Like many Italians I grew up spending my winter holidays skiing. After all, when the Alps are a short drive away from home, it becomes an easily accessible sport for many. What I’d never done before though is spend time in the mountains in summer. In June I had the opportunity to visit Trentino thanks to Traverse. I spent five days in Trento attending a travel conference, and then five days travelling around Trentino, exploring all the coolest mountains and lakes in partnership with Traverse, Visit Trentino, Visit Valsugana and Visit San Martino di Castrozza.
Overall I spent ten days soaking in the beauty of Trentino, ranging from epic mountain views to quaint towns, from challenging hikes to fun water sports. In this post I’ve listed all the fun things you can do in Trentino, to convince you to visit the Italian Alps in summer!
- 1 10 reasons to visit the Italian Alps in summer
10 reasons to visit the Italian Alps in summer
The hikes are beautiful
First up in the list of epic reasons you should visit Trentino in summer are the hikes. If you’ve read any of my blogs before you know I love a good hike. It’s the reason I loved New Zealand so much and I never realised that the stunning mountain scenery I loved over there is easily accessible also close to home.
There are hiking trails all over the Dolomites, Trentino and the Italian Alps, but you’ll find some of the best are at ski resorts. We spent a morning hiking at Rolle Pass, a popular ski resort close to San Martino di Castrozza. In summer the ski slopes become the path that you can hike on, giving you lots of trail options to reach the same summit. If you want to go steeper and quicker just choose a black slope, if you want to take your time and a more gradual slope hike up a blue or red slope. Rolle Pass is pretty high up already at almost 2,000m and the views will be stunning all throughout, not just at the peak.
You can do loads of different water sports
Besides hiking I’m also a huge water sports fan (when I got invited on a trip called “from hiking boots to swimming suits” that seemed just perfect for me!) and I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how many water sports you can do in Trentino.
We did the majority at Lake Caldonazzo close to Levico Terme. Some of the water sports you can do on the lakes in Trentino include;
I’ve been sailing since I was a child so this was always going to be my favourite activity. You can sail boats of pretty much any size at Lake Caldonazzo, from small one person optimist boats to bigger sailing boats with a cabin. The one we sailed on was fairly big, with space for 6-8 people. The wind picked up just enough so that we could sail around the lake but without it being too challenging.
Generally speaking lakes usually have very flat surfaces, which make them perfect for stand up paddling (also called SUP). SUP is the ideal water sport to do in scenic locations. Once you find your balance on the board it’s a very easy and relaxing activity, and it’s the perfect way to tour around a lake and enjoy the views.
Another activity which is a bit more physically tiring than SUP, although somewhat easier as you don’t need to balance while standing on a board, but it’s also just as scenic is kayaking. You can sit on the kayak and paddle around the lake, enjoying the views and taking regular breaks.
Diving & swimming
Possibly the most classic activity you can do in a large body of water, swimming in the lakes of Trentino is one of the most fun things you can do. Even in summer, be ready for the water to be a little chilly, it’s coming straight from the glaciers and mountain peaks after all! We went swimming in both Levico Lake and Lake Caldonazzo. Close to Levico Terme there is a lido called Lido di Levico Buena Onda, an area that you pay a small fee to access and which offers sunbeds, umbrellas, toilets and changing rooms. There’s also a pier that we spent a whole afternoon diving and jumping off of with the local kids, who showed us how to do back flips.
White water rafting
This is an activity for the adventure junkies out there. As you can imagine you won’t be doing it in a lake, but in one of the many rivers in the Alps. White water rafting is where you navigate down a rough river in an inflatable raft and will have to steer the raft with short paddles and the help of your friends in the raft with you. It’s a very thrilling activity and Trentino is one of the most fun places to do it in Italy. I didn’t do it on this Trentino trip but I did it once when I was a kid with all my cousins. It’s a great activity to bond with your friends, unless one of them pushes you off the raft like my older cousin did to me, I still haven’t forgiven him (just kidding, we get along great).
You can go abseiling
Another activity for the adventure lovers. Abseiling, also called rappelling, is when you climb down a vertical rock face using a rope. We did a more tame version of this activity, where we were tied with all the abseiling gear but we weren’t really abseiling down, it was more to ensure we could get close to this waterfall and rushing water in safety. However Trentino offers loads of places where you can go abseiling, and if you want to try something a little daring I can highly recommend it. Make sure you have the appropriate gear for all these fun activities, don’t forget to check my Italy essentials packing list!
You can enjoy the food outdoors
Hiking and water sports are fun, but you need a little bit of balance on every trip. Italy is the land of good food and Trentino isn’t an exception. What better way to take a break from all the challenging and adventurous activities than by enjoying some lovely Italian food?
Bonus points for any meals eaten outdoors. The days are really long in Italy in summer (think 9PM sunsets) and Italians love spending time and eating outside. Don’t lock yourself up in a restaurant, search for one with outdoor seating. In Trentino you will also find lots of restaurants in the mountains called “baita”, where you can taste traditional local food and enjoy the mountain views while you eat.
You can visit the local vineyards
Italy isn’t only the land of good food, but also of good wine. Trentino has a large production of grapes and wine, if you’re visiting the Alps in summer you have to pay a visit to a winery. We visited Cantina Romanese in Levico Terme, a small local winery with a beautiful back story.
The winery was started by two brothers, who took over the family vineyard after the deaths of their parents. Instead of selling the grapes on to a bigger producer of Trento Doc (the local Trentino wine) they started producing their own wine. Each wine has its own name and story, but we were all moved by the story of the wine “Gabriella”, created in honour of their mother. Their grandfather became blind at 25 and never saw his daughter, their mother, so they dedicated a wine to her and embossed the labels with her drawing so that blind people can feel her face.
The vineyard is located just outside the town, with beautiful views over the mountains. I don’t actually drink wine but I still loved visiting Cantina Romanese. The location is very picturesque and you can wander around the vineyards while enjoying the view.
You can wander around the villages
One of my favourite things to do in Trentino in summer is just walking around the towns. Mountain villages in Italy are beautiful, with their wooden roof chalets they are adorable places to wander around and just soak in the atmosphere. When I’ve visited Trentino in winter it’s usually so cold that you don’t want to spend too long outdoors just walking around. In summer it’s perfect since you can enjoy the beautiful scenery with a cool mountain breeze.
Have you been to Trentino before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below! I’d been so used to travelling to the mountains in winter to go skiing, and then spending summers at the beach, that I’d never really considered spending time in the Alps in summer. I’m very thankful to Traverse and Visit Trentino for giving me the opportunity to explore this part of my home country. I hope this post has convinced you to visit the Italian Alps in summer!
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