Holidays in Riva

Beautiful Riva is Lake Garda’s most northerly town – where Lake Garda and the Alps meet

Riva, in the far north of Lake Garda, rolls out a waterfront that’s almost as grand as the mountains behind. Roman, Venetian, Napoleonic and Austro-Hungarian rulers have all occupied this prized position between the Italian Alps, lakes and plains, leaving behind a richly decorated lakeside promenade and old town. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, olive, cypress, palm and lemon trees thrive in Riva, making for some of the most scenic hiking and cycling paths in Italy. Plus, the jagged peaks of the Dolomites are on the doorstep… if you can bear to peel yourself away from Riva, that is.

Family activities by (and on) Lake Garda

Life revolves around the water in Riva del Garda. Day-trippers come and go by boat and restaurants and cafés set out their tables along the sun-trapped promenade. This stretch of shore is also a favourite spot for windsurfing, canoeing and sailing aficionados. Stroll or cycle along the promenade to neighbouring Torbole, passing sand and pebble beaches along the way. You’ll find that it’s nearly impossible to resist abandoning your bike or boots for a dip in the lake.

Swap Lake Garda for Ledro for the day

The emerald waters of Lake Ledro are just a half-hour bus ride away from Riva. This high alpine lake is another irresistible swimming spot, as well as a great place for delving into the region’s pre-Roman history at the open-air Pile-dwelling museum. Alternatively, head to Lake Ledro via one of the best hiking and cycling paths in Lake Garda – the panoramic Strada del Ponale (Ponale Road).

Walking around Riva old town

Riva has one of the most picturesque waterfronts in Lake Garda, with grand waterfront buildings dressed in alpine shades of blue, buttercup and rose. Don’t miss the car-free, flower-filled old town, Venetian city gates, cobbled main square and baroque fresco-adorned churches. Even the museum, Alto Garda, has extravagant trappings; this medieval fortress was once owned by the powerful Scaliger family. A glance at the restaurant menus reveals specials of schnitzels and strudels, as well as delicious mountain cheeses, cured meats such as mortadella and fruity red wines.

Exploring Lake Garda

Boats regularly set off from Riva’s harbour, bound for the villages of Lake Garda. Each one has its own forte. You could visit Malcesine and catch the cable car up Monte Baldo, explore Limone’s (you guessed it) lemon growing history, and even sail as far south as castle-topped Sirmione. Hold on to your hat whilst speeding across the lake aboard catamarans and hydrofoils, or choose one of the leisurely ferries that meander through the lake and mountain scenery at a more holiday-like pace.

Why book a summer holiday in Riva with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Riva's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Riva include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

Added value

Flights and transfers included

Inghams rep based in resort

Walking in and around Riva

On an Inghams walking holiday, you have the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. Make each day a new adventure, with as much or as little walking as you like.

Why we love walking in Riva

Riva is abundant in history, nature and full of walking opportunities. Monte Brione is right on your doorstep in Riva and a real gem when it comes to walking to those Lake Garda heights. Take in the fjord-like landscape of the Lake from its’ most northerly point, where lakes and mountains meet. There are some beautiful family-friendly trails, such as the paths around the Varone Waterfall and Nature Reserve, where you can walk in and out of ancient caves or stroll through paths lined with rare Mediterranean vegetation. There are also trails that take you out of Riva; ideal for a day trip. The Ponale Way is one of our favourites and follows a path which takes you all the way to Lake Ledro, Riva’s smaller neighbour; it’s a more challenging route, but with fantastic views of the lake and flanked for some of the way by the limestone-white rock face.

Getting around Riva


There are loads of towns to visit on Lake Garda and Riva’s in an ideal position for getting to other northerly towns on the lake. The bus is an affordable way to explore other towns or areas near Riva. Why not head over to Limone which is famous for its quaint cobbled streets and cosy atmosphere, it only takes 15 minutes on the bus (LN027). Alternatively take a day trip to Lake Ledro which is a hidden gem just 35 minutes from Riva on the B214 bus. Spend the day there and discover even more of what the Italian lake district has to offer – the walking there is also fantastic. Or, if you’re staying in one of our hotels which are further from Riva’s centre such as the Hotel du Lac e du Parc or Villa Nicolli and don’t fancy the walk, then you can always hop on the bus to the centre of town, the journey takes about 7 minutes.


The ferries from Riva are great for hopping to other towns around Lake Garda. You can get all the way from the North to the South of the lake directly, so why not take a day trip to somewhere like Garda, or perhaps stop off somewhere in between, like Limone or Malcesine. Head to Limone on the ferry and walk back along the Ponale trail which links Limone and Riva – this is a stunning panoramic trail to try out. Or, take advantage of even more walking opportunities on Monte Baldo in Malcesine. You can check out the ferry timetables on the Navigazione Laghi website.

Our favourite walks in and around Riva

Forts of Monte Brione

This historic circular walk takes you to the historic forts of Monte Brione which were built in the mid-19th Century during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They are the remains of the fortified area of Riva and today you can still see the remains of trenches, observation posts and combat trenches from the First World War. Starting at the Porto San Nicolo, near the Garda Fort in Riva the route heads up the Peace Path and continues up to the Fort of San Alessandro, where you’ll turn back.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate
  • Distance: 6.1km (walking time approx. 3 hours)
  • Ascent and descent: 375m
  • Terrain: Asphalt surfaces, forested trails, walking paths, dirt roads

The Ponale Way (Riva to Pregasina)

Walk to Lake Ledro and explore a hidden gem for the day; why not visit Lake Ledro’s Pile Dwelling Museum? The Ponale Way was originally created to link Lake Garda and Lake Ledro, and to connect Ledro to the rest of the Trentino region. You can take a beautiful walk along the route from Riva to Pregasina or you can fork off towards Lake Ledro. Both options are fantastic and will give you the chance to have a drink or a bite to eat when you finish the trail. At the end you can either head back on the bus or walk back. The Ponale Way is abundant in incredible views of Lake Garda and flanked by limestone-white rock face for some of the way and walking along raised asphalt paths for other legs of the journey. This route is one of the most famous in Northern Lake Garda and whilst it is a relaxed walk it has some of the most fantastic panoramic routes in the whole of Lake Garda, which a panoramic trail which has been carved into the rocks, leading through small tunnels and forested sections.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate
  • Distance: 10km (walking time approx. 3 hours)
  • Ascent and descent: 470m (ascent) 5m (descent)
  • Terrain: Asphalt surfaces, forested trails, walking paths, ascents and descents

Monte Corno and Busa dei Capitani

Starting in Riva’s neighbouring town of Torbole this easy circular walk passes by strongholds of the First World War on the Austro-Hungarian front line. It’s a great walk for history buffs, as it showcases military ruins, including trenches, artillery stations. The area is known as the Busa dei Capitani and has fantastic views of the Lake flanked by ancient fortified walls.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate
  • Distance: 3.4km (walking time approx. 1.5 hours)
  • Ascent and descent: 316m
  • Terrain: Curated paths, asphalt trails, forested paths, dirt tracks, roads
  • Getting there: Head to Torbole on the 484 bus from Riva which takes around 10 minutes, or you could walk which takes between 45 minutes to an hour

The Varone Waterfall, Caves and Nature Reserve

Not a walking route as such, but the Cascate del Varone (Varone Waterfalls), the Nature Reserve and caves are wonderful places to walk around, particularly with a family. There are all manner of rare Mediterranean plants in the nature reserve, which you can admire from specially curated pathways. If you enter the caves (payable locally), it’s like walking through a labyrinth of underground tunnels, cocooned by damp rocks and jagged walls. You’ll be expecting a Minotaur to jump out at any second! We love taking a picnic to the waterfall and watching the water cascading down the rocks, whilst chomping on sandwiches and planning your next holiday activity.

Getting there: You can head up on the bus which takes about 15 minutes (B861) or you can walk up which takes around 45 minutes.

For some more information on walking routes around Riva, check out the Garda Trentino website

Useful Information & Guidelines

Recommended equipment

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, rain jacket, sun cream, sun glasses, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a re-usable water bottle, a snack and cash. You may find walking poles useful.

Walking Maps

For a paper walking map we’d recommend using the Kompass Map 697, Lake Garda (1:35,000) or the Kompass Map 690, Alto Garda and Ledro (1:25 000).

Hiking guidelines

The mountains and lakes are a natural paradise, with lots to explore and discover. To help them stay that way, and remain enjoyable and safe places for everyone, we recommend following our little list of do's and don'ts:

  • Plan your route well and don't overestimate yourself
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Tell someone where you're planning to walk and what time you're expecting to be back
  • Take all the recommended equipment
  • Make a note of emergency numbers:
    • Italian Emergency Services: 112
  • Don't leave the marked trails without a guide
  • Let nature stay wild by not picking flowers (it's illegal in some places) or getting close to/making contact with wild animals
  • Always leave gates as you found them and don't climb over fences
  • Leave no trace

Check out our Responsible Walking insider guide if you want more tips for your summer walking holiday.

  • from£939pp
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Du Lac Et Du Parc Hotel Pool & Garden.jpg

Hotel Du Lac et Du Parc has something for everyone. If you want to relax there's the beautiful park with winding pathways that lead down to the lakefront and an excellent spa. For adventurists there's a water sports centre and easy access to the walking and cycling trails around Riva. And for families, there's a children's pool, mini club and playground - not to mention lots of room for little ones to run around.

  • from£739pp
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The Hotel Europa has one of the best locations on Riva's harbour. It overlooks the historic centre and is just a few steps from the ferry port. 

  • from£769pp
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  • 81 rooms
Hotel Sole Relax & Panorama, Exterior

Hotel Sole has one of the best locations in Riva. It's on the harbour so you can be sure of incredible lake views and you're on the doorstep of the town's bars, restaurants and shops.

  • from£719pp
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Hotel Antico Borgo, Rooftop Terrace, Riva

Hotel Antico Borgo is right in Riva's historic centre. Spend your day exploring the cobbled streets or drinking coffee on the lakeside. The roof terrace has some great views over the town - head here for a drink and enjoy the sun!

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Piscina Ampia

Grand Hotel Liberty is in the centre of Riva, next to the town's café and bars and close to the lake. It's an elegant hotel with an impressive décor and lovely pool in the gardens. Head to the spa when you want to relax. You'll find an indoor pool, sauna, Turkish bath and whirlpool.


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Aperitivo Bordo Piscina Sunset Relax Villa Nicolli Romantic Resort (3)

If you're looking for a romantic getaway surrounded by incredible scenery and just a short walk from the lake, the Villa Nicolli is the perfect place to stay. An adults only hotel, it'll just be you, your loved one and nature.

  • from£939pp
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  • 40 rooms
Hotel Giardino Verdi, Large Double Room (1)

Right in the centre of Riva's historic town you'll find the Hotel Giardino Verdi. This family-run hotel has a relaxed, open plan design and the Moreschi family will make you feel welcome as soon as you step through the door.

  • from£699pp
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Modern Spa, Hotel Gabry

Just 15 minutes’ walk along the lakefront to Riva’s historic centre, Hotel Gabry’s in a wonderful spot near the harbour. It’s ideal for active guests; offering guided walks, tai chi and yoga during the week.

Things To Do

Things to see and do

There’s lots to see and do in Riva. We love the town’s historic, pebbled square. You can spend a few hours in the boutiques picking up some souvenirs or just grab a table outside and order a drink while you enjoy the atmosphere. Dive deeper into Riva’s history by visiting the Museo Alto Garda. It’s in an ancient medieval castle and has exhibits dedicated to archaeology, paintings and life around Lake Garda in the past. It’s great for little ones too with lots of hands-on experiences. Plus, you get some of the best views of the lake from the tower.

It’s easy to explore from Riva, too. Ferries will run to nearby towns like Malcesine and Limone. If you want to escape the crowds for a while, we can recommend going to Lake Ledro. It’s just half an hour away by bus and the waters there are some of the best for swimming.


Riva caters well for walkers of all abilities. There’s something so relaxing about taking lakeside walks here – they’re nice and flat and you can walk for miles. The walk to nearby Torbole is particularly nice and you stop there for lunch before walking back. You need to head higher for some of the best scenery though. Strada del Ponale is our favourite trail for bird’s eye views of the town and lake.

The north of Lake Garda has some of the best cycling trails in Europe. Challenge yourself with the steep routes down Monte Altissimo that has the famous ex-Seicentouno. It’s not for the faint-hearted! There’s plenty of less scary options too. They involve gentle rides along the lake and heading up hills for beautiful views.

Windsurfing is very popular in Riva and you can normally see it taking place from the piazza. Get involved and try it for yourself, there’s plenty of places locally to book lessons or rent equipment. If you’d rather relax then sit yourself down on the white pebble beach. It’s a popular spot for swimmers and sun bathing.

Family activities in Riva

Plenty of water sports opportunities

Head to the lakeside and rent out a paddle board or a kayak. This is the best way to get some family bonding time in, there’s nothing better than gliding across the water on a paddle board- for more of a challenge you could even try tandem paddle boarding. Sailing is also a great way to get youngsters trying their hand at something new – the wind conditions in the North of the lake are perfect for watersports, so you won’t struggle to get going!

Beaches packed with family activities

If you want a day by the beach then head to the family friendly Sabbioni beach. The beach has a mixture of grassy and shingle sections on the lake shore. It’s a good size so there’s lots of space to spread out and lie down with a good book in the sun. Young teens can head to the trampolines, volleyball and basketball courts or rent a canoe at the rowing club, while parents relax in one of the bars with a drink in hand. For younger children there’s also a playground to burn off some energy!

Family walking adventures

There are some fantastic walking spots around Riva which include Monte Brione which has views over Riva and the fjord-like Lake Garda. There are trails up here suited for all walking abilities, so we’d recommend putting on your hiking boots and seeing which paths you can find for a family walk with some incredible views!

Head to the Varone Waterfall is an 100 metre high waterfall which you can walk to with the family, stopping off for a picnic along the way this is a fantastic area to walk around and take in some striking natural sites. The Varone Caves are a natural phenomenon which you can walk through on bridges and walkways and gaze in awe at the incredible rock formations surrounding you. It’s surrounded by a small protected nature reserve and there’s even a botanical garden in the park which has been beautifully curated with Mediterranean plants and rare types of vegetation. Why not see how many different types of plant the children can spot as you walk through! To enter the park it costs between €19 - €28 per family, depending on family size.

Biking around Riva

Biking is popular in Riva. Again, Monte Brione is a great place to go for a cycle. There are specific cycle paths and paved roads on the mountain so it’s not hard to find an easy biking route that will be suitable for children – there’s a great loop which takes about an hour to complete, which is worth trying out with the family. If you want something more challenging, there are plenty of thrill-seeker mountain biking trails to try your hand at.


Pre-book your excursions online or give us a call

Valpolicella Wine Tour from £61 per person (full day)

Who doesn't love a wine tour. On this trip you'll get to visit a traditional wine cellar in Valpolicella, where you'll have a wine tasting with a very knowledgeable guide. Enjoy a lunch of fresh, local ingredients where you can experience 'agri-turismo' first-hand. After lunch, you'll be taken to the historic church and cloisters of St Giorgio. There's no better way to spend a day than by indulging in wine, food, history and stunning vineyard views.

Departs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Venice Classic from £77 per person (full day)

Venice is not to be missed! This excursion allows you to explore the city with a guide and at your own pace. You’ll arrive by coach and grab a water taxi to the centre. You’ll also have the option to add on a gondola ride (payable locally). There’s plenty of time to take in sights of the Basilica, Doge's Palace, St Mark's square and the Rialto bridge  – this is the perfect introduction to one of Italy's most magical cities.

Departs Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Majestic Dolomites from £58 per person (full day)

Start with a scenic drive through the exceptional South Tyrol, Val di Fiemme, Cavalese and Moena regions. You’ll then stop off at Passa Pordoi and take in the incredible views from this 2,000-metre-high vantage point. There’s some free time to explore the terrain at your own pace, either by taking one of the trekking paths or simply enjoying an Aperol at a rifugio and taking in the views. A stop off at the chocolate box town of Ortisei is included on the way back to your hotel as well as plenty of stops for photo opportunities in this awe inspiring landscape.

Departs on Mondays and Fridays. Guests may have the opportunity to go up in a gondola for an additional fee of approx. €23pp. Make sure you take some warmer clothes as temperatures really drop when you get up to the top!

Tour of Lake Garda from £54 per person (full day)

Get ready to explore the best of Lake Garda on this excursion – there’s so much natural beauty and picturesque towns to discover. See the spectacular mountain scenery of the north and the sunny plains of the south. Travelling by both coach and ferry, the tour itinerary for this excursion varies depending on where you start but will usually follow the famous Gardensana road lined with fragrant olive and lemon trees to reach the likes of Malcesine, Sirmione, Salo and Limone. This is the ideal taster tour of the entire lake where you'll get to spend a short period of time in a variety of stunning towns.

Departs on Mondays. 

Verona from £53 per person (full day)

Verona is one of Italy’s most charming little cities. This day trip dips into the romance of the medieval city, reliving the scenes from Romeo and Juliet while wandering around through the cobbled streets and past ancient buildings. On a walking tour of the city you'll see the impressive 2,000-year-old Roman arena (entry not included). It's one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world and is currently home to the Verona Opera. Explore the marble paved shopping street of Via Mazzini which leads to the pretty market square Piazza Delle Erbe.

Departs on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Book locally

Verona Opera (evening)

The Verona Opera is definitely one for the bucket list! The season runs from mid June to early September and covers all the classics including Aida by Verdi or Turnadot by Puccini. Whichever performance you choose; you’ll have an incredible evening.

Please note that the price of excursions will vary depending on the resort you are staying in. We act at all times as a selling agent for the suppliers. All excursions require minimum numbers to run and are subject to change. Some excursions may not be available to pre-book in low season but may be available to book locally subject to numbers. Prices will be confirmed at the time of booking. Please see our Terms & Conditions.

Summer Walking Holidays in Garda

Explore the best of Lake Garda on this multi-centre holiday. You'll start in the south in bustling Garda before taking a scenic ferry to Riva in the north.


Spend a few days exploring the canals and piazzas of Venice before heading to Italy's largest lake. Spend your days walking along the lakefront, sipping wine in the vineyards and heading up the mountain trails of Lake Garda.

Good to know

Walking trails: 600km of walking trails around Riva with a variety of lakeside strolls and mountain paths

Terrain: Diverse terrain from lakeside promenades and mountain routes to forested trails and elevated panoramic paths built into the cliffside

Best time to go: May to September. It can get very hot in July and August so better to keep to more shaded routes or lakeside paths, so you can cool off with a dip in the lake if need be!

Best for: all walking abilities, family holidays, nature, sightseeing, activities

Fly into: Verona (approx. 2 hours)

Fly from: Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Bristol, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford

Transfer time: approx. 1 hour 45 mins

Inghams Guided Walks included

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