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The "Blue Line" of Garda Trentino

Torbole sul Garda - Nago, Arco, Riva del Garda
Duration in hours
Distance in km
Suggested period

A historic itinerary which follows the 1945 line of fortifications from the lakeshore of Riva di Garda to Nago-Torbole.

The trail follows part of the line of fortifications built by the German army between 1944 and the spring of 1945 from the northern shore of Lake Garda to the Adriatic, what was known as the Blue Line (in German, Blaue Linie). This line largely followed the Austro-Hungarian line built a century before. In Garda Trentino the shoreline was fortified from Riva del Garda to Torbole, the western part of Lake Garda south of the centre of Riva and the foothills of Altissimo, which was where there was the only fighting.

The itinerary is made up of two distinct sections: the first part from the centre of Riva del Garda runs along the lakeshore to the east, the second from the centre of Torbole heads up towards Busatte and on to Nago. It is possible to combine the first part with the itinerary “The Forts of Monte Brione”, which leaves from the harbour of San Nicolò, halfway between Riva and Torbole, leaving the second part which leaves from and returns to Torbole for another time.

Further information and useful links

For more information on routes, services (guides, mountain huts, shops etc.) and hiking friendly accommodation: Garda Trentino - +39 0464 554444


Route info
Route number
15,2 km
5 h 20 min
Altitude difference (+)
291 m
Altitude difference (-)
293 m
Technical skills
Physical effort
Highest point
262 m
Lowest point
62 m

There are many trails for history buffs in Garda Trentino based on the theme of the Great War which explore the Austro-Hungarian fortifications.

During the Second World War, fighting on Lake Garda was mostly during the final days of the Allied Italian Campaign. The X American Mountain division actually reached Verona on 26th April 1945, Malcesine the day after, while the general surrender of the German forces was signed on 29th April while fighting was still going on in Torbole. The idea behind the Blue Line, that of reusing the fortresses and trenches of the First World War in order to turn the Alps into a final defensive outpost (Alpenfestung), never actually came to fruit.

Around the San Nicolò fort, you can see niches at the mouth of the tunnel on the road which today contain images of saints. During the Second World War, like almost all the tunnels on Lake Garda, they contained dynamite to blow up the tunnel if needed. The bloodiest battle fought on the lake in April 1945 took place around Corno di Bo' (visible from here – a spur of dark rock towards the south-east) when the retreating Germans tried to set off the explosives at the mouth of the tunnel and the Americans did everything they could to stop them. This is why for years the tunnel was known locally as the “Tunnel of death”.

Safety guidelines

Safety Tips

  1. Choose itineraries that suit your physical and technical abilities. Collect information about the area you are visiting and the trail’s conditions and get a detailed trekking map.
  2. Wear clothes and take equipment that suit the difficulty and length of your tour. Keep emergency gear in your rucksack, including first aid supplies.
  3. Do not go walking alone in the mountains. In any case, tell someone where you are going and report back on returning.
  4. Look at the weather forecast before setting off and always keep an eye on the weather.
  5. In case of doubt, go back. It is better to give up than risk bad weather or face difficulties beyond your strength, ability and equipment.
  6. Do not leave marked paths and do not take shortcuts.
  7. All described walks are in a natural environment and therefore their use is at your own risk.

This information is subject to inevitable variations, so none of these indications are absolute. It is not entirely possible to avoid giving inexact or imprecise information, given how quickly environmental and weather conditions can change. For this reason, we decline any responsibility for changes which the user may encounter. In any case, it is advisable to check environment and weather conditions before setting out.

Punto di partenza
Riva del Garda

First Part (Riva del Garda):
Start at the Tourist Information Office in Largo Medaglie d'Oro and continue down to the lakeshore. At the footbridge at Punta Lido on the right there is a Tobruk Pit gunboat). Keep going along the lake for about 3 km as far as Piazza Lietzmann in Torbole. Along the way, you will come across a number of artefacts some of which date back to the First World War and the San Nicolò Fort (where you join up with the itinerary “The Forts of Monte Brione”).

Second Part (Nago-torbole):
Start from Piazza Lietzmann: here beside the church you will find the monuments to General Darby of the 10th Mountain division and the soldiers who drowned in the waters off Tempesta when their amphibious DUKW vehicle was sunk when the war was already over. Keep going eastwards along the lakeshore through the town towards the ferry landing stage in Navigarda (in via Pescicoltura, behind the Tourist Information Office, you can see the door of the old anti-aircraft bunker which is now closed off). Continue southwards past the Yacht Club until you come to the Adige-Garda Gallery on your left. During the war, some of the Messerschmidt military component factories were located here to avoid Allied bombings. Go back to via Pescicoltura and follow directions for the “Busatte Tempesta” trail and head up the steps and along the road as far as the car park of the Busatte park. On the way up you will notice the slits of the trenches inside the rock wall just above the first bend in the road and under the high voltage pylon (a machine gun outpost which can be reached by 100 steps cut into the rock).

When you come to the car park of Busatte park, continue along the cycle path which heads up to Nago. After a few hundred metres you will come to a panoramic viewing point with a bench. Continue along the path until you come to a dirt road clearing where you turn right onto a farm track beside the sign for the Bike trail. Shortly afterwards, you come to a bunker in the rock on your left and, not far after, a plaque commemorating the Mountaineers mowed down here by friendly fire. Looking towards Torbole from this point you can see the same trenches you saw before in the rock face above via delle Busatte. Go back to the fork and continue as far as the junction with via Monte Baldo, which you then follow towards Nago (watch out for occasional traffic).

Return trip:
at the junction with Strada Vecchia turn left and keep on down the ancient Santa Lucia road to get back to Torbole. When you reach Torbole, turn right at the junction with via Pontalti and go round two bends of via Europa as far as the panoramic “Belvedere” viewing point (watch out for traffic). Head down the nearby steps to the old harbour of Torbole and the end of the itinerary in piazza Lietzmann.

public transportation

The main towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Arco, Torbole sul Garda, Nago – are connected by several urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point of tours or in the immediate surroundings.

You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service.

Up-to-date information on timetables and routes.


How to get there
Where to park

Parking near the former hospital (Via Rosmini) or the former cemetery (Viale Damiano Chiesa).

Paid parking: Terme Romane (Viale Roma), Vecchia stazione (Largo Medaglie d’Oro), Ex-agraria (Via Lutti), Area ex-Cattoi (Viale Rovereto).

You need to wear the right clothing and take the proper gear when you go hiking in the mountains. Even on relatively short easy outings make sure to take all you need so you don't run into trouble if things take an unexpected turn, for example a storm blows up or you have a sudden drop in energy levels.

What should you take when you go on a hike?

Your rucksack (for a day trip a 25/30L capacity should do) should contain:

  • water canteen (1L)
  • snacks (e.g. mixed dried fruit or chocolate)
  • First aid kit
  • windproof jacket
  • fleece
  • change of t-shirt and socks (in a plastic bag)
  • make sure to wear or at least bring a pair of long trousers
  • hat
  • sun screen
  • sunglasses
  • gloves
  • whistle to attract attention in an emergency


Make sure you're wearing the right footwear for the trail and season. The going can get rough and rocky underfoot and a pair of hiking boots will protect you from sprains. When wet, a grassy slope, rocky slab or steep trail can be dangerous unless you are wearing the proper footwear.

And finally... don't forget to bring your camera! You'll need it to capture the stunning views you come across all over Garda Trentino. And if you like, you can share your memories with us at #GardaTrentino.

Emergency telephone number 112.

Riva del Garda
Info Point Riva del Garda
info point
Torbole sul Garda - Nago
Strada di Santa Lucia
Torbole sul Garda - Nago
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