I spent a week exploring Lake Garda, sampling the best it has to offer in outdoor activities.

And my trip with Canvas Holidays didn’t disappoint.

Here are my top five adventures you cannot miss.

1. Climbing Monte Baldo

Trekking on Monte Baldo

Trekking on Monte Baldo

This imposing ridge of mountains on the eastern shoreline provides the most dramatic of backdrops to the glistening blue of Lake Garda.

Craggy peaks topping 2,000-metres rise above lushly forested slopes, creating a wild and rugged landscape that feels a million miles from the crowded tourist hotspots.

Take a ferry to Malcesine, ride the cable car to 1,760 metres and get exploring.

Short walks with stunning views satisfy most – but for a real adventure wear your hiking boots and trek to the 2,218-metre summit of Cima Valdritta.

2. Mountain biking in Riva Del Garda

Mountain biking from Riva Del Garda

Mountain biking from Riva Del Garda

With hundreds of miles of world class trails, the northern section of Lake Garda bills itself as the best bike resort in Europe.

Start in Riva Del Garda – a majestic spot encircled by towering rock faces – and choose any of the myriad of routes in the tourist information mountain bike guide. 

For a gentle outing the flat riverside route towards Dro is your best bet. 

But if your legs can handle it, why not take on the 40km ride to Rifugio Pernici (1,600m) via Lake Ledro?

3. Paddle boarding in Pisenze Beach

Paddle boarding felt like walking on water

Paddle boarding is like walking on water

It is the up-and-coming sport that feels like walking on water.

Get closer than ever to Lake Garda by paddling around a small island and along 150-metre high cliffs at Pisenze beach near Manerba del Garda.

Hire your boards by the hour or opt for a group lesson with SUP Garda.

Expect a tranquil yet invigorating experience rather than an all-out adrenaline rush.

4. Taking a refreshing dip

Sunshine showcases Lake Garda in all its glory

Sunshine showcases Lake Garda in all its glory

Don’t just look at Lake Garda, immerse yourself in it – literally.

Swimming in the lake is fun, free and fantastic and you can do it (responsibly, of course) almost anywhere at anytime.

But for the real experience opt for a picturesque beach, don your swimming costume and take the plunge.

5. Riding a boat across the lake

Stunning rainbow viewed from the lake ferry

Stunning rainbow viewed from the lake ferry

This is not strictly an adventure activity – more a way of getting from A to B.

But hop aboard a ferry from one of the numerous ports and the journey will be a pleasure not a chore.

Step out onto the deck to feel the wind in your face and drink in panoramic views of the region from a whole new perspective.