Lake Garda is one of the most popular destinations. Thanks to its unforgettable views, its beaches and its crystal-clear water, it inspires the desire to know even the most remote places. I also include people who, like me, live close to this dream place, but still do not know every secret. For this reason, I decided to write this article: we will discover together the ten hidden places to visit on Lake Garda.
It is a common mistake to take for granted the privilege of living near one of the most magical places in the world. We can’t wait to leave, to look for new experiences in other places. Sometimes, however, we do not take into account the fact that this undisputed pearl hosts hidden destinations, which will surely surprise us.
If you have already fallen in love with the many places to visit on lake Garda, but you want to find out something more, you are in the right place.
1. TIBETAN BRIDGE IN TORRI DEL BENACO
If a shot of adrenaline is essential to make your days a little bit more interesting, then the next place will satisfy you.
Torri del Benaco hosts, in fact, a very peculiar attraction, inaugurated only in 2019, for this reason not known by everyone yet. I’m talking about a real Tibetan bridge, 45 meters high on a cliff that will leave you breathless. 34 meters long, if you suffer from vertigo it will not be on your wish list, but I assure you that the view will be priceless. However, even just the way to get there will give you unique emotions.
First of all, let’s find out how to reach this destination that deserves to be on my list of 10 hidden places to visit on lake Garda.
Since it is hidden, you will have to pay attention to get to the starting point: Borgo Crero. Thanks to a steep and narrow street, you will arrive at a car parking. Then, you can continue on foot following the path Cai n. 39. Just 20 minutes away you will reach this thrilling place surrounded by nature. Are you ready to experience something unusual?
Could you imagine that you had the chance to walk on a real Tibetan bridge while enjoying the view of some of the places to visit on Lake Garda?
From here it is possible to recognize Malcesine, Riva del Garda, Torbole, Monte Brione and Monte Stivo. Even though it is a hidden place, it offers us a vast panorama in the middle of Val Vanzana.
Given the fact that it is made of non-slip grilles, it is also perfect for a trip with your children to create indelible family memories. On the other hand, if you are a cycling lover and you want to do this experience with your faithful partner, your bike needs to be shouldered and then you can go back on the saddle.
It is important to keep in mind that no more than 15 people can walk here at the same time. The bridge is strong and safe, but it is better not to roll the dice!
You can end your hike here and return from the same road; or, if you are a walking lover, I suggest continuing forward. In fact, after crossing the bridge, you can walk towards Pai di Sopra by following the path Cai n.38. you will arrive in San Zeno di Montagna. Here I recommend admiring the enchanting panorama that surrounds you. The tour will take about 4 hours, excluding breaks to capture these postcards scenarios!
To conclude this trip, I suggest you also paying a visit to Borgo Crero on your way back. Here, the eighteenth-century church of San Siro will take you back in time, surrounded by olive trees and stunning landscapes.
Not many people know that in Crero there are also some graffiti and rock engravings on the way that connects to Percorso del Pellegrino.
As you may have understood, this place to visit on lake Garda is a real treasury of less known and surprising jewels.
2. SANTUARIO DELLA MADONNA DI MONTECASTELLO
For the second stop of our journey to discover the 10 hidden places to visit on lake Garda, let’s move to Tignale, on the Brescia side.
Here, located just below the peak of Monte Cas, on a spur of rock sheer above the lake, an impressive monument will grab your attention. I am talking about the Sanctuary of Madonna di Monte Castello, known also as Sanctuary of Madonna della Stella. The second name comes from the miraculous apparition of the “Stella”, which means star. This one ended the bloody fight that took place right in Tignale in the 13th Century. Aren’t you curious to discover a little bit more about it?
Let’s find out how to reach this sacred place at 691 meters above sea level. If you are on the western Gardesana Road, you just need to follow the signs to Tignale. You can park your car on the way between Olzano and Prabione, just nearby the shrine of Via Crucis. You will leave your vehicle at 574 meters high so that you have to follow a quite challenging path in order to reach the destination. It takes roughly half an hour. If, for some reason, it is better for you to get there by car, during the less crowded seasons you have the chance to do so without any problem. In the square opposite the Church, a big car parking is waiting for you. Still, you have to be careful. The road is narrow and made of sharp turns. It is important to take into consideration also the size of your car!
Once arrived, you will have to take your time to decide where to look. On one side, a disarmingly beautiful monument; on the other side, a view that will leave you breathless.
I would suggest focusing firstly on the Sanctuary, even more surprising thanks to the recent restoration. Built on the ruins of an ancient temple, it has subsequently turned into a castle that houses the “Casa Santa”, a small temple of the 9th Century. Art lovers will surely recognize the frescos inspired by Giotto that decorate the inside, where you can find the biggest ex voto in Europa.
It is better to take a break after all these emotions. You can do it in the bar you find in the square. During summer period, it offers the chance to sit in the shade while enjoying the incredible view. I recommend relaxing a bit and regaining your strength before visiting the next destination.
This place to visit on lake Garda has not finished surprising you yet!
Once arrived at the top, you can go to the gravel road on your left. An incredible experience is waiting not only for trekking lovers but also for history fans. It is possible to see some anti-aircraft settlements of the First World War and some galleries dug into the rock. Thanks to the numerous information panels you will have the opportunity to learn the construction and the purpose of the tunnels. You will see where anti-aircraft guns were and where soldiers took refuge during World War I.
You can proceed up to the tower with the cross on the top at 779 meters high and come back from the same road. In order to enjoy this walk without problems, it is better to wear comfortable shoes.
3. PONALE WATERFALL
We have been talking about a destination in Veneto and another one in Lombardy. How about moving to Trentino for the third of the 10 hidden places to visit on lake Garda?
That’s right. We are now in the northern part of the lake, in the waters of the fascinating Riva del Garda. If you are wondering why I stressed the fact that we are not on dry land anymore, you will find it out soon. I will lead you to the discovery of a waterfall that only some adventurers are lucky enough to see: the Ponale waterfall.
If you are reading this article, it means that you are interested in unusual places, and I assure you that this one will not disappoint you. Let me give you a clue: you can get here only by a way: by water. The most appreciated option by the majority of visitors is to rent a kayak or sup. An hour of paddling and you will be there.
In this case, the journey to get there is half of the experience, so enjoy it!
The departure point is the characteristic harbor of Riva del Garda just below the Apponale tower. Turn around to admire the lakeshore behind your back. It is magical seeing everything from another point of view, isn’t it? You are able to notice new details that can awaken in us new sensations. Just remember: be careful once you are in the port, since you may find also big boats. For this reason, it is better to get around it to avoid the risk.
Going south, you will be amazed by the rocky wall of the Rocchetta that blends into the lake water. This contrast will leave you speechless. After one hour you will get to the restaurant and hotel “Casa della Trota”, no longer in use due to a debate between owners and environmentalists. It can be a point of reflection. Would you prefer to have dinner while enjoying a unique location, or would you rather prefer to protect the nature? In any case, you will have to overcome a natural stone bridge that allows you to contemplate an inimitable spectacle. Here, the roar of the icy water and the wind that it raises will waken special emotions in you.
This waterfall, thanks to its position in the wild, has been awarded as the “most beautiful waterfall in Trentino”, as well as one of the most amazing in Italy.
Another curiosity about the waterfall? At the end of the 19th Century, thanks to its height of 60 meters, it is also used as a source of energy for the hydroelectric plant “Riva”. This, however, was closed during the First World War.
By the way, as you may have understood, not everyone feels like reaching it in complete autonomy. In fact, there are many variabilities to take into account, such as the winds that blow continuously in the northern part of the lake. So, as a plan b, there is also the possibility of seeing it thanks to a walking path.
Continue with our journey to discover the ten hidden places to visit on lake Garda to learn more!
Arriving at your destination you will probably see the Ponale path, another incredible destination. Together with the Busatte-Tempesta trail, it is a dream come true for trekking and mountain bike lovers. It is precisely through this path that you can reach the waterfall from the hinterland.
Take note, this suggestive route that connects Riva del Garda to Valle di Ledro is undoubtedly a place to visit on lake Garda.
The history of this trail is fascinating. Back in 1192, there are the first signs of Porto del Ponale, an important link between Lake Garda and Valle di Ledro. In the mid-nineteenth century, Emperor Giancarlo Cis inaugurated the Ponale road. At the time 33 kilometers long and carved into the rock, it allows this area to finally emerge from isolation. With the arrival of the Gardesana in the early ‘30s, the road is then abandoned to be recovered only in 2004. This year it becomes a cyclo-pedestrian path, today of international importance.
Along the way, you will meet many Belvederes, where you can take enviable souvenir photos. The trail is not too difficult, it is classified as medium-easy. Its 20 kilometers length, however, will make you feel a little puckish. Luckily, they have taken into consideration also this aspect: you will find many restaurants where you can relax and refresh yourself before continuing.
Without taking anything away from the path, almost everyone knows it, so it is not exactly among the 10 hidden places to visit on lake Garda. There’s one thing that not many people know about this route: a jewel of military engineering that fortunately has also been opened to the public. I am talking about Tagliata della Ponale, an Austrian fortification entirely excavated inside the mountain. It has been closed for many years but today it is possible to visit it thanks to some organized excursions. You will be accompanied by a well-prepared guide who will show you everything and satisfy all your curiosity.
Built between 1890 and 1918, it is “the most daring work of military architecture of resistance”. It is spread over 5 floors, with tunnels, artillery emplacements, lookouts and shelters. The oldest nucleus is Fort Theodosius, which takes its name from the discovery of a treasure from the Roman era. Those who do not suffer from vertigo can enjoy an amazing view from here.
The staircase of 200 steps that descends steeply to the level of the lake is what certainly will leave you speechless. With a difference in height of 170 meters, it is a real tunnel in the rock that connects the third gallery to the crystalline mirror. While today we appreciate a splendid view, this same place was used to hit all enemies thanks to its strategic position.
It is a real dive into history, perfect to understand how soldiers used to live during the war. Can you imagine that on the ground you can still see the yellow powder with which they made explosives? The atmosphere here is damp, dark and in some places cramped. What makes us think is that for these young people it was still a coveted place, where, however, the stops were always too short. Surely it is not a visit that leaves indifferent.
It is impossible to imagine that there is such a majestic work right in the heart of the mountain. It is appropriate to say: it is a hidden place!
If your wanderlust needs still to be satisfied, from the Ponale path you can decide to continue and reach Punta Larici. Are you ready to enjoy an inimitable view? It is a natural terrace at more than 900 meters above sea level, suspended between lake Garda and Val di Ledro. In short, if you want to enjoy all the possible viewpoints and romantic sunsets, the choice, as you may have understood, is wide.
If your passion is trekking and you love to challenge yourself, these places to visit on lake Garda will meet your expectations.
4. SANTA BARBARA CHURCH
The peak of the lake still has many surprises in store for us. In this area unusual and particular places are not missing. From the center of Riva, if you look up at Monte Rocchetta, you can distinguish a white dot painted on the rocks.
Are you curious to find out what it is? Then, you just have to continue reading the 10 hidden places to visit on lake Garda!
From the city center, you can easily reach the car parking “Monte Oro”, where you can leave your car and start the panoramic walk. From here you just need to follow the signs to Bastione Riva. At 211 meters high you will reach the Basitione Riva del Garda, which is without a doubt a place to visit on lake Garda. This, built at the beginning of the sixteenth century by the Venetians, was destroyed in 1703 by French troops making it unusable. Today, thanks to the recent restorations, it retains its charm, so much that it is considered one of the symbols of the city. Let me warn you: the way is not that easy. But don’t worry, I know how to continue in order to reach the destination. Just below the Bastione, which dominates an incomparable view, you can take a break at the restaurant located at the foot of the fortified tower. In this elegant atmosphere, immersed in a modern location, you can also consider surprising your sweetheart. A romantic dinner, admiring hand in hand an unforgettable sunset. For special occasions like these, there is also the option to take the panoramic elevator. Inaugurated in 2020, it is a good solution if you want to avoid getting there out of breath!
After regaining your strength, behind the bastion you will have to follow the gravel path number 404. Being mostly inside the woods, the shaded path is doable also even on the hottest days. While walking, you might notice the penstocks on the mountain. These, now in disuse, took the water from the nearby lake Ledro. They were used to power the hydroelectric plant of Riva del Garda.
At about 620 meters high, after walking for about one hour, you will finally reach your destination. What was previously a dot, will reveal now all its beauty. The church of Santa Barbara will welcome you immersed in a magical atmosphere.
The church takes its name from the patron saint of all the miners, who 1935 built the church during the construction of the hydroelectric plant. Just before the church, you can also find the homonymous hut, which served as a refuge for workers. Today it is a convenient refreshment point from where you can appreciate an amazing view. The church has no particular characteristics, but what amazes is the surrounding landscape. In addition, for via ferratas lovers, it is possible to take path 405. From “Bochet d’Enzima” you can return to the city center of Riva with a ring road itinerary. Since there are some iron stairs, it is better to walk here only with the right equipment. Otherwise, for the less experienced, you can return from the road you made earlier.
5. COLLINA DI LORENZO
After a great number of breathtaking views of the lake, how about moving slightly inland for a totally new and particular experience?
Let’s continue with our 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda. We are now in Castiglione delle Stiviere, in the province of Mantua, in a completely magical place.
The Morainic Hills surround Collina di Lorenzo and its enchanting landscape. It is the perfect place for a daily trip with your children, to have a direct and genuine contact with nature. An outdoor education laboratory to make aware the new generations (but not only) of the importance of respecting nature.
The history of this naturalistic oasis, immersed in the green and far from the city noise, is particular. The name comes from Lorenzo Saviola, who decided to give this territory to his friend Fausto de Stefani. Probably you are familiar with this name since he is the second Italian alpinist who climbed all the mountains at high altitudes. Peaks above 8000 meters!
De Stefani has always been a lover of nature and an environmental activist. He wanted to leave something to future generations. This place teaches us the importance of respecting everything around us. This project has already reached a great number of young people. Every year they come here in order to have a direct connection with flora and fauna of the area. About 20000 elementary school children are accompanied by teachers to live this unique experience. De Stefani insists a lot on dialogue with children. He thinks that what surprises us and what we learn in childhood will accompany us until our last breath. With his stories, he excites the new generations, who listen to him ecstatic and follow him on this journey into nature.
Not only the engaging stories of Fausto… On the hill, you can also admire very special buildings. Wood carvings, an ancient peat bog, a pond, Mongolian and Indian tents, and a pirate ship. In addition to the various birdhouses, some of which were made by the visitors themselves, you can watch from the observatory a wide variety of bird species without annoying them. A must-see is also the educational farm, where cute animals will snatch a smile, as well as hay from your hands! In short, this is one of the 10 hidden places to visit on lake Garda that has so much to offer. Whether you want to go on a trip with your family or just have a genuine connection with nature.
In my opinion, taking some time for an activity like this helps us to look at our daily routine from another point of view. Thanks to these experiences we can understand what is important in our lives and what is superfluous and harmful.
6. POSTERNA BEACH AND ARIL RIVER
Let’s go back to reflect on the water of our beautiful lake, in particular in the gorgeous Malcesine. Here, mountains and lake blend harmoniously in a unique climate, so much that the city has always been a destination for numerous artists.
If you want to find out more about this place to visit on Lake Garda, here you will find many other curiosities
We now focus on the less known and more particular places in this area. The 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda have not ceased to surprise you!
Let’s start from the city center, right near the majestic Scaliger castle. If I told you that under the fortress, there is a small beach with unforgettably crystal-clear water? Yes, I’m talking about the hidden beach of Posterna, or “do Posterna”, as it is written on a sign right in the center. Although it is also signposted, the small beach is little known, maybe due to its position. In order to reach it you have to go down a steep descent between the rocks. I assure you, however, that the initial effort will be repaid once you arrive there.
The beach is facing west, nestled between the high cliffs of Malcesine. In order to reach the stairs, you just have to pay a little attention while walking through the historic center. Just before the entrance to the castle, in fact, on the left, there is a narrow street you have to walk to reach this paradise.
The quiet and the peace that reign in this place are surprising, although its proximity to the city center, always teeming with tourists. It is perfect both for families who want to enjoy an afternoon together and for groups of friends to enjoy a pizza while contemplating the lake. Even the romantic ones will not be disappointed by the beautiful sunsets that can be admired together with their sweethearts.
For the most fearless there is a cliff from where you can jump into the lake. You can do it only if you are used to it and always paying close attention.
It is a place a bit unusual and detached from city life, although it is located right inside it. I assure you that it deserves its place on my list of 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda.
Malcesine has not ceased to surprise us. Not only it excels in beauty, but also boasts another record: it has the shortest river in the world!
Lake Garda boasts 25 tributaries. Among these, in Cassone, a village of Malcesine, river Aril puts an end to its short run flowing into the lake waters. “Ri”, as the locals affectionately call it, comes from a source in the historic center nearby the parish church, on the slopes of Mount Baldo. Going back to the source there is a water spring that forms a small pond. Here it is common to see numerous trout that every year go up the waterway to lay their eggs, for this reason it is a protected reserve. In reality, this small basin was created for safety reasons, as after rain periods the water level can create serious inconvenience. In any case, it gives us a delicious glimpse of the center.
Despite its length of 175 meters, along its short journey, you can count three bridges and a pretty waterfall.
Thanks to the flow of water, it is considered a real river and not a simple stream. From 1889 to 1913 a power plant exploited the source of Aril to provide energy to two mills and an oil mill. Not bad for such a small stream, isn’t it? Add it to the list of places to visit on Lake Garda, you won’t regret it!
The building you can see on the side of the square housed a fish farm, which in 2008 became the Museum of the Lake. If you are interested in fishing, this is a must! You will be able to see an old fishing boat and some tools used for fishing. A detail will surely impress you: the teeth of a pike, which seems to have 900! But that’s not all. You will have the opportunity to see the typical fishes that inhabit the lake, such as whitefish, trout and eel.
On the other hand, if you are a Christmas atmosphere lover, I advise you not to miss the particular floating nativity scene that dominates the surface of the river from one bank to the other. It is really a suggestive picture.
7. MARMITTE DEI GIGANTI
Have you ever wondered what is the origin of the largest lake in Italy? It is not easy to summarize a process that began about 35 million years ago. In any case, it is not the result of a single action, but a combination of three factors. In fact, we talk about fluvial, glacial and tectonics. The erosive action is attributable to the waters of mountain streams that have created a basin that has allowed the modelling by the alpine glaciers. Let’s not forget that the surrounding mountains, such as Mount Pizzoccolo, helped to create the lake basin as we know it today thanks to their process of raising.
For our next destination, however, we focus on the period of glaciations. During the Plicocene Era, the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic submerged the entire Po Valley and Garda. Both Valleys are filled with sediments, and we have evidence of this thanks to the numerous finds of marine fossils. Subsequently, these freeze, contributing to the formation of many pre-alpine lakes that we find throughout the north of the peninsula. 4 glaciations lead to the creation of the Benaco basin as we know it today thanks to their powerful and constant erosion work.
One of the 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda can be traced back to this amazing phenomenon. I’m talking about the majestic “Marmitte dei Giganti”.
We are now between Nago and Torbole sul Garda and to get to your destination you can choose whether to opt for a nice walk or continue by car. In any case, I will explain both choices so you can evaluate the one that is right for you.
By car is very easy. You will have to take the panoramic road that connects Nago to Torbole and follow the sign to Marmitte dei Giganti. Don’t worry, in the panoramic parking nearby the roundabout your car will be safe. From here you will have to take a path that will take you to your destination in just 5 minutes.
Whereas on foot the starting point is the center of Torbole. First, the road is paved, then it will turn into a dirt path. It is suitable for both adults and children but you need to pay attention. The first part is slightly challenging. For this reason, it is better not to bring baby strollers. Alas, it is also not recommended for disabled people.
Personally, I prefer this second option to reach this destination which is among my 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda. It is always pleasant to walk in the middle of nature and admire the amazing blue body of water behind you.
Let’s start now by visiting this enchanted place, where time seems to have frozen. Do you know why they are called like that? The translation is “Giants’ potholes”. A legend tells that real giants dug them to quench their thirst. They were a perennial guarantee of water for them.
As I mentioned before they have formed thanks to the melting of glaciers. The water dragged with it sand and rocks that contributed to smooth these boulders and to create these wells. With their depth of 10-12 meters, it’s truly a breathtaking sight.
Whether they served to quench the thirst of giants is not certain. The fact that this place was inhabited in prehistoric times, however, is well-documented. Some discoveries of tools dating back to the fourth and third millennia make us understand that they were used as a shelter. But exactly, where did our ancestors hide? Even today you can see tunnels in the rock and the main one is about 10-15 meters long. If you are armed with a flashlight and, above all, boldness, you can walk in it in complete safety.
An iron ladder leads to an amazing panoramic point, but again, I recommend it only if you do not suffer from vertigo and do not fear the danger. For climbing lovers, however, near the entrance there is a real outdoor gym.
In short, this destination satisfies all tastes.
In my opinion, it is one of the most magical places to visit on Lake Garda, as the emotion you feel in front of this gift of nature is unbelievable.
8. CRISTO SILENTE
How about diving right into the depths of the lake’s waters for our eighth stop in the 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda?
Diving lovers, this is for you! We are at Porto Nicolò in Riva del Garda. Once you’ve put on your wetsuit and set up your tank, get ready to see more than fishes, rocks and gorges.
At a depth of 15 meters, an imposing statue watches over the clean and fresh water that surrounds it. I’m talking about the Silent Christ, a masterpiece made by the artist Germano Alberti. In 1970 this work of art is lowered into the abyss. It is no less than 3.6 meters high and weighs about 5 quintals. It remained there uninterruptedly until 2009 when the same author took care of its restoration. Being under the water for almost forty years, the sculpture was a bit ruined, and a retouching was a must. The arms, opened as a sign of welcome, were broken and the structure had been damaged by some lake shells, called dressene. Thanks to this restoration work the figure has acquired even more beauty. Before it was only a stylized symbol, now it is a Christ with a “human face”.
The size is not exaggerated, but the meaning it carries is immense. In the city, every year on the 1st of November takes place the traditional laying of the crown at the foot of the Silent Christ. It is an event in memory of armed conflicts and wars victims. It is really a touching moment to see the crown laying underwater, where all movements are slowed down. It seems to be in a detached dimension.
That’s the point of all of this. Out of the water everything runs, everything is fast and chaotic. Underwater, on the other hand, everything is muffled, slow, almost still. I believe that this gives even more value to this action and draws attention to the importance of taking a moment to remember.
Another not to be missed event is the Cristo Silente Trophy, a digital underwater photography competition organized by the Riva Divers Group.
If you want to visit this significant place, of course, you can! Otherwise, it would not be among the places to visit on Lake Garda! There are many centers where you can rent the necessary to dive and ask for information. Being at a not high depth, the feat can be accomplished even by the less experienced. Speaking of hidden treasures that lie beneath the water, you should know that there are many more! I must mention the wreck of “galea”, a ship of the Serenissima Republic sunk in 1509 in Lazise. That’s right. Even the waters of the lakes have known the ferocity of naval clashes. Discovered in 1962, lies at a depth between 24 and 27 meters, 500 meters from the new port of the First Italian Municipality. Thanks to the shape of the seabed, which is slightly sloping, the boat has a doubly inclined position. Thanks to the mud it has been preserved fantastically. Many of the ship’s constituent elements are perfectly visible. To discover other curiosities about this pretty destination, I invite you to read this.
If you are fascinated by wrecks, then I suggest you also exploring the area nearby Salò. Here you will be welcomed by another incredible boat, sunk only in 1977: the Benardi wreck. This boat belonged previously to Navigarda and then to the engineer Benardi. It is part of a proper training area for divers. We are in Tavine beach, where several wrecks have been deliberately sunk at different depths just to allow the less experienced ones to become familiar with this sport.
Under the water mirror, it hides a world of quiet, peace and views that will leave you breathless (hoping it is not a defect of the cylinder!). An entire underwater world is waiting for you to discover all the secrets it hides!
9. CAMPO DI BRENZONE E BALOT TACÀ VIA
Sometimes going underwater is not enough to escape the daily chaos that is now part of our lives. Have you ever wondered how people used to live before this technological progress that has inexorably overwhelmed us? I’m not saying it is a bad thing, otherwise, I wouldn’t even be here writing! In any case, I would like to know the difference between the past and present lifestyle.
If I told you that among the ten hidden places to visit on Lake Garda there is also a fascinating village that tells us how people lived in the past? Aren’t you curious to immerse yourself in the history of simple people who have lived or still live here? Get ready, we will discover a place to visit on Lake Garda truly unique in its kind.
Borgo Campo in Castelletto di Brenzone, a stop that will give another meaning to your stay in Lake Garda. It can be reached by several paths: from the city center of Castelletto, from Marniga, Fasor, Cassone and Magugnano. Obviously, each of these paths have different characteristics. The most direct from the lakefront is the one that starts from Marniga, while the one with the gentler and most pleasant climbs is the one from Fasor. The best known is the one from Magugnano, a steep mule track paved with stones and pebbles which is 3.5 kilometers long.
In any case, whatever option you choose, you will be surrounded by lots of olive trees with a view of the wonderful lake behind you. As the difference in height is not high, the trail is suitable for everyone, even for children. On the pebbles, it is easy to slip if they are wet. For this reason, it is better to opt for comfortable and non-slip shoes.
Once arrived at your destination, about 200 meters above lake level, you will not know where to look. You will be caught by the magic of this place. But why is this village so special? This medieval village, where only two families live today, seems to have remained in the past. Campo already existed in 1023, so almost a millennium ago! Here you can see numerous ruined houses, many in a state of decay, without roofs and fixtures.
Although you may have the impression of being in an abandoned place, it is not so. You can perceive the presence of the few inhabitants. There is a bar and Little John’s shop, a boutique that sells products made of leather. In addition, the friendly locals offer a romantic iron table, from where you can enjoy a view that will leave you speechless. If you want to have a picnic lunch to surprise your beloved, this corner of paradise will surely be your ally.
What else hides this place to visit on Lake Garda?
This place hosts a unique jewel: the church dedicated to San Pietro in Vincoli, built between the 12th and 14th centuries while the façade is from the 18th. The inside maintains the original construction and it presents a real fresco cycle, a work of art of the master Giorgio da Riva. These wonderful paintings are perfectly visible thanks to the restoration in 1999. The intimate atmosphere is suggestive.
However, Campo was not like this in the past. Until the 50s it was inhabited by a higher number of families. But most of their children decided to emigrate to seek their fortune abroad, leaving the village as we see it today. Emblematic is the inscription “House of the 7 of America” on a house, abandoned by seven brothers who decided to follow the American dream.
It is absolutely wrong to consider Campo an abandoned and forgotten place, as many events take place here every year.
In February, the romantic atmosphere of Valentine’s Day reaches also this hidden place with “Lago di Garda in Love”
“Notti magiche a Campo” is in August and many artists come here to awaken the city center with sweet musical notes. Being on the Verona side, here it is a must to celebrate Saint Lucia, a highly awaited festivity among all children. The event that animates Campo the most is certainly the exhibition of nativity scenes. From December to February many nativity scenes populate and decorate the streets that once teemed with people.
Walking lovers, this destination will not disappoint you. Here there you can find a truly unique panoramic route. I am talking about the connection from Campo to Biaza di Brenzone. It is not far away and a visit to the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate is a must, with medieval frescoes and a splendid view of the lake.
But surprises are not over yet! From Brenzone, in fact, you can reach another wonder that deserves to be in the ten hidden places to visit on Lake Garda.
If you like walking, but not that much, you can’t miss this trip. Although I must warn you, it is not exactly the simplest. You will enter a path made of stones and boulders. Then you will get to “Balot tacà via”. The translation from the local dialect is “large, suspended boulder” and it perfectly describes what you will see. This giant bolder has been stuck between the narrow rocky walls of the gorge and has been suspended for centuries.
First of all, how do you get to this enchanted place? It is really simple. You can park your car in Sommavilla di Brenzone and from there you just have to follow the signs. In 50 minutes, you will arrive at your destination. It is just a kilometer but with a difference in altitude of 241 meters.
A little advice: being the path made of slippery stones, I suggest you avoid periods of rain, storms or high humidity. Better not to risk falling! Once you enter the gorge, you will feel like walking in the jungle, with logs, plants and stones. Thanks to an iron ladder you will have to overcome a small wall. It is not too complicated but, still, you must pay attention. I can assure you that walking in the bed of the stream will surely repay all your effort. If you are an adventurous person, you will be pleasantly surprised at every step. Once arrived at your destination, you will be fascinated by the majesty of this boulder that seems to fall at any moment. Instead, it remains motionless, right above your head.
I am sure that this place to visit on Lake Garda will amaze you
10. NATURAL OASIS “SAN FRANCESCO”
The uniqueness of Lake Garda can be felt everywhere. It is important, however, to remember that it is a jewel that needs special attention. Desenzano del Garda is fully aware of this. The city hosts a rare example of a riparian ecosystem, recognized by the Region of Lombardy as a Natural Monument in 2008. The area preserves a very high degree of biological diversification, both flora and fauna. A surprising percentage considering the small extension of the area, of about 10 hectares.
Other destinations on Lake Garda are subjected to a state of progressive reduction of the natural habitat. Here it is different. The many volunteers of the “Airone Rosso” association are always ready to answer all your questions and curiosities and to accompany you inside this oasis immersed in tranquility. If you want to visit it by yourself, the various information signs will allow you to read a lot of information about the territory and the environment.
The area is in Rivoltella di Desenzano del Garda. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be in our selection of ten hidden places to visit on Lake Garda! Once you find the parking space, you can walk surrounded by the peace and the quiet of the wood. There is also an educational garden particularly suitable for children. Here you will also have the opportunity to go birdwatching and to admire protected species, in complete harmony with the surrounding environment. With some patience and luck, you can see some animals that you won’t find anywhere else around the lake. Over 100 species of birds live in this area, some of them resident, others migratory. Here reside also reptiles and small mammals, such as the squirrel and the hedgehog. If fate is with you, the red-headed turtle will emerge from the waters of the lake to be admired in all its splendor. It is common to see even some frogs hopping here and there.
If you wish to visit this place to visit on Lake Garda and enjoy moments of peace in an unspoiled environment there are some things to remember.
The entrance is allowed only during weekends from mid-May to mid-September, except for special events or organized educational trips. Only a part of the area can be visited, while the rest is left entirely to nature.
Alas, it is not the right place for a trip with your four-legged friend. Dogs are not allowed.
We all know that outside our house and our comfort zone there is a world waiting for us. Just add to this awareness the curiosity to discover new places and a thirst for adventure. The enthusiasm you feel in reaching places you didn’t know has no equal, it gives us feelings that are difficult to explain. If these destinations are not obvious, the satisfaction is even greater.
Our journey to discover unusual places has come to an end. Probably you have already heard about some of the 10 hidden places to visit on Lake Garda. But I hope to have given you the cue to always go in search of something more and not to settle down.