A trip to Trentino Alto-Adige is always a fantastic adventure. Vibrant cities, picturesque little towns, and lush nature everywhere. The first time we went, we stayed in Trento for some three weeks, so we made a point of exploring its surroundings and more of this gorgeous northern Italian region.
Apart from exploring the city as much as we could, we loved taking many day trips from Trento to know more about the area, its history, and culture, and also to enjoy its famous natural landscape.
Among the 20 Italian regions, we are particularly fond of the Trentino Alto-Adige, and for this, we keep going back. We have traveled there a few times so we had the chance to visit more places than just a normal holiday. While last time we rented a car, on a previous holiday we fully relied on local public transport. So among these day tours from Trento there are both places that can be easily reached by train or bus and some for which you will need a car.
You will find a mix of art, history, landscape, adrenaline, and activities that require some physical effort. It’s up to you to pick which ones of these trips will fit in your vacation, which ones to take if you have children, and what are your favorite things to do.
Are you ready? Let’s get to explore more of the wonderful Trentino Alto-Adige region with fantastic day excursions from Trento!
Rovereto is possibly the easiest among all the day trips from Trento you can plan during your vacation. A short train ride from Trento central station will take you close to Rovereto city center, which is where you are going to spend your time since you are there for only one day.
Only one day is not enough to see everything Rovereto has to offer. If you are traveling by train, I suggest you plan to visit the main landmarks of the city center so that you can easily walk. Some of these include
- How to reach Rovereto from Trento. The easiest and fastest way is by train that will get you to Rovereto station in less than 15 minutes. By car it can take you up to half an hour and you need to take strada statale SS 12 (state road), or the toll highway A22/E45 to Via degli Alpini/Via Lagarini and take the exit Rovereto Nord.
Visiting Castel Thun is a fantastic and relatively easy day trip from Trento. The castle bears a long history and it’s absolutely fascinating to see the original furniture, personal objects, decorations, dining hall, plates and ceramics, and even kitchen tools from when the noble family used to live there.
If you are visiting during warmer seasons like spring or summer, you can make Castel Thun the final stop of a fascinating hike from the nearest village, Vigo di Ton. This is a fantastic hike of about 2 km (1.24 miles) that will take you through woods and apple orchards the Val di Non valley is so famous for.
- How to get to Castel Thun from Trento. By car is your best options. By public transport, you can take the train to Mezzolombardo and here bus B615 to Vigo di Ton and from there you will need to walk or see if there is a local shuttle. Alternatively, you can inquire with your hotel if they arrange tours to Castel Thun: they might be able to plan the trip for you or suggest who does it.
Riva del Garda
Is visiting a pretty town on the shores of Italy’s largest lake on your to-do list? Don’t look further, Riva del Garda is your dream destination. Enjoy a relaxing walk along the shores lapped by the calming waters of Lake Garda surrounded by dramatic mountains and everything will feel good again.
Riva del Garda is an exclusive destination among Italians and Europeans. Here, you can take a boat and visit other towns around the lake, engage in some water sports such as kayaking or windsurfing, and even take the cable car to the hilltop for fantastic views.
- How to reach Riva del Garda from Trento. By car, you can opt for the A22 highway or for Strada Statale Via Gardesana SS45bis. The distance is about the same. The highway is slightly longer but since it’s a high-speed road, the time needed is around an hour for both ways. Riva del Garda city center is ZTL (limited traffic zone), so watch out for the signs otherwise you will get a hefty fine. Before entering the historic center, you will find private covered parking next to a hotel. This is a sound solution because the road is winding and two-way so parking there impossible. By public transport, you need to take the train to Rovereto and from there, bus B332 that reaches Riva del Garda in around 45 minutes.
Levico Terme is a relatively small town (less than 10.000 residents) in Trentino Alto-Adige famous for its pure water. Its proximity to Trentino’s capital makes it one of the easiest and best day trips from Trento.
Levico is a lovely town where we visited the wonderful Parco delle Terme and the museum about its water and the important role it played in the local history, culture, and job market. Among the other things you can do in Levico Terme is visiting its beautiful lake and booking a pampering stay at one of its thermal resorts.
Levico is beautiful in every season. If you want to go for long walks around its mountains and woods, spring and summer are the best times. On the other hand, if you are into skiing and snow, winter is a fantastic season for both winter sports and suggestive Christmas markets organized in the city’s park.
- How to reach Levico Terme from Trento. By car in less than half an hour via Strada Statale (state road) SS47. By train from Trento’s main station, you can take the R25 local train by Trentino Trasporti or Trenitalia regional train and reach Levico in about 45 minutes. By bus B401 you get to Levico in an hour.
Trentino is literally studded with fortified castles dating back to different ages and centuries. Castel Beseno is a medieval castle that makes for a fantastic day trip from Trento and a great outing dedicated to history and nature.
While its interior is not as well-preserved as the halls and rooms of Castel Thun, this fortified stronghold is an eye-opener on the local history and old defensive architectural style. Castel Beseno, located on a hilltop near the small town of Besenello, is the largest fortified complex in the Trentino region. Its position and strong walled structure were key to making it unaccessible and hard to attack.
When you visit, you can wander inside the castle and see where were the different areas and rooms, both those used for domestic works such as bread-making, kitchen, and the dwellers’ private rooms, as well as for more public functions such as judiciary and administrative duties.
Today, the castle is a museum that hosts historical and cultural events.
- How to reach Castel Beseno from Trento. By car, from Trento Besenello is less than 20 km (12 miles) and you can reach via Strada Statale SS12. Once in Besenello, you can follow the sign to Castel Beseno. As usual, a navigator or Google Maps will help.
Lago di Tovel (Lake Tovel)
Lake Tovel is one of the most famous and scenic lakes in the Trentino region and, luckily for you, it’s also an easy day trip from Trento. For a full immersion in nature, a fantastic hike, an excursion on a mountain bike, a picnic, or a photography trip, Lago di Tovel in Trentino’s Val di Non is a fantastic destination for everyone and pretty much every season. In summer, you can even swim, even though the water is also very cold.
Located at 1178 meters above sea level, Lago di Tovel is the largest lake of the entire Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta.
The landscape is dominated by the mighty Brenta Dolomites and mountains clothed with pine, fir, and larch trees that beautifully reflect on its calm waters. The scenery is so stunning that it makes for a perfect place to propose in Italy.
- How to reach Lago di Tovel from Trento. By car from Trento you need to take Strada Statale SS12 and follow the directions to Val di Non/Tuenno, take Starda Provinciale SP235, then SS43 and take exit Denno/Ton/Tuenno/Lago di Tovel. From Tuenno, follow the signs for Lago di Tovel. You can park near the lake (paid parking). For free parking, you can stop in Cles or Tuenno and take the shuttle bus (3€) which runs daily in July and August, while the other months only on weekends, and takes 40 minutes. You can also book your parking online here.
Madonna di Campiglio
Madonna di Campiglio is one of those places in Trentino with the power of leaving you speechless. Breathtaking beauty all around, Madonna di Campiglio is a fantastic day trip from Trento and a great destination whether you like skiing or hiking in nature.
Depending on when you travel, Madonna di Campiglio is fantastic both in winter as one of the most popular ski resorts in the region for visitors who want to discover the gorgeous Brenta Dolomites and glacier of Adamello, and in summer for scenic hiking routes.
Whichever season you’ll pick, rest assured that Madonna di Campiglio will know how to treat and pamper you.
- How to reach Madonna di Campiglio from Trento. By bus from Trento train station with Trentino Trasporti. You can enquire about the schedule directly at the station or online. By car, take the Strada Statale SS45bis and SS237, then take Strada Provinciale SP34 and merge into SS239 towards Viale Dolomiti del Brenta in Madonna di Campiglio.
San Romedio Sanctuary
This has been one of our favorite stops on our last trip to Trentino Alto-Adige and certainly is one of the most suggestive day trips from Trento. The Sanctuary of San Romedio is located in Trentino’s Val di Non and is one of the most scenic sanctuaries in the region and in the Dolomites.
Whether you arrive driving or hiking, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views and lush greenery. In fact, along with visiting the sanctuary, climbing the many staircases, entering its inside chapels and rooms, and seeing the hundreds of ex-voto images and boards, you can also take a relaxing walk in the woods all around.
As a curiosity, a wild black bear rescued from Romania is kept in the natural reserve belonging to the sanctuary.
- How to reach San Romedio Sanctuary from Trento. By car, it takes between 45 minutes and an hour drive via Strada Provinciale SP235 and Strada Statale SS43. Take the exit towards Sanzeno and in roughly 3 km of asphalted road, you get to San Romedio parking. From here, it’s a short walk to the sanctuary. From Sanzeno, you can also choose to reach San Romedio via an adventurous walk through the rocky slopes of an old irrigation canal. The route is safe for children, too, the view is spectacular but pretty dizzying so make sure no one is afraid of big heights! Also, some parts are low so be careful not to hit your head on the rock.
There are so many things to do in Bolzano that even though we did a marathon to try to see as much as possible, we reckon one day wasn’t enough and are planning to go back. The largest German-speaking city of South Tyrol, Bolzano (Bozen) is famous for its Dolomites and skiing resorts, as well as its archaeological museum.
Bolzano’s South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is where you can see Ötzi, the mummy found in the area by chance by two hikers in 1991. The museum is extremely interesting because it doesn’t only display the mummy (perfectly preserved behind an isolated glass window), but narrates also what was his life like, what were his activities, clothes, diet habits, and even what diseases it’s believed he had and how he died.
Bolzano has many fascinating landmarks to discover. One is its beautiful Gothic and Romanic- style cathedral that is located near another major attraction, Piazza Walther. A scenic central square, Piazza Walther is known as the city’s parlor for its many cafes and shops and where the Christmas markets are set up.
- How to reach Bolzano from Trento. By direct train from Trento in less than an hour. By car via the A22/E45 highway.
Don’t miss our article on how and where to enjoy the Italian Dolomites.
Merano is a beautiful city nestled in the mountains of the South Tyrol Alto-Adige region. Even though Merano and its surroundings are worth a full holiday, if you are short in time and mainly focusing the Trentino side, you can totally make it as a one-day tour from Trento.
In one day in Merano you can take a walk in its historic center under its busy porticoes and its medieval Steinech quarter, visit the Wandelhalle building to feel in the Belle Époque period, and take a walk along the Tappeiner promenade.
Merano is famous for its thermal baths. If you are into pampering yourself, you can book half a day, a couple of hours, or even only a treatment. Since one day is really a short time, you will need to compromise a little and plan properly. Merano is also known for its wonderful Trauttmansdorf Gardens, and here you will need at least half a day. We have visited and absolutely adored it.
- How to reach Merano from Trento. By train from Trento you need to change in Bolzano and then a direct train to Merano. Depending on the waiting time in Bolzano, the journey can take between 1 hour and 20 to 50 minutes. By car it’s more than 80 km (more than 50 miles) and you need to take the toll highway A22/E45, exit toward Bolzano Sud and take SS38 toward Merano.
We visited Bressanone in one day from Trento and easily reached by train. Even though it’s closer to Bolzano and requires a change, in one day we visited quite a lot. Bressanone is not very big so all the main landmarks are clustered in its walkable historic center. If you are not planning an excursion to the Dolomites, that is.
Among the first things I suggest you do in Bressanone are a walk around its quaint old town and visit its beautiful cathedral, Duomo di Maria Assunta, with a stop to admire its frescoed cloister.
Another lovely place to visit in Bressanone is also its Pharmacy Museum to travel through the history of this old profession with a rich collection of tools, objects, jars, and medicines. Among the other attractions that are worth a tour are Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop Palace), the old cemetery, and the church and monastery of the Capuchin friars.
- How to reach Bressanone from Trento. By train, you need to change in Bolzano and can take between an hour and 1 hour and a half. By car it’s 100 km (62 miles) and you need to follow the toll highway A22/E45 to SS242d in Chiusa and take the exit Chiusa-Val Gardena-Klausen-Gröden. Follow SS12 toward the exit Battististraße/Via Cesare Battisti/Via Elvas/Elvaserstraße in Bressanone.
Another scenic lake in Trentino that makes for one of the easiest and best day trips from Trento is Lago di Molveno. Depending on which season you go, the activities you can engage on differ. In summer, you can even swim on the lake, while in winter, being so cold and near the Dolomites, you obviously won’t be able to!
The favorite activities around Molveno Lake and its Dolomites peaks include trekking, paragliding, mountain biking around the Paganella woods and lakes, and canoeing.
- How to reach Molveno Lake from Trento. By car it’s around 45 km (28 miles) but it takes around 1 hour because the journey is mainly winding mountain roads. From Trento, follow SS12 and take SP235 and SS43. Merge onto SP64 for 17 km (10 miles) toward Andalo and then take SS421 to Molveno Lake. It might sound like many roads (and it is), but if you follow your navigator it’s not too difficult. If you follow the toll A22/E45 highway, the road is probably less winding but distance and time is the same.
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