Looking to visit the Italian lakes but are keen to avoid the crowds? Look no further than Valle di Ledro, home to the ever-so-beautiful Lago di Ledro. Unlike nearby Lake Garda, Lake Ledro is a quiet and tranquil paradise, even in the height of peak season. Only 5000 people live here in just 10 villages so the area generally attracts an older demographic. However, if you want to do more than simply lounge by the lake, here is my one-stop guide on how to easily see Valle di Ledro in a weekend.
Faraway Lucy was welcomed as a guest of Visit Trentino and Valle di Ledro; however, as always, all opinions are my own.
Day One in Valle di Ledro
Lunchtime: Eat and relax by Lago di Ledro
Image credit: Hotel Lido
Well, isn’t this the life? Start your weekend in Valle di Ledro off on a good foot with a light lunch and an aperitif at Hotel Lido in Pieve di Ledro. Immersed in the leafy green surroundings of the shores of Lago di Ledro, Hotel Lido offers an unforgettable culinary experience.
With a menu comprised of the delicate and refined dishes of local Ledro and Trentino cuisine, your tastebuds will be nothing short of happy. So sip on your delicious traditional “Picco Rozzo” spritz as you drink in the views. Believe me, when you find out what’s in store for the afternoon, you’ll wish you had made the most of every last sip!
Early afternoon: Five-hour hike to Rifugio Pernici
Now you didn’t think your weekend was going to be all relaxation, did you? Perhaps the best thing about Lago di Ledro is its close proximity to the most beautiful mountains. If I could recommend you one thing to do when visiting Valle di Ledro it would be this hike.
The five-hour hike to Rifugio Pernici along the Malga Grassi trail number 402 overcomes a difference in height of 1000 metres. However, the beautiful views across the valley and the lake really make the hike worth every second! Plus, since the area is far quieter than the nearby Dolomites, you’ll have the views all to yourself.
Believe me, if I can do this hike on three hours sleep after a heavy night of drinking, anyone can. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I’m looking at you, Traverse! However, one of the great things about Valle di Ledro is that there are hikes to suit all abilities and fitness levels. So whether you’d rather embark on a strenuous multi-day trek or a mere “hike” along the valley floor, you will definitely find something that floats your boat.
Evening: Typical dinner and overnight stay at the mountain hut
When we finally made it up to Rifugio Pernici, it was like discovering our own little slice of heaven. I mean, rifugio does translate to ‘refuge’, after all. If I could bottle up the feeling of plonking myself down on one of those picnic tables, I absolutely would. I’d be drowning myself in the stuff! But instead, I had to settle for yet another delicious spritz. It’s a tough life, I know…
After drinking the previous five hours away, it was time to settle down with the owners of the mountain hut for some rich and hearty authentic local cuisine. My favourite dish was strangolapreti which translates to ‘priest strangler’, in case you wondering. They are, in short, baked bread dumplings with spinach and cheese, smothered with butter and basil. Talk about delicious! After that starter, we settled in for some goulash, polenta and fried cheese. There are definitely worse ways to spend an evening.
Before long, we were heaving our heavy bodies up to bed. Rifugio Pernici offers simple, no-fuss accommodation that ticks every box that needs ticking after a five-hour hike. Basically, a comfy bed in a cosy dorm. We really weren’t asking for much! It’s safe to say we all slept like babies, preparing ourselves for another long day of exploring Valle di Ledro.
Day Two in Valle di Ledro
Early morning: Mountainbike downhill to Lake Ledro
Following a high altitude breakfast at the mountain hut (we’re talking a deee-licious platter of bread, meat and cheese), it was time to get back down to the lake. And what better way to do it than by biking! This was definitely the most fun activity we did in Valle di Ledro. There is nothing quite like the feeling of rushing down a mountain with the wind in your hair.
There are various routes you can take down the mountain but after our hike the previous day, we opted for the easy, winding, paved mountain roads for a smoother ride. But, of course, if you are an experienced mountain biker, you’ll jump at the opportunity to hit the off-road trails. We managed to get down the mountain in less than half an hour. Just ever so slightly easier than the hike up, eh?
When we reached the bottom of the mountain, we then proceeded to make our way along the cycle path around the lake, before dropping our bikes back at Ledro Bike Rentals. Cycling around the lake was a great way of easily seeing the lake from all angles. Oh, and making our way to all the must-see sights of course! Speaking of which…
Late morning: Visit the hidden waterfall of Gorg D’Abiss
This magical little waterfall, which is discreetly tucked away down a canyon, was not only a sight to behold but it also provided us with some refreshing respite after mountain biking. Trust me, you’ll welcome the spray of water after you’ve been out in the beating hot Italian sun!
Early afternoon: Visit Ledro Land Art
After grabbing lunch at a local restaurant, it is time to head into the woods for a little bit of culture at Ledro Land Art. This art museum in the woods is comprised of a number of installations which are all about reinterpreting the natural green spaces and interacting with the elements present. The result is a wonderful amalgamation of art meeting nature.
From swings and a violin to cows and a hedgehog, there are so many great sculptures to discover. And the best part is that we did not see a single soul here. Even those who shy away from art will marvel at not only the beauty of the pieces but the beauty of the woods themselves. To be honest, the walk alone makes for a lovely afternoon activity!
Late afternoon: Prehistoric dinner near the Museo delle Palafitte
A surprisingly fun activity in Valle di Ledro was our visit to the UNESCO-listed prehistoric pile dwellings of Museo delle Palafitte. Located in the picturesque surroundings of the shores of Lago di Ledro, we spent a few hours travelling back in time to 2200-1350 BC. After many thousands of years, the Ledro pile-dwelling remains were rediscovered in 1929, where more than ten thousand poles emerged from the surface of the southern shore of the lake. This was one of the largest prehistoric settlements discovered in Italy and still today one of the biggest in Europe.
Here we were taught, in a very interactive museum experience, how to survive in prehistoric times. It was history to touch, experience and taste. From archery and making a fire to chopping wood and grinding corn for flour, there were a plethora of fun activities to throw ourselves into. And during the summer, you can even sleep overnight in the pile dwellings!
Before checking in for the night at Hotel Maggiorina, we chowed down on a surprisingly scrumptious meal of a simple prehistoric dinner, washed down with a lot of local beer. Made from oats and red fruits, ingredients that were readily available 5000 years ago, we were transported back to yesteryear. Or is that just the alcohol doing the talking…
Have you ever visited Valle di Ledro? I’d absolutely love to return one day so if you have any other recommendations, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments below! Or if you want to discover more of the area’s natural beauty, read my guide on 10 amazing things to do in Valle del Chiese.
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