Do you know how many lakes there are in Trentino?
10 questions and answers about lake holidays
A relaxing, healthy break here will leave you feeling as fresh as the air in the woods and the water in the lakes. With the natural world on your doorstep, you can enjoy the mountain landscape, go for bike rides and embrace a gentler pace of life. The atmosphere by the lake shores will make all your troubles drift away and help you to find a new sense of balance, as you move to nature's rhythm.
To make life easier for people who are thinking about taking a lake holiday, we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions. We hope it contains all of the answers you need.
#1 - How many lakes are there in Trentino?
There are no fewer than 297 lakes in Trentino, leading some to call it “the Finland of Italy”. They range from little alpine lakes nestled among the Dolomites to huge expanses of water such as Lake Garda and Lake Caldonazzo in Valsugana: the largest lake that is entirely within the territory of Trentino.
#2 - What are the biggest lakes where you can go swimming in Trentino? Where are they?
There are around 20 lakes where you can go swimming. The larger ones include Lake Garda, which has lots of safe, spacious pebble beaches and grass shores with outstanding facilities for tourists. It is an ideal destination for a holiday with a “Mediterranean” atmosphere thanks to the mild climate and the delightful bars and restaurants by the little harbours of Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda.
Lake Ledro lies just a short distance from Lake Garda, in the Alpi Ledrensi e Judicaria UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The famous “Museo delle palafitte” (pile dwellings museum) on its shore is a great place to visit on a family holiday.
Nearby is Lake Tenno, which is famous for its turquoise water. It has a small peninsula on one of its shores that makes its shape instantly recognizable.
Outstanding facilities can be found on the beaches of Lake Caldonazzo and Lake Levico, which are located close to each other in Eastern Trentino. The two large bodies of water lie just a few kilometres from Trento in Valsugana, which is the first certified sustainable tourism destination in the world.
On the Piné plateau a little further north are Lake Piazze and Lake Serraia (974 m above sea level). There are a number of Blue Flag beaches around the two adjoining bodies of water.
One of the oldest lakes in Trentino is Lake Lavarone (1,079 m above sea level) in the Alpe Cimbra area. It has a Blue Flag and it was one of the places where Sigmund Freud liked to spend time studying and reflecting.
#3 - What is the climate like by the lakes?
Obviously it varies from one lake to the next and each one has its own distinctive features. Lake Garda and Lake Ledro have very mild, Mediterranean-style microclimates. This is underlined by the fact that olive and lemon trees grow on the shore of Lake Garda.
The air is cooler by Lake Molveno (864 m above sea level) all year round, including in the summer. That makes it an ideal destination for those who love sport in the mountains, which they can enjoy at (almost) any time of day.
Lake Caldonazzo and Lake Levico in Valsugana stand out in a different way: the water in them is very warm, so swimming is normally possible from early June until October.
#4 - How can I find out if the water in the lakes is clean?
The quality of the water in Trentino’s swimming lakes is constantly monitored by the Azienda Provinciale per i Servizi Sanitari (the provincial health service agency) in partnership with the Agenzia Provinciale per la Protezione dell’Ambiente (the provincial environmental protection agency), which certify that it is safe for swimmers. 20 lakes are monitored: Caldonazzo, Canzolino, Cei, Garda, Idro, Lagolo, Lamar, Lases, Lavarone, Ledro, Levico, Molveno, Piazze, Santo, Serraia, Tenno, Terlago, Cavedine, Nembia and Roncone. See here for more detailed information.
Around these lakes, there are no fewer than 10 beaches that have earned one of the prestigious “Blue Flags” awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in recognition of water quality, cleanliness on beaches and tourist services.
#5 - What sort of holidays can I enjoy by the lakes?
A lake holiday is a great opportunity to savour the wonders of the natural world. This is especially true of the lakes in Trentino, many of which are surrounded by woods and mountains. Enjoy the well-being that comes with a gentler pace of life and stay in shape by getting some exercise: in the water, on your bike or on foot, walking along the mountain trails.
Families with young children will appreciate the peacefulness of the lake resorts and the fact that the water in the lakes is calmer – and therefore safer – than the sea. There are also a number of beaches with life guards. The weather never gets too sultry by the lakes, so they are ideal destinations not only for families with young children but also for older people. In addition, the climate makes the lakes very popular with sport lovers because it enables them to exercise at almost any time of day.
#6 - What should I pack for a holiday by a lake?
The weather tends to be cooler than it is on the Italian coast. It is a good idea to bring a sweater to keep you warm in the evenings, especially if you are staying by Lake Molveno, Lake Lavarone or the lakes on the Piné plateau.
As well as your swimming things, make sure you pack some hiking boots so that you can ramble along the mountain trails. Generally speaking, bring all of the equipment that you need for your favourite sport because it would be a real shame to come to Trentino and not go for a bike ride or a hike in the mountains.
#7 - What sports can I enjoy at the Trentino lakes?
It goes without saying that there are lots of water sports on offer. Windsurfers and sailors flock to Lake Garda, where the wind blows in both the morning and the afternoon and top international regattas are held. If you prefer more relaxing sports, you can go canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding in all of the main lakes in Trentino. In this article you can read more detailed information about the water sports that are on offer and where to find them.
Trentino also has a great deal to offer for road cyclists, mountain bikers and hikers. For example, the long Valsugana cycle path runs alongside Lake Caldonazzo and Lake Levico, while the Lake Garda and Lake Molveno areas are packed with cycling routes and cutting-edge bike parks. The range of options is just as wide when it comes to walking and hiking: there are numerous paths that start by the lakes of Trentino and there is something to suit everyone from experts to beginners and those who simply love to stroll.
Another big sport is rock climbing, especially in the area between Lake Garda and Lake Ledro. It attracts climbers from all over the world, including the legendary Adam Ondra.
#8 - What interesting cuisine is on offer by the lakes?
It depends where you go, but it is definitely worth trying the delicate flavour of nourishing fish from the lakes: from Valsugana lake trout and Arctic char from Lake Molveno to the famous aole salate (salted Alburnus arborella) from Lake Garda, which you can enjoy with bigoi (long strands of rich, full-bodied pasta). Then there are traditional Trentino dishes: for example, in the Lake Garda and Lake Ledro area we recommend carne salada (salt beef) that is cut into thin slices and served with flakes of Trentingrana, while in Valsugana make sure you try the cheeses and deli meats from local shepherd’s huts.
You might like to complement your meals with some chilled Trentodoc (sparkling wine with a polished, delicate flavour that is made using the traditional method), white Trentino wine such as Nosiola, or classics like Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay. One wonderful way to add a finishing touch to your dinner is with a glass of Vino Santo Trentino: raisin wine that is served with dessert.
#9 - Where can I stay?
There are lots of accommodation options, including traditional hotels where you can start each day admiring lake views, aparthotels and holiday homes offering unbeatable privacy and freedom, especially for families. If you would like to be in the heart of nature on your holiday while still enjoying some home comforts, a campsite is the place for you. Some of them have special services for families with children.
#10 - Can I bring my dog with me on holiday?
Yes, almost all of the lakes where you can go swimming have special beaches or areas for dogs. For example, there are a number of beaches where dogs are welcome (“Bau Beach”) in the Lake Garda area (such as in Torbole sul Garda), Lake Tenno and Valle di Ledro. More can be found by Lake Caldonazzo in Valsugana and Lake Piazze on the Piné plateau. Meanwhile, almost all of Lake Molveno is open to our four-legged friends.