Day Trips in Italy Lake Garda Veneto

15 Best Things to Do in Torri del Benaco on Italy’s Lake Garda

View of the historic harbour and the historic centre from the medieval Scaliger Castle - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

This is a comprehensive travel guide about the best things to do in Torri del Benaco, Italy. It includes lots of insider tips and first-hand recommendations for many exciting sights to explore around Lago di Garda – Italy’s largest lake. This blog post was first posted on 17th December 2020.

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Torri del Benaco is one of the most beautiful towns on Lake Garda.

Elegant and pocket-size, this lakefront town is a great destination for a day trip or a longer holiday on the shores of Italy’s largest lake.

Very easy to reach from nearby Verona, Torri del Benaco has a cute as a button historic centre, a picturesque harbour, an imposing medieval castle with a centuries-old citrus garden, some of the best views this side of Italy, cute pebbly beaches right next to its promenades, and countless hiking trails in the hills that keep guard over it.

From swimming to sailing, the town offers many opportunities to practice water sports. It also has a busy social calendar with large festivals and traditional celebrations taking place all throughout the year.

The view from the battlements of the Scaliger Castle with the historic harbour - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Buzzing with visitors and events in summer and enjoying a quiet and relaxed winter, Torri del Benaco is a must-see. Especially, if you love small Italian towns with good food, interesting history, and beautiful nature around.

Heaven knows, during my six years of living in Italy, I never missed an opportunity to visit Torri del Benaco. It was one of my family’s most favourite destinations on Lake Garda.

So, in this blog post today I want to share with you the very best things you can do and enjoy here. From the best local sights to the best local foods and hikes, it’s all covered. I have also included a special section with lots of interesting details about the history of Torri del Benaco and many practical tips about reaching the town and exploring its surroundings.

I hope that the information provided herewith will come in handy when you are planning your own trip to Lake Garda in Italy. Torri del Benaco is one of the most popular destinations on the lake. So, put this beautiful town on top of your Lake Garda travel list and make the best of your stay. 

Here is how!

15 Best Things to Do in Torri del Benaco on Italy's Lake Garda - rossiwrites.com

15 Best Things to Do in Torri del Benaco on Italy’s Lake Garda

1. Visit the Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco, Italy

The Scaliger Castle seen from the town's promenade - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

A sturdy medieval castle stands sentry over Torri del Benaco’s historic centre. You will see it from afar as you approach either by land or water this small town on Italy’s Lake Garda.

A fort has stood at this spot since Roman times when Torri del Benaco was known as Castrum Turrium. Later on, in the 10th century, Berengar I – King of Italy from 887 AD and Holy Roman Emperor from 915 AD until his death in 924 AD – erected a castle on top of the Roman ruins. He also surrounded the whole town with a thick defensive wall dotted with watchtowers. Passages were also excavated underground to be used in case of sieges by the invading Hungarians.

The castle, as we see it today, was built in 1383 on the orders of Antonio della Scala to protect the town’s port and shipyard. Antonio was the Lord of Verona and a member of the powerful Scaliger dynasty. The rebuilt structure incorporated a few surviving portions from Berengar’s castle. Among them was the sturdy Western tower.

In 1405, the Republic of Venice annexed Torri del Benaco to its territories. The Scaliger Castle became the residence of the Captain of the Lake. This was the ruler who was in charge of the federation of ten lakefront municipalities and looked after the local interests of the Republic of Venice.   

Nowadays, Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle is one of the most beautiful medieval castles around Lake Garda. It functions as a Historical Ethnographic Museum. A visit to it is a must for four reasons:

  • The rooms of the castle host a very interesting exhibition tracing the history and traditions of Torri del Benaco. From fishing and caulking to olive tree growing and olive oil pressing, the local crafts and occupations are thoughtfully explored. A visit gives you a first-hand understanding of how people used to live around Lake Garda throughout the centuries.
  • Room number 9 of the museum contains an intriguing display about the history and the meaning of the many rock carvings found on the shores of Lake Garda. Some of them date back to pre-historic times. You can clearly see the figures of people and many different objects that have been chiselled on slickensides – rocks smoothly polished by ancient glaciers.
  • At the back of the castle, you can visit a traditional for Lake Garda limonaia – a greenhouse for the cultivation of citrus fruit. Citrus trees were introduced around Lake Garda in the 14th century by the Franciscan monks. At one point in history, the lake was the northernmost place in the world where citrus fruits were grown commercially. The citrus greenhouse at the Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco was set up in 1760. Some of the lemon trees in it reach a height of ten metres. There is a small pond with fish and turtles at the entrance to the greenhouse.
  • From the castle’s battlements, you can enjoy some of the loveliest views of Lake Garda and Torri del Benaco’s historic centre. Standing on the centuries-old towers feels like being on top of the world, especially on a clear sunny day when the eyes travel as far as Sirmione on the southern edge of the lake.     

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2. Explore the Historic Centre of Torri del Benaco, Italy

Street in the historic centre - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Torri del Benaco has a pretty as a picture historic centre curved around a lovely shell-shaped harbour. Going for a walk through the narrow streets dotted with boutiques and gelaterias is a very pleasant activity in summer. Sitting for a coffee or a meal in one of the many bars and restaurants along the town’s promenades guarantees charming views and it’s a great way to experience the delights of the Italian way of life.

Here are some of the most interesting sights to see for yourself in the historic centre of Torri del Benaco, Italy:

  • Historic Harbour – pretty and shell-shaped, the harbour is filled with colourful boats. You will find it right next to the medieval Scaliger Castle. In the past, it also served as an important shipyard. 
  • Gardesana Palace – this elegant building has a long portico and flanks the historic harbour of Torri del Benaco. It was built in the 15th century on top of Roman ruins. Nowadays, it functions as a luxury hotel. In the past, this is where the meetings of the Council of the Gardesana dell’Acqua were held. The Gardesana was a federation of ten lakefront communities to which the Republic of Venice had granted significant independence. At the head of the Council of the Gardesana dell’Acqua stood the Captain of the Lake. 
  • Domizio Calderini’s Memorial Stone – in the portico of the Gardesana Palace stands a tall marble stella. It was erected in the 15th century in memory of Domizio Calderini – a native of Torri del Benaco. He wrote about classic literature and under the patronage of Pope Sixtus IV translated Ptolemy’s important works on geography.
  • Torre dell’Orologio – the town’s historic clock tower was built in the 13th/14th centuries as a military structure destined to keep watch over the town. The clock was added in 1561. During the same century, the tower’s function changed and it became both:
    • a storage place where the collected taxes in the shape of one-tenth of the crops were kept; and
    • a meeting place where the Vicinie (the group of the heads of the town’s families) held its auctions and public assemblies. These were called with three rings of the large bell on the tower’s rooftop.
  • Lungolaghi – the melodic Italian word lungolago means a lakefront promenade. Torri del Benaco commands some of the prettiest promenades around Lake Garda. Go for a walk along Lungolago Barbarani in the centre of town and continue down Lungolago Vittorio Veneto for uninterrupted lake views. Dozens of bars, coffee shops, and restaurants provide a front-row seat for you to relax over a drink or a meal and engage in some people-watching. 

3. See the Historic Churches of Torri del Benaco, Italy

Oratory of the Holy Trinity - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Italy’s churches open a door to the country’s history, art, and traditions so a visit to at least one of them is a must when you explore a new Italian town or city. Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda has a lot to offer in this regard. There are many small ancient churches to see for yourself both in the town’s historic centre and the adjacent area.

Here are some of the most interesting religious buildings here: 

  • Oratory of the Holy Trinity (Chiesa Oratorio della Santissima Trinita’) – originally built in the late 13th century. You will find this small church right next to Torri del Benaco’s historic harbour and opposite the medieval Scaliger Castle. For centuries, the oratory served as the private chapel of the Council of the Gardesana dell’Acqua – the federation of ten lakefront communities to which the Republic of Venice had granted significant independence. In fact, the Gardesana Palace where the Council would regularly meet is right next door to the Oratory of the Holy Trinity. Inside the oratory, you can see precious frescoes from the 15th and the 16th centuries as well as a War Memorial. 
  • Parish Church of S.S. Peter and Paul (Chiesa Parrocchiale dei Santi Pietro e Paulo) – an imposing 18th-century church in the Neoclassical style with baroque altars inside. The church’s organ was made between 1742-1744 by the Bonati family of Desenzano del Garda. At the time they were the leading organ makers in the area of Lake Garda and Verona. A church has been standing at this spot at least since the Middle Ages. First mentioned in a document in 1145, it was built near the Trincero’ – the fortress erected at the time of King Berengar I to protect Torri del Benaco from the Hungarian incursions. Nowadays, only one of the original four towers of the fortress still stands and you can see it right next to the Parish Church of S.S. Peter and Paul.
  • St. John’s Church (Chiesa di San Giovanni) – a deconsecrated Romanesque Church with beautiful frescoes from the 13th and the 14th centuries. Nowadays, it’s used as a conference and wedding venue.

Within an easy reach from Torri del Benaco, don’t miss:

  • St. Mark’s Church (Chiesa di San Marco) – about ten minutes away by car, the parish church of the nearby village of Pai enjoys beautiful panoramic views of Lake Garda. The oldest part of the church incorporates the chapel of a fortress that had been built here by King Berengar I in the 10th century. Two centuries later, the fortress was destroyed by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
  • Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona – this is an important Christian sanctuary about 40 mins away by car. Its main church is half-hewn in the rocky face of a steep cliff over the valley of the river Adige. For information on how to visit this impressive place, click to read this blog post: Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona – Visiting Italy’s Church Suspended Between Heaven and Earth.
  • Sanctuary of Montecastello – a beautiful hilltop sanctuary about 1 h 15 mins away by ferry and/or car. It enjoys stunning bird’s-eye views of Lake Garda and it’s close to the pretty medieval village of Tremosine sul Garda. 

4. Go for a Hike in the Beautiful Surroundings of Torri del Benaco, Italy

Lake Garda's Tibetan Bridge in Val Valzana - Crero, Lake Garda, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Perched on the lakefront where steep slopes kiss the sparkling lake waters, Torri del Benaco is a great starting point for many exciting hikes to suit all hiking abilities.

Go for a stroll through the olive groves that for centuries have been keeping an eye on Lake Garda. To get an adrenaline rush, cross the nearby Tibetan bridge. Or conquer Rocca di Garda – a steep hill with a flat top that opens the most captivating views over Italy’s largest lake and the towns on its shores. Then, for the ultimate experience, hike to see the prehistoric rock carvings.

The best bit is that all of these destinations are within easy reach of Torri del Benaco. Here are some of the most picturesque hikes in the area to do by yourself: 

  • Tibetan Bridge – about 10 mins away by car to the village of Crero followed by a hike of 30-40 mins to the bridge itself. Almost 40 m long, the Tibetan bridge hangs over the steep canyon of Val Valzana. For information on how to do this hike, click to read this blog post: Lake Garda’s Tibetan Bridge – A High-Adrenaline Hiking Experience in the Veneto, Italy.
  • Grotta Tanella – less than 10 mins away by car, this is a beautiful cave at the foot of Monte Baldo. Guided tours take you about 400 m deep into the mountain.
  • Pai to San Zeno di Montagna – drive the seven-minute distance to the medieval village of Pai and then follow on foot the easy circular route which connects it to the picturesque town of San Zeno di Montagna on the slopes above Lake Garda. 
  • Rocca di Garda – about 10 mins away by car, this is a flat-top steep hill that takes about half an hour to conquer. It overlooks two of Lake Garda’s most important towns – Bardolino and Garda Town. For information on how to do this hike, click to read this blog post: Rocca di Garda – Hiking to the Best Panoramic Spot of Lake Garda, Italy.
  • Parco delle Cascate and Molina – less than an hour away, this is a beautiful nature park nestled between three lush valleys. It is surrounded by dramatic peaks and it is famous for its 18 waterfalls. Next door to the park, you can explore the medieval village of Molina with its centuries-old water mills. For information on how to visit this stunning place, click to read this blog post: Parco delle Cascate and Molina – A Great Day Out in the Province of Verona.

Alternatively, you can join an organised hike and explore the beautiful surroundings of Torri del Benaco as part of a group led by an experienced local guide. Here are some starting points:

In addition to hiking, the area around Torri del Benaco is also great for mountain biking, climbing, paragliding, canyoning, and nordic walking. So, it’s the perfect destination for lovers of nature and high-adrenaline sports. 

5. Take the Ferry Across Lake Garda from Torri del Benaco, Italy

Maderno seen from the ferry coming from Torri del Benaco - Lake Garda, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Crisscrossing Lake Garda on the board of a ferry is a pleasure like no other. Luckily, Torri del Benaco has a very well-served ferry terminal that is operational all year round.

Leaving from Torri del Benaco the ferry boats take just half an hour to reach the towns of Maderno-Toscolano on the opposite side of Lake Garda. They transport both cars and pedestrians.

The journey is short but very beautiful. Long promenades, pastel houses, sprawling beaches, little coves, towering mountains glide past you framed by the blue waters of the lake and the blue skies above.

Definitely, don’t miss a chance to take the ferry from Torri del Benaco across Lake Garda. The western shore of Italy’s largest lake is dotted with lovely towns. There are also many must-see sights there. You can explore them on a day trip or over a longer period of time.

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6. Go to the Beach in Torri del Benaco, Italy

The teal waters of Lake Garda with the historic harbour - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Lake Garda is a great place to go to the beach on a hot summer day. Torri del Benaco has some of the nicest lake beaches for you to top your tan at.

A particular mention here deserve:

  • Spiaggia Sboco Valle Randina – right next to the historic centre of Torri del Benaco, this is the favourite beach of the local residents. Free of charge.
  • Sunset Beach – right next to the ferry terminal and the Scaliger Castle, this beach attracts a young crowd and has a very hip atmosphere. There is an entrance fee and you can also rent umbrellas and sun loungers here.
  • Spiaggia Lido Brancolino – a private beach with paid entrance. You will find it further down the road from Torri del Benaco and right next to Punta di San Vigilio. There are umbrellas, sun loungers, showers, toilets, and a bar here. 
  • Parco Baia delle Sirene – curved around a small secluded bay at the back of Punta di San Vigilio, this beautiful beach is just under five km away from Torri del Benaco. It is easily, the most well-known beach on Lake Garda. The price of the entrance ticket traditionally includes parking, sun lounger rental, access to table tennis, kids’ playground, TV area, showers, and toilets. 

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7. Fall in Love with Lake Garda’s Most Romantic Corner Right Down the Road from Torri del Benaco, Italy

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

Punta di San Vigilio is a small promontory that juts deep into Lake Garda. It separates the wide southern end from the elongated northern half of Italy’s largest lake.

Often referred to as the most romantic and the most charming corner of Lake Garda, Punta di San Vigilio is only about ten minutes down the road from Torri del Benaco. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore it! You can get there either by car or by taking bus 484.

The promontory is a truly lovely place steeped in legends. It has one of the best beaches on Lake Garda. It has a medieval hamlet that nowadays functions as a luxury resort. It offers gorgeous views across Italy’s largest lake. Plus, a gulp of cormorants nests on a tiny islet just off its shores. Many celebrities and even royalty have holidayed at Punta di San Vigilio over the decades.

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8. See Italy’s Shortest River Just Up the Road from Torri del Benaco, Italy

Italy's shortest river Aril in Cassone near Malcesine, Italy - rossiwrites.com

About half an hour away from Torri del Benaco, you can see Aril – officially, Italy’s shortest river. Only 175 m long, Aril runs through the small village of Cassone before flowing into Lake Garda – officially, Italy’s largest lake. 

Visiting Aril is a great experience. The river runs fast and furious from its freshwater springs down to the lake. Along the way, it navigates a small weir and three bridges. The village of Cassone itself is pretty as a picture. It was actually painted by one of the most famous symbolist artists – Gustav Klimt (of ‘The Kiss’ fame). His painting of Cassone was sold a few years ago for almost 27 million GBP!

Apart from the River Aril, in Cassone, you can also see the Museum of the Lake. It preserves the memory of the local fishing traditions. The museum has two water reservoirs where you can see the typical for Lake Garda trouts, carp, and eels.  

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9. Take the Cable Car to the Top of Monte Baldo Near Torri del Benaco, Italy

Lake Garda seen from a snowy Monte Baldo - Malcesine, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Monte Baldo is an Alpine mountain chain that shelters the eastern shores of Lake Garda. Known as the Garden of Europe for its remarkable botanical diversity, the mountain is crisscrossed by hiking paths and it is a delight to explore.

The rotating cable car Funivia Monte Baldo gives you a chance to quickly get to the top of the mountain. Its ground station stands right next to the lakefront town of Malcesine (about 30 km away from Torri del Benaco) and it has a spacious car park adjacent to it. The ride is truly spectacular as it opens panoramic views over the whole northern half of Lake Garda.

Taking the cable car is one of the very best things to do around the lake. It’s a very emotional experience that leaves you with impressions to last you a lifetime. Once up there, you can spend some time just taking it all in, you can go for a hike, or – in winter – you can ski and snowboard, too!

The journey to the top of Monte Baldo is split in two. The first cable car takes you from the ground station to the station of San Michele at a height of 560 m. The views of the town of Malcesine as the cable car smoothly glides uphill are soul-inspiring. You feel like you are flying over the red rooftops which slowly grow smaller and smaller and the enormous expanse of Lake Garda fills the panorama with its sparkling blue colours.

At San Michele, you take a second cable car that is bigger and even swisher than the first. While you wait, an open-air platform provides even more stunning views. Board the second cable car and don’t worry about trying to bag the best spot inside for panoramic views and pictures. The cable car slowly swivels around its axe providing a 360 degrees view. Thus everyone on board gets to enjoy it from all possible angles.

After a short but exhilarating ascent, the cable car stops at a modern terminal at a height of 1760 m. In summer, people go there to practice sports – hiking, paragliding, Nordic walking, and mountain biking – or simply to take in the beautiful views. In winter, you can ski, snowboard or sledge.

The easiest way to reach Malcesine from Torri del Benaco is by car. Alternatively, you can get bus 484 up to Malcesine.

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10. Explore Beautiful Lakefront Towns Starting from Torri del Benaco, Italy

The harbour with boats and colourful houses - Malcesine, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Torri del Benaco is one of a number of beautiful towns dotted on the shores of Italy’s Lake Garda. If you are spending more than a day in the area, then Torri del Benaco is a great point of departure to visit as many of them as possible. Rich in history, culture, and nature, Lake Garda’s towns are a delight to discover one by one.

Here are a few that you can easily reach by car, ferry or public transport from Torri del Benaco:

  • Garda Town – less than ten minutes down the road, this is a beautiful lakefront town. It has a picturesque historic centre where many large-scale events take place throughout the year. The Christmas market is especially lovely!
  • Bardolino – under 15 minutes down the road, this is a lakefront town with a rich history, a cute historic centre, several churches dating back to the 11th-12th centuries, and 12th-century defensive walls. Plus, the local wine is especially famous! 
  • Malcesine – around half an hour up the road, this is a dreamy town with a medieval castle, steep cobbled streets, and beautiful houses. A must-see! 
  • Nago-Torbole – just over 40 mins up the road, these two towns are heaven for surfers and hikers. Plus, their historic streets are so beautiful!
  • Riva del Garda – about 50 mins up the road, this is one of Lake Garda’s most elegant and important towns. Expect Austrian architecture, a stunning lakefront location, many unmissable sights, and an air of pure relaxation. 
  • Toscolano-Maderno – half an hour away by ferry across the lake, these two towns offer great beaches, several museums, the ruins of a Roman villa, and a very relaxed atmosphere. 

Please, note that all travel times are approximate, by car, and start from the parking lot behind Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle. If you are travelling by public transport, then bus 484 connects Torri del Benaco to Garda Town going south and to Malcesine, Torbole, and Riva del Garda going up north. Once in Garda Town, you can take a bus down to Bardolino or walk on the lakefront promenade that connects the two towns.

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11. Discover Charming Medieval Villages around Torri del Benaco, Italy

Artistic display in the medieval village of Canale di Tenno - Trentino, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Don’t limit yourself to exploring just the towns on Lake Garda. Near Torri del Benaco you will also find many ancient villages. Pretty as a picture with their centuries-old houses, they offer quick access to beautiful corners of nature, surprising historic facts, and rich local heritage.

Here are some of the best villages to see for yourself near Torri del Benaco, Italy: 

  • Pai – less than ten minutes up the road, this village stands on the site of an ancient fortress that was built by King Berengar I and later destroyed by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The village also has a modern part – Pai di Sotto – on the lakefront.
  • Crero (also known as Crer) – less than ten minutes up the road, come here to see the prehistoric rock carvings that were chiselled several millennia ago on slickensides – rocks smoothly polished by ancient glaciers. Crero is also a starting point for the hike to Lake Garda’s Tibetan Bridge
  • Albisano – only ten minutes away, this is a small medieval village with beautiful panoramic views over Lake Garda and olive groves that grow on the steep slopes that hurtle down to the lake’s blue waters.
  • Campo di Brenzone – a 1,000 years old medieval village in the lush hills above Lake Garda. To reach it, you need to park your car in Marniga – a small lakeside community about 15 to 20 mins away by car from Torri del Benaco. Then, you need to hike for 30 to 40 minutes following centuries-old mule tracks that weave through olive groves higher and higher above Lake Garda. For information on how to do this hike, click to read this blog post: Campo di Brenzone – A Great Day Trip to a Medieval Village in the Hills Above Lake Garda, Italy
  • Canale’ di Tenno – about 1 h 25 mins away, visiting this medieval stone village takes a bit of time but it’s so worth it. Among its tall stone buildings, you will find the workshops of many gifted craftsmen and artisans. Plus, Canale’ di Tenno is close to the stunningly beautiful Lake Tenno. Famous for its turquoise waters, you can easily walk around it in about an hour or so.

Please, note that all travel times are approximate, by car, and start from the parking lot behind Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle.

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12. Practice Water Sports on Lake Garda at Torri del Benaco, Italy

A person on a paddleboard on Lake Garda - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

A big portion of the pleasure of holidaying at Italy’s Lake Garda is the ability to practice many different water sports here. 

For example, renting a boat for a few hours, a whole day or even longer makes it possible for you to explore the lake at your own speed and to discover hidden beaches, small coves, and less touristy villages and towns. There are several companies in and around Torri del Benaco that rent motorboats and sailing boats to visitors. You can even hire a skipper in case your boating skills are a bit rusty.

Alternatively, you can join an organised boat trip and enjoy the beauty of Lake Garda onboard a historical sailboat.

In addition, you can surf, kitesurf, water ski, dive, paddleboard, even practice canyoning and canoeing here. You don’t have to be an expert either. Many water sports companies around the lake offer tasters, individual and group training, and guided practice. So, if you have ever wanted to try sailing, for example, you can do it around Torri del Benaco on Italy’s Lake Garda.

13. Eat Local Food in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy

Fried lake fish - Lake Garda, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Thanks to its location between a lake and a mountain, Torri del Benaco has some truly delicious local dishes and foods. Here are some traditional for Lake Garda foodstuffs to taste:

  • extra virgin olive oil – Lake Garda’s microclimate has favoured the cultivation of olive trees since ancient times. Nowadays, some of Italy’s best olive oils are produced here. You can trace the traditions behind them in the Museum of Olive Oil in the village of Cisano which is less than 20 mins down the road from Torri del Benaco. You can also sample and buy the olive oils produced by the Olive Growers Consortium of Malcesine. Alternatively, join a private half-day wine and olive oil tasting at Lake Garda. Click to find out more details.
  • fresh fish from Lake Garda – the lake waters team with fish – from common carps and eels to brown trouts and even pikes. A great way to learn more about Lake Garda fish species is to visit the Fishing Room in the Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco (see point 1 above). Local restaurants serve a large variety of fish dishes. Sample as many as you can if fish is something you love to eat.
  • black truffles – found on the slopes of Monte Baldo, you can see stalls selling these fragrant tubers at local events and Christmas markets.
  • peaches – Lake Garda is famous for its peach orchards which thrive thanks to the lake’s mild microclimate.
  • kiwi – the kiwis grown around Lake Garda help Italy maintain its position as the world’s second-largest producer of kiwi fruit.
  • citrus fruit – citrus trees were introduced around Lake Garda in the 14th century by the Franciscan monks. Nowadays, large citrus fruit gardens – called limonaia – flourish on the lake shores. Don’t miss a chance to sample the locally grown lemons and oranges.
  • chestnuts – the famous chestnuts of San Zeno di Montagna (about 20 mins away from Torri del Benaco) are particularly tasty and enjoy a Protected Designation of Origin status. They are the fruit of centuries-old forests that grow around this little town on the slopes above Lake Garda.

In addition, liberally sample the large variety of local cheeses and wines. The pink claret of Bardolino is particularly famous. Here are a couple of wine tastings you can enjoy during your stay at Italy’s Lake Garda:

For dessert, head from Torri del Benaco to the town of Riva del Garda and enjoy the local patisseries with Austrian influences. As a nice edible souvenir, stop at Punta di San Vigilio (less than ten minutes down the road from Torri del Benaco) and buy a bag of San Vigilini. These tasty biscuits were invented for the visit of the then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Lake Garda, Italy.

If you like cooking and want to learn more about proper Italian food, then consider joining this basic cooking course in Torri del Benaco.

14. Have Fun in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy

Gardaland - Castelnuovo del Garda, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Torri del Benaco is a great place to visit and stay if you want to experience traditional Italian events and festivals. This small town on the shores of Lake Garda has a rich calendar of happenings that take place all throughout the year.

Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Olive Festival – For three days at the end of January, Torri del Benaco celebrates the green gold of Lake Garda. Expect tastings, guided tours, workshops, and conferences exploring the flavoursome world of olive oil.
  • Festival of San Filippo – Torri del Benaco marks the day of its patron saint on 26th May each year. The highlight of the event is the burning of a boat on a bonfire in Lake Garda.
  • September Carnival – expect festive parades, performances, and fireworks.

Near Torri del Benaco, you can also visit some of Italy’s largest and most popular amusement and adventure parks. Click on the links below for further details and to purchase tickets:

15. Take a Day Trip from Torri del Benaco to Some of Italy’s Most Beautiful Cities

View of Verona with Ponte Pietra - Verona, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Torri del Benaco is an easy distance away from some of the most beautiful and richest in history cities of Northeastern Italy. If you are spending more than a day or two in this pretty lakefront town, then make sure that you pencil a day trip to a larger nearby city. 

Here are some of the best destinations:

  • Verona – universally known as the City of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a great place with a multilayered history and dozens of sights to explore. It will take you from around 45 mins to just over an hour to reach Verona from Torri del Benaco. For detailed information about many of the unmissable things to tick off in Verona in a day, click to read this blog post: 20 Best Things to Do in Verona, Italy in One Day – The Ultimate Itinerary with Photos and Tips.
  • Arco – this small city with Austrian heritage is a must-see just off the northernmost tip of Italy’s Lake Garda. With a picturesquely ruined hilltop castle and a cute historic centre, Arco is a great day trip destination. Plus, the surrounding area is perfect for hiking. You can stop here on the way to Canale’s di Tenno and Lake Tenno (see point 11 above). It will take you between 45 mins and just over an hour to reach Arco from Torri del Benaco.
  • Rovereto – a little-known yet stunningly beautiful city in the Autonomous Northern Italian province of Trentino. A curious mixture between Austrian and Italian architecture and traditions, Rovereto is a delight to explore. It will take you between 50 mins and 1 h 15 mins to reach Rovereto from Torri del Benaco. For more information about the things you can see and do in Rovereto in a day, click to read this blog post: 20 Photos to Make You Fall in Love with Rovereto in the Italian Alps.
  • Trento – the capital of the Autonomous Italian province of Trentino, Trento is a lovely city surrounded by mountains. This is where the Council of Trent was held in the 16th century and where, nowadays, you will find a host of historic sights and some of the prettiest streets and squares this side of Italy. It will take you between an hour and an hour and a half to reach Trento from Torri del Benaco. 
  • Venice – a must-see if you are in the area. Venice is quite a bit further away from Torri del Benaco than the other options on this list. Yet, if you have never been to Venice before or want to re-visit the gorgeous city of water, then make sure that you head there on a day trip to remember. It will take you between 1 h 40 mins and 2 h 30 mins to reach Venice from Torri del Benaco. For more information about many of the things you can see and do in Venice in a day, click to read this blog post: Hidden Gems in Venice – 101 Things to Do in Venice, Italy Off the Beaten Track.

Please, note that all travel times are approximate, by car, and start from the parking lot behind Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle.

More Information:

Practical Information about Visiting Torri del Benaco on Italy’s Lake Garda

Where is Torri del Benaco, Italy?

View of the historic harbour with Lake Garda - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Torri del Benaco is a small yet very picturesque town on the eastern shores of Italy’s largest lake – Lago di Garda. You will find it just over 40 km away from Verona and it’s within the confines of the Northern Italian region of Veneto.

The historic centre of Torri del Benaco is right on the lakefront. Several small villages in the hills above Lake Garda are part of the Municipality of Torri del Benaco. Some of them are Albisano, Pai, and Crero.  

How to Reach Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda?

The Limonaia citrus garden seen from top of the tower of the Scaliger Castle - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

One of the main towns on the shores of Lake Garda, Torri del Benaco is easy to reach by car, ferry, and bus. Here is how to do it:

  • By car – depending on traffic, it will take you from 40 mins to just over an hour to reach Torri del Benaco from Verona.
  • By ferry – it takes about half an hour to reach Torri del Benaco by ferry from Toscolano-Maderno on the western shores of Lake Garda. The ferry takes both pedestrians and cars. This way, you can drive to Toscolano Maderno from Milan, for example, and then take the ferry for the last portion of the journey.
  • By bus – you can take a bus from Verona to Garda Town and once there, change to bus 484 which will take you up to Torri del Benaco.

Have a look at these blog posts. They provide extensive information about travelling around Lake Garda and reaching the lakefront towns from the nearby Italian cities and major airports:

When is the Best Time to Visit Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda?

A mummy duck in the teal waters of Lake Garda - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Protected by the slopes of Monte Baldo, Torri del Benaco enjoys a mild Mediterranean-style microclimate. Winters are rarely freezing and in summer a lovely breeze brings a welcome respite even on a scorcher of a day.

When to visit Torri del Benaco depends entirely on what you want to do and see here. If it is beautiful views, great hiking, amazing food, and historic towns, feel free to come at any time of the year. The lake is gorgeous in any season.

Late autumn, winter, and early spring are mostly crowd-free and offer many different types of local entertainment like Christmas and craft markets, food and wine festivals. When the weather gets warm visitors start flocking to Lake Garda. In July and August, the streets are densely packed, restaurants are abuzz with people, and taking a dip in the clear lake waters to cool off is a pleasure like no other.

In July and August, temperatures in Torri del Benaco reach on average 29-30 degrees Celsius. The shoulder season is especially pleasant here. April and May and then September and October bring temperatures between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius. However, there is also a slightly bigger chance of rain. 

Where to Stay in Torri del Benaco, Italy?

The view from the Scaliger Castle's towers with the historic harbour - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

You can find all sorts and types of accommodation in and around Torri del Benaco to suit any budget. From five-star hotels to value camping sites, there is something for everyone. 

For ideas about the types of accommodation available at Lake Garda in particular and Italy in general, have a look at this blog post:

No matter where you choose to stay, make sure that you book well in advance. The lake and the lakefront towns are very popular tourist destinations. Prices can rise steeply depending on the season and how little time there is between now and your visit.

I usually prefer to book all my accommodation through Booking.com. Click to see all available options for places to stay in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy.

If you need some visual help in terms of precise location and price range, have a look at this map. It gives you a quick idea of the prices and whereabouts of the many hotels and other forms of accommodation you can book for your stay in Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda, Italy. You can zoom in and out in order to search for a place to stay. You can also click on the option that interests you to find out more details or to make a booking directly.

In addition, if you click on ‘Accommodation’ in the top right corner of the map and select ‘Experiences’ from the drop-down menu, then you can see some truly exciting experiences you can book directly in the area around Torri del Benaco, Italy:

What to pack for Torri del Benaco, Italy?

The marina seen from the Scaliger Castle's towers - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

In summer, don’t forget the suncream and your swimsuit. The shoulder season calls also for a light waterproof jacket. Hiking boots are a must in any season if you want to spend time exploring the local hiking paths.

What are some great tours and activities to book at Lake Garda, Italy?

The medieval Scaliger Castle - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

There are many wonderful tours and activities that you can book to enjoy during your stay at Lake Garda in Italy. Click here to see a long list with some great suggestions – from sport and adventure experiences around the lake to food and wine tastings.

If you are staying in Torri del Benaco, here are some of the exciting experiences you can book in advance:

If you are staying in Verona and want to book a day trip to Lake Garda, have a look at these tours. They are a recipe for maximum sightseeing with minimum hassle. Some include a boat trip on the lake, a food and wine tasting, or even a tricycle hire.

Joining an activity or booking a day trip to Lake Garda is a great way to get to do and see things in an organised manner. This way you won’t waste time nor worry about getting lost or missing an important landmark. Picking one or more tours and experiences can also help streamline your sightseeing plans for Torri del Benaco and Lake Garda in Italy. Especially, if you are only spending a limited amount of time here.

Alternatively, head to some of Italy’s largest and best amusement and water parks. They are within easy reach of Torri del Benaco. Click on the links below for further details and to purchase tickets:

What Is the Meaning of Torri del Benaco’s Name?

The walkway along the battlements of the Scaliger Castle - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

It is believed that a settlement has existed around the modern-day location of Torri del Benaco since at least 2,000 BC. Originally, it was known as Tulles. Its name was changed to Castrum Turrium when the Romans conquered the lands around Lake Garda in the 1st century BC.

The town’s current name is inspired by:

  • the ancient towers (in Italian, torri) which are dotted around the historic centre; and
  • the old Latin name of Lake Garda – Lacus Benacus.

What is the History of Torri del Benaco, Italy?

The memorial stone of Domizio Calderini in the portico of the Gardesana Palace - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

This beautiful corner of Italy has been a hubbub of human activity for millennia. In prehistoric times, pile dwellings existed in the area.

Many rock carvings from that period have survived to our days. They consist of human figures and many different objects. They have been chiselled on slickensides – rocks smoothly polished by ancient glaciers.

The rock carvings are mostly centred around the villages of Crero and Brancolino. In addition, you can learn about their history and significance in Torri del Benaco’s Historical Ethnographic Museum. You will find it in the town’s medieval Scaliger Castle.

Towards the end of the 1st century BC, Torri del Benaco was conquered by the Romans. They built a fort here and changed the name of the settlement from the original Tulles to Castrum Turrium.

In the 10th century AD, King Berengar I fortified Torri del Benaco. He built a mighty castle here to protect the town from the incursions of the Hungarians.

At the end of the 12th century, the ruling family of nearby Verona – the Scaligers – took control of Torri del Benaco. The town’s medieval castle as we see it nowadays dates back to this historical period. 

In 1405, Torri del Benaco was annexed by the Republic of Venice. The town kept its importance in the context of Lake Garda’s towns. So, the meetings of the Consiglio della Gardesana dell’Acqua took place here. The Consiglio was the council of a federation of ten lakefront municipalities. 

Between the 16th and the 17th centuries, the plague hit mercilessly Torri del Benaco and its adjacent areas. Famine and epidemics soon followed. The locals survived thanks to fishing, cultivation of olive trees, citrus fruit growing, and marble quarrying.

At the end of the 18th century, Napoleon’s troops occupied the area. They were pushed away by the Austrian army. Torri del Benaco remained within the confines of the Austrian Empire until 1866. It then became part of the Kingdom of Italy.  

For its beautiful location, charming architecture, and mild climate, Torri del Benaco has been attracting visitors in their droves for centuries. Among the famous people who have spent time here enjoying the delights of Lake Garda are the opera singers Maria Calas and Beniamino Gigli, the actors Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, as well as King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Nowadays, Torri del Benaco is one of the prettiest and most important towns on Italy’s largest lake. It is a place that captivates the heart with its beauty and leaves a memory to last a lifetime in everyone who has had the good fortune to spend even a short amount of time here.

In Conclusion

Bench on the edge of the historic harbour and overlooking Lake Garda - Torri del Benaco, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Torri del Benaco is a gem on the shores of Italy’s Lake Garda. This small town has a millennial history, a handful of unmissable sights, and it is surrounded by beautiful nature.

If you are looking for a place in Northern Italy where you can be both close to history and culture and yet have fun on the beach and/or hike to your heart’s content, Torri del Benaco is just the perfect destination. You can either base yourself here for the duration of your holiday or come for a day trip.

To help you find out what to see during your time here, in this blog post, I have listed in detail the 15 best things you can do in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy. From historic sights in the shape of a medieval castle and a centuries-old citrus garden to tasty local food, unmissable hikes, ancient villages, and great events, everything is covered.

I hope that all this information will galvanise you to experience this must-see town on Lake Garda for yourself!

Enjoy your time in Torri del Benaco, Italy!

Now, get ready quick for your visit to Torri del Benaco, Italy!

More Helpful Lake Garda Info for You

Lake Garda Towns and Villages: Best Towns, Riva del Garda, Malcesine, Punta di San VigilioCampo di Brenzone
Lake Garda Hiking: Tibetan BridgeRocca di GardaPark of the Waterfalls
Visiting Lake Garda: 
Lake Garda with Kids8 Best AirportsMilan to Lake GardaVenice to Lake GardaVerona to Lake GardaTravel Around Lake Garda
Lake Garda Beaches: 16 Top Tips3 Unmissable Beaches
Lake Garda Sights: Shortest River in Italy, Sanctuary of Madonna della CoronaLake Garda Castles

More Helpful Italy Info for You

Best of Italy: Italian PiazzasItalian FoodItalian MarketsItalian Coffee CultureRules of Italian BreakfastItalian Breakfast Foods
Northern Italy: 18 Best Cities to Visit11 Major Airports
Day Trips in Italy: Bologna to Venice, Milan to VeronaVenice to VeronaMilan to VeniceFlorence to VeniceVerona to VeniceVenice to Padua
Lake Como: Things to SeeNesso
Veneto: Best Cities to VisitTop 15 Places30 Adventures15 Most Colourful PlacesBeautiful Lakes
Lombardy: Best Cities and Towns
Friuli Venezia Giulia: VenzoneMost Beautiful Villages
Emilia Romagna: BolognaRavennaComacchioMost Beautiful Villages
Marche: 6 Reasons to VisitGradaraFrasassi CavesTemple of Valadier
Trentino: Best Cities and TownsBeautiful LakesLake Caldonazzo, Violins’ Forest
Venice: Essential TipsHidden GemsBest AirportsBoats in VeniceHaunted VeniceDay Trips from VeniceArco del Paradiso
Verona: Things to Do in One DayVerona Opera FestivalDay Trips from Verona
Padua:
 Things to Do in One Day101 Facts About Padua10 Reasons to Visit PaduaDay Trips from Padua
Vicenza: Things to DoDay Trips from Vicenza

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