The northern part of the lake is narrower, surrounded by mountains, the majority of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo.
The lake has numerous small islands and five main ones, the largest being Isola del Garda. Nearby to the south is Isola San Biagio, also known as the Isola dei Conigli ("Island of the Rabbits"). Both are offshore of San Felice del Benaco, on the west side.
The three other main islands are Isola dell'Olivo, Isola di Sogno, and Isola di Trimelone, all further north near the east side.
The ancient fortified town of Sirmione, located on the south of the lake, is one particularly popular destination, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, fashion stores and a market.
The picturesque Scaliger castle dates from the 13th century.
The Roman poet Catullus had a villa here, and visitors can see a ruined Roman spa named the Grotte di Catullo (Grotto of Catullus) although there is no evidence linking him to this particular building. The sulfur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for the healing of catarrhal conditions, particularly those involving the ear.
Nearby, there is Gardaland, one of the most famous theme parks in Italy.