Elegance Along the Shores and in the Hills
Italy on Trail
Italy is a country which is packed with ‘must visit’ destinations, which we write about here, but one of the most famous of the natural landscapes is certainly Lake Garda.
Along with Como, Garda is probably one of the world’s most famous lakes, and this is actually Italy’s largest lake. That alone means that there is plenty of space for activities to enjoy, and most of them are of the outdoor variety!
Lake Garda is a very popular holiday destination, and that means there are many hotels, guest houses, and rental apartments to lay your head. There are also many camping grounds, and you can glamp here to your heart’s content!
Where is Lake Garda, and What is it?
Lake Garda is located in the north of Italy, and it is roughly halfway between the two cities of Brescia and Verona. It lies in the regions of Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino. As we mentioned, this is the largest lake in Italy and it was formed at the end of the last known Ice Age. This alpine lake and surrounding mountain range has some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll set your eyes on, so if you love a good view, this is the place for you!
Torri del Benaco, Salò, Limone sul Garda, Sirmione, Riva sul Garda, Malcesine, Lazise and Bardolino are just some of the incredibly picturesque villages that surround the lake.
So why go to Lake Garda for Walking, Hiking or Running?
Beaches, trails, paths, mountains, Via Ferrata, rock climbing and that’s just in the summer.
One of our favourite places is Monte Baldo that reaches 2,218 mt – you can take the Malcesine-Monte Baldo cable car that goes from the shore side village of Malcesine right to the top and walk on one of the many trails that cross the mountain.
One of the most famous trails is the Strada del Ponale in the northern part of the lake. It joins Lake Garda to the Ledro Valley – and although it remained closed for years, it’s now open to cyclists and walkers alike – See HERE for more details. Fore some pics, you can see the official Ponale Website here (in Italian).
Want something more?
If you’re feeling adventurous check out the 450 kilometers (280 mi) “Sentiero della Pace” – CAI path n° O455 –this translates to: The Peace Path, the long-distance waymarked hiking trail that follows the World War One, Austrian – Italian Western Front line. It’s actually part of the Long Distance Footpath E5 (3200km long) that stretches from Brittany in France right through to Italy.
Books and Maps
- Cicerone Press:
“Walking the Italian Lakes” by Gillian Price
50 day walks ranging between 2-13 miles, in the Italian Lakes – Garda, Iseo, Como and Maggiore.
- Sunflower Books:
Walking the Italian Lakes “Landscapes of the ITALIAN LAKES” by David Robertson and Sarah Stewart
- Kompass Maps 1:25000 offer maps of the Area.
Do your research well! This area is popular with walkers, hikers and holiday makers, both Italian and foreign – this means that there is a hefty amount of information available in English. Remember that Lake Garda comes under three regions, therefore it’s administered by three different local authorities. So to get the whole picture, look at all three areas whilst you’re planning your holiday.
- Lake Garda – Veneto side official site
- Lake Garda – Trentino side official site
- Lake Garda – Lombardy side official site
What Trail Race Events can I enter around Lake Garda?
- Garda Trentino Trail takes place in May
- Lake Garda Mountain Race takes place in October
- Limone Extreme Skyrace takes place in October
- Trail della Speranza takes place in July
- Trail dell’ Orsa – Brentino takes place in May
When to go
The spring months and early summer are a great time to head to Lake Garda, when the temperatures are mild to warm and the sun is shining, so late April and into the beginning of June. In Summer months it can get quite hot, so be prepared.
You can easily fly to the nearest airports, either Verona-Villafranca, Brescia-Montichiari, Bergamo, or Milan, and get a coach or train from there to the lake. Alternatively, hire a car and enjoy the scenery!
- It’s perfectly feasible to have a walking or running holiday in Lake Garda without a car.
- The ATV operates Bus transport service on the eastern, Veneto, side of Lake Garda See here for details.
- Trentino Trasporti operates the Bus transport service on Trentino part of Lake Garda. See here for details.
- Navigation – Ferries are operated by Navigazione Laghi – site has a Lake Garda guide, route timetables and maps.
- See Brescia Mobilità for the Lombardy side of Lake Garda transport
- The Garda Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
- Why not take a wine tour and discover some of Lake Garda’s wines: Lugana, Bardolino, Amarone, Valpolicella.
- Spend a day or two in Verona. If you go in the Opera season, don’t miss a visit to the Arena, and perhaps catch one of the magnificent productions.
- The Parco Sigurtà – These picturesque gardens are sublime, this outing makes a lovely change to the trails, and will sure to mesmerize and enchant the senses.
- The list goes on! Aside from that, if you’re traveling with kids, or you simply want to scream at the top of your lungs, check out Gardaland, a theme park set in the wonder of nature!