Lake Garda: The Road
We can get to the Garda in a few ways and all are uncomfortable - especially from Warsaw. Like everything. We've already got used to it.
1. Auto, the easiest way.
The Garda from Warsaw is quite far away - 1450 km, if we are traveling through Germany, or a shorter one (and 30 minutes more according to googles) in the case of the Czech Republic. In the case of one or two drivers, overcoming distance at once is a serious challenge. Of course, as the highway goes practically from the house to the very destination, it can quickly be calculated that the journey will take about 11 hours plus stops - in the ideal world. Germany, Austria and the Bolzano Pass have it that when you go, it goes fast, but if it happens in a random place, you stand for a long time. Because snowstorm, accident, renovation, spoiled, etc.
The cost is vignette in Austria - less than 10 euros for 10 days, 15 euros (x2) for the motorway in Italy and 10 euros (x2) for the Brennero pass.
The optimal way of getting from Warsaw seems to be a trip after work and accommodation in the beautiful city of Zgorzelec. Then in the morning it moves on and we are there for dinner. Why Zgorzelec? This last place, where the prices of accommodation are sensible, and located about 500km from Warsaw, divides the trip into two, ideal sections. There is a wonderful Zgorzelec Plaza with every store you can imagine, and the population is 85% of Mirka-traders who drive a car from a crying German. We sleep in a hotel with the luxury name of Nowotel (yes, by IN) - PLN 200/3 people, PLN 150/2 people - any amount of coffee and tea included in the price. I do not sleep until today.
Anyway, it's better to live in Wroclaw - then you can beat it at once. At the moment, Google is talking about 10.5 hours of driving.
Every day, around noon, the bus leaves for Verona from the West Railway Station. We are here for breakfast the next day. The standard price ranges from PLN 200-300 (even buying one day in advance) per head in one way. From Wroclaw, minibuses start around 20 and there are 11 on the spot. You can search for connections here: https://busy.info.pl. From Verona to the Garda, we get on a bicycle path practically all the time. Alternatively, if we are heading north of the lake (which I recommend), we can get off at Trent (departure from WAW at 14.00, on the spot we are 9.45). From Trento to Rivy busy run every hour, but persistently can ride a bike, because it is suddenly from 40 kilometers -> timetable.
Planes do not fly to Verona, but they should start soon. Probably we are left with the cheapest flight route to the south - Milan (Bergamo). With a little luck, the flight costs less than PLN 100 (plus an obscene bike). On the spot, we leave the bicycle case in the airport storage room and drive to the lake with a rented car. Alternatively, we do not leave it and we take the bus, eg the Flixbus line (running in the morning and in the evening), which for about 10 euros will take us to Trento (2.5 hours) - then the busik and Garda reached.
We'll be Germans at Lake Garda. Anyone who is not an Italian is a German there. Wikipedia suggests that German has an equal status with Italian here, so as soon as the locals notice that we have come from a distance, they are beginning to dankeinate and gutentagować us. At first I thought they were like a Turkish street vendor who simply shoots learned formulas do you want to be my wife? but they actually understand this language. With English, it is worse than bad. It seems that every housing estate has one young person speaking that language and if we can not get along, they call her. Fortunately, you do not need to ask for a password for wifi, shopping at Lidl and a gas station.
If you think that drivers in Poland are unfriendly for cyclists, I invite you to the areas of Lake Garda. There is no place where you can not overtake the cyclist. Even if it is a bend, in a tunnel, uphill, and the TIR goes against it - if it worked, it means it was possible. 1.5 meters between the cyclist and the car? The perfect distance to fit the motorcycle between them. Germany on vacation does not remain worse. By the way, before the peak of the season, 50% of the population are retired Germans or rich Germans in expensive cars. While Germany in Germany is ahead of right and exemplary, Germany on holiday is a real Sebix in the Passat and he is not stressed by riders. German cyclist Italian! Only the Swiss who occupy the most expensive resorts, hold the remnants of dignity.
Useful phrases when communicating with drivers: cazzo! and vaffanculo! These two words repeated randomly the right number of times should be enough.
In the north it is cold and raining, in the south warm and beautiful, this is the general assumption. It does not matter, because the road goes to the north (it does not apply to people doing training or longing for Mazovia). The water in the lake is colder in the summer than the air, and warmer in the winter, so it's like the Polish seaside - in the summer it's cold and warm in winter ... only on a slightly different scale. The average temperature in January is about 2 degrees, in July 23.
It will be raining over the Garda, charts show that in April-June it falls in 30% of days. Only that these charts have no meaning. It is only necessary to remember that a lot falls in the spring (around April) and in autumn, because the fact that it falls over the Garda - does not mean anything. It may fall for a while, it may fall locally, it may only fall at the hill, it may fall in the north - the climate is delicate but very diverse. Luckily, the forecasts work well.
In the morning it blows from north to south, in the evening from south to norththanks to which the circling of the lake from Riva is quite pleasant. In addition, it sometimes blows from the west - it creates perfect conditions for windsurfers.
Lake Garda - where?
I say this with heartache, but the best seat seems to be the most popular among cyclists - Riva del Garda. This is probably the only place from which it is possible to include all the most important roads. Unless we like it when it is flat, warm and touristy (in the sense of sunbathers) - then we can stay in the south.
In Riva there is Lidl (exactly in Nago, but this is next door), there are a thousand and three places where you can eat after 20 o'clock, have great ice cream (and inventions in the style of a sandwich with ice cream) and cycling infrastructure. On average, every 4 stores have something to do with sports, and every 5 have bicycles. Of course, loan rental is obscenely expensive, as always in Italy. Unfortunately, MTB dominates here. Nobody even tries to hide the fact that it is the capital of mountain biking, the roads are just an addition there.
Yes, Garda is the capital of MTB. We come the day before the festival opening the season takes place. The first poster we see is the race of electric highlanders. Dozens of cyclists are riding on rocking, 20-kilogram bikes, in helmets with visor, colorful clothes and backpacks. We look at everything with contempt and disapproval. Who could expect that one week later our point of view will change so much (okay, Panda does not - her opinion about the thick tire does not change).
Lake Garda - what am I going to do?
The surroundings of Garda are one of those magical places where you can not go wrong. Everywhere await us with lakes, beautiful views, level roads and huge kilometers of excellent bicycle paths, far enough from the main streets. All the time, however, is accompanied by a strange feeling: "what if we had wide tires here" (not all - Panda). I do not know if there is a place in the world, which has more mountain terrain routes adapted for cyclists: on mountains, on slopes, on cliffs, for advanced, for beginners, everything and for everyone.
This is the first place in my life where I can even believe in the sense of electricians. Driveways are so heavy and long that the average mortal would not have the strength to continue their journey. We find mountain bikers even on the least expected routes, where walking makes a lot of difficulty. When they drive, I do not know. You can not find a description of gravel and stones here, but if you have any good links, I encourage you to leave a comment under the text.
I do not usurp the right to say that these are 100% of the best roads in the area - maybe you have seen others?
It is difficult to objectively describe the routes as easy-difficult, because it all depends on how many kilometers of a given day there are legs, what were the previous days and the disposition of the day. However, I will try to make it as sensible as possible.
If you are looking for MTB routes, I invite you to
1enduro: link to the entry about Gardzie
Mamba on Bike: link to the entry about Gardzie
My subjective list looks like this:
Defeated twice during Charly Gaul UCI Gran Fondo World Series - from Trento (or more precisely from Cadine, as on Giro, that is the first ~ two kilometers are slightly different) and from Aldeno. The original (or Trento) Bondone is a very sad driveway: 21 kilometers with an average of 6.8%. We drive from 191 meters to 1654m. I dare say that finding a driveway while in Trento would be bordering on a miracle if it were not for the numerous signposts that lead us to the top. The road itself is full of curves covered with even asphalt and we rise slowly between trees, observing the city that is going down. In May, the traffic is negligible, but what meets us at the top somewhat surpasses our expectations. While the first 1,300 meters in the vertical is dramatically boring, and the forecasted average 7% are not as flat as it might seem, the last kilometers compensate for everything.
2. Monte Baldo
There are many roads on Monte Baldo.
From the east, from Avio - 21 km with an average of 7%
From the north, from Nago - 20km with an average of 5.1%
From the south, from Caprino Veronese - 26.2 km with an average of 6%
each of them can be slightly turned at the top, so that the number of loops possible to pass on this mountain, could be enough for 2-3 days.
Each of the ramps is slightly different, but as you can imagine, the higher, the nicer. Unfortunately, the higher, the more motorcyclists, for whom this seems to be the main goal in the area. If we choose a slightly roundabout route east of San Valentino, we can see Lake Garda from above ... along with a large number of tourists. The driveway, although it is neither the largest nor the most difficult, we can treat as Teide in Tenerife, or Pico de las Nieves in Gran Canaria - it is appropriate to be included. Similarly, they consider all organized cycling trips.
Tremalzo is the Holy Grail of mountain bikers. No wonder, from the south here winding gravel-stony roads. I would even be tempted to say that they look like little Stelvio. For this great view of Lago di Ledro and we have a set. Of course, I'm based only on what I've seen in Google. It's a place where you can feel that the road is limited ... but! On the other hand, Tremalzo, from the north is amazing. Almost 13 km of driveway, with an average of over 7% (and it can be extended by a climb from Storo, which is almost 8km and 4%) with very good asphalt. Sounds boring? Maybe, but at the top there is one small hostel, along the way a small hotel and pub and the end. This makes the cars have virtually no reason to move this way.
From above, there is a magnificent view on both sides of the road, somewhere in the distance around Madonna di Campiglio, Garda and its mountains, maybe even the Dolomites. On MTB, however, it can be higher and better. The only plus is that we can go on and without the help of electrics and buses.
The weather at this altitude is variable, but even when Garmin near the lake, in the sun, it has a temperature of 29 degrees, at the top there are 3. 2 days later the snow falls there at night and the landscape changes dramatically.
Garda is the largest and cleanest lake in Italy - at least according to Wikipedia. One thing is certain - the Garda impresses with its charm, but the surrounding lakes are not inferior to it (marked on the map as "super lakes"). We conclude that such Lago di Ledro, at which we live, is much nicer. More intimate, peaceful, surrounded by mountains, perfect for evening walks. One of the obligatory loops in my opinion is to pass several lakes during one ride.
We are moving from the west side of the Garda, in Gargnano we are raising up. After not very frequented roads, we go along the mountains to the next lake, dam, few bridges, until a very nice downhill ride we will find ourselves at the lake Idro. There, using the main but pleasant roads or a bicycle path that is friendly towards the road, we head towards Storo and Lake Ledro. There is unfortunately no good way back to Garde. That is, it is, but in 95%, because the rest runs through a tunnel where there is a ban on bicycle traffic, and the only detour runs along the MTB routes. The tunnel is disgustingly long, but fortunately built on a large slope. If it does not bother us, that from time to time someone busts us (one of those cars that pass us every 2-3 minutes), there is no problem with driving towards Riva. The average speed of the bicycle in the tunnel jumps above 50km / h, and the car limit is 70km / h.
It would be worse in the other direction - it is of course possible, which is confirmed by numerous cases we pass by, but I doubt it would be pleasant. Therefore, I recommend the loop only in a clockwise direction.
5. Loop around the lake
A mandatory but definitely overrated loop. On a weekend morning, the eastern part of the lake looks like Gassy near Warsaw. More groups of cyclists pass us one by one. Maybe it's because it's flat, maybe because it's hard to get lost - I do not know. I know, however, that the weekend is the worst time to overcome this route, especially when the weather is good. Local tourists come to the lake then and ride around it. Campers, cabriolets, family SUVs ... because the beach, because up the hill, because to the queue at Monte Baldo, because shopping, etc. In the case of renovations, there are kilometers of traffic jams.
While the east coast is still good, because it is a bit like the seaside - a substitute Liguriathe west is hopeless, especially the north. There are no hillsides, the hills rise, the closer to Riva, the bigger the movement, and instead of the views, there are endless tunnels - zero pleasure.
In the south there is a promontory, looking like Jurata, until you are asked to see. Unfortunately, we do not visit the best point there (the old town at the end), because the crowds and the ban on bicycles. When laying out a loop, it is worth taking into account the wind (described in the weather section). The only right direction is according to my clock directions - we are going all the time by the water, so the views are definitely better ... and better to be pushed into the water than on the rocks ;-) Apart from two amusement parks, several charming old towns, several marketplaces in weekend and a permanent view, attractions are rather lacking. Unless someone likes crowds and traffic jams.
6. Half-circle around the lake.
I would not be myself if I did not have a good alternative to circling the lake - in this way, we count the best part of it and we go back the other side of the mountain. For the name to be good, you can then call it Stravie: Giro d'Monte Baldo. We are moving along the coast to the south - through this ~ 40km kilometers the road will get boring and we will have enough of it. At the end of the lake, we turn east, up to the river (Adyga), along which runs a bicycle path. However, this is not a path known to us from home. It is several dozen kilometers long road that runs from Verona to Trento. There are many such paths in the area. It is a two-lane (two lanes in the sense of cycling) asphalt roads running through vineyards, bridges, from time to time some places.
Bridges are not only for the path, but also for rivers - I do not often see the river going over the buildings (WTF ?!). The surface is without accusations, but a lot of narrow corners of 90 degrees and idyllic views (disturbed from time to time by a highway in the distance) make it travel much slower than practically empty street that runs nearby. However, we stay on the path that you can enter Riva itself.
To break from the Garda to Verona, I have no idea. We drive some side streets through the towns whose budgets definitely diverge from what we've seen before. Such crossroads of Tuscany, Tarczyn and Łódź - low but steep hills, vineyards, old buildings, industry, garbage, some shit etc.
Verona beats everything on the head and there is no more pleasant feeling than leaving it on empty paths. The old town of Verona is undoubtedly beautiful, but (although we are in a week, theoretically out of season), it looks like Florence, Pisa or Venice. Billions of people, school trips, noise and crowd. We quickly eat the pizza (4eur for a piece on a cake as thick as it can be thick), we look briefly at probably the most famous balcony in the world (well, maybe after the Vatican) - Shakespeare's Julia. Shortly, because after about 5 seconds, a bodyguard pushes us through the crowd, which forbids looking with the bikes in hand.
The return path is specific - if you are translating the racing-speed aspect into a tourist, it is better to choose a small, asphalt road that goes near the path. We also sometimes see cyclists on it.
7. Monte Velo
The driveway of the wonderfully sounding name Monte Velo begins in Arco, a town bordering on the Riva. If we have an hour or two to travel, because a family is waiting for us, this is a place created just for that. 12 kilometers of equal road through the forest, full of serpents and short sections revealing a view of the city, with an average gradient of 8.5% makes an impression. At the top there is a place for a quick coffee, and then an even faster exit, because the first 1.5 km has over 11% down and two streamers. The joy is short for people who do not study route profiles. On top of it, immediately after this piece another 3.5 kilometers begins with an average 7% up. You go much better because the terrain is partially exposed and you can hang your eyes on the surrounding mountains.
8. Passo Bordala
What we get further on the eastern side of the mountain is the abstraction - Passo Bordala. Nearly 19 kilometers (or 16, if we turn earlier, to Villa Lagarina) continuous downhill, during which we overcome 1200 meters. This convention looks like a move from Switzerland. It is green, the roads are PERFECT, the curves are well contoured and interesting, and the movement is practically none. This is one of the coolest places we get during the whole trip. Compulsory journey, especially that it connects perfectly with Bondone, described in the first point - this creates the best road loop you can do here: Velo, Bordala, Bondone
9. Punta Veleno
Punta Veleno is a driveway for perverts. Do you think that the famous Bukovina Wall is a wall? The Karkonoski Pass is considered as a maximum heavy driveway? So let's look at the data from altimetr.pl
|The length of the driveway is 11 km||The length of the driveway is 8.6 km|
|slope 7.7%||slope 12.7%|
|Maximum incline per 1km: 15.7%||Maximum incline per 1km: 17.7%|
|Maximum inclination per 100m: 18.3%||Maximum slope per 100 m: 22.2%|
12.7% do not sound so bad yet, but you have to remember that the last 1.5 kilometers have an average of 3%, and somewhere in the middle is 3.5 kilometers, where the slope does not fall below 16%. Numbers do not lie, Punta is a monster. As if that was not enough, the access to the driveway starts somewhat crookedly, even larger wall. We have seen a lot in life, but at the sight of the reflection that begins at the height of the lake (Via Del Dosso street) we stop, because it is impossible to stop the laughter (Strava says about 200 meters from 20-30%).
The driveway, as most described here, leads through the forest. On numerous serpentine (which save their lives in a way), the view of the lake occasionally breaks through. At the top we are going for a moment along the path next to the rocks and we reach a place that looks like we have not left the lake level. We are surrounded by mountains and meadows. The congress is also quite pleasant, but it is somehow dark in front of my eyes and I do not remember what was happening there.
10. Bonus: Cima d'Oro
The trip was long, we are not used to it - our legs thank you for the two rainy days that allowed them to survive. That's what it seemed to us ... because we could not have been more wrong. It just so happens that the MTB route starts at one of the nearby peaks: Cima d'Oro. This route can also be shortened on foot, exploring the trenches and bunkers left by the Austrians on the way. It may sound boring, but getting at work on THIS PHOTO I thought I would never let such an attraction happen. Returning to the numbers: it is a 5 kilometer walk from the house with a surpass .... 1 kilometer! Is it worth it? Without a doubt. Well, maybe our decision to take advantage of the bad weather and go there was not the best. Walking in the downpour and then in the snow, just to remind yourself that if there are clouds, the views are limited, it may not sound good.
When we go down the rocky ravines erected by soldiers who lead from bunkers to balconies, we meet a group on electric MTB, my idea of this sport turns away. How are they here? What are they here on these stones, with those steep rocks? I'm barely walking after this. By the end of the day, we wonder if they were there really. I am a bit jealous of courage, skills and opportunities ... maybe someday?
After descending from above, sores keep us a few days, we move like parallists - we only have to ride a bicycle.
If you have any specific suggestions for posterity, what else is worth seeing in the area - please leave a comment under this text (the text will not be lost in the depths of the Internet like an entry on the Internet).