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Wundervoller Blick auf den Gardasee in Riva, Bild: Danny Iacob / shutterstock

Riva del Garda on Lake Garda

Riva del Garda is a popular holiday resort on the northern shore of Lake Garda in Italy. This is largely due to the unique location of the village: located directly on the lake, surrounded by impressive high mountains. In addition, there is the engaging mentality of the locals, which is a mixture of Italian lightness and Austrian down-to-earthness.

Although Riva has only about 16,000 inhabitants, the town is the second largest town on Lake Garda. Holidaymakers will find numerous sports and excursion opportunities, interesting cultural offers and various events throughout the year.

Interesting facts from the history of Riva

Riva del Garda has only been part of Italy since 1919, until then Riva was part of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom. During this time, the city was considered the fortress of the kingdom. Accordingly, it was fiercely fought over and destroyed in the 1st World War.
In 1888, the Austrian physician Christoph von Hartungen founded a sanatorium in Riva on the basis of homeopathy, which quickly became extremely popular with celebrities such as the Manns, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud and Rudolf Steiner.

How to reach Riva del Garda

By car, take the A222 Brennero motorway south to the “Rovereto Sud – Lago di Garda Nord” exit. From the toll booth, take the SS240 state road and follow it to the town of Nago. There you will find a roundabout where you take the Torbole exit. In Torbole you will find another roundabout, which you leave by taking the exit to Riva. After about 2 km on this road, you will pass through a road tunnel that will take you directly to the entrance to Riva.

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It is easier to travel by train, even if Riva itself no longer has an active train station. Take the train to Rovereto, 20 km away. From there, a regular bus runs to Riva.

The nearest international airport is in Verona. There you can take the bus to the train station or take a rental car.

Find suitable accommodation in Riva del Garda

Although the town is relatively small, you have a large selection of hotels of all price ranges, both directly in the town centre and just outside Riva and therefore quietly located.

If you prefer a holiday apartment or holiday home, you also have a wide choice in Riva del Garda. The offer ranges from luxurious accommodation in old villas to functionally furnished apartments. In many of these accommodations, your pets are also welcome, but please inquire beforehand. You will also find barrier-free holiday homes or apartments in Riva.

Beaches in Riva del Garda

You will look in vain for sandy beaches here. However, there are two beautiful pebble beaches, Spiaggia dei Pini and Spiaggia Sabbioni, with very good infrastructure – sunbathing lawn, supervised bathing facilities, toilets and showers as well as a beach bar. These beaches stretch along the northern shore of the lake, parallel to a shore cycle path. They can be reached on foot from the old town in 5 minutes. A sailing school rents boats, canoes and SUPs. However, dogs are not allowed there.

Attractions in Riva

Torre Apponale, Riva del Garda
Torre Apponale, the landmark of Riva del Garda, Image: saiko3p / shutterstock

The landmark of the city is the 34 m high Torre Apponale, which dates back to the 13th century.

Originally built in the 12th century, the city fortress of La Rocca was built directly on the lakeshore. In the 19th century, the Austrians rebuilt it and used it as barracks. Today it is home to the Alto Garda Museum. This museum houses the three permanent exhibitions: Landscape Painting on Lake Garda, Archaeology and Rooms of History of Riva del Garda and the Lower Sarca Valley.

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From the outside, the 17th-century church dell’ Inviolata looks rather inconspicuous. It was built by an unknown Portuguese architect. Inside, it is lavishly decorated with frescoes, stucco, gilding and marble.

A walk along the lakeside promenade with its numerous shops, restaurants and café should definitely be part of your holiday programme.

Probably the most beautiful square in the old town, Piazza III. It is surrounded by arcades, directly on the lake. Around the square are three historic palazzi from the 14. or 15th century.

Attractions around Riva del Garda

Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
Lake Garda near Riva del Garda, Image: pointbreak / shutterstock

North of Riva is the 100 m high Varone waterfall. There, in an imposing erosion gorge, the water plunges to the ground at breathtaking speed.

The Sentiero della Pace leads to Monte Brione, a curiously shaped rock that separates Riva from the neighboring town of Torbole. On this mountain plateau lies an old fortress from Austrian times. In addition, you have a fantastic view over Lake Garda from there. There is both a very nice, well-marked hiking trail and a paved bike path to get there.

About 200 m above Riva, on Monte Rocchetta, the remains of the Venetian fortress Bastione are enthroned. Since 2020, you can reach it with a panoramic elevator.
The Ponale Road is a beautiful cycling and hiking trail on the northern shore of Lake Garda. The road connection between Riva and the Ledro Valley, built in the middle of the 19th century, was carved into the rock of the cliffs above Riva. Today, it may only be used by bicycles and pedestrians. The route from Riva to Lake Ledro takes about 1.5 hours by bike.

Sports facilities in Riva del Garda and surroundings

Due to the reliable winds, Lake Garda offers ideal conditions for sailors and surfers. The imposing mountain landscape around the lake attracts climbers and mountain bikers in summer and skiers in winter.