Varone Waterfalls Tour

The Varone Waterfall Tour provides two different observation points and two different settings to admire the spectacular watercourse.

The first observation point is the Lower Cave where you can see the last phase of the waterfall. The second observation point, the Upper Cave, is 40 metres further up and from there you can see the full force of the waterfall.

The cave and the waterfall are surrounded by a private natural park, a small nature reserve which has been protected thanks to the work of those people who have managed the Varone waterfall over the years, starting from the moment the first infrastructures were built (1874). Before that, in fact, it was virtually impossible to get close to the waterfall, as the paths enabling visitors to climb up the mountain today had not been laid out yet; there were only steep cliffs and the waterfall was only accessible if you climbed up the waterfall itself or if you were prepared to dangle at the end of a rope - something only experienced mountaineers felt confident enough to do, of course.

Today, thanks to the paths, the bridges, the walkways, the handrails and the winding flights of steps, this impressive natural phenomenon can be seen by everyone.

Visiting Riva del Garda waterfall: opening hours, prices, info

Opening times

WE ARE OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND, EXCEPT DECEMBER 25TH!

The visit to the Riva del Garda waterfall can be carried out at the following times:

January - February: from 10.00 to 17.00
March: from 09.00 to 17.00
April: from 09.00 to 18.00
May - June - July - August: from 09.00 to 19.00
September: from 09.00 to 18.00
October: from 09.00 to 17.00
November - December: from 10.00 to 17.00

We are closed on December 25th.

Prices

Individual tickets: 5.50 €
Group tickets: 4.00 Euro per person
(minimum 20 persons and only if buying a single group ticket before entering)
School Groups tickets: 2.50 Euro per student
(this reduction is only valid when showing an official document from the organizing school)

Picnic Area and Services

Right by the entrance of Riva del Garda Waterfall a wide open air picnic area with tables for 150 people is available to visitors. Guests can freely use the area for a pleasant open air lunch, before or after their visit to the Varone Cave Park.

A bar and a souvenir shop are also available on site.

Useful tips

What you are about to see once you are past the entrance to the Varone waterfall is a damp, dripping and mysteriously fascinating scene, part horror, part fantasy. And yet all you need to set out on your journey up and down the winding gorge down which the waterfall plunges, are three simple items of clothing: A good pair of comfortable shoes (high heels are not a good idea as the ground is slippery), a jumper (the temperature drops considerably) and a waterproof coat to avoid getting soaked by the dripping water.

The souvenir shop near the ticket office sells cellophane waterproofs if you have not come prepared.

Lenght and access

There is no time limit for your visit, minimum visiting recommended time is 20 mins.

The way is completely paved. The track up to the upper cave is made of ca.70 long steps (one step, two meters tread).

Dogs: allowed, kept on a lead.

Wheelchairs: we are not equipped for wheelchairs visits.

Strollers: stroller and prams, due to light weight, can be carried with you along the way with a minimum effort.

History and curiosities about Varone Waterfall, on Lake Garda

The official opening

Varone waterfall on Lake Garda was inaugurated amid great pomp on 20th June 1874, with two special guests of honour: King John of Saxony and Prince Nicholas of Montenegro, who happened to be holidaying by the lake in that period. It was a major event for the town of Riva del Garda, and was talked about for many years by its citizens.

From then on, every time there was some official engagement in Riva del Garda with a gala lunch in honour of the guests, it became customary before or after the lunch to slip in a visit to the Varone falls, for after all Varone was the pride of Riva del Garda or, at the very least, one of the best attractions in the area of northern Lake Garda.

VIP

The waterfall attracted the interest and admiration of artists and writers: Prince Umberto II, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Emperor Franz Joseph, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and a whole series of less famous writers and poets are just some of the people who have honoured the waterfall with a visit.

Cave Varone and its waterfall

Geological phenomenon through the millennia

Cave Varone and its waterfall are a rare geological phenomenon, one of the most unmissable Riva del Garda attractions. Let us go back in time some tens of thousands of years to see what took place here.

The great Garda glacier of the Quaternary period is receding. Its slow course has flattened and corroded the area now known as the Lower Sarca Valley and Lake Garda. It has also hollowed out - although to a lesser extent - the lateral valleys such as Tenno-Balllno. Once the glacier had receded altogether, the rivers were free to move in unimpeded and to continue even more energetically the work of erosion begun by the glacier. These waters came flooding down from the Tenno-Balllno valley into the Riva basin underneath.

The water actually fell into the basin much further downstream compared to where it falls today. So the rock face or "threshold" of the Tenno-Ballino Valley was much further forwards. In other words the water fell in the place where today the entrance to the caves stands and the gorge had not yet been created.
Over the centuries, in a period of about 20,000 years, perhaps even longer, the waters, with their load of sand, pebbles and gravel, steadily eroded the rock of the threshold. The erosion naturally had different effects depending on the hardness of the rock. It also followed the original folds of the rock, doing greater damage wherever it found a cavity or fissure.

Furthermore, while the erosion was slow at the beginning, once a hollow had been carved out, the chiselling effect became more and more effective and rapid because it tended to concentrate on this line. On hard rock such as this found here at Varone (Jurassic limestone), the erosion took the form of deep, narrow incisions.

The work of erosion continues today and the water is eating away at the rock to the tune of two millimetres per year. The trajectory of the fall is thus gradually moving back upstream towards the mountain. As a result the eddies are also moving upstream, i.e. deeper into the gorge. The Varone cave is a perfect example of regressive erosion of a waterfall. This means that the work of excavation that is being carried out on the rock face behind the waterfall is causing the waterfall to steadily retreat.

Naturally during the course of this moulding of the rock, occasionally unstable large slabs of rock, stones and piles of detritus have become detached and are washed down, giving rise to the current moulding of the gorge. Today it penetrates into the mountain for a total of 55 metres from the entrance. But at the top. at the level of the top balcony, the gorge penetrates to a depth of 73 metres. And the waterfall drops a total of 98 metres down the gorge.

How to reach Varone Waterfall

Varone Waterfall Cave Park is located in Tenno, 3 kilometres from Riva del Garda, along 421 national road direction Ponte Arche. Follow the signs for Tenno, and before arriving to the village take direction “Varone”.

Contacts

Via Cascata, 12 38060 Tenno (TN)
Tel & Fax: +39 0464 521421
Email: info@cascata-varone.com

Around Riva on Lake Garda: things to do

Fascinating and unusual itineraries

Get the most out of your vacation in Riva, Lake Garda: there are plenty of things to do and see

We would like to suggest you some less well-known excursions which do not yet attract hordes of tourists but which are of particular interest. All of these places are just a few kilometres from the Varone Waterfall: Lake Tenno, Tenno, Canale and Calvola, the San Pietro mountain hut and Lake Ledro.

Each of them has something special and, in some cases, unique.

VARONE WATERFALL CAVE PARK, Reviews: