The pilgrim’s trail

30 KM
50% paved – 50% dirt tracks
Road surface
Type of bicycle


The pilgrim’s trail is a classic for this region: old roads and lanes used to link the towns of Garda, Torri del Benaco, Albisano and Crero, and then go up the Olive tree Riviera, passing through ancient boroughs overlooking the lake, to the picturesque town of Malcesine. The pilgrims arriving from northern Europe would follow this trail to reach the road leading to Verona, and from there go to Venice where they would set sail for the Holy Land.

There are a few, rather steep climbs along the way, so you need to be fairly fit: the hard work is rewarded by the breath-taking views one enjoys while cycling in a unique natural environment, where the Mediterranean shrubland cohabits with pre-alpine flora.

The starting point is in Garda: the trail leads to Punta San Vigilio along a long, north-bound road. Just before the beach starts, near the harbours, there is a splendid mansion, Villa Albertini. The road continues to run alongside the beach and after the majestic Villa Canossa, a narrow lane starts, leading up to the main road.

Still north bound, the route leads to yet another road, this one heading towards Castei, a town with a marvellous view of San Vigilio and the Bay of the Sirens (Baia delle Sirene). The trail continues, winding through the woods, to end up on a lovely scenic bike trail overlooking the lake which leads to Torri del Benaco and its castle.

From here, it continues up towards Albisano, but before long, there is one of the most difficult parts of this itinerary, i.e. the lane leading to Crero. It is a steep climb, and the ground surface is full of loose pebbles and stones, which make it very slippery. It is therefore necessary to push the bike up for about 150 metres. The following stretch of path makes the effort worthwhile: gently unfolding over the tree-lined hills, the road runs through the woods that here and there open up to reveal glimpses of deep blue waters.

Crero is a village perched on a hill, from where you can admire most of Lake Garda. Worth mentioning is also its 18th-century church of Saint Syrus, beside which starts another path leading rapidly down to the shores of the lake. After approximately 200 metres along the main road, the trail continues uphill towards Pai di Sopra, another picturesque village from which there is a stunning view.

Once again, a path running up and down the hills leads the cyclists to the discovery of charming medieval villages, such as Ca’ Tronconi and Campo, considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. After Campo, there is a gentle, downhill slope, followed by another hilly stretch, crossing the hamlets of Castello, Burago and Sommavilla, and leading to Cassone, a town overlooking the island of Trimelone.

The trail continues along the edge of the lake, on an excellent bike track leading to the centre of Malcesine. There are buses heading back to Garda, but it is preferable to go by boat, to better enjoy the colours and atmosphere of the lake.