Have fun on the water
There’s plenty of opportunity enjoy the waters here too. Riva has a long, white pebble beach that is popular for lake bathing. It’s just perfect for a dip to cool off during balmy summer days in Italy. The locals’ favourite is at Spiaggia Sabbioni, just a short distance from the town centre, or Porfina, which has a bustling bar.
Or hop on a bus and explore the nearby Varone Waterfalls. Forged by underwater springs that have created a cave where the water crashes down 100ft or more, this is a must-see. It is also set in some exotic botanical gardens so there’s some fantastic flora to admire.
Ideal for serious surfers
The surrounding mountains and narrow neck of the lake make this the ideal location for watersports, with windsurfing being especially popular. Riva del Garda is also a great place to both hire boats or even learn to sail for a more relaxing way to enjoy the lake. If you want complete relaxation, head out on a sailing excursion. Several companies offer cruises around the lake, allowing you to laze on deck and watch the spectacular scenery from a different perspective.
Soak up the Italian culture
After a long day by the water, check out the local town, which is set just back from the lake, and stroll along the winding cobbled streets that open on to piazzas and waterfront squares. Take in its laid-back vibe, pick up a delicious gelato and peruse the large variety of fashionable shops and boutiques lining the streets.
You’ll pass many beautiful buildings such as the Santa Maria Inviolata, a baroque church with eye-catching frescoes, and the colourful Piazza III Novembre in the heart of the town, which is packed with terrace cafés, bars and pizzerias.
Explore a rich history
It would be remiss not to set aside time to explore the history of this charming town. It was originally controlled by the Venetians, who left their mark with the town’s historical fortress.
The Rocca di Riva castle originates from 1124. It is completely surrounded by water, and dominates the waterfront. Today, it houses the town’s museum and an art gallery. You won’t want to miss the striking medieval Torre Apponale clock tower in the centre of town, either. Climb its narrow staircase and you’ll be rewarded with the most stunning lake views from its 100ft-high terrace.
Another historic symbol of Riva is the Bastione, a stone building from the 16th century that was built across the lake to protect the region from attacks. The ruins today can easily be reached on foot, and the views are definitely worth seeing.
Take in the romance
Thanks to its prime position in Lake Garda, there are many nearby towns all within easy reach that are worth exploring on Riva holidays.
Visit towns such as Torbole, Limone or Malcesine, with its cable car onto the ridge of Monte Baldo. Or take a trip to other interesting towns, like nearby Arco or Lake Ledro – a smaller lake with a museum dedicated to the lake’s ancestors.
Of course, your holidays in Riva aren’t complete without savouring the romance of Verona, which is perfect for a day trip, and inspired Shakespeare’s famous lovers Romeo and Juliet. There is also an amazing Roman amphitheatre and some fascinating tombs to explore here.
Riva del Garda is full of Italian charm. While it is an adventurers’ paradise with its great water sports and stunning scenery, the historic old town and a glamorous lakeside promenade mean there is so much more to be explored besides.