When you think of a holiday on Lake Garda, you often imagine the lake, nature hikes, water sports… yet, there are also many historical beauties to see in this area, including some beautiful ancient villages, with the most charming alleys and unique panoramas.
On Lake Benaco, there are no shortage of charming and sometimes still rural villages, dating back to ancient foundations, sometimes in territories already inhabited even in prehistory. Let’s discover the most famous ones, for a tour of the villages on Lake Garda.
Tremosine, the surprising height village
Much more than a village, this town combines 18 different hamlets between Lake Garda and mountain areas – where there is one of the most beautiful panoramas ever seen from its terrace!
Tremosine is located above Limone sul Garda on a plateau from which to enjoy calming panoramas and also depart for exciting hikes along the Forra Road, or towards the high hamlets in the Alto Garda Bresciano Park. Suitable, therefore, both for those who love to dive into the lake and for those who want to go trekking. Also famous for Gardesana cuisine, Tremosine offers several opportunities to enjoy the territory and delve into its history, dating back to the Etruscan era.
Malcesine, between the villages on Lake Garda and Mount Baldo
In the Verona side, this is the northernmost town on Lake Garda, which has a size not of a small village, but certainly retains its medieval alleys and a typical Lake Garda town atmosphere.
Founded perhaps around 500 BC by Etruscan populations, Malcesine continued its history until the splendor of the Middle Ages, with a first fortification of the Castle by the Lombards in the 6th century AD. An interesting history that will last until today and has brought many historical buildings to visit, such as the Palace of the Captains, and many illustrious visitors such as Goethe, Kafka, Gustav Klimt.
Famous is the cable car that departs from the center of the village to reach Mount Baldo, with a constant flow that makes it a very lively place in all seasons. The mountain overlooks the town, but allows for a unique view from its over 2000 meter altitude.
Castellaro Lagusello, il borgo dal cuore d’acqua
This village is famous for being located in a nearly fairy tale-like area, with a structure that dates back to the Middle Ages as a simple town surrounded by defensive walls, allowing visitors to explore it through an ancient passage under the clock tower. The lagusello is the adjacent lake, which is famous because it is considered a charming heart-shaped pond.
The fortified village is not directly on Lake Garda but adjacent to it, in the South Lombard area, where the Regional Reserve Complex Morenico is located.
The alleys are intriguing, the stone houses take us back to the past, and there is also a villa with an Edenic garden that overlooks the pond. This is Villa Tacoli Arrighi, the medieval residence once belonging to the Scaligeri, now a private residence from the 17th century, rich in historical furnishings, prints, paintings, antique weapons…
Borghetto sul Mincio, the romantic Middle Ages
Further from Lake Garda, but easily accessible, is this beautiful medieval village (from Longobard foundation) that seems like a place suspended in time. Water mills, ancient walls, streets and houses that rest on the Mincio water, gardens and a forest.
The Visconti Bridge is charming, providing access to the village, a dam bridge over the river built at the end of the 14th century that leads to a central fort: a path through the ancient walls to visit and be excited until the Scaliger Castle on the hill.
Do not miss the Knot of Love Festival in June, which celebrates the contrast between the Nymph Silvia and Captain Malco: a silk drape knotted, a loving knot, joins the quintals of handmade tortellini served on the bridge!
Not far from this fraction of the municipality of Valeggio sul Mincio is the Sigurtà Garden Park, a natural wonder where millions of plants flourish every year…
Canale di Tenno, the Trentino village
Not far from the North of the lake, precisely after Riva del Garda, this ancient village is famous especially for its Christmas atmosphere, with the markets and the living nativity scene. In any case, even in other seasons, the village is delightful to visit, like a dive into the past among alleys, arches and medieval courtyards.
Even inside some places, you can still find decorated wooden attics, and in summer you can also see the Rustic Middle Ages historical costume festival. You will be greeted by jugglers, minstrels, ancient dishes and local places from the Trentino Gardesana area.
Not far is the lake of Tenno: landscapes that have inspired many artists, including Giacomo Vittone. He is the one the Artists’ House is named after, known throughout Europe as a gathering place and welcoming for those who practice art in all its forms.
Rango nel Bleggio, portici e monti verso Nord
Rango is a small, rustic village located in the Bleggio area near Lake Garda. It is surrounded by mountains and can be accessed by a scenic staircase. In Rango, visitors can find a glimpse of the old way of life and traditional crafts, as evidenced by the presence of artisans and the revival of old jobs like the knife grinder, umbrella maker and chair maker.
The village features stone houses, arches, bridges, loggias, and narrow alleys with small craft workshops. In nearby Balbido, the village is known for its painted murals depicting the rural history of Trentino. People come to Rango for its traditional cuisine, such as the Bleggio walnuts, and the Banale Ciuiga sausage made from pork and turnips. It is also a popular stop for those visiting the Comano Thermal Baths.
L’arte è protagonista anche nel villaggio adiacente, a Balbido dove sono stati dipinti molti murales con la storia contadina del trentino, affrescati sui mure delle case.
Molti arrivano in questo borgo dal Garda per gustare le specialità gastronomiche come le noci del Bleggio, o la Ciuiga del Banale una salsiccia di maiale con le rape. Altri come tappa per andare alle Terme di Comano…