Trentino-Alto Adige

Lago di Tenno (Lake Tenno) - a turquoise jewel on the Garda River

Tenno Lake is one of the places you have to visit when you are at the lake Garda or thereabouts. This small lake (it's rather filigree compared to Garda) with crystal clear water made an electrifying impression on me when I visited it for the first time in 2015. The turquoise water surrounded by lush greenery and majestic mountain peaks will impress anyone who loves nature.

Information about the lake

Lago di Tenno is located near the village of Tenno, surrounded by Monte Misone. The lake is only 10 km (15-20 min drive) from the village of Riva del Garda. We will get here without too much trouble, but be prepared to negotiate several sharp turns. The lake itself is located at 570 meters above sea level and its maximum depth reaches 48 meters. A distinctive feature of Lago di Tenno is the color of the water. What is the reason for it? Well, at the bottom there are white alpine limestones, from which the sun's rays are reflected. In addition, the water itself is pristine, which translates into its aforementioned turquoise color.

Lago di Tenno
Lago di Tenno (photo:

How was this natural wonder created? Around the 10th century, a landslide from Cima Salti in the southwest blocked the current of the Rio Secco River. That's how a twist of fate led to the formation of Lago di Tenno. Today, the river is the main tributary of the lake. 

Lago Tenno is isolated from the urban infrastructure. Directly next to Lago di Tenno there are only two hotel establishments and one small bar (Il Chiosco), where you can buy something to eat or drink if necessary.

Island on Lake Tenno

An interesting phenomenon that can be observed is the formation of a small promontory in the middle of the lake. When the water level in the lake is high enough, this promontory turns into an islet, to which we can only swim.

An islet on Lake Tenno
An islet on Lake Tenno (photo

Beaches and swimming in the lake

In Tenno, of course, we can bathe, but the water here is definitely cooler than in Garda. The water temperature in July or August will be quite comfortable, in the other months I recommend bathing only for people who are not afraid of crisp water ☺️

Beach at Lago di Tenno
The beach at Lago di Tenno (photo

There is no single designated beach here. You can get into the water on most of Lake Tenno's shoreline. Instead, there are several zones with lifeguards. The shoreline itself is quite "wild", with a lot of rocks. I do not recommend entering the water without special shoes or at least flip-flops.

Beach at Lago di Tenno
The beach at Lago di Tenno (photo

If you came to Lake Tenno for a longer period of time I recommend going to the opposite shore of the lake (looking from the entrance). There is more grass there, the shore is more pleasant, and there are seemingly fewer people.

A walk around the lake

There is a walking trail that we can use to circle the entire Tenno lake. The walk is very pleasant, and the whole "loop" will take about an hour. The path is well-maintained, friendly also to families with children. If you don't like to go to the beach, it's well worth taking such a walk. And even if you came here to bask in the sun, it's worth spending an hour for a round around Tenno to see its charm from all sides.

Path around Lake Tenno
The path around Lake Tenno (photo
Path around Lake Tenno
The path around Lake Tenno (photo

How to get to Tenno Lake?

The Tenno River is best reached by car. As mentioned above, the whole trip will take about 20 minutes from Riva del Garda. Follow the brown signs "Lago di Tenno" or "Valle di Tenno". The route is very pleasant, laced with beautiful views - first of Garda and Riva, and then of the valley. We can go through Pranzo, or the village of Tenno. Both routes are practically the same length.

View from the road above Tenno
View from the road to Lake Tenno (photo

The Tenno River can also be reached from Riva del Garda by bus line 211, which leads to Villa del Monte. There will be just over 1.5 kilometers to cover on foot.

Parking lots

There are plenty of parking spaces at the lake. If you are lucky, or arrive early enough, you can even park in the shade.

The price for parking is relatively high - it is €2 per hour. You can also pay for parking through the EasyPark app (the price will then be slightly higher, but there will be an opportunity to finish parking earlier).

What to see while in the area?

Canale di Tenno

While in the vicinity of Lake Tenno, take a moment to visit the nearby Canale di Tenno - one of Italy's most beautiful villages (it was included in the list of the 500 most beautiful villages in Italy). The whole place is mainly built of stone, and the atmosphere of the place makes you feel as if time has stopped there. An amazing experience is also provided by an evening visit to this town, which is then illuminated by atmospheric lanterns.

There are several places of interest in the city. One of them is the Artists' House named after Giacomo Vittone. Tenno was a source of inspiration for him to create extraordinary works of art. 

For tourists visiting Lake Tenno in the first half of August, another entertainment event awaits in the form of the Rustico Medioevo Festival. During this event it will be possible to enjoy, presented by actors, scenes from the life of the medieval inhabitants of the town, as well as taste specialties of Trentino cuisine.

On the other hand, during the Christmas season, the streets of Canale di Tenno are lined with traditional Christmas markets, whose charm is definitely worth seeing.

The quiet surroundings of Canale di Tenno will make you completely forget the hustle and bustle of the big city. The atmosphere will take you back to another time, when people lived peacefully, surrounded by nature. The former residents of the town were shepherds who built their houses one next to the other to save space. This created alleys, labyrinths and narrow streets once rising upwards, once gently descending. Undoubtedly, this is what largely contributes to the mysterious character of the place.

Varone waterfall

While in the area, it is also worth stopping at one interesting place which is the Varone waterfall. This waterfall is located about halfway between Riva del Garda and Lake Tenno.

What awaits us? An extraordinary place, surrounded by a gorge, caves and a breathtaking botanical garden. The waterfall has been known to mankind for millennia. Ovid and Thomas Mann were inspired by it in their works. In addition, it has been a destination for trips by European royal families. The entire waterfall measures about 90 meters, but due to geological conditions, we are not able to admire it in its full glory. The site is the destination point of a tour that goes through the gorge. The entire path is colorfully illuminated, and in some places special footbridges are put up to allow a close approach to the streams of water flowing down from the rocks. 

This attraction is undoubtedly worth seeing, but its climate is definitely different from that outside. It is advisable to equip yourself with warmer clothing, as the perceived temperature is much lower, and the additional humidity intensifies this impression. Flip-flops will also not be the best choice, as the road, due to the constant presence of water, is very slippery. 

The entrance ticket costs €6 per person. Depending on the season, opening hours vary. From November to February, admission is from 10 am to 5 pm, in March and October from 9 am to 5 pm, in April and September from 9 am to 6 pm, and from May to August from 9 am to 7 pm. 

The waterfall is best visited during the summer months, as that's when the sun's outside rays will enhance the beauty of this natural wonder.

Accommodations. Where to stay in the area?

There is a campground in close proximity to the lake (about 300 meters). In the nearby town of Tenno you will find many climatic and well-kept apartments offering accommodation. Each of them will give you a full sense of the atmosphere of the place and for a moment will allow you to get away from reality and the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Lago di Tenno
Lago di Tenno (photo:

I visit Italy every year, sometimes even several times. I even happened to live in this beautiful country for almost a year. I regularly publish articles about Italy on my blog.

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