Lake Garda, located in northern Italy between Brescia and Verona is one of Italy’s most popular holiday destinations, known for its spectacular natural scenery and rich culture.
The lake’s northern area is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, excited to windsurf or discover its strong-featured terrain. The south is slightly different and attracts visitors with its laid-back resorts, lovely beaches, scenic vineyards, and pretty villages. All those vineyards and olive groves, give the lake a distinctive Mediterranean feeling. To take a glimpse into this Italian paradise, read these 39 interesting facts about Lake Garda and learn a bit more about its hidden treasures…
Lake Garda was created during the last Ice Age, about 1.5 million years ago.
A piedmont glacier that ran down Brenta Dolomites cut the lake’s path resulting in Lake Garda’s axe-like shape.
Later on, the glacier melted and formed Lake Garda as we know it today.
Due to the glacier revealing magnesium-rich soil Lake Garda is very fertile.
It’s believed that the first settlement on the lake dates back to 2000 BC.
Lake Garda is the site of at least three historic battles, the Battle of Benacus in AD 269, the Battle of Rivoli in 1797, and the Battle of Solferino in 1859 in which Napoleon and the Sardinian army fought against Austria.
Gasparo De Salo, one of the earliest known violin makers, was born at Salo on Lake Garda in 1540, making Lake Garda the birthplace of the violin.
Lake Garda hosts the Garda Music Summer Festival every year.
Riva del Garda is the lake’s northernmost town, which has the best windsurfing conditions in Europe.
Sirmione, the town with natural hot springs, is a popular holiday destination since Roman times.
Grotte di Catullo is one of Northern Italy’s best-preserved Roman residences. A visitor can enjoy the beautiful views across Lake Garda or enjoy the museum of Roman artefacts.
The 19th-century writer Gabriele d’Annunzio was born in the town of Pescara on Lake Garda. Even though he’s known as one of Italy’s greatest writers, he left a controversial legacy due to his Fascist political views and eccentric lifestyle.
The scenic forests and orchid meadows of Parco Archeologico Rocca di Manerba are a UNESCO protected site.
Lake Garda is situated halfway between Milan and Venice and can be reached by train.
Lake Garda is located in northern Italy. Its southern shore lies between Verona and Brescia.
Lake Garda is part of three Italian provinces: Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto.
Lake Garda covers around 370 km2 and it’s the largest lake in Italy. The lake is 350 meters deep with a perimeter of 160 km.
The northern part of the lake belonged to Austria until the end of World War I in 1918.
Lake Garda is surrounded by the Garda Mountains. Mont Cadria is the highest mountain in this range with a height of an astounding 2,254 meters.
Within Lake Garda there are 5 main islands, Isola del Garda, Isola di Trimelone, Isola di Sogno, Isola dell’Olivo and Isola San Biagio.
Isola del Garda is the biggest of the 5 and it’s situated on the western shore of the lake.
This largest island got developed in 1220 when St. Francis of Assisi established a monastery on it. It’s believed that the island had been used earlier as a Roman burial ground.
Salmo Carpio is a breed of fish that is endangered and endemic to Lake Garda.
The area between Salo and Gargnano at Lake Garda was used by Mussolini as the capital of the Italian Social Republic.
Lake Garda has many hot sulphur springs at its tip.
The lake borders one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, the Dolomites, which is part of the southern limestone Alps and known for its unusually shaped peaks.
The area around the lake is perfect for hiking, but you wouldn’t be able to walk around the entire lake in a single day as it has a shore length of 158.4 km (98.4 miles).
Even though it’s only the 36th largest lake in all of Europe, it’s still the second-largest lake in southern Europe!
Lake Garda has numerous inlets, but it only has 1 outlet. Sarca River is the largest tributary to the lake.
The only outlet of the lake is the Mincio River in the farthest southern part of the lake.
In Roman times, the lake was referred to as “Lacus Benacus,” as it was the site of the famous battle the “Battle of Lake Benacus.”
Its current name originates from the Germanic word “warda,” which means “place of guard” or “place of observation.”
One of the best-preserved castles in Italy can be found on the south shore of Lake Garda. The commune where the Scaligero Castle is located is called Sirmione.
This little town is situated on a peninsula that divides the southern shore of Lake Garda. The castle is the focus of the town and dates back to the 13th Century.
The historical centre of Sirmione breathes history, as well as the Roman Villa located on the northernmost end of the same peninsula.
This villa was built during the reign of the first Roman Emperor, and it was more of a “Roman Spa”, called the “Grottoes of Catullus.”
The Roman Villa hasn’t been preserved well and only its ruins remain.
“Gardaland,” located along the southwest shore of Lake Garda is one of the most popular theme parks in Italy.
Being the most popular tourist destinations in all of Italy, Lake Garda attracts an estimated 22 million people every year.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Lake Garda that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!