Riva del Garda has a very good town museum located in an old palace named "the Rocca" in the center of town. The museum is on multiple foors and features archaological exhibits, exhibits about the town's history, and a good art collection. Give yourself at least an hour to go through it. The museum also has a tower from which you can get good views of the town, the lake, and the mountains.
Riva del Garda and surrounding is certainly one of the most amazing places anyone could hope to explore by bike. The peaks, which rise over 2000m out of the Lake are crossed by superb tracks and trails, providing enjoyment and challenge for all kinds of mountain bikers.
We stay at the best 3 star mountain bikers hotel in Riva. We’re just minutes from the beach and right amongst the restaurants and bike shops – we can also explore the best of the trails right from our doorstep. Sometimes we ride out, sometimes we take boats across the Lake to our rides, sometimes we use vehicles to get high into the mountains and finish right down by the lake. This trip is variety packed.
From Riva del Garda you can do several boat trips to various villages or towns. There are ferries, hydrofoils and motorised catamarans that opearate all year.
For instance you can go to Limone and Malcesine.
Limone. Its name comes from the latin word “limen”, which means border. It lies on the north-western shore of the lake. It's a small town with cobbled streets, some churches and various shops, cafes and restaurants.
Malcesine is located almost opposite Limone. Its main sight is the castle which was probably built the first millenium a. C. by the Longobard. It was destroyed in 590 by the Franks and then rebuilt by them in 806. From 1277 to 1387 it belonged to the Della Scala family. Up to the 1403 it was in the hands of the Visconti family . From the 1405 to 1797 it was part of the Serenissima with the exception of 10 years starting from 1506. The French owned it during Napoleon's times and The Austrians from 1798 to 1866. The castle houses some small museums.
Lago di Garda have a good ferries service. There are official boats run by the local sailing company and many tourist boats that can take you all over the place. If you dont have a car to drive around, of if you just want to have a relaxing day away from the narrow curvy roads you can decide to jump on one of this ferry and start exploring the lake in a different way.
For the public service go look at the attached link.
The easier, cheaper and more relaxing thing to do is just walk along the lake's shore. The municipality keep it up a lot, there are flowers and big old tree and several benches where to sit and enjoy the wonderful view and the company.
During the summer there are often free concert and exhibits.
The Northern part of the Lake is really very scenic, much better than the bottom. The lake get really narrow, it is surrounded by mountains and the wind come right into it making it the perferct place for those who love windsurfs and parasailing. Unfortunally the day I was there it was too early in the morning and the wind didnt started yet, but I can assure you that when the wind is up the lake is covered of sails.
So what you want to do than is get high up and find a good panoramis spot.
I can suggest you two.
The first one, if you arrive to Riva del Garda from the A22 Brennero freeway you will get off at Rovereto sud and you will drive toward the lake downhill. When you start to see the lake, after a couple of curves you will see a parking lot on your right. The view there is the one my pic.
Second one, It is a castle (Bastione) you can see from the town center, from up there you will have a wonderfull view of the city and the lake.
My good friend Patrizia (VT WXWXR ) suggest me to mention a nice trail to walk. It is the old road for Val di Ledro and worth to take.
It starts at the estreme end of Riva, opposite the side from Rovereto, near an old electric power central.
There are also many other walking trails, ask your hotel for a map.
If you arrive from the southern area of Lago da Garda, I suggest that you drive from Riva da Garda into the hills. There are some great views of the village and the lake. If you take the main road out heading to the autostrada you will find a nice turn out where you can park your car and do a photo shoot.
Below is a photo from this parking spot.
This is a very pretty village not far from Riva and nestled at the foot of Mount Baldo. We walked around the shore of the lake to get here from our hotel in Riva, a pleasant little hike, it did not take long and on arrival we still had plenty of energy to explore the lower reaches of Mount Baldo.
I cannot remember too much about this place, I don't think we spent very long here, but definitely unforgettable were the views from the top of Castello Scaligero. The castle itself is an interesting place to explore and housed an art exhibition when we visited although I don't know if this is a permanent fixture.
We took an organised excursion to Venice, I cannot remember what company we used or how much it cost but we had a great day and had much longer there than we had expected. From Riva we went by coach which dropped us just outside Venice where we boarded a boat which took us along the grand canal and dropped us at St Marks Square. Having had a little while to wander around and visit various places of interest we then boarded the boat again for a guided tour of the waterways and out into the harbour and around the various islands dotted just off of the mainland. The boat then dropped us in the centre again where we had a while longer to explore before watching the sunset across the harbour. Another boat then took us back to the coach, bringing to an end a very long day which still seemed to have passed to quickly.
There is a shingle beach along the waters edge with grassed areas further back. We had some lovely strolls along the paths leading through the well tended park areas, the trees offering welcome shade on very hot days. There is a refreshments area where you can buy snacks, drinks and ice cream although I seem to remember it was a bit expensive. Sundays are very busy on the beach as the locals flock here to picnic in their family groups but even then it is still an excellent place to chill out with a good book.
Like many resorts on Lake Garda the promenades make for delightful easy walks and Riva particualry has lush vegetatin and park around to enjoy. Better to enjoy a stroll before 4pm though when the wind tends to get up - Riva and neighbouring Torbole are popular resorts for wind surfers for this reason!
If you want a more strenuous hike then then on the west side of Riva, near the ring-road a footpath leads up in about 30 minutes to the Bastione, a Venetian fortress of 1508. Further walking for about an hour and you'll arrive at the alpine hut Capanna sociale di S. Barbara and close to it the small Church of santa Barbara, which was buit by miners in 1935 - both are lit up at night on the hillside too.
Across the pedalo harbour at the foot of Monte Rocchetta, the Hydroeletric Power Station Ponale can be seen. It utilises the waters of Lake Ledro, load basin, after a fall of 500 m. The first perforation for the Ledro-Garda Hydroelectric Power Station was opened in 1926 by the famous Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio.