Published on: 11 June 2019 | Last updated: 15 February 2020
This cycleway connects Torbole on the northern coast of the Lago di Garda with the Adige valley cycleway. It has some very scenic parts, but its main importance is as the most practical route between Trento and the northern Lago di Garda. It’s also the only alternative to the SS240 which is off-limits to bikes for most of its length between Torbole and the Adige valley.
At a glance
Easy. If you are heading toward the Lago di Garda, the cycleway involves a very limited amount of climbing, but heading the other way there’s a fairly steep (10%) climb out of Torbole.
Most of the route is on roads that are restricted to bikes and agricultural vehicles. While not exclusively reserved for cyclists and pedestrians in practice, they are traffic-free. The final kilometre or so into Torbole is on a quiet road.
Paved cycleways or roads.
Connects with the Adige cycleway
Public transport connections
Good connections at Mori (train) and Torbole (ferry-boat)
Also known as …
Distance: this guide isn’t divided into daily stages, as people differ in how fast and how far they want to travel each day.
‘Traffic-free’: many cycle routes include sections with roads with restricted access for residents or people working on the adjoining land. You may, very occasionally, encounter an agricultural vehicle like a tractor pulling a trailer of hay, but most of the time there is no motorised traffic. They are often indistinguishable from the cycleways that are legally set aside for the exclusive use of cyclists and pedestrians.
Map and altitude profile
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|Start to Mori||2 kms|
|Mori to Nago||9 kms|
|Nago to Torbole||2 kms|
About this table
The table doesn’t necessarily show the distances from one city centre to the centre of the next town — if a route skirts around a town the distances are measured to the nearest point on the route from the centre.
Getting there and getting back
The Mori rail station is close to the start of the route (but note it’s a little way out of the village itself). A cycleway connects the station with the main Valle dell’Adige cycleway, which in turn connects with the Mori-Torbole cycleway. Unfortunately, there’s no station at the other end. There are several bici-bus services out of Riva and Torbole, but there isn’t one that will get you back to Mori. If you are looking to return to Mori, the extraurbane bus services operated by the regional bus company (Trentino Trasporti) will take up to two bikes in the luggage compartment, or you could get a private shuttle or there are several firms in Torbole and Riva offering bike shuttle services. These are mainly geared to mountainbikers, but if there’s a group of you, then they might be an option.
The main public transport option from Torbole is to catch a ferryboat south. For more information see the transport section below.
Options and variants
You could continue, following the lakeshore to neighbouring Riva del Garda, but bear in mind that, in peak season, the lungolago gets very busy. You can also connect with the Valle del Sarca cycleway which starts where the Sarca river flows into the Lago di Garda between Riva del Garda and Torbole (see italy-cycling-guide.info: Valley of the Lakes).
Many people following this cycleway will be riding it as part of a longer route ending at the Lago di Garda. If you are heading for the southern part of the lake, then you can ride the Valle dell’Adige cycleway as far as Rivoli Veronese and turn off there.
The cycleway can be ridden either direction if you don’t mind the initial climb out of Torbole.
In more detail
The cycleway starts about five kilometres south of Rovereto, and from here it heads for the village of Mori. There’s a very small initial climb over about half a kilometre. At first, the route follows a quiet road (the Via San Biagio), but just before it comes out onto the main SS240, it turns left onto the Via Giovanni XXIII. Again you turn left just before the SS240, and a short piece of dedicated cycleway takes you round in a circle to an underpass. On the other side of the main road, you carry on into the village centre and the main Piazza Cal di Ponte.
From the piazza you follow the Via Garibaldi, and then, after about 400 metres, turn left onto the Via Fratelli Benedetti. The Via Benedetti takes you to a junction with the SS240 where you need to cross the road to pick up a section of cycleway (the start of the cycleway is to the right of the CONAD supermarket). There’s a pedestrian crossing if you need it.
The ciclabile runs alongside the main road, but separated from it by a line of trees, for nearly 600 metres to the junction with the Via Paolo Orsi. The cycleway has the whole of the right-hand lane of the road.
When you get to a modern building with grey stripes, the road branches off to the left, and the cycle route continues on a road that’s marked with no-through road signs. The road is restricted to bikes and agricultural vehicles, so it’s a cycleway in all but name.
The cycleway heads across country through farmland and vineyards for two and a bit kilometres. It follows the course of the main strada statale but a couple of hundred metres from it. Eventually, the relatively peaceful section comes to an end, and you come out beside the main road, and for the next 3 kilometres, the ciclabile runs alongside it. If this feels like a good moment to take a break, there’s a picnic area, and, a little further on, the Bicigrill Duchi. There’s also a campsite ((the Albero delle Mele))
The Lago di Loppio and the old rail line
This section isn’t very interesting, but things start to look up a little way after the bicigrill when the cycleway goes under the SS240 and then passes through the Loppio biotopo (nature reserve) on its way to the Passo San Giovanni.
Google Maps shows the cycleway running beside a lake — the Lago di Loppio. When I rode past there wasn’t much sign of a lake, although there is an area of marshy wetlands. In the 1950s, a tunnel was dug between the Adige river and the Lago di Garda as a flood defence measure. The tunnel passes directly under the biotopo and diverts away most of the water that once fed the lake.
This section of the cycleway follows the course of the old railway line that ran between Mori, Arco and Riva del Garda. The train line closed in 1936. There’s a period postcard showing the train steaming past the lake.
There’s then another brief section beside the road before the cycle route leaves the road behind. As you approach the village of Nago, you come to a fork in the cycleway with a picnic area and an information board. The cycle route sign points to the right. You could also go left, and take a slightly more direct route into Nago, but I think the signposted route is the better choice. The cycleway brings you out onto a road. Keep following the signs and turn right. A short stretch of road takes you under the main SS240, and then, on the other side, you bear right and onto a road (the Via Bertoldi). The Via Bertoldi leads into the Via Stazione, and I’m guessing from the stone retaining walls, and the way that it sweeps through a graceful arc, that this was also part of the old rail line.
In the footsteps of Goethe
The German poet Goethe passed this way when he travelled through Italy. Well almost — in fact, he took the nearby Strada Santa Lucia that’s now a hiking route. Goethe wrote:
I could have been in Verona tonight, but I did not want to miss seeing Lake Garda and the magnificent natural scenery along its shores, and I have been amply rewarded. After five, I started off from Rovereto up a side valley which discharges its waters into the Adige. At its head lies an enormous rocky ridge which one must cross before descending to the lake. … At the end of the descent, one comes to a little village with a small harbour, or rather landing place, at the northern end of the lake. Its name is Torbole. On my way up the ridge, I had frequently seen fig trees beside the road, and when I descended into the rocky amphitheatre, I saw my first olive trees which were laden with olives.
The Garda area is known for its mild climate which means that olive trees will grow this far north. The cycleway takes you first through vineyards, and then through groves of olive trees, and, even if the olive trees are not in fruit, there is something special about the sunlight on their silvery-green leaves At its best, this is a magical stretch of cycleway.
Unfortunately, the approach into Nago itself is anything but magical, with a confusing roundabout that you need to find your way across, before the final descent into Torbole.
Just before the end of the Via Stazione, the cycle route signs tell you to turn right, onto the Via del Trenim. The Via del Trenim brings you to a junction with the SS240 and a roundabout. the roundabout is very confusing. Basically you need to go round the roundabout, as if you are heading back the way you came, taking the third exit by the Tex Mex restaurant that is immediately after the roundabout it (or before it, depending on your point of view). There is a cycle route sign on the roundabout but it’s easy to miss among all of the other signs. The cycle route sign has been supplemented by cycle pictograms painted on the road.
You could take the most direct route, avoiding the roundabout, by pushing your bike over the pedestrian crossing that leads to the restaurant.
Assuming you’ve made it around the roundabout, or across the pedestrian crossing, you should be in a small piazza paved with brick pavers. With the Tex Mex restaurant to the left, and a ristorante-pizzeria in front of you, look for the brown cycle route signs. Follow the sign that points to Torbole and Riva del Garda (there’s also a sign for Arco; according to the OpenStreetMap maps this route is an aggregate-surfaced).
The route brings you to the Forte Alto — a fortress built by the Austro-Hungarian empire in the 1860s to defend what was then the border with Italy. It’s now a restaurant (Il Fortino).
The Lago di Garda
The Garda north shore is of course much more built up than it would have been when Goethe came through, but the first sight of the lake, surrounded by mountains as the Alps make their last hurrah before the plains of northern Italy, is a memorable one.
From the Forte Alto, the route descends on a quiet road into Torbole. Bear in mind, as you blast down the Via Europa, that at the bottom there’s a sharp, blind corner.
At the bottom of the hill, the route brings you into Torbole. Turn left if you’re planning on taking a ferryboat, or the lake shore road south towards Malcesine, otherwise turn right. In theory, after a short distance on the main road, you can turn left onto the Via Benaco and from there follow the lake shore, but if it’s busy, you may find it more practical to continue on the main road.
Places to stay
The northern lake is a magnet for sailors, windsurfers and kitesurfers, who, for obvious reasons, want to be close to the lake. You may find it easier to find accommodation (or get a better deal) a little further from the lake shore. Nearby Arco is definitely worth considering.
Hotels and B&Bs etc
Tourist information websites with accommodation search facilities:
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com 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.
Most people will be intent on reaching Garda, but there is a nice little agricampeggio (the Albero delle Mele), that is almost right beside the cycleway at Loppio. There’s another one near Nago, (the Camping Grumèl), but it’s not quite as accessible from the cycleway.
The Lago di Garda has probably more campsites per kilometre than any other stretch of coastline in Italy — although the mega sites with hundreds of pitches are on the southern end of the lake. Again, for the best chance of finding a place, and/or more space try looking away from the lake and considering Arco. That said, the Camping Al Porto found me a nice little pitch tucked away in a corner behind a hedge. The Camping Brione is also worth checking out: it’s close to, but away from, the lake shore.
Campsites on the Lago di Garda
There nine campsites on the Lago di Garda at Riva del Garda and Torbole: Camping Bavaria | Camping Al Lago | Camping Brione | Villa Speranza | Camping Maroadi | Camping Arco Lido | Camping Europa | Camping Al Porto | Camping Al Cor
Campsites around Arco
Places to eat and drink
There are bars and restaurants in both Mori and Nago, as well as the bicigrill at Loppio.
Bike shops and bike hire
Torbole and Riva del Garda are the main centres for cycling on the lake. There are more bike shops here than in any other place I’ve been to in Italy. The area is primarily a mountainbiking destination, but road cyclists are also catered for.
- Rovereto: Vitamina BC | Consolati Gianni Sport | Tettamanti Bike Solution
- Riva del Garda: Cicli Pederzolli | Energia Bike | Garda Bike Shop | GardaOnBike | Gobike (Viale Rovereto 31) | Happy Bike | Leoni Cicli | Rosa’ Bike Service | The Lab
If you’re spending time in the region, it’s worth checking out the Trentino Guest Card. The major benefits for cyclists are free use of the train and bicibus services, as well as free entry to many museums and other attractions.
The card is available from participating accommodation providers (including hostels and campsites). For a list see: visittrentino.info: Guest Card: participating accommodation providers . You need to be staying for a minimum of two nights — but the website also suggests that you ask about the card even if you are only staying for a single night, as you can buy it for a
very special price. If you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, you can also buy the card for 40€ for a week.
There’s a pdf map/brochure if you want to find out more. There’s also an app for Android/iOS.
Most of the holiday areas in the region have a local Guest Card that offers similar benefits.
The main train line through the region runs through the Adige valley — with Verona to the south and Bozen (Bolzano) to the north (and after that, the line continues to Innsbruck and beyond).
There are three companies running services along the line:
- Deutsche Bahn/ÖBB Eurocity
- Trentino Trasporti
Trenitalia operates services to Brenner on the border from Verona and Bologna. These can get very busy, and you may find that there’s no space left. Don’t forget that you need a ticket for your bike (3.50€, or the single fare).
The Deutsche Bahn/ÖBB Eurocity services have a dedicated wagon for bikes. However, you have to have a bike reservation, which costs 10€. They are a good option if you are planning to head for, say, Innsbruck or München, but less handy if you are only planning a short hop.
The train and bus services are supplemented by several bicibus services. These are buses with bike trailers — in most cases these can carry at least 28 bikes, and sometimes more.
The cycleways with bicibus support are:
- the Val di Fiemme-Val di Fassa cycleway
- the Val di Ledro
- the Val Rendena (on the central section between Carisolo and Tione di Trento)
- the Val di Sole (services between the station at Mezzana and the start of the cycleway at Cogolo)
In addition, there are bicibus services that provide transport to or from cycleways. These include a bus that runs between Dimaro in the Val di Sole and Carisolo in the Val Rendena.
You can take bikes on the extraurbane buses run by the regional transport company (Trentino Trasporti). In general, these take a maximum of two bikes.
Boats on the Lago di Garda
During summer the towns on the Lago di Garda are served by frequent boat services. You could use these to connect with the mainline train network at Peschiera del Garda. The most bike-friendly option are the two old car ferries, which have a huge amount of space for bikes. These sail a couple of times a day in either direction, giving four sailings in total. The smaller boats (batelli) have only limited space for bikes, and bikes aren’t allowed on the fast hydrofoil services.
Tourist information websites
The Garda Trentino is a big mountain biking destination with lots of waymarked routes. There’s also a lot for road and touring cyclists. The best starting point for touring cyclists is this page: maps.gardatrentino.it: Cycle routes, but you could go to the interactive map with over a hundred cycling routes around the Lago di Garda: maps.gardatrentino.it: Cycling (use the dropdown menu to filter for the types of route you’re interested in)
There are also a couple of very useful brochures one for mountainbiking and one for roadbiking. You can get these from the tourist offices in Rival del Garda and Torbole, or order them from the Brochures page: gardatrentino.it: brochures as well as download the pdf versions.
The visittrentino.info regional tourist information website has a useful page on taking your bike on public transport in the region: visittrentino.info: cycling-and-public-transport. For information on taking your bike on Trentino Trasporti trains see: Trentino Trasporti: Transporting Bikes
You can take bikes on the extraurbane buses run by the regional transport company (Trentino Trasporti). In general, these take a maximum of two bikes.
Information about the Dolomiti-Garda bicibuses
For information on the BiciBus services around the Lago di Garda see:
Information about boat services on the Lago di Garda
For information about ferry and boat services on the Lago di Garda, go to the Lago di Garda section of navigazionelaghi.it. Note that many services only operate in summer, so the winter timetables aren’t much help for travel planning.You can also download the timetable as a pdf: navigazionelaghi.it: Lago di Garda timetable Summer 2019 .
Maps to print out or view offline
About the maps
The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smartphones. (A4 and A5 are international paper sizes).
Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.
- Mori-Torbole cycleway gps files
(.zip file containing 3 gpx files)
- Italy Points of Interest
POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include information about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instructions. Updated April 2018. The file format is only compatible with Garmin GPSes .
GPX? POI? WTF? … about the GPS files
The GPS downloads are zip files containing files with tracks and waypoints. You can use these with a GPS (eg a Garmin), or using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Depending on the software you use, the track files will display the route on a map, and let you view an altitude profile. The waypoint files show the location of places of interest, as well as other useful things like drinking water sources, train stations and campsites etc.
The track files will just display a line on a map; they won’t give you turn-by-turn directions.
The POI files will only work on Garmin GPSes. They work best on the handheld receivers (eg the eTrex family). They also work, but not as well, on the Edge cycling GPSes.