RIVA DEL GARDA
On the north tip of Lake Garda is Riva del Garda, the main centre of Trentino’s Garda region, at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites.
A favourite destination those who love sailing, windsurfing, hiking, cycling and climbing, Riva del Garda also boasts a long history, which has given us many places of artistic interest such as fortifications, religious architecture and museums.
Come and discover the city that hosted Kafka, Nietzsche and Mann!
Discover Riva del Garda
The city of Riva del Garda is located in a strategic position, on the northern tip of the lake, and for this reason it was fortified since the time of the Roman Empire.
During the Middle Ages it passed under the control of the Della Scala family, lords of Verona, and later of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
Entering the city, you will find yourself in front of the medieval walls which enclose the old town. Walking through the alleys towards the lake, you can reach the Fortress (Rocca), first built in the 12th century, that today hosts the Alto Garda Museum.
Near the Rocca are located two other important places of historic and artistic interest: the Praetorian Palace (dating back to 1375), and the Apponale Tower (built in the 13th century) with its anzolim (= little angel) on the top, guarding the main square of Riva del Garda. Remember that the tower is closed in December, January and February.
If you want to take a short walk (20 mins, more or less) you can reach the top of the Bastion, the tower overlooking the city: the landscape will reward you for your effort. But if you want to walk a little more outside the old town, you can reach the church of Santa Maria Maddalena and the Tower of San Giovanni, that overlook Riva del Garda and the upper Lake Garda.
The Alto Garda Museum is located inside the town’s Fortress, a fortification with an ancient history: it was built in the 12th century to defend the town’s port, at that time a fundamental junction for trade to and from Trentino. Since the 1950s it has been the seat of the Civic Museum, which it still houses today.
Museo Alto Garda includes a picture gallery with the landscapes of painters who, in the nineteenth century, were fascinated by the magical atmosphere of the lake, such as Pietro Ricchi, Vincenzo Vela and Francesco Hayez.
The MAG also houses two historical sections: the first is dedicated to archaeology from the Palaeolithic to the early Middle Ages, while the second is dedicated to more recent history, up to the Second World War. The Museum also hosts several temporary installations throughout the year.
Riva del Garda, thanks to the mountains that overlook the lake, is the ideal place for all mountain sports. The area of Riva del Garda is full of perfect routes for lovers of hiking and mountain biking. For example, you can go on an excursion to Monte Brione, the wedge-shaped mountain that cuts the coast in two: it is not a particularly difficult route, but it offers a spectacular view of the lake and you can also visit many forts of the First World War.
If you like breathtaking views, you will surely be enchanted by the Busatte-Tempesta path: it is a path literally suspended on the side of the mountain, at the end of which you will also find Busatte Adventure Park.
Alternatively, you can also take the road from the Bastion to Santa Barbara, the little church built by the miners during the work on the new power plant: a path rich in history and with an incredible view on the lake. Just a few kilometres from Riva there is also Varone Falls, a cave dug by water in the last 20 000 years: don’t forget to bring a kway!
But there are really a lot of bike paths and mountain bike routes: the most spectacular one is certainly the Ponale road, bike path that leads from Riva del Garda to Val di Ledro (and the small lake of the same name).
If you prefer a shorter route, you can spend an afternoon on the bike path that leads from Sarca to Arco. If you are not an experienced cyclist, you will find e-bike rentals everywhere: a perfect solution to enjoy the view and the sun on your face, but without struggling uphill!
Riva del Garda, together with the nearby Arco, is considered a real paradise for climbing in Europe: with six sectors and more than sixty routes, you will find options for all tastes and for all difficulties, but above all incredible views between sky, rock and lake.
But there are also hiking trails, such as “Via dell’amicizia” and “Fausto Susatti”, perfect for those who love hiking and want to start this type of activity: very often they are routes rich in history, because they are the ones that the soldiers used during the First World War.
There are also numerous equipped paths, such as the path “Mario Foletti”, which are less demanding than the hiking trails and perfect for beginners.
Given its location, Riva del Garda is the ideal destination for water sports: the whole area of Upper Garda is perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing, thanks to the winds that blow over the lake, but you can also opt for an excursion by sailboat or catamaran.
Moreover, not everyone knows that Lake Garda is also very interesting for diving lovers, especially in the area of Riva: here you can dive in the areas “Sperone”, “Baia Azzurra” and “Porto San Nicolò”. A little gem: diving from the latter, you can admire the statue of the submerged Christ, about 15 meters deep.
If you like excursions on the lake, you can choose between several options: first of all, there is the navigation service on Lake Garda, which connects Riva with Peschiera, on the southern shore of the lake. In addition, the wind that blows constantly on Lake Garda makes this area ideal for excursions by sailboat or catamaran.
Usually, the excursions start in the morning, taking advantage of the Peler wind, which blows from the north, or in the afternoon, taking advantage of the hour that blows from the south. If the season allows it, it is an excellent opportunity for a dip in the lake!
In this small village that overlooks the lake, you could certainly not miss the beaches! Here are the most famous ones:
The most famous beach in Riva del Garda is “Spiaggia dei Sabbioni“, a pebble and grass beach with free access, with a playground for children, bars, restaurants and showers.
Spiaggia dei Pini is a pebble beach surrounded by greenery with a kiosk for music and aperitifs; it is also the ideal area for windsurfing!
Finally, there is the small Miralago beach, a little more sheltered, perfect for those seeking total relaxation.
How to get to Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda is easily accessible by all means of transport: if you arrive by car, the nearest highway exit is Rovereto, on the A22. But there are also two scenic roads that run along the lake, namely the “western Gardesana” and the “eastern Gardesana”.
If you arrive by public transport, you can take the train to Rovereto and then the bus that connects the train station with Riva del Garda. Finally, the most spectacular way to get to the city is certainly the boat that crosses the lake, starting from Peschiera.