WHAT TO DO IN TRENTO / TRENTINO
So, for some reason, you have ended up on my site: either you plan your trip to Trento (and Trentino) and are wondering about the best things to do in Trento, or you have come here because you are curious… Trento and Trentino what?!?
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. I hadn’t even heard of it before – and that surprised me in many ways.
If you plan your Trento itinerary, this post will help you find out what to do in Trento (and Trentino) and the best places to visit, plus some travel tips.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR 2 DAYS IN TRENTO
When I planned my Italy road trip, I had two nights 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.
Before talking about the best things to do, here are some travel tips for your itinerary.
Trento and South Tyrol constitute 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.
Arriving in Trento by Plane
There are popular airports in Verona, Milano/Bergamo from which you can get to Trento within one or two hours by train (public transportation is quite good).
If you stay in Trento at an official accommodation for two nights, you get a Trentino Card.
The Trentino Card is great – it is such a useful card.
- You can use public transportation in the area for free.
- You get free access to many sights (this includes over 60 museums, 20 castles, and more than 40 other attractions).
I hardly spent any money in Trentino, 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 can 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 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 a 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 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 charming. 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. Also, there is no WiFI – but I was more than happy with my budget hotel.
How to Get Around
- For most parts of this itinerary, you can just walk. The old town is compact and pretty, so strolling is actually fun.
- However, there are sights located outside the town center. In this case, I recommend using public transportation, which you can use for free with your Trentino Card. If you don’t rely on your car, hop on buses and trains. It is a good way to get around – at least in the summer months.
- 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. Roads, streets, bridges as well as tunnels are partly even more modern than in Germany, but Italians are quite…reckless drivers if I should be honest.
- Using the highways is pretty expensive, though and finding free parking spaces in Trento is a bit of a problem.
- Trento is way cheaper than many other major Italian cities like Florence or Venice, 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.
- Food and drinks are more affordable (one cappuccino and a croissant costs around 2.50€ in the town center).
Best Time to Visit Trento
I suggest visiting Trento and Trentino in early fall or late spring. No crowds, no heat, and more affordable accommodation prices.
However, 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). So keep in mind, that some tourist attractions are only open in the busy season.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN TRENTO AND TRENTINO
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 to discover the town center for a few hours.
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! With its many shops, cafes, and restaurants, the Piazza Duomo will most likely charm you.
- TIP: Visit the Duomo di Trento (Trento Cathedral)
Explore Castel del Buonconsiglio
The most famous and most important castle in the region is Buonconsiglio Castle. and visiting is one of the best things to do in Trento. You get there after 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 – and we all can enjoy the fantastic views.
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
Here is another fun thing to do in Trento: enjoy the panorama from Sardagna, which is a village in Trento with less than 1000 residents and an elevation of 571 meters.
To get up, walk towards the Adige River, get to the cable car station, and hop on the cable car. It takes just two minutes or so to reach the top, 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 – do not forget to bring your own drinks!
- The cable car departs several times an hour and is also included in the Trentino Guest Card (otherwise, a round-trip ticket costs around 5€).
I think that with these three activities, you are already set for the first day in Trentino.
Day 2 in Trentino / Trento
As a disclaimer, I have to add that I did not visit any of the museums because I was traveling with a dog. So I just went to both museums, which are located next to each other, and enjoyed some sunbathing in the meadow but did not enter the buildings.
However, these are two popular places to visit in Trento, and here is why.
Explore MUSE Della Scienze
While the museum’s name sounds like it might be a very scientific museum, the reviews suggest that the Muse Della Scienze is for people of all ages, but especially for kids it is fun to visit.
- With your Trentino 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 (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 the Italian hero – who was executed by the Austrians in 1916 – 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 (I got stuck with my car), but I did not really enjoy the view or the place.
However, if you have time, you should also check this out and also enjoy the park area and do some shorter hikes here.
- 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.This stunning castle was the biggest feudal castle in the region. Probably built in the 12th century, this place serves as a museum now and apart from the fact that you can stroll the castle and learn about its history, it actually has great views!
- Free entry with the Trentino Card; otherwise, the entry fee is about 7€.
- 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.
- 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 combined with extra activities or 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 2,180 meters above sea level and is the highest mountain of the Garda Prealps.
It is popular to visit during the winter season for winter sports lovers, iin 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, during shoulder season this activity might not be open.
ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITIES IN TRENTO
Though Trento itself is a beauty, you can also do day trips to areas close by.
Day Trip to Riva del Garda
I spent a week at Lake Garda and did a day trip to the beautiful and colorful Riva del Garda on Lake Garda’s northern shores. 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 stronger 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
If you are into lakes, head to the Dolomites region. You will find some amazing lakes there.
Lago di Carezza and Lago di Braies
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): Lago di Carezza and Lago di Braies in the Dolomites.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST TRENTO ACTIVITIES
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to visit Trento and the region of Trentino. As you can see, there are beautiful places to see. 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 and enjoy the best things to do in Trento.