Malcesine Italy- Things to do

Malcesine

The dreamy town of Malcesine lies on the eastern shore of Lake Garda and at the foot of Monte Baldo. In this little city, you can enjoy the originality of Italy to the fullest. The Scaliger castle mainly characterizes the cityscape of Malcesine on the angular rock. The old castle seems to be elevated over the lake and the old town. The picturesque city with its medieval flair is undoubtedly a must-see in the region around Lake Garda. It has narrow medieval streets, shops, and cafés that invite you to stroll and linger. Take your time to let this original place take effect. Be sure to turn into the small streets of the city. You can discover magical locations, small beaches, and fairytale houses away from the usual tourist paths. The most famous destinations in Malcesine include the Scaliger Castle, the Church of Santo Stefano, and the Pallazo Dei Capitani.

Malcesine del Garda

Parish Church of Santo Stefano

Follow the old streets uphill in a southern direction from the city center, and you will reach the parish church of Santo Stefano. The baroque church was built in 1729. It harmonizes wonderfully with the romantic flair of the picturesque village.
In the church, you can admire beautiful altarpieces in heavy, pathetic colors of the Italian Baroque. Particularly worth seeing are the altars of the hermits Benigno and Carlo canonized in the 18th century and the “Altars of the Seven Joys” from 1771. In the church, you will find a tabernacle from the 15th century and the altarpiece Girolamo dai Libris.

Santo Stefano Malcesine
Image source: Wikimedia

Palazzo del Capitano del Lago

Your way to the Scaliger castle leads you past the Venetian governor’s former palace from the 13th century. A view from Lake Garda’s inner courtyard lets you immerse yourself in Mediterranean flair with palm trees and beautiful flowers.

Porto Vecchio – The old port

On the way to Castello Scaligero, you should let the quaint old port act as a unique attraction. The ramp on which boats were once pulled ashore is now a small relaxation area with artistic stone sculptures. Enjoy the view of original, simple old houses with restaurants and souvenir shops.

Malcesine Porto Vecchio
Image source: Wikimedia

Scaliger Castle near Malcesine on Lake Garda

The defiant Scaliger Castle, also known as Rocca or Castello Scaligero, towers on a steep rock. Majestic dovetail pinnacles crown the castle. When you see the castle, you will inevitably feel like you are in the Middle Ages. Without any modifications, you could make a film about the Middle Ages in Italy. The magnificent view of the Lago di Garda and the quaint walls inspire many wedding photographers so that you will discover couples posing in this unique sight. You can walk in Goethe’s path, but do not emulate him too much, because the poet was arrested in this very castle. When he visited the Malcesine castle, he was accused of having drawn plans of the fortress as a spy. After clearing up the misunderstanding, the Italians recognized its effect as an ambassador for the beauty of Lake Garda.

Scaliger Castle in Malcesine Italy
Image source: Pinterest

Courtyards of Scaliger Castle

The well-preserved castle has been a protected national monument since 1902. It consists of three interlocking inner courtyards.


In the first courtyard of the Scaliger Castle, just behind the entrance gate, is the impressive Palazzo Inferiore, which houses the Museo del Garda and the Museo del Baldo. The museums are primarily devoted to geological finds and the development of the Val di Sogno (Valley of Dreams).

Malcesine Scaliger Castle
Image source: Pinterest


The second courtyard of the Scaliger castle near Malcesine is fully dedicated to the famous visitor Goethe. A Goethe Museum has been set up in a former Austrian powder chamber, where Goethe’s bronze bust is in the front garden.


In the third courtyard is the actual Scaliger castle with the imposing 70-meter high tower. Those who climb up are rewarded with a beautiful view of Lake Garda and Malcesine.
The view from the walls of the third courtyard is also impressive. In this courtyard, you can also see a cistern that should secure the residents’ water supply during a siege. It stands in front of a small fishing museum, the Museo Pariani.

Other destinations near Malcesine on Lake Garda

If you are not afraid of heights and the day is sunny, I recommend a cable car ride to the summit region of Monte Baldo. The station is not far from the city of Malcesine. Enjoy the unique view over Lake Garda and the region’s southern Alpine peaks, which are well worth seeing. Nowhere else is so easy to get to Monte Baldo. The cable car overcomes a height difference of 1680 meters in less than ten minutes.

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