The Affi Loop, as those who adore the Upper Garda area call it, is a "classic" tour for the group rides of the amateur cyclists from the Garda Trentino area.
During the first half of the itinerary, we skirt the eastern shore of Lake Garda, where short tunnels alternate with picturesque lakeside locations. With a short, easy climb towards Costermano, we leave the view of the lake behind and a fun roller-coaster section takes us to the Valle dell’Adige. Once we reach Rivoli, the return northwards continues on the cycle path, from which we catch glimpses of the majestic Castle of Avio and the many vineyards that characterise this valley.
The total distance might scare off the faint-hearted. But this is not the case with the gradients which, in the only brief uphill section, are gentle and within everyone’s capabilities.
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The departure point of the route is the Torbole information office, on Lungolago Conca d'Oro. From here we continue southwards.
In summer, this road is very busy, so remember to proceed in single file, being careful of the vehicles that catch you up. The first 10 km features a series of tunnels, where wearing a high-vis jacket (or braces) and having working front and rear lights is compulsory to improve visibility.
In Navene, after the tunnels, we carry on along the main road (S.R. 249) which, after a few kilometres, meets Malcesine, recognisable for its Scaligero castle built right above the lake. For a long section of road, splendid views of Lake Garda alternate with characteristic Veneto locations. In fact, after Malcesine we come across Cassone (where we can admire the shortest river in the world, the Aril), then Assenza, Brenzone, Castelletto, Pai, and Torri del Benaco. After Torri del Benaco, a short, gentle incline takes us to Punta San Vigilio. Now the road descends slightly, and we are treated to a marvellous view of the port of the town of Garda. At the first roundabout we encounter, in the residential part of Garda, we take the second exit, in the direction of Costermano.
The road now begins to climb, but never reaches significant gradients. After a few bends, we get to Costermano del Garda. We carry on straight ahead, on the S.P. 8, until we reach a roundabout. We take the first exit on the right, and after another 2 km, at the roundabout we turn left, and take the third exit, heading towards Rivoli Veronese. Now a great section of continuous ups and downs awaits us, finishing up in the town of Rivoli. We enter the built-up area and once we’ve passed a small roundabout, we continue for another 150 metres then turn left, in the sharp bend that runs into Viale Caduti del Lavoro. We follow the signs for Fort Wohlgemuth until we meet the beginning of the cycle path. A few hundred metres later, on our right we can’t help but notice Fort Wohlgemuth, which is well worth a detour. We follow the signs that indicate the cycle path, in the direction of Rovereto.
The cycle path is a perpetual series of ups and downs, at times skirting the river Adige and at times surrounded by vineyards, the most common type of crop in this valley. We keep heading north and at a certain point on the left side of the valley we can make out the Castle of Avio, standing tall over the town below. We continue following the signs for the cycle path which lead us across the river Adige near the town of Chizzola. Having covered almost 4 kilometres, the cycle path crosses the river again. Here we come off it and turn on to the provincial road (S.P. 90) We ride until the town of Mori, where we turn left at the traffic light. On the main road, we see the signs indicating the cycle path, which we follow. Along this route, we can admire the riverbed of Lake Loppio, a basin drained in 1956 following the construction of the Adige-Garda tunnel that made the groundwater sink. Now we tackle the last challenge of the day, the brief climb to the San Giovanni Pass, before the descent towards Nago.
Coming out of the village, we enter the “old Nago”, a quiet road that leads to Torbole. The road is very steep, and the panorama is ultra-photogenic. Here we leave the surfaced road and head down the cobbled street until we reach Piazza Goethe, then turn left, returning to our departure point.
The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda and Arco – are connected by several urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point or in the immediate surroundings.
For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes
You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service.
Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino
Free parking in Torbole in the Busatte Park.
More Pay parking at the Panorama parking area, in Via Strada Granda or and along the lakefront Lungolago Conca d'Oro
Riding your bike requires specific clothing and equipment, even for relatively short and easy trips. It is always better to be prepared… e.g. for bad weather or a drop your energy levels. The unexpected things also make up a part of the fun!
Do not compare a road bike with a mountain bike. They are very different, especially in technical terms, and facing a hill with a road bike could be much more difficult than facing the same hill with a MTB. Therefore, remember to throughly evaluate the type of route you plan to do and the locations you plan to cross. Do not forget to consider the current season. Has it been raining? Attention: the paint of the crosswalk could be very slick.
What do I need to bring on my bike tour?
It is always advised to let someone know where you plan to go and how long you expect to be.
Emergency telephone number 112.