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.
There are many trails for history buffs in Garda Trentino based on the theme of the Great War which explore the Austro-Hungarian fortifications.
The Hidden Treasures itineraries were designed in order to give visitors a chance to get to know places in Garda Trentino that are off the beaten track. For this reason, the signposting is not always in the same style and sometimes missing altogether. We therefore recommend you to take a good map with you on these excursions. And then bear in mind your general reference points: Lake Garda = South, Monte Stivo = East, Rocchetta = West, Arco Castle = North.
The telephone number for the emergency services is 112.
The information on this chart is subject to inevitable variations, so this means that none of the 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, the hiker is advised to check the conditions of the places, environment and weather before setting out.
Tips and hints
- 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”.
For more information on routes and hike services, guides, shops and hiking friendly accommodation: all about trekking in Garda Trentino- Tel. +39 0464 554444
Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino
Free parking in Riva del Garda at the old hospital (via Rosmini) and the old cemetery (Viale D. Chiesa).
Pay parking at the Public Gardens Porta Orientale, Roman Baths, Viale Lutti (Ex Agraria), Monte Oro, shopping center Blue Garden.
Author’s map recommendations
You need to be wearing 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?
What you should have in your rucksack (for a day trip a 25/30L capacity should do):
- water canteen (1L)
- snacks (e.g. mixed dried fruit or chocolate)
- First aid kit
- windproof jacket
- change of t-shirt and socks (in a plastic bag)
- make sure to wear or at least bring a pair of long trousers
- sun screen
- whistle to attract attention in an emergency
- emergency telephone number: 112
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.
- 3 Waypoints
- 3 Waypoints