I want to provide as much information as I can on Love Lake Garda to try to help you fall in love with the region as much as I have. I’ve spent the last eighteen years exploring Lake Garda but I’ve only just scratched the surface, so when someone offers to share some of their experiences I’m very quick to accept.
Ciarán Elster of www.railandwrite.com very kindly wrote me this article about Riva del Garda, a town that I haven’t yet has a chance to explore too deeply….but after reading this I’ll be paying it a visit soon.
Riva del Garda: Outdoor adventures for all ages!
Italy being Italy, there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from, with the area surrounding Piazza III Noviembre being particularly rich in pizzerias and ice-cream parlours. There is also a fine selection of bars and eateries by the harbour, its magical ambience making it a fantastic setting in which to casually stroll in the direction of a drink or dessert in the evening. Just be careful not to trip over any dogs; they seem to outnumber the people here, and the smaller the more fashionable!
Riva del Garda: The beach and water sports
With the northern side of the lake being quite exposed to the wind, Riva is a popular water sports destination with many companies offering everything from tasters to extensive week-long courses. My own attempt at windsurfing was rather disastrous, but that was due to a lack of ability on my part rather than any faults of the lake or my exasperated instructor. Time and time again I hauled the sodden sail out of the water, vainly struggled to hold both it and myself upright for several seconds before the wind sent it back in my direction, its weight sending both would-be-surfer and sail crashing and splashing back under the lake’s surface. It was a far cry from the sleek white triangles which seem to effortlessly glide across the top of the water, adding their colour to the picturesque horizon for anyone relaxing in an outdoor bar or café by the shore. It was enough to show that for anyone willing to take on the challenges of this surprisingly difficult activity, Riva is an ideal place both for newcomers and experienced surfers.
As a quick glance at its harbour will affirm, Riva is arguably Lake Garda’s number one spot for sailing. With many international races taking place there, trailers can often be seen bringing in immaculate boats emblazoned with the emblems of their respective nations, and there are no shortage of vantage points from which interested spectators can watch the action. For anybody willing to give sailing a go, options abound when it comes to hiring various types of yacht, dinghy or catamaran, with tuition also widely available for those not already versed in nautical travel.
Riva del Garda: Cycling
My only bike ride in Riva to date has been of the latter variety, availing of the day-long rental on offer in my campsite to calmly pedal 4km along the lake front to nearby Torbole before coming back the same way. It’s hard to imagine a more pleasant experience than rushing through the breeze with the water to one side and mountains to another, with the possible exception of rounding off the trip with a strawberry ice cream by the beach. Renting a mountain bike and giving myself a more strenuous workout in the area north of Lake Garda remains on my bucket list, and if I ever come to fulfil this particular ambition some lucky pizzerias will make a tidy profit from the appetite I’ll work up in the process!
Riva del Garda: Canyoning
If asked to define what canyoning is, I would probably say that it is a combination of hiking, swimming, jumping, sliding and abseiling. The concept is relatively simple: a group of people start at one point in a canyon or youthful river and make their way to a lower position, taking the most direct route possible from the top to the bottom of waterfalls of various shapes and sizes along the way. The more gently inclining waterfalls make for super-fun slides, as gleeful wetsuit-clad adventurers sit on them and allow their bums to be swept down into the awaiting plunge pool. Drops of a more vertical nature involve the simple but terrifying act of leaping from the top and rushing through the air for a few seconds before splashing into the water, while the bigger and more complicatedly-shaped descents necessitate the use of ropes, harnesses and abseiling techniques.
On the whole, the enjoyment of canyoning makes it akin to a theme park for all the ages, with adults perfectly equipped to rediscover their childish sense of fun. You don’t need to be a fitness freak or even a quintessential lover of the outdoors to make the most of the experience, the only requirement is to be willing to enjoy yourself and get a bit wet! There are plenty of options for anyone staying in Riva to try out this incomparable activity, with companies doing minibus collections in the town itself to bring thrill-seekers up into the mountains to the river’s source.
Riva del Garda: Accommodation
Follow the link for a list of hotels in Riva del Garda.
Riva del Garda: Getting there
So, if you’re looking for some family fun, some quality food, some outdoor escapades, some idle beach time or some more vigorous water exercise, or a combination of all of these, Riva del Garda could be the place for you, especially if you want to have these experiences without too much financial strain. And if you spend your stay getting down to the beach or up to the mountaintop, don’t forget to reward yourself with some pizza and ice-cream afterwards!
Thanks again to Ciaran of www.railandwrite.com for this fantastic insight to Riva del Garda.