On my first visit to Lake Garda I fell in love with this place. This massive lake in Northern Italy (known as the lakes region) feels Alpine, Mediterranean, remote, but somehow lively and peaceful all at the same time.
Although popular with British and Europeans, this lake does not appear on many US travel recommendations. But it really should. This place is gorgeous, and the towns that dot the lake each have their own charm about them.
Read a more in-depth article about Lake Garda, here – I Have a New Love, Lake Garda
About Limone sul Garda
Limone is a small town built into a steep cliffside on the western shores of Lake Garda. There are fancy resorts carved around the small town, and the town itself is mostly pedestrian-only with narrow winding alleyways. There is a long waterfront promenade that gets the afternoon sun, a few beaches, and picture-perfect views around every corner. This town is one of my favorite on the lake, and I highly recommend a visit or stay while here!
Reasons to Visit Limone
Limone Sul Garda is a striking town set on a cliffside. If you love beauty and old Italian charm, this is an absolute must when visiting the lake. Limone and Malcesine are my personal two favorites. They are so pretty and there is always something new to explore around each corner.
In the town, there are a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars to keep you busy. I recommend wandering the narrow pedestrian streets and stopping in at some of the many shops and restaurants.
Limone can be explored in a full day. I think it also makes for a great home base to explore the northern part of the lake.
While you’re here, be sure to grab some Limoncello (also Lemoncello), a drink that is usually served as a delicious after-dinner aperitif. In its basic sense, this liqueur is made with lemon peels soaked in natural grain alcohol for a few months.
Things to Do
Get on the Ferry
The ferry runs daily from 7am to around 7pm. Although it’s a large lake, the ferries only run so often throughout the day, so I recommend grabbing the ferry schedule or visiting the website and planning your trip. Malcesine is a beautiful town with a striking castle on the water. Riva del Garda is another town to visit. It’s one of the larger towns on the lake and there are many shops and things to do.
Mt Baldo Cable Car
For sweeping views of the lake, a ride up the Mt Baldo cable car in Malcesine is a must. The cable car rotates as you go up the mountain, so you will get 360 views no matter where you stand. It runs 10 months a year, and to get there you can follow the signs leading up the hill just outside of the main old town.
Mountain biking and hiking are popular activities, and there is also a cafe once at the top.
La Limonaia del Castel
Although the town is called Limone sul Garda, lemons were actually imported to the town by monks in the 14th century. Today there are still many lemon groves that can be walked, most notably La Limonaia del Castel. For only 2EUR, you can walk the grounds and learn the history of the citrus fruits on Lake Garda. It’s also rated the #1 thing to do in Limone.
There is a pebble beach in Limone called Fonte Torrente San Giovanni di Limone beach. Here you can find beach volleyball and a surf school. It’s a large beach area, so there’s room to bring a towel and soak in the afternoon sun. There are also a few smaller beaches including Tifu, Cola, and Grostol beach.
Try Windsurfing or other activities on the Water
WindRiders runs Kite and windsurfing lessons right from the shores of Limone sul Garda. They will take you out and teach you how to surf at one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. It’s considered one of the best because you are guaranteed wind on the northern side of the lake. Planet Allsport Capo Reamol is another good option for your tour.
Getting Around Lake Garda
By Car: I typically prefer driving, especially in the Northern Italy area. There are so many cute towns and places that just can’t be seen by a bus or train. Since Lake Garda is surrounded by mountains in the North, there are also some really fun drives that you can take up and around the mountainside.
On one trip, we drove to a small town called Nove to grab some Williams & Sonoma at a huge discount (they sell the imperfect pieces at the manufacturing plant for a fraction of the price!). We went through so many beautiful villages set atop these mountains and overlooking the lake below. And of course, just driving around the lake is well worth it for the views alone.
Driving is also nice because you are free to come and go and aren’t stuck on someone else’s schedule.
I always book using Discover Cars. They have a huge presence in Europe and I always find the best prices through their site.
Do you need an International Driver’s License? On my most recent trip to Italy in 2021, AAA (the place that issues these stateside) said that Italy was cracking down on these licenses. This was then confirmed by a horror story from a fellow blogger that had to pay 300 EUR for not having one. So I would 100% recommend spending the $20 to get an Int’l Driver’s License.
By Bus: On one trip, we stayed in Verona and decided to take a day trip to Lake Garda. I didn’t want to lose my parking spot in Verona, so we opted for the bus ride to Lake Garda. The public buses run regularly and cover almost anywhere you want to go. If you plan to use a bus for longer travel, I recommend booking through Omio. They have the best prices and options for anywhere in Europe.
By Train: The main train station starts in Milan and stops at Sirmione (the most southern town on the lake) and Peschiera del Garda. The train system can be confusing in Italy, so I recommend speaking to someone at a ticket counter (biglietteria). There are different classes and not all tickets have seats, so be sure you know which train and class you’ve chosen. Some tickets don’t include seat assignments either, so be sure to double-check you have a seat for your trip.
The trains run daily and there are multiple options each day. I recommend using Omio to search for the best ticket prices. I did a quick search for a train ticket from Milan to Sirmione and found a one-way for $12.
From those stations, you can either catch the ferry or bus to Limone Sul Garda.
On the first day, we took the ferry from Riva del Garda (where we were staying) and went to Limone. To be honest, we didn’t know anything really about the towns, so we just hopped off at a few of the towns to explore.
The town of Limone was quite beautiful, and we spent the afternoon wandering the streets, shopping, and sipping on wine.
Even though we were in Italy, they still had good German beer and many towns had quite a few German tourists. With such a close proximity to Germany, it makes sense that this would be a popular holiday. Another anomoly for Italy is that they served these massive bowls of ice cream. They even had one called Spaghetti Eis (spaghetti ice cream) which looked just like a big bowl of spaghetti.
The town was fairly touristy but I only heard German and British accents, and it really wasn’t crowded at all when we were there (in May). I think I heard a few people speaking American English at one point, but nothing like what we were surrounded by in Venice. The tourists didn’t change the beauty and charm of this town (and yes I know I was one of them!).
From Limone, you can look across the lake and see another town I adore, Malcesine. If I were to stay in Lake Garda again I would definitely pick Malcesine as my home spot. The town is really pretty, there are really cute cobblestone streets, and while the town is fairly small they have a fantastic Irish pub.
Thanks for stopping by!