Whether you’re travelling with the family or escaping for a romantic break with your better half, you won’t be stuck for things to see and do in Malcesine. If you’re a fan of the Great Outdoors, this part of Italy offers stunning scenery and some excellent challenges. You can climb Monte Baldo and be rewarded with some of the best views of Lake Garda and the surrounding towns.
However, there’s more than one way to climb a mountain! There are cycle routes for those who prefer to travel on two wheels or, for the more leisurely approach, you can catch a cable car up to the top, and soak up the spectacular scenery in a gently-rotating cabin! Castello Scaligero also offers outstanding views and is one of the most popular things to do Malcesine has to offer. Alternatively, explore one of the many walking trails or take the lakeside promenade to charming towns such as Cassone. Malcesine holidays suit anyone with a love of the outdoors.
Climbing, cycling or cable-car-ing your way up Monte Baldo must be one of the most rewarding things to do in Malcesine. Standing at 1,760 metres between the River Adige and Lake Garda, the mountain is blessed with a variety of landscapes and is a natural oasis for many different plants and animals. As a result, Monte Baldo is known among the locals as the ‘Garden of Europe’.
Visit in winter and you’ll find the slopes buzzing with skiers, making the most of their winter break. However, whether you’re visiting in the colder months or the heat of summer, the view is always spectacular. On clear days, you can see the whole of the lake. The easiest way to reach the top of Monte Baldo is on the Malcesine cableway. One of the most advanced cableway systems in the world, the cabins rotate 360 degrees, giving you a perfect view and some superb photo opportunities.
Walkers looking for things to do in Malcesine will find plenty of walking trails, with varying levels of difficulty.
If you’re looking for gentle things to do in Malcesine, take a trip to the picturesque village of Cassone. This pretty little place has its very own world record: Cassone is home to the shortest river in the world! Just 175 metres long, the Aril River flows into Lake Garda and was once used to provide power to the local mill.
The town has a little harbour filled with bobbing fishing boats, which supply the local restaurants with fresh seafood. The harbourside restaurants are the ideal place from which to sit and watch the sun set, while enjoying some freshly-grilled sea bass or a pan-fried mackerel, served with orange and fennel. If you’re travelling with children, there’s a good selection of authentic, traditional pizzerias also serving home-made, fresh pasta.
Wander the narrow streets and you’ll come across pastel-painted houses, stone bridges and narrow canals. Think of a miniature version of Venice and you’re halfway there!
A visit to the imposing Castello Scaligero is one of the most fascinating things to do in Malcesine, particularly if you’re travelling with the family. Modern technology has made a trip to this ancient castle totally immersive: press one of the screens in the on-site Natural History Museum and you can not only see how life was lived hundreds of years ago, but feel, smell, and even hear too!
While you’re exploring the passageways and rooms, be sure to set aside some time to visit the remains of a prehistoric settlement just outside the castle walls. Today, it’s used as a 400-seater amphitheatre, putting on musical and theatre events during the summer months.
An easy and interesting day out, you can walk around the rest of the well-preserved castle to see delicately painted rooms, artworks and exhibitions dedicated to the lakes and its habitat. Be sure to climb up the 31-metre-high Tower to be rewarded with a stunning view of Lake Garda.
Val di Sogno
Val di Sogno is a beautiful bay, tucked away from the roads and the perfect place to enjoy some peace and tranquillity. Its name translates as ‘The Valley of Dreams’ and it certainly lives up to its romantic reputation, with a backdrop of steep mountains, the tower of Castello Scaligero jutting into the sky, and the deep blue waters of Lake Garda lapping at the shore.
It’s a peaceful retreat, and Val di Sogno is also something of a hotspot for birdwatchers. In addition to the families of mallards, red-crested pochards and great crested grebes that have made this their home, there’s also the opportunity to observe spotted flycatchers, siskins, redstarts, and swallows swooping down over the water. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
One of the most popular things to do in Malcesine is to sit and watch the sun setting over the lake.
Trekking with Alpacas
If you’re looking for a family day out that’s a little on the unusual side, then why not take an alpaca for a walk on the top of a mountain? While this might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re thinking of things to do in Malcesine, it’s a fun adventure that everyone can take part in; all you need is suitable footwear and a jacket, in case the temperature drops as you explore the mountain trails.
To meet your four-legged friends, you’ll need to take the cable-car up to the top of Monte Baldo, near Lake Garda. During your high-wire adventure, your cable car’s cabin gently rotates, allowing you to enjoy some amazing panoramic views across Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains.
Alpaca treks take between 45 minutes to over an hour and a guide will lead you to some stunning viewpoints and allow plenty of time for photos. Once your trek is over, don’t forget to visit the shop at the end of your walk and purchase some alpaca-themed mementos of a very quirky, but entirely memorable, day out.