Two days at Lake Garda

Date: from May to October
Participants: up to 50 persons (beyond 50 persons certain programs may only be carried out in rotation, with divided groups, e.g. sea kayak, via ferrata)
Location: Riva del Garda and surroundings, northern coast of Lake Garda, Italy
Travel: Lake Garda lies 900 kilometers from Budapest. Travel time is around 9-10 hours on the highway. The nearest airport is in Milano, with a two-hour bus ride to the lake’s northern coast.
Accommodations: several 3 and 4 star hotels can be found on the northern coast.

Program Description

Day 1.

On the first day at Lake Garda we get acquainted with the surrounding mountains, a world reaching straight to the sky. The town of Arco, one of the most frequented rock climbing paradises, was built on the lake’s northern shore. From beginner trekkers to professional climbers everyone finds his or her challenge on the surrounding limestone rocks. From Lake Garda almost vertical mountain sides extend toward the sky, with lighter to more difficult tourist routes to the mountain top. These routes provide an ideal taste of mountain climbing, and in particular of via ferrata. The more cautious can climb the 400m S. Maria di Lagel peak looming over the tower of Arco on a moderately steep, yet exciting ferrata route. Cables fixed into the rock provide safe passage on the steep mountainside. The tour guides help in becoming familiar with the special equipment (harness, carabineers, webbing, etc.) that keeps us attached to the cables.

The guides supervise and guarantee our safety throughout the tour. During the almost two-hour climb we use our hands at times to ascend the narrow paths. The mountaintop opens up a stunning view to the valley of the Sarca river, Arco and the lake glimmering in the background. After some rest we descend on the far side, using a comfortable tourist route. if we feel like it, we may improve our climbing ability on our descent, this time with a top rope safety management. In addition, we’ll get ample chance to test our fear of heights in a well equipped climbing school nearby. ?

With the more courageous of the party we may set off on an even more exciting journey. An easy path from one of the lake’s side valleys leads to a steep cliff on the shore. As we approach the cliff we don our ferrata gear and attach ourselves to the cable. The route mostly leads along a ridge, as we climb up in gorges, out on small plates of rock, or through windy paths. We depend upon each other, and must pay attention throughout, helping from above or lending a hand from below to the one ahead of us. As we finally get to the top, we rejoice together over a well deserved panorama. After a full day’s trekking we return to our lodging late in the afternoon, ready for dinner!

Day 2.

On the second morning of our Lake Garda program we take a crack at sea kayaking. These two-seater kayaks have wide hulls and are very stable. We use them to paddle down south along the lake’s rocky shore. As our route takes us past the huge, vertically protruding cliffs, we stop in smaller bays to take a closer look at unique rock structures. Our trail is haunted by the sight of the Monte Baldo mountain bulge from the east.

The often strong Tramontana wind makes us feel like real seafarers. Our destination is Limone, a lakeshore village, where we cast anchor and ride the bus back to our accommodations. Following a short lunch some more exercise awaits: we mount bikes to discover what’s north of the lake. The bicycle road along the Sarca river takes us quickly to the village of Dro, where – after a short rest stop – mountain bike excitement awaits on a light and short woodland trail. Even if we have to get off and shove the bike on foot on our way up, it’s worth it: a comfortable downhill roll down the forest path awaits us on the far side. Great fun even for beginners! The bottom of the hill takes us to a small village built on the shore of a small lake. We take a rest in the village square, then a short uphill climb on asphalt at the lake’s far side and it’s the joys of downhill again for us on our way back to Dro. From there even ground awaits us toward Lake Garda. Before we reach the lake, however, we can decide to stop at a local winery to taste local crops in the shape of a glass of good wine. Pedaling seems like a breeze when one has a light flush, so the last meters to our starting point should present no problems. A hard day’s work deserves a worthy ending, and so we suggest a delicious dinner in one of Riva del Garda’s convivial restaurants.

Travel time: Travelling there and back home should be added to the program’s duration. With a car or bus this takes one day each way. By air to Milano – counting on appropriate flight schedules – travel time may be reduced to half a day.

Physical difficulty: the sports activities listed in the program can be completed by any healthy individual. Naturally, we provide all necessary technical gear for via ferrata, rock climbing, sea kayaking and bicycling. We take care to teach all participants the equipments’ use and supervise their safety throughout the activities.

Equipment: a small backpack for via ferrata, raincoat, light sweater, comfortable pants (not jeans if possible), trekking boots (or sports shoes), sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, bathing suit. Both the trekking and the bicycle tours can easily be completed in ordinary sports shoes.

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