A Northern Italy itinerary for 14 days is perfect to discover the dreamlike country full of dolce vita and especially to experience the diversity of Italy. Our itinerary for Northern Italy will take you through the mountains of the Dolomites and the small and typical Italian villages around Lake Garda.
These two fascinating regions in the north of Italy are only a few hours’ drive apart and yet couldn’t be more different. Get ready for spectacular hikes, breathtaking views and enchanting Italian villages.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Northern Italy Itinerary 14 Days – Overview
|Travel Day||Itinerary||Kilometer / Driving Time|
|Day 1||Lago di Braies to Tre Cime di Lavaredo||42 km / 1 Hour|
|Day 2||Tre Cime di Lavaredo + Cadini Mountain Range||0 km / 0 Hours|
|Day 3||Lago di Sorapis||8 km / 0,25 Hours|
|Day 4||Drive to Wolkenstein in Gröden||75 km / 2 Hours|
|Day 5||Seceda Hike||0 km / 0 Hours|
|Day 6||Alpe di Siusi||30 km / 0,75 Hours|
|Day 7||Drive to Lake Garda||150 km / 2 Hours|
|Day 8||Riva del Garda||0 km / 0 Hours|
|Day 9||Limone + Drive to Toscolano Maderno||40 km / 0,75 Hours|
|Day 10||Toscolano Maderno||0 km / 0 Hours|
|Day 11||Sirmione||40 km / 1 Hour|
|Day 12||Lazise||25 km / 0,5 Hours|
|Day 13||Malcesine||36 km / 1 Hour|
|Day 14||Home Trip|
Summary of the Road Trip through Northern Italy
This Northern Italy itinerary is designed for about 2 weeks. Depending on how you arrive, you may have to skip 1 or 2 days to allow enough time for arrival and departure. From Germany you have the possibility to arrive by car or camper. We have had good experiences with both. Also the wild camping with a camper is possible in Italy. Even though sometimes its not that easy to find a place to camp especially in areas like lake Garda.
You can find our northern Italy itinerary in Google Maps below.
Northern Italy Itinerary 7 Days
If you have less time we would recommend you to visit only one of the two regions on your Northern Italy itinerary. If you prefer hiking, you should visit the breathtaking area of the Dolomites. If you are looking for a little more dolce vita, then Lake Garda is the place to be, where you can stroll through the alleys of the small Italian towns.
Best Things to do on a Northern Italy Itinerary 10 days or 7 days: The 8 Best Things To Do In The Dolomites
If you want to go further south in Italy, you can also take a road trip through Tuscany.
Day 1 I Lago di Braies
Today your Northern Italy itinerary starts with the first highlight. If you are traveling in the Dolomites in South Tyrol, you can’t miss Lago di Braies. It is probably one of the most famous lakes in the region and that for a good reason. In recent years, thanks to Instagram, Lago di Braies has become the absolute hotspot of the Dolomites. Nevertheless, we would recommend a visit. If you are traveling in the high season, however, you should rather schedule the visit in the early morning or late afternoon.
Lago di Braies captivates with a beautiful backdrop of shimmering green water, imposing mountains and the old wooden boats. It’s best to bring a little time to walk along the lake or enjoy the panorama with a blanket on the shore.
All tips on how to get there, parking, the hike and the boat trips can be found in our trip report.
Read also: Lago di Braies | All You Need To Know
Driving Distance: From Lago di Braies you drive about 45 minutes further to your accommodation for the next two nights. Since there are not many accommodations in the area around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, you should book in time.
Accommodation RecommendationAlbergo Chalet Lago Atorno | Get the Best Price*
Day 2 I Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Cadini Mountain Range
On day 2 of your Northern Italy itinerary the beautiful area around Tre Cime di Lavaredo is waiting for you. Here you can do two hikes, both of which can be done in one day. We recommend that you first hike to the viewpoint of the Cadini Mountain Range and then hike around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
When we were planning our visit to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, we kept coming across a particular photo with a view that was not the Tre Cime di Lavaredo at all. The view with the fantastic panorama shows the peaks of the Cadini group and immediately impressed us. And the best thing is, this viewpoint is only a short hike away from Tre Cime di Lavaredo, so the two hikes can be perfectly combined.
The viewpoint or photo spot and the short hike there are still a real insider tip and hardly any other tourists comes here. You should not miss this hike in any case. The view is really spectacular.
Northern Italy Itinerary 14 Days – Hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo is probably the most popular and well-known hike in the Dolomites. If you are in South Tyrol or in the Dolomites, then you can not avoid the hike to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and also we can only recommend this great hike to you.
Since this hike is so popular and you should plan in advance the detour to the Cadini group, you should be early at the Auronzo hut to be able to enjoy the hike in peace. Because you will certainly not be alone here. But the hike is still worth it. You will always have the peaks of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in view, as well as views of the Cadini Group. The hike can also be done well with a dog.
We have compiled all further information on arrival, parking, etc. in a separate report.
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Day 3 I Hike to Lake Sorapis
On the third day of the Northern Italy Itinerary, the next beautiful hike follows and with it an absolute highlight of Veneto, the neighboring region of South Tyrol. The hike to Lake Sorapis is one of the most spectacular hikes in the Dolomites and not only because of the beautiful turquoise lake. For us, the way there was the real highlight.
The trail to Lago Sorapis leads you not only through a forest but also along the steep slopes and with views of the mountains of the Dolomites, which is truly unique.
This makes this hike one of our absolute favorite hikes in the area, which you should not miss. The route is varied and really exciting.
Read also: Hiking Lago di Sorapis | A Complete Guide
Day 4 I Drive towards Selva di Val Gardena
Today you will leave your hotel at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and drive to the next town, which is again a good starting point for the hikes of the upcoming days. Since the drive to Selva di Val Gardena takes only about 2 hours, you should plan one or the other stopover or detour.
From your hotel at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo you can first make a small stop at Lago di Landro. The lake offers a wonderful panorama of the mountains of the Dolomites and is definitely worth a stopover. Especially our dog Aaro had a lot of fun jumping into the cool water while we enjoyed the view of the impressive panorama.
From Lago di Landro you have the possibility to take a detour to Selva di Val Gardena. We chose the route via Passo Giau and were absolutely impressed by this pass road and the views. We stopped again and again on the way, took photos and enjoyed the view.
Shortly before Selva Gardena you can then make a short detour to the Gardena Pass. Here are some hiking trails and as before just great views of the surroundings.
Hotel Recommendation in Selva di Val Gardena
Residence Cesa Callegari in Wolkenstein
You can even use the large garden which was really great for us with our dog Aaro.
From Selva Gardena you are quickly at the many highlights of the Dolomites such as Seceda, the Sella Pass or Catinaccio.
- spacious apartments
- possibility to use the garden
- rustic furnishings with everything you need
- central position
Day 5 I Seceda Hike
Day 5 of the Northern Italy itinerary is followed by the next hike. The Seceda Hike is one of the most breathtaking hikes you can do in the Dolomites in South Tyrol. The nature up here is beautiful and there are numerous hiking trails that lead you high up to the summit.
The Seceda hike is one of the most spectacular hikes in South Tyrol and awaits you with a natural scenery that cannot be captured on photos. You simply have to see and experience it. In addition to the natural scenery you will also be able to make one or two animal observations. In addition to some donkeys, we have also heard and seen some marmots here.
The special thing about the Seceda hike is a certain viewpoint with a view of the steeply sloping mountains. But also the rest of the panorama is a real eye-catcher here.
All information about the Seceda hike can be found in our separate report.
Day 6 I Alpe di Siusi
On day 6 of the Northern Italy itinerary you will visit the Alpe di Siusi. The Alpe di Siusi in South Tyrol is Europe’s largest high alpine pasture and is located in the Dolomites in northern Italy. It is over 56 km² in size, lies at an altitude of up to 2350 meters and is thus one of the largest plateaus in the Alps in the Dolomites.
The high alpine pasture is a popular tourist destination and therefore well visited, especially in the high season. Therefore again you should arrive early to be able to enjoy the hikes in peace.
The Alpe di Siusi and the associated hikes are extremely developed for tourism and so there are numerous tourist offers here. You should therefore plan the whole day here. Drive to the valley station early in the morning, pack something to eat and just enjoy a great day on the Alpe di Siusi.
Day 7 I Lake Carezza + Approach Riva del Garda
Day 7 of your Northern Italy Itinerary takes you to a true jewel of the Dolomites. Lake Carezza is one of the most visited lakes in South Tyrol for a good reason. The water shines in a wonderful turquoise blue and is so clear and transparent that you can see from every spot to the bottom. But that’s not the only thing that makes Lake Carezza so special.
The highlight of lake Carezza is the steeply towering rock face of the Rosengarten mountain range, which stretches majestically in the background. This panorama is really extremely unique and simply beautiful.
Since Lago Carezza is very conveniently located, it is really well visited. In addition, a lot has been invested in the tourist infrastructure in recent years. A new visitor center with a large paid parking lot was built. Nevertheless, the lake is simply too beautiful to leave it out.
Most tourists stay at the front of the viewing platform. We would recommend that you also walk the short loop around the lake from there. So you have a little more peace to enjoy the great surroundings.
All information on how to get there, parking and tips can be found in our travel report on Lake Carezza.
Route: From Lake Carezza, your road trip in Northern Italy continues in the direction of Riva del Garda. Within about 2 hours you will leave the mountainous area of the Dolomites and head towards Lake Garda. Coming from the north, you can turn onto the SS45 in Trento and drive to Riva del Garda or stay on the E45 until Mori and then turn east onto the SS240 to Riva del Garda.
Once you arrive in Riva del Garda, you can check into your accommodation and stroll around the town in the evening.
Hotel Recommendation in Riva del Garda
If you want to spend a night in the beautiful town of Riva del Garda, we can recommend the Parc Hotel Flora*. The charming hotel has beautiful rooms, a great breakfast and an enchanting garden through which you can reach the beach. Here you can relax perfectly after an extensive city walk.Parc Hotel Flora | Show Rates*
Day 8 I Riva del Garda Sightseeing
The small town of Riva del Garda really has a lot to offer and is more diverse than you might think. No matter if you prefer a stroll through the city, are sporty, prefer historical buildings or want to go for a hike with a great view. There is something for everyone. If you spend one or two days here, you can easily combine the different activities.
Strolling through the Old Town
The old town of Riva del Garda invites you to stroll and wander. There are some historical sights to admire, such as the castle Rocca di Riva, a fortress completely surrounded by water from the year 1124. In recent years, this has been extensively restored and there is now a city museum in the fortress.
At the picturesque harbor is Piazza III Novembre, framed by Venetian archways. The square also houses Rival del Garda’s landmark, the Torre Apponale. For an entrance fee of 2 Euro, you can climb the 35-meter high clock tower dating from 1220 and enjoy the great view of the alleys of Riva di Garda and Lake Garda.
In the square you will find many stores to browse, restaurants with delicious Italian food and cafes where you can spend a few relaxing hours.
Waterfront with Water Sports
The waterfront of Riva del Garda is also perfect for a stroll. During your walk you can watch the sailors and windsurfers on the water. If you want to be active yourself, you can rent everything from pedal boats to surfboards and jump into the cool water. To the east of the promenade you will find a beautiful park and the beach Spiaggia Sabbione.
Hiking Trail Sentiero del Ponale
In the very west of Riva del Garda starts the 6.2 km long hiking and biking trail Sentiero del Ponale (starting point at Google Maps) along the rocky coast of Lake Garda. From the trail you will always have great views of Lake Garda and the town of Riva del Garda. Along the way you run again and again through small tunnels. At the height of the second and third tunnel is an old fortress from 1860, which you can discover and from where you can enjoy another impressive view of Lake Garda.
Day 9 I Limone sul Garda and Approach Toscolano
On day 9 of the Northern Italy itinerary, we continue to the small town of Limone sul Garda. The charming town is located in the northwest of Lake Garda and can be reached from Riva del Garda (in the north of the lake) within about 30 minutes. Since there is only one road around Lake Garda, the question of how to get there is easily answered. Via the SP115 you drive from the north or south directly through Limone sul Garda and then have the possibility to drive to several parking garages.
We would recommend you to park in the parking garage at the lakeside (Google Maps Link). The parking garage has quite large parking spaces for Italian standards and is perfectly located for a leisurely stroll through the small town.
Things To Do In Limone sul Garda
Although the town is really quite small it has a lot to offer, so you should plan a few hours for the visit. From the beautiful waterfront, to churches, small stores to browse or even a hiking trail…. here is something for everyone.
The parking garage is right on the Limone sul Garda waterfront, so you can start with a walk to stroll and browse. If the waterfront starts out quite wide and spacious with lots of restaurants and ice cream parlors, the path quickly turns into the small, winding streets in which there is plenty to discover.
After the first small stroll through town and the first portion of ice cream you can still discover the following sights in Limone sul Garda.
Limonaia del Castèl | The Lemon Greenhouse
Situated on several terraces is the lemon greenhouse Limonaia del Castèl. From here you not only have a great view of Limone sul Garda, you also learn a lot about the region and the delicious citrus fruits. You walk along the narrow aisles between the lemon trees and can even have a tasting here upon prior request.
Location: Google Maps Link
Ciclopista del Garda | Spectacular Panoramic Path in Limone sul Garda
For us, the Ciclopista del Garda bike and walking path was one of the most beautiful sights near Limone sul Garda. The best place to park for it is at the northern parking garage (Google Maps link).
From the parking garage or from Limone you walk about 3.5 km and 30-40 minutes to the starting point of the panoramic path (Google Maps Link). Unfortunately, there is not really a closer parking lot.
The path is well and safely developed and leads directly past the outer rock walls, so you have a spectacular panoramic view of Lake Garda and the surrounding area. You’ll have views of the lake and the rock face here that you rarely get to experience anywhere else on Lake Garda. We found the panoramic path quite spectacular.
The path is about 600 meters long and is not a circular path. That means you walk the path to the end of the panoramic path (Google Maps link) and then you have to walk back the same way. So in half an hour you have walked to the end and then have to turn back. There is also no parking at the end, so it is not possible to get picked up there.
Continuation to Toscolano Maderno
Since the town of Limone sul Garda is really small, we would recommend you to drive 30 minutes further south to the town of Toscolano Maderno after your visit. Here you will find many possibilities to stay overnight and here also a very special hike is waiting for you the next day.
Hotel Recommendation in Toscolano MadernoGarda Friends Apartments We stayed at Lake Garda in a beautiful apartment overlooking Lake Garda. You have everything you need for a great stay here. You can even use the large garden which was really great for us with our dog Aaro. Also at Lake Garda or at the paper mill valley hike you are in a few minutes.
- spacious apartments
- Possibility to use the garden
- own parking place & balcony with lake view
- WIFI & TV
Day 10 I Toscolano Maderno
In Toscolano Maderno, we were particularly impressed by a hike that we learned about only by chance. The hike through the paper mill valley of Toscolano Maderno is probably one of the most beautiful hikes on Lake Garda and that although the description did not sound very spectacular at the beginning.
The Paper Mill Valley on Lake Garda
The origin of the name of the Paper Mill Valley (Valle delle Cartiere) is not far-fetched at all, because in former times there really were paper mills here and paper was actually produced (since 1381). The power of the Toscolano torrent was used to drive machines and, thanks to the high quality paper, the valley, with its up to 60 paper mills, became a center of paper production in the Republic of Venice.
Nowadays the paper mill valley on Lake Garda is really a great recreational area which is well developed for tourism. During our hike in June 2022 we hardly met other people and we had the nature and the beautiful landscape almost for ourselves. Another reason why you should definitely visit this Lake Garda highlight.
The hike leads you on the one hand through the valley with its ancient ruins, on the other hand you can enjoy the beautiful views of Toscolano Maderno and Lake Garda after half of the hike. The hike is varied and not overcrowded.
Day 11 I Sirmione
On day 11 of the Northern Italy itinerary you will visit the beautiful town of Sirmione. The special thing about this small town on Lake Garda is its special shape and landscape. The peninsula of Sirmione protrudes from the southern shore several kilometers into Lake Garda. And while the southern part of this peninsula (the new town) still comes across very modern and is virtually paved with numerous hotels and restaurants, the old town of Sirmione presents itself in a completely different light.
The old town is also the part you should visit, the new town you can safely leave out and is only interesting because of its tourist infrastructure (there are huge parking lots and many hotels).
Also the old town of Sirmione is (if you want) quickly visited and you come to the greener and scenically more interesting part of Sirmione, the beaches in the north of the town.
Beaches in Sirmione
The beaches and especially one beach in Sirmione are for us one of the absolute highlights on Lake Garda. Because real sandy beaches are rather sparse on Lake Garda. Also in Sirmione there are some sections with sandy beaches, but for us the most beautiful beach in Sirmione was the one on the northernmost shore of the peninsula
The Jamaica Beach in Sirmione
Be sure to pack your swimsuit when you go to Sirmione, because you should definitely lay on the beach here. Even if, like Jamaica Beach, it’s not a sandy beach. The entire beach consists of large flat rock formations over which you must also walk to get to the beach. At high tide you will not be able to get to Jamaica Beach on dry feet. A real path does not lead here, but you have to walk along the water or even through the water, at least if you come from the eastern side of the peninsula.
On normal ways you can come from the western side by walking to the Jamaica Beach Bar (Google Maps Link). In our opinion, the way from the eastern shore is more beautiful and exciting. You can look for a free spot on the rocks and then you have to walk quite far to be able to really swim, because the first 100 meters are extremely shallow.
By the way, Jamaica Beach is even an official dog beach, so your four-legged friend can go into the water here without a leash. But don’t worry, the beach is by no means overrun by dogs, but is also well suited for children.
Boat Trip around the Peninsula
You can also take a boat trip around the peninsula. Here you can see Sirmione from a completely different perspective and experience Lake Garda and the peninsula on an exciting boat tour. You can book a boat trip from 25€ per person*.
Staying at Lake Garda
If you want to stay directly in Sirmione we recommend the following hotels:
The 4**** Hotel Eden
Directly at the entrance to the old town is this luxury hotel, which offers everything you can imagine. The hotel is located directly on the lake shore, so the rooms also have a great lake view. In addition, there is free breakfast and you are super fast to all Sirmione attractions.
Hotel Charming Sirmione
In the Charming Sirmione you sleep outside the old town in the south of the peninsula of Sirmione. But it is much cheaper here and you still have large double rooms with free breakfast and are in a few minutes walk in the old town.
Day 12 I Lazise + Rocca di Garda
On day 12 of the Northern Italy itinerary you will visit the town of Lazise on the southeastern shore of Lake Garda. The medieval old town is surrounded by a well-preserved city wall, through which the narrow streets wind, leading you to the lakeside promenade. Here you can spend a few hours and discover the town.
Afterwards you will continue to Rocca di Garda. This is a lookout point in the town of the same name, high up at 291 meters on the mountain, which you can reach after a hike of about 2 kilometers. From the viewpoint you have a great view of the small town and over Lake Garda. As a starting point for the hike you can park at the parking lot Largo Europa. The path will lead you first to the church Parrocchia di Santa Maria Assunta, before the climb to the lookout point begins (here on Google Maps).
Hotel Recommendation in Rocca di Garda
The beautiful Hotel Casaliva* offers you a fantastic view over Lake Garda from the terrace. In good weather, the delicious breakfast is served here. In the garden and by the pool you can relax here just perfect after a day in the city and enjoy the great ambience.Hotel Casaliva at Lake Garda | Show Prices*
Day 13 I Malcesine
The last day of your Northern Italy itinerary you spend in the beautiful town of Malcesine. From your hotel you will drive about 45 minutes until you arrive in the beautiful town of Malcesine on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. Although the town is not very big, there is a lot to discover here, so you can spend your last day of the Northern Italy road trip here. In Malcesine you can discover different sights, such as the Castello Scaligero, the enchanting old town and of course Lake Garda.
The Castello Scaligero can be seen from afar, as it sits directly on the shore on a rocky promontory above Lake Garda. The castle is well preserved and can be visited. All information about opening hours, entrance fees etc. can be found here.
If you want to do a spectacular hike on your last day at Lake Garda, you should climb Monte Baldo. The 2000 m high mountain impresses with a variety of flowers, herbs and trees and is one of the most beautiful hikes on Lake Garda. Numerous paths will lead you to the top of the mountain. You can hike or use the cable car. The best way to do this is to go to the valley station, where you can buy round-trip tickets for 22 euros.
After your visit to Monte Baldo you can continue to explore the town, stroll through the small streets and find a restaurant with a view of the lake for the evening.
Hotel Recommendation in Malecesine
The wellness hotel Casa Barca* is one of the most beautiful hotels in Malcesine. Here you can relax at the end of your Northern Italy trip by the pool or in the beautiful wellness area of the hotel. From the hotel you have a great view of the lake and at the same time you are within a few minutes in the center of Malcesine.Relax at the Wellness Hotel Casa Barca | Show Prices*
Day 14 I Return to Germany
After 2 weeks your Northern Italy itinerary unfortunately ends and you have to start your journey home. The return journey will take you the remaining distance along Lake Garda to the north shore. If you still have some time and want to take a break you can visit the town of Torbole in the north of Lake Garda before you go to the airport or drive home by car.
We hope you liked our Northern Italy itinerary 14 days. If you have any questions or further tips, please leave us a comment.