The History & Magic of Lake Garda


The History & Magic of Lake Garda

Our planet is filled with some iconic and incredible bodies of water we all know and love:

Loch Ness in Scotland, home to the mythical monster.

The River Nile, key to the success and survival of the Ancient Egyptians.

Among countless others.

But another important one of note is often missed from this very exclusive list…

And that’s Lake Garda.

Situated in central Northern Italy, Lake Garda is the largest lake in the country and is one of the most popular holiday destinations Italy has to offer, for obvious reasons.

Firstly, it’s one of the most vast and visually stunning lakes in the world. The second you arrive you’ll instantly be taken in by its sheer size and beauty.

Its crystal-clear sapphire waters are the stuff of local legend and make for some exceptional excursions out onto the water via boat, kayak or paddle boat!

But it’s not just the perfect waters that catch everybody’s attention…

The lake is surrounded on all sides by some gargantuan mountains that look like they were lifted straight from  a Lord of the Rings novel.

A particular favourite of pro mountain climbers and rock climbing enthusiasts alike, the panoramic peaks make for some of the most fun, and equally challenging, climbs in Italy.

Plus the views you can soak up during your climb, and especially when you meet the top, can’t be matched.

However, if you thought the only reason to visit Lake Garda was the way it looks, you are sadly mistaken!

The lake (and the entire region, in fact) is filled with rich history stretching back centuries, making Lake Garda an essential historical site, as well as a hot spot for tourists and locals.

‘Garda’ is believed to come from the Germanic word ‘Warda’ meaning ‘place of guard.’ This could be a good indication of the lake’s military usefulness centuries ago.

It was formed during the last Ice Age, most likely thanks to a giant glacier which positioned itself between the mountains and eventually melted, thus creating Italy’s largest natural body of water.

This will have been around 1.5 million years ago, meaning Garda has been around long before anybody will have been able to actually enjoy it!

I wouldn’t be until around 300BC that the Roman Empire took control of the Lake and the area. This is the earliest known occupation of the lake of which we have any evidence.

The Romans would control Lake Garda for around 800 years, until finally being overthrown.

But despite this massive turn of events, the most famous conflict the lake would see wouldn’t come until 1859 at what would become known as The Battle of Solferino.

Just south of the lake, the battle would be contested between the combined French and Sardinian forces and the Austrian army. Around 300,000 men took part, with Austria ultimately being defeated, but casualties were taken on all sides.

The lake also became an area of great significance in the lead up to the Second World War. Mussolini and Hitler actually signed a peace treaty at Garda in 1938 and it ended up being the Italian dictator’s final home, as he was executed nearby at the end of the war.

Away from all the doom and gloom, the lake would soon transform into a popular tourist destination, with several hotels popping up in the local area, taking advantage of the post-war boom and, of course, the unspoiled scenery.

With our Lake Garda Multi Activity holiday, you and your family will enjoy all the amazing activities the lake and the area surrounding the lake has to offer.

Cycling, Rock Climbing, Paddle Boating and more is all available during your trip, meaning you’ll get to see the historic region from all the best angles.

Add to this the chance to sample all the incredible local villages, culture and food & drink, you’ve got one unmissable adventure that’s good for the soul and fun for the whole family!

If you would like to find out more about this incredible trip, visit the link here or head over to to find your next adventure!