Desenzano: An Afternoon At Lake Garda

Lake Garda. Many people say the Italian lakes are on their list of places to visit; Garda often being the well known lake that tourists end up at. Understandable, as photos of the stunning Dolomites providing a backdrop to calm, crystal clear, blue water is an irresistible draw.

Distant, snow topped mountains can be seen from the shore. Although, weather on the shore is drastically opposite to that on the mountains. Summer temperatures often consistently reach 30 degrees. However, mixed with rain and thunderstorms, the microclimate allows olives and lemons to be grown; which is unusual as these are often only grown in the south. The summer months (June, July and August) average 20-35 degrees, brilliant beach weather but perhaps too hot for walking/ hiking/ long excursions. If hiking/ long excursions is the type of holiday, then perhaps visiting in spring, when temperatures are lower, would be more suited.

In Desenzano, the lake shores are home to a harbour (from which boat trips are available to book), multiple beaches, shady benches, a playground, water sports companies, bars, restaurants, car meets and local events. Restaurants and cafes surround the photo below, all boast outdoor seating- a mix of shade and sun but all provide ‘dinner with a view’. The huge variety of restaurants and cafes offer a wide range of price options. Let’s use pizza as a comparative dish. ‘Posh’ or restaurants in a desirable location charge 15€ upwards for a pizza. Whereas tourist restaurants offer deals, one for example, does a select menu for 10€. 10€ for a choice of pizza or pasta dish with a drink, either wine, beer or a soft drink. For hot afternoons, never fear, ice cream is here. Gelato is available from most places, but is extra special from a gelateria; sundaes, milkshakes (frappes) and a wide selection of flavours. To top it off, the gelato is well presented which makes choosing just a few flavours impossible.

Beer and pasta for 10€ with a view of the lake

Castello Ricetto- a historical place to visit, also provides a brilliant vantage point (being on top of a hill) to view the lake and surroundings. The castle is also home to a theatre, where live music/ a show can be enjoyed.

Slightly along the road from the castle, is a ‘pub’. There is another ‘pub’ on the way out of town. Tourists feeling a bit homesick can go to the pub for some English beers and a homely atmosphere, however both open at 7 so afternoon drinking is out of the question. Cafe and restaurants offer an alternative place till the pubs open for an afternoon pint.

If you’ve been to Lake Garda, leave a comment!

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