Hmm, should you go to the Dolomites or Lake Garda? Tough choice, both have loads to offer, both iconic Italian getaways, but which to choose? Tell you what, why not just walk from one to the other. It’s not too far…..honest.
Ticking all the boxes of classic Italian walking, this trip allows you to trek amongst the towering peaks of the Dolomites surrounded by natural beauty before heading down to settle on the shores of Lake Garda, where you can take trips out on the lake, walk the many woodland trails, or just eat pizza and drink wine, it’s your choice.
Grade: Moderate. Most of the walking on this trip verges on the Easy to Moderate scale, but day 3 is a bit of a monster. A rewarding, breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime monster, but a monster none the less. But, as you get closer to Lake Garda you can decide how much you want to walk each day, so it all balances out over the whole trip.
The Dolomites are situated in north-east Italy in an area well renowned for its natural beauty.
In the Brenta Dolomites, you will be walking in the shadow of the giant monoliths which surround you. The scenery is so awe inspiring, your neck will be sore from constantly looking around you. These massive stone slabs are also famous for the way they catch the light, so make sure your battery is charged and memory card is clear and enjoy this natural spectacle.
Lake Garda is where writers from all over the world came for inspiration. Tennyson, D.H Lawrence, James Joyce, Ezra Pound all stayed on the shores of the lake to bathe in its natural beauty, both literally and metaphorically. “The lake lies dim and milky, the mountains are dark blue… the sky glistens… the light burns gold.” D.H Lawrence sure knows how to paint a picture in the mind.
The Brenta Dolomites are one of the great natural spectacles of Europe. They are a separate group of mountains to the main Dolomites and are a group of huge, eroded limestone cliffs and spires which soar above lush green meadows, forests and lakes. The walking is tough but extremely rewarding and the area is rich in Flora and Fauna, so any bird watchers are advised to take their binoculars.
You will spend a couple of days staying in traditional Rifugios (mountain huts) and this is a real highlight too. The camaraderie of these huts is wonderful. To be surrounded by fellow hikers, all in high spirits, discussing the days walks while the light gently fades on the huge limestone faces around you is an event to treasure for ever.
Lake Garda is often overlooked by its chic compatriots Como and Maggiore, but it is a place of extreme beauty and great peace. Riva del Garda is a bustling little historic town with narrow winding lanes, beautiful piazzas and a great café culture, ideal for people watching.
As always, the food in Italy is a highlight on any trip. Even tucked away in the mountain Rifugios, you will be surprised at how fresh and tasty the food is. A great example is the Trentino speciality Carne Salada—cured beef sausage rolled in a mixture of coarse salt, laurel, black pepper, juniper, crushed garlic and rosemary. I have to stop typing and go and eat something!
Trento is the starting point for this trip and it is easily accessed by the wonderful Italian rail service from either Venice or Milan.
Lake Garda does get busy, so it is always a good idea to book this trip as far in advance as possible, to make sure we can get you into the best accommodation.
We recommend some walking experience before tackling this trip as the walking in the Dolomites can be steep and you should have a good head for heights.
If you want to explore this glorious corner of Italy, don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] for further information.