Lake Garda Events: culture, sport and music not to be missed

Lake Garda is the ideal setting for important cultural and musical events. Many artists and historical figures have found their inspiration right here. Some examples are Dante Alighieri, who mentions Lake Benaco in his Divine Comedy, and Goethe, who praises the charm of these lands and shares the memories and experiences of his visit in the essay "Viaggio in Italia".

Every year, Lake Garda is the setting for numerous festivals, shows, exhibitions and parties. In addition to cultural events, there are also important sporting events and a rich calendar of food and wine events that make Lake Garda a stimulating and exciting destination at any time of the year.

Most of the events on Lake Garda and its surroundings are concentrated in the spring and summer months, but important events also take place at other times of the year.

The villages of Lake Garda come alive for the Christmas markets and New Year's celebrations and the towns of the western shore, such as Salò, are one of the favorite destinations for couples to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, also thanks to the rich offer of luxury hotels and spas.

Overview City of Salò on the Lake Garda

Lake Garda Events program in 2023


Salò in Music

Starting from Thursday 4 May and on the first Thursday of June, July and August, "Salò in Musica" returns: an event dedicated to contemporary music.

On the lakefront and in the streets of the city center there will be various musical stations that will offer everyone the opportunity to experience a sound journey with excellent artists.

From the black music genre, to jazz from the 30s and 40s up to standards, blues and bossanova: the offer is wide and diversified.

Chiaretto Palio - Bardolino

In the municipality of Bardolino the Palio del Chiaretto takes place every year, an important event in the world of oenology whose protagonist is this rosé wine which is among the most appreciated in Italy. In 2023 the event will take place from 31st May to 2nd June.

Respecting the ancient tradition, the local cellars offer tastings of Bardolino Chiaretto wine both in the Classic DOC and Spumante DOC versions and visitors let themselves be delighted by the aromas and characteristics of this fruity wine.

Words on the waterfront - Bardolino

One of the first cultural events of Lake Garda of the year is Parole sull'Acqua, a festival that takes place in the month of May and sees the participation of a large number of prestigious authors, writers and journalists who present their latest works and discuss historical and current topics.

The setting for this event is Piazza del Porto in Bardolino.

Palio del Chiaretto Bardolino


GardaLo! Lombard Garda Festival

The first edition of this festival took place, it was organized in June 2022 in the splendid setting of the Vittoriale degli Italiani, in Gardone Riviera, which offered a series of conferences, shows and workshops for children. There is great expectation for the second edition of 2023.

O Live Jazz Fest - Cavaion Veronese

"O Live Jazz Fest" is a musical event that combines jazz, tourism, regional gastronomic specialties and solidarity, all in the wonderful setting offered by the sixteenth-century Corte Torcolo, now transformed into the headquarters of the Garda DOP Oil Consortium.

Some of the most interesting artists of the Italian and European jazz scene are the background with their superlative music, combined with food and wine tastings and debates with themes such as accessibility and inclusion.

Mille Miglia

The Mille Miglia is an epic event also known as the most atmospheric motor race in the world. It is also the largest traveling classic car museum in the world. The race has been taking place for the past 90 years, covering 1,000 miles, touching hundreds of cities in 7 regions to go from Brescia to Rome and back. The big news for 2023 is that the race will last 5 days, instead of the usual 4, from 13rd to 17th June.

The very first day of the Mille Miglia will see more than 450 vintage cars speed along the coast of Lake Garda and then continue on the route that crosses cities of art, countryside and natural landscapes.

Mille Miglia Vintage Cars


"Tener-a-mente" or Vittoriale Festival - Gardone Riviera

The "Tener-a-mente" Festival is another event that takes place in the splendid amphitheater of the Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone Riviera. Concerts with international artists are planned for 2023 from 19th to 24th July.

This event on Lake Garda combines art, nature and music with international singers, outdoor shows, films, exhibitions and various events.

Garda Jazz Festival - Garda Trentino

Another important jazz music event on Lake Garda is the Garda Jazz Festival which takes place on an itinerant basis touching six municipalities located on the Trentino side of the lake, namely: Arco, Dro, Drena, Nago Torbole, Tenno and Riva del Garda.

The concerts take place in the most traditional and evocative locations of each municipality, such as castles, fortresses, lakeside terraces, as well as clubs and pubs.

Garda Jazz Festival Lake Garda


Palio delle Bisse regatta

The Palio delle Bisse is a traditional rowing boat race on Lake Garda. Teams from the different municipalities located around the lake participate to defend the honor of their country and win the Flag of the Lake.

The different races of the Palio delle Bisse generally take place from June to August. The sunset on Lake Garda generates a special atmosphere and it is for this reason that the races take place at that time.

It is a competition with a long history whose first edition took place in Salò in 1548. The Bisse are the traditional historic Venetian-style boats that date back to the era of the Serenissima on which the crews made up of 4 men, who row standing on the boat with the aim of leading their team to victory.

Palio delle Bisse

Magic Nights

On summer nights one of the most beautiful shows is offered by nature and its starry sky. To celebrate these moments, several municipalities organize events in the days around the night of San Lorenzo, the 10th August.

The "Magic Nights" event takes place in the medieval village of Campo di Brenzone, while Bardolino is the venue for an "Aperitif under the stars" with a fireworks display to be admired over the lake.

At the end of the month (August 24-27) the "Night of Fairy Tales" event takes place in Riva del Garda, dedicated in particular to the little ones who can participate in games, workshops and readings in which imagination and fantasy are the master.


September is a month plent of events on Lake Garda. The traditional Show of the Frecce Tricolore will take place in Desenzano del Garda on 10th September, while in the following days the towns around the lake come alive with various events and festivals related to wine and the grape harvest.

Therefore, white wine lovers can participate in the Soave Grape Festival, while those who prefer red wine will opt for a trip to Bardolino to participate in the Grape and Wine Festival in which the tasting of Bardolino wine is accompanied by food, marching bands, concerts and theater performances.

Another September event is the Tocatì International Street Games Festival which takes place in Verona and transforms the streets of the city into the epicenter of cultural events that revolve around the concept of game and which every year sees the participation of a delegation from a different country.

Centomiglia - Bogliaco

The Centomiglia international sailing regatta is undoubtedly one of the most important water sports events on Lake Garda and generally takes place on the second Sunday of September with departure in the morning from the port of Bogliaco, located a short distance from Gargnano. The 2023 edition will be held from 2nd to 3rd September

The best European sailors, for a total of about 350 crews, meet to compete against each other on the largest lake in Italy.

The famous one-hundred miles wind along a route that passes near Torbole, Acquafresca, Desenzano del Garda and Manerba del Garda for a total of 8 hours of competition, even if the boats often arrive at the finish line already in the middle of the night.

In the meantime, spectators can spend the day in the harbor bar and on the lakefront where they can welcome the winners with a well-deserved toast.

Centomiglia Lake Garda


International Festival of Choirs and Orchestras on Lake Garda

Also known as the Lake Garda Music Festival, it is one of the most important cultural events of the year. The scenery of Lake Garda welcomes choirs and orchestras from all over Italy and the world, offering the possibility of performing in places full of charm such as Riva del Garda or Limone sul Garda, where a perfect union is created among art, music, history and landscape.

The Lake Garda Music Festival will take place from 19th to 23rd October 2023.


Credits: some images taken from the websites, and