Sports & Outdoors

Italian Lakes

Drive to the Italian Lakes, where you’ll be treated to stunning scenery, exciting entertainment and accommodation that will blow you away.

Italian Lakes for Families

Take a look at three of Italy's top lake destinations for family holidays.

Three beautiful Italian lakes

Up in the north of Italy, you'll find some of the world's most picturesque lakes, which are perfect for a family holiday away from the hustle and busy of the daily grind. Although you may usually associate a trip to one of Italy's lakes as a couple's retreat, with their range of fun activities, breathtaking scenery, and great restaurants, they in fact make the perfect getaway for you and the kids. From windsurfing on the water of Lake Como, to tearing it up at Lake Garda's local theme parks, you are bound to create memories to last a lifetime. To help you get inspired for your next trip across the Channel with LeShuttle, we have put together a guide to three of the most family-friendly lakes in Italy.

Lake Como

Lago di Como, or Lake Como, is the third largest lake in Italy, and with a depth of 1,300-feet, it's also one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Located in the region of Lombardy, the lake is surrounded by rolling green hills and cliffs, as well as palaces and villas, which play host to a number of celebrities.

Where to stay

One of the best ways to enjoy a stay beside Lake Como is by renting out one of the many beautiful villas that line the lake's shores. Villa Allegra overlooks the water, and has five spacious bedrooms, making it the ideal setting for a big family holiday. The front decking is the perfect space for playing board games, and is a great place to enjoy a family meal, where you can take in the spectacular views.

Similarly, the four-bedroom Villa Chez Nous is a charming little holiday home located on the lake's shores. With lush interiors and an outside area that's perfect for evening barbecues, it makes for a relaxing place to while away the evenings with your family.

What to do

Lake Como is great for fans of water sports, and has an impressive range of activities for the whole family to take part in. From renting a sailing boat to explore the entire the lake, to braving the water by windsurfing along the waves and diving into the depths, there's plenty to keep you occupied.

If you'd prefer to stay on dry land, head over to one of the nearby tennis courts for a family match, or enjoy a scenic walk, such as the Greenway Walk, which takes you from Colonno to Cadenabbia di Griante, passing through many beautiful villages.

Dining out

For a mid-morning treat, take the family along to La Carapina, a local gelateria that your kids will love. Dig into a plate of pistachio flavoured ice cream-filled pastry pipes, and grab your kid a waffle cone topped with rich, banana and meringue-flavoured creamy gelato.

In the evening, make your way over to the charming Ittiturismo da Abate, a seafood restaurant that produces dishes using the lake's catch of the day. Because of this, the menu changes day-to-day, meaning you'll be spoilt for choice. Relax outside beneath the umbrellas, or take in the cosy, nautical-themed interiors of this wonderful little eatery.

Lake Maggiore

Lago Maggiore, or Lake Maggiore, covers both the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, and the Swiss canton of Ticiano. The second largest lake in Italy and the largest in Southern Switzerland, a trip to Lake Maggiore promises breathtaking views of lush green forests and the jagged peaks of the Alps.

Where to stay

Just like Lake Como, there are many luxury villas to choose from when picking out accommodation. Villa La Betulla, in San Fedele Inferiore, is a spacious holiday home with four bedrooms and a private pool that overlooks the mountainous landscape. During the winter, it's the perfect location for anyone learning to ski, and in the Summer, it's perfect for those of you who love to windsurf or hike.

For something a little more affordable, book a room at the hotel, Locanda Montecristo, which is just 500-metres from Lake Maggiore. Although it's the cheaper option, the hotel has a beautiful garden and sun terrace that overlooks the lake, making it the perfect place to enjoy a lunchtime family picnic.

What to do

In the winter, the Lake Maggiore resort becomes a haven for all winter sports fans, and it once played host to a number of events during the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics. Take your little ones sledging down the snowy hills, or if you each fancy more of a challenge, hit the slopes to learn how to ski or snowboard.

If you'd like to avoid the winter chill, and prefer the warmth of summer, you'll have plenty of activities to look forward to, too. Cool off with a dip in the lake for a gentle swim, or get your adrenaline pumping by hang gliding across the water.

Dining out

For a great family meal out, pop over to Bar 77, a great little café-come-restaurant that specialises in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, as well as offering delicious seafood. With a vast range of home-cooked pasta dishes to choose from, it's sure to be a favourite with both you and your kids.

For something sweet, swing by Pasticceria San Gabriele, a lovely little café that sells an abundance of delightful pastries, cakes and quality coffee, as a well as a range of Italian biscotti and panettone.

Lake Garda

Lago di Garda, or Lake Garda, is the largest lake in Italy, and located close to half-way between Venice and Brescia. Surrounded by limestone cliffs and a mountainous green landscape, the bright-blue water and scenic setting of Lake Garda make it a popular holiday resort for families across Europe.

Where to stay

If you and your family love to be at one with nature, then try staying in one of the tents at the Campeggio Garden Tourist site. Just 50-metres away from the water's edge, this lovely site offers a range of different accommodation options, from tents to caravans and self-catered apartments.

Alternatively, rent an apartment in Residence San Luigi, a wonderful place that provides roomy accommodation and views of the lake. During your stay, you'll benefit from the onsite private pool, a field for playing football, a tennis court, and play area that your children will love.

What to do

During your visit, you won't be stuck for things to do. The area surrounding Lake Garda has many theme parks, with one of the most popular being Gardaland, which is located at the south-eastern end of the lake. There are plenty of rides for all ages of children, from the Baby Canoe ride for the little ones, to Jungle Rapids for you and your teens. There's also the Gardaland Sea Life Aquarium, where you and your kids can pet the gentle stingrays, and watch as exotic fish dart through the tanks.

Lake Garda is also a popular location for sports, such as kayaking and rock climbing. If you fancy giving any of these ago, head over to Canyon Adventures, where you and your kids can learn how to climb up cliff edges, abseil down waterfalls, and even try your hand at beginner kayaking on the gentler rapids.

Dining out

A family trip to the Italian Lakes wouldn't be complete without a slice or two of freshly baked pizza. For mouth-watering, stone-baked pizzas, be sure to stop by Pizzeria Vesuvio, where you can choose to eat in or take away. Smothered in fresh ingredients, these pizzas are not to be missed.

If you're just in the mood for a quick family lunch, try out Walles Burger, a family-friendly burger joint that even has an outdoor ball pit. Dig into a juicy cheeseburger and crispy fries, and finish your meal with a game of giant Lego building outside.

Getting there and around

If this guide to our three favourite Italian Lake destinations has got you inspired, be sure to book your ticket across the Channel today. It takes just 35 minutes to get from England to France with LeShuttle, meaning you can be in Europe and on your way to Italy in no time at all.

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Photo Credits:GeorgeDement, Irene Grassi, Edwin van Buuringen, amira_a, Roberto Ferrari
All pictures licensed for commercial use at time of publication.