Dolomites (West-East): variant The Lago di Garda

Published on:  | Last updated: 29 March 2017

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Lago di Garda variant
Tione di Trento - Lago d’Idro 36 kms
Lago d’Idro - Lago di Ledro 25 kms
Lago di Ledro - Riva del Garda 14 kms
Riva del Garda - Molveno 44 kms

This is a variant of the route which goes via the Lago d’Idro, and Lago di Ledro before making a spectacular descent on the old Strada del Ponale into Riva del Garda. From Riva del Garda it then climbs through vineyards to the Lago di Tenno and then rejoins the main route on the road to Molveno.

The Strada del Ponale with the Lago di Garda in the background

The Strada del Ponale with the Lago di Garda in the background - click to enlarge

Note: the Strada del Ponale was cut by a landslide, and a new tunnel was built taking traffic down into Riva del Garda. Bikes are banned from the the tunnel. The lower section of the old road is a fairly gravelly footpath. This was rideable with panniers on an MTB-tourer, but if you have narrower tyres you may need to push your bike for a kilometre or so. I think the descent is worth making even if you do have to push for a bit.

The initial climb out of Tione di Trento is a bit dull, but the route gets more inter­esting. I think the plan is to extend the Giudicarie cycleway, which leads to the Lago d’Idro, north­wards so it connects with the Val Rendena cycleway, but at the moment, there are a number of discon­nected sections of the new part of the cycleway before you join the old cycleway which takes you the final kilometres from Condino down to the lake.

There’s a good scenic road up from the Lago d’Idro to the Lago di Ledro. At the Laghetto di Ampola the route turns off the road onto the Ledro ciclabile. The initial section is unsur­faced by you can avoid this by turning right after the laghetto and picking up the ciclabile there. The route then follows the ciclabile past sawmills and timber­yards before it reaches the Lago di Ledro. There’s another unsur­faced section so so you may prefer to take the road on the other (northern) side of the lake.

The high point of this section is the descent into Riva del Garda for my money one of the most scenic rides around the lakes.

The Lago di Garda (76m) is the lowest of the Italian lakes and there’s a a biggish climb (700-metre altitude gain in 15kms) passing yet another lake (the Lago di Tenno) on the way.


From the Riva del Garda you could head via Torbole to pick up the Valle dell’Adige cycleway near Rovereto. The cycleway heads south towards Verona and north towards Trento and Bozen (Bolzano). You could use this option to rejoin the route at Lavis and cut out quite a lot of climbing.

Alternatively you could head south and pick up the Lakes of Lombardia and Piemonte route.

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs

Find and book places to stay with pages for places on this section of the route:

About these links

If you use these links to book accom­mod­ation will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.

I use to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirm­ation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.

I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the oppor­tunity to let me know if there’s a problem.

Many properties offer free cancel­lation but it’s a good idea to check the condi­tions as these vary from property to property.


There are lots of campsites at the lakes along the route. I’ve stayed at these sites:

  • Camping Miralago on the Lago d’Idro and the
  • Camping Brione site at Riva del Garda. It has some nice spaces for tents amidst the terraced olive grove above the main site. My advice would be not to bother with the sites on the lakeside at Riva.

  Map of campsites along the route:  Dolomites-WE-campsites-map-show map in overlay    |    Dolomites-WE-campsites-map-show map in new window 

Articles in this series

The Strada del Ponale with the Lago di Garda in the background

The Strada del Ponale with the Lago di Garda in the background

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