Strada del Ponale – the most spectacular route in Europe – is about to be re-opened

2 April 2019 7:45 am

Save the date: April 12, 2019. Why? Well, they will re-open the Ponale road, the most fascinating, panoramic and portrayed route in Europe.

If you don’t know yet, this stunning route between Lake Garda and Lake Ledro, can show traces of history melted with beauty. In fact, hundreds of international tourists. Well, last year they were more than one million!

The charm of history

Along the Ponale Road you can admire the blue water of Lake Garda and the emerald green of Lake Ledro. And not only! The Ponale Road has witnessed more than one century of history. They began to build it in 1847 and it had already been considered a masterpiece of engineering because, thanks to its tunnels and hairpin turns, it was the ideal communication way – previously inconceivable – for people and goods to and from the valley. From 1990 to the early 2000, the road was closed as they built a new and more comfortable one. Anyway, in 2004, thanks to the Committee Giacomo Cis, they created what we now know as one of the most incredible cycle-pedestrian route of Europe.

Did you know that the Ponale formed part of a group of fortifications to defend Alto Garda? While going uphill, you will notice many Austro-Hungarian embrasures, tunnels and defensive walls they used first to prevent the descent of Garibaldian troops towards Valle di Ledro, then to defend the Austro-Hungarian border with Italy, before the outbreak of the World War I.

The Ponale Road today

On 12th April 2019 you can live – or live again – the unique emotions this road can make you feel. By foot or by mountain bike? We tried it by foot – pay attention to the bikers while walking down – to enjoy it step by step. We left from Riva del Garda and reached the café-restaurant Ponale Alto after one hour. There, we watched the amazing view from the terrace. What a good way to have a break! Of course, we took some pictures to the waterfall – keep in mind to share yours with us with the hashtag #vallediledro. The Ponale is a water stream that originates from Lake Ledro and flows into Lake Garda as an about 30-meter high waterfall, the Waterfall of Ponale.

We had a coffee on the panoramic viewpoint called “delle zette” (zette means hairpin turns) and left for Valle di Ledro!

While walking you will notice the ruins of an ancient hydroelectric generating station built at the end of the nineteenth century, then demolished. The route reaches the main road (the SS 240) and takes the cycle-pedestrian path along the Ponale water stream to Molina di Ledro and Lake Ledro. Its priceless beauty will immediately award the effort. An intense emerald green lulled by the high and green mountains standing all around. It is time for a bath to restore your body… if it is warm enough!

We suggest to cover the Ponale Road in spring – perhaps it will be still too cold for the bath in the lake – because the colourful flowers will definitely enchant you! If you need further and technical information, click here. We only want to share with you the grandeur of this place – its colours, its history and the traces they carved to help the donkeys loaded with goods cover the distance, the ancient hydroelectric generating station that now houses a luxuriant vegetation and the emotions we felt. This road is much more than a trekking or mountain bike route. It will mark an unforgettable memory which still testifies our ancestors’ hard life, perhaps appeased by the timeless beauty of Valle di Ledro.


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