What to see and to do in Riva del Garda

In the past, Riva was an important centre, politically and historically speaking, which it still shows visitors today; today it is a popular seaside tourist centre, especially for the German world.

Riva del Garda is set between the water and the mountains that surround it, with a mild climate that gives life to a rich Mediterranean scrub: palms, laurels, but also citrus and olive trees from which a famous extra virgin olive oil is produced, the one further north of the world: beyond the 46th parallel!

What to see in a day trip in Riva del Garda.

The Bastion.

The Bastione is the right mix between nature and culture: it is located on the slopes of Mount Rocchetta and is one of the symbols of Riva del Garda. It can be reached thanks to a path that climbs up to 200 m in height or with the comfortable panoramic lift that takes you there in two minutes of vertical ascent from the pier to admire this fortified complex built at the beginning of 1500 by the Venetian Republic to control its border which at the time reached here.

The Apponale Tower.

The Apponale Tower was built at the beginning of the thirteenth century by a noble Rivan family, the Bonvicini, as is often used in medieval urban centers and, when it was granted to the Prince Bishop, it became their feudal benefit. 34 meters high from the top, reachable by climbing 165 steps, from above you can admire the port, the power plant and the Fraglia Vela designed by the architect Maroni, and the whole city of Riva del Garda.

The Rocca of Riva del Garda and the MAG Museum.

Wandering through the narrow streets you reach the medieval castle, also called the Rocca. Evidence of this castle dates back to 1124, the year in which the Rivan community was able to obtain permission to build a castrum novum on the shores of the lake. In a second moment, the Rocca became the symbol of military power: a place where the power of the dominant Lordships was exercised. Today it is the seat of the Civic Museum, better known as the MAG Museo Alto Garda; where it’s possible to admire important historical and artistic testimonies of the area and with an archaeological section that includes the famous statues-steles of the Copper Age, as well as evidence of the Roman age. The Rocca is also home to the art gallery, with works by Pietro Ricchi, Francesco Hayez and Vincenzo Vela, among others.

i castelli del lago di garda - rocca di riva del garda

Church of the Inviolata in Riva del Garda.

From the Rocca, always along the streets of the center, you arrive at the church of the Inviolata, passing through the Porta di San Michele, one of the three that once guarded the entrance to the city and that connected the town with the outside world. It was built during the nineteenth century and the bell tower of the nearby parish church was built above it. The church of the Inviolata is just 5 minutes from here. Dating back to the first half of the seventeenth century, its interior shows off all its baroque beauty. A detail: the church does not have the classic cross plan but rather a square plan, octagonal inside with five altars, three doors, vaulted area with frescoes and stuccos, carved wooden confessionals, marble floors. I highly recommend going there: from the outside it may seem like an anonymous church but once you enter, a world opens up and I hope that even when you go there, the gentleman I met will be there and will explain all his discoveries about it.

The Riva del Garda power plant.

From the outside it strikes for its grandeur, for the majesty and elegance that distinguishes it and it could not be otherwise since who conceived it, in the 1920s, was Giancarlo Maroni, the architect of D’Annunzio, already the architect of a another masterpiece or the Vittoriale degli Italiani, on the Brescia side of Lake Garda. Built between 1925 and 1929, becoming at the time one of the first and most impressive hydroelectric plants built up to that time and with the largest turbines existing in Europe at the time. For information and reservations click here.

What to do in a day trip Riva del Garda.

Thanks to its climate, Lake Garda and Riva del Garda are ideal for those who want to spend an active holiday between walking and discovering the area. One of the most beautiful and well-known trekking and mtb routes starts from the center of this lakeside town: the Ponale Path.

Ponale path.

The Ponale Path is located a stone’s throw from the center of Riva del Garda from which this wonderful trekking and mountain bike route begins with a gentle climb. Since 2004 it has been transformed into a panoramic path overlooking the lake, where it is also allowed to travel with bicycles, mountain bikes and E-mtb. Due to its naturalistic and historical uniqueness it is one of the most beautiful and well-known European trails. You will walk close to the mountain, in some places even inside. Your gaze will range from the shades of the water close to the rocks to the embrace of the rock that surrounds you.

Sentiero della Ponale.
Ponale path. @lakegardaphoto.it

Church of Santa Barbara.

Built in 1935 during the works for the construction of the Ponale hydroelectric plant, which from Lake Ledro pours water into the Garda through penstocks, it was dedicated to Santa Barbara, patron saint of all miners, including those who worked on that ridge of rock a little less than a century ago. The starting point is the path 404 which leads to the Bastione and which slowly enters the woods. From there the signs for Capanna Santa Barbara begin and then for the church (which is already visible from there and is just 10-15 minutes away).

Monte Brione.

It is a wonderful walk to do even with your children or with dogs. It is not difficult, it is not exposed, and has a maximum height difference of 190 m. Along the way there are also the remains of some fortifications built by the Austro-Hungarian army between 1862 and 1911. Fascinating for fans of the history of the Great War and perfect hiding places for children to play. The glimpses that this path allows you to glimpse of Lake Garda literally take your breath away. You will feel like you are immersed in a large fjord with the sea in front. Watch it from all sides, like a nymph of ancient Greece: of rare beauty, benefactor and fertile for the nature that surrounds it.

Discovering the area by bicycle.

In just a 15 km radius you can cycle towards the historic centers of Riva del Garda, Torbole or Arco, the medieval village of Canale di Tenno, ancient fortresses and castles, centuries-old olive groves, the Moroccans of Dro and many unique and unmissable views. If for you travel is synonymous with sport, nature and enchanted landscapes, then North Lake Garda is your ideal destination! Bike enthusiasts at any level will find routes or cycle paths with breathtaking views and glimpses that will remain in the heart forever.

Without forgetting that Riva del Garda and its neighboring villages remain a favorite destination for both climbing enthusiasts and those who want to approach this discipline.

Hotels – Restaurants – Experiences in Riva del Garda.

As with all of Lake Garda, in Riva del Garda there are also many structures in which to stay, from small and well-kept B & Bs to resorts with wellness centers and beauty services, in the section dedicated to hotels in Riva del Garda you will find all the information to search the accommodation most congenial to you.

The same goes for restaurants, at this link you will find our selection of restaurants in Riva del Garda. Remembering that Lake Garda offers several starred restaurants and the quality of the culinary offer is very high.

There are many activities and experiences you can do in Riva del Garda and on Lake Garda, so we recommend that you visit the section dedicated to experiences in our magazine by clicking here.

How to get to Riva del Garda.

By car.
The fastest route is the A22 motorway (Modena – Brennero). The recommended exit is Rovereto Sud – Lago di Garda Nord which is 17 km from Riva del Garda.

For those coming from Milan, we recommend not to take the western Gardenasa, as the risk is to remain stationary in traffic at Salò / Gardone. Continue on the A4 as far as the entrance to the A22 and then exit at Rovereto Sud.

For those coming from Brenner, the recommended exit is Rovereto sud, but if you exit at Trento Nord and take the SS 45b you will probably not find much traffic and the route will be more pleasant and scenic. It is a journey of about 40 km and in the first stretch you go up and down from Monte Bondone.

On the train.
For those arriving on Lake Garda by train, the closest railway station is Rovereto (Brennero line), 20 km from Riva del Garda. To reach Riva del Garda, Torbole or Arco you can take the bus (see timetables).

By plane.
The closest and most convenient airports to reach Lake Garda are those of Verona and Bergamo Orio al Serio.

Notes: to reach Riva del Garda we advise you to rent a car.

By bus.
To get to Riva del Garda from Verona by bus, the journey will take you to change. Verona – Garda and from Garda to Riva del Garda. Here you will find all the information.

To reach Riva del Garda from Trento and Rovereto see timetables.

For any questions about Riva del Garda or about your holiday on Lake Garda, do not hesitate to contact us by commenting on this article or by writing on our social channels (InstagramFacebookTwitterTikTok), we are always available to help you.

See you next time dear Outdoors!

Walter Sestili

Destination Marketing manager since 1998, in love with Lake Garda and its opportunities. For these reasons Garda Outdoors was born, a meeting place where the passion for this territory meets the tourist's curiosity to visit and discover the beauties of the most beautiful and largest of the Italian lakes.