Riva del Garda

What to see in Riva Del Garda

Located on the Trentino shore, where the lake narrows, Riva del Garda is also called ‘the queen of Lake Garda’, with its avenues of palm trees and magnolias, parks, gardens and elegant villas.

Riva del Garda is nestled at the end of Lake Garda in a position protected by the Rocchetta and Brione mountains and surrounded by the flourishing Sarca plain.

A unique setting of lake and mountain, enriched by vegetation of lemon, olive, palm and laurel trees. Riva del Garda is close to another wonderful lake, Lake Tenno, as well as the impressive Varone waterfalls.

Curiosity: The port of Riva del Garda holds the record as the largest port on a lake in Italy.

Riva del Garda

Garda in pills

THE UNMISSABLE

• Rocca di Riva
• Torre Apponale
• Ascensore panoramico Bastione

top beaches

• Spiaggia dei Sabbioni
• Spiaggia dei Pini

weekly market

2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month

What to see in Riva del Garda

With its timeless charm, Riva del Garda is an unmissable tourist destination for those seeking a unique combination of natural beauty, history and exciting activities.

Inhabited since ancient times, over the centuries it was a fundamental crossroads with central Europe, passing from dominion to dominion.

Blessed with a mild climate and highly evocative landscapes, in the second half of the 19th century, Riva was the favourite destination of many illustrious names of the time, including Nietzsche, Mann, Kafka, Freud, and Lawrence.

The historical centre, rich in churches and palaces, develops around the harbour, where the characteristic narrow streets converge. Let us then discover in detail, some of the things to see in Riva del Garda.

Apponale Tower

The city’s most prominent monument is undoubtedly the Apponale Tower, which dates back to the 13th century and was rebuilt in the 16th century for defensive purposes. It is located in Piazza III Novembre and overlooks the city’s old port.

It is 34 metres high and on its summit is the ‘Anzolim’: a small bronze wind-marker in the shape of an angel that has become one of the symbols of Riva del Garda.

torre apponnale riva

Pretorio Palace

The Palazzo Pretorio (1383), which houses Roman, Christian and Scaliger tombstones, is from the Scaliger era. It once functioned as a court and place where justice was administered. Over the centuries it has undergone several modifications and restorations, but has retained much of its original appearance. The façade features architectural elements typical of the period, including Gothic-arched windows and a portico on the ground floor.

Today, the Palazzo Pretorio is the seat of Riva del Garda’s town hall and other municipal offices, as well as hosting exhibitions and cultural events open to the public.

Piazza III Novembre

Overlooking the harbour, Piazza III Novembre is the town’s main square, beautifully surrounded by medieval buildings and palaces, including the Palazzo Pretorio.

The square is named after the date 3 November 1918, when the Italian army entered Riva del Garda during World War I, ending the Austro-Hungarian occupation.

Surrounded by bars and cafés, this square becomes an oasis of relaxation, offering a pleasant and inviting atmosphere. Like any main square, it is also the beating heart of local events, markets and festivities that take place throughout the year.

riva gardasee

The Italian Gardens at Punta Lido

The postcard photos of Riva del Garda are taken here, from the Giardini all’Italiana at Punta Lido.

This is a public park extending over a vast green area, with a kind of panoramic balcony from which to enjoy a splendid panorama of the lake. The park was designed in the Italian style, with architectural elements typical of Italian Renaissance gardens.

There is a wide variety of plants, flowers and trees, creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. There are paths winding among the plants and flower beds, allowing visitors to stroll and enjoy the beauty of the lakefront.

riva del garda cosa vedere

Bastion of Riva del Garda

This stronghold, dating back to the 15th century, was an integral part of the complex system of fortifications that also included the Rocca di Riva. The Bastion is known for its imposing architecture, with thick walls and defensive towers. It was designed to defend the city from outside attacks and provide a strategic observation point. Even today, it offers a breathtaking view of the city from above.

It can be reached in a few minutes from Riva harbour, either by a road that winds its way through the Rocchetta black pine forest or by the panoramic lift that starts in Via Monte Oro and takes you to the bastion in three minutes.

The Rocca of Riva del Garda

We now move on to Piazza Carducci, where the Rocca stands, what remains of an ancient medieval fortification. Today it is home to the MAG, Museo Alto Garda, which collects fascinating archaeological evidence of the area. The Rocca di Riva was built for defensive purposes and has undergone several modifications and extensions over the centuries. The addition of a four-sided fortified body with corner towers and an inner courtyard, completely surrounded by the waters of the lake, presumably dates back to the mid 14th century.

Churches

The Church of the Assumption (18th century) with its splendid Suffrage Chapel, in Baroque style, is an important place of worship.

Meanwhile, the Church of the Inviolata, built in 1611, has an original octagonal plan, designed by a Portuguese architect. The modest exterior contrasts with the opulent interior, rich in stucco and frescoes.

Things to do in Riva del Garda

BOAT TRIP

One of the most fascinating experiences in Riva del Garda is a boat trip on Lake Garda. There are many options available, including scenic tours, sightseeing trips and even sailing trips. These excursions offer unique views of the surrounding mountains and picturesque coastal towns.
riva del garda

Visit to the Mag

As we have seen, the Rocca of Riva del Garda houses the Mag – Museo dell’Alto Garda. There are three main sections: the Archaeology section, the History section and the Art Gallery, as well as temporary exhibitions.

For all information on prices and opening hours, please visit their website museoaltogarda.it

VISIT TO REPTILAND

Reptiland is a museum that offers visitors the opportunity to learn about and observe a wide range of reptile species from all over the world.

Within the park, visitors can explore different themed areas that reproduce the natural habitat of reptiles from different parts of the world.

Info and visits: www.reptiland.it

Visiting the hydroelectric power station at Riva del Garda

When one arrives at Riva del Garda, the imposing hydroelectric power station on the lakeshore, which uses the water power of the Sarca River to generate electricity, immediately springs to mind. It was built in the 1920s and designed by Giancarlo Maroni, the architect of Gabriele D’Annunzio, who also built the Vittoriale degli Italiani.

The power station is a unique place to discover, with original multimedia installations that will let you discover how water is transformed into clean energy.

riva del garda cosa fare

Having explored what to see in Riva del Garda, let us now turn our attention to the activities that can be enjoyed in this beautiful lakeside town.

Beaches and sport

Thanks to its well-ventilated position, Riva is an ideal place for water sports such as sailing and windsurfing. In particular, spiaggia dei Sabbioni and spiaggia dei Pini are very popular with surfers.

Riva del Garda also offers an extensive network of trails for cycling and mountain biking; you can rent a bike or take part in guided tours through breathtaking landscapes.

Ponale Path

An unmissable excursion for lovers of nature and breathtaking views is the Ponale trail, which connects Riva del Garda with the Ledro Valley. The route lasts about three hours and can be covered on foot, by bicycle or mountain bike and is suitable for everyone.

It is a road carved out of rock in the mid-19th century. With its scenic curves climbing up the steep rock faces, it was a real engineering feat for the time. However, it was abandoned as a main road in 1991 in favour of a modern asphalt road.

It was not until 2004 that the Ponale road became one of the most beautiful cycling and walking routes in Europe, offering unique landscapes between rock and lake.

The trail starts in Riva del Garda and continues for about 10 kilometres until it reaches the hamlet of Pregasina.

To walk the Ponale Path, it is advisable to wear comfortable clothing and hiking or cycling shoes. Bring water and food with you, especially if you plan a long hike, and, of course, be sure to respect the environment.

Cosa fare a Riva del Garda

Riva del Garda and surroundings

About 4 km from the town of Riva del Garda are the Varone waterfalls, which fall from a height of about 90 metres along a crevice, creating a natural spectacle of great scenic impact.

It is advisable to carry a mackintosh even in high summer, as the temperature inside the gorge is always low and the humidity persistent.

For the more adventurous, the Busatte Adventure Park is a climbing park located in the nearby village of Nago-Torbole. It offers acrobatic routes through the trees, climbing walls and other exciting activities, perfect for families and those looking for a bit of adrenaline.

What else to see around Riva del Garda?

If you have already seen everything that can be visited in Riva del Garda and you have time to explore its surroundings, we recommend a visit to the MaRT, one of Europe’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art. It is located in Rovereto, a half-hour drive from Riva. The museum houses a vast collection of important Italian and international modern and contemporary art.

We also recommend a visit to nearby towns such as Limone, Malcesine and Arco.

Riva del Garda offers a fascinating blend of natural beauty, culture and adventure. Whether you are interested in relaxing on the shores of the lake, exploring historical attractions or engaging in exciting outdoor activities, this destination has something to offer everyone.

Riva del Garda: Faq

By car
A22 motorway, exit at Rovereto Sud – Lago di Garda Nord: a further 17 km will take you to the lake.

From the north, exit at Trento Centro and continue on the SS 45b for 40 km to Riva del Garda.

By train
from Milan or Venice you can get off at Desenzano, Peschiera del Garda or Verona and continue by bus.

By plane
The nearest airports to reach Lake Garda are Catullo Airport in Villafranca Verona, Montichiari Airport in Brescia and Orio al Serio Airport in Bergamo. The connection between the airport and Riva del Garda is by taxi, bus or train.

By ferry
From the other towns around Lake Garda you can reach Riva del Garda by ferry. Ferry routes and times may vary depending on the season. Check timetables and fares with the Lake Garda shipping company.

The centre of Riva del Garda is a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL) and is therefore monitored by cameras that control access.

A free parking area not too far from the centre can be found at Via Galas 2, which offers up to 160 parking spaces, but these are sold out, especially during the high season. Alternatively, there is the Ex Ospedale car park, with access from Largo Guglielmo Marconi, with 120 parking spaces.

If you don’t want to waste too much time looking for parking, we suggest paying solutions such as:

  • Roman Baths car park, 205 spaces
  • Vecchia stazione car park, 182 spaces

Indoor activities to do in case of rain are a visit to the Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Station and the Upper Garda Museum inside the Riva del Garda Castle.
Don’t forget to sample the local cuisine during your stay in Riva del Garda. There are numerous restaurants serving traditional dishes where you can take refuge and take a break if it is raining outside.

Riva del Garda offers various activities and attractions that children can enjoy. Here are some ideas on what to do with children during a visit to Riva del Garda and its surroundings:

-Parco Grotta Cascata Varone: this park offers natural caves, a waterfall and a beautiful natural environment for children to explore.

-Busatte Adventure Park: offers tree-climbing trails suitable for different ages, allowing children to have fun while taking on adventurous challenges.

-High Garda Museum: An interactive museum offering exhibitions, workshops and engaging activities for children to learn about the history, culture and nature of the region.

-Beaches and playgrounds: Riva del Garda has several lakeside beaches where children can play and relax, along with playgrounds equipped with fun facilities.

-Castle of Arco: Near Riva del Garda, the Arco Castle offers an experience of exploring the ancient castle walls and panoramic views.

Riva del Garda is famous for the Torre Apponnale, the Alto Garda Museum, the Ponale path, and is a popular destination for windsurfers given the favourable winds in this area of the lake.

Riva del Garda is part of the Trentino region and is the town on the narrowest and northernmost part of Lake Garda.

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