Lake Garda boat trips are one of the best ways to see this scenically stunning waterscape. Hop from one historic town to the next – via ferry. Slink into a sailing yacht for fizz and fun or skipper your own craft to a corner of the lake for sunbathing, picnics and a chic day on the lake. And, it’s worth noting that boat hire on Lake Garda opens up more than just shoreside views. Everything from wedding proposals to piano solos play out on these waters. The lake is your oyster…
Lake Garda boat trips aren’t the only way to get out on the water. Ferries leave from almost every town on the shoreline, making it easy to see more than you might expect on a short break in Lake Garda. The best option for travellers with time constraints? The one day circulation ticket from Navigazione Lake Garda. For €34.20 you can hop on any of their boats – on any part of the lake, as many times as you want. Though with return fares starting at just €6 for short journeys, it pays to check out your options if you only want to see a small section of the lake.
Lake Garda boat trips
Explore Isola del Garda
Lake Garda’s iconic and largest island comes with a hint of intrigue. The rather grand palace, perched on the western edge of the water, has seen some history. Pirates, Romans, monks, poets, philosophers and Italian aristocracy have all hopped off a boat to spend time on Isola del Garda. Which will no doubt entice you to do the same. By all means drop by, but you’ll need a ticket to access the island and neo-gothic palace that’s now owned by the Cavazza family. Daily boat trips leave from all compass points on the lake for a two hour tour of the island, grounds and palace. There’s also the chance to do a little wine and oil tasting during the tour.
Take a sunset cruise
After you’ve skipped along the historic streets of Sirmione – and possibly explored the luxe, wellness angle in its thermal spa waters, there’s only one way to up the romance stakes – a sunset cruise. Sirmione Boats have group – or private, boat trips that leisurely sail past Sirmione’s peninsula with plenty of Prosecco on hand. The fizz in your glass is far more alluring than the sulphurous bubbles popping up from the nearby spring. But, without those thermal waters, this town wouldn’t have the spa action you’re likely here for. Castles, Roman ruins and a glide past Maria Callas’ former villa provide some shoreline sights to glimpse at in between catching snaps of Lake Garda’s sunset.
Add a little music….
One of the more unusual Lake Garda boat trips comes from the team at Bertoldi Boats. You can sail the waters by day – or by candlelight with your own private pianist. This is all thanks to their USP – electric boats. More on those later, but the noise and vibration free hulls allow you to fully enjoy a solo sax, DJ set or musical option of your choosing. Set the mood for a proposal, have a mini party or simply sail to the soundtrack that will always remind you of the Lake Garda landscape.
See the lower lake
Keen to tick off as many sights as possible, without planning out an elaborate ferry itinerary? Take a look at the lower section of the lake with Bee Boat Service. Their six hour tour heads south from the mooring in Salò – scooping up some of Lake Garda’s best bits along the way. Isola del Garda, the Sirmione peninsula, Capo San Fermo, Castello Scagligero and a sweeping sail past Lazise, Bardolino, Garda gives you a formidable lake aspect view of some of the area’s most picturesque spots. Bookable on request, this small group – or private tour has some wiggle room for specific requests if there’s somewhere you’d like to stop off.
Learn to sail a catamaran
If an hour or two on the expansive waters of Lake Garda simply aren’t enough, consider a place on a sailing course. Wwwind Square run courses – of all kinds, that can get you on the water. Their 3 day catamaran course is the ideal intro into the world of lake sailing. You’ll receive around 9 hours of tuition in total – leaving you free to delve into the other things to do in Lake Garda – while still enjoying plenty of sailing time. For sailors with a few hours of sail hoisting and tacking under their belt, advanced courses and private lessons put you on course to take out your own catamaran.
Of all the boat trips we’ve recommended so far, only one of the Lake Garda boat trip operators has electric boats in their flotilla. Bertoldi Boats run two motorboats that run exclusively on electric power. The Become and Repower models are used on their tours – so it pays to ask whether your tour will be eco-friendly or not, especially if you’re looking to leave as little impact on Lake Garda as possible.
Lake Garda boat hire
If the freedom to sail wherever you want appeals, consider taking out a boat – or yacht, from any of the boat hire spots on Lake Garda. You can take out a 5.6m, 40hp craft from Sirmione Boats for the day – with up to 7 passengers on board. With picnics, swimming spots and leisurely, at your own pace, sightseeing on the menu, this option certainly delivers on spontaneity. With boats moored at Sirmione and Desenzano – you’re looking at exploring the southwest corner of Lake Garda. For a wider choice of small boats, yachts and luxury motorboats, Boat Garda has moorings in Bardolino and Castelletto di Brenzone – opening up Lake Garda’s northern shores.