Located at the western end of the Venetian Pre-Alps, the Mount Baldo range stands out as an isolated massif, of rectangular shape, that extends from Veronese to Trentino for about 40 km, along Lake Garda. Mount Baldo reaches its maximum elevation of 2,218 m with the Valdritta, and its minimum elevation of 65 m on Lake Garda.
Mount Baldo took its actual shape during the ice age which also created Lake Garda. At that time the tip of Mount Baldo was the only area that emerged from the immense glacier that covered the region until 20.000 years ago. This is why many different varieties of plants could develop so that some species of flowers, especially rare wild orchids, are named “baldensis” in their scientific name. Because of the richness and variety of vegetation growing on its slopes, Mount Baldo is often called “Europe Garden”. In previous centuries, people used to climb up the Baldo in search of plants used to treat illnesses. Wildlife was also once well represented on the mountainside, with wolves, eagles and bears to be found; more common species have survived until the present day, such as the roe deer, the red fox, the golden eagle, the capercaillie, the red deer, the sparrowhawk, the rock ptarmigan and the mountain sparrowhawk … as well as a host of beautifully coloured butterflies. The Orto Botanico del Monte Baldo (about 20,000 m²), also known as the Orto Botanico di Novezzina or Orto Botanico d’Europa, is a botanical garden located at 1232 meters altitude on Monte Baldo in Ferrara di Monte Baldo. The garden was established in 1989 by the town, recreating natural ecosystems of rocky landscapes, beech forest, pasture, and wetlands. It contains over a thousand species native to Mount Baldo, including the endemic Campanula petraea, Carex baldensis, and Primula spectabilis. All species are indicated by cards indicating family, genus, species, and Italian name. It is open daily in the warmer months; an admission fee is charged.
Mount Baldo is an extraordinary open-air gym, with views over Lake Garda, the Po Valley, and the Pre-Alps of Veneto and Lombardy, where sports enthusiasts, from novices to the most expert, can practice their favourite sports. There is a host of routes of different levels available for hikers and excursionists: from easy walks from the station uphill of the cableway, to the high water at Malcesine, to more difficult climbs up to Mount Altissimo (2h 40 minutes), the Telegrafo Refuge (3h 30 minutes), or the Bocca di Navene Refuge (1 hour). Then there are the descents to San Michele (2 hours) and Prai (45 minutes). A few minutes’ walk is all that is needed to reach the Prà Alpesina chairlift from the cableway. This goes down to the malghe where it is possible to savour locally produced speciality cheeses and cold meats. A constant feature of every route is the beauty of the surroundings and the splendid views over Lake Garda, the Brentonico – la Polsa plateau and the Venetian Pre-Alps. It is always advisable to remember that Mount Baldo has high altitudes and an authentic mountain environment and, for this reason, suitable clothing and shoes should be worn. As well as easy hikes and difficult climbs, Mount Baldo is the ideal place for cyclists and lovers of free flight. Using the new cableway, it is possible to take a bicycle with you and once you have arrived up on the mountain, you will find more than 40 km of paths, dirt tracks and roads covering its length and breadth, as far as the banks of Lake Garda. Do not forget to check the times for cableway journeys reserved for cycle transport. The cable-way Malcesine-Monte Baldo connects Malcesine with Mount Baldo. From there you will have a breathtaking view of the incredibly blue lake. Cages spin while you’re going up so you will enjoy a 360° panorama. On Mount Baldo can be found many different trekking courses and mountain bike itineraries that can be taken in summer, and in winter you can ski on Mount Baldo slopes while watching the lake Garda below. Besides, the cableways Funivie del Garda will take you from Prada (1.000 mt), a marvelous terrace on Mount Baldo overlooking Lake Garda, to Malga Prada (1.550 mt) with a cableway and from there with a chair lift to Costabella, the first peak of Mount Baldo (1.850 mt). From there you can enjoy the nature by walking along the paths, where you can meet cows and ships, squirrels, fallow deers and other wild animals; and you can enjoy a wonderful view on the Lake Garda, with the peninsula of Sirmione, the Gulf of Salò, the Rocca of Manerba del Garda, the Garda Island. At the arrival points of Malga Prada you’ ll find also the chalet Baito Eugenio Turri, that offers services of bar, restaurant, snack bar and solarium. It gives a lovely view of Lake Garda and organizes numerous different sporting activities and excursions. At the arrival point of Costabella you’ll find the hut Rifugio Fiori del Baldo, that offers bar, restaurant and lodgings during the summer. Further there are two other hunts: Rifugio CAI Chierego (at 1.911 mt) and Rifugio CAI Telegrafo (at 2.200 mt), offering bar, restaurant and comfortable sleeping.