Climbing in Arco, northern Italy

Long gone is Arco a secret paradise for climbers. Olive trees and wine yards decorate the sarca valley. Arco with a great infrastructure by today poses a great getaway for everyone big & small, beginners or muscled packed. There´s no corner where you could turn to and not find some mountaineering store to spend your money on. Not only is the region made for climbers, it’s a haven for mountain bikers and windsurfers. With it´s mild Mediterranean climate 365 days long, no wonder it boomed over the last 20 years with sport tourists coming from all over the world, looking for sun, sport, pizza and great fun over the weekend. In the winter when days are short and the sun low, arco offers you many possibilities to enjoy climbing in your t-shirt. The best time of the year to come is nevertheless from February till November. It could get really hot and humid in the summer but there are an abundant crags hidden behind the trees, or north facing, offering shade and cooling air.

Arco, you are entering a climbers zone

In the late 90ties the hardest route in Massone – “Underground” 9a was born. Since then, multiple sectors with diverse difficult routes popped out of nowhere, making Arco very popular. You have a choice of over thousands of routes to choose from. Even today, new routes and sectors keeps on growing, you wonder sometimes, why didn’t they discover this place much earlier. Recent developements have now brought out many new sectors, new areas spreaded out in the Sarca Valley and the Trentino regions, making a 2 week trip to this spot probably too short with so many new places to discover.

Lago di Garda
Lago di Garda

A boom has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Laghel,  famous for it`s beautiful routes as with “Mani di Burro” 7c or “Drepano” 7b+, is now closed. Many crags are found on private ground. Due to a trend where the growing community causes problems of rubbish, parties, wild camping, etc, a number of crags has seen it’s closure. Angry landowners can’t always be blamed for finding filth and strangers in his land, or the access to his olive plantation being blocked by cars, some camping right on site. No wonder. But there is an abundance of hotels, guest rooms, agriturismos and camp grounds found in Arco. So, if you’re coming even in peak periods (weekends and summer) you shouldn’t have a problem to find accommodation in the area. As a responsible climber, do your part for the environment, repect the nature and it’s landowners.

It’s been more than 20 years since the first Rock Master Competition was held in Arco. This big event takes place yearly where strong athletes from all over the world participate to compete against other.


There are more than 80 different crags, and many guide books full of multiple pitch routes and more than a 100 boulder problems in the area. Massone, Nago and Colodri are some of the classical sectors. There’s something for everyone in this area. Beginners, hard core climbers, overhang freaks. slabs, multi pitch routes, sunny and shady cliffs. Arco is great fun, and if you haven’t seen Arco, you haven’t tasted whats paradise yet.

Useful Information:

Guide Book:

Klettern in Arco (Versanti Sud ) available in 4 languages


Limestone, Dolomite limestone

Climbing shops:

I doubt you can miss them. Actually, the whole town area in Arco itself is full of mountaineering shops. Be it shoes, climbing apparel, camping equipment, friends or just urban outdoor clothing, you name em, they have them. All clustered in one lane and with all possible brands that exists in this world. Red point, Vertical Sport, Salewa, North Face …

Best time to go:

Spring, autumn. It’s also possible to climb in the summer and winter time, depending on good weather conditions. There are times when you have minus 10°c at night and you’re climbing the next day in t-shirt and swearing that you didn’t bring your sun hat along. I love those days.




Camp grounds:

  • Campeggio Arco, Prabi – Arco
  • Zoo Camping, Prabi – Arco
  • Camping Daino, Pietramurata – Dro
  • Camping Bellavista, Arco-Torbole
  • Camping Maroadi, Arco-Torbole

Div. listings of guesthouses and apartments

Where to eat:

Generally, every corner you would find diverse pizzerias, pasta restaurants. Our recommendations for the best pizzas in the area are Pizzeria Centrale or Aurora. If Arco is just not enough, try looking for pizzerias in Riva. This place not only has an abundance of restaurants and pizzas but also night clubs, bars and discos. For those of you looking for a formal restaurant: La Laterna offers slow food and Italian specialties. Ahh, did I mention, do not miss the Gelatis in the main town square. Yes, go for doubles too.


Poli – There’s a huge supermarket just after the roundabout, driving in the direction of Riva. It’s open till 9pm and on Sundays.
Smaller supermarkets in Sarca, Dro…

Recommended Crags:

Pretty hopeless to name all the crags that’s available. But here’s a recommended overview of crags to go to for the different times of the year. (Crag listing for comfortable climbing 6c and above)

  • Winter:
    Massone, Ranzo, Noriglio (Trento), Serrada (Trento), Bassilandia , Babilonia , Cavedago , Margone , Sunny Place, New Massone , Laghel (closed) , Belvedere , Pizzeria, Terra Promessa (west), San Siro, Sarche, Lon  or hier:  Arco in winter
  • Spring and autumn: (these areas are usually east or west facing)
    Panoramica, Colodri, Grottosauro, Padaro, Salt de la Cavra, Red Point wall, Monte Colt (multiple pitch), Ceniga, Ottava meraviglia, Transatlantico (multiple pitch), Camarette, La Gola (Arcadioland, Pezzent Area), Lomasone, Rio bianco, Cavedego, Nomesino, Serrada 
  • Summer:
    Climax, Camarette, Coltura, Breguzzo, L’orrido, Commano, La Gola (Gorge), Lomaso

If you don’t have much time but want to get quantity, Massone, Nago and San Siro are quick best bets.

Rest days:

Go dws, or swimming, hiking, Via-Ferratas, biking, paragliding or skiing.


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  1. Thanks so much for this. This might sound a little strange, but I spent the first few years of my teenage lifein Italy, then travelled around the world. Now I’m living in New Zealand, with my Chinese wife, and son we had whilst in Japan! Truly international, eh? Anyway, I’ve been trying to rediscover the smells and tastes of my youth with some authentic Italian recipe like these, best I’ve found so far! Thanks again, I’ll see if I can add the feed to my google reader tonight, though my son usually does that for me!

  2. I am planning a trip to Lake Garda but only have one day to climb in the Arco area. I would like to climb at Massone and would like to know if it is possible to catch a bus to the crag? Also are there shops where I can rent a rope for the day?

    1. Hi Tyrone,
      frankly speaking, we always have our gear with us, so we were never faced with this question about rental gear. However, the streets of Arco is full of outdoor shops door to door and I have seen a few schools amongst them who do rent gear. You will have a partner with whom you will be climbing with? So maybe, this other person has a rope for you to share? Massone isn’t very far away from the town centre, and I have seen many people who bikes up there to climb. There are bike rentals in the town or maybe even at the place where you stay. Good luck! Hope you will have a successsfull day climbing in Arco.

      1. Hi Chris,

        Thanks for the quick reply. My wife and I will be travelling around Northern Italy, so trying to save on weight by not bringing our climbing rope. We may still decide to bring it at the end of the day…will see.

        Thanks for the information.

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