There are five excellent pebble beaches at the southern end of the promenade. Most of them have bars, loungers and showers, so if you’re after a leisurely day by the lake, you’re onto a winner in Salò.
Bag a lounger and soak up the atmosphere with a sangria in hand while the house DJ provides a chilled out soundtrack. This is also a top pick for catching some live music during your stay, with local bands taking to the stage most evenings.
This stretch of pebbly shoreline tends to stay pretty quiet, so it’s a good pick if you’re after somewhere peaceful. Plus, it’s got great views across the lake to Monte Baldo on the opposite shore – the perfect spot to soak up the scenery with a picnic lunch.
If you love a market, don’t miss the open-air one that’s held every Saturday in Piazza dei Martiri della Libertà. There are heaps of stalls to browse selling everything from crafts and clothing to fresh local produce – if you’re here in August or September, look out for fresh truffles foraged from the surrounding countryside.
There is a good selection of shops in Salò, and Via San Carlo is the main shopping street. Lined with clothes shops and little boutiques, it's your go-to if you fancy a new holiday outfit or a little keepsake from your trip.
With pizzerias, gelaterias and family-run trattorias around every corner, Salò’s a dream for foodies. And you’ll even get a tasty nibble with your afternoon aperitif as most bars serve up a selection of antipasti on the house. As for what’s on the menu, we’re talking fresh Mediterranean flavours from salads to seafood, as well as Italian classics like risotto.
On the edge of bustling Piazza Vittoria is Banco Salumi. Find a table out on the square and dine al fresco on huge platters of salami, sliced cheese and crispy bruschetta. Add in great-value spritz, and it’s a lunch post that’s tough to beat.
Pepe Bianco Pizzeria is in a quieter part of town, but with one of the most varied menus around, you might find yourself coming back more than once. There’s lots of fresh fish and seafood on the menu, as well as dishes inspired by Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, and of course plenty of top-notch pizzas too.
You’ll need to book ahead to get a table at Gallo Rosso, but it’s well worth it. One of Salò’s oldest restaurants, it ticks off everything great about eating out in Italy – from the stylish ambience to the fresh plates of pasta, gnocchi and creamy panna cotta desserts.
Salò’s promenade is the perfect place for a stroll, especially come early evening when the restaurants and bars are buzzing and buskers dot the way. Head into town, and you can follow winding alleyways lined with brightly painted houses to discover piazzas and ancient churches.
Taking to the water on a ferry is the perfect way to explore Lake Garda and enjoy the scenery at the same time. Saunter down to Salò’s promenade and set sail to visit towns like Limone and Sirmione in around an hour.
Take a 50-minute bus ride to get to the nearest train station in Desenzano. From there, you can be in Venice in 1 hour 30 minutes or Verona in just 20 minutes.
Salò’s main bus station is on Largo Dante Alighieri street, but you’ll also find stops near Piazza Vittorio and Piazza San Bernardino. Catch a ride on line 27 to travel along the whole west coast of the lake, from Desenzano in the north to Riva in the south.
Salò’s a great pick if you’re eager to explore on foot. One of the highlights is the lakeside promenade, which hugs the wide bay for 3km and takes around an hour to walk from one end to the other. Take a stroll in the morning and you can watch the sunrise above Monte Baldo over on the opposite shore, then pop into a café for a coffee and pastry. Or, for something more energetic, you could head up onto the slopes of the San Bartolomeo mountain above the town to explore a network of walking trails.
This circular walk starts in the hamlet of Renzano on the outskirts of town. It takes around 4 hours, and on the way, the route passes through olive groves, pine forests and up onto the slopes of San Bartolomeo. San Michelle village makes for a handy lunch stop, and as you go, look out for the pretty Church of Santuario del Rio and the nearby waterfall that cascades from a cave in the cliff face.
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