Riva del Garda or Limone? Which town should you visit in northern Lake Garda?

Riva del Garda or Limone: Which Northern Lake Garda Town Should You Visit?

Planning to visit the beautiful Lake Garda in northern Italy and trying to decide between Riva del Garda or Limone?

Riva del Garda and Limone sul Garda are two charming picturesque towns located on the very north side of Lake Garda. Because they are located at the foothills of the Italian Alps, they offer not only stunning lake views but also stunning mountain views.

These two popular vacation destinations offer everything you could want in an Italian getaway: stunning beauty, relaxation, amazing food, and plenty of outdoor activities.

But which one should you visit?

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between Riva and Limone, along with the best things to do in Riva and Limone, so you can decide which Italian lake town is best for you!

So, what will it be, Riva del Garda or Limone?…

Is Riva Worth Visiting?

Riva is definitely worth visiting! But don’t just visit here, Riva is also one of the best places to base yourself on a Lake Garda vacation.

My husband, 3 kids and I stayed here for 4 nights on our Italian vacation and I couldn’t recommend it enough! If I could choose only one place to come back to in Italy it would be Lake Garda and that is because of our fantastic stay here in Riva.

In fact, we loved Riva del Garda so much that my husband and I talk about moving here someday!

Now that I have talked it up so much, you might be wondering why! It truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to! The blue-green color of the lake water is like nothing I have ever seen. Combine this with the stunning mountains as its backdrop and it makes for one of the most picturesque places in the world!

Riva del Garda or Limone?  Riva del Garda is breathtaking.  The beautiful color of the lake combined with the mountains make for the most stunning scenery.

What I also love about Riva is the relaxed, laid-back feel. It was a definite nice change from the busy sightseeing we did in Rome, Florence, and Venice.

FUN FACT: In Riva and Limone they speak not only Italian but also German. Some of the restaurants even have menus in German too.

Where to Stay in Riva del Garda

My family and I stayed at ESSENCE Charming Suites and I couldn’t recommend this place enough. Super modern, spacious apartment-style complex with complimentary breakfast every morning. I definitely give ESSENCE Charming Suites 5 out of 5 STARS! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Is Limone sul Garda Worth Visiting?

Yes, yes, yes! Limone sul Garda is definitely worth visiting! No matter where you stay on Lake Garda, make Limone sul Garda a must-see destination!

Limone has got to be one of the most charming and cute towns I have ever seen! If you’re one that loves taking pictures and getting that Instagram-worthy picture then Limone is the perfect spot to do just that. In fact, I first heard about Limone from pictures and videos I saw on Instagram.

What makes this town fun and unique is a particular yellow fruit. In case you haven’t guessed yet, it is the lemon! 🍋 “Limone” means “lemon” in Italian, so lemons are pretty significant here.

You’ll see lemon trees and lemon everything throughout the town.

Riva del Garda or Limone? One of many lemon trees you'll find in Limone.

So, not only is Limone a fun place to visit because of its stunning lake and mountain views but also because of its cute lemon vibe. 🍋

Map of Lake Garda

Did you know that Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy? Yes, it’s bigger than Lake Como and Lake Maggiore!!

It’s also the most beautiful! shhh!! 🤫 Let’s keep this a secret! Europeans already know this, but Americans still mostly choose Lake Como as their Italian lake of choice.

Lake Garda is approximately 143 square miles(370 square kilometers). If you were to drive around the whole lake without stopping, it would take approximately 4 hours. I’m not recommending you do this or anything, but this is just to let you know how BIG it is!

As you can tell from the map below, Riva del Garda is the northernmost town on Lake Garda and Limone sul Garda is just south of Riva del Garda. They are located about halfway between Venice and Milan.

Because of their location at the foot of the Italian Dolomites, not only do you get the gorgeous Lake Garda here, but also the stunning mountains as your backdrop.

Riva del Garda or Limone: Differences

Riva del Garda and Limone are similar in lots of ways.

They are located in the north part of Lake Garda and have the gorgeous foothills of the Italian Alps as their backdrop. They also have great restaurants, beaches, and plenty of outdoor activities such as biking, windsurfing, and boating.

You really can’t go wrong with either of these two towns! And be prepared for your jaw to drop because Riva and Limone are both breathtakingly stunning!

But how are they different?

Let’s now talk about the differences between Riva del Garda and Limone sul Garda.

Riva del Garda or Limone: Size

Riva del Garda is much bigger than Limone. In fact, it is the second biggest city in Lake Garda.

If you are looking for a town to visit or stay in that is going to offer a little more to do and explore, then Riva might be the better option.

A bigger town means more restaurants, more shopping, and just more things to see and do! But let me tell you, Riva is by no means a crowded place. I never felt like there were too many people around; even in prime season in the middle of July.

Riva del Garda or Limone: Shopping

If looking to do some shopping on your vacation in northern Italy, Riva del Garda is an excellent place for that.

However, while Riva del Garda is better for all-around shopping, I found Limone sul Garda to be better for bringing home that special Italian souvenir. I enjoyed all of the lemon-themed goods that you can find in most of the stores in Limone.

Riva del Garda: Best Things to Do

With Riva del Garda being the second largest city on Lake Garda, you’ll find lots of things to see and do. But here are the best things to do in Riva del Garda.

Explore Piazza 3 Novembre

Riva del Garda or Limone? Piazza 3 Novembre is th heart of Riva del Garda.

Piazza 3 Novembre is the heart of Riva del Garda. It is the main town square and is located near the waterfront. Here you’ll find lots of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore.

At the center of Piazza 3 Novembre is Torre Apponale, a beautiful medieval tower. You can climb this tower for some incredible lake and mountain views. It is 165 steps to the top, so be prepared for this steep climb!

Water Activities in Riva

Since Riva del Garda is located on the lake it is a popular holiday destination for boating, paddleboarding, and sailing. It’s also a very popular place for windsurfing because of the strong presence of winds here.

Biking/Cycling in Riva del Garda

Because Riva del Garda is absolutely stunning and because it has wonderful paths for cycling, biking is one of the best things to do in Riva.

There are great walking/biking paths alongside the lake. You can start at the center of town at Piazza 3 Novembre and ride alongside the lake.

Riva del Garda or Limone?  Riva has many great scenic bike paths.

For one of the best bike paths in Lake Garda, take Old Ponale Road Path. This is a scenic bike path alongside Lake Garda with some of the most breathtaking panoramic views. If you’re not in the greatest shape or are an inexperienced biker, an e-bike is recommended here.

NOTE: There are quite a few bike rental places in Riva, so need to worry about having your own bike here.

Go to the Beach

When in Riva del Garda going to the beach is a must! It is just too beautiful here not to dip your feet in the water and take in the stunning views.

Note, these beaches are small and not big at all, but they are most definitely beautiful!

Spiaggia Sabbioni is one of the best beaches and things to do in Riva del Garda. It’s a popular beach great for relaxing or swimming.

Riva del Garda or Limone?  Spiaggia Sabbioni is a beautiful beach in Riva.

There’s also a great grassy area behind the pebble beach great for relaxing, having a picnic, or reading a book in the shade.

There's a great grassy area behind the pebble beach great for relaxing in the shade.

Visit Rocca Castle/Mag Museum Alto Garda

One of the best things to do in Riva del Garda is to visit the Rocca Castle which houses the MAG Museo Alto Garda.

Riva del Garda or Limone?  The MAG is a museum in Riva with collections of art and archaeology.

The Rocca Castle is located on the waterfront on the shore of Lake Garda. Inside the Castle is MAG which has collections of art and archeology. In the art gallery, you’ll find landscape paintings from the 19th century that were inspired by the beautiful Lake Garda.

Shopping in Riva Del Garda

Riva del Garda has quite a few places to walk around, browse, and shop. My favorite area in Riva del Garda to shop is Blue Garden. This is a small contemporary indoor/outdoor shopping mall with many great shops and restaurants.

If you’re traveling to Riva del Garda with young kids you’ll be happy to know they also have a small play area inside the mall. There’s also a fun candy store next to this play area that kids (and adults) will love.

Blue Garden is a contemporary shopping mall at Riva with a play area for young kids.

A great clothing store that is located not far away from Blue Garden is ER Emporio Rivano Market. They sell trendy clothes at affordable prices. Many of their clothing is a one size fits all style.

See the Waterfall Cascate del Varone

When in Riva del Garda, one of the best things to do is visit Cascate del Varone in the town of Tenno. Tenno is a short drive or taxi ride away from Riva del Garda.

Cascate del Varone is a waterfall attraction in Tenno.  It's only a short drive from Riva.

Cascate del Varone is an attraction in Tenno that includes a pair of waterfalls and beautiful gardens. The waterfall flows through a cave and can be viewed from an upper and a lower observation point.

NOTE: Be prepared to get a little wet from the waterfall spraying onto you. Bring a poncho, jacket, or towel to protect you from the water and wind.

My family and I in front of the waterfall.

Limone- Best Things to Do

Limone sul Garda is a small picturesque town located on Lake Garda’s northwest shore. It has a population of only around 1,000 people. Even though it’s small it offers a lot of beauty and outdoor activities.

Here are the best things to do in Limone sul Garda.

Stroll the Town

When in Limone sul Garda the best thing to do is to put on your walking shoes and start walking. The town is absolutely stunning and just oh so cute!

Walk along the waterfront and check out all of the cute stores. Get a fresh lemonade and a cup of gelato. Admire all of the picturesque buildings and homes covered in colorful flowers.

Riva del Garda or Limone?  One of the best things to do in Limone is to stroll the city.

Take Instagram-Worthy Pictures

When in Limone sul Garda get ready to take picture, after picture! It is just that beautiful!

From the gorgeous waterfront to the mountains rising right out of the town to the most picturesque buildings, Limone has it all to take the perfect Instagram-worthy picture!

Oh, and let’s not forget about the lemons!! 🍋 Take pictures of the lemon trees and all of the cute lemon merchandise you’ll find here!

Riva del Garda or Limone?  The town of Limone is stunningly beautiful.  You'll also find the perfect opportunity for instagram-worthy pictures here.

Go to the Beach

Just like Riva del Garda, Limone sul Garda also has beautiful pebble beaches alongside the gorgeous lake water. And you also get that beautiful mountain backdrop here too!

A beautiful pebbled beach in Limone sul Garda.

And one of the best beaches in Limone is Cola Beach. Visiting Cola Beach is one of the most popular and best things to do in Limone. This pebbled beach is great for swimming, relaxing, and taking in those incredible scenic views.


Outdoor Activities in Limone

Because Limone is just oh so beautiful, you’re going to want to spend all your time outdoors!

And just like Riva del Garda, Limone is also a great place for windsurfing and sailing.

But besides watersports, Limone is also a great place for bike riding/cycling. In fact, bike riding is one of the most popular things to do in Limone because it’s such a gorgeous place. Plus, there are quite a few bike paths; you’ll find bike paths for beginners up to expert cyclists.

One of the most beautiful bike rides not only in Lake Garda but in the entire world is the Ciclopista del Garda biking path.

This cycle path starts in the historic center of Limone sul Garda. You’ll wind through lemon groves and many other amazing views before you reach the stretch where the path becomes suspended over the lake! The views here are like nothing else you have ever seen on a bike.

Limonaia del Castèl

Another one of the best things to do in Limone sul Garda is to visit Limonia del Castèl.

Come here for the spectacular views over Limone and come here to learn all about the lemon. 🍋. You’ll also see lemon groves and other citrus fruits that are grown here. In addition, you’ll also learn all about how the lemon came about here in Limone.

Shop for Lemon Souvenirs

When in Limone, you must go shopping for lemon souvenirs! And they have just about anything lemon-themed in Limone.

One of the best things to do in Limone is shop for lemon souvenirs.

You’ll find everything from lemon-themed housewares and kitchen products to lemon-flavored food and drinks.

In Limone, you'll find lemon flavored foods and drinks everywhere.

Don’t leave Limone, without purchasing something lemon-themed. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Limone sul Garda.

Limone to Riva del Garda Ferry

Traveling between Limone and Riva del Garda is not hard at all. You could easily drive or take a taxi, but the best way to get between Limone and Riva is by ferry. And this is because it is just so easy and the views from the water are pretty amazing!

The ferry from Riva to Limone is scenic and breathtaking.

There is a fast-service ferry between Limone and Riva that takes approximately 23 minutes. There is also a regular service ferry between Limone and Riva that takes approximately 45 minutes.

The best way to get from Limone to Riva is by ferry.

The cost of the ferry between Riva and Limone is approximately $10 round trip.

Check timetables for the ferry service on Lake Garda and book tickets here. If you find this a little confusing, no worries! You can always go to the ticket booth to purchase your tickets. The ticket booths are located in front of where the ferry docks.

No matter if you choose to stay in Limone, Riva del Garda, or another town on Lake Garda, you can easily get between Limone and Riva by ferry.

The Wrap-Up: Riva del Garda or Limone

Both Riva del Garda and Limone are two northern Lake Garda towns that offer picturesque views and plenty of outdoor activities including biking and windsurfing.

Riva del Garda is a bigger city with more things to see, do and explore. Because it’s a bigger city, you also have more choices as far as accommodations go.

My recommendation would be to stay in Riva del Garda and take a day trip to Limone sul Garda. But whatever you do, do not skip visiting Limone sul Garda. Limone is truly one of the most charming, picturesque towns you will ever see!

I hope you have found this guide helpful!> Riva del Garda or Limone: Which Northern Lake Garda Town Should You Visit?

Ciao! 🇮🇹

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