Tour Lake Garda by bike: spectacular routes for two-wheelers

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A trio of routes popular with bikers for a scenic motorcycle tour of Lake Garda

Are you ready to put the pedal to the metal? Well, down goes the visor and … off we go!

Destination Lake Garda, along scenic roads and through characteristic villages where you can stop to stretch your legs and take a few selfies, framed by breathtaking views.

All that’s left to do is to set off on three exciting and spectacular motorbike tours around Lake Garda.

Keep up, if you can!

Circumnavigate the entire Lake Garda: you can by motorbike!

The first route promises a rather long tour of some 260 kilometres. This journey will touch the Lombard, Trentino and Veneto shores of the lake, passing through villages, hills and mountains. The first piece of advice we can give you is thus to set off well-prepared and ready for anything!

The second piece of advice? Avoid weekends and the summer period if you can, since you risk getting stuck amongst the exhaust pipes of four-wheeling tourists on the Gardesana. Plan for spring or autumn to enjoy pleasant temperatures, few but good tourists and nature’s colours at their best.

We set off from Desenzano del Garda on the Brescia side of the lake, to head north along the Gardesana road. We pass quite a few characteristic villages: Manerba, Salò, Gardone Riviera, Toscolano Maderno, Limone del Garda and further up to Riva del Garda, in the territory of Trentino.

Along this route are two or three stops not to be skipped – the Rocca di Manerba, the Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone Riviera, the Limonaia in Limone sul Garda …

After reaching Riva del Garda, the beautiful Trentino valleys towards Tenno, Toblino and Monte Bondone await us. Some fresh air will charge our batteries for the return journey.

It’s all ‘downhill’ from here – in the sense that we will be heading south along the Veneto shore. We’ll pass Malcesine, Torri del Benaco, Bardolino and Sirmione, before returning to the starting point: Desenzano del Garda.

Embarking on a motorbike: two alternative routes

Of course, this route is designed for those who wish to cover the full 260 kilometres in the hot seat of their beast. Still, there are various choices to be made along the way.

In Limone del Garda in spring and summer, it is possible to board a Navigazione Laghi boat with your motorbike, decide to skip the Alto Lago and disembark directly on the opposite shore in Malcesine, continuing the journey from there.

The same can be achieved by embarking on the eastern shore at Torri del Benaco and, taking advantage of the year-round ferry, transport the motorbike to Toscolano Maderno then hit the road again in no time at all.

Strada della Forra: the eighth wonder of the world must be experienced by motorbike

Another truly scenic route that can be tackled by experienced motorcyclists, starting from Riva del Garda or Tremosine, is the route known as Strada della Forra. Winston Churchill preferred to call it “the eighth wonder of the world”.

The SP38 is a 5.8-kilometre serpentine stretch to be travelled slowly, partly due to the dangers of the narrow roadway and low protective walls … but mainly to enjoy the view. We recommend making frequent stops to capture truly enchanting views.

The road winds through a deep cleft in the rock, through moist gorges and tunnels. Here echoes of motors, glimmers of light and flickering shadows alternate in a somewhat disorienting way. You will be rewarded with a stop at the little restaurant at the top of the route, where an overhanging terrace offers an unparalleled view of Lake Garda.

Three Lakes Motorcycle Tour: an unforgettable experience for motorcyclists of all levels

Where the Strada della Forra seems like a short, difficult route suitable for experienced bikers, the Tour of the Three Lakes is instead suitable for all two-wheelers, without distinction.

Quite different from the previous route also in terms of length – here we are talking about a good 250 kilometres that can be covered in some five hours on a journey characterised by a hundred or so hairpin bends and breathtaking scenery.

The three lakes in question are Lake Idro, Lake Ledro and, of course, Lake Garda. But if you wish, you can opt for some interesting detours to the artificial Lake Valvestino or the Laghetto di Tenno.

The classic tour starts at Lake Garda at Riva del Garda, and leads to Valle Sabbia to Lake Idro, a small body of water of glacial origin little frequented by mass tourism. It is perfect for enjoying a relaxing day on the shore or in the water surrounded by unspoilt nature. Here you can also visit the Rocca d’Anfo, a 15th century military outpost perched on rocky spurs overlooking the lake.

Leaving Lake Idro behind, we continue northwards in Trentino to Lake Ledro, a small jewel set in the mountains at an altitude of 650 metres.

The 10 kilometres in circumference are easy to tackle and offer surprises that are not only thanks to nature – there is the pile-dwelling village of Molina di Ledro, reconstructed as it was over 4,000 years ago, the archaeological site with museum and the village of Mezzolago.

From here, you can decide to take a detour to another Trentino lake, the Laghetto di Tenno, famous for its clear waters that are amongst the cleanest in the boot.

Yet, the reservoir that will perhaps amaze you the most is Lake Valvestino, the only artificial lake around Garda.

Here, a breathtaking dam has created a fjord between the steep slopes of the mountain, offering a water spectacle and changing hues to be admired as you cross the two bridges above.

Navigazione Laghi: by motorbike or aboard a boat, Lake Garda is unrivalled

Our journey has come to an end. Switch off your motors and think back to all the thrills you’ve experienced on this unforgettable motorbike tour of Lake Garda and its surroundings.

And remember: the destination is not as important as the journey. Thus, on the first of the proposed routes, you have the option of getting off your motorbike and relying on the Navigazione Laghi ferries for short stretches to transport your beloved motorbike from one side of the lake to the other.

Because whilst a bike can circumnavigate the entire lake with wheels firmly planted on the asphalt, you need a boat to cross the waters and observe the splendour of Lake Garda from a different vantage point. So, why not do just that?

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