Malcesine is also a place rich in history and culture: a walk through the old town will take you through the centuries, and there will certainly be opportunities to taste the typical cuisine of the area.
Ready to start your tour of this charming little town? Discover the best things to do in Malcesine, Lake Garda!
Map of Malcesine
Malcesine, like other villages overlooking the lake, has a very ancient history.
Around the second century BC it became a Roman settlement, then passed through the domination of Goths, Lombards, Scaligeri, Venetians, Austrians and finally became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
The old town of Malcesine is built around the Castello Scaligero, the fortress of the city: this medieval village is an interweaving of narrow streets and alleys where you can breathe the authentic atmosphere of a lake village and its typical vaults, courtyards, gardens, restaurants, taverns and shops.
Walking through the center of Malcesine, you can not stop to visit the Palazzo dei Capitani. This palace was built around the fourteenth century by the Della Scala family, lords of Verona who ruled over Lake Garda at the time.
Over the last few decades, various restoration works have brought the Palace to its former glory: the ground floor and the garden are always open to the public, whereas the first floor is open for concerts, conferences or weddings.
The fortress of Malcesine was built by the Lombards in the sixth century AD (probably on the ruins of a Roman fortress) but was restored and expanded under the rule of Alberto Della Scala, lord of Verona, at the end of the thirteenth century: this is the reason for the name that still bears today, Scaliger Castle.
The castle can be accessed from the courtyard, which is also overlooked by the “Casermetta”, i.e. the lodgings of the castle guard. The ground and basement floors house the Museum of Natural History, which boasts an original multimedia approach and offers a complete sensory experience to the visitor.
At the end of the courtyard, a cantilevered balcony over the water offers an enchanting view of the whole Lake Garda.
On the upper floor is the Austrian armoury, now the Goethe Room, where the drawings of the view of Malcesine from Lake Garda signed by the famous German poet are exhibited.
A little curiosity: for its evocative and timeless atmosphere, the Castle of Malcesine is often rented for weddings.
The best experiences around Malcesine
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Malcesine is the ideal destination for lovers of outdoor sports thanks to its proximity to Monte Baldo.
From Malcesine starts the Malcesine – Monte baldo cable car that leads directly to the top of the mountain, perfect for winter sports and to enjoy some fresh air on the hottest summer days.
Monte Baldo is full of trails and paths for trekking and Nordic walking: you can find the ideal route whether you are more experienced walkers or beginners, and you will enjoy a spectacular panoramic view over the lake.
Monte Baldo is also a paradise for mountain bike lovers: whether you are looking for adventurous routes, or you are travelling with children, the wide choice of bike paths will satisfy all your needs.
Finally, if you want to experience the thrill of paragliding, you are in the right place.
The upward currents of the area, in fact, make it possible to climb up to 1.700 meters above sea level, and then descend – after a series of glides and climbs – towards Malcesine.
If you don’t have a licence, don’t worry: you can fly in tandem with an experienced pilot, in complete safety.
Malcesine is a point of reference for all lovers of kitesurfing and windsurfing: in fact, all over upper Lake Garda there is a constant wind that makes it the perfect area for this type of sport.
Actually, there are two different winds: the Peler that blows from the north in the morning, and the Ora that blows from the south from noon onwards.
But of course there are also options for lovers of sailing, or for those who want to try the SUP, or Stand Up Paddling. For equipment and other information, please contact “Europa Surf and Sail” or “Wwwind Square Malcesine“.
If you love cruising, you will be happy to know that Malcesine is one of the stops for ferries and hydrofoils of the public transportation service that cross Lake Garda: a small cruise to enjoy the lake in all its enchanting setting.
If you want, you can also book a private boat tour or rent a boat (maybe a small one, if you don’t have a license), to enjoy your own cruise on Lake Garda. If you are looking for a shorter excursion, you can get to Limone sul Garda, on the opposite side of the Lake, right in front of Malcesine.
Finally, if you prefer sailing, you can cross the lake on an authentic 1926 vessel: the Siora Veronica!
After a hike on the mountain or a long ride, nothing is better than a regenerating bath. Malcesine has a wide choice of beaches: here are the main ones.
Baia di Val di Sogno is a free beach, and in dry periods you can walk to the nearby Isola del Sogno. Close to a parking area, bars and restaurants. Posterna beach is very small but characteristic, and it’s located below the castle.
We have then Paina beach, a free beach with lifeguard and playgrounds, bars and restaurants, and finally Cassone beach, a free pebble beach, just south of Malcesine.
How to get to Malcesine
You can get to Malcesine by car on the A22 Modena – Brennero highway, taking the exit “Rovereto Sud” and then following the signs for the lake, or on the A4 Milan-Venice, taking the Peschiera exit and then going up the lake with the panoramic state road that runs alongside it.