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Lake Garda hiking

Where is the best place to go hiking on Lake Garda? This question is easy to answer:
Lake Garda is not only a popular destination for sun worshippers, mountain bikers and water sports enthusiasts, but also a paradise for hikers. The region around the lake offers a variety of hiking trails of varying difficulty and scenic beauty.

Among other outdoor activities, we love hiking and are always looking for new challenges and new routes. Unfortunately, we sometimes suffer from slight overconfidence and think: What are 17 km and 800 meters of altitude, that’s easy. Well, 17 km in the Palatinate Forest on paved trails is something different than 17 km in alpine terrain. So far, we’ve done it all and in this post we’ll give you a little overview of hiking options on Lake Garda. Don’t worry: there are also hikes suitable for children.

Where is the best place to go hiking on Lake Garda? Great view from Monte Altissimo

Lake Garda Hiking – The North Shore

The northern part of the lake is characterized by mountainous landscape. Both in Riva del Garda and Torbole start some hiking routes and via ferrata. A recommended hike is the ascent to Monte Brione. Monte Brione is a hill on the northern shore of Lake Garda and offers one of the best hikes in the region. The route starts in Riva del Garda and goes through olive groves and vineyards to the top of the hill. The panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding countryside is spectacular. In the hinterland towards Arco there are also beautiful hiking routes that are not too crowded in summer.

East and West Shores – Is this the best place to hike on Lake Garda?

The eastern and western shores are where most of the hiking routes are located. The eastern shore of the lake is overlooked by Monte Baldo, a mountain with a unique alpine flora that has earned it the nickname “Garden of Europe”. There are numerous hiking trails to discover here, at various levels of difficulty. A popular route is the path from Malcesine to Monte Baldo. The hike takes about 4 hours and leads through forests, across alpine meadows and past spectacular rock formations.

If you don’t want to hike the arduous path to the summit, you can take the cable car or the standing lift up to Monte Baldo.

Other highlights on the eastern shore include the hike from Castello di Brenzone to the ghost village of Campo di Brenzone, the trail from Garda to Punta San Vigilio, the Lake Garda Panorama Trail from Busatte to Tempesta, or even a hike to Altissimo.

Where is the best place to go hiking on Lake Garda? Stony path from Monte Altissimo

On the opposite side, the western shore of Lake Garda, are the peaks of Garda Trentino. Here you can also find numerous hiking trails of various levels of difficulty. Among the most popular routes are the one from Pieve di Termosine to Campione or the Paper Mill Valley. The tour to the so-called Valle delle Cartiere route starts in Toscolano-Maderno and is suitable for the whole family.
A special highlight is the “walk” in Limone towards Riva del Garda. Here you can admire the longest and most spectacular balcony in Italy. The spectacular bike and pedestrian path was opened in 2018 and is 2 km long.

For us, the eastern and western shores are the best for hiking on Lake Garda. Our highlights on the west shore in the Tremosine region are:


Hikes in the south of Lake Garda


Hiking Lake Garda Sirmione

To the south of Lake Garda stretch rolling hills covered with lush vineyards and olive groves. Here you will also find wide lakeshores with easily accessible swimming beaches and pleasantly warm water. The landscape is characterized by stately villas with surrounding cypresses, bougainvillea, oleander and palm trees. Hidden in the hills are wineries rich in tradition and Roman villas bear witness to the rich cultural history of this region.

Here you can take a hike around Sirmione. The starting point for the short hike around Sirmione is the entrance to the famous Scaliger Castle. From here we first go to the beautiful stone beach and then continue around the northern part of the island. Especially in summer it is extremely crowded in Sirmione, so it makes sense to plan or approach this tour outside the main season.

Hiking on Lake Garda – Excursions

In addition to countless hiking tours directly on the lake, there are also hiking excursions to other regions around the lake. These include, among others, Lake Ledro, Lake Idro or the Vizentine Alps. There is the spectacular walk “Strada delle 52 Gallerie”. Moreover, the Dolomites region is not far and quickly reachable by car. There are also countless hiking opportunities there. We made a stop in Villanders some time ago when traveling to the Lago. There is a beautiful, but also challenging hike to the Sarner Scharte.

FAQ about hiking on Lake Garda

Where is possible to hike on Lake Garda with children?

There are many hiking routes that are also suitable for children. These include the Paper Mill Valley, the Lake Garda panoramic path from Busatte to Tempesta, the bike/pedestrian path from Limone towards Riva or the circular walk around Sirmione.

What shoes do we recommend for hiking on Lake Garda?

Sturdy shoes or hiking boots: remember, many hikes are in alpine terrain. There it is often rocky, or sometimes slippery. Surefootedness is essential, so we recommend sturdy shoes or hiking boots. We have seen people walking with flip-flops to Punta Larici, there are no words…

What other equipment is recommended for hiking on Lake Garda?

We always carry a backpack with drinks and a few bars. Be sure to take enough to drink, we have experienced situations where it was extremely hot and we ran out of water. On some hikes you will find fountains to fill your water bottles, but you can’t rely on them. By the way, we use our Deuter Bike backpacks. The filling volume is absolutely sufficient with 18Liters, the backpacks are very comfortable, so we have not purchased extra hiking backpacks for day trips.

When choosing your hiking clothes, it’s important to look for lightweight, breathable and quick-drying materials. After all, you don’t want to be wet and sweaty when hiking. Every gram counts on hikes, even when it comes to clothing. Merino wool or synthetic fabrics such as polyester or polyamide are particularly suitable.

Caution: avoid wearing cotton clothing at all costs when hiking. Cotton absorbs and stores moisture, and also dries very slowly. When wet, it sticks to the skin and can cause chafing. Additionally, you cool down quickly if it’s even a little windy!
Please also think of sun protection and a suitable headgear! Especially in the summer, you can quickly get a sunburn.

For easy tours such as on the bike/foot path from Limone towards Riva or the Sirmione circuit, “normal” clothing is also possible. However, you should still avoid flip-flops.

Walking sticks:
Even if it sometimes looks funny and some people think you go skiing: Hiking poles can sometimes be very helpful and supportive! With correct use, they can protect the knee and ankle joints and relieve the leg muscles. In difficult and uneven terrain, hiking poles also act as helpful stabilizers for balance. Especially for steep ascents and descents, their use has proven! Walking with poles requires some practice, so their use should not be continuous, but targeted!

How do I find suitable hiking routes on Lake Garda?

We mostly use Outdooractive to research and plan our hikes. In addition, we also use online portals such as Bergfex or Komoot. When planning, you should get detailed information about the route. We have already had the experience with the given ratings that routes were awarded too easily for our sensation. Conversely, some routes are also rated more difficult than they actually are.
A recommendable hiking guide is the one by Florian Fritz, which also features particularly attractive hikes for children.

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