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Sailing on Lake Garda, Italy

Sailing on Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is one of the most popular activities to do on the lake. In addition, there are so many activities and places to enjoy that you can easily spend five days at Lake Garda. Adam and I had the opportunity to spend two days at Lake Garda. During our first visit to Lake Garda, we explored the city of Sirmione and explored Scaliger Castle. For the second time we visited, we went sailing on Lake Garda!

How We Went Sailing on Lake Garda

We were extremely lucky to have the opportunity to go sailing on Lake Garda. Our Workaway family, Marco, Aly and their two little boys, took us on several Italian adventures. One of those adventures was sailing on Lake Garda.

From Brescia, we followed our hosts to Lake Garda, which is only an hour and a half drive. We went to Marco’s parents house in a town called, Gargnano on the western shore of Lake Garda. When we arrived, we met Marco’s friends who happened to own a sailboat. So lucky for us, we were able to have an amazing summer experience sailing on Lake Garda!

Strolling Through Lake Garda

Walking through the city before and/or after sailing on Lake Garda is wonderful because Lake Garda is simply stunning. The buildings and homes at Lake Garda all have vibrant colors with the most beautiful bougainvillea flowers growing along the walls. Along the lake was a brick layered walkway with more pretty flowers and fruit trees. Everywhere we turned was picturesque and it only got better when we viewed the city from the water. In fact, one of the colorful buildings we saw in orange and yellow happened to be Mussolini’s villa – now a Michelin star restaurant.

Alas, Sailing on Lake Garda

We were able to not only relax and enjoy the moment, but also learn how to sail! Once we set sail, Marco’s friend started teaching us how to sail ourselves. We both mostly kept an eye out for the dial making sure we were directing the sailboat the right way, but then we would end up missing out on the views. Nevertheless, it was fun sailing on Lake Garda and fairly easy to pick up the basics. However, if you asked us questions on how to sail, we could not give you a single answer.

Sailing on Lake Garda was very peaceful. The wind would just take us into the direction it desired. However, this peacefulness does not come easy. We learned how important it is to have the wind hit the sails properly in order to move us in the correct direction. This would keep us from not losing the wind current because the slightest movement in the wrong direction, could lose the rhythm of the sailing completely.

As I said already, the views from sailing on Lake Garda were unbelievable! We constantly had 360 degrees of beautiful landscapes. There were the colorful buildings, a church with bell towers high above everything else and a mountainous backdrop. It was a setting we had never seen before while on a lake – it was truly beautiful.

As the buildings grew smaller the more we sailed into the center of the lake, we finally anchored to go swimming and enjoy the water. The water was perfect! Nothing like the temperatures we experienced near shore earlier that day. We mostly swim in the ocean, so swimming in a clear, beautiful, lake was refreshing. The water was just cold enough and there was obviously no salt water to consume. We will always love swimming in the ocean, but swimming in Lake Garda was one of the best swims of our life. In addition to the perks of lake water, we felt like we had the lake all to ourselves and the views of the mountains all around us were magnificent – what more could we ask for?

After hours of sailing on Lake Garda, we sailed back into town with wet swimsuits and big smiles on our faces. Sometimes we had to pinch ourselves that this life we were living was real. We are sure that most Workaway experiences are amazing, but our hosts really take the cake. How many volunteers can say they learned how to sail on Lake Garda with their host family!?! We will forever be grateful to Aly and Marco and their friends and family for their generous hospitality in making this day of sailing on Lake Garda a memory we will cherish forever. After amazing experiences like this, we are already looking forward to trying our hand at sailing again.

Whether you love sailing or want to try for the first time, I highly recommend Lake Garda, Italy. Though we were lucky to know people with a sailboat here are some highly recommended sailing operators located throughout Lake Garda:




  • Sara Essop

    This looks like a fun trip in beautiful surroundings. I see that you will be heading to South Africa soon. I live in South Africa. Feel free to ask me if you want to know anything or check out my blog which focuses mainly on South Africa 🙂

    • oursweetadventures

      Thank you. We will be staying in Phinda, as I love cheetahs and they are known for their cheetahs in that reserve.

  • Melanie

    Clear water is an understatement! I want to go swimming there! This looks like a beautiful trip. We have always wanted to try our hands at sailing. Looks like a trip to Lake Garda is going to have to happen!

    • oursweetadventures

      You should! It is very fun and easy to pick up. Very different experience than taking a speed boat out. If you go to Lake Garda be sure to check out the town of Sirmione. I have a post about it if you are interested.

  • ada

    what a wonderful lake! Perfect for sailing, with such an amazing views! I can’t wait to go back to Italy one day and explore more !

    • oursweetadventures

      One of the best lakes in Italy and Europe! Definitely worth a visit.

  • Megan

    I just want to let you know that I really like your blog. I have included you in my list top list of travel bloggers, and nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award here: Thanks for feeding my wanderlust.

    • oursweetadventures

      Aww thank you, we really appreciate it!

  • Tom @ Abroad American

    Awesome – I’ve never explored the lakes of Italy, but I would HAVE to sail on Garda or Como if I got the chance. I love sailing and the views from mountainous lakes are my absolute favorite! I’ll have to look into this Workaway thing, seems like a good idea 🙂 I hope you learned a lot but didn’t forget to enjoy the views all around you 🙂

    • oursweetadventures

      Aww thanks for this awesome comment. We really enjoyed sailing the boat, but found we were so concentrated on the wind we forgot to look around us, so we handed the boat back to the captain so we could enjoy the view haha. If you are really interested in Workaway check out our post about it for more information and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!

  • Suman Doogar

    I have been to there, but definitely want to visit soon. Thanks for sharing. I friend is going in August, will tell her all about it

    • oursweetadventures

      Glad to hear you enjoyed our post and recommending sailing on the lake to your friend!

  • Thrifty Campers

    You’re not kidding, that is indeed one gorgeous mountainous backdrop. This puts sailing in an ordinary a bore lol. That’s the way to go sailing?

    • oursweetadventures

      We definitely had 360 degree views of beauty all around us 🙂

  • Pete

    Loved this post. I spent a day or so at Lake Garda, and there were people out on the water. We came back on the hydrofoil, and that was kind of exciting, but more like watch television through a streaked and dim screen. You were out there in it!

    I’ve highlighted your post on my blog. A low-res photo, which I’ve tweaked a bit, a para of your text, and a bunch of links leading my readers back here to this lovely post and your sweet blog.

    • oursweetadventures

      Thank you so much for the feature and for crediting us – we greatly appreciate it!

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