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Islands of Lake Garda

Natural treasures and diving paradises.

by Marco Ghirello

Lake Garda, with a total area of 370 km2, is at the top of the list of the largest Italian lakes. Among its various geographical features, many people are familiar with the Sirmione peninsula, or the gulf of Garda and Salò, but not everyone knows that Lake Garda hosts 5 islands. Let us take a closer look at their names and where they are located along the north-south axis.

Isola dell'Olivo

This small island is located near the town of Malcesine, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. It is a small piece of land about 200 metres from the coast. It is just under one hundred metres long and about forty metres wide. Covered by wild vegetation, it is an ideal spot for diving enthusiasts.

In the immediate vicinity, at a depth of about thirteen metres, there is in fact a cave that extends towards the seabed for about twenty metres. On the western side, the Isola dell'Olivo is characterised by a few smooth slabs, suitable for easy landing and where it is possible to stop freely.

Isola del Sogno

This small island is also located near the town of Malcesine, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. More than one hundred and fifty metres long and over forty metres wide, it takes its name from the nearby natural inlet called Val di Sogno, from which it is only about twenty metres away. During periods when the level of Lake Garda is particularly low, it can be easily reached on foot.

Isola del Sogno is also covered in dense vegetation and is a popular destination among Lake Garda divers. At a depth of about thirty metres, there is a sixteen-metre long wreck that sank in 1987 and is easily accessible.

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Isola di Trimelone

Located south of the above, it faces the small town of Assenza di Brenzone, also on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. In past centuries, given its strategic position, it was used both as a refuge by the inhabitants of the area and as a military outpost. With the end of the Second World War, Trimelone Island became a storehouse of explosives, some of them particularly powerful.

On the night of 5 October 1954, a violent explosion partially destroyed the surface of the island itself, scattering thousands of ordnance on the surrounding seabed. Only in recent years the entire area has been cleared and made safe by specialists of the Italian army, although there is still a ban on landings. Only a few military buildings remain intact from that violent explosion, which are still clearly visible from the coast.

Isola del Garda

The largest of the islands of Lake Garda, also known as Isola Borghese, is located on the western shore of the lake, precisely in the municipality of San Felice del Benaco. Inhabited since ancient times, this piece of land has hosted many illustrious people over the past centuries, including: San Francesco d'Assisi, Sant'Antonio da Padova and Dante Alighieri.

Dominating the landscape today is the stunning Villa Borghese Cavazza, an imposing Venetian neo-Gothic palace built in the early 1900s by architect Luigi Rovelli. Surrounded by lush Italian gardens and with an outstanding botanical heritage, it has now become a popular tourist destination. Thanks to the commitment of its owners, it is now possible to take guided tours of the villa, as well as to book certain rooms in the villa itself for weddings or events.

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Isola di San Biagio

Also known as Isola dei Conigli (Rabbit Island), due to the presence of a colony of these graceful animals, it lies slightly to the south of Isola del Garda on the western shore of the lake, in the municipal territory of Manerba del Garda. Just a few dozen metres away from Punta Belvedere, it can be easily reached on foot during periods when the water level is particularly low.

The Island of San Biagio is privately owned, with paid access. There is a bar on it where it is possible to hire sunbeds and sunbathe. A short distance away is the Scoglio dell'Altare, a popular spot for diving enthusiasts. From here it is in fact possible, for the more experienced, to admire the rock face that descends to a depth of 150 metres and the nearby cave animated by numerous species of fish.

How to get to the islands

Click on the button below to open the detailed map of the islands on Lake Garda.


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