Islands of Lake Garda
Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy but not everyone knows that it features 5 idyllic islands, a must see for nature lovers and people who have a passion for navigation and diving.
Isola del Sogno (Island of Dreams)
This beautiful island takes its name from the "Val di Sogno" (Valley of Dreams), situated close to Malcesine. When the water is shallow, it is possible to reach this island on foot as it is only 20 metres away from the coast. The island is well known to all scuba-diving lovers thanks to a 16-metre-long wreck sunken in 1987. The wreck can be reached directly from the coast by following the chain where it is anchored (40m depth), or by diving along the rope on the fender.
Isola dell'Olivo (Island of Olive Trees)
This is another gem that can be found in Malcesine, a reference point during the famous sailing regatta "Centomiglia". The island is very wild but there are a lot of smooth rocks where you can lay down and sunbathe. This is another destination for scuba-divers who can explore a small cave full of plants and lake fauna between 13 and 30 metre depth. In the northern part of the island, under splendid turquoise waters you can find a 10 metre-long wreck that houses different species of fish.
Isola di Trimelone
The small Trimelone Island is just in front of Assenza di Brenzone. This apparently insignificant island treasures and witnesses the tormented Italian history of the 20th century. In the years before World War I it was used as safe outpost for its strategic position at the border with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, close to Navene. After the end of World War II it became a sheer war dump, with the soldiers leaving explosives and weapons around the island. On 5th October 1954 an inadvertent explosion destroyed half of the island and provoked a 3-days-long fire. In recent times 24,700 explosive devices such as bombs, grenades, fuses and TNT explosives have been removed from the waters.
Today Trimelone Island is a natural and quiet oasis inhabited by numerous seagulls and cormorants. You can still see some of the military buildings of the past for instance the barrack, the fort and the ruins of a small harbour. It is prohibited to land, dock, fish and even to approach the island as the site is still dangerous due to the remaining war material.
The best transportation to enjoy the unique beauty of Trimelone is on a sailing boat. Guided by the wind and in harmony with the surroundings you can get close enough to observe the scenery of this mysterious and wild island.
Isola di San Biagio
San Biagio Island, or Isola dei Conigli (Island of Rabbits), is a private gem on the west coast of Lake Garda, close to Manerba Porto Torchio. As the name suggests, its distinctive trait is the presence of numerous wild rabbits who are now used to have humans around. In summer it is normally possible to reach the island on foot by crossing the isthmus that links it to the mainland. If preferred, visitors can have access to the property by taxi-boat and once there it is also possible to rent beach and lawn chairs as well as to enjoy a drink or snack at the bar. Entrance is free for the clients of camping San Biagio, while external visitors need to pay an admission fee. With its crystal clear water and breath-taking view on the rock of Manerba, San Biagio Island is visited by tourists and scuba-divers. "Scoglio dell’Altare" is one of the most remarkable immersion sites of Lake Garda. The rock goes down 150 metres and is famous for its two big "balconies" filled with yellow sponges and its cave where big exemplars of fishes live, such as perches, pikes, tenches, eels and common bleaks.
According to history, before becoming a recreational place, the island was used as a platform to test large calibre weapons.
Isola del Garda
Garda Island is the biggest of the 5 islands of Lake Garda. Also known as Borghese Island, it is situated close to Capo San Fermo, in San Felice del Benaco. The island has been a pirates’ cave for a long time, before becoming a religious centre. Saint Francesco d’Assisi and Saint Bernardino da Siena had converted it into Franciscan monastery that was demolished under Napoleone Bonaparte. The island is now a private property, inhabited by the noble family Conti Cavazza from Bologna. It is only accessible upon previous booking with an authorized guide. The magnificent villa in the heart of the island was built in Venetian Gothic style at the end of the nineteenth century. It is surrounded by luxuriant greenery: a garden and an open natural park rich in local and exotic plants, unique flowers and rare essences, a harmonic forest with pines, cypresses, lemon trees, agaves and magnolias. The tour lasts a few hours and it includes a welcome drink. It is accessible to families and also to small dogs (extra fee required). A visit to Garda Island means enchanting views and culture: some of the Villa’s rooms contain watercolour works of Pierangelo Capretti and from April to October many musical events are held in the island’s garden.