Just ten kilometers north of Riva del Garda, the Mediterranean climate of Garda begins to combine with the alpine nature. There’s a beautiful little lake waiting for you with a turquoise-colored water surface, a medieval village inscribed on the list of the most beautiful small towns in Italy and surrounded by a botanical garden with a complex of caves hollowed by water for thousands of years, hiding inside a magnificent waterfall. It’s the perfect destination for a one-day trip, guaranteeing an escape from the crowds. Canale, Tenno, Varone – Come and see!
North of Riva del Garda – Canale, Tenno, Varone
The charm of the colorful towns on the shores of Lake Garda is undeniable and attracts numerous visitors every year. Riva del Garda, Torbole, Malcesine, and many others, all supposedly similar to each other, but each other is unique. What can you do if one day you’ll find that shop displays, bustling restaurants, and crowds on the streets – especially in the high season – are already exhausting and it would be good to take a break? An ideal solution is a trip to a quiet and secluded place, such as the beautiful valley stretching northwest of Riva del Garda. For those who have more free time and love to relax in the bosom of nature, it’ll be a good idea to spend the whole day on this trip, necessarily with a blanket, a basket of goodies and a good book. Follower of active sightseeing can book half a day and calmly will manage to see everything. In the plan we have: a complex of caves concealing a waterfall, whose total height is almost 100 m, a beautiful Lake Tenno with an easy walking trail around, and a treat for lovers of very old towns – medieval Canale. Get Ready!
In the bottom Riva del Garda and the northern shore of the lake. Such views can be admired from the SS421 road to Tenno.
° 📌 Borgo di Canale, Tenno. 🌍 Trentino, Italy ° 📷 @italia_by_natalia 📆 September 2017 Tag #italiabynatalia 💻 www.italia-by-natalia.pl 💻 www.italia-by-natalia.pl/en 📱Facebook.com/italiabynatalia ° #GardaTrentino #visittrentino #canaleditenno #jeziorogarda #trentinowow #tenno #trentino_super_pics #gardaoutdoors #vivo_italia #besttrentinopics #yallersitalia #thehub_italia #thehub_trentino #italiainunoscatto #bellaitaliaofficial #topitalyofficial #top_italia_photo #italia_super_pics #prettylittleitaly #włochy #best_italiansites #italian_places #loves_united_italy #theitalybest #travelitaly #igtrentino #gardasee #lagodigarda #borghipiubelli
The first stop is Cascata Varone. Although the waterfall is hidden in a cave, it isn’t difficult to find it. About 3 km north of Riva, on the left of the road, you’ll see a small parking lot on the left, there’re also information boards encouraging you to visit the Parco Grotta Cascata Varone. The park consists of caves formed from about 20,000 years as a result of erosion continually caused by water reaching here from above and a few kilometers further, mentioned at the beginning of the entry of Lake Tenno. The complex consists of two caves: Grotta Inferiore and Grotta Superiore. The first of them makes an impression, but it’s only the entrance to the steel stairs a few dozen meters higher and passing the botanical garden shows the most impressive part of the waterfall, hidden in the second cave.
Entrance to Grotta Superiore
Note! No matter what the weather is outside, the inside is terribly cold and wet. Do not go with the flip-flops and shorts, you will also need a light rain jacket with a hood. Be careful not to slip.
Entrance ticket 6 Euro/person, opening hours depend on the season: November – February 10:00 – 17:00, March and October 9:00 – 17:00, April and September 9:00 – 18:00, May-August 9:00 – 19:00. The validity of this information should be confirmed before the visit on the Cascata Varone website.
© Parco Grotta Cascata Varone
Turquoise Lake Tenno
© Garda Trentino
Lake Tenno is an extremely charming place. Located 570 m above sea level surrounded by an alpine landscape, at the foot of Monte Misone, it’s sometimes called “Lago Azzurro”, an azure lake, thanks to the extremely intense shade of water, which is particularly visible on sunny days as a result of sunlight reflecting off white stones covering the bottom . Tenno is a natural lake, not very big (0.22 km²) and one of the cleanest in the Alps. A very characteristic point is the peninsula covered with trees, which periodically, at high water level, becomes an island. It is amazing that only ten kilometers from the lively towns located on the banks of the Garda Lake, there are only trees and meadows on Lake Tenno, as well as pebble beaches that encourage you to spread a blanket and take a bath, not only sunny but also traditional, fully allowed. In the season just next to the island there is a stand where you can rent canoes and water bikes. You can also find wooden tables and benches from the shore, where you can eat delicately imported delicacies. There’s an easy and pleasant path around the lake. You can come here with a dog, but it must remain on a leash, and sunbathing with a dog is allowed only in the designated place (map below). When choosing Lake Tenno, it’s also worth knowing about a few prohibitions and orders to avoid any problems. What does exactly is it?
© Lorenzo Bruscaggin
Yellow shows a place where you can sunbathe with a dog
Lake Tenno – drone flight (September 2018)
In September 2018 we returned to the Garda and Lake Tenno, which we filmed with the drone. Please note that the movie also shows a fragment of the northern Garda.
Il Volo on Lake Tenno
The beauty of Lake Tenno was used by the scriptwriter of the video for the song “Per te ci sarò” the band Il Volo. The clip shot in November 2015, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the group’s achievements, shows the lake in late autumn, and the perfect shots from the drone additionally show the beauty of this place. In the scenario, gentlemen come with the girls on the SUV to the shore, and then they break up tents, light a campfire and let out lanterns. In fact, access to the reservoir itself is only allowed for authorized persons, including those who rent canoes, and all camping wildly threatens with fines, but not only on Tenno but in the entire Trentino – Upper Adige Region. I don’t need to add after the release of the clip, there were volunteers to pitch the tent in the same place, which in effect results in increased controls. The car is most conveniently left in a small parking lot, which is located just off the main road, at the level of the southern shore of the lake. The parking zone applies. I advise that when you buy a ticket, you also have time to see another attraction. Although you can drive or walk along the trail from the lake is definitely more pleasant.
The medieval village of Canale di Tenno
© Luigi Angrisani
Canale di Tenno, a tiny medieval village is a real gem of northern Garda. As far as I knew exactly what to expect at the lake, the extraordinary beauty of this place completely surprised me. We arrived in Canale early in the evening, when the sun had already set, and the old walls and alleys lit up the glow of the street lamps. We were the only visitors, in the narrow streets we did not meet a single inhabitant, only once someone looked out of the window, there were only cats – an Italian classic. I love small towns, often in inconspicuous buildings I see something more and admire what others do not notice, however, Canale delighted me and threw me on my knees from the first look. This atmosphere when history feels at every step. How does it possible that a few miles away is a bustling life, and here it’s so quiet?
The Canale di Tenno village from the beginning of the 13th century was a settlement of humble farmers and shepherds. Houses were built of stone and wood one next to the other, saving a place that won’t much on the hillside. Narrow streets, once rising, once falling steeply down, low vaults, alleys, and yards haven’t changed much from the times they come from. This happened, among others, because the village was depopulated for many years, the inhabitants moved to more attractive areas and there were no people willing to improve and rebuild the settlement. Until the 1960s abandoned houses with the original architect aroused the interest of a group of artists, headed by the painter Giacomo Vittone. They decided to save the medieval pearl by establishing “House of Artists” – “La Casa degli Artisti” and thus bringing new life among the old walls. Here are exhibitions of artists from all over Europe, painting courses, in the second week of August the “Rustico Medioevo” event takes place, during which the village returns to its roots and shows how life has lived in a medieval settlement centuries ago. In contrast, in the end of November and December in Canale there is a Christmas market, exact dates for each year ahead of time can be found on the Garda Trentino website. In addition to artists in Canale, during the summer time, people who have their holiday homes and few tourists who can book a room or an apartment here in the summer.
Canale along with Lago di Tenno is the perfect place for a walk. The entire route around the lake and access to the Canale is 4.5 km, the height difference is only 50 m © Visit Trentino
Christmas market in Canale © Garda Trentino
Tenno Town – a proven restaurant
Finally, I suggest you stay in the charming town of Tenno, which is dominated by a medieval castle. Right at its foot, there is a parking lot for guests of the neighboring Ristorante Castello, a very good restaurant serving traditional regional dishes (more about Castello in the following article about proven restaurants). It was in this restaurant that I fell in love with the specialty of northern Garda, a carne salada (you will find more in the second post about Trentino cuisine).
Main photo © Giovanni Di Stefano
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All the best