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Riva del Garda's main attraction is the lake, lined with plush hotels and a waterside promenade that stretches for several miles past parks and pebbly beaches. The water is warm enough for swimming May to October, and air currents fanned by the mountains make Riva and neighboring Torbole the windsurfing capitals of Europe. Kitesurfing, kayaking, and sailing are all popular pastimes.

A convenient point of embarkation for a lake outing is the beach next to La Rocca castle, where from March through October you can rent rowboats or pedal boats for about 10€ per hour; the concession is open daily 8am to 8pm..

Check out the sailing and windsurfing at Sailing du Lac at the luxurious Hotel du Lac et du Parc, where windsurf equipment can be rented for 52€ per day or 22€ for an hour. Lessons start at 69€ for 2 hours. Dinghy lessons are available from 69€ for 2 hours, rental from 30€ per hour. The school is open from mid-April to mid-October 8:30am to 6:30pm.

Lake Garda is also renowned for mountain biking; there are more than 80 routes around the waterside and up into the Alpine foothills. Rent bikes from Happy Bike, Viale Rovereto 72 (www.happy-bike.it; (tel) 347-943-1208), open daily 9am to 7pm; rent a mountain bike for 14€ per day, or grab an eco-friendly electric bike for 49€ per day.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.