The lake is part of three different regions, which each have their own specialities. But wherever you eat, dining out is a treat - freshwater fish, homemade pasta and excellent wines can be enjoyed in front of shimmering lake views.
For an afternoon treat, head to Salo's Café Vassalli on Via San Carlo. A family business since 1938, it sells sweets, cakes, candied fruit, biscuits and lemon-flavoured goodies – the citrus fruit is one of the region's specialities – including the famed limoncello liquor. Hotel Doumo offers sophisticated dining - try smoked sturgeon for starters followed by lake fish risotto for mains.
Tremisone's Hotel Paradiso has an excellent restaurant. Sip Laguna wine and tuck into spinach and ricotta tortellini, mushroom risotto and polenta taragne, a local speciality where polenta drizzled with a pepper and tomato sauce is served with salty cheese. Meanwhile, Allo Scoglio in Gargnano has an unbeatable terraced setting overlooking the lake and is fantastic for fish.
Trendy Desenzano, the largest town on the lake, is the place to go if you want nightlife action. Try some of the bars around the main square, Piazza Matteotti. Highly recommended clubs include Art Club, Backstage Club, Mazoom and Circus Beat Club. In summer, open air parties are popular.
Bardolino is another option for party animals. Try the Hollywoold club, Orange Disco Garden, and Music Bar Vincent. In Limone, head for the sophisticated wine bar called La Catina del Gato Borracho.