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Desenzano del Garda

If you are looking for a well positioned town with the best nightlife, on Lake Garda, great shopping (the reason I love the town), excellent restaurants and some very good hotels, then Desenzano is the best place to stay on Lake Garda.

Desenzano del Garda

Desenzano del Garda has been a popular resort town for the rich of Venice and Verona for thousands of years. It is one of the easiest towns on the lake to get to by road or rail, being located on the main Venice to Milan road and rail link.

Boats leave for all corners of the lake, making the town ideal if you would like to explore the lake from the water.

Our Desenzano & Lake Garda Hotel Tip...

The Palace Hotel is just perfect. You won’t find many foreign tourists here – for some reason they seem not to have discovered it yet. I would suggest that you do if you are visiting Desenzano, or even Sirmione, as the hotel lies between the two towns.

You'll discover a well run hotel with great staff and a lovely location; it's not going to break the bank either. The fact that it's near one of the best beaches on the lake is just the icing on the cake. For more independent reviews, maps and photos click here.

What to See

On the water in Desenzano del Garda

At the heart of Desenzano's appeal lies its stunning waterfront. Here, locals and tourists alike gather to bask in the sun, savoring the tranquil ambiance and breathtaking views that stretch across the horizon. The waterfront promenade, lined with palm trees and vibrant flower beds, invites leisurely strolls and alfresco dining, offering a front-row seat to the ever-changing spectacle of the lake.

To get an idea of what things used to be like around here before the advent of Gucci, Armani and Fiat visit the Bronze and Stone Age museum. Called the G Rambotti Museo Archeologico it is full of artifacts of the period and provides an interesting insight into what life was like in these simpler times.

For a more modern attraction visit the remains of what was once an enormous 1st century Roman Villa. Located in Via Crocefisso; the villa has superb mosaic floors. The floors and the fascinating artifacts discovered during excavation are the highlights. Both villa and museum are open every day except Mondays.

The Civic Archaeological Museum, housed within the Palazzo Todeschini, offers a fascinating journey through Desenzano's ancient past, with artifacts ranging from Roman mosaics to Etruscan pottery.

Meanwhile, the Teatro Alberti, with its elegant neoclassical façade, hosts a diverse array of concerts, plays, and ballets throughout the year, providing cultural enrichment and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

The imposing Castello di Desenzano, perched atop a hill overlooking the town, offers a glimpse into the medieval era with its formidable ramparts and imposing towers. It rewards those who venture up the hill with panoramic vistas of the town below and the shimmering expanse of Lake Garda stretching to the horizon. The castle is open, everyday except Monday, from 10.00-18.30 during the summer. During the winter it only opens on weekends and it closes completely in November and December. For the latest hours visit the official castle website.

St Mary’s Cathedral or the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maddalena, is the other main tourist sights. Dating back to the 12th century the cathedral boasts a magnificent Lombard Romanesque facade. Inside, discover a serene ambiance with frescoes, altars, and vaulted ceilings adorning the space. The nave, lined with graceful columns, leads to a high altar adorned with a striking depiction of the Madonna and Child. Housing a collection of priceless artworks, including paintings and sculptures, the cathedral serves as a cultural and religious focal point.

Desenzano has some pretty decent beaches too. Have a look at my beach guide if you would like more on the beaches.

Tip: The tourist information office can provide you with brochures, maps and lots of information on walks and cycling tours in the area. You can visit them in Via Porto Vecchio in the town centre.


Definitely the best town on the lake for shopping, you'll find a wider selection of shops, more designer stores and a bigger and better market than in any other lake town.

The designer shops are mostly in the town center, and prices are sometimes ridiculously high.

My advice is that if you want exactly the same items at a cheaper price, try to hold off that shopping bug until Tuesday, when the market comes to town. The market has a wide range of items, from fashion to food. Prices are far lower than the prices you pay in the shops. It's a great option to pick up souvenir and gifts.

Where to Eat in Desanzanno

Desenzano's culinary scene is a veritable feast for the senses, with trattorias, pizzerias, and gelaterias lining its charming streets. From freshly caught seafood and homemade pasta to decadent pastries and artisanal gelato, the town's eateries offer a culinary journey through the rich gastronomic heritage of the region.

So, where to eat? Try the Ristorante Esplanade in Via Lario 3 which is excellent though a little on the expensive side. For a cheaper alternative, serving home made pasta and great pizza, try the Santa Pizzeria in Lungolago Cesare Battisti 73,.

Desenzano del Garda Tours

Getting to Desenzano del Garda

Car Rentals

Getting to Desenzano del Garda from Venice or Milan is convenient and offers travelers various transportation options.

From Venice, travelers can opt for a train journey, which takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on the type of train chosen. Trains depart from Venezia Santa Lucia station and arrive at Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione station, located near the town center. The train offers glimpses of the charming Italian countryside.

Alternatively, driving your own car rental gives you more freedom to explore, you can easily drive from Venice to Desenzano del Garda, which takes around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. The route typically involves driving along the A4 highway towards Milan, then taking the turnoff for Desenzano del Garda.

From Milan, travelers also have the option of taking a train or driving to Desenzano del Garda. The train journey from Milan to Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione station typically takes around 1 to 1.5 hours.

For those preferring to drive, the journey from Milan to Desenzano del Garda takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours via the A4 highway. The route offers picturesque views of the Lombardy countryside and Lake Garda as travelers approach their destination.

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