Riva activities

The most popular visitor attractions, places to see & things to do in & near Riva Italy.

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Things to do & see in Riva

As the oldest town on Lake Garda, as well as one of the biggest, Riva pretty much has it all. Whether you’re looking for quality time on the water, extreme sports on the mountains, historical attractions or some serious retail therapy this is a fantastic place to stay. This is one of the best places for water sports in Europe, let alone Lake Garda and with Monte Rocchetta, Brione and Baldo in its vicinity and a day trip to the Dolomites only a winding road away,

Riva attracts flocks of sailing, ‘surfing, mountaineering, mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts every year. Canyoning, Via Ferrata and climbing are also popular (you’ll find various climbing courses and guides in nearby Arco) and you can also enjoy the surroundings on horseback. Sights to see range from ancient ruins to beautiful churches and Riva is one of the best places for shopping with everything from one-off boutiques to high street chains.


Riva Walking & Hiking: With Monte Rocchetta on the west and Monte Brione on the east, this is a perfect place for serious hiking. Brione doesn’t take too long to climb (there’s a great view from the Forts) and there are some fantastic steeps and panoramic paths on Rocchetta. Walk to the S. Giovanni church or the Bastione where you can enjoy refreshments at the cafe. The Varone falls in Parco Grotta Cascata Varone are about an hour away on foot or for a longer excursion, visit Lake Ledro. For a bit less legwork, wander around the winding streets of the town or amble along the lakeside to Torbole.


Riva Cycling & Mountain Biking: Whether you’re seeking rocky mountain terrain or gentle lakeside paths, Riva is a great place to experience on two wheels. The area has everything from mountain steeps, dirt tracks, woods and tunnels to cobbled paths and chestnut groves. Cyclists looking for a gentle trail should take the scenic path to Limone while for thrill seekers, Monte Altissimo is amazing. For another lake experience, pack your swim-wear and ride north to Lake Tenno or Lake Cavedine. Good attractions to visit on bike include the Varone waterfalls, the Roman ruins at San Martino and the Roman Bridge at Dro.


Riva Water sports & Lake Activities: Water sports lovers have definitely come to the right place here, where sailing and windsurfing conditions are ideal. The area’s constant, strong winds attract the world’s best athletes, who can often be seen practicing or competing in international regattas like the World Cup. There are various sailing and windsurfing schools if you’re new to the sports and want to learn as well as equipment rental for those seeking to enjoy the conditions and develop technique. Other lake activities like Kayaking can be easily found at places like Surf Segnana and boat hire is available if you want to take your own trip around the lake.

Riva Attractions

Rocca w. Civic museum

The Rocca di Riva is a 14th Century castle with a moat bridge, home to the civic museum. Enjoy ever-changing exhibitions and a lookout tower which costs just €2 to ascend for access to a king’s view over the waters.

Parco Grotta Cascata Varone

Wonder at nature’s marvels as you head 3km out of Riva del Garda, where ye shall find Parco Grotta Cascata Varone. Here lies Varone’s magical waterfall, to be enjoyed at 2 locations: the lower cave with its proximity to the rushing water’s cascades, and the upper cave, a short walk up through the park’s botanical gardens to access a view of the tunneling waterfall in all its power.

Museo delle Palafitte

Learn what life was like living as an Italian in the Bronze Age at the Museum delle Palafitte. Were wood burning ovens already invented? Or did some other ancient method of pizza making exist for our Mediterranean cousins? Visit the hut style lakeside village to see if you could have stuck it out in such simple times.


Meet snakes of all shapes and sizes including cobras and the green mamba as well as tarantulas, beetles, insects, scorpions and butterflies in this reptile house on Piazza Garibaldi.

Castello di Arco

Walk through the trapdoor style door of Castle di Arco and prepare yourself for a cellar of wonders and you raise your head to a spectacular view over summertime in Lake Garda and its surrounding green fields. Take a stroll amongst the ruins and maybe even make some farmyard friends. A 20 minute walk from Riva del Garda that’s worth every huff and puff to get there.

Archducal Park

This is a beautiful park that was originally built around the residence of Arch Duke Albert of Hapsburg. The park is famed for the huge variety of tree is it home to from all over the world. If you fancy getting in touch with nature and having a peaceful walk then this park is ideal for you!

Church of San Giuseppe

This was built in 1579 and now has a converted passage way passing through it. You can walk through the church or stay and take in the history. It previously housed a Friars congregation and still contains valuable historic artefacts in its vault. This is an excellent place to visit and see the religious history of the town centre.

Church of San Tomaso

This was dedicated to caring for the dying and the contagious sick during the 1200’s. The church was built in open country side to prevent the spread of infections to the towns centre and its residents. There were three other leper hospitals during the medieval period but this is the last surviving one. Despite the age it has maintained its Romanesque structure.

Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi

This ancient convent has a great history, dating back to the 12th century! The building was home to monks and followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and from 1808 onwards experienced a great deal of architectural changes and now all that remains of the convent is the cloister and the belfry of the church.

Giardini Verdi

This garden was built in the early 1900’s and it a great place to visit when you are in the area. The park attracts visitors all year round and if you like a quiet walk in a beautiful setting this is the place for you!

Mount Brione Fortresses

The Brione is an excellent attraction, positioned above Lake Garda, offering spectacular views. The military fort has an interesting history dating back to the 17th century. This is the perfect place to stop off and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and discover some facts about the area’s history.

Saint Michele Church

This picturesque church is unique as it is built in an interesting circular shape. The original building dates back to 1159 and was rebuilt in the 14th century. There is a beautiful garden with memorial stones and a war memorial in respect of the 1958 Alpine troops. This is a great way to spend a quiet afternoon and absorb the history of the area.

Santa Barbara Church

Santa Barbara Church was built by miners in 1935 and is one of the area’s most modern churches. Its architecture is extremely impressive and it is precariously positioned on the rocks of Mount Rocchetta. Here you can enjoy panoramic views of the lake that will take your breath away!

SS.Rocco and Vigilio Church

This small church was built in the 14th century and mostly destroyed in the First World War. It has since been rebuilt with a bronze war memorial included. There is an attractive marble altar with a statue of St. Rocco. In the grounds of the church there are Veronese inscriptions dating back to the 12th century. You will also find a memorial plaque for the Arch Bishop of Riva who died in 1883.

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