Together with mountains, the lakes are an important and almost identity-making feature of Trentino: there are as many as 297 – nearly 10 per cent of the 3 thousand lakes listed in the Alps. The majority of these bodies of water is of glacial origin, found at above 1500 metres altitude. The major lakes are located in the valleys, whilst the over 250 smaller ones, formed during the Quaternary glaciations, can be discovered along high altitude trails. The incredibly clear waters are a feature common to all of them, together with the typical circular shape. Another common feature is the ban on motor boats and the presence of a monitoring network for the direct control of water quality: Trentino’s lakes are considered to all effects a precious resource that must be protected: water that symbolises life and allows it to actually manifest itself and exist, plants, flowers, animals, a treasure trove of precious biodiversity to be preserved. Birds of passage actually stop in many Trentino lakes during their long migrations to warmer countries, and other lakes are included in the list of provincial biotopes, microenvironments of special naturalistic and scientific value.
The excellent health enjoyed by the waters of Trentino lakes, which allow them to be open to swimmers and sportsmen, is recognized with the unfailing award of “blue flags” to many beaches.
The lakes for diving and sailing
In the valley floors are the larger lakes, offering relief from the heat, adequate spaces for relaxation, fun and sports, and in many cases, just on their shores, also well equipped campsites. The best known is Lake Garda, the largest in Italy and one of the most beautiful in the world. The northern gulf, between Torbole and Riva del Garda, offers ideal conditions for sailing due to the constant breezes, the Garda’s Ora and the Pelèr, daily filling the sails of centre-board boats and surf boards. Thanks to their presence, regattas are held at international level on Lake Garda from March to November. The regatta course is open to everyone, from the more experienced yachtsmen to beginners, to practice, do advanced training or even just learn the basics.
Just a few kilometres away from Lake Garda is Val di Ledro with the homonymous lake, ideal for a swimming holiday. On the beaches of Pieve, Mezzolago and Molina you can rent boats, pedalos, surfboards and canoes, and also devote yourself to fishing.
On the Paganella Altopiano, Lake Molveno is the largest alpine expanse of water over 800 m altitude, with its cobalt blue waters reflecting the Brenta Dolomites peaks. Molveno’s main lido spreads over ten hectares of lawn equipped for sports activities, from beach volley to five-a-side football. The Garda’s Ora, coming up Valle dei Laghi, reaches also these waters, where it is possible to practice sailing and windsurfing.
The largest lake open to swimming and entirely within Trentino territory is the Caldonazzo Lake in Valsugana. This is a true natural gym for sports lovers: in addition to swimming, here you can practice sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing and rowing, even in its most spectacular version, the “dragon boats”, long Eastern-style pirogues with teams of 16 oarsmen who paddle to the rhythm of the stroke-oarsman drum. The Tenna hill, with its Austro-Hungarian fort and the Alberé pine forest, separates Lake Caldonazzo from Lake Levico and its shaded sandy shores, well equipped campsites and beaches, but also charming wild environments with a lush vegetation reminiscent of Nordic Fiords, which can be discovered along paths and cycling tracks.
Walking to high altitude lakes
As many as 257 of the 297 Trentino lakes are found at an altitude of over 1500 m a.s.l. Beautiful and enchanting, they can be reached with hiking trips of variable length on a network of trails and forest roads: an effort that certainly pays off. Within the Adamello – Brenta Nature Park is a great number of alpine lakes: among the most charming ones are the San Giuliano and Garzonè lakes above Val Genova, the Lares lake originated from the melting of the homonymous glacier and the Mandrone lakes at the foot of the homonymous glacier, at nearly 2500 metre altitude. Above Madonna di Campiglio, you can walk on the “5 lakes route” from Lake Ritorto to the Nero, Serodoli, Gelato and Nambino lakes.
Also rich in alpine lakes is the Cevedale Group. From the Cevedale - Guido Larcher hut in Val Venezia you can reach in succession Lago delle Marmotte (Marmot Lake), Lago Lungo (Long Lake), Lago Nero (Black Lake), Lago Scuro (Dark Lake). In Val di Rabbi are Lago Corvo (Raven Lake), the small Sternai lakes and Lago Rotondo (Round Lake). But the record number of alpine lakes is found in the Lagorai Group in eastern Trentino. An exploration “in stages”, even on your own, with stops in accommodation facilities present at high altitudes (huts, camps) is the most adventurous way to get to know this extraordinary alpine environment with its dozens small “water mirrors”: Stellune, Bombasèl, Lagorai, Cima d’Asta are the loveliest ones.
A fishing paradise
With its extraordinary variety of waters and landscapes, Trentino is the perfect place also for fishing enthusiasts. They can choose between large lakes, smaller alpine lakes deep in the Dolomites, torrents and rivers like the Noce, Avisio, Sarca and Adige. There are 350 areas available run by 33 angler associations. Thanks to Trentino Fishing, lovers of fishing can access a rich service platform offering indications on fishing areas, online purchase of permits, information on the amount of water flow updated in real time and accommodation facilities with customised services. One of the most innovative elements of this initiative is the training of “Trentino Fishing Guides”, the only one in Italy. Quite widespread abroad, these guides have a deep knowledge of fishing areas, in particular rivers and torrents, and can accompany, guide and advice the guests. Together with the opportunity of fishing in new “catch&release” sites devoted to fly fishing and spinning, the most important novelty in 2016 is the reopening of a reserve on the Rabbiés torrent, adjacent to the Stelvio National Park in Val di Rabbi, a side valley of Val di Sole. That’s the Marinolde no-kill reserve, populated with wild, very combative marble and brown trout, where no one has fished in the last 29 years. Moreover, thanks to the Trentino Fishing Lodges – hotels, b&b, holiday farms, hostels, camp sites and apartments – accommodation close to the fishing area is guaranteed.