this our favourite hotel in Lake Garda.

Lake Garda Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN LAKE GARDA
Garda, Lake Garda
FIRST TIME IN LAKE GARDA

Garda

Garda is a small village surrounded by picturesque landscapes and sloping green hills. It is located mid-way along the eastern shores of Lake Garda and sits in a stunning small bay

ON A BUDGET
Desenzano, Lake Garda
ON A BUDGET

Desenzano

At the southern end of Lake Garda is Desenzano. It is one of the largest lakeside towns and is a transportation hub for the area

NIGHTLIFE
Bardolino, Lake Garda
NIGHTLIFE

Bardolino

Bardolino is a charming village that seamlessly combines the old and the new. Its historic town centre is a maze of meandering alleys and winding lanes

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Sirmione, Lake Garda
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Sirmione

Sirmione is a historic town located at the southern end of Lake Garda. It sits on a peninsula surrounded by water and boasts some of the most incredible views of the region

FOR FAMILIES
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
FOR FAMILIES

Riva del Garda

Riva del Garda is a bustling and buzzing village located at the northern end of the lake. It sits at the foot of the towering mountains and gently slopes into the pristine waters of the lake

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It located between Milan and Venice and sits nestled in the shadows of the magnificent Dolomite Mountains.

It is an important holiday destination that boasts stunning views, sandy beaches, glowing sunshine, and plenty of outdoor activities. From swimming and surfing to shopping and beyond, Lake Garda is packed with action, adventure and attractions that will enthral travels of all ages and interests.

The shores of Lake Garda are dotted with more than 20 distinct villages. To help you plan an unforgettable vacation, this guide will breakdown the best five by interest.

At the northern end of the lake is the village of Riva del Garda. Sitting at the foot of a towering mountain, this vibrant village is surrounded by verdant valleys and stunning lake views.

Travel south along the shore and you’ll arrive in Garda, a picturesque village packed with lakeside eateries, relaxing promenades, stunning scenes, and historic attractions.

Bardolino is located just south of Garda. A labyrinth of lanes and alleys, this small village is home to a vast array of restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes.

Sirmione is a delightful and popular village located on a peninsula that juts out into the south part of the lake. It’s a historic town with interesting sights, intriguing attractions, and plenty of things to see, do and eat.

And finally, at the southwestern end of the lake is Desenzano. A lively village, Desenzano is a great place to sit back, relax and take in the stunning scenery. It’s also where you’ll find great deals and plenty of good times.

Still not sure where to stay in Lake Garda? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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Lake Garda’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best villages to stay in Lake Garda. The village you pick will depend on your travel needs, so be sure to read each section carefully and choose the one that’s right for you!

1. Garda – Where to stay in Lake Garda first time

Garda is a small village surrounded by picturesque landscapes and sloping green hills. It is located mid-way along the eastern shores of Lake Garda and sits in a stunning small bay.

There are plenty of things to see and do in Garda, from exploring historic sights and religious landmarks to lakeside dining and sunset cocktails. This is why Garda is our pick for where to stay in Lake Garda if you’re visiting for the first time.

A haven for hikers and outdoor adventurers, Garda also makes for a great starting point for exploring the countryside. Strap on your boots and head into the hills where you can navigate a series of meandering paths and twisting trails.

Garda, Lake Garda

Things to See and Do in Garda

– Bask in the sun at Parco Baia delle Sirene.

– Chill out lakeside at La Motta & Coconut Beach Style.

– Eat tasty Italian dishes at Bar Catullo.

– Enjoy the views from Punta di San Vigilio.

– Explore the historic centre of Garda.

– Hop on the ferry and take a tour of Lake Garda.

– Indulge in exquisite Italian dishes at Osteria al Vicolo.

– Relax at Al Corno Beach.

– Savour shellfish and seafood at Osteria al Porto.

– Sip an aperol spritz at Bar Doria Garda.

– Take a relaxing stroll along the shores of Lake Garda.

– Wander the grounds and marvel at the Villa degli Albertini.

Best Budget Hotel in Garda: Piccolo Hotel Garda

This charming two-star hotel provides great accommodations in Garda. It is located at the heart of the city close to the beach, restaurants and nightlife options. This hotel is comprised of nine traditional rooms with a range of amenities. You’ll also enjoy free wifi, a terrace, and a restaurant and bar.

Best Airbnb in Garda: Bright apartment right by the water

You can enjoy placid lake views and a welcome rest at this lakeside property. It’s just minutes from the centre of town where you’ll find a plethora of cafe’s and restaurants to explore on the complimentary bikes. The bedrooms are light and spacious, perfect for enjoying a breakfast in bed.

Best Hotel in Garda: Hotel Villa Anthea

Hotel Villa Anthea is our top pick for where to stay in Garda. Set at the centre of the village, this hotel offers a fantastic base for exploring Lake Garda. You’ll enjoy plenty of dining, shopping and nightlife options right at your doorstep. They provide comfortable beds, clean rooms, and spacious bathrooms.

Best Hotel in Garda: Hotel Remat

This hotel is located in Garda’s vibrant and lively centre. It is just steps from popular bars, restaurants, and cafes. They have seven recently refurbished rooms with free wifi and modern amenities. There’s also an on-site restaurant and guests can enjoy a delicious buffet or continental breakfast each morning.

2. Desenzano – Where to stay in Lake Garda on a budget

At the southern end of Lake Garda is Desenzano. It is one of the largest lakeside towns and is a transportation hub for the area. Here you can easily travel throughout the region by train, or hop on a ferry and explore more of beautiful Lake Garda.

Desenzano is also where you’ll find a high concentration of budget accommodation options. From backpacker hostels to good-value hotels, this area is bursting with cost-conscious accommodations for travellers of all budgets and styles.

Fancy a few drinks? Desenzano is a great place to stay. This town is a hub for after dark action and adventure. It has great pubs, relaxing bars, and a few places where you can dance the night away.

Desenzano, Lake Garda

Things to See and Do in Desenzano

– Admire La Cappella Ossario di San Martino.

– Dine on tasty Italian dishes at Agriturismo Locustione.

– Eat, drink and dance at ArtClubDisco.

– Grab a slice of excellent pizza at Pizzeria San Benedetto.

– Lounge in the sand at Spiaggia Rivoltella.

– Marvel at the mosaics of the Villa Romana ed Antiquarium di Desenzano del Garda.

– Relax at Spiaggia Desenzanino.

– Sample different flavours of gelato at Gelateria Gelamore.

– Sink your teeth into a delicious hamburger at Sprizt & Burger Hamburgeria.

– Sip wines and sample cheeses at the Onepio Winery.

– Take in the views from the Castello di Desenzano.

– Visit the Duomo Di Santa Maria Maddalena.

Best Hostel in Desenzano: Lake Garda Beach Hostel

This fantastic hostel is our pick for where to stay in Desenzano. They offer private and shared accommodations with air conditioning, flat-screen TVs and free wifi. Guests can also make use of the gorgeous private beach with umbrellas and sun beds.

Best Airbnb in Desenzano: Share a room in a cute Bed and Breakfast

The Italian lakes can be pricey affairs, and Garda is no different. Sharing a room in this B’n’B will help spread the load a little. It’s got its own ensuite bathroom, and it’s only a short walk down to the lakefront where you’ll find a range of cafes and restaurants to suit every budget.

Best Hotel in Desenzano: Hotel Benaco Desenzano del Garda

This elegant hotel is our favourite in Desenzano. It is located near the centre of the village and is surrounded by restaurants, shops and bars. This hotel comes complete with 36 stylish rooms, modern amenities, an outdoor swimming pool and free wifi. Guest can also take advantage of on-site luggage storage.

Best Hotel in Desenzano: Bonotto Hotel Desenzano del Garda

A great location and wonderful views – it’s no wonder we love this hotel. Bonotto Hotel is a stylish and modern three-star hotel in Desenzano. It has 46 recently refurbished rooms with minibars and private showers. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop terrace, 24-hour reception, a unique restaurant and a charming lounge bar.

3. Bardolino – Best area to stay in Lake Garda for nightlife

Bardolino is a charming village that seamlessly combines the old and the new. Its historic town centre is a maze of meandering alleys and winding lanes. This part of the city is packed with restaurants and shops just bursting with authentic Italian atmosphere.

On the flip side, Bardolino is also where you’ll find the best nightlife in Lake Garda. Dotted throughout the village are a great selection of bars and clubs catering to all types of travellers. So whether you want to sip a lakeside glass of wine or dance until dawn, Bardolino has exactly the kind of nightlife you’re looking for.

Bardolino, Lake Garda

Things to See and Do in Bardolino

– Dance the night away at Hollywood.

– Dine at La Veranda del Color Hotel for an unforgettable meal.

– Drink craft beer at Asso Bar.

– Eat tasty local cuisine at Ristorante Al Cardellino.

– Enjoy a lakeside drink at Lido Mirabello Beach.

– Relax and watch the sunset at Bardolino Beach.

– Rent a bike and cruise along the Pista Ciclo Pedonale Lazise.

– Sip gin cocktails at BarZero45.

– Spend a night at Mezzo Clubbing.

– Take in the view at Torre Al Casello.

– Treat yourself to a cone of gelato at Gelateria Biancaneve Bardolino.

– Visit the Chiesa di San Nicolo.

Best Budget Accommodations in Bardolino: La Rocca Camping Village

This picturesque property offers comfortable accommodations just moments from Lake Garda. Each lodging comes complete with a small kitchenette equipped with a refrigerator. This three-star property boasts a great selection of features, including free wifi, an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace, and laundry facilities.

Best Airbnb in Bardolino: Beautiful room in a beutiful house!

This beautiful room in a shared house that oozes traditional Mediterranian vibes would be the perfect place to wake up after a night on the town, sampling local wines. Make sure you don’t sleep in too late or you might miss your complimentary breakfast in bed.

Best Hotel in Bardolino: Hotel Alla Riviera

Hotel Alla is a charming three-star property set in Bardolino. It’s close to popular tourist attractions and plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes. This hotel has 24 delightful rooms with essential amenities. You’ll also enjoy an outdoor pool, a relaxing terrace and stunning views of the region.

Best Hotel in Bardolino: Nettuno Hotel Bardolino

This great hotel is ideally located for exploring Bardolino. It is close to the beach and there are many dining, shopping and nightlife options at your doorstep. They provide comfortable and air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and an on-site restaurant. This is our top choice for where to stay in Bardolino.

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4. Sirmione – Coolest place to stay in Lake Garda

Sirmione is a historic town located at the southern end of Lake Garda. It sits on a peninsula surrounded by water and boasts some of the most incredible views of the region. This bustling town is popular with tourists and travellers of all ages thanks to its many landmarks, restaurants, shops and bars.

It also gets our vote for the coolest village in Lake Garda thanks to its great variety of things to see and do. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture vulture, a party animal, or an easy-going beach bum, you’ll feel right at home in this exquisite Italian village.

Sirmione, Lake Garda

Things to See and Do in Sirmione

– Drink delicious cocktails at New Wilde Fashion Bar.

– Enjoy the views from Jamaica Beach.

– Explore the ruins of a Roman villa at the Grottoes of Catullus archaeological site.

– Lounge in the baths at Aquaria Thermal SPA.

– Relax in Parco Maria Callas.

– Sample local wines at Cascina Maddalena.

– See the Rocca Scaligera, a 13th-century castle on the shores of Lake Garda.

– Sip Aperol Spritz at Caffe Grande Italia.

– Stroll through Palazzo Maria Callas.

– Take a peaceful stroll along Spiaggia-Passeggiata delle Muse.

– Taste wines at Ca dei Frati.

– Visit the Chiesa di San Pietro in Mavino.

– Wander throughout the beautiful historic centre of Sirmione.

Best Hostel in Sirmione: Meet Gardalake Hostel

This charming hostel is located in nearby Peschiera del Garda. It is close to the beach, restaurants, shops and bars. They offer comfortable rooms, free wifi, a terrace and a garden BBQ. Each reservation also includes a delicious breakfast, linens, and locker storage.

Best Airbnb in Sirmione: Chic apartment with an ideal location

Soak up the history of one of the most authentic places in the region. This ancient little island is only connected to the mainland by a small road. The apartments got a cool Greco-roman vibe going on, and with so much going on on this bustling island you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave.

Best Hotel in Sirmione: Hotel Catullo Sirmione

Hotel Catullo is an incredible three-star hotel. It is close to top tourist attractions, great restaurants and plenty of bars. Rooms are comfortable, spacious and outfitted with modern amenities. You’ll also enjoy free wifi and a sun deck. All of this combined makes this our choice for where to stay in Sirmione.

Best Hotel in Sirmione: Eden Hotel Sirmione

This bright and airy hotel is conveniently located in Sirmione. It offers four-star luxury, stunning views and a vast array of amenities, including free wifi and laundry facilities. Rooms are modern and spacious, perfect for parties of various sizes. This is without a doubt one of our favourite hotels in Lake Garda.

5. Riva del Garda – Best neighborhood in Lake Garda for families

Riva del Garda is a bustling and buzzing village located at the northern end of the lake. It sits at the foot of the towering mountains and gently slopes into the pristine waters of the lake.  Riva del Garda is a fantastic base for outdoor activities, exploring the region, and is our pick for where to stay in Lake Garda for families.

If you’re an outdoor adventurer there’s no better place to stay than Riva del Garda. This village is ideally located for a variety of activities. So, whether you want to head out onto the water or up into the hills, you’re well-positioned to do anything from ravishing Riva del Garda.

Riva del Garda, Lake Garda

Things to See and Do in Riva del Garda

– Browse the exhibits at the Museo Alto Garda.

– Climb to the top of Torre Apponale.

– Dine on Italian fare at Panem.

– Eat local dishes at Ristorante La Berla.

– Grab a slice at Pizzeria Bella Napoli.

– Marvel at San Marco City Gate.

– Relax at Sabbioni Beach.

– Ride bikes along the Riva del Garda.

– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Eta Beta.

– See a collection of creepy crawly reptiles, insects and animals at Reptiland.

– Step back in time and explore Rocca Castle.

– Trek to The Bastion.

– Walk around Catena Square.

– Wander through Piazza 3 Novembre, the heart of both the old and modern towns.

Best Budget Hotel in Riva del Garda: Hotel Virgilio Riva del Garda

Situated just north of Riva del Garda, this charming hotel boasts a fantastic location and stunning views. It provides comfortable and spacious accommodations with rooms perfect for families. They offer free bike rentals, an outdoor swimming pool, and guests can enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site hotel

Best Airbnb in Riva del Garda: Budget loft with stunning views

Look at that view! What a treat to wake up to every morning. At a relatively cheap price for the region, this place would be an absolute steal is split between a large group. There’s a great selection of amenities around the property, and a huge selection of eateries for every budget.

Best Hotel in Riva del Garda: Residence Desiree

Residences Desiree is our number one pick for where to stay in Riva Del Garda. This property is comprised of 20 modern apartments with fantastic amenities. They also offer a helpful tour desk, free wifi, and a relaxing on-site library. Enjoy a variety of shops, restaurants and attractions in close proximity.

Best Hotel in Riva del Garda: Vittoria Hotel

This charming hotel is situated at the heart of Riva del Garda. It’s within walking distance of sightseeing, dining and shopping options. Rooms are equipped with a refrigerator, private shower, a desk and a phone. Guests can also unwind at the in-house restaurant and lounge bar.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Lake Garda

Lake Garda is a stunning holiday destination that boasts incredible views, delicious food, rich historical landmarks, and plenty of beaches to relax on.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the best places to stay in Lake Garda. Although not all of the villages have hostels, we’ve done our best to include budget and good value hotels, apartments and other options so Lake Garda is accessible to as many travellers as possible.

To quickly recap; Lake Garda Beach Hostel is our favourite hostel. Located near Desenzano, it has shared and private accommodations, modern amenities, and a private beach with umbrellas and sun beds.

Our pick for the best hotel is Hotel Catullo Sirmione thanks to its fantastic location near great restaurants, shops, bars and top tourist attractions.

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