Riva del Garda is situated at the top north end of Lake Garda. Once a part of Austria and currently a part of the Province of Trento, it is the second largest town on Lake Garda. This is somewhat evident when you walk through the streets as it certainly doesn’t have as much charm as the smaller towns of Malcesine and Limone sul Garda. However, I really wanted to see what the top of the lake looked like with the mountains narrowing in to close off the lake.
Lake Garda is quite special, as the south mirrors Mediterranean waters, while the north is more alike to Scandinavian fjords. Criousity has always been my driving motivation to see new things and so naturally, I wanted to enjoy both the lake and the mountains. And Riva del Garda is exactly the place to do this.
How to get there?
The ferry boat ride up to Riva del Garda was probably the best part for me. A leisurely hour up to the top, past Limone (and potentially stopping off at nearby Torbole if we had gotten on a different ferry), we were able to enjoy the views of the Garda mountains and the now teal waters of Lake Garda. It was certainly looking more Alpine on this end of the lake. And it was a lot windier, with sail boats zipping by and wind surfers riding the wind wherever it took them, even if it meant into the direct pathway of the huge ferry we were on!
We arrived at Riva del Garda and you immediately see an open square with a tower in the centre. The old hydroelectric power plant built in the 20s to generate power from nearby Lake Ledro also sat by the main square. We spent most of the afternoon meandering through the streets, taking in the view of the lake from the north end. My thoughts were often led to wondering what was on the other side of the hills beyond the town.
What to do in town
You can tell from visiting that Riva del Garda must have held some importance back in its day from the type of buildings that existed. Major bank buildings and more mainstream high street shops fill the streets, a contrast to smaller towns, Malcesine and Limone. However, when we visited, the town was what could only best be described as sleepy for the height of summer. We couldn’t figure out if people were having a siesta or had left to visit other parts of the lake or Italy. Either way it was deserted. Malcesine was far more bustling with day trippers and locals alike than Riva del Garda.
In any case, we enjoyed the change of scenery, a great pizza at the leonessa and headed back to Malcesine.
There definitely seemed to be more available beyond the town to see along the lines of hikes, however again, lack of appropriate footwear and supplies prevented us from further exploring. Next time, I’ll bring my trainers, a mini pack of supplies and get ready to sweat it out up the hills!
How to get there: take the ferry from Malcesine central or any main ferry stop in a town on the lake. Tickets aren’t cheap though, about €20 per person, one way. [prices cited July 2016]