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3 Easy Ways to Travel from Venice to Lake Garda in Italy

Venice to Lake Garda, Italy - 3 Easy Ways to Travel - rossiwrites.com

Travelling from Venice to Lake Garda is easy and there are three ways to do it.

Italy’s largest lake is a great destination for a day trip, a weekend break or a longer holiday.

On account of its excellent road and train connections, Venice is one of the most convenient Italian cities to reach Lake Garda.

If you have ever asked yourself ‘How to get from Venice to Lake Garda?’, fear not. In this blog post today I will give you extensive and first-hand tried and tested information exactly how to do it.

From reaching the many southern and northern towns on Lake Garda by car, bus, and train to useful details about Venice’s own airport and two train stations, everything is covered and structured in a way to make your travel planning as easy as possible.

There are many beautiful and wonderful things to see around Lake Garda in a day or two or over a longer period. Knowing how to reach Italy’s largest lake from Venice and how to smoothly navigate around it will make your trip so much more enjoyable. It will also free up more time for sightseeing and relaxation.  

Now, without further ado, let’s start!

 

 

3 Easy Ways to Travel from Venice to Lake Garda in Italy

 

 

Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake. It has a circumference of around 160 km and dozens of picturesque towns and exciting sights on its shores.

If you want to travel from Venice to Lake Garda for a day trip, then the best course of action is to pick a town or two on the southern shores of the lake. Here is a short list: Desenzano del Garda, Sirmione, Peschiera del Garda, Lazise, Bardolino, and Garda Town. You can read about each of these beautiful lakeside towns here and make your choice. Then, you can easily reach them either by car, taxi, train, train and bus, or train and ferry from Venice.

In case you are planning to spend longer on Lake Garda, then travelling to both the southern and the northern lakeside towns starting from Venice is very straightforward. Obviously, it’s easier to travel to any point around the lake by car but don’t worry if you have to rely on public transport. There are many options to reach even Riva del Garda – the lake’s northernmost town – starting from Venice.

Here is exactly how to do it!

 

 

I. Venice to Lake Garda by Car or Taxi

Locanda di San Vigilio with the small harbour - Punta di San Vigilio - Lake Garda, Italy - rossiwrites.com

It is very easy and straightforward to reach by car any point around Lake Garda from Venice. As you know, Venice is a car-free city and three of the possible places to leave your car at there are Piazzale Roma, Tronchetto, and obviously the car parks in Venezia Mestre (the mainland administrative borough of Venice). All distances and times below are calculated starting from Piazzale Roma. If you are starting your journey by car from Mestre or Venice Marco Polo Airport, then the distances will be just a bit shorter.

Toll road A4/E70 connects Venice directly with many different lakeside towns. For example, the distance from:

  • Venice to Peschiera del Garda is 140 km and it takes about an hour and a half;
  • Venice to Desenzano del Garda is 155 km and it takes about 1 h 35 mins; and
  • Venice to Garda Town is 152 km and it takes about 1 h 40 mins.

Alternatively, you can use the network of provincial and regional roads which are free to drive on. They are very convenient, too. However, travel times on them tend to be longer. 

Once at Lake Garda, you can then circumvent the whole lake by following the two branches of the lakeside road:

  • Gardesana Orientale – which follows the western shores; and
  • Gardesana Ocidentale – which follows the eastern shores.   

Being able to quickly zip by car from Venice to Lake Garda and then back gives you the immense freedom to visit a myriad of picturesque townsmedieval villages, curious sights, pebbly beaches, captivating museums, large attraction parks, and so many other wonderful places on the shores of Italy’s largest lake.

If you are driving your own or a rental car, then, please, refer to point 1 in this blog post: 8 Best Ways to Get Around Lake Garda, Italy. There you will find detailed advice about dealing with parking, rush hours, traffic jams, and driving styles at Italy’s largest lake.

If you don’t want to rent a car but yet you prefer the convenience of travelling by car from Venice to Lake Garda irrespective of cost, then you can hire a taxi. 

You can book a taxi even before your arrival in Venice as many taxi companies that serve Lake Garda have websites in several languages and can give you a price estimate depending on your dates and times. You just need to search for ‘taxi from Venice to Lake Garda’ and your favourite search engine will return dozens of results.

Otherwise, you can get a taxi in situ from Venice Marco Polo Airport, Piazzale Roma in Venice, and Venezia Mestre train station. You can also ask your hotel to organise a taxi to pick you up from Piazzale Roma in Venice or to recommend a local taxi company for you to use. 

If this has not been agreed on in advance, then make sure that you ask the taxi driver before the start of the journey how much it will cost you to reach your Lake Garda destination from Venice. Be prepared that on Sundays and public holidays a surcharge may be applied.

Some taxi companies may also offer customised tours of Lake Garda. This way, you can have the taxi driver take you directly from Venice to Lake Garda and then follow an itinerary that corresponds exactly to what you want to see and do there.

 

 

II. Venice to Lake Garda by Train

The Duomo and Lake Garda seen from the medieval castle - Desenzano del Garda, Lombardy, Italy - rossiwrites.com

It is very easy to travel from Venice to Lake Garda by train. Travel times start from about an hour and a half one way, so it’s perfect for a day out at the lake.  

Two of the lakeside towns have a train station. One is the town of Desenzano del Garda and the other – the town of Peschiera del Garda. Both are near each other and are located on the southern end of Italy’s largest lake.

Venice’s main train station – Venezia Santa Lucia – enjoys excellent connections by high-speed and fast regional trains to the train stations in Desenzano del Garda and Peschiera del Garda. In fact, Venezia Santa Lucia is the first train station on the railway line which connects Venice with Lake Garda and then continues to Milan.

If you are staying in Mestre – Venice’s mainland borough – you can then catch a Lake Garda-bound train from the Venezia Mestre train station. It is on the same railway line as Venezia Santa Lucia.  

It takes 1 h 28 mins to reach Peschiera del Garda from Venice on the high-speed trains and between 1 h 48 mins and 2 h 09 mins coupled with a change in Verona if you opt to travel on the fast regional trains. 

It takes 1 h 33 mins to reach Desenzano del Garda from Venice on the high-speed trains and between 1 h 50 mins and 1 h 58 mins coupled with a change in Verona if you opt to travel on the fast regional trains.

The high-speed trains start from Venezia Santa Lucia and stop at Venezia Mestre, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, and then either Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda.

The fast regional trains also start from Venezia Santa Lucia and stop at the same places as the high-speed trains with the addition of a couple of extra stations along the way. You will also have to change trains in Verona. There are also two train stations there. The one you need is called Verona Porta Nuova. Please, don’t get off at Verona Porta Vescovo. Verona Porta Nuova is very easy to navigate and changing trains there is straightforward.  

Bear in mind that the high-speed trains cost on average three times more than the fast regional trains. Their price increases the closer you get to the day of departure. So, it pays to buy a ticket well in advance. The prices for the fast regional trains don’t fluctuate and you can easily buy a ticket on the day of travel.

To check train times and prices and to book in advance train tickets from Venice to Lake Garda, use the official websites of Italy’s train operators Trenitalia and Italo Treno. Make sure that you refer to the tips and tricks for quick and cheap train and bus travel in Italy at the end of this blog post to find out how to navigate Italy’s train and bus systems.

 

 

III. Venice to Lake Garda by Train/Bus and Train/Ferry

Riva del Garda, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Travelling all the way from Venice to Lake Garda by bus is possible but it’s often rather inconvenient. The journey may take hours, you may need to change at least once, some bus lines may be operational only during the high season, and often the price is not really cheaper than simply travelling by train.

So, make sure that you travel from Venice as close to Lake Garda by train and then change to a local bus line or take a ferry to continue your journey to your final destination on the shores of Italy’s largest lake.

There are four ways to do it. Here they are:

  1. Train to either Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda and then bus or ferry onwards
  2. Train to Verona and then bus onwards
  3. Train to Rovereto and then bus onwards
  4. Train to Brescia and then bus onwards  

Let’s look into them in detail!

 

1. Train to either Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda and then bus or ferry onwards

Proceed as per point 2 above. Simply take the train from either Venezia Santa Lucia or Venezia Mestre and travel to one of the two lakefront towns with a train station.

Once you reach Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda by train from Venice, you can then quickly and easily travel by bus and/or ferry to many of the other towns on the southern, western, and eastern shores of Lake Garda.

Click here to consult the current timetables of the bus lines that you can use in your explorations of Lake Garda. You can click here to check the ferry lines connecting the different lakeside destinations.

For example, if you want to reach the town of Sirmione from Venice, then take the train to Desenzano del Garda. Once there, you can take a ferry or a bus for the short ride to Sirmione. Or if you need to reach Riva del Garda, then you can take a bus from Desenzano all the way alongside the western and northern lake shores.

Another option is to take the train from Venice to Peschiera del Garda and then the ferry or a bus to one of several lakefront towns like Lasize, Bardolino, and Garda Town.

 

2. Train to Verona and then bus onwards

The train journey from Venice to Verona lasts between 1 h 12 mins by high-speed train and 1 h 28 mins by fast regional train. Once you arrive at the Verona Porta Nuova train station, there are many direct bus lines that connect the city of Romeo and Juliet with many towns on the shores of Lake Garda.

Here are a few for your consideration: 

  • Bus lines 162 and 163 will take you from Verona to Lazise, Bardolino, and Garda Town. 
  • Bus line 164 will take you from Verona to Peschiera del Garda, Lazise, Bardolino, and Garda Town.
  • Bus line 165 will take you from Verona to Bardolino and Garda Town.
  • Bus line 026 will take you from Verona to Castelnuovo, Peschiera del Garda, and Desenzano del Garda. 

The buses for Lake Garda stop right opposite the Verona Porta Nuova train station. This way, you won’t lose any time in transfer.

Approximate travel times by bus from Verona to some of the most popular destinations on Lake Garda are as follows:

  • Verona to Peschiera del Garda by bus – approx. 33 to 39 mins
  • Verona to Lazise by bus – approx. 52 mins
  • Verona to Bardolino by bus – approx. 1 h 2 mins
  • Verona to Garda Town by bus – approx. 1 h 7 mins
  • Verona to Desenzano del Garda by bus – approx. 1 h 7 mins

Once at Lake Garda, you can then take a different bus line or a ferry to a different lakeside town. For example, bus line 484 can take you from Garda Town to Malcesine and Riva del Garda. You can click here to check the ferry lines connecting the different lakeside destinations.

 

3. Train to Rovereto and then bus onwards

Here is another option to easily reach the northernmost tip of Lake Garda from Venice. 

Take the train from Venezia Santa Lucia or Venezia Mestre to Rovereto – a charming city in the Autonomous Italian province of Trentino. Although there is a direct train this doesn’t run often throughout the day so most often than not you will have to change trains at Verona Porta Nuova. Travel times start from 2 h 6 mins. Once in Rovereto, you can get bus 332 to Riva del Garda and other northern lakeside towns. Click here to consult the timetable of bus line 332 for specific times of departure and arrival.

 

4. Train to Brescia and then bus onwards 

Here is another option to reach the towns on the western and the northern shores of Lake Garda from Venice. 

Take the train from Venezia Santa Lucia or Venezia Mestre to Brescia – a very interesting city in the Italian region of Lombardy. Travel times start from 1 h 49 mins by high-speed train (no changes). If you travel by fast regional and regional trains, then you will have to change at Verona Porta Nuova and travel time increases to 2 h 16 mins. Once in Brescia, you can get bus S202 to many western and northern lakeside towns ending in Riva del Garda. Click here to consult the timetable of bus line S202 for specific times of departure and arrival.

 

N.B.: No matter which of the four of the above options you will choose, please, always make sure that you check the bus timetables to Lake Garda carefully. These may vary significantly according to the season and the day of the week. 

 

 

To make your travel from Venice to Lake Garda even easier here is some useful information about Venice Marco Polo Airport and the two train stations serving Venice. 

 

 

Venice Marco Polo Airport

Garda Town seen from above - Rocca di Garda, Lake Garda, Italy - rossiwrites.com

If you are planning a holiday at Lake Garda, Venice Airport is a good choice to arrive at.

A busy and elegant airport that deals with a considerable number of flights all through the day, Venice Airport (known officially as Venice Marco Polo Airport) is close to the landside portion of Venice – the borough of Mestre – and just a boat ride away from the historic centre of Venice in the heart of the Venetian Lagoon.

By public transport, this airport is most convenient for the wide southern shores of Lake Garda. If you travel by car, then Venice Airport offers easy access to the lake’s narrow northernmost tip, too.  

How to get from Venice Marco Polo Airport to Lake Garda by public transport: Once at Venice Airport, take the shuttle bus which connects the airport to the Venezia Mestre train station at regular intervals throughout the day.

From this train station, you can travel by train to either Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda – two towns on the southern shores of Lake Garda. From there, you can use the networks of buses and ferries that connect the different lakeside towns and villages. Another option is to travel by train from Venezia Mestre to the Verona Porta Nuova train station and from there to take a bus directly to a different lakeside town.

If you need to reach the northern shores of Lake Garda from Venice Marco Polo Airport, then you have two options. One is to travel by train from Venezia Mestre to Rovereto. From Rovereto, you can travel by bus to Riva del Garda and other northern lakeside towns. The other option is to travel by train from Venezia Mestre to Brescia and once there, to take a bus to many western and northern lakeside towns all the way up to Riva del Garda.

Official website: Venice Marco Polo Airport

 

 

Venezia Santa Lucia and Venezia Mestre Train Stations

View of the defensive walls - Peschiera del Garda, Lake Garda, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Venice has two train stations:

  • Venezia Mestre – serving the city’s mainland administrative borough Mestre; and
  • Venezia Santa Lucia – serving Venice’s historic centre in the heart of the Venetian Lagoon. Venezia Santa Lucia is also the end of the railway line.

Which train station you are going to use for your trip to Lake Garda depends on where in Venice you have booked your accommodation.

If you are staying in Venice proper, then you need to head to Venezia Santa Lucia – the train station is a stone’s throw away from Piazzale Roma and about half an hour away on foot from St. Mark’s Square.

If you are staying in Mestre, then you will need to make your way to Venezia Mestre – the train station is about 20-25 mins away on foot from the borough’s centre or you can catch a bus for a shorter journey.

If you need to travel to Lake Garda directly from Venice Marco Polo airport, then you can catch the shuttle bus to Venezia Mestre train station and take a train from there.   

Travelling from Venezia Mestre to Lake Garda is slightly cheaper than from Venezia Santa Lucia as the journey is a bit shorter.

Train travel in Italy is generally very well organised. Venezia Santa Lucia is easy to navigate and has many shops and kiosks. Venezia Mestre has a bit more provincial look but it’s also easy to find your way around even if you don’t speak Italian.

To check train times and prices and to book in advance train tickets from Venice to Lake Garda, use the official websites of Italy’s train operators Trenitalia and Italo Treno. Make sure that you refer to the tips and tricks for quick and cheap train and bus travel in Italy at the end of this blog post to find out how to navigate Italy’s train and bus systems.

 

 

In Conclusion

Colourful boats in the small harbour - Castelletto sul Garda, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Travelling from Venice to Lake Garda for a day trip, a weekend break or a longer holiday is easy. In general, there are three ways to do it: by car (your own, rented, or taxi), by train (directly to two of the town’s on Lake Garda’s shores), or by combining train with ferry or train with bus.

In the above blog post, I give you detailed and first-hand tried and tested information about how to reach Italy’s largest lake from Venice’s two train stations and Venice Marco Polo airport. Packed with useful tips, I hope that my blog post will come in handy when you plan your trip from Venice to Lake Garda.

Enjoy discovering the beauty of Lake Garda!

 

 

More Helpful Links for Venice and Lake Garda, Italy

 

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About the author

Rossi

Rossi

Hello! I am Rossi - a Bulgarian currently living in England after 6 years in Italy which were preceded by 14 years in England. This is my blog about my life in these three countries and travels around Europe with history and culture in mind. For regular updates, please, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on social media online. You can also get in touch via the Contacts form or by commenting on the articles in my blog.

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