To go straight to the list of the best places to stay in Lake Garda click here.
The largest of northern Italy's great lakes, Lake Garda has a glorious microclimate more similar to Southern Italy. So the best places to stay in Lake Garda are never far from cypresses, vines, olive trees and citrus groves.
Try and avoid high season when the pretty lakeside towns are busiest. (Unless you like a bit of bustle on holiday in which case the high season is a great time to visit and see everyone else.) It's also almost impossible to book rooms in the best Lake Garda hotels unless you call them months in advance and even then, charm and diplomacy may be required.
Lake Garda seems like a miniature sea, with tiny ports visited by little vessels and small storms that blow up from nowhere.
The southern end of Garda broadens into two bays sheltered by the Sirmione peninsula in between; the north narrows fjord-like into a rocky cleft between high cliffs on the west and Monte Baldo on the east.
The best fish restaurants are always in sight of water, which explains the popularity of the restaurant at the Albergo Grifone. One of the best places to stay in Lake Garda for great value at the broader southern end of the lake, the hotel is right at the tip of the peninsula which sticks out into the lake and is surrounded on three sides by glittering blue water.
The pick of the best places to stay in Lake Garda represent every genre of Italian hotel, from farm accommodation (agriturismo) and old-fashioned pensioni to one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe, the Feltrinelli. The order by which the hotels are listed, as always, does not reflect our preference.
Gargnano, Lake Garda
Sybaritic lakeside luxury hotel in an historic house. Like staying in a private home, full of aristocratic heritage, with restored interiors and antiques, beautiful fabrics and paintings. Gourmet dining, a perfect honeymoon escape for those that can afford it. But no pool or spa.
Very romantic and grand late 19thC Liberty-style villa with historic interiors and gourmet food. Timeless, traditional rooms with antiques, lakeside views, and lovely gardens and terrace. Michelin starred dining. Intimate and refined.
Sirmione, Lake Garda
Grand and charmingly old-fashioned villa hotel with a splendid setting in pretty Sirmione.Lovely lakeside gardens, grand 30s style bedrooms, frescos and antiques. Private swimming jetty and lovely pool. Super romantic, if you like historic charm.
Garda, Lake Garda
Elegant and intimate lakeside hotel, full of character, owned and run by an Italian count. A hotel for 500 years, the property is right on the waterside in a charming location, full of antiques and objets. A very special and relaxed place to stay.
Gargnano (Brescia), Lake Garda
Handsome Victorian villa right on the water's edge, with large, light and airy bedrooms furnished with antiques, some with sit out terraces. Gardens and lakeside terrace, good regional restaurant. Family run, charming.
Gardone Riviera (Brescia), Lake Garda
Stylish bed-and-breakfast in restored medieval manor house with breathtaking views high above the town. Lovely garden, simply styled rooms full of antiques and objets. Quiet, secluded, a good base, set in a nature park with wonderful hikes.
Costermano, Lake Garda
Converted 18th-century farm makes a sophisticated boutique hotel. Well regarded cooking with plenty of local fans, and stylish bedrooms in vibrant colours. Large pools and lovely gardens, a short drive to Lake Garda.
Malcesine, Verona, Lake Garda
Popular belle epoque villa with lovely grounds and simply furnished, modern rooms. Large pool, fitness centre and terrace, with lovely views. You will need a car. Good value.
Verona, Lake Garda
Excellent food and comfortable, simple rooms in Garda's showpiece fishing village. Perfectly positioned in the little port, it's a very romantic place for a good value break, and ideal for local exploring.
Charming, family-run hotel in a lakeside villa. Old fashioned, full of family pictures and antiques, with a timeless quality. Good restaurant, peaceful village location, ideal for a relaxed and good value holiday.
Fish restaurant with simple, budget-priced rooms in a lovely location, overlooking lake and castle. Good base for local exploring.
Organic agroturismo in deep countryside with modest rooms, with riding school, gym and pool. Ideal for families, and a great place for a mix of healthy activities - mountain biking and archery also nearby - and total relaxation.