Actually, Lake Garda stands for so many things that I don’t like: a lot of Germans in Italy, big crowds, many mountain bikers on hiking trails…

And yet Lake Garda – and its surrounding mountains – managed to cast a spell over me. With its natural beauty, exciting and deep views, and not least very lonely and challenging hikes.

This time I have my converted van with me, because I want to scout tours for the hiking week next year. It is not so easy to find a campsite: in Riva, directly on the lake, everything is fully booked. Finally I find a place between Riva and Arco: Verdepiano, with 19 places a small camp site with nice sanitary facilities and even a small pool.

I decide to do a tour potpourri: I climb the local mountain of Riva, Monte Brione, do a tour along the lake around Lazise, go up to Passo Nota, into the mountains above Limone and finally to Dos Alto di Nago.

Each tour is unique in its own way: sometimes lovely by the lake, sometimes rugged in the mountains. In the mountains, you gain altitude very quickly, and it’s not really leisurely anywhere. On the other hand, there are remnants of past war days almost everywhere, especially from the 1st World War. Old trenches everywhere, fortresses, occasionally honorary monuments in memory of the fallen, of battles and for documentation.

I enjoy the views and am usually all alone in the mountain. Now in October, there are practically no other hikers. On some routes, I do meet mountain bikers on the road, that means to be careful – but most of them are locals – they are considerate and friendly.

On my tour around Limone I also walk the Bassa Via Garda. This is a path from Salò to Limone (and then on to Riva), which should be walkable all year round. Well, there I know what I will do in the outgoing fall next year….

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