Lake Garda with family

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  • Lake Garda with family
  • Planning on a family holiday in late May and have persuaded the other half that a week in Lake Garda would be good, based mainly on some bike articles I’ve read. 🙂

    So, hoping some people with experience of the area can help me out with some of the details. The trip will mainly be a family one, and our first with the little chap. He’ll only be 9 months old at that point so I’m going to be a bit limited in the riding I can do.

    What I’d like is recommendations for a place we can stay that’s near enough to some decent trails so I can get up early most days, go for a quick blast, and be back mid morning. It also needs to be in a nice town that’s near enough other things we can do with the family, though we will have a hire car too. Basically, the easier it is for the missus to go and entertain herself and the little chap and absorb some local culture, the more chance I’ll have at getting out on the bike. Not that I want to shirk my fatherhood duties at all. Ahem.

    I should also be able to wangle an uplift or guided day or two whilst there as well, so any tips on this would also be good – I’ve heard the trails can be hard to find, so would like to get some help finding the best ones.

    I’m up for most kinds of riding, but usually ride natural enduro style trails, so steep/techy stuff preferred. I’ve heard there is a lot of it!

    Any tips / links anyone can give would be really appreciated – been a tough old year and looking forward to a break!


    I went there last September for a camping / hiking weekend with the girlfriend who is working in Italy at the moment.

    We hiked up and around Mount Baldo which struck me as having some seriously amazing looking, well-signposted trails served by a cable car.

    Some seriously techy and steep downhill stuff, 4-6 ft drops on some of the trails, North Shore style carpentry lurking in the thickets.

    The area itself was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life. Definitely on par with the Dolomites which we went to earlier in the year.

    Plenty for the Mrs and Little’un to do. A really relaxing place in general.

    Premier Icon rickmeister

    For starters, there is also a bike shop across the road that can arrange uplifts to Mt Tremalzo…

    Torbole and Lake Garda are really good places to be.


    Premier Icon BoardinBob

    I stayed at the south end of the lake a couple of summers ago. Most biking seems to be at the north end of the lake. Beautiful place, eye wateringly expensive, uncomfortably hot in August. If I go back it’ll be the north end.


    My experience is only at the north end where all the mountains are and MTBing. I suspect the southern end has more to see and do re sightseeing, grand buildings, public attractions etc. In the north the obvious place to base yourselves would be Riva/Torbole, altho for you Malcesine might prove to be better as it’s further down the lake and therefore presumably with wider options.

    If you want a number of short uplifts, get a lift up the forest road out of Nago-Torbole, there are a number of technical descents back down.

    BTW Torbole has nice kitty litter beaches to sit on and swim from (altho busy) . We also drove up to Lago di ledro, did a ride and spent an afternoon on the beech.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater

    Hire a speed boat on the lake (may not be 9m baby compatible)

    We enjoyed the lake next door, Lago di ledro. Little less busy.

    Seem to re-call they sell pasta in the shops around lago that is supposed to be in the shape of the lake but, it looks just like cocks and balls. enjoyed dinning on that!

    Premier Icon Mattbike

    I’m doing the same in August with the family, taking the bike etc. I’ll be based in Salo. I’ve been to Limone and Malcesine without bike before so no the area. Ferrys on the lake are fairly frequent between towns. Riva is the main place for bike shops and uplifts etc. I plan to get a walking map and explore the local area north out of Salo. There are loads of tracks around. Or jump on a boat and head north to Malcesine and up Monte Baldo of into the mountains from Limone. This web site has loads of rides Garda Routes


    I stayed in Riva (del Garda) at ‘Garda Sporting Hotel’. Liked the hotel, food, service, pools etc all very good. Only minor grumble was the 10 or so min walk to the bars in town (i.e. not much to complain about)

    They had secure bike storage and were used to cyclists. Had workstand and pumps etc

    Get hold of a map and you can work out a lot of routes yourself. ‘Garda on bike’ do daily shop rides (10 euro for discount card if staying at an associated hotel) The riding is brilliant and as mentioned is all at the north end of the lake. I’d definately go back.


    Stayed in Malcesine last year and used the cable car up Monte Baldo. Some serious walks and rides available from the top. Might be a bit quiet for kids though. Riva and Torbole are water sports heaven with a bit of riding available as well.
    Garda is hugely popular with Germans, they vastly outnumber the local Italians and may not be to everyones taste. Saw several million German MTB’ers in Riva, all in full lycra and none of them especially thin 🙂

    Premier Icon chipps

    Stay here: – in Riva del Garda. It’s a lovely, lovely restaurant with rooms and apartments upstairs. It’s 1km from the waterfront, so it’s really, really quiet – and yet you can/walk ride out the door and get in the action/pasta/riding/ice cream in minutes. Wasn’t too expensive either when I last looked. And see the recent issue of the mag where Dave and Sim went. Issue 82.

    Premier Icon alibongo001

    I have been for a few family holidays, always to Malcesine, which is great.

    We stayed at the Majestic Palace (great family rooms at the rear of the hotel near the kids pools)- You can do it almost all inclusive and the food is really good!

    The hotel has a locked bike room and you can do many 2 hour or so loops from the hotel.

    The cable car is also an option, with 15 mins past the hour being the designated bike uplift cars (only). I did a great day going up to Mt Baldo and then a further 400m of climbing before taking the well signed route towards Riva / Torbole back to the lake and hotel.

    Take your bike (lots of hire shops but brakes the wrong way around!

    Its a really good place to be whether you cycle or not, beautiful and lots to see an do!

    Premier Icon manmurray

    +1 for La Colombera! Stayed there couple of times – great place, comfy apartments, quiet but as Chipps said it’s only 1km from the water. Pop up to Arco if you get chance, some great food to be had. Garda’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve been, love it.

    Premier Icon chickenman
    Subscriber is how to get in touch with Michael who will guide you down the best Garda trails as part of your uplift with Luca’s uplift enterprises (he will accept Gelato and Pizza in payment!). Do remember your average Garda trail is trail centre double black back home!!!!


    pic of lago di ledro


    I would recommend top of the lake ie riva or malcesine
    Nice and breazy was there last year it peaked at 42 degrees never dropped below 32 degrees even at nite
    Had to move hotel for aircon room
    When its hot even the locals head to riva or up top of baldo ..rember meckis bike shop for coffee…meckis bike shop has appartments for rent free breakfast inckuded
    Bus service around lake was handy and ferrys were cool but ferrys stop early evening

    Icecream for supper everynight ..


    We went at the end of May last year, here’s a pic of the daughter at the top of Monte Baldo. Not much riding to be done up there 🙂

    image by Jeevester, on Flickr

    Premier Icon martinhutch

    Not ridden there, but family-wise, you should bear in mind that most of the attractions aimed at young’uns are at the south end of the lake near Lazize. Movieland is OK, the attached waterpark is good for a day.

    EDIT: Should read the OP, really! At that age, there are plenty of pebble beaches up and down the lake that will be fab for him. Don’t bother with the parks.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge

    In terms of biking, the north of the lake as suggested above. We had a week in Bardolino a couple of years back, which was fantastic. The only thing that put me off basing any further north was that most Brits head there. I’d rather be amongst the Italians and Germans.


    I think getting up early and going for a quick blast to be back by mid morning might be a struggle,seeing as you don’t know the area.I’d get in touch with Michael @ for more info than you could shake a stick at,he ,Uplifts with,d.d2k
    As for steep and techy,,you’re going to the right place,trouble is,once you’ve done one run,you might find yourself pushing your luck with the missus.
    Enjoy your hols.

    Hi I went last year with family we stayed at the Eco hotel in Riva it included the use of Dutch style bikes to ride into town etc. There are loads of cycle routes to the town to avoid using the roads.

    I met up with Micheal cycle (quakers) and did 2 days of superb mountain biking. If you like steep techy natural stuff your in for a treat. He organised all the uplifts through Luca at bike shuttle torbole. It was really good atmosphere and good value. Be sure to ride the 601 trail and Malga Caset starts with a superb woods section from about 2000 metres

    I did a bit of a trip report after last years visit.

    local video (not mine)



    Hi, Michael here, I lived in Italy for 6 years and I’ve been going here for 8/9 years every year and now spend 4/5 months every summer here, riding every day pretty much. I go here because I love the place, I try to earn enough money over winter to fund my summer here. Consequently I have a vast experience of all aspects of the area and work together with Luca who does 90% of the uplifts in the area. I get asked a lot of questions (not from here) so I put a presentation together to save me writing endless replies. I posted the presentation last year and got a “you’ll be banned” warning as they deemed it a commercial enterprise, though all it did was explain how much it would cost you if you did it a certain way. So if anyone wants the info, please inbox me or get me at Cheers.

    Wow. What an awesome collection of responses! Thanks everyone. All those pointers will make planning things a lot easier, though I’m already considering extending the trip a bit so I can get more riding days in! Really looking forward to it and even more so now I have extra pics/video to drool over.

    Qwackers/Michael – I’ll def be in touch for that presentation and hopefully we can get together whilst I’m out there too. My map reading skills aren’t the best so guided help would be great.

    The only question that remains is “what tyres for Garda?” 😉

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