Trento and Trentino – Italy´s Hidden Gems – Best Things to do in Trento and Trentino
Some places are so pretty that you wonder why they are hidden gems. During my travels, this question popped into my mind when I visited the region of Trentino and its capital, Trento.
This was a place I hadn’t even heard of before – and that surprised me in many ways.
Trento and South Tyrol constitute the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, an autonomous region under the constitution, in the northern part of Italy.
Trento is somehow located between the beautiful Dolomites and the northern shores of Lake Garda. So, these two places, Lake Garda and the Dolomites in South Tyrol (with sights like the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Lake Carezza), might dominate the landscape and are extremely popular travel destinations, but do not make the mistake of skipping Trento – especially if you are into less touristy, but still pretty, places.
Me ending up in Trento, Italy, was a coincidence. Probably one of the greatest coincidences to happen in my travels lately, and I totally fell in love with a city and region I had not even heard of before.
When I planned my Italy road trip, I had two nights in between two locations – I wanted to get from southern Germany to Bergamo. Somehow, I ended up booking accommodation in Trento, and though I am not sure anymore why I booked it, it was a great decision.
Find out about the best things to do in Trento, the capital of the region Trentino. Once you see the images and get some more info about the best Trento activities, I hope you are sold and want to find out more about visiting Trento.
Things to Know Before Visiting Trento
This post might contain affiliate links – meaning I might earn a small commission if you book/buy a tour/product via my link (at no extra costs to you). More about it here.
Travel Tips for Trento
- 1 Travel Tips for Trento
- 2 What to do in Trento – The Best Places to Visit
- 2.1 Stroll the Old Town of Trento
- 2.2 Explore Castel del Buonconsiglio
- 2.3 Take the Cable Car to Sardagna
- 2.4 Explore MUSE della Scienze
- 2.5 Visit Palazzo delle Albere
- 2.6 Head to Mausoleum of Cesare Battisti
- 2.7 Pay a Visit to Castel Beseno
- 2.8 Enjoy the Views From Monte Bondone
- 2.9 Day Trip to Riva del Garda
- 2.10 Day Trip to the Dolomites
Arriving in Trento by Plane: Verona, Milano, and Bergamo are popular airports and you can get to Trento within one or two hours by train (public transportation in Italy is really good).
Trentino Card: The Trentino Card is great. If you stay in Trento at an official accommodation for two nights, you get a Trentino Card from the hotel and it is such a useful card. You can use public transportation in the area for free and get free access to many sights and attractions (free entry to over 60 museums, 20 castles, and over 40 attractions).
I hardly spent any money, as I used the card and it made my trip even better. So, if you plan to visit the area, consider staying there for at least two nights, so you benefit from this fun card (more on that later). If you stay only one night, you could buy the card for a discounted price.
Where to Stay in Trento:
I guess, that almost all hotels and official accommodations have the Trentino Guest Card for the guests. While you could even stay at Riva del Garda, located right at the pretty Lake Garda, and would still receive a guest card, I suggest booking a hotel right in Trento for at least two nights.
4-Star hotel Hotel Buonconsiglio is a well-rated hotel right in the town center. Find out more by clicking here.
The Grand Hotel Trento is another very well-rated 4-star hotel in Trento that offers the guest card to its visitors and is one of the best hotels in town. Get the best rates and find out more by clicking here.
The Albermonaco is a 3-star hotel that is more budget-friendly (close to the city center, and it also offers the Guest Card to its guests). Find out more about the hotel here.
I stayed at this hotel – it was a good choice with a dog, and the location was very lovely. However, though it is close to the town center you will still need a car to get to the town center as public transportation is not good there. Also, there is no WiFI – but I was more than happy with my budget hotel.
How to Get Around: You can use public transportation for free with your Trentino Card. I drove around for the most part -driving in Northern Italy, and especially in Trentino, isn’t too bad (I admit, I am not the biggest fan of driving in Italy). Streets and bridges (and tunnels) are partly even more modern than in Germany.
Using the highways is pretty expensive though and finding free parking spaces in Trento is a bit of a problem. If you don’t rely on your car, hop on buses and trains (which run quite frequently).
Prices: Trento is way cheaper than many other major Italian cities, but there is a lot to do around the area. Particularly with the Trentino Card, you will not need to spend a lot of money, as many attractions are included. Also, food and drinks are more affordable (one cappuccino and a croissants costs around 2.50€ in the town center).
Best Time to Visit Trento: While I loved the fact, that the weather in September was mild and the crowds had thinned, some Trento activities, like getting up via funicular at Mount Bondone, weren’t available (only in summer and during the winter season for skiing). However, most tourist attractions were open to the public and so I suggest visiting Trento and Trentino in early fall or in spring.
Here are my best tips for things to do in Trento and Trentino
What to do in Trento – The Best Places to Visit
Day 1 in Trento / Trentino
Stroll the Old Town of Trento
The old town of Trento is probably one of the most authentic old towns I have visited in Italy. While I also loved the old towns in other places in Italy, this felt the most like “real“ Italy. The streets and buildings are so extremely colorful, friendly, and stunning that it was pure bliss to stroll the city. Even though it is not very big, you should plan in half a day to discover the town center.
You will also find many stores, and Thursday is the big market day. I went to the old town on market day, so it definitely did not feel quiet or like a hidden gem.
It was crowded and busy, and even though I am not a fan of markets and crowds, it was so much fun to watch the people – and the buildings, of course.
The Piazza Duomo, with its many cafes and restaurants, will most likely charm you, and compared to cities like Rome or Venice, food and drinks are quite affordable.
A tip: visit the Duomo di Trento (Trento Cathedral)
Explore Castel del Buonconsiglio
The most famous, and most important, the castle in the region is Buonconsiglio Castle, which is a 15-minute walk from the town square.
The first part of the castle was built in the 13th century, originally for the Bishop of Trentino. It is now open to the public. Though the view might be one reason to come here, there are actually a few more reasons to visit:
Stroll the gardens, enjoy a drink or snack at the cafe, or look around the inside and admire the fine frescos and paintings.
Entry is free with your Trentino Guest Card (and smaller dogs are allowed if carried) otherwise the regular fee is around 10€.
Take the Cable Car to Sardagna
Another easy and fun activity in Trento is taking the funicular to Sardagna. To get up via funicular, walk along the Adige River and hop on the cable car.
It departs several times an hour and is also included in the Trentino Guest Card (otherwise, a round-trip ticket costs 5€).
It takes two minutes or so, and once you are up, head to the viewing platform to take in the view.
If you enjoy sunsets, this is probably a great place to end the day – bring your own drinks!
I think that with these three activities, you are already set for the first day in Trentino.
Day 2 in Trentino / Trento
Before exploring other parts of Trentino, you can visit a few more points of interests – MUSE delle Scienze and/or the Palazzo delle Albere.
As a disclaimer, I have to add that I did not visit any of the museums because I was traveling with a dog, and so I just went to both museums, which are located next to each other, and enjoyed some sunbathing in the meadow.
However, these are two popular places to visit in Trento and here is why.
Explore MUSE della Scienze
While the name of the museum sounds like it might be a very scientific museum, the reviews suggest that this place is for people of all ages, especially kids.
The natural history museum is a popular place to visit in Trentino, too, and with your Guest Card, you don’t even have to pay an entry fee.
Visit Palazzo delle Albere
This pretty, Renaissance-style palace located just next to the MUSE is another top place to visit in Trento (without dogs at least). It apparently doesn’t only look pretty from the outside, but also on the inside.
Built in the 15th century, it was severely damaged in the 18th century. But now, after renovations, it is the venue for the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART).
Head to Mausoleum of Cesare Battisti
At the top of Doss Trento, a hill that you can either hike or drive up, stands the Cesare Battisti Mausoleum.
The monument for Cesare Battisti, an Italian hero, is apparently visible from every corner of the city.
Though I visited this place, it was a very stressful situation. My thanks to the Trento police officer who helped me out with this, but I did not really enjoy the view or the place. However, if you have time, you should also check this out.
Day 2 could be spent with the activities I mentioned above, but you could also do a few half day or full day trips, as I don’t think that the above-mentioned activities will take a full day.
Train rides are included in your Trentino Card, so take advantage of it and explore the beautiful surroundings.
Pay a Visit to Castel Beseno
Another castle to visit – one with probably the best views – is the Castel Beseno, which is near the city of Rovereto as you head toward the south of Trentino.
I actually didn’t even plan to visit the castle and wanted to visit Rovereto, but instead, I left quickly as I was not head over heels in love. Somehow, I passed that stunning castle, which is the biggest feudal castle in the region.
Probably built in the 12th century, this place serves as a museum now (fantastic news: free entry with the Trentino Card; otherwise, the entry fee is about 7€) and apart from the fact that you can stroll the castle and learn about its history, it actually has great views!
It is always closed on Mondays and has different (but, generally speaking, generous) hours of operation. (In the winter though, it is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.)
Tip: If you come by car, you can park for free next to the castle.
Since this will not take a full day, it is great for Day 2 in combination with the extra activities, or with a trip to Rovereto or visiting another castle in the region.
Enjoy the Views From Monte Bondone
Monte Bondone is a mountain in Trentino, located west of Trento. It has an elevation of 2,18meterses. It ithe s highest mountain of the Garda Prealps – popular to visit during the winter season for winter sports lovers. In summer you could hike up or get up via funicular. While the funicular ticket is included in the Trentino Guest Card, it doesn’t run in September anymore. So, if you enjoy the mountain view – without hiking yourself – then summer or winter would be the best time to visit Trento.
Day Trip to Riva del Garda
I got to spend a week at Lake Garda and did a day trip to the beautiful and colorful Riva del Garda on the northern shores of Lake Garda. If you stay in Trentino for longer than two days, you should add this to your Trentino itinerary as well because (and I had no idea) Riva del Garda is actually part of Trentino.
So, not only because you can use your Trentino Card, but also because this popular city is actually fun – and not just for surfers who like the stringer winds, but also for any person who likes anything Italy-related. Colorful buildings, a pretty lake, and Italian food – Riva del Garda has all that and more.
If you are a road trip fan and don’t mind narrow, Italian mountain passes, add Lake Tenno to your itinerary as well and discover a hidden gem of Lake Garda just north of the lake.
Day Trip to the Dolomites
Lago di Carezza and Lago di Braies
If you are into lakes (and while I still think that Switzerland is the place with the prettiest lakes in Europe), head to the Dolomites region.
Okay, this is not really Trentino, and takes about two hours to drive to, but it is worth it! Pay a visit to the two easily-accessible and stunning lakes that are extremely popular (just because they are breathtaking).
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to visit Trento and the region of Trentino, as you can see there are beautiful places to see and fun things to do. I would love to visit here again, as it was a great travel destination. I hope you will have the chance to experience the same.