Top 6 family activities around the Italian Lakes

Although the Italian Lakes cater more for adults than children, there is no shortage of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Here are some ideas to keep the little ones (and grown-ups!) entertained during your next holiday to Italy...
A thrilling ride in Gardaland
A thrilling ride in Gardaland. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Visit thrilling theme parks

Peschiera on Lake Garda is a children’s paradise – not the town itself, but the stretch of shoreline to the north which has no fewer than three theme parks, including Italy’s number-one theme park, Gardaland. The theme park boasts an impressive array of thrilling rides and shows, plus the Sea Life aquarium. Laser shows and fireworks add to the attractions on summer evenings. However, be prepared for very long queues in summer. Add a stop to Gardaland on Insight Guides' Enchanting Italian Lakes trip.  

Just to the north, Movieland offers more heart-pumping rides, film-themed shows with stage sets and special effects, and a fun-filled Caneva Aquapark with a variety of rides and slides, a white-sand beach and an adventure island. Acquasplash Franciacorta (at Corte Franca, near Lake Iseo) offers plenty of aquatic activity with swimming pools, slides and chutes.

Gardaland.Gardaland. Photo: Shutterstock

2. Grab a ride on a cable car

Give kids a tower or a mountain to climb and up they will go – and there are plenty of opportunities for both here. Be prepared to dig deep into your pockets for trips on cable cars and chairlifts. Once at the top, however, there are wonderful walking trails. Take cold weather gear, binoculars and a book on wildlife as the flowers and birds are as lovely as the views. You may even see a marten or fox.

The most exciting rides are the Monte Baldo cablecar, where the rotating panoramic pods ascend Monte Baldo from Malcesine on Lake Garda and the Alpyland Coaster, above Lake Maggiore, which enables you to control a two-man bobsleigh down Monte Mottarone for 750m at speeds of up to 40kph. Our Enchanting Italian Lakes trip features a stay at Maggiore, and can be customised to add stops at Monte Baldo or Malcesine. 

3. Experience animals up-close

To see animals ­– alive, extinct or endangered – spend a day at Parco Natura Viva, which has a drive-through safari park, walk-through fauna and dinosaur parks and a tropical greenhouse and aquarium. Rated as one of Europe’s top zoos, it works for the protection of endangered species. Insight Guides' local experts can include a trip to Parco Natura Viva on your Italian Lakes itinerary: submit a trip request today and we'll do the rest.

A rotating cable car going up Monte Baldo.Children will love taking the rotating cable car up Monte Baldo. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Culture for kids

Italy is the perfect place to develop a child's love of history and art. Pace it out, research the horrible histories and get some real-life stories dripping with blood and gore; look at the way things were made and used and the next thing you know you will have a pint-sized archaeologist on your hands. Budding gladiators can let their imaginations run wild in Verona’s beautifully preserved Roman Arena, and older children might enjoy one of the opera extravaganzas (this is not formal opera – you can sit on the steps and take a picnic). Insight Guides can create a cultural trip itinerary for Verona, the Italian Lakes and beyond: talk to a local expert today

5. Swimming in the Italian Lakes

Who needs a pool when there are several hundred natural swimming pools with water of deepest blue to vivid turquoise, with hundreds of kilometres of (usually rocky) shore to play on; whether you’re paddling or snorkelling, this is the ideal playground for kids and grown-ups. Cool off in the best pools around the region on Insight Guides' Enchanting Italian Lakes holiday itinerary. 

6. Eating ice cream

Italy may have given the world Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, but for most children its greatest gift is food: pizza, pasta but above all, gelato, luscious ice cream in a rainbow array of flavours. Sample classic concoctions or try your hand at making it yourself with a number of courses and classes on offer in the region. Simply talk to a local expert today, and we will create the trip of your dreams. 

Sampling some of Italy's finest gelato.Sampling some of Italy's finest gelato. Photo: Shutterstock

More fun things to do in the Italian lakes

Parco della Villa Pallavicino at Stresa on Lake Maggiore is a popular spot for youngsters, with 40 different species of animals and birds, many of them roaming free in the park, and a well-equipped playground. In summer a little electric train links the park with central Stresa. On the other side of the lake, Rocca Borromeo is one of the region’s best-preserved castles, and home to a doll museum. Lake Garda has several medieval castles for youngsters to explore too.

Ready to take your family holiday to the Italian Lakes? 

Insight Guides can help you with planning, organising and booking your trip to Italy. Simply, get in touch and share your budget, interests and travel style. Our local experts will create an itinerary exclusive to you and your requirements, which you can amend until it's just right for you. Alternatively, browse and modify ready-made holidays to create your dream trip today.