Exploring the Mountains Around Lake Garda
Lake Garda is surrounded by dramatic mountain ranges and peaks that draw adventurous travelers from around the world. Whether your passion is hiking, biking, or simply admiring dazzling alpine scenery, the mountains around Lake Garda invite exploration. Here’s an overview of the nearby ranges and how to access them during your Italian getaway.
To the north of Lake Garda rise the famed limestone spires of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the Dolomites proper sit a bit farther afield, their jagged pinnacles can be admired from the northern shores of Lake Garda on clear days. Peak sightings are more likely in cooler months when the air is crisp and clear.
The closest access point to the Dolomites is Riva del Garda at the northern tip of the lake. From Riva, drive approximately 1.5 hours north through Trentino’s Val di Fassa to begin accessing trailheads and villages tucked amidst the soaring towers of rock.
Towering over Lake Garda’s western shore is Mount Baldo, a limestone massif and natural botanical garden reaching 7,200 feet at its highest point. Mount Baldo provides an easily accessible mountain escape thanks to roads and cable cars whisking visitors to the summit.
The main access point is Malcesine, home of the Monte Baldo cable car. In just 10 minutes, the rotating cable car called the Funivia Malcesine ascends nearly 4,000 feet for jaw-dropping lake and mountain panoramas. From the top, hiking trails like the Easy Path let anyone enjoy the alpine flora and fauna.
Smaller towns like Brenzone also have cable car access up Baldo if you seek more peaceful routes. Mountain bikers can test their legs pedaling the steep switchbacks. Baldo’s proximity right along the lake makes it a convenient mountain adventure.
On Lake Garda’s southern reaches, Mount Altissimo and its ridge of peaks provide a panoramic backdrop. While lower in elevation that Baldo at just under 6,000 feet, Altissimo can be readily accessed and climbed from towns like Torri del Benaco and Garda.
The mountains climb steeply from the shoreline, requiring sure footing on trails. But the payoff is sweeping views down over the lake and surrounding villages as you attain the ridgetops. Altissimo brings a taste of the high life without excessive effort.
Monte Baldo Range
For serious alpine exploits, the Monte Baldo range extending north from Mount Baldo offers untouched wilderness and challenging trails. The rocky crests here top out around 7,500 feet, towering over valleys covered in conifer forests.
Experienced hikers can access Monte Baldo by traveling to the remote mountain towns of Ferrara di Monte Baldo or Brentino Belluno. Multiday trekking and camping is possible for those prepared for changing mountain conditions and navigating unmarked trails. Monte Baldo is for the bold who crave an immersive mountain escape.
Lastly, situated northwest of Lake Garda are the Brenta Dolomites, a compact subrange perfect for dramatic day hikes. Towns like Riva del Garda and Arco make convenient bases to access trailheads by car or local bus.
Popular routes include the Via Ferrata delle Aquile to the top of Cima Tosa as well as Rifugio Tuckett, an atmospheric mountain hut and hotel perched atop jaw-dropping cliffs. The Brenta Dolomites deliver stunning vertically without lengthy transfers required further north.
Whether seeking high-altitude vistas or meandering mountain meadows, Lake Garda’s diverse peaks and massifs offer nature readily at hand. Visitors can choose easy cable car excursions or committed multi-day expeditions depending on their aims. With the lake glittering below, the mountains beckon adventurers to ascend and be rewarded.