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The best things to do in and around Arco!

March, 06 2020 ( Updated August, 20 2021)

Italy
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northern Italy
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Monte Bondone

The best things to do in and around Arco

Lake view of Riva del Garda, from Arco area

Located 9.8km north of the lake resort city of Riva del Garda on Lake Garda, Arco in Trentino-Alto Adige provides the perfect holiday spot from which to relax and enjoy the must-see activities and attractions of the area. With sheer cliffs to one side and overlooked by the beautiful ruins of Arco castle on the other, the resort town provides a delightful destination for a holiday set at your own pace. Read on to discover the best things to do!

Arco Castle perched on a cliff aboive the town, with the River Sarca meandering through

Get active - in and around Arco

Climbing

For those in the know, Arco is an international hotspot for climbing. With a 40-year pedigree established from becoming the free climbing capital of Italy in the 1980’s, to staging the top global competitions of today, including the annual IFsc Youth World Championships, Arco is a climber's dream destination! Thanks to its ideal climatic conditions, indoor centre and stadium, Arco provides a fantastic all-weather activity for all ages and abilities to enjoy anything from bouldering and aided climbing to free climbing, with equipment all readily available to hire.

Cycling & hiking

 A cyclist rides along the lakeview Ponale road on Lake Garda

Cyclists will relish the bicycle routes here, from mountainous, downhill and flat riverside paths to scenic lakeside, the region offers a timeless distraction for making the most of the great outdoors on two wheels! Hugging the lakeside of Lake Garda, the scenic ‘Ponale road’ (also known as Alpine trail D 01) follows the original route of the first road between Lake Garda and the Ledro valley, starting from the lakeside resort of Riva and passing through the picturesque village of Limone sul Garda. Today, its 10km long route is a mecca for hikers, walkers and cyclists alike. The surrounding area also offers a wide selection of cycle paths closer to Arco, the most popular being the Riva-Torbole-Arco route. 

A pretty view of the bike path next to the River Sarca

Nearby, the lake resort of Torbole sul Garda and the nature park ‘Parco dell’Alto Garda Bresciano’ also provide a fantastic area from which to enjoy a scenic hike and mountain bike ride , as well as a  host of extreme sports, from paragliding and climbing to windsurfing!

Swimming & waters sports

Whether its in the river, on the lake or in a pool, there's a welath of water-based options to enjoy in Arco and the surrounding area. Locally on the doorstep, the Lido di Arco provides a picturesque spot from which to enjoy a sunny river swim, or afternoon nap on the grassy lawn or stone beach. The lido is well serviced too, with a café, shower and toilet block, as well as a bike, sailing and windsurfing centre. A local swimming spot can also be soaked up in località Moletta. Overlooking the River Sarca, this child-friendly spot features a small beach and shady trees, alongside a snack bar, kid’s playground, toilets and a small car park. Reach this timeless idyll either from the cycle path or by car (heading towards Trento, turn left at the traffic lights and off the main road). Just 10 minutes’ drive away, Ceniga di Dro also offers a pretty pebble beach, perfect for taking some time out to admire your surroundings in peace, with the ancient ‘Roman bridge’ which leads from Arco to the ancient hamlet of Ceniga providing a truly timeless backdrop! Those looking for a classic dose of poolside bliss, can dip into the outdoor pools on offer in the nearby hamlet of Prabi. With an Olympic-size pool with 3 diving boards to leap off and a kid’s pool complete with small slide, it offers the perfect choice for enjoying some carefree swim time.

Windsurfers off the Torbole shorline

The local resorts of Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda are also famed for their excellent windsurfing, water sports and sailing opportunities, ensuring water-based amusement for all!

Mountain magic

Perfect for enjoying some lake view escapism for the day, Monte Brione (6.9km away) offers the perfect mountain location for enjoy a spot of scenic hiking and sightseeing. When you’re up there, you’ll also be able to explore the disused fortifications, which date back to the 1800’s. Also nearby, the 11.5km long walking route of Sentiero Busatte Tempesta offers a classic Trentino hiking path, with panoramic views across Lake Garda to take in, from an altitude of 320m.

The ski slopes of Monte Bondone are perfect for families and skiers of all abilities

For those in search of the ultimate day out, Monte Bondone (47km away) boasts ski slopes and scenic summer hiking paths aplenty! Its 2000m altitude guarantees good weather and sunshine, whatever the season, whilst its 50km worth of pristine ski slopes and snow parks will attract any avid skier and snowsports fan. Families will also be able to make the most of the broad slopes, its ski school and dedicated kids’ zone.

Capture some culture

Looking to sightsee? Arco and the surrounding area boast a trasure trove of cultural attractions! Perched high above the town, the iconic Arco Castle (Castello di Arco) was built by local residents back in the medieval times, becoming the property of the noble Counts of Arco. Today, visitors can enjoy walking up 1 of the 3 routes up to the castle. From the top, you’ll be able to take in the views across the River Sarca plain and Arco town, whilst also taking in the restored features of the castle, including some beautifully restored medieval frescos.

The picturesque Arco Castle perches on a cliff above the town

Within the old centre of Arco, enjoy an historical walk along the streets which hug the castle cliff, for a journey back in time. Starting from the 15th century monastery ‘Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace’, which displays original features in its cloister and internal wooden shrine of the Virgin Mary. Also along the way, make time to pop into the ‘Collegiate Church of the Assumption’, a 17th century marvel by the Imperial Court architect, G.M. Filippi. Inside, take in the paintings, altar and statues designed by prominent artists and sculptors of the 16th – 18th century. Other local landmarks to take in along the historical route include the town’s fine Palazzos, including the 16th century ‘Palazzo Marchetti’ (Palace of St Peter), home to the illustrious Counts of Arco until the mid-18th century, as well as a host of frescoes by famous artists such as Giulio Romano (1499 – 1546). The imposing ‘Palazzo dei Panni’ (Palace of the Cloths) was built for the Arco count in the last 17th century, before its conversion in the late 18th century into a productive woollen mill, hence its affectionate nickname. There also exists landmark buildings which convey Arco’s prestige as a winter health destination for past royalty and high society in the 19th century; with resort villas, bathhouses and a former casino (now the library to name a few) forming part of Arco’s fascinating urban fabric.

View of Arco and the Sarca plain, from the town's castle

Just 12.8km away, the ancient landmark of Tenno Castle (Castello di Tenno) is a privately-owned castle worth admiring as you pass by, along the old road to Lake Garda. Other local nearby heritage sites include the Romanesque Church of Apollinaris in Prabi (3.4km), which offers some beautiful 14th century frescoes and a 15th – 16th century painted façade. 

The romantic lakeside of Riva del Garda

Within a short 15 minutes’ drive away, visitors will reach the famous heritage beauty spot of Torbole sul Garda. Immortalised by the artists and poets of the ‘Grand Tour’ days, including Goethe, this picturesque destination still oozes its quaint fishing village charms and landmark sights including the Old Customs house and the 15th century Casa Beust. Nearby Riva del Garda also offers a fantastic range of all-weather activities and things to do, so make you sure you make the time to explore this beautiful Lake Garda resort!

Tastes of Arco

Being on holiday can be hungry work, so whilst eating out, make sure you take the opportunity to sample the famous local specialities. The delicious cuisine comes into its own during the winter season, with ‘gnocchi’ and bacon, rocket and ricotta cheese, Franciscan tagliatelle, Ravioli with bacon, apples with nuts and melted butter, Spaghetti guitar with crisp vegetables and also cream of potato and leeks with crispy bacon all popular local dishes. The wider Trentino-Alto-Adige region offers a wealth of culinary treats to sample too, so why not savour as many as possible whilst staying here!

Natural beauty spots

An aerial view of Lake Tenno

Nature fans will enjoy exploring the local walking and swimming beauty spot of Lago di Tenno (13.6km away from Arco) as well as the passing Sarca riverside, which is popular for fly fishing and walking. Nearby, the botanical park of Cascate del Varone in Tenno is home to a fantastic underground cave system with 100m waterfall fed from the underground valley River Magnone, which runs from Ravizze to Lake Garda. It’s ideal for geologists, nature fans and those looking to enjoy a scenic walk in unique surroundings.

The waterfalls of Cascate del Varone

For those lucky to be coming to Arco and Riva del Garda, we have a fantastic range of holiday apartments and houses to suit all group sizes and budgets. Check out our fantastic homes here.

From all of us here, happy holidays!

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