Family Holiday in Northern Italy
The best area for a family holiday in Italy is, without a doubt, the lakes area in the north of the country. The big lakes in that area are Garda, Como and Maggiore. Out of those three, the one most idea for a family vacation is Lake Garda. I recommend staying in one of the many hotels, apartment hotels or farms in one of the picturesque towns around the lake and visiting the attractions scattered in the area, near this lake and the other lakes as well. You can also head north to visit the Dolomites.
Length of Holiday
The optimal length for a family holiday in the area is a week to ten days.
I recommend staying in one place of lodging for the
whole trip (two at most, if you want to stay at one of
the other lakes as well). This will lower costs for you
and save you the hassle of moving, packing, unpacking,
and searching for multiple hotels. This is a classic
destination for ‘star trips’: a vacation where you stay
at one central location and drive to attractions all
around it in a 2-hour radius.
I recommend booking your lodging as early as possible (especially on holidays) as this is a very popular holiday spot for both Italians and international visitors.
Holiday parks / Villages around Garda lake:
Located 1 km from Gardalaend amusement park.
Vacation appartments. 5 Pools with slides. Sport facilities. 3 restaurants.
Holiday Village in Sirmione. Large resort and swimming pools for adults and children.Sport facilities.
Around Garda Lake you can found also many Farm stays in beautiful locations.
Recommended Sites and Activities in Northern Italy:
The biggest and best amusement park in all of Italy. It is located in the south of Garda Lake, between Sirmione and Verona. I recommend spending a full day there.
A great entertainment complex which includes a water park called AquaParadise. This is a big, modern water park full of waterslides and action. Open only in the summer. Next to it is Movieland theme park, open from mid-April, and a dinner show called Medieval Times.
Lovely botanical gardens with great grassy expanses, fish ponds and colourful flowers. The gardens can be found in the town of Valeggio Sul Mincio. I recommend renting a bike or a golf cart and riding along the trails of this impressive park. The park also has a tram in which you can go on scenic 30-minute tours around the gardens. I recommend also spending an hour wandering through the alleys of the nearby picturesque village of Borghetto Sul Mincio.
Park Jungle Adventure:
Recommended for those who love action – spend about half a day here. This park features rope bridges, ziplines, and three different climbing tracks of different difficulty levels.
Parco Natura Viva:
A combination zoo and safari, located inside a beautiful forest in Pastrengo, near Verona. The park also has a big petting zoo and a ‘dinosaur trail’ with life-sized statues pf the prehistoric creatures.
The most beautiful and most popular town in Lake Garda. Sirmione is an old picturesque town built on a strip of land protruding into Lake Garda. I recommend wandering through the streets of the town, visiting Scaligera castle, boating in the lake near the castle, riding a bike along the promenade, and finishing off with a game of mini-golf. Don’t forget to buy some wonderful Italian ice cream at one of the many ice cream stalls in the old town! A nice market is on in the town every Monday and Friday.
Trip around Lake Garda:
Lake Garda is surrounded by green little towns, beautiful viewpoints of the lake, and scenic roads with lots of tunnels. In the summer, I recommend combining swimming at one of the lake’s many beaches with boating in the lake or hiking around it in its marked nature trails.
Another old town worth visiting where you can go
up to the top of the mountain of Monte Baldo in a
two-level cable car ride. The cable car at the second
level rotates 360 degrees as it ascends.
The Viewpoint on the way to Campione Del Garda: A viewpoint not to be missed. This road is considered to be one of the most beautiful roads in all of Italy.
Riva Del Garda:
An interesting fishing town with an old and well-preserved centre. Its main attraction is Rocca Castle. It also has a promenade leading to a lake beach with plenty of sporting options, particularly water sports (surfing, boating, water skiing, etc). Not far from Riva Del Garda I recommend visiting Cascata Varone waterfalls, roughly 3 kilometres north of the town. The waterfalls are about 100 metres tall. They can be reached by an easy 30-minute walk. The trail goes from the lower waterfall to an overlook of the higher waterfall. A little bit north of the falls is a beautiful little turquoise lake called Lake Tenno. Around the lake is an easy hiking trail.
The lake is lovely for swimming in the summer.
Summer activities on Lake Garda:
In summertime, Lake Garda is an active vacation site suitable for swimming, boating, water skiing and other water-related activities. I definitely recommend spending a relaxed day at the lake.
Baia Delle Sirene:
A particularly great beach, very well cared for and full of entertainment facilities. It is situated on the east side of the lake between Garda and Malcesine.
Parco Termale Del Garda:
If the weather isn’t suitable for lake swimming, or if you feel like pampering yourselves a bit, visit these thermal springs in Cola village. The park has a large artificial lake with waterfalls and fountains and a partially-indoor pool.
An interesting city famous especially for Shakespeare’s tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, which was set here. I recommend spending at least half a day here. Visit the town square, Barna amphitheatre, qand of course, the famous house of Juliet with its balcony and graffiti. The city also has a nice car museum and busy squares full of markets and stands. Verona also has some beautiful gardens: Giardino Giusti.
There is no need for me to go on about this famous and romantic city. Despite the heaps of tourists, crowdedness, dirtiness and foul smell of the water, Venice is a must-see destination. Don’t miss San Marco Square and its thousands of pigeons, the Ducal Palace, Rialto Bridge, the streets of the centre of the city, and a visit to the glass island of Murano.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful of all the lakes. Its highlight is a boat ride to the Borromean Islands, two of them in particular: Isola Bella (‘Beautiful Island’) and Isola Madre (‘Mother Island’).
The islands have beautiful gardens full of birds including many peacocks, beautiful narrow streets and impressive buildings. I also recommend visiting the touristy lakeside city of Stresa. I recommend going up to the top of Mottarone Mountain for a beautiful overlook of the lake and the islands.
Those who love heights and cable cars should visit Laveno on the east side of the lake and go up to the top of the nearby mountain in cable cars (for single passengers or two passengers, standing). You will get to see a beautiful view of the lake, the surrounding mountains and the nearby towns.
A lake surrounded by mountains and yet more picturesque villages, marinas, gardens, and castles. I especially recommend visiting the town of Bellagio. Be sure to visit Villa Melzi which is one of the symbols of Bellagio. The villa also has beautiful English gardens. I also recommend renting a rowing boat at the lake and seeing Bellagio from the water.
Another lovely town on the western bank of the lake is Cernobbio. Its main attraction is Villa D’este and its terraced gardens which go down all the way to the lake. The gardens are full of beautiful sculptures and overlook a gorgeous view. The most impressive villa in Como, however, is Villa Carlotta in the town of Tremezzo.
Especially suitable for lovers of nature, mountain passes and cable cars. The most interesting points are Val Gardena Valley, Ortisei, Passo di Sella, Canazei, and the top of Marmolada Mountain.
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