The new GardaConcierge guide on sports holidays focuses on land sports. After our guide on water sports in or on Lake Garda, this guide speaks of the disciplines that enliven the lake shores.
In recent years, cycling has become more and more popular. Due to its varied routes and scenic beauty, Lake Garda is the ideal setting for this sport. The area surrounding the lake is unique in that it meets the need of every cyclist. It boasts challenging slopes, but also routes fit for a bicycle tour with one’s family and children. The Gardesana lakeside road encompasses Lake Garda, passing through the three adjacent provinces of Brescia, Verona and Trento. Several tarmacked roads and bicycle paths branch off from the Gardesana road and the towns it intersects. Some of the routes are circular roads leading from the towns on Lake Garda to the summit of Monte Baldo and then back to Lake Garda. Among these, the route leading from Torbole past Lake Tenno to the Passo del Duron is worth mentioning. From Torbole, visitors can also attempt the ascend of Monte Baldo, past Nago and Avio up the Passo San Valentino, which is 1315 metres high. On the western shore of Lake Garda, a route less steep, but equally exciting, takes visitors through the Valtenesi hills from Desenzano to Padenghe and Soiano, and then down to Manerba and Moniga. The eastern shore boasts various routes leading from the towns of Garda or Peschiera into the hinterland up to Costermano and San Zeno di Montagna. These exciting and varied routes suit experienced cyclists. However, there are also paths for relaxed cycling: the bicycle paths on Lake Garda form a dense network through which visitors with children reach the desired destination safely. On the northern shore, visitors can cycle back and forth on a 20 km road between Riva and Arco, Torbole and Varone, and up to the towns of Dro and Sarche located further in the north. Speaking of the western shore, the bicycle path from Limone to Capo Reamol is worth mentioning, just as the southern route linking Gavardo and Rezzato. The splendid bicycle path south Lake Garda also deserves mention. It leads from Peschiera along the Mincio river through a protected area up to Borghetto and Soave. The eastern shore also boasts bicycle paths that take cyclists along the lakeshore, e.g. from Bardolino to Garda, from Peschiera to Castelnuovo in the hinterland, or in the Valpolicella area. There is no lack of tarmacked roads to cycle on – visitors just need to choose the desired destination and slope!
Like cycling, running is also gaining popularity. The advantage of this sport is that it is cheaper than cycling, minus the running shoes. Apart from the expenses, running and cycling are similar. Running requires the same training and effort as cycling, while it also gives runners the chance to follow their own pace and rhythm. The first route on the list runs 21 km along the lakeside from Peschiera to the north. The path is partially tarmacked, then paved and in the end unpaved, but not too bumpy for running. It also boasts great viewpoints for runners who like to take it slow. Another very exciting pedestrian and bicycle path is the one linking Cassone, Malcesine and Nave – an approximately 6 km route on Lake Garda, on which one can run in tune with nature and to the rhythm of the waves. The passage leading from Riva to Torbole has the same length and also offers great views of the lake that it encompasses. Runners who prefer gravel roads, will find them on the route leading to Monte Brione. There are exciting slopes such as the Ponale road leading to Pregasina. The roads leading to Monte Baldo and the routes through the rolling hills of the Valtenesi area are equally rewarding. One of the most important footraces in the Lake Garda area is the “Lake Garda Marathon”, an international contest, held in October along routes of various lengths, such as that perfect for a marathon, as well as 30 and 15 km long routes. The “Garda Trentino Half Marathon” hosted in November has a longer tradition and features routes of various lengths. Apart from these supraregional events, there is an increasing number of local footraces and running events.
While there are both sand and gravel beaches on Lake Garda, tennis courts in the area mostly have red clay as a surface. Tennis is very popular on Lake Garda. In all three provinces adjoining the lake, tennis facilities provide clay courts for members and tourists to play on, as well as tennis lessons for children in summer. There are many tennis clubs that are part of the Italian FIT tennis association. In the north, they are located in Arco, Riva del Garda and Nago-Torbole, while on the eastern shore going down south, you can find tennis clubs in Malcesine, Brenzone, Torri del Benaco, Garda, Costermano, Bardolino, Lazise, Peschiera del Garda and Castelnuovo. Lastly, on the western shore, the tennis clubs are situated in Sirmione, Desenzano, Padenghe, Moniga, Manerba, Salò, Toscolano Maderno, Gargnano, Tignale, Limone and Tremosine. For visitors looking for a unique tennis experience, Lake Garda turns into Wimbledon. Tennis players have the chance to play on green grass, the English surface par excellence, on the western shore in the tennis club of Gavardo. Altogether, there are endless possibilities of playing tennis in the area of Lake Garda! Tennis fans should also not miss out on the following two important events that bring very talented sportsmen to Lake Garda – the tennis tournament of the town of Riva, usually held in July, and the international tennis tournament of the town of Limone sul Garda taking place between the end of August and the beginning of September.
Lake Garda is surrounded by green areas and nature, making it ideal for golfing. Golfing as a sport seems to have developed in the Netherlands in the 13th century. From there, it was exported to countries such as the USA and England, where it is still very popular today. In Italy, golfing has been practiced since the beginning of the last century, but only in the last decades has the number of golf courses multiplied. Tourists can continue their holiday and play golf along the golf tees up to the last hole. The time has come to pack your golf clubs, enjoy the beautiful landscape and enter the world of golfing! On the northern shore of Lake Garda, the golf club in Dro is worth mentioning. However, there is an increasing number of golf clubs on the eastern and western shore in Marciaga, Peschiera, Sommacampagna and Villafranca in the Veneto region; and Pozzolengo, Calvagese della Riviera, Soiano, Cunettone di Salò and Toscolano Maderno in Lombardy. Some of these golf clubs are part of renowned hotels or adjacent to elegant restaurants.
The offer on Lake Garda is completed by beaches and facilities where you can play beach volleyball, one of the most popular sports ever. The court is 16 x 8 metres and the net height during competitions varies according to the composition of the teams between 2.43 (men) and 2.24 metres (women). During offical competitions, there are two players per team, but in your free time there is of course no limit to the number of players. Beach volleyball courts exist on all shores of Lake Garda, be it beaches or beach volleyball courts as part of the accommodation. In Riva del Garda and Torbole, but also in Limone, Malcesine and Brenzone, tourists can play beach volleyball. The same goes for the southern shore on Lake Garda with beach volleyball courts in Garda, Bardolino and Peschiera and the western shore in Sirmione, Desenzano and Salò.
Shooting Sport and Skeet Shooting
Firearms are used during these two sports. Shooters shoot at a stationary target, which is replaced by a flying target during skeet shooting. Even the relatively smaller number of fans of these sports have the opportunity to take aim for fun on Lake Garda. From north to south, these are the shooting ranges for sport and skeet shooting: Dro, Gargnano, Gavardo, Caprino Veronese, Bardolino and Lonato.
Archery is another sport for which you need a good eye and a steady hand. This discipline has been exisiting for a long time, but the sport equipment used and the archer’s gear have seen a true revolution thanks to the use of new materials and fibres. The riser of the bow is available in different lengths and designs. Production and materials used (aluminium, carbon or wood) can vary. The archery centres and clubs on Lake Garda are as numerous as shooting ranges for sport and skeet shooting. They are, however, located primarily on the northern lake shore, in Riva del Garda and Nago-Torbole in the urban area of Trento and Tremosine, and western shore in Gargnano, Manerba and Desenzano in Lombardy.
The greatest happiness on earth is sitting in the saddle of a horse – this also holds true on Lake Garda! There are various riding schools in the area, so there is no lack of facilities for both experienced equestrians and beginners. On the northern shore, there are equestrian centres in Arco and Riva del Garda, on the eastern shore in Ferrara di Monte Baldo, San Zeno di Montagna, Caprino and Costermano, and in the south in the area of Castelnuovo del Garda, Valeggio sul Mincio and in the hinterland of Bussolengo. On the western shore of Lake Garda and its hinterland, there is an even greater choice. From north to south, the towns are Tignale, Tremosine, Gargnano, Toscolano Maderno, San Felice, Gavardo, Puegnago, Soiano, Polpenazze, Calvagese della Riviera, Lonato and Desenzano del Garda. Some of these riding schools offer courses for the young and old and organize excursions in this unique landscape.
Kart racing is the first step for all those who would like to gain a foothold in motorsports but also for visitors who wish to compete with their friends for fun. This sport can also be practiced on Lake Garda. There are two kart circuits in the area, in Lonato del Garda and Affi. The “South Garda Karting” kart circuit in Lonato is one of the most internationally renowned circuits and has been recognized as such by the international CIK-FIA karting association. The more than a km long circuit was built in 1988 and repaired recently. Here, important kart races are held. During open days, amateurs have the chance to imitate professional kart drivers. The indoor kart circuit in the province of Verona, “Affi Kart Indoor”, is 300 metres long and boasts more than 8 curves, as well as a ninth route, extending in a slope. There are karts available for rent for adults and children and even for professional drivers. The kart circuits certainly are the right thing for those who love the thrill of speed!
You can also experience the rush of adrenaline and thrill on the motorcycle. Motocross is another sport you can practice on Lake Garda. The “Moto Club Arco” on the nothern shore is an excellent motocross area where national races are held. The offroad terrain course is named “Circuito Ciclamino” after the town it is situated in.It boasts a length of 1600 metres and runs along a hard surface. Alternatively, the Lake Garda area boasts a facility in Rezzato in Lombardy, in the hinterland of the province of Brescia. Here, the “Aldo Boccacci” motocross area was built, and it is similar to Arco, boasting a length of 16,000 metres and a hard surface with a good grip. The trail features various hills and changes in inclination, perfect for drivers who love speed.