Travel | October 21, 2020 12:51 pm

Garda, Italy’s Largest Lake, Is Getting an 87-Mile Biking Trail

Add it to the post-pandemic bucket list

lake garda
Garda by Bike is a new trail along the coast of Italy's largest lake.
Klaus Huber/Unsplash

Italy’s Lake Garda already has a lot going for it. It’s the largest lake in Italy, the third largest in the Alps (behind Lake Constance and Lake Geneva), and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire world. It pulls in 22 million visitors in a normal, non-pandemic year, mainly from Germany and Austria. They come for the surprisingly Mediterranean climate; despite sitting northeast of Milan, Lake Garda spends the majority of the year above 65°F. There are citrus and olive trees along the lake.

While it seems the place couldn’t get much better, it’s about to open an 87-mile biking trail.

lake garda trail
A rendering of the bike trail, which is on pace to be completed next year.
ATT – Società d’ingegneria

Garda by Bike is scheduled to be completed next year, which could coincide well with a reintroduction of international travel. (The global pause has hit Italy particularly hard — about 13% of its labor force works in the tourism sector.) The project has been under construction for years now, and a teaser, 1.2-mile stretch was even opened to the public in 2018, but in 2021, the whole thing will be open and ready for post-pandemic bucket lists.

What to expect? The trail follows routes through the Italian regions of Lombardy, Trentino and Veneto, and will feature an integrated patchwork of existing tracks, and brand-new, wooden-plank cycling paths (some of which look a bit like American boardwalks), all of which hug the bluffs surrounding the lake.

Serious cyclists know that the Italian Lake District is a cycling Mecca, thanks to its climate, views and various climbs. Lance Armstrong famously trained in Lake Como year after year in preparation for the Tour de France. But this trail is designed specifically to appeal to those of any skill level, with a consistent, steady grade. Here’s hoping that Americans are again allowed to travel to Italy by the time the new path opens.