Lago di Garda is one of my most favourite destinations to visit. Stunning views, crystal clear waters, cute charming villages, tasty food and vicinity of other beautiful places makes it a travel heaven. What places you should visit in Lake Garda in autumn and is the place worth visiting in October?
I visited the western part of Lago di Garda back in summer 2018 when I shared with you some tips about Toscolano Maderno and on how to get to Lake Garda. Last year in early autumn 2021 I came to this wonderful place again, but I headed to the eastern part with several short visits in the must-see places located around. However, let’s start with a little weather forecast. Is it worth travelling to Lake Garda in autumn?
Visiting Lago do Garda in autumn – What’s the Weather like?
We started our journey on 31st September and drove to Lago di Garda by car from my home, Slovakia. The road trip itself was incredible – we passed gorgeous Austrian and German Alps, entering the Italy on the northwest and driving through Dolomites. For those who can’t get a car to drive to Lago di Garda, I prepared a special article where I answered the most common questions about this destination. It is difficult to get to Lake Garda without a car, but it is certainly doable and worth it!
From the very beginning of the trip, the weather was fantastic. The evenings and nights were getting a bit chilly with temperature around 8 degrees, but the days were beautifully sunny, and the thermometer reached 20 degrees and more.
From 31st September until 4th of October we experienced rain only once – on our last day when we were leaving Lago di Garda to have a sneak peek of Verona and finally of Bergamo. The rain was pretty heavy, but it cleared up rapidly.
Can You Swim in Lake Garda in Autumn?
I am pretty sure you can. I decided not to do so as I was a bit lazy with getting dry again, but many people were enjoying the water, including my brother. The water was however a bit chilly and if you don’t have any intentions on getting wet, but you’re up for some water fun, you can always go for a boat ride or try windsurfing (but there you will get definitely wet!). The autumn wind is a pretty good fit for it. And as I am mentioning wind, as sunny it was with temperatures reaching 20 and more degrees it was blustery at times, especially at the northeast part of the lake.
What is so Special about Lake Garda in Autumn?
It is the end of the season, so you can have certainly fewer people in the usually busy towns of Lake Garda. Also, the temperature is still pretty solid and the nature starts being very colourful. The flowers are still blossomed and the trees’ leaves are turning into orange or yellow, what ends additional charm and spirit. You can also visit more places and focus on hiking or exploring the surroundings, which could be a bit of a burden during hot summer.
Best Places to Visit in Lago di Garda and around in Autumn
If we’d had more time, we’d have certainly visited all the places around Lake Garda, including the fascinating Dolomites back in October 2021. Unfortunately, we had only 4 days and the decisions had to be made quickly. We went for a mixture of charming town wandering, view hiking and history exploring in surrounding cities of Verona and Bergamo.
Malcesine is one of the most favourite places to stay in Lake Garda. It is a picturesque little town with medieval lanes, historical buildings, gorgeous views, vibrant restaurants and shops, delicious food and ice-cream. Directly when you step in, you get the Mediterranean holiday vibe without being in the Mediterranean. It has pretty good ferry and bus connections and great attractions including the famous Castello Scaliger and mountain Monte Baldo, both being rock stars of all the post cards!
2. Monte Baldo
If you visit Lake Garda for the views – because it is obviously a destination for all people obsessed with views, including me – jump in the cable car and let it carry you to Monte Baldo. Would you rather get to the peak of mountains yourself? No problem, you can also hike there! It takes approximately 2.5 hours.
You can as well hike half the way to Saint Michele and get the cable car from there. Yes, it is not a direct journey. You have to swap cable cars at Saint Michele, so you need to scan your 25 euro return ticket 4 times in total.
Monte Baldo is just a tremendous place for hiking, walking, exploring and mostly enjoying the wonderful views all around. I’d suggest going to Monte Baldo at noon or in the afternoon, as mornings seem to be a bit foggy up there.
We got to the cable car earlier – around 9:30 to avoid crowds and the mountain was still lightly covered in the mist. It cleared up around noon, so if you prefer getting clear skies, head to Monte Baldo a bit later, counting with more people waiting in the line.
3. Brenzone Del Sur
Brenzone Del Sur is another picturesque town in Lake Garda, yet a bit smaller and cosier. Get ready for cute colourful houses, breathtaking sunsets and long relaxing promenade. Castelleto di Brenzone was our base camp.
We stayed in the Garda Family House with lovely views at the lake and vicinity of all the amenities. I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful architecture, little mesmerizing port and a long promenade where you can just walk and stare at the surrounding beauty.
4. Limone sul Garda
Do you fancy Limoncello, monstrous mountains and hypnotizing water? Got to Limone sul Garda! I know, nearly every town in Lake Garda can offer you splendid views, but Limone is different. It is literally squeezed in between the tallest mountains of Lake Garda and the presence of greenery, flowers and gardens is just mind-blowing.
In Malcesine, Brezone or Toscolano Maderno, the giant rocks are somewhere behind you, but in Limone they are with you! They’re watching you from every little corner.
5. Road Trip around the Lake Garda and Inland
Oh man, there are so many places to see and explore in Lake Garda. It is impossible to see everything when you have only a few days for your short stay in autumn or any other season. If you have a car, use it and go around the lake, including secluded steep roads throughout the high peaks of the mountains.
One day, we really wanted to visit the monastery Santuario di Montecastello. The way there was already an adventure, I can say! We drove from Malcesine around the northern part of the lake, passing beautiful places like Navene, Torbole, Riva del Garda, Limone and from Limone we carried on driving up through Bassanega, Ustecchio, Fucine and other rural mountain villages. At some point, we were the only car driving through this area. The roads were both incredibly steep and scary.
The Santuario di Montecastello was worth the troubles on the road. It is a very secluded place with beautiful views of the lake and surroundings. There is also a much easier way to get there – after Limone carry on the shore through several tunnels around town Campione, and after Hotel Terrazzina turn up right.
We took this road back from the monastery but to be honest, Lago di Garda is not only about the lake, it is about the phenomenal mountains and nature surrounding it and the road through the rural villages and mountains is much more exciting than the simple drive along the shore.
I believe that Lake Garda in autumn should be enough of the entertainment, but if you feel like visiting some cities around, head to Verona. Not only to stalk on Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare had a reason to choose this city as his drama set. The history and the story of the city just talks to you.
I can’t really explain this feeling, but I felt like being placed in a historical drama full of romance and …yeah, drama again! There are just so many architectural monuments of Italy’s past that leaving Italy without visiting Verona would be a sin. It was built in the 1st century B.C. and it still looks fabulously cool. That should say it all.
Dante Alighieri’s statue, Scaliger family’s tombs, Arena, Piazza delle Erbe are all just a part of the fun because two thousand years of history can cover a lot more. Oh, and don’t forget about the river Adige and a view point at Viale dei Colli. There are simply many interesting things to do in Verona and you won’t get bored.
Visiting Bergamo just directly after seeing Verona was slightly shocking for me. Both cities are known for their very deep and exciting history, and yet they couldn’t look any different. Each of the places has an entirely different vibe. Verona was very theatrical, not only for the Romeo & Juliet itself, but it was much busier as the centre is easily reachable.
To see Bergamo’s Citta Alta you need to get a Funicular as it is completely separated from the new city. This might be the reason that the vibes are entirely different. Verona’s old town is somehow incorporated in the newer established parts of this city, while Bergamo’s main history is above the modern city, which may help to remain its mystery. Mystery – that is the word I was looking for! Verona looks like the town you could have fun even those two thousand years ago, and Bergamo is the mysterious and religious town full of secrets.
There are More Places to See around Lake Garda in Autumn
It doesn’t end here. Do have more time to stay in the area? Finish your Aperol Spritz and check out Riva del Garda, Toscolano Maderno, Sirmione, Saló, Garda – all towns situated directly at the Lake Garda, Milan located 2 hours by car on the west, Padua 2 hours and Venice 2.5 hours on the east, Trento located an hour northeast and Dolomites located 3 hours up northeast.
I hope you enjoyed my short sum up on what places to visit in Lake Garda in Autumn. Don’t hesitate, pack your back and get ready! September and October are perfect months to explore this one of the most beautiful destinations in Italy. Have fun on your Lake Garda trip!