"Desenzano...the biggest little town on Lake Garda" Top 5 Page for this destination Desenzano by mapakettle

Desenzano Travel Guide: 79 reviews and 158 photos

Quick Description...

This is a small bustling town with lots of Italian atmosphere, favoured by many German tourists who flock here every weekend.

Desenzano lies on the Southern coast of Lake Garda, and combines a picturesque lakeside resort setting with the vibrant atmosphere of a thriving Italian community.

The social life revolves around the many bars, cafes, pizzerias and restaurants of the historical centre, which has been pedestrianised to form the main shopping area for the town. Every bar has an outside seating area, which we found to be a little over priced, and basic in terms of quick snacks.

Narrow streets lead up to the medieval castle which overlooks the town and offer panoramic views of the lake. From this location you can watch the numerous sailboats on Lake Garda, and observe the mountainous terrain in the far background.

Desenzano has two harbours and two public beaches for lakeside bathing. The resort has the best ferry and hydrofoil services on the lake and all the main lakeside towns, including Garda, Limone, and Sirmione are very accessible.

Bus and train connections to some of the main cities of Northern Italy are excellent too with Verona, Venice and Padova within easy reach, and no station transfers are required.

The feel of this little town...

Ma Kettle fell in love with the town of Desenzano at first sight. It seems to have been placed on the map purely for the enjoyment of visitors to wander about, sampling the open areas around the harbour, watching the ducks and swans entertain the children along the shore.

We noticed many children riding bicycles, unescorted, playing in the piazzas, and skipping stones across the calm surface of Lake Garda. A feeling of calm surrounds this peaceful Italian town, and the urge to sit, with glass of Vino in hand, overtakes even the most determined 'walker'.


The narrow, cobble stone streets of Desenzano invite the visitor to wander in relative peace.

This trip was to orient ourselves to this area for an upcoming visit with family from Canada this July. We visited many hotels along the lake front, as well as the smaller establishments found tucked away within the centre itself. We were pleasantly surprised to find very reasonably priced rooms sprinkled throughout the town.

Prices ranged from 70 euro per night and up, but a good average would level off in the 90 euro range for a lovely Three Star, often with balconies overlooking the harbour. No additional charge for rooms with a view, which is a very pleasant surprise, however availability is on a first come, first serve basis.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots and lots of open space...
  • Cons:pricey snacks in the piazzas...
  • In a nutshell:A great place to unwind after a frantic tour of Italy
  • Last visit to Desenzano: Jul 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 21, 2004
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Reviews (17)

Comments (23)

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2006 at 4:17 AM

    I saw those pop-up car blockers in London. Or at least I think it was London. Who remembers anymore...Oh, I sent you a packet of stamps a few days ago. Had to work hard to stuff it into the mailbox.

  • Purpleshade's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2006 at 5:53 PM

    What a lovely tranquil place, I think I'd like it there! What awicked man you are to say you don't get ratings!! Lesley

  • kathymof's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2006 at 8:22 PM

    Got a laugh out of the traffic stopper that the taxis can control - I had a friend who was sitting on one and had it drop out from underneath him. He ended up on the ground with his feet in the air and everyone around laughing their heads off.

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2005 at 2:19 PM

    Your trip to Desenzano gave you many good tips! I really liked the view of Lake Garda that some of the rooms overlooked...I'm ready to depart tomorrow!

  • hundwalder's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2005 at 6:18 PM

    Excellemente ! I missed Lago di Garda during my tour of northeast Italia. Thanks for filling in the gaps.

  • Josibezz's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2005 at 8:43 AM

    Well Done to your VT site, wonderful pics and detailed information. We've been to the villages aroung Lake Garda a few months ago and it was our best ever holiday of our lives. Josianne Bezzina - Malta

  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2005 at 6:58 AM

    Hi Pa ,well finally I had a peak at you lovely Desenzano page .it is lovely and it is Italy I guess .We have not been in Italy since 1986 ,it is time to get back You look like you & Ma are happy there Pa and that is great Take care see you in the Forums.

  • novsco61's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2005 at 2:33 AM

    Thanks for good hotel tips on Lake Garda. I'm seriously considering visiting Lake Garda in summer.

  • masc4s's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2005 at 10:12 AM

    Excellent overview of Desenzano. Your well written tips convey the calm and traquility of this village.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2005 at 8:02 PM

    Your description of Desenzano is appealing. Next time I pass not far, I will certainly pay a visit. Thanks for sharing!


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