Top 10 Outdoor Activities to do at Lake Garda

Benvenuto al Lago di Garda!

Are you looking for the best outdoor activities to do at Lake Garda? Then look no further, we have carefully picked the most fun and unique adventures around this beautiful lake for you.  

Lake Garda, the largest lake of Italy located in the Northern part of the country, is known for its crystal clear water and for the breathtaking landscape with mountains and small villages that surround it. The name “Garda” refers to a town with the same name on the eastern shore of the lake.

The region of Lake Garda can be divided into three parts: The Northern area near Riva del Garda which includes mountains coming down the lake, the Southern area near Desenzano, Saló and Sirmione. Finally, the middle area includes the areas between Saló and the touristic and characteristic Sirmione.

You probably remember when James Bond escapes with his Aston Martin in the movie “007 Quantum of Solace’‘ ?  Well, part of this scene took place near Lake Garda in a street that Winston Churchill used to call “The Eighth Wonder of the World”: Strada della Forra. A Street, currently closed for works, embedded in the bowels of the mountain. The road gets into the mountain, along the deep rift dug by the stream Brasa. This is a suggestive path thanks to the rocks and the amazing view over the Lake Garda. 

Moreover, if you are a fan of visiting movie locations and you remember the movie “Call me by your name (2017)“, you cannot miss the chance to visit the Romans ruins of the Grotte di Catullo, located not far from Sirmione.

In addition to these little anecdotes, Lake Garda is a popular holiday destination where you can relax and swim during summer, but also practice outdoor activities all year round suitable for sport lovers. If you are wondering about the climate in winter at Lake Garda, you’ll be happy to find out that Alps protect the region from the coldest winds. 

Lake Garda is also full of villas, castles, caves and if you have the chance to admire the beautiful sunsets you will for sure feel like living in a postcard. And, like in every single corner of Italy, you can treat yourself to great local food, nice aperitivi and simply some Italianità!

Strada della Forra

(c) TuttoGarda.it ”Strada della Forra”

Grotte di Catullo

(c) Bresciatourism.it ”Grotte di Catullo”

But the food and relax part has first to be deserved, right? That’s why we prepared a list of the best activities to do at Lake Garda!

1- Canyoning at Lake Garda

Canyoning in Lake Garda

One of the best and most popular outdoor activities to do in Lak Garda is canyoning at Lake Garda. The activity of canyoning began to be a practiced sport in Italy around the second half of the 1980s while the canyoning Association of Italy was born in 1998. Canyoning is one of the best activities for nature lovers who wish to discover hidden corners in the canyons and looking for a bit of adrenaline.

During this fun and adventurous activity, you will jump, hike, swim, abseil and slide through narrow gorges of the Lake Garda region. The professional guides will make sure that you spend a great moment in complete safety.  

Generally available from April to September, canyoning is perfectly suitable for families and little groups. In the Northern part of Lake Garda, near Arco, you will find a different kind of canyoning experiences, from beginners to advanced. Depending on your level of experience and whether you are with children, you can choose the adventure that is best suited.

Some of the best gorges for canyoning near Lake Garda are:

  • River Palvico
  • Rio Nero 
  • Vajo dell’Orsa
  • Gumpenfever Canyon 
  • Vione Canyon

In order to help you decide, we’ve prepared a little overview of the 8 best canyoning descents at Lake Garda, from family-friendly to expert. There’s a perfect adventure for everyone.

2- Paragliding over Lake Garda

Paragliding in Lake Garda

As you may imagine, Lake Garda is full of activities to do, either on the water or in the surrounding mountains. But what if you could get the chance to see the amazing panorama from above?

Then you’d say yes, of course! Paragliding over Lake Garda, or the nearby Lake Ledro or Lake Idro is definitely an activity that you should not miss. Not only will you be able to admire breathtaking views over the Trentino region, but you will also feel the sensation of freedom and total peace.

This activity is a great experience both for adults and children (from the age of 8 or 12 years). Don’t worry, this is an easy and safe activity also thanks to the fat that a professional instructor will fly with you.

Don’t wait to reserve your Tandem Paragliding flight near Lake Garda for the next spring or even for summer. It will be for sure your highest expression of freedom and contact with nature!

3- Via Ferrata at Lake Garda

Via Ferrata Lake Garda

The third outdoor sport among the best activities to do at Lake Garda is particularly suited for mountain lovers: exploring the heights during a via ferrata excursion at Lake Garda and Arco

This outdoor activity is an easy and fun way to climb the mountains in the area thanks to fixed ropes, installed ziplines and bridges. Even if some itineraries are openly accessible, we recommend you go with a professional guide who knows the region. The guide will also equip you with the right material and assure a safe excursion. Excursions can be done alone or in a group either as a teambuilding activity or to celebrate an occasion in an original way.

Around Lake Garda, you will find via ferratas for all levels, from beginner tours to itineraries for more experienced people that wish to challenge themselves. To the most popular via ferratas belong the Cima Capi, where you will have a great view over the lake once on the top, or the Smugglers Path. Yes, you heard right, and of course, there’s a reason for this name. In earlier times, this secret route through the rocks above Lake Garda was used by criminals, who smuggled tabacco and salt between Austria and Italy. Attach your harness and follow their path!

 

4- Rafting near Lake Garda

Rafting in Lake Garda

Parallel to Lake Garda flows the adventurous Adige river. This river will later cross Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, before discharging into the Adriatic Sea in Chioggia. And the best way to discover the Adige river and the valley between the regions of Trentino and Veneto is a rafting excursion near Lake Garda!

Only 20 minutes by car from the city of Garda on the shores of the lake, you will meet the instructors for this half-day adventure. No previous rafting experience is required, equipped with a lifejacket and helmet you will have the chance to learn basic rafting techniques while discovering more about the history and the wonderful nature of the area. Is important to be able to swim and well, then you paddle as hard as you can!

A rafting descent of the Adige river is a refreshing summer activity ideal for groups of friends or families and promises adrenaline and lots of fun!

5- Kayaking on Lake Garda

Kayak lake Garda

Have you ever dreamt about watching the enchanting Italian sunset between the Lake and mountains? Well, this is your chance!

During a kayak trip on Lake Garda in the evening, you can admire the breathtaking sunset that reflects in the clear water of the lake. During this trip, you will immerse yourself in the peaceful nature that surrounds Lake Garda. In addition to some paddle exercise, great peace of mind is guaranteed! 

You’ve never tried kayaking? Don’t worry, this excursion is suitable for beginners, as our certified guides will teach you everything you need to know about kayaking. They will make sure you get the best out of it! Get ready to paddle in the calm water! Is fun, easy and enjoyable.

6- Rock Climbing at Lake Garda 

Rock climbing with view on Lake Garda

Are you a climbing lover? Then you are lucky because Lake Garda and Arco are perfect spots to go rock climbing and challenge yourself. Both, beginners and experienced climbers will find a climbing experience that suit them.

If you are climbing for the first time, our guide will brief you about the vertical world and teach you basic climbing and safety techniques. And if you already have some experience, and want to improve your techniques, then and advanced/multi-pitch climbing courses is right for you. In any case, you will climb with our certified professionals.

Arco, located in the northern part of Lake Garda, has a huge variety of walls, faces, and routes and has gained international recognition as one of the best places for rock climbing in the world. You can even do some deep water soloing, where you climb the cliffs of the lake. If the route becomes too difficult, you have no more strengths or just need refreshment, you just let go and fall into the water. Get started with “‘the Mecca of climbers!”

7- Kitesurf on Lake Garda

Kitesurfing in Lake Garda

Among the water activities you can practice in the region, you’ll find kitesurfing. Thanks to tailor-made training, each person can progress at its pace and enjoy this varied water sport when riding on the lake’s crystal clear water.

Lake Garda is maybe not one of the first spots you’d think of for kitesurfing, but it is in fact a perfect spot for this sport, especially for beginners. Thanks to a constant wind (from 12 to 35 knots), stronger north wind in the morning and lighter south wind in the afternoon, and the fact that the instructors can easily follow you with a boat, kitesurfing on Lake Garda is a great experience. Improve your coordination, balance and reflexes while getting stronger!

And after the efforts on the water, you can enjoy the picturesque harbors, lively squares, colorful streets, beautiful beaches and of course a well-deserved aperitivo or Italian dinner.

8- Windsurfing on Lake Garda

Windsurf lake Garda

Another popular water sport in the region is windsurfing on Lake Garda. From May to September, there are many spots around the lake welcoming you to try this activity. The windsurfing course in Tignale for example, on the west shore of the lake, offers you courses for different levels – beginners, advanced and professional.

If you are completely new to water sports, you might wonder what the difference is between windsurfing and kitesurfing? Both use the wind to advance on the water. With kitesurfing, you use a kite, attached to your harness, to pull you. Windsurfing combines surfing and sailing. You are standing on a board, to which a sail is attached.

Difficult to say what is easier or more fun. We recommend you try both and judge for yourself. Whichever you choose, one thing is certain, there is no better sensation than feeling the wind between your hair while gliding over the water during a sunny day! Is also the perfect way to improve your body endurance level!

9- Mountain Biking at Lake Garda

Mountain Biking in Lake Garda

(c) gardatrentino.it

Lake Garda and Mountain biking are a perfect match. Amazing trails all around the lake invite beginners and pro bikers to spend a fun outdoor moment with amazing views on the beautiful Garda Region.

There are routes suitable for experts that want to train with challenging descents, and for families with children that just wish to enjoy the view while cycling. Mountain biking tours with intermediate or difficult levels last from 3 up to 8 hours and take place around Arco, Riva del Garda, Dro, Trenno and Garda Trentino. On the other hand, family tours offer paths around Arco, Riva del Garda and Dro lasting on average 50 minutes.

Moreover, you will have the possibility to rent a bike at Lake Garda with the necessary equipment. And if you wish to make pedaling easier, just opt for an e-bike! Remember to stop to take pictures during your path.

10- Flyboarding on Lake Garda

Flyboarding on Lake Garda

You love water and wish to experience some more adrenaline than what you get with sailing or waterskiing? In this case, flyboarding on Lake Garda is among the activities you should try. How well can you maintain your balance?

Flyboards were invented by a French watercraft rider in 2012 and introduced during the 2012 jet ski World Championship in China. This is now one of the most fast growing water activities! The flyboard uses the propulsion of a jet boat to lift you up of the water and make you fly. A guide will supervise you and regulate the power of the jet. The jet will lift you up to 9 meters, and you will have the sensation to fly in the sky like a superhero. 

An instructor will brief you about the basic techniques before you start. So don’t be afraid, in the worst-case scenario you will fall into the water! Flyboard is fun, safe and easy and after only some tries you will start learning creative tricks as how to bend knees in order to turn.


There is no more doubt, Lake Garda is definitely a wonderful place for summer holidays: the crystal clear lake, the beautiful mountain setting, the quaint villages, the many sights to visit, the great Italian food and not to forget, the nearby amusement parc Gardaland. But in addition to that, the Lake Garda region is a full-size playground for nature lovers and adventurers. Choose among the best outdoor activities at Lake Garda and spend a fun moment with your family and friends.

If the part about the Via Ferrata has particularly caught your interest, then you might want to have a look at the Top 5 Via Ferrata Routes in Italy.

For jump and abseil lovers find the best spots Where to go Canyoning in Lake Garada and last but not least you should not miss to explore the landscape from above discovering Why Paragliding over lake Garda is a Must!