Hiking at lake Garda: The most beautiful tours amid stunning scenery

Updated on16.02.2022
Biggi & Flo from the travel blog Phototravellers


The most beautiful hikes all around Lake Garda

Easy hikes for families & difficult tours for real mountaineers

Oh, Bella Italia. Visiting Lake Garda is always a real pleasure. And not only because they have the best pizzas and pasta. And let’s not forget the ice cream. But everything’s just right at Lake Garda. The weather, the surroundings, the lake, the Italian flair. I just love Italy. What I like even more, though, is the view from a mountaintop over Lake Garda and beautiful mountain tours all around the lake in general. For this reason, I’ll show you the most beautiful hikes all around Lake Garda in this article.

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Climbing mountains at Lake Garda

Up here on a mountain I can leave all my cares behind and, at the same time, enjoy the view of the giant blue lake. The perfect combination. Even after the most beautiful mountain tour, you just have to dive into the cool waters of Lake Garda. And pizza, pasta and ice cream taste so much better after a long hike, don’t they?

The mountains around Lake Garda offer hikes for the whole family, mountaineers and hobby climbers. Lake Garda is a true outdoor paradise. We take you along and show you our top hikes at Lake Garda. We also have a lot of other hikes divided into easy, intermediate and difficult. If you still feel like exploring Lake Garda after an exhausting hike, you should definitely check out our top sights at Lake Garda. And we also have a few tips for an unforgettable holiday in Italy.

Top hikes at Lake Garda #1: difficult – Monte Cadria

Of course, the highest mountain at Lake Garda cannot be missing from this list. With 2254 metres, Monte Cadria is what we’re talking about here. You can park your car in Lenzumo, directly next to the old church (GPS: N 45 54.749, E 10 43.603 → Google Maps). Trail number 559 is a pretty challenging route that’s well signposted. The old bunkers and machine gun nests from World War II that you pass on the tour are a particularly interesting feature of the hike. Later on, an old trail from World War I leads in the direction of the summit. Serpentines and a narrow, partly exposed path mark the last part of the trail. If you’re a regular mountaineer, you won’t have any problems here. You’ll hike along the mountain ridge and finally reach the destination, the summit of Monte Cadria. The tour is worth it.

Tour information

Top hikes at Lake Garda #2: intermediate – Monte Baldo

Monte Baldo is a tour for the whole family. If you like, you can start the hike directly on the shores of Lake Garda. However, there’s also a cable car up to Monte Baldo. You can already tell that you can adjust the level of this tour according to your strength and fitness. We recommend taking the cable car that takes you up to 1800 metres. Very important: up here, the wind can be pretty cold. So definitely take a jacket.

Cima delle Pozette is one of the highest summits of the Monte Baldo ridge and a very rewarding destination. The hike leads you all the way up to 2132 metres. The tour is relatively simple, but it does require a certain amount of stamina. Still, it is doable for children as well. At a comfortable pace, you’ll need around one and a half hours for the four kilometres to Cima delle Pozette. From up here, you can watch the many surfers, sailors and people on the shore. The view is simply superb.

Tour information

Top hikes at Lake Garda #3: easy – thoroughly relaxing hike around Sirmione

This tour is perfectly suitable for lake lovers and bon viveurs. Then there’s also the fact that Sirmione is one of the most beautiful towns at Lake Garda. Here in the south, the climate is even milder. The flowers blossom for a longer time and the ice cream is simply delicious. First, you walk towards the entrance with the famous Scaligero Castle of Sirmione. This is where the short hike around Sirmione starts. From the beautiful rocky beach, you’ll hike all the way around the northern part of the island. In the beginning, you’ll still be meeting a few people, but then the area gets a lot quieter while the birds’ chirps become more prominent and one beautiful view is followed by another. This tour is balm for the soul and your inner well-being. Watch out: Stones can fall from the rock faces at any moment, especially when rain has made them loose.

Tour information

Other beautiful hikes around Lake Garda

We’ve already covered three of the most popular tours. These are more than enough, especially if you’re only staying for a long weekend. However, if you want to hike for more than one day, we have a few more tips for you that are absolutely worth it. Have fun with these cool hiking routes at Lake Garda. We’ve again divided the tours into easy, intermediate and difficult according to your fitness level.

easy: Summit Monte Bestone

This tour up to Monte Bestone starts from the parking site at the Hotel Le Balze in Voltino (Tremosine sul Garda). You’ll be following the hiking trail 211. During the tour, you’ll have a stunning view of Lake Garda at all times. It won’t be long until you see the summit of Monte Bestone. The whole tour only takes 1.5 hours, offers great views and can also be embarked on spontaneously.

Tour information

easy: Hike through the Valley of the Paper Mills

You’ll start the tour in Toscolano-Maderno. The trail into the so-called Valle delle Cartiere, which means Valley of the Paper Mills, is suitable for the whole family. From Maderno, you’ll just follow the signs to Gaino. Soon, you’ll come across the first industrial ruins from the time of the paper mills. Since 1381, paper has been produced in this region. You can learn more about this in the paper museum. The whole Valley of the Paper Mills is perfect for capturing great photo subjects. You can either enter the valley now or turn back, or you can opt for a little round trip to Gaino to the Chiesa San Michele and back to Toscolano-Maderno.

Tour information

easy: Hike up to Monte Pizzocolo

Monte Pizzocolo is the highest mountain of the southwestern part of Lake Garda with an elevation of 1581 metres. Its look alone has been the cause for spectacular names like Napoleon’s Nose (Naso di Napoleone) or Evening Mountain (Monte Sera) (“Sera” ohne Akzent auf dem A). The normal trail leads along the Malga Valle. It’s pretty long but easy to do. In case you’re looking for a challenge, choose the option via the southeast ridge and Cresta Est. You will, however, have to climb and have a lot of experience.

Tour information

easy: Round trip Cascate di canai – Cascata Piovere

This tour to the Cascata Piovere starts directly at a parking site in Aer, which is part of the village of Tignale. As the name suggests, you’ll experience stunning cascades and waterfalls here. The entire trail is in the shade and later on, you can cool down in the puddles and streams. The photo subjects are gorgeous.

Tour information

easy: Bunker on Monte Brione

If you’re a fan of easier tours but still want to see some of the countless bunker ruins at Lake Garda, I recommend this tour up to Monte Brione. It doesn’t take long and leads you to a great summit. You’ll start at the lakeshore of the beautiful town Torbole at the Hotel Angelini. The trail is easy and leads upwards in serpentines. From the summit, you have a stunning view of Torbole and Lake Garda. From the middle artillery battery, where there are already some bunkers, you can also walk to the northern artillery battery. The latter is the oldest unit on Monte Brione.

Tour information

easy: Madonna di Montecastello – Monte Castello

This hike leads you to the Madonna di Montecastello – a pilgrimage church. The hike is easy, doesn’t take more than 20 minutes and leads from the monastery to the summit of Monte Castello. From there, you have a great view including the summit cross. This cross is situated on an old bunker as well. On the top, there’s an observation deck. You can either take the same way back or follow the trail 266 further along. You’ll reach Prabione and follow the Via Campogrande. Eventually, you’ll pass the Museo Parco Alto Garda Bresciano.

Tour information

intermediate: Monte Tomeabrù

The hike up to Monte Tomeabrù is very rich in views and shaped by wartime. The tour stays exciting the whole time. For example, the Rifugio Pernici was built to house Austrian officers. Another fascinating lost place is an old military hospital in Bocca Saval. Shortly before reaching the ruins, the trail will lead you in the direction of the cross of Carèt and the summit of Monte Tomeabrù. In spring and summer, you’ll find many flowers on all the meadows. Altogether, the tour is really beautiful.

Tour information

intermediate: Monte Cocca

Monte Cocca is particularly popular because the tour is suitable for the whole family and you have a stunning view of Lake Ledro. You’ll start in Pieve di Ledro, walk through the village and turn onto Via Rabaglia. You follow the signs of the trail SAT 454 – obviously in the direction of Bocca di Monte Cocca. The views from the summit are breathtaking.

Tour information

intermediate: From Nago up to Monte Altissimo

The name Monte Altissimo obviously entices us as mountain lovers. With its 2079 metres, this is the northernmost summit of the Monte Baldo massif. You have a couple of options for this tour. Possibly the most comfortable one is to drive up to 1,550 metres and start a circular hike to the summit via Malga Campo (1630m) from there. On Monte Altissimo, the Refugio Altissimo awaits. The hike is pretty easy and follows well-constructed trails, but it is quite long and requires a lot of stamina. If this circular hike is too long for you, you can also hike directly to the summit from the parking site. This option only takes about two hours.

Tour information

difficult: Via ferrata up to Cima Capi and Cima Rocca

Starting point for this tour is a place called Biaces. When leaving this town, you’ll find the sign in the direction of Cima Capi. The level of difficulty of this particular via ferrata is B. Other than that, you won’t get enough of the fantastic views and you’ll have a lot of fun climbing some more difficult parts. After reaching the summit of Cima Capi, you have the possibility to climb Cima Rocca as well. If you wish to do so, just follow the signs to the Ferrata F. Susatti. Once on the top, you’ll be walking through rock faces as well as old trenches and wartime tunnels from World War I. On Cima Rocca, there’s even a summit cross waiting for you.

Tour information

difficult: Hike up to Cima d’Oro from Molina

Cima d’Oro is located at 1,802 metres. From Molina at Lake Ledro, you can hike up to the beautiful summit with a view. The highlight on the tour: a statue of Madonna di Besta which sits high above Lake Ledro. During the hike, you’ll also pass further witnesses of World War I, such as a commemorative cross. After a while, you’ll reach Cima d’Oro. Important: In case of snow, you should carry crampons and have experience.

Tour information

difficult: Garda Trek – hikes for long-distance hikers

If you’re looking for a long-distance hike at Lake Garda, you should check out the Garda Trek. There’s a total of three routes in different altitudes. While the first two options offer stunning panoramic views, great flora and fauna as well as olive groves and castles, the third option is very challenging. The latter route takes about a week and is often called an adventure tour. The Trek leads across the cliffs of Lake Garda and into the high mountain region of Monte Stivo and Altissimo. The highlight of the tour: a night in a mountain hut with a view of the starry sky.

What you should know about Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the holiday destination for Germans. Doesn’t matter if its for a long weekend, at Easter or in summer. Everybody wants to spend their holiday at Lake Garda. But Italy’s biggest lake does indeed have a lot to offer. A mild climate, warm water, nice beaches, delicious food and countless outdoor activities make it a unique destination and attract lots of German visitors. Hiking, climbing, biking, sailing, kitesurfing – at Lake Garda, you can do it all without having to travel too far.

What mountains are there around Lake Garda?

The so-called Garda Mountains are an extensive mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps. In northern Italy, this includes the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. Brescia is located in the west, Verona in the east and Trento in the north. The highest summit is Monte Cadria with 2254 metres. When talking about the Limestone Alps, we mean the limestone that the Garda Mountains consist of. The centre for hiking and climbing is a town called Arco. There are also two nature parks at Lake Garda. The Parco Alto Garda Bresciano is located in the west, the Parco naturale locale del Monte Baldo in the east of the lake with the distinctive Monte Baldo range.

What other kind of trips can you go on at Lake Garda?

Apart from beautiful hiking tours, the towns all around Lake Garda are perfect for strolling around, eating ice cream and going out at night. We’ve compiled a list of all the important things to know about Lake Garda in our top sights. By the way, you should also take a look at the other most beautiful lakes around Lake Garda. A very special insider tip is the Tortellini Festival in Borghetto that takes place once a year. And of course, a day trip to beautiful Verona is a must. This city is just brilliant.

Where to sleep at Lake Garda – our very special hotel tips

If you’re an outdoor freak, we would recommend a nice camping site. A friend who’s also into climbing told us to try Camping Zoo Arco (GPS: N 45 55.958, E 10 53.572 → Google Maps). Here you meet likeminded people quickly in an extremely relaxed environment. If you’re not the camping type at all, then you should take a closer look at our hotel tips. A very popular hotel at Lake Garda is the Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda* in Gargnano. The 5-star hotel is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and has to offer an incredible luxury spa that leaves nothing to be desired. Here, you can thoroughly enjoy your time off. In Malcesine, we recommend the Hotel Castello Lake Front*. The 4-star boutique hotel is very modern and rewards its guests with a spectacular view. If you’re on a shoestring budget, we also have two amazing hotel tips for you. The 3-star Hotel Al Caminetto* in Torri del Benaco invites you to relax in its beautiful garden and is among the region’s most popular hotels. The 2-star Garda Family House* in Brenzone sul Garda is another excellent and at the same time budget-friendly option. If you prefer to stay at a more private holiday flat or luxury estate, we have a little gift for you: a 25-euro discount on Airbnb*.

The best pizzas after a hike

We can recommend a few restaurants that we really like and where you can definitely find a bite to eat after a nice tour. In Torbole, we highly recommend Al Pescatore. The pizzas are huge and very delicious. You should also check out the Pizzeria Al Porto, which is in Torbole as well. In the evening, there are always pretty long queues but it’s definitely worth the wait. The pizzas are enormous, absolutely delicious and taste like the best pizza in the world after returning from a mountain tour. However, the following rule holds true for Italy: if there’s a queue somewhere, then maybe look around and choose another place. After all, it’s truly hard to find a bad restaurant in Italy.

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