Every year Lake Garda is a favorite destination for millions of tourists. You know why? Fairytale landscapes and activities for all types of travelers. We visited Desenzano, one of its most beautiful villages, a few kilometers from Sirmione. Discover with us the five most beautiful things to see in Desenzano del Garda.
What to see in Desenzano del Garda: 5 tips
Desenzano del Garda is a charming village in the province of Brescia that overlooks the southern shore of the lake. In Desenzano, it is possible to rediscover ancient Roman remains, visit the castle, stroll along the romantic old port or go to the beach in search of relaxation.
From the lakeside of Desenzano you can also see Sirmione in the distance. But do not be fooled: reaching it by swimming is not that simple. Here is our list of 5 tips on what to see in Desenzano del Garda:
1. Old port of Desenzano del Garda
The historic harbor of Desenzano del Garda was born for commercial needs around the 15th century, under the rule of the Republic of Venice. The “Venetian” bridge, which today delimits the port area, was built during the 1930s.
This area is the perfect place for aperitifs, romantic walks and postcard photos. You will fall in love with the colorful boats that float lazily on the water, giving life to a kaleidoscope of reflections.
Looking for a hotel in Desenzano sul Garda? We recommend Hotel Piroscafo, an excellent three-star family-run hotel, overlooking the old port.
2. Piazza Malvezzi
Here we are in the beating heart of Desenzano del Garda, Piazza Malvezzi. It was designed around 1500 by the architect Giulio Todeschini. Today it takes its name from the partisan Giuseppe Malvezzi, killed by the Nazi-Fascist troops in 1945.
Every first Sunday of the month from May to November, Piazza Malvezzi comes alive with a splendid Antiques Market. Strolling through the stalls you can admire or buy antiques, collectibles, paintings and much more.
3. Roman Villa of Desenzano del Garda
The Roman Villa is a very important archaeological site for the entire area of Lake Garda. The Brescia province is rich in Roman remains, villas and mosaics from the classical era.
In 1921 excavations for the construction of a house began in Desenzano, but they were soon interrupted when the first polychrome mosaics were found. Studies have shown several construction phases: the Roman Villa as we know it today dates back to the 4th century AD.
Nowadays you can visit three sectors of the villa plus the Antiquarium, where the materials recovered during the excavations were placed.
Roman Villa: opening hours and tickets
- From March to October: 9.00-19.30; from November to February: 9.00-17.00; closed on Mondays
- Full ticket 4 €; reduced € 2, free for under 18
4. Castle of Desenzano del Garda
Built around the 10th century, the Castle of Desenzano del Garda had defensive functions, offering a refuge to the city population in the event of an attack. Little remains of the ancient building, but from its walls you can enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Garda.
Thanks to the conservation of the crenelated walls and towers, the Castle of Desenzano is still the symbol of the city. It has been a municipal property since 1969, and it hosts exhibitions and conferences.
Castle of Desenzano: opening hours and tickets
- Full ticket 5€; reduced 3€
- Check the opening hours on the Municipality website
5. Archeological Museum of Desenzano del Garda
Another place to visit in Desenzano del Garda is the Archaeological Civic Museum “Giovanni Rambotti”. Numerous artifacts found in the Brescia area and in particular around Desenzano are exhibited here: most of them date back to the Paleolithic and the Middle Ages.
The museum focuses on the prehistoric pile-dwellings of the lower Garda area of Brescia, where the people of that time lived. The very humid environment has allowed a high level of conservation of these houses, providing us with valuable information on the ancient agricultural techniques.
However, the highlight of the museum remains the Lavagnone plow, which is also the oldest found plow in the world. The new interactive video installations also make it perfect for a visit with children.
Archeological Museum: opening hours and tickets
- Full ticket 6€; reduced 4€
- Combined ticket Castle + Museum 8€ full, 5€ reduced
- Check the opening hours on the Municipality website
Cycling on Lake Garda
Are you dreaming of visiting Lake Garda on your bike? Soon it will be possible. The cycle path of the Garda by Bike project, not yet completed, allows you to admire one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe from a privileged position.
Many people like cycling around the lake every day. In July 2018, a particularly beautiful section was opened: a 2 km bike path leading from Capo Reamol in Limone sul Garda on the west coast in north direction.
Once completed, the cycle path will be 190 km long and will cover the entire perimeter of the lake, touching Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige. Sports enthusiasts will be able to test their muscles, while wine lovers will be able to discover local wineries and taste the famous Bardolino and Lugana.
How to get to Desenzano del Garda
Desenzano is easily accessible by car along the A4 Milan-Venice motorway (Desenzano exit). In high season it can be very difficult to find parking, due to the presence of a very popular and crowded beach.
You can also reach Desenzano by train: it takes around 50 minutes with Frecciarossa or Italo from Milan, and an hour and a half from Venice.
Outdoor experiences to do in Desenzano del Garda
If you’re looking for inspiration for outdoor activities to do in Desenzano del Garda, you’ll find plenty of experiences on Freedome. From SUP tours to boat trips, here are some of the adventures that await you:
- Sunset Stand Up Paddle Tour on Lake Garda
- 3 hour quad tour in the Garda hills
- Sailing boat day tour on Lake Garda
- Tandem paragliding over Lake Garda (BS)
Our list of things to see in Desenzano del Garda ends here. Have you already visited Lake Garda? Leave a comment below!