Italy Spring 2022 - Lake Garda

Lake Garda was a spot I had been reading about in a mountain biking book but hadn’t considered going there because I didn’t think my wife would want to. It turns out she had heard about it and suggested we go there instead of hanging in Milan or going to Lake Como like I suggested.

There are many towns around Lake Garda’s 100 mile lake. We had read Riva del Garda, a town on the northern part of the lake was the spot for biking, hiking and one of the nicer beaches.

Riva del Garda felt like a spot where Europeans go to have a quiet, relaxing vacation near a picturesque lake. Night life there was nonexistent, restaurants closed earlier than the Italian normal and one of the restaurants we went to said “no” to a couple of people who just wanted a drink at 10:00pm. Of the people we crossed while there we met/heard zero Americans. German, Swiss, English and Italians and a group of what we think were Russian/Romanian/Slovak bros trying to get turned up every night. Because the town is close to the Dolomites there is a bit of Austrian influence as seen with their restaurants and shops. There are also those authentic Italian restaurants as well like Ristorante Albergo La Montanara and Osteria Pane Salame. The town is separated, in what we called, old town and new town. We stayed in the newer part of town staying at the LakeFront Mirage and was nicely centrally located. Old Town was about a 15-20 minute walk away or we could rent their city bikes for like $10. Since Riva is such a walkable place, it really didn't matter much where you stayed.

The area is unbelievable in terms of it’s beauty. The lake is huge, blue and clear. The mountains that stand 5000’ above you can be seen all throughout town. It’s an amazing place to just sit and watch the day go by or better yet having appertivo. Wind surfing and sailing seem to be popular there as everyday somebody was out there.

(e)MTB While there we made plans to rent mountain bikes and ride Altissimo - 3 miles of 3600' of goodness. We couldn’t find any full suspension nonmotorized mountain bikes. We checked every shop and there was one guy who had literally one that looked not well taken care of. So we said screw it gives us ebikes. The ladies at Garda Bike Shop got us on ebikes and scheduled for a shuttle for Altissimo. This is of note and importance as well, the shuttle took about 45 minutes of twisting mountainous roads. By the end of the shuttle I was close to losing my breakfast. I’m not sure how we would of biked up this road with a normal bike, it would’ve taken 3 hours! At the end of the shuttle, we realized again why there weren’t any nonmotorized bikes. The trail was loose, rocky and steep as hell. The ebikes crushed though and made quick work, maybe 30 minutes. While on the trail I kept relishing in this fact that a lot of the sections would be hike-a-bike. We made it to the top, what a view! Reminds me of the German country side that I have only seen in photos. Then we go look at Altissimo, not so stoked, remembered the words the shuttle driver told us that it’s going to be wet from the night rain, the words from the woman at the bike shop who said the other trail has better flow and bailed on Altissmo. We ended up riding the other trail down. (Monte Altissimo Malgo Campo)

It was still rowdy. Like get ready to pucker your butt rowdy. Rocky. Loose. Steepest thing I’ve personally been on. I would consider myself a decent rider, not great but decent, and some sections of this 4,000’ descent were above me. Rocks were kicking up, it was control sliding through slightly wet grass and mud. Controlled sliding through the tree section that was litered with leaves. I had fun and would do it again on a dry day and knowing what I was getting into but still. Rough stuff.

After a day of riding we did do some hiking and did our tourist thing taking the hotel bikes to the lake, took in views and just enjoyed the area.

The biking we did on the city trail was the Ciclabile Mori. It takes you along the coast of the lake and into the town of Torbole then eventually Nago. Very easy flat riding. Worth the views and seeing the country side.

The hiking we did was the Monte Brione trail. It was surprisingly long and steep but not a bad hike for a nice morning. Again, great views where you can see the entire town while standing on top of an old military lookout and check out the three castles that overlook that town.

You Might Also Like