The largest of Italy’s lakes, Lake Garda has been the summer retreat of Ancient Roman writers and European royalty for centuries. The area’s balmy climate, sheltered by mountains, makes it ideal for outdoor activities and scenic promenades. Lavish Renaissance palazzi have been transformed into designer hotels and old inns have been given a sleek makeover.

The deluxe Lefay Resort and Spa, perched high above the sleepy lakeside town of Gargnano, is a popular choice for luxury lovers. You can luxuriate in the heated infinity pool with its gorgeous views across Lake Garda or pamper yourself at a wellness spa that has won awards for improving clients’ sleep and posture. The hotel is surrounded by a 27-acre wooded nature park and offers stunning panoramic views of the lake.

If you’re looking for something more laid-back, head to the homely agriturismo Hotel Meridiana. The family-run hotel has rooms with quaint balconies and boasts its own olive groves, where you can pick up your morning caffe while gazing out onto the lake. You can also sample the simple Mediterranean cuisine served in the restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling glass doors look out on the pristine waters and mountain ranges in the distance.

In the southern shore town of Lazise, book a stay at the elegant Villa Cortine Palace Hotel. Set in a grand villa, the hotel has large and bright rooms with charming balconies. The gardens are dotted with palm trees and statues and overlook the lake, which is the backdrop for the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant. Diners can sit at tablecloth-covered tables and feast on the highest quality wines from Lake Garda’s vineyards. best hotels lake garda