Known for its amazing views and captivating lakeside villages, Lake Garda offers the perfect holiday experience at any time of year. From speedboat tours of local islands to botanical gardens, intriguing museums and enchanting medieval architecture, there are plenty of local gems to discover. Susie Marquis highlights her favourite places to visit and the best villas to rent in Lake Garda.
If you’re looking for a holiday destination which combines sensational views, a fascinating history, local activities, excellent dining options and stunning accommodation, look no further than the five villas we offer on the coast of Lake Garda. Architect designed, and furnished and equipped to a very high standard, the villas are spread out within an estate of 19 acres, each on a hillside to take full advantage of the lake views. Offering the perfect holiday base at all times of year, all the villas offer enormous indoor and outdoor spaces, and a large swimming pool, which can be heated on request. A wide variety of activities can be arranged during your stay, including wine tastings, boat trips, golf or a hike around the lake with its breathtaking views. Also within the resort is a 5-star nine-bedroom boutique hotel with a gourmet restaurant, as well as a spa and wellness area where you can enjoy massages, facials and yoga classes. For meals, guests can choose to dine in their villa, or at the hotel’s La Terrazza gourmet restaurant, or its terrace, with a choice of delicious and imaginative Italian dishes, and excellent Italian wines – or choose to have a private chef to cook in the villa. The resort also has a helicopter landing pad to allow guests to fly in and out with ease.
Lakeside and Botanical Garden beautyA short drive (1.4 kms) or a 20-minute walk from the estate is the town of Gardone Riviera with a beautiful lakeside promenade with hotels, cafés, restaurants and colourful flower beds. Just a short walk uphill from the lakeshore, you will find the Botanical Garden of the Andre Heller Foundation, formerly named Giardino Hruska Botanico after its founder, Arthur Hruska, who created the gardens between 1912 and 1914. The garden has since been taken over by a foundation set up by the artist Andre Heller in 1989 and, with its sheltered location and mild climate, many exotic plants have flourished here over the years.  There are currently over 3000 different species of plants from worldwide destinations including the Alps, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Africa. He has also added works of modern art between the plants, pools and streams, which blend harmoniously with the plants. The garden is open daily between March and October from 9am -7pm. 
Pay a visit to VittorialeContinue up the hill, a 12-15 minute walk from the waterfront, and discover the picturesque village of Gardone Sopra with its small restaurants, courtyards and flowering vines of bougainvillea. The village is particularly well known for the famous Vittoriale, the former home of Italian writer and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who lived here until his death in 1938. Originally from Abruzzo, military hero and political leader D’Annunzio fell in love with the landscape of Lake Garda and created Vittoriale in memory of both his own life and the lives of the Italian people during World War I. Beautifully situated overlooking the lake, D’Annunzio’s home is now a fascinating museum filled with historical artefacts, including clothes, books, works of art, army medals, sculptures, and even several cars from the era. Within the grounds, visitors will find an SVA plane, a military ship and a submarine, as well as gardens with streams, a lemon grove, the Portico del Parente, dedicated to Michelangelo, and an impressive amphitheatre overlooking Lake Garda, which hosts summer music events. 
Discover the sights of SalòBack down to the edge of the lake, we also highly recommend a visit to the town of Salò, just over 3 kms south from Gardone Riviera, and with a long lakeside promenade with beautiful period buildings, hotels, cafés and restaurants. The Piazza Vittoria at one end of the promenade is the arrival and departure point for ferries from and to other towns around the lake. The historic town leads up from the piazza via a charming pedestrianised main street, with restaurants, and shops, including some designer boutiques, and a beautiful historic clock tower at the top. Salò has a fascinating long history, with the original medieval layout of the town based around its 15th century cathedral, with its numerous works of art, and frescoes. Other historic buildings include the Palazzo della Magnifica Patria, which dates to the 16th century, with a museum dedicated to local history. 
Discover Lake Garda by speedboatOne of the many highlights of our stay was a speedboat trip on the lake, which can be arranged by the resort, and a great way to experience the sights of Lake Garda from the water. The picturesque and historic coastal villages we passed on the eastern side of the lake included Torri del Benaco, surrounded by medieval walls and towers dating back to the 14th century. Another was the beautiful village of Sirmione, known for its moated castle of the Scaligeri, the former lords of Verona. It was built in the 13th century and still features the original battlements, towers and a drawbridge. Back from here to the west of the lake, we also passed the beautiful Isola del Garda with its impressive villa, constructed in Venetian Gothic style at the beginning of the 20th century.  The island is also known for its stunning Italian garden, and recommended as a perfect romantic location for a wedding, or other special event. Tours of the island can be arranged from March to October, with tickets including the return boat ride and a welcome drink.
5 sensational villas to rent on Lake GardaVilla Telegrafo (4 bedrooms; 8 guests).Offering spacious and light interiors, Villa Telegrafo provides luxurious amenities including a spa area with steam bath. For entertaining, there’s a wine chiller on the main floor, as well as a private bar with free non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. The private outdoor swimming pool on the top level has a 360m2 pool terrace, and wonderful views overlooking Lake Garda.
Villa Valdritta (4 bedrooms; 8 guests). This two-storey villa features a living, dining and kitchen area on the ground floor, which opens onto to a large terrace, as well as 3 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms upstairs. Thrre is also a separate guest house just below the villa with one bedroom. The villa benefits from wonderful views from its rooms, as well as the expansive 400m2 terrace with swimming pool in a fabulous location above the villa.The main villa also features a fitness area, and private bar with free (non-)alcoholic beverages as well as snacks. 
Villa Cadria (4 bedrooms; 8 guests). The rooms of the villa open to an enormous (500m2) private terrace with outdoor swimming pool and wonderful views over the lake. The modern design of the interiors includes large glass doors and windows allowing for light, and lake views from most rooms. There is also a private bar and spa area. The accommodation is in a main villa and a guest house (also with its own terrace).The accommodation is in a main villa and a guest house (sleeping 3, and also with its own terrace). There is also a private bar and spa area.
Villa Caplone (5 bedrooms; 10 guests).The villa sits on a slope allowing for stunning lake views from each floor. Central to the villa is the wonderful swimming pool on the main level, on a 500m2 furnished terrace, also with a bar and barbecue The villa also has a fitness area, and a spa with sauna and steam bath, as well as a private bar (also with free non alcoholic beverages and snacks).
Villa Bondone (4 bedrooms; 8 guests). Also set on a hillside with wonderful lake views, this villa too offers spacious, light and very elegant interiors. There is also a private spa area with steam bath and sauna, a library and a private bar area (non alcoholic beverages are free of charge). The swimming pool and 420m2 pool terrace are the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful views over Lake Garda.
For couples and smaller groupsThe villa accommodation is suitably flexible, as some of the villas include a separate garden cottage or penthouse suite with an additional kitchen which, if available, can sometimes be rented separately for smaller groups. With our villas’ generous facilities, and the abundance of local experiences available, Lake Garda offers the perfect blend of relaxation and culture all year round.
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