The north of Lake Garda attracts bikers every year, thanks to the hundreds of trails and fantastic views
Mountain bikers love challenges, crisp climbs and challenging descents, preferably in an alpine setting. So it is no wonder that Lake Garda is a popular destination for many MTB athletes and those wanting to try out this sport during their holidays. The region offers visitors the chance to test routes around Lago di Garda with a rented bike, and recently the eBike boom opened the opportunity up to even more riders. Riding a bike uncovers stretches of land around the lake that you simply can’t reach by car.
Lake Garda – a paradise for demanding mountain bike tours
Those who set out on rides for a few hours should have a good to very good condition and know their capabilities. Then mountain biking around Lake Garda is really fun. Experienced bikers will not be put off by the fact that many tours, at least in the alpine north of the lake, are marked “difficult” or “very difficult”. That means that even experienced bikers will be awe-struck by the altitude data of some tours, with 1500 meters of elevation very common. For those looking to go further, there are even options to climb up to 2300 metres and higher, and those who do are rewarded with fabulous views of alpine landscapes and Lake Garda.
A must for cycling and Lake Garda fans: the Ponale road
The old Ponale road is considered the most famous mountain bike route on Lake Garda. The road south of Riva is cut into the bare rocks of the cliff and is only accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. Before the car tunnel was opened 30 years ago, the Ponale road was the only connection between Riva del Garda and the Ledro Valley. At that time, it was considered a masterpiece of engineering. Through many tunnels dug into the rock and in many serpentines, it leads from Lake Garda to Pregasina with its viewpoints high above Lake Garda or further on to the idyllic little Lake Ledro. The cycle path is also manageable with an average fitness level. In Riva there are also many possibilities to rent a suitable mountain bike for the tour and also for others.
Another beautiful route that is still considered an insider tip: there are not yet many bikers on the south side of the Monte Baldo massif, even though very rewarding trails can be found here. The tours are very beautiful and lead through a typical Lake Garda landscape with wonderful views of the lake.
Cycle tour along the shores of Lake Garda: circumnavigation by bike
A dream of many mountain bikers and cyclists, in general, is the almost completed circular bike path around the lake. On the west shore between Limone and Riva, this has been laid out spectacularly; anchored in the rocks of the cliff, it is a “high-tech path” for bikers and hikers. Leading for two kilometres, partly free-floating above the lake surface from Limone sul Garda to the north. This stretch of path is a dream for mountain bikers who want to relax a little after a demanding mountain tour. The goal of the regional administrations is to be able to completely circumnavigate Lake Garda on a cycle path close to the shore, making the Lake Garda cycle route 140 kilometres in length.
Rent bikes, mountain bikes and eBikes on Lake Garda
You don’t necessarily have to bring your own bike. MTB rental and service stations can be found around the lake, with many offering guided MTB tours, especially for e-mountain bikes. You can also combine an MTB tour with a boat trip with the Navigazione Lago di Garda with the Lake Garda shipping company calling at all ports and landing stages of the lake. Why not go from Gardone Riviera with the “Navigiazione” to Riva and start your mountain tour from there? Afterwards, you can end the sporty day by taking the boat back across the lake at sunset.
Fascinating MTB tours are also possible from Gardone Riviera. For example, directly from the town, there is a route that climbs up through steep hills towards Monte Lavino. This 25-kilometre tour goes back through the almost primaeval forest of the “Parco regionale dell’Alto Garda Bresciano” back to the lake, which the route reaches at the northern entrance to the neighbouring town of Salò. The promenade of the town is packed with a fascinating history and is a great place to celebrate the end of the tour with an ice cream or aperitivo before the short return journey to Gardone Riviera.
A point of attraction for thousands: The Bike Festival in Riva del Garda
If you are a passionate mountain biker and know the routes around Lake Garda, the FSA Bike Festival Garda Trentino in Riva del Garda is a highlight. For three days, everything revolves around the topics MTB, eMTB and lifestyle.
At the heart of the festival, which attracts tens of thousands to Riva, is a large outdoor trade fair where all the major brands in the bike scene present their innovations and exhibit extensive trade fair offers. Parallel to the fair, there is a sophisticated festival programme, also with a variety of sporting competitions. Integrated into it is a bike marathon that starts and finishes in Riva and is followed by a large number of spectators. The 3,000 or so participants can choose from three distances: The shortest route is around 31 kilometres long, while the most demanding is 83 kilometres, with 3484 metres of altitude difference.
Good to know: The Eden Reserve Hotel rents out e-mountain bikes to its guests free of charge. For more information, please contact the reception and the Conciergie service.