Have you heard of Valle del Chiese? Nope? Well, don’t worry, neither had I. That was before I discovered Trentino, one of Italy’s most beautiful hidden regions. Trentino is an autonomous province located in the country’s far north in the Italian Alps, most well-known for the famous Lake Garda. The easiest way to travel to Trentino is via Verona Airport which is only 90 kilometres from the region.
Tucked away in mountainous south-western Trentino, you will discover Valle del Chiese. The valley takes its name from the river Chiese which flows through the region, passing many lovely little towns and villages. This outdoor haven is a must-visit destination for lovers of nature, culture, and adventure activities. Oh, and let’s not forget good food! In today’s blog, I share 10 amazing things to do in Valle del Chiese that will make you wish you knew about this valley a long time ago…
1. Relax and eat by Lake Idro
The best place to start when visiting Valle del Chiese is the valley’s very own mini Lake Garda: Lake Idro. Ideal for those who prefer their holidays a little quieter and more serene, Lake Idro is a great alternative for those who want to skip the crowds without skimping on the views! A popular destination for budding sailors, canoeists and windsurfers, Idro also offers a little something-something for the adventure enthusiasts among us.
For a great view over the lake (and even better food!), I would recommend dining on the Miralago Terrace, which overlooks Baitoni Beach. Here we were served a delicious lunch of various fish, roasted vegetables and chips that I would more than happily devour all over again if I could.
2. Try your hand at no-kill fly fishing
Okay, so I think it will surprise no one when I say that fishing isn’t really my thing. But who can say no to a spot of no-kill fly fishing when its in a location like this?! The crystal-clear Alpine lakes of Valle del Chiese are perfect for fishing, being rich in trout, whitefish and arctic chars-fish.
As fishing novices, we let Matteo at Trentino Fishing Guides show us the ropes in the most picturesque setting of the Daone Valley. Speaking several languages, he is passionate about his trade, but above all, he had an in-depth knowledge of the local area and the best fishing spots. We had a great time trying our hand at it for the first time, whilst soaking up the surroundings.
3. Marvel at one of Valle del Chiese’s greatest waterfalls
As you drive up the Daone Valley for a spot of afternoon fishing, you will pass the Bissina dam, a gorgeous reservoir that also boasts a pretty impressive waterfall. Naturally, you’ll want to hop out of the car to explore the area at your first given opportunity. Just pull up to the side of the road, whack out your camera and soak up the views!
4. Take in the views at Lake Roncone
Speaking of which, you’ll also find views for daaaaays at Lake Roncone. Aside from Lake Idro, Lake Roncone is one of the most well-known Pre-Alpine lakes in Valle del Chiese. It may be small but boy does it pack a punch. The lush meadows and beech forests that surround the lake may be just as beautiful as the lake itself. So whether you fancy sipping on an aperitif under the sun at Snoopy Lake Bar or embarking on the bike trail that follows the lake’s coast, there’s no chance of getting bored here.
5. Try watersports on Lake Idro
The best way to get a great view of Valle del Chiese’s lakes is to jump right on in. Whether you fancy a swim, canoe, kayak, stand up paddleboard, sail, surf, or whatever else your heart desire’s, Lake Idro has got you covered. As for us, Emily fancied SUP, while the rest of us jumped on-board some kayaks. Top tip: the lake is a lot calmer and quieter in the morning, which is when we headed out to the water!
6. Paraglide from the mountains
By far the most exciting thing you can do in Valle del Chiese is to paraglide off the mountains with Idroland Fly Zone! While the adrenaline rush doesn’t last much longer than the initial runoff, the flight provides you with the most beautiful views across the valley. I mean, seriously, they are unbeatable. A 10-minute tandem flight with a 600m drop will set you back 80€, while a 20-minute flight with a 1200m drop (what we did) will set you back 120€. I would seriously recommend going for the more expensive flight because even then, the whole experience feels like it is over in a second.
The best thing about tandem paragliding with Idroland Fly Zone is that they tailor the flight to your expectations. You can opt for an easier, more relaxing ride or a slightly more exhilarating ride. The latter comes complete with lots of fun twists and turns which certainly aren’t for the faint-hearted!
7. Go back in time at Darzo Mine
Located just 3 kilometres away from the emerald green Lake Idro, you will find Darzo. This tiny village is most well-known for its mine, which finally closed down back in 2009. Telling the story of over a century of mining history, Darzo Mine makes for a great afternoon for history buffs.
The three-hour-long exploration and experience tour, which will set you back 17€, includes the sightseeing of the mural paintings located in the village centre of Darzo, a walking tour through the mountain, and an entrance into the cave. Plus, you also get to see some stunning panoramic views across Valle del Chiese from the mine.
8. Visit Castello San Giovanni
Lake Idro is overlooked by the stunning San Giovanni Castle, picturesquely perched at the top of a cliff in the village of Baitoni. Once owned by the century-long dynasty of the Lodron Family, San Giovanni Castle has since decayed, with the castle ruin now telling the tale of a turbulent history. Perhaps my favourite thing about the castle was the gorgeous panoramic view across Valle del Chiese and Lake Idro. You can find this view on the castle terrace. It’s definitely one to see for yourself!
9. Wander through the streets of Bondone
Escape from the hustle and bustle of tourists at more popular Italian hotspots when you visit medieval Bondone. This quintessential Italian village boasts a labyrinth of colourful houses and paved alleyways, brought to life by an abundance of flora. I can already see this hidden gem being inundated by Instagrammers in the coming years. Get there whilst it’s still quiet!
10. Eat some delicious local delicacy at Agriturismo La Polentera
So I guess after all this exploring, you deserve some delicious food and one too many wines, huh? Well, it’d be rude not to experience some of Italy’s famous agritourism after all. And what better setting to dive into agritourism than Agriturismo La Polentera‘s vineyards and orchards?
After wandering around the grounds and farm, we sat down for a selection of polenta, cheeses and meats for starters, followed by macaroni with white duck ragu for mains. Their chef Daniel delights in combining traditional Trentino flavours and more contemporary tastes. And I’ve gotta say, he sure did succeed. I’ll be back for seconds very soon, okay?
I hope you enjoyed this list of 10 amazing things to do in Valle del Chiese. Have you been persuaded to visit the region yet? If you have any further questions about visiting Valle del Chiese, do not hesitate to drop me a comment below!
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