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Valle dei Laghi cycle path: from Lake Garda to Lake Toblino

Also known as "the Finland of Italy" for the presence of many lakes and Alpine ponds, Trentino boasts many lake panoramas loved by German and Dutch travelers. The Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path links Torbole (or Riva del Garda), laying down on Garda Lake, to Lake Toblino, an evocative place with a fascinating fortress. Easy, enjoyable, well preserved, the Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path in its about 27 km crosses vineyards, picturesque villages and the debris sedimentation of Marocche di Dro.

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Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path: by bicycle under the stronghold of Arco

From the lakeside in Torbole we start a bicycle journey discovering the valle dei laghi, one of the less turistically promoted areas in Trentino. The Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path starts just after the bridge over the Sarca river, that just after flows into Lake Garda. A detour allows to reach in just 2 km Riva del Garda, famous and luckyly positioned city hosting some outdoor events like Bike Festival. Then you pedal towards Arco, towards north. The cliff above which you can see the stronghold is unique. Mount Paganella,  at the horizon, at the beginning of the spring is still sprinkled with white snow however, the gems have already sprout. The Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path crosses an area where you can find the famous Plums from Dro then, it relentlessly follows the turquoise river Sarca. Take your time to bike in this plane, because its attractions are a lot and various, and the idea is to stop every now and then and take some pictures or some curious detail. 
Before the arrival in Ceniga, for example, in the distance, you can see Castel Drena, a medieval fortress in a panoramic position.
However I have been living for some years in Trentino, I didn't have the occasion to take some time to discover all the little secrets of this valley.ponte di ceniga
Once in Ceniga, a lively and typical village, with a little detour you reach the Roman bridge on Sarca river. Well, let's not lie about this: the bridge WAS roman centuries ago, then was destroyed by a flood and then devastated a second time by Austrians. The actual bridge of Ceniga is 100 years old and very picturesque. In summer, sometimes, you can see some kids from the village doing some acrobatic plunges in the Sarca river. During our visit in March a middle-aged German man, after sitting for a while on the little beach, started undressing and jumped in the cold water... what a courage!
 

The cemented climb of Marocche di Dro

We say goodbye to the bridge of Ceniga and we keep pedaling on the secondary road until the cycle path. The signs are very clear and the day, typically springy, is perfect for cycling in total freedom.  It's almost hot: a thermometer on a pharmacy shows 25°C, the sweet caress of the sun on our white skin wakes it up from the long winter and it's a real pleasure.salita cementata
We overstep some vineyards touching Castel Drena, which lays at the distance from ou wheels. An underpass, and then a blackboard with writing on it along the cycle path: "Bike and Wine bar", it's surely an interesting way to invite bicycle travelers to try some typical wines... I'm tempted to enter the place, just to take a look, just because the sun is still high and I want to enjoy the day at its fullest. We finally decide not to stop and to go on: we'll have other occasions to stop by. This is the place of the big landslide, the biggest not only of Trentino but in the whole Alpine chain, the Marocche di Dro, which extend in front of us: the Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path partially crosses it, not trusting this lunar and cursed show, as if the rocks didn't fully stop.
The route slowly climbs, the shift does its job allowing me to pedal with agility. Everything suggests the end of the climb, but our ingenuity nourishes our thoughts. Once reached the hydroelectric power station in Fies we decide to improvise a little stop.
 
A scary cement ramp surprises us: the shifter shifts rapidly, the chain almost falls off, the muscles do the unexpected effort. The 20% cement slope welcomes us in the area of Marocche di Dro, protected natural area, rock desert in the green Trentino. On a mountain bike, you can face a lot of climbs: a lot of effort, but still, you can do it.
The landscape surrounding us is deserted, the cycle path the more and more beautiful, immersed into Nature, the more and more... in ascent.
Higher and higher, without any doubt, but in good company: two fathers struggle with their carrier, two mothers lightly fly in pole position laughing and looking at their men. This scene is funny, the climb a little less!

Nosedive towards Pietramurata

Every ascent end, and so does the one of Marocche di Dro, along the Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path, ending at the beginning of a funny descent towards Pietramurata. The fathers disappear swallowed by the turns, I touch 45 km/h but then I brake in order not to lose the bags or turn upside down. With no effort, we reach Pietramurata, a peaceful village fraction of the bigger Dro, known for being the working base of a friend.ciclabile valle dei laghi pietramurataThe Sarca river is calm and slow in its unstoppable flow. We cycle on a long straight line ending in the shaded side of the valley. The vivid colors fade down, the temperature drops: time to put on the sweater! The Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path ends in Sarche where you see a signpost to Trento in 19,4 km passing along Lake Toblino or Comano Terme in 10, 5 km on the right following the turns uphill in order to reach the new Limarò Cycle Path.
I previously talked about a bicycle journey on the Valle dei Laghi Cycle Path because it's a 5-days-trip in Trentino and Veneto... an adventure I'll talk about soon: stay tuned!
  • Lake Garda with beaches, outdoor activities and idyllic landscapes
  • Il Ponte di Ceniga with its long history
  • Arco and the fortress: great for climbing, Arco is overlooked by a castle on the mountain
  • Castel Drena, a castle to be discovered with a detour
  • The Lake of Toblino with its enchanted castle
  • The Marocche di Dro and the rocks
  • How can I reach Lake Garda? From Milan Centrale or Verona you can catch a regional train to Rovereto and then cycle the Garda Cycle Path to Torbole or catch a ferry on the lake. To come back to Torbole or Riva del Garda in summer you can use the Bicycle+Bus service.
  • Is this itinerary signposted? The Valle dei Laghi cycle path is signposted: getting lost is very difficult!
  • Are there fountains or water sources in general? On this itinerary you can find many water sources especially in the villages.
  • How are the roads on the Valle dei Laghi cycle path? This itinerary is in good condition. To pass the section of the Marocche di Dro you’ll have to face a cement ramp.
  • Connected itineraries: from the Lake of Toblino you can follow the signs of the Garda Mountain Bike and reach Terlago and its lake (for MTB), from Sarche you can climb the road to the Giudicarie Mountain and the Limarò Cycle path to Comano Terme. From Torbole you can climb to Nago and continue to the Adige valley.
  • How much does it cost sleeping on the Valle dei Laghi? On the itinerary you have many options, from apartments to B&B to hotels, especially near Lake Garda.
  • Where can I sleep on the Valle dei Laghi? The most famous places to sleep in are Riva del Garda and Arco, but you’ll find some hospitality in Pietramurata like the Pietra Rara Room & Breakfast & Bike or Dro. If you want to have a whole apartment, take a look at AirBnB.
  • What can I eat on the Valle dei Laghi? The cooking from Trentino has been influenced by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The area around the lake uses a lot of Extra-virgin olive oil, fish and the typical carne salada. For the majority of dishes a lot of butteri s used, many types of cheese, cold-cuts, game and polenta (especially in Valsugana and in Storo, in the Valley of Chiese). Some must-try: canederli (with butter and sage or in broth), Spätzle (small gnocchis with speck and cream), the soups especially the barley one, the tonco de pontesel, cold cuts like speck and mortandela (in Val di Non) and strudel. Not to forget red wines like Lagrein, Marzemino, Teroldego and Trento DOC.
  • Where can I eat on this itinerary? In Arco stop at Ristorante il Ritratto or at Trattoria Belvedere, while in Sarche chose to have an aperitif at Hosteria Toblino.
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Francesco Gozzelino

ITA - Ho 31 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!

ENG - I'm from Piedmont and I'm 31 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. Cyclo ergo sum, I cycle therefore I am. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...

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