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Circumnavigation of Lake Garda by motorcycle

The classic among the tours on the lake is the circumnavigation of Lake Garda: 160 kilometres of waterfront, passing steep walls peppered by climbers, through deep tunnels and sometimes narrow roads, along with the glittering blue water, the beaches and sea promenades.

Palm trees and cypresses line the route, with romantic riverside towns such as Torbole, Malcesine, Lazise, Sirmione, Toscolano-Maderno and Limone. The east shore has a fantastic view and the west bank with the most spectacular street of Lake Garda, the legendary "Gardesana Occidentale".

The 160 kilometres around the lake can be completed in about four hours, taking into account the speed limits and without stopping. On the way, some interesting towns and villages are lovely for stopovers.

If you start in the north, you will find the first worthwhile destination there. Nago-Torbole is a beautiful, colourful harbour town that thanks to its wind conditions is considered a mecca for surfers. The city offers a beach and great views of the area. From here another possible tour begins, up into the heights of Monte Baldo.

The next stage goes to Malcesine. The impressive medieval castle was once almost fatal to Goethe, who was accused of espionage while sketching it. However, thanks to his detailed narratives on the life of noble society in his hometown of Frankfurt, it soon became clear that he was not, as assumed, an Austrian enemy, but in fact, a qualified Frankfurter travelling for educational purposes.

Past the youthful town of Bardolino in the Bardolino wine-growing region, further south, lies the beautiful old town of Lazise. In the midst of this area full of olive groves, you will find excellent restaurants, trattorie, osterie and ice cream parlours with probably the most delicious ice cream in the region. The city invites you to stroll and wander and offers a beautiful sandy beach for swimming. Don't forget to bring a bottle of olive oil from Lazise as a souvenir!

On the south coast of Lake Garda, you have the opportunity to make a short detour into the hilly wine landscape of the Valpolicella or to the town of Valeggio sul Mincio, which is considered to be the home of tortellini and well worth seeing. If you like old fortifications and military fortresses, make sure to stop off in the port city of Peschiera to enjoy the view in a café in the old town.

You can also get a good idea of the urban life of Lake Garda residents in the little tourist town of Desenzano. With its numerous bars and restaurants in the picturesque old town, it is the ideal resting place for those who feel at home in busy centres.

The next stop is on the west bank: Toscolano-Maderno at the entrance to the valley Valle delle Cartiere. Once the source of what is arguably the most beautiful paper in Europe, the ruins of the paper mills on the Toscolano River still bear witness to its heyday in the Middle Ages. You can reach the historic Valle delle Cartiere via a hike or by bike.

Forgot to stop? No problem, a rest in Gargnano is just as lovely. The picturesque town impresses with its originality and seems to have been largely spared by tourism. From here it is not far, and the tour finishes.

If it's too long for you or if you'd like to stay longer in one of the beautiful locations or on a comfortable stretch of beach along the way, you can shorten the tour by a ferry crossing.

Updated: 31/01/2019

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