Garda Trek: 3 x Hiking & Trekking at Lago di Garda

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Garda Trek: 3 x Hiking & Trekking at Lago di Garda
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Lake Garda, or Lago di Garda, for many people a place that needs little explanation, is the largest lake in Italy and a popular summer destination for anyone looking for sun, beach and water sports. But did you know that this is also a great place for a nice hiking vacation? This is because Lake Garda is surrounded by beautiful mountains and in part of these mountains there is a network of 3 hiking trails: the Garda Trek with indeed 3 different options. In this blog we have listed them for you.

With the peaks of Monte Baldo to the east and Monte Rocchetta to the west, the shores of Riva del Garda give you a taste of what you will experience up close at higher altitudes. One thing is certain: the various walks all offer you the chance to experience the unique Mediterranean-Alpine atmosphere.

What and Where are Lago Di Garda and the Garda Trek?

As the name suggests, the routes of the Garda Trek are around Lake Garda. Like an imaginary crown, they cover the northern shores of Italy's largest lake. In this area you will find numerous routes and trails that lead you across the different altitudes over and through the mountains.

The concrete answer to the question, "What is the Garda Trek?" depends a bit on which trek you are going to do. This is because it is 3 different treks that differ from each other in length, duration and accommodation. So hikers of the different routes will also answer this question differently. One thing they have in common is that they are circular. The starting and ending points are the same for each walk, namely, the town of Riva del Garda.

While you are still in the area, you can end the walk with a nice relaxing vacation along the shores of the lake, where you enjoy sun, beach and a delicious Aperol Spritz in your hand. La dolce vita.

Don't feel like relaxing, but ready for even more action? Lake Garda is one of the best adventure hotspots in Europe! On the lake you will find plenty of opportunities to try multiple water sports, such as kite surfing or wind sailing, and on the shores, you can follow downhill mountain biking or via ferrata routes. If you are a climbing enthusiast, don't miss a visit to Arco. After all, here you will find the famous falesie (rocks) of Arco.

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What Garda Treks Are There and Which One Is for Me?

When you put all three routes of the Garda Trek together in an overview, you can see the beautiful imaginary crown on the northern shores of Lake Garda. There are parts where the routes cross, but apart from that they are stand-alone routes.

It can be difficult to decide which of the 3 routes suits you best. However, since there are multiple variations of the Garda Trek, there is bound to be a suitable hike for you among them. All three treks have different levels of difficulty, and therefore each hike is suitable for a different type of hiker.

Garda Trek: Low Loop

Are you looking for a short but spirited hike? Are you in good shape and don't feel like technical difficulties? Then the 2-day Garda Trek Low Loop is a good option. During this hike you walk mainly through the lower Garda Trentino. The Low Loop is technically easy, short in duration, but definitely vigorous. The trails are well marked, so getting lost is not an option. You'll pass through towns like Tenno, Arco, Nago and Torbole sul Garda. Also good to know: you stay overnight in a hotel during this hike, so it's not a hut tour.

Garda Trek: Medium Loop

The Medium Loop is a good introduction when it comes to hut hiking. Because you alternate between sleeping in mountain huts and other accommodations, you can get a good idea of what it means to go on a hut hike. This tour is suitable for hikers with a good level of fitness. Along the way you won't encounter any technical difficulties, but there are days in between where you have to climb up more than 1,000 meters (3.280 ft). You will definitely feel this back in your legs.

At we currently offer only the Garda Trek: Medium Loop. Click here for our package.

Garda Trek: Top Loop

The Top Loop is a true high-altitude hut hike and suitable for experienced hikers. This is the toughest option of the 3 routes. There are several days in between where you have to hike up about 1900 (6.233 ft) meters, so physically you will be severely tested. Technically, you won't encounter many difficulties, but the combination of the ascent and the number of kilometers to be covered make for quite a challenge. This tour is suitable for hikers who can manage themselves well using navigation maps, because the routes are not always well marked. Along the way, you will stay exclusively in mountain huts.

What Is the Best Season for the Trekking Lago di Garda?

Lake Garda is a good year-round hiking destination, but this does not mean that every variant of the Garda Trek is suitable to be walked year-round.

If you choose the Low Loop, you will not stay in a mountain hut and the trails are in a lower part of the mountains. You'll spend the night in a hotel, so you won't be hampered by the limited period when mountain huts are open.

During the Medium Loop, you stay overnight in both mountain huts and hotels. So you will have to deal with the mountain hut season. The season begins in mid-June and ends in mid-September. Before and after this period, the rifugios close their doors, as it can snow heavily in the mountains. Staying overnight at the huts is not possible during the off-season.

The Top Loop is a hut-to-hut tour and, like the Medium Loop, will only be accessible for part of the season.

What Is the Best Season for the Trekking Lago di Garda?

Where Do I Stay During the Garda Trek?

A hiking vacation near Lake Garda means that there are several options available to stay overnight. During the Low Loop you will stay in a hotel, during the Medium Loop you will get acquainted with higher elevation mountain huts combined with lower elevation hotels, and during the Top Loop you will stay mainly in mountain huts.


Austria and Germany have the Alpenverein, South Africa has the Mountain Club of South Africa and the United Kingdom has the British Mountaineering Council and the list goes on. Italy also has its own association and it has been going by the name Club Alpino Italiano, CAI for short, since 1863.

The province of Trentino has its own section within the CAI, Società Alpinisti Tridentini, or the SAT. The SAT is responsible for the trails of the Garda Trek and the mountain huts where you stay during the Medium and Top Loop. Currently, they are responsible for 35 mountain huts spread throughout the region.

The advantage of staying overnight in huts is that you don't have to bring a tent, cooking gear and food for your multi-day hike. The rifugios vary in size and accommodation options, but they all offer a shower, a good night's sleep including half board with tasty local food


During the Medium Loop, you will pass through several villages. For example, the second stage will end in Ceniga and the third stage in Bolognano. In both villages you will stay in a hotel. Don't expect big chains, but small-scale accommodations. Should all hotels be full, we will book an alternative in the area. The same goes for the Top Loop.

Garda Trek Medium Loop: From Day to Day

During the Garda Trek: Medium Loop you will take a scenic hike over the mountains surrounding the Sarca River, the Basso Sarco. Along the way, enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Garda and the numerous orchards. Along the way you will sleep in Rifugios, cozy B&Bs, or agriturismos.

This 4-day hike consists of 4 stages that together are about 71 (44 miles) kilometers long. Along the way, you climb a total of 4,220 (13.845 ft) meters and descend 4,223 (13.854 ft). The highest point is at 1,095 meters (3.592 ft). Mediterranean crops and Alpine forests, all the variety of Garda Trentino in one hike!


Riva del Garda - Rifugio San Pietro

Duration: 06:10 h
Distance: 16.4 km
Ascent: 1380 m
Descent: 540 m

Today begins your 4-day hiking adventure around Lake Garda. The hike starts in Riva del Garda, a beautiful village surrounded by olive trees, lemons, and palm trees.

Your first stage starts from Via Monte Oro, where you follow the path SAT 402 'La Pinza' up to a crossroads. Here turn right and continue walking until you reach the impressive waterfall 'Cascata dell'Ert'. Continue your journey on path SAT 434 'Claudio Fedrizzi' and move toward the charming village of Campi. If you have the energy, it's worth walking up a little extra, where you can discover the archaeological site of Monte San Martino.

On the way back, walk back to Campi via SAT 434, until you reach the main road. Follow this road in the direction of Pranzo and then cross the gorge of the Magnone stream. Now you are on the other side of the valley, near Canale, an enchanting medieval village that is among the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Your next destination is Lake Tenno, which you reach by following the SAT 406 trail. Enjoy the panoramic view of the lake before continuing along the unpaved path. Keep following this path until you see the sign for SAT 406A, then follow this forest path until you reach another unpaved path that leads you towards Bastiani.

Once there, return to trail SAT 406, and you will soon reach the first accommodation of this amazing trip: Rifugio San Pietro!

Rifugio San Pietro

Rifugio San Pietro

Rifugio San Pietro - Ceniga

Duration: 04:51 h
Distance: 12.8 km
Ascent: 430 m
Descent: 1240 m

After a good night at Rifugio San Pietro, you will hopefully be well-recharged for the next stage. Today you will walk from Rifugio San Pietro to the village of Ceniga. Today's hike will lead you mainly downhill towards the Sarca Valley where Ceniga is located.

This stage will take you mainly downhill, towards the Sarca Valley where Ceniga is located. Start your trek on the SAT 401 path, also known as Sentiero Frassati, and walk in the direction of Treni, culminating in the Croce di Bondiga cross. If you want to take a moment to enjoy the breathtaking view, this is the perfect time, as Croce di Bondiga offers a beautiful panoramic view of the upper part of Lake Garda.

The first few kilometers of this stage remain fairly flat, but once you reach Bocco di Tovo, the descent really begins. Here you continue your trek on SAT 409B, a forest trail that takes you further to SAT 407. This route (SAT 407) then leads you down through the forest until you emerge onto the road at Mandrea. Cross the road and follow SAT 408 to Bocchetta di Padaro. From there descend further to Laghel, where you turn left and hike along a dirt path towards Fontane. Finally, follow SAT 431 to reach your final destination for today: Ceniga.

Hotel Garni Delle Rose

Hotel Garni Delle Rose

Ceniga - Bolognano

Duration: 06:45 h
Distance: 19.6 km
Ascent: 1041 m
Descent: 1010 m

Today you will discover the lesser-known side of Garda Trentino. However, this does not mean it will be a boring walk, because this area also has its charms.

During this stage you will walk from Ceniga to Bolognano. After crossing the Sarac valley, you will follow rural roads towards Varino over the lower slopes of Monte Stivo. As you continue your way, you will pass Maso Trenti and after a short climb you will arrive in Drena. Here you can visit "Castello di Drena," a medieval castle which was once used to control the road between Trento and Lake Garda.

After your visit to Drena, continue to Braila. Between Drena and Braila you will find the Open Air Gallery. This is an art project that transforms the forest into an open-air exhibition.

Continue the rest of the stage as you pass through Carobbi and Troiana. After passing these places, a path leads you along the mountainside and takes you to the ridge that descends from the top of Monte Stivo. You will have views of the towns of Massone and Bologna during this hike. Continue walking downhill until you arrive in the Ir-Valley, just above Bolognano. The last part of the stage you will walk through olive groves and have reached today's destination: Bolognano.

Hotel Everest Arco

Hotel Everest Arco

Bolognano - Riva del Garda

Duration: 07:50 h
Distance: 22.4 km
Ascent: 960 m
Descent: 1050 m

From Bolognano follow the forest road that goes up the mountainside until you reach Tre Croci, just after the Busa dei Capitani. From here take the SAT 637 path down toward Nago. Formerly a small fishing village, today it forms a municipality together with Torbole. Take a stroll through the town center and continue on path SAT 601 'Sentiero della Pace' to Malga Zures. If you follow the directions, you will be led to the right and through the forest path you will reach the slope of Monte Altissimo that crosses the Varno spring. It is time to descend further. The path here is very steep. You will end up on a forest road and at some point you will join the Busatte-Tempesta trail. You will follow this in the opposite direction until you reach the Busatte Park. Descend to Torbole sul Garda and walk along the bike path back to Riva del Garda.

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How Do I Get to the Start and End Points?

The routes of the Garda Trek all have Riva del Garda, just north of Lago di Gardo, as their starting point. From this place you walk makkeling towards the first stage of the walk. The walk starts on SAT402, on Via Monte Oro, near the covered parking lot.

By car:

Riva del Garda is easy to reach by car. Driving south from Munich, follow the A22 towards Garda Trentino, exit Rovereto Sud/Lago di Garda. From the south, do the same. The trip takes about 13 hours from Utrecht and 12 hours if you start in Brussels.

By bus or train:

If you want to travel to Riva del Garda by public transport, you will do so via Rovereto train station. By bus it will take you about 45 minutes to travel between these 2 destinations.

From Munich you can travel to Rovereto by train in about 4 and a half hours. This is a direct connection that goes past Bressanone and Bolzano and ends in Venice.

In addition, it is good to know that public transportation between the different places around Lake Garda is well organized, so you can easily move from A to B by bus or ferry.

By plane:

The nearest airports are Verona and Milan Bergamo. Travel time between Milan Bergamo and Riva del Garda is between 3 and 4 hours if you travel by public transportation. From Verona, it takes about 2 and a half hours by public transport.

Packing List for the Garda Trek

It doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in the mountains, you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. Its size will depend on how many days you will be spending in the mountains, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

How much does the Garda Trek cost?

The average cost for the Garda Trek varies by trek.

The Medium Loop is a trek where you stay in both hotels and mountain huts. Costs average between €100 and €150 per night.

A hut trek, the Top Loop for example, need not be expensive. The rifugios you encounter on the trek are often basic, but offer everything you need to get back on the road the next day well rested and recharged.

The average cost is about €100 per day. This includes itinerary, navigational aid, your accommodation in a rifugio, and half board in the form of breakfast and dinner.

In addition to the basic costs, you will of course need pocket money during the tour. Think about lunch (exclusive), snacks and a well-deserved drink when you arrive at the next hut. We recommend taking into account an amount between €50 and €70 to cover these costs.

Where Can I Book the Garda Trek?

At you can book the self-guided Garda Trek and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Garda Trek not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:


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