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Mountain tour

Hidden Treasures: The "Blue Line" of Garda Trentino

Mountain tour • Lake Garda
Responsible for this content
Garda Trentino
  • Bunker from WWII - Dos Tenim (Nago - Torbole)
    / Bunker from WWII - Dos Tenim (Nago - Torbole)
    Photo: IAT Garda Trentino, Garda Trentino
Map / Hidden Treasures: The "Blue Line" of Garda Trentino
0 150 300 450 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

A historic itinerary which follows the 1945 line of fortifications from the lakeshore of Riva di Garda to Nago-Torbole.

medium
14.9 km
5:14 h
285 m
285 m

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.

Author’s recommendation

There are many trails for history buffs in Garda Trentino based on the theme of the Great War which explore the Austro-Hungarian fortifications.

outdooractive.com User
Author
APT Garda Trentino
Updated: 2018-10-22

Difficulty
medium
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Altitude
261 m
62 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

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.

Equipment

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
  • fleece
  • change of t-shirt and socks (in a plastic bag)
  • make sure to wear or at least bring a pair of long trousers
  • hat
  • sun screen
  • sunglasses
  • gloves
  • whistle to attract attention in an emergency
  • emergency telephone number Mountain Rescue 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.

Tips, hints and links

  • 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 further information on routes, activities, events and accommodation at lake Garda:  APT Garda Trentino, Tel. +39 0464 554444 - www.gardatrentino.it

Start

Riva del Garda (69 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
45.885315 N 10.845051 E
UTM
32T 643160 5082960

Destination

Busatte - Torbole sul Garda

Turn-by-turn directions

First Part (Riva del Garda):
Start at the Tourist Information Office in Largo Medaglie d'Oro and continue down to the lakeshore. At the footbridge at Punta Lido on the right there is a Tobruk Pit gunboat). Keep going along the lake for about 3 km as far as Piazza Lietzmann in Torbole. Along the way, you will come across a number of artefacts some of which date back to the First World War and the San Nicolò Fort (where you join up with the itinerary “The Forts of Monte Brione”).

Second Part (Nago-torbole):
Start from Piazza Lietzmann: here beside the church you will find the monuments to General Darby of the 10th Mountain division and the soldiers who drowned in the waters off Tempesta when their amphibious DUKW vehicle was sunk when the war was already over. Keep going eastwards along the lakeshore through the town towards the ferry landing stage in Navigarda (in via Pescicoltura, behind the Tourist Information Office, you can see the door of the old anti-aircraft bunker which is now closed off). Continue southwards past the Yacht Club until you come to the Adige-Garda Gallery on your left. During the war, some of the Messerschmidt military component factories were located here to avoid Allied bombings. Go back to via Pescicoltura and follow directions for the “Busatte Tempesta” trail and head up the steps and along the road as far as the car park of the Busatte park. On the way up you will notice the slits of the trenches inside the rock wall just above the first bend in the road and under the high voltage pylon (a machine gun outpost which can be reached by 100 steps cut into the rock).

When you come to the car park of Busatte park, continue along the cycle path which heads up to Nago. After a few hundred metres you will come to a panoramic viewing point with a bench. Continue along the path until you come to a dirt road clearing where you turn right onto a farm track beside the sign for the Bike trail. Shortly afterwards, you come to a bunker in the rock on your left and, not far after, a plaque commemorating the Mountaineers mowed down here by friendly fire. Looking towards Torbole from this point you can see the same trenches you saw before in the rock face above via delle Busatte. Go back to the fork and continue as far as the junction with via Monte Baldo, which you then follow towards Nago (watch out for occasional traffic).

Return trip:
at the junction with Strada Vecchia turn left and keep on down the ancient Santa Lucia road to get back to Torbole. When you reach Torbole, turn right at the junction with via Pontalti and go round two bends of via Europa as far as the panoramic “Belvedere” viewing point (watch out for traffic). Head down the nearby steps to the old harbour of Torbole and the end of the itinerary in piazza Lietzmann.

Public transport

Public transport friendly

The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda, Nago and Arco – are connected by a number of urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point of the trail. For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes: www.gardatrentino.it

You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service. For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes: www.gardatrentino.it

Getting there

Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino: www.gardatrentino.it

Parking

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, Blue Garden.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

  • Libro “Remont Blue”, in vendita negli uffici informazione di Riva del Garda, Arco e Torbole sul Garda

Author’s map recommendations

  • The “Hidden Treasures” map is available free of charge in the tourist information offices in Riva del Garda, Arco and Torbole sul Garda

Book recommendations for this region:

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Recommended maps for this region:

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Difficulty
medium
Distance
14.9 km
Duration
5:14 h
Ascent
285 m
Descent
285 m
Public transport friendly Nice views Cultural/historical value

Statistics

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Highest point
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Lowest point
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