10 Best Things to do in Riva del Garda, Italy
Riva del Garda and its surroundings are a real paradise for lovers of outdoor sports: trekking, cycling, windsurfing and more. However, in Riva del Garda there is much to see even for those looking for a day of tranquility and relaxation. So let’s find out together what to see and what to do both for those looking for sport and adventure and for those who just want to spend a quiet day, walking around one of the prettiest villages on the lake.
Riva del Garda Historical Center
The first thing to see in Riva del Garda is the beautiful and intimate historic center, with the beautiful Piazza III novembre undisputed protagonist. Unlike other villages in Riva del Garda there are no narrow streets but everything is very open, with amazing views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Right in the historic center of Riva del Garda, in addition to many bars and restaurants where you can eat or drink, you will find the Alto Garda Museum and the Apponale Tower.
The Apponale Tower stands out on Piazza III Novembre, right in the center of the town of Riva del Garda. It is 34 meters high and can be visited at a cost of 2 euros. The current appearance with the straight roof instead of the traditional Germanic dome dates back to the restructuring of the 1920s, when Upper Garda became part of Italy. If you look closely at the top you will see a fluttering angel: it is the Anzolim, the symbol of Riva del Garda.
Rocca di Riva
Looking at Riva del Garda from a floor plan, the beautiful medieval fortress certainly stands out: the Rocca di Riva which lies on a sort of artificial islet, bathed by Lake Garda. This fortress was built in 1124 with the aim of protecting the town of Riva from any attacks on the port, a nerve center for trade. Over the years, the fortress has undergone several renovations and has been devastated several times as the victim of clashes between different families. In the 1500s, when Riva del Garda was under the Habsburg rule, the Rocca became the residence of the court of the bishopric. In the nineteenth century, however, it was transformed into an army barracks.
MAG – Museo dell’Alto Garda
Today the Rocca di Riva houses the MAG, the Alto Garda Museum. Inside there are permanent sections, spaces for temporary exhibitions and spaces for carrying out various laboratory activities. The central courtyard of the Rocca, on the other hand, becomes a perfect stage for hosting shows and events that are held throughout the year in the beautiful Riva del Garda.
But let’s go back to MAG. The permanent sections of the Alto Garda Museum are the Pinacoteca, which houses paintings by nineteenth-century painters such as Pietro Ricchi, Vincenzo Vela and Francesco Hayez and the Archaeological Section, with finds belonging to the Copper Age. In the path dedicated to the history of Riva del Garda, the entire period of its denominations is covered.
These permanent sections are flanked by temporary exhibitions that take place throughout the year relating to both contemporary culture and the landscape. To conclude the visit, we recommend climbing the Rocca tower, which offers an extraordinary view of the city of Riva and the whole of Lake Garda.
MAG Alto Garda Museum
Piazza C. Battisti, 3 / A
tel. 0464 573869
Riva del Garda also has its fortress, called the Bastione.
To get there you have two choices, walk uphill for about 20 minutes or take the brand new panoramic lift in Riva del Garda at a cost of 6 euros round trip.
The view over the town is amazing !!
Reaching the fortress, however, does not only mean seeing a fairytale panorama but also immersing yourself in the history of Riva del Garda.
The Rocca in fact has always had defensive functions and was, among other things, the residence of the bishop first and then a barracks, during the Austrian domination.
The Lakefront and the Beaches
The beaches and lakefront, just outside the town center, reachable on foot in a few minutes, are not to be missed in Riva del Garda.
The walk is enjoyable, with gardens full of flowers and fabulous views, while the beaches are quiet, crowded only on weekends or in peak season.
How do I know?
I was there last year the week of August, and I assure you that there was not a centimeter free. I recommend, avoid that week if you can!
For swimming, I suggest you prefer in the morning, when it is said to be less windy.
Ponale Path by Bike or on Foot
The Ponale Path, located along the shores of Garda Trentino, is one of the most beautiful panoramic paths in all of Europe. A wonderful path carved into the rock that runs along the steep coasts overlooking Lake Garda. This beautiful excursion is located near Riva del Garda, in the territory of Trentino Alto-Adige, and allows you to reach the charming town of Pregasina or Lake Ledro.
It is a path dating back to 1800, initially conceived as a driveway, and in 2004 transformed into a cycle-pedestrian path capable of giving breathtaking views to all those who walk it. Despite being one of the most popular trails in the area, the wide carriageway allows pedestrians and bicycles to pass freely without problems, stopping to admire the view and take pictures.
The Varone waterfall, famous since the nineteenth century, is one of the leading natural attractions of Upper Garda. Excavated by the Magnone stream, it can be visited with a unique path (for a fee).
Considered one of the most original waterfalls in Trentino, it arises where the underground waters deriving from the spectacular Lake Tenno meet a softer sedimentary rock, creating a stunning leap of water between the rock walls. The watercourse crashes into a 98-meter gorge dug by the water.
A curiosity: the beauty of the waterfall deeply struck the writer, Thomas Mann, on holiday on Lake Garda, who described it in detail in his book “The enchanted mountain.”
Lake Tenno & Canale di Tenno
Two other places not to be missed in the surroundings of Riva del Garda are Lake Tenno and the medieval village of Canale di Tenno.
They are very close to each other, with the village reachable from the lake and vice versa via a short path that can be covered on foot in about 20 minutes.
Lake Tenno is small and cute, the typical crystal clear water lake between the mountains.
It is possible to swim, sunbathe or take a walk around the lake in about 30/40 minutes.
On the other hand, Canale di Tenno is a village out of time, one of those places where you arrive, and you almost feel like you have ended up in a fairy tale.
Limone Sul Garda
And finally, I can only advise you to visit Limone, very close to Riva del Garda. Limone sul Garda is a small jewel on the Brescia side of Lake Garda, an ancient and suggestive village, characterized by narrow streets often full of tourists with their nose up, kidnapped by the picturesque atmosphere of the village. In fact, the village has maintained the atmosphere of the typical village of the past: the old houses huddle around the beautiful marina and the lemon houses are still cultivated on the terraces above the town.
The village has maintained the atmosphere of the typical village of the past: the old houses huddle around the beautiful marina and the lemon houses are still cultivated on the terraces above the town.