Malcesine (pronounced MAL-CHES-INAY) is a beautiful, picturesque medieval town in the north of Lake Garda. Often referred to as the jewel in Lake Garda’s crown, this postcard perfect town is a must visit spot. Whilst it is one of the smaller towns on the shore, there’s still plenty of places to see and things to do in Malcesine.
Having been regular visitors for almost a decade, I’m sharing the best things to in Malcesine for anyone thinking of visiting here too. The things you’ll find in this article are all accessible from the town centre directly and do not require any transport or transfers to nearby towns or places.
So here’s a round up of our favourite things to do in Malcesine…
7 SUPER THINGS TO DO IN MALCESINE
1. VISIT CASTELLO SCALIGERO
Topping our list of the best things to do in Malcesine is the historical castle, Castello Scaligero.
Dating back to 568AD, the medieval fortress sits proudly in the centre of town on the edge of the lake. Entry to the castle is around €6 and includes entrance to the onsite museum.
The castle itself is visually stunning and the views across the lake from are extraordinary. For the best panoramic views and photo opportunities, head to the top of the tower.
If visiting between April and October, you may even get to see a castle wedding taking place!
Note: the castle has a lot of steps so could be challenging for those with mobility difficulties
2. CAPTAINS PALACE
Captains Palace is a little hidden gem of Malcesine.
The entrance opens up onto a main reception hall which has a beautifully painted ceiling and opens out on the courtyard. The courtyard garden is a beautiful, peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the stunning landscape backdrop.
The Captain’s Palace is located in via Capitanato, next to the port of Malcesine. Entry is free.
3. MONTE BALDO
A short walk from the town centre is the cable car station to travel up to Monte Baldo. The 360° rotation cable cars transport visitors to an altitude of 1800 meters in just a few minutes. The ride up is an an awesome experience in itself!
Monte Baldo offers a huge range of outdoor pursuits – including hiking, cycling and paragliding. In the winter, Mount Baldo offers a range of winters sports including skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering.
If adventure and sports aren’t your thing it’s still definitely worth going. There’s a few flat paths and walkways for you explore from the cable car station. The views of the lake and surrounding Dolomites from the top are breathtaking, especially on a clear day. There are also a few restaurants and picnic areas – providing a pretty perfect “lunch with a view”.
Visiting Monte Baldo is probably the most popular thing to do in Malcesine and as a result, the queues for the cable car can be quite long. Arrive early (a little before opening time) to beat the crowds.
4. TAKE A LAKE CRUISE
There are plenty of cruise options from the Malcesine port.
The public ferry serves north of the lake very well. Limone, Torbole and Riva are all easily accessible. Otherwise, there are operators who offer different types of lake cruise experiences, visiting other towns around the lake. You can read more about the other great places to visit around Lake Garda here.
Alternatively, you can hire your own small speedboat from the old port and head out onto the water at your leisure.
5. EAT PIZZA AT DA PEDRO
Tucking into mouth watering traditional pizza at Da Pedro is one of our families favourite things to do in Malcesine! The casual dining restaurant always has the warmest of welcomes for its guests, particularly children.
The service and food here offer exceptional value for money. We’ve tried most of the different options on the menu (pizza, pasta, salad and gnocchi) but our favourite by far has to be the pizza, definitely the best in Malcesine! This little spot can get busy so pre-book is recommended if you need a large table.
If you’re looking for a more “a la carte” Malcesine experience, I highly recommend dining at La Voglia, Ristorante Vecchia Malcesine, Ristorante Al Gondoliere or Al Corsaro.
Vegans and vegetarians are very well catered for at Ristorante Paradiso Perduto. The outdoor terrace here sits in the shadows of Scaligero castle and has beautiful lake views.
6. ENJOY A SPA BREAK
Thanks to the Wellness Hotel Casa Barca, you can now enjoy a spa break right in the heart of Malcesine.
The adults-only wellness hotel boasts a bio sauna, turkish bath, whirlpool and a range of massage treatments. There’s also an outdoor pool and dining terrace overlooking the lake.
Travelling with kids? You can still enjoy some spa facilities at Bellevue San Lorenzo and Hotel Maximilian.
7. VISIT THE WEEKLY MARKET
If you like shopping then a Lake Garda market is an experience not to be missed!
Every Saturday is Market Day in Malcesine. The centre of town becomes of hive of activity where you’ll find stalls selling a range of fresh produce and hand made crafts. Get there early to bag the best bits!
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions about our things to do in Malcesine recommendations, please pop a comment in the box below.
If you want a helping hand ‘learning the lingo’ when visiting Malcesine and Lake Garda then I’d recommend these great books…
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