During your next trip to Europe treat yourself to one of the best tours of Lake Garda with an exciting exploration of culture and scenery at one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy.
Uncover the majesty of this extraordinary region as you cruise along highways carved out of the rocky shoreline and immerse yourself in charming locales along the way! Navigate an experience that's uniquely accessible with the freedom and versatility of a rental car, but before you depart catch a glimpse of what can be in store for you on your next holiday with our Veneto, Italy Lake Garda road trip planner.
The thrilling expedition begins when you pick up your rental car in Verona before setting out on an Italy road trip you won't soon forget! See the city that's world famous as the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet while you stroll through enchanting gardens and saunter along historic streets peppered with quaint cafes and art galleries. Travel west along the southern coast of the largest freshwater body in the country and visit Brescia before delving into a spectacular tour of Lake Garda.
Our Veneto, Italy Lake Garda road trip planner will lead you along one of the most awe-inspiring routes in the world; a smooth highway winding and rolling its way through tunnels along coastal cliffs with ample views of the lake and surrounding Alpine mountains. There are fantastic opportunities for adventures, activities, and sight-seeing all over this bountiful region and with the help of a rental car you'll be able to fill your itinerary with all the best attractions, visiting destinations beyond the limitations of public transportation. Finish off your Lake Garda tour with a day or two in Trento and see for yourself why traveling in the comfort and convenience of your own vehicle is the best way to spend your Lake Garda vacation!
We here at Auto Europe have compiled an easy-to-follow Lake Garda road trip itinerary to help guide you to some of the best things to do in Veneto while taking you through some of the most scenic places in Italy. Feel free to browse the pages below to get a better idea of what you can experience on your next holiday abroad. Use the handy route maps to plot an agenda that'll help you get the most out of your trip. Plan your tour of Italy with Auto Europe and you'll love driving to and from locations just as much as you enjoy the destinations themselves!
Read on to Drive to Discover the adventures that await you in Italy!
Come to the romantic setting of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for an intriguing experience of Italian culture in the peaceful countryside of Veneto. Arrive at Verona Villafranca Airport and take some time to uncover the rich heritage of this classically renowned area with some of the best attractions and things to do in Verona before departing on your trip to Lake Garda.
Brush up on your Medieval history and tour ancient Roman ruins like the Roman amphitheater or the Arena, originally constructed in the first century, where you can still catch an opera performance to this day! Admire the resplendence of the fortified Castelvecchio, home to the city art museum, before heading over to the Verona Cathedral to see its eighth-century sculptures, carvings, paintings, and facades. If you're up for a challenge try climbing the 238 steps to the top of the iconic Lamberti's Tower or take the easy way up in the elevator for breathtaking views from the highest point in the city. There's no shortage of things to see in Verona, but the most extensive collection of fantastically-preserved artwork can be found at the Basilica of St. Zeno where you can discover all sorts of fascinating artifacts dating back thousands of years!
A mere walk around town can yield some of the best attractions and things to do in Verona as you explore the city at your own pace and direction. Stroll the "Golden Mile" for wonderful designer shopping opportunities and be sure to stop at Piazza Bra for a quick lunch or espresso break. Visit the famed setting of the balcony love scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet or create your own Italian romance among the grottos and gardens of Giardino Giusti. Venture over the Peter Bridge to the Castel San Pietro, located on a hill overlooking town, for spectacular views where you can't miss the opportunity to catch the sun setting behind the silhouette of the amorous cityscape. The city of Venice is just an hour's drive away for those who care to visit, but you'll be sure to delight in plenty of sites to see and things to do in Verona, away from the more crowded and bustling tourist center of Venice.
Restaurants in Verona are host to a number of uniquely Veronese dishes, so a tour of the cuisine in this area will offer you an uncommon opportunity to sample culinary offerings found nowhere else in Italy! A particularly peculiar local specialty is horse meat and locals enjoy this delicacy in a number of dishes, so don't be surprised to see this on the menu at authentic local eateries like Al Carro Armato! Stop in at Al Duomo for a coffee, milkshake, or lunch while visiting the Verona Cathedral or get your caffeine fix at any number of fantastic gelato and coffee bars along the Piazza delle Erbe, where you can sip espresso in the sunshine between jaunts to the various downtown attractions. L'Arte del Gelato is one of the best locations downtown to get your fill of the famously creamy Italian treat, before or after a good meal at a purely authentic restaurant like La Vecia Mescola where the warm and friendly staff will graciously invite you into a romantic atmosphere with a fabulous selection of local and imported wines. If you're craving pizza look no further than Ghiotto Take Away for a wide selection of treats including delicious pastries and cakes, all prepared with fresh local ingredients.
A proud tradition of culinary excellence is evident among fine dining establishments in this city and travelers are never disappointed when they indulge in some of the more exquisite and refined restaurants in Verona. Ignite your passion for international cuisine at Borsari 36 with dishes from around the world, each carefully crafted by Michelin starred chefs in a beautifully modern dining room. If your tastes are more traditional and you'd like to explore the textures and flavors unique to the region, make a reservation at the internationally-acclaimed Restaurant Il Desco for inventive creations conceived using only the freshest local ingredients and one of the finest selections of wines and champagne in the city. It's hard to go wrong when choosing among the many fantastic restaurants in Verona, but try any of the establishments mentioned above for a food experience that's sure to impress your fellow travelers and provide plenty of sumptuous indulgence for all!
Hotels in Verona offer fantastic value when compared to options in the more crowded tourist center of nearby Venice, but visitors should be cautious to book in advance as vacancy often runs out quickly in the busier seasons. You can get an incredible deal on a room just a short drive from the city center at Alliance Hotel Verona without having to sacrifice amenities and convenience; comfortably-furnished rooms, an in-house restaurant/bar, and free parking are all provided. CTC Hotel Verona offers a discounted four star stay only a few minutes from town and features two fantastic restaurants if you're looking for an opportune chance to experience Italian cuisine close to your accommodations. Prefer to explore? Take a quick drive down Via Forte Tomba for easy access to the downtown area. If you're looking for lodging that's within walking distance of all the attractions in Verona but don't want to break the bank on hotels check out Piccolo Verona, situated amongst peaceful gardens with a leisurely modern ambience, or Hotel Italia with its charmingly classic atmosphere and tastefully decorated rooms.
Travelers who are looking to splurge will find no shortage of choices in resorts and hotels in Verona that go far above and beyond providing the basic amenities for a night or two in town. The first-class Due Torri Hotel Verona is famous for providing luxurious accommodations popular among opera performers visiting the area and is sure to delight even the most discerning guests with an elegant charm and unbeatable location in the historic center. Gabbia D'oro, also fantastically located right on the corner of the Piazza delle Erbe, tempts travelers with decadent décor, elaborate furnishings, and a romantic candlelit terrace just a few steps from the city's best attractions and most popular culinary destinations. You don't have to invest heavily into accommodations to enjoy your trip to Verona, but the selection of uncommonly divine boutique hotels here provide plenty of opportunities for indulgence!
Travel east from Verona and you'll arrive at your gateway to the scenic bounties of Lake Garda; a thriving city where you'll find plenty of things to do in Brescia! This industrious commune is famous for its manufacturing enterprises but boasts an impressive roster of some of the most well-preserved examples of ancient Roman architecture. Take a drive around town and tour UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Tempio Capitolino, Basilica of San Salvatore, and Church of Santa Giulia or travel up to the Castle of Brescia for stunning views of the city and surrounding Alpine mountains. Visit the first skyscraper built in Italy at the Piazza della Vittoria or uncover ancient art and artifacts including hundreds of Van Gogh's early works at Santa Giulia's Cloister. Dozens of public fountains and resplendent examples of Italian architecture are spread around the city and a simple stroll through the streets can be among many great free things to do in Brescia!
Although expanding in scope and popularity, this historic locale is not well-established as a destination for visitors and offers an excellent glimpse into an authentic Italian lifestyle unfettered by tourism. If you happen to visit Brescia in May you'll be afforded the opportunity to attend the beginning of the notorious Mille Miglia road race. Although once a high-speed and dangerous driving competition, the event is much more low-key in the modern day and, rather than perilously racing, participants exhibit classic and custom cars in a procession through the streets on a route that eventually takes the parade all the way across Italy. If this isn't of interest, get out to the outskirts of town and enjoy fantastic opportunities for hiking or mountain biking in the foothills or continue on your journey up the spectacular eastern coast of Lake Garda. Visit Sirmione to see the Grotto of Catullus - ancient Roman ruins set on a beautiful peninsula; the only access to the historic ruins is provided by a drawbridge from the 13th century Scaliger Castle.
Restaurants in Brescia offer wonderful tastes of the distinctive local culinary traditions and can be found all around the downtown area. If you're looking for authentic Brescian cuisine stop in at Osteria Vecchio Botticino and sample dishes like casoncelli with burro versato; beef tortellini with sage butter and parmesan cheese - a local specialty. Grab a quick lunch at Amarcord Piadineria Artigianale or Zio's Pizza Brescia for an amazing value that doesn't skimp on flavor or portions. You'll need a place to take a break from touring the historical sites in town and Agora Cafe is a great spot to get a panini or refuel with some artisan coffee or espresso.
This city is host to numerous economical eateries, but there are plenty of restaurants in Brescia that offer a more refined dining experience, too! Partake in a romantic meal in the intimate atmosphere of La Trattoria dal 1960, a long-standing family owned establishment offering exquisitely plated Italian specialties with a warm and knowledgeable staff. Some of the best seafood in town can be found at Officina del Mare along with an intriguingly elegant dining room and first-class service or make a reservation at Ristorante Castello Malvezzi and enjoy a myriad of meticulously prepared multi-course meals made only with fresh local ingredients and paired with complementing local wines. Don't forget dessert and be sure to taste the gelato at Gelateria Prima o Poi which is widely acclaimed as some of the best in Brescia!
Although the locale is not a primary destination for tourism there are still some great Brescia hotels in which to spend a night or two while you explore the charming historic center. Hotel Cristallo provides simple but elegant family-friendly rooms at an excellent value for its location - just a short walk from the Piazza Loggia and Santa Giulia Museum. If you're traveling on a budget look into Quality Hotel Continental Brescia or Best Western Brescia and save plenty of capital to spend on the rest of your trip! Looking to stay in style while visiting? Hotel Ambasciatori has a posh ambiance and wide selection of rooms for all sorts of travelers, situated nicely beside a park within a few minutes walk from the historic city center.
When you tour Italy with the versatility and convenience of a rental car you'll have access to your choice of hotels in Brescia, including quaint and serene accommodations in less populated areas surrounding the city. Avoid the bustling downtown area and stay in peaceful harmony with nature amidst the rolling hills of the countryside at Hotel Ulivi on the beautiful shore of Lake Iseo. Here you'll have easy access to the natural bounties of the region and a wonderful base to explore Lake Garda. Indulge your senses with massage treatments and comfortable suites on the northern shore of Lake Iseo at Lovere Resort & Spa, a popular choice for golfers in the summer and for ski enthusiasts in the winter! There are plenty of homey bed & breakfasts scattered around the lovely villages between the two Brescia lakes, Lake Iseo and Lake Garda, so don't hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity to stay at a cheap but comfortable site beyond the hotels in Brescia and the city center.
A short drive north from Brescia along the western coast of Lake Garda will reward you with an awe-inspiring journey on some of the most scenic roads in Italy. Stop by lakeside towns to catch a glimpse of local Italian culture while you tour Salo, explore Limone, and visit Riva del Garda. If you enjoy staying active, go mountain biking or hiking along some of the many beautiful trails woven amongst the hills and mountains along the shore of the Italian Lake Garda. Rent a boat or kayak to explore the area by water or try your hand at horseback riding in the Alto Garda Bresciano National Park. In a more daring mood? Windsurfing is a popular water sport among things to do in Lake Garda and lessons are offered at most coastal cities.
Check out the amazing botanical gardens in Toscolano Maderno or take a ferry to Torri del Benaco for a chance to explore the eastern coast of Lake Garda. Lake ferries are a popular means of transport among the many gorgeous coastal Lake Garda destinations; if you have the time while visiting Limone, take a quick ferry ride to Malcesine and ride the cable car to the top of Mount Baldo for fantastic panoramic views of the entire region.
Surrounded by natural splendor and blessed with a convenient location between Venice and the city of Milan, Lake Garda destinations are popular among tourists, and one reason is that high class cuisine is easy to find ... especially at Limone restaurants. Excellent Italian fare and fresh seafood can be found at Al Vecchio Fontec paired with a diverse selection of wines and a stunning scenic setting to create a dining experience lauded as one of the finest in the region. Reserve a table at Restaurant Monte Baldo for an exquisite meal prepared from local produce and meats by Michelin-ranked chefs in a classy environment; the views from this restaurant are second to none, too! Going out to eat with the family will be a real treat at Restaurant Tovo where the warmly welcoming staff will make you feel right at home while serving generous portions of homemade pastas and authentic Italian dishes. Stop in for a slice of some of the best pizza in Limone at Bar Al Molo for a quick lunch, a cup of coffee, or a relaxing evening having a few drinks with friends.
Limone restaurants are host to an amazing array of fantastic foods but you'll have the freedom to explore the offerings at the most popular Lake Garda destinations with ease in your rental car! Have a sophisticated dinner in a cozy yet elegant setting at La Tortuga with lavishly plated specialty dishes, perfect for a special occasion or romantic meal. If you're looking for a cheap bite to eat visit Mordimi Panineria and try an authentic Italian pizza sandwich, hand-crafted from your own selection of fillings! Trattoria Sant'Alessandro will provide a uniquely refined culinary experience with personal recommendations of freshly prepared dishes from the owner and don't forget dessert! Stop in at Cristallo Caffe Gelateria for a sweet treat of dreamy Italian gelato, a perfect complement to a wonderful lunch or dinner.
Places to stay during Lake Garda holidays include hotels offering an array of amenities from free bike rentals to spa treatments. You're sure to find the perfect place to stay among popular Limone hotels. Spend a night right on the water's edge at Lido Hotel (Via IV Novembre 36, 25010 Limone sul Garda, IT) with included access to an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and spa all within a short walk of the center of town. For a great value look to Hotel Florida (Via Tamas 14, 25010 Limone sul Garda, IT) or Hotel Coste (Via Tamas 11, 25010 Limone sul Garda, IT), which are conveniently situated in the center of town and offer comfortable rooms that won't cost you a fortune. If you're looking to spare no expense on an indulgent 5 star experience, stay at the Park Hotel Imperial (Via Tamas 10/B, 25010 Limone sul Garda, IT) and immerse yourself in decadent serenity with a natural medical spa, pool surrounded by panoramic views, on-site restaurants, bars, and more!
You won't be limited in the scope of accommodations you can choose from thanks to your rental car, so be sure to check out the fantastic Lake Garda hotels situated all around the area! Those traveling in a group commonly opt for a villa rental to provide plenty of space and privacy for larger parties and there are many beautiful buildings and apartments for rent in the region. Ville Montefiori offers contemporary Lake Garda villas overlooking the water at reasonable prices and Villa Luisa Resort provides a sumptuous base for hiking and biking in a peaceful rural setting nestled amongst beautiful olive groves and vineyards. Stay in Toscolono Madero at Hotel Eden for easy access to the ferry terminal, harbor, and promenade or save money while fully immersing yourself in nature at one of many Riva del Garda camping grounds. No matter where you stay around this splendid lake in Italy, you'll be promised a trip to remember with so many sights to see and things to do on a Lake Garda holiday!
After traveling north from your Lake Garda driving tour you will arrive at the charming city of Trento, an urban oasis surrounded by a panorama of magnificent mountains in the Alpine foothills of Tyrol. This lovely locale is perfectly situated to grant easy access to a myriad of outdoor activities and the bountiful parks and land around the area provide fantastic opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring nature. Climb Mount Bondone in the summer to see the incredible Viote Alpine Botanical Gardens (Strada Provinciale 85, Trento, IT), ski the Dolomite range at Paganella Ski Resort in the winter, or just drive around the plentiful scenic routes which make their way through resplendent valleys and across stunning ridgelines for a few great things to do in Trento.
You'll have no trouble finding wonderful opportunities for enjoying the outdoors during this part of your trip, but the downtown area of Trento itself is a sight to behold. The city is packed with enchanting architecture and historical buildings like the Trento Cathedral and Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, all of which you can see for free on a simple stroll around town. Tour the Renaissance era structures on the Piazza Duomo and sip espresso at an outdoor café while you admire the fantastically preserved details in frescoes, artwork, and sculptures like the Fountain of Neptune. Take some time to see the gothic style Castle Buonconsiglio and visit the museum inside or marvel at the modernist architecture of the newer buildings and hotels around the city, many of which were designed by famous Italian architects.
The city of Trento is a hotspot for science and technology in Italy and there's no better way to discover the unique contributions made by local residents than with a visit to the Trent Museum of Natural Sciences, located right in the center of town. You'll delight in all the intriguing and exciting things to do in Trento and with the convenience of a rental car at your disposal, you'll enjoy easy access to all of the best attractions inside and outside the city!
This city is filled with eateries catering to all price ranges and tastes but you'll want to spend your valuable meal tickets while in town on only the best restaurants in Trento. For a quick lunch at a great value stop in at Pizzeria da Albert, known for serving some of the best (and largest) pizzas in the region made with fresh local ingredients. Vegetarians will love the creative offerings at Moki set in a contemporary bistro atmosphere right in the heart of the city. If you're looking for a sampling of traditional hand-crafted Italian fare and excellent wine that won't break the bank, look to Osteria Vineria San Martino or Ristorante Antica Trattoria Due Mori for a slightly more refined atmosphere.
Trento is well known all around Italy for its premium offerings in fine dining experiences and high class cuisine and you won't be disappointed if you decide to splurge at one of the best restaurants in Trento! Embark on a culinary journey steeped in French and Italian influences with dishes specially paired and chosen by the chef at Locanda Margon, a restaurant that is precariously perched amongst the hillside Ferrari vineyards overlooking Trento. Find yourself immersed in an eclectic environment of inventive twists on Italian classics and specialty Trentino dishes when you dine at Osteria Il Cappello and don't forget to try one of the decadent desserts, too! There are plenty of gelaterias to stop in for an indulgent treat any time of day, but Fior di Gusto is perhaps the most widely acclaimed in the city and you can't go wrong when you try one of the many delicious gelato flavors offered here!
An important center for business and commerce in Italy, Trento hotels are primarily geared towards professionals on business trips; simple but comfortable and clean rooms are abundant at a number of reasonably priced hotels in the downtown area. If you want to get the best bang for your buck look no further than Best Western Quid Hotel Trento, offering modern styling and spacious rooms just a few minutes from the main city at a value that can't be beat. You'll find an even more convenient base for touring the sights downtown at Grand Trento situated on the Piazza Dante right in the middle of town - just a short walk from some of the best attractions and restaurants in Trento. Both of these hotels are 4-star accommodations that provide quality stays at surprisingly affordable prices!
For a more luxurious experience there are also a number of high-class resorts and spas peppered about Trento and the surrounding mountains and countryside. Admire magnificent views from Mount Bondone as you bask in indulgent bliss at Le Blanc Hotel & Spa (Strada di Vason 64, Monte Bondone, 38122 Trento, IT) or marvel at the rustic appeal of La Canonica (Piazza Monsignore Giuseppe Placido Nicolini 4, Villazzano, 38123 Trento, IT) set in a quiet neighborhood where you'll have a peaceful reprieve from the bustle of downtown Trento. Get close to the slopes at Hotel Norge (Strada del Norge 3, Monte Bondone, 38123 Trento, IT) if you're visiting in winter or have easy access to hiking and biking trails in summer as you unwind with beautiful views of the Dolomite Mountains. You'll relish the natural beauty of the Trento region when you find the perfect place to conclude your Veneto road trip and tour of Lake Garda!
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