Travelling from Milan to Lake Garda couldn’t be any easier. So whether you’re heading to Lake Garda for a day trip or for a holiday, the below guide will show you the options you have.
The (Best) 2 Ways To Get From Milan To Lake Garda
Getting From Milan To Lake Garda
The train is the best way to get from Milan to Lake Garda, with prices starting from €10 (£8.85/€10.62), whilst the fastest train takes as little as 51 minutes.
Whilst the train is both affordable and quick, the caveat is you may need to use another form of transport to get to your final destination in Lake Garda, as both Lake Garda train stations are situated in the south of the lake.
Hiring a car is another great option, with the drive from Milan to Lake Garda taking roughly 1 hour & 30 minutes. You can then reach your final destination on Lake Garda with ease, and you have the freedom to use your car for the rest of your stay.
Below we go into more detail on how to reach Lake Garda from Milan. If you have a specific destination in mind, then you can jump directly to these sections via the links below.
- Milan to Desenzano del Garda
- Milan to Peschiera del Garda
- Milan to Sirmione
- Milan to Malcesine
- Milan to Riva del Garda
What part of Lake Garda is closest to Milan?
The nearest part of Lake Garda to Milan is the southern region, with the town of Desenzano del Garda being the closest.
Getting from Milan to Lake Garda by train is in our opinion, the best way to get to Lake Garda.
In Milan, there are two train stations that have direct trains to Lake Garda; Milano Centrale & Milano Lambrate.
Milano Centrale is the main train station in Milan and is situated in central Milan (if you didn’t guess by the name!).
What train stations are there in Lake Garda?
There are two train stations in Lake Garda, Peschiera del Garda train station & Desenzano del Garda train station. Both train stations are situated on the south of the lake, so depending on where you are heading within Lake Garda, you may need to use another form of transport to get to your final destinations.
How long is the train ride from Milan to Lake Garda?
Depending on which train you get, the train from Milan to Lake Garda can take anywhere between 51 minutes to 1 hour & 50 minutes.
Currently, the fastest train (which takes 51 minutes) leaves Milano Centrale station every hour at quarter to.
How much is the train from Milan to Lake Garda?
This depends on what train you get, but prices range from €10 – €28 one way if you book in advance.
Booking tickets online
We’d recommend booking your tickets in advance online, via Trainline Europe. Not only will it save the stress of trying to buy a ticket when you’re in Milan, but it also means you have the choice to pick the best train based on price and duration.
Arriving in Lake Garda
As mentioned above, you will either arrive at Desenzano del Garda train station or Peschiera del Garda train station.
Both towns are well worth exploring, so we wouldn’t rush on to elsewhere on the lake as soon as you arrive.
Driving from Milan to Lake Garda is one of the easiest ways to get between the two. One of the biggest benefits of driving is you can drive to your destination in Lake Garda directly, whereas the train only takes you to the southern area of the lake.
How long is the drive from Milan to Lake Garda?
The two main routes from Milan to Lake Garda take just over one and a half hours to drive, depending on traffic.
However, this is to the southern part of the lake, Desenzano del Garda, to be precise.
To drive from Milan to Riva del Garda (on the northern tip of the lake) will take over two and a half hours.
What’s the best route to drive?
In our opinion, the best route to take from Milan to Lake Garda is by heading North East out of the city towards Bergamo, and following the A4 past Brescia all the way to Lake Garda/Desenzano del Garda.
We’ve found this is the easiest route, as once you get off the A51 just outside of Milan, you can follow the A4 all the way to Lake Garda.
This route does have tolls, but you can pay for this on a card or cash. In Italy, you pay the toll when you exit the motorway, and it will work out how much you need to pay based on where you entered the motorway.
What can you see on the way to Lake Garda from Milan?
If you wanted to break up your journey and take in some sights on the way to Lake Garda, then you could stop off at Bergamo or Brescia, as they are both on the way.
Brescia would be our choice here, with its historic city centre and fantastic food options, it’s a hidden gem in Italy and would be well worth a stop whilst on the way to Lake Garda.
Milan To Lake Garda Day Trip
One of the main questions we get asked is can you do a day trip from Milan to Lake Garda?
That answer is definitely yes!
If you were to do a day trip from Milan to Lake Garda, we would recommend getting the train from Milano Centrale to either Desenzano del Garda or Peshiera del Garda train station, and then getting a ferry to explore the rest of Lake Garda.
If you got the train to Desenzano del Garda then you can get a bus from here to the historic town of Sirmione, which takes around 20 minutes. From Sirmione, you can get the ferry to anywhere on Lake Garda.
Alternatively, if you got the train to Peschiera del Garda, then we would recommend spending some time here as it’s a lovely town with plenty of nice places to drink or eat. You can also get the ferry from here to anywhere on Lake Garda.
Is Lake Garda worth the visit?
In our opinion, Lake Garda is the best the Italian Lakes have to offer. Whilst Lake Como is more popular, Lake Garda is a bit of a hidden gem.
There’s so much to do and explore, the food is unbeatable and the views at the northern end of the lake up by the mountains are spectacular.
Can you do Lake Garda without a car?
You can explore the majority of Lake Garda without a car. Lake Garda has a fantastic ferry service that takes you all across the lake. You can get day tickets for the ferry which start at €34.40 for an adult ticket.
The price can be reduced further by purchasing a 3-day ferry pass or a family day ticket.
On top of the ferry service, there’s a local bus service that covers the whole of Lake Garda. This is a great option if you only want to travel to the next town along.
Is one day enough for Lake Garda?
One day is definitely enough time to see some of the signs in Lake Garda. If you’re travelling from Milan, you will be best sticking to the southern part of the lake, exploring places such as Peschiera del Garda and Sirmione.
Arriving At Lake Garda – What Next?
If you’ve taken the train to Lake Garda, then you will either be at Peschiera del Garda train station or Desenzano del Garda train station.
From these two towns, you can get a ferry to all of the bigger towns and places to see on Lake Garda.
If you don’t want to travel too far away from the train stations, then getting a bus to some nearby towns might be better than getting a ferry.
Getting From Milan To Desenzano del Garda
The best way to get from Milan to Desenzano del Garda is by taking the train from Milano Centrale to Desenzano del Garda train station.
The journey time depends on which train you take, but the fastest train takes just 51 minutes, whilst the longest train can take just over an hour and a half.
Getting From Milan To Peschiera del Garda
There’s a direct train from Milan to Peschiera del Garda, so we would recommend getting the train.
The train takes slightly longer than heading to Desenzano del Garda as Peschiera del Garda is the next station along.
Getting From Milan To Sirmione
There are a couple of options when trying to get from Milan to Sirmione.
The first option is to take the train from Milan Centrale train station to Desenzano del Garda train station (which sits on the south west of the lake).
From here, you can get the bus to Sirmione, or get a taxi from the train station. We’d estimate the fare of the taxi to be around €15.
The other option is to drive from Milan to Sirmione. The drive is straightforward, and there’s plenty of parking just outside Sirmione, which is easily walkable into the centre of Sirmione.
Getting From Milan To Malcesine
To get from Milan to Malcesine, we would recommend getting the train to Peschiera del Garda, which is the closest train station to Malcesine.
From there, you can either get the bus or ferry up to the north of the lake and towards Malcesine. The bus can take up to 1 hour and 48 minutes, whilst the fastest ferry is just over 2 hours.
If you’re driving from Milan to Malcesine, then the drive will take on average 2 hours & 40 minutes. Despite the length of the drive, one hour of it is driving alongside the lake, which is full of stunning views and there are plenty of places to stop along the way to take in the sights.
Getting From Milan To Riva del Garda
The drive from Milan to Riva del Garda takes roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes and takes you alongside the west of the lake.
If you wanted to take public transport, then your best option is getting the train from Milano Centrale to Peschiera del Garda, then get the bus from Peschiera del Garda to Garda, and then catch another bus from Garda to Riva del Garda. This journey time will take on average of 3 hours.