Discovering Lake Garda by road bike and mountain bike
Lake Garda is one of the many treasures of Italy and is loved especially by tourists from Northern Europe, Germans in particular.
One of the elements to be taken into consideration is that this wonderful body of water can be admired both from above and from below, so we have chosen to offer you this ring route (it is good for both superlight bikes and mountain bikes) that starts from and arrives in Peschiera del Garda.
A territory inhabited since prehistoric times
Peschiera has a strategic position at the beginning of the river Mincio, for this reason its territory has been inhabited since ancient times, in its surroundings the remains of 7 villages on stilts have been found.
The human presence in San Zeno di Montagna is even ancient, the highest point of this 80-kilometer route, with 600 meters of positive gradient to be tackled (at 4% of average gradient). Those who have a minimum training can easily finish this bike tour from Peschiera del Garda in one day.
The way therefore from Peschiera del Garda, easily reachable by train: regional trains stop there, Eurocity and Freccia Bianca.
Crossing 4 bridges over the river Mincio, you cycle along the shore of the lake passing in front of numerous campsites and traveling along the Bolzano-Ferrara route. After a few hundred meters, however, you move away from the lake, still heading north, along routes with little traffic.
At the hamlet of Cantinegirelli (after 15 kilometers) you will meet the SP31 that comes from the left, and from which you will return to close the ring. On the other hand, go for about 200 meters on the provincial road, which immediately leaves the left, taking a smaller, virtually traffic-free road.
Here begin a couple of very light and short little climbs, useful for warming the leg in view of the mountains that are already looming on the horizon. When you reach the industrial area Sottomoscal (after 20 kilometers) you will find yourself in front of an intersection: going to the right, you will continue along the Bolzano-Ferrara, but you will need to take the SP9 to the left and cross the valley, which offers the last hundreds of meters of plain.
Watch out for the shadowless climb (not tree-lined)
An affordable ascent follows (10 kilometers at 4% average gradient). Proceed north-west, towards the Garda. The climb is not tree-lined, so during the hot season it is best to start early in the morning so as not to arrive here with the sun already too high. After 6-7 kilometers of ascent (we are 30 kilometers from the start) to review the lake but now from the top: it is an excellent position for a photo stop and to regain strength. We are now close to the highest point of the excursion, near San Zeno di Montagna. A village that, due to its enviable position on the lake, attracts crowds of tourists.
Check the brakes before leaving
The good condition of the brakes is important because you have to face a descent: very steep. In the first part there are no hairpin bends and you can reach high speeds in a flash. In a few minutes you go back down to the lake (42° kilometer). Here you need to be careful: you ride along a busy road, especially in high season. We cross many inhabited areas, among which the largest is Torri del Benaco (50° kilometer).
At Bardolino (60° kilometer) we can finally leave the main road and head back into the countryside along the SP31. After a few kilometers (64 from the start) we come to the crossroads pointed out previously, and we return to Peschiera for the road already traveled to the outward journey.
Departure: Peschiera del Garda
Arrival: Peschiera del Garda
Length: 80 kilometers
Discipline: road bike and Mtb
Uphill altitude difference: 600 meters
Downhill altitude difference: 600 meters
Highest point: 680 meters
Lowest point: 60 meters
Duration: 4-5 hours