If you are planning a visit to Italy’s Lago di Garda with your family, in this post you will find our tips on how to enjoy your holiday in this beautiful setting. We bring you the best things to do in Lake Garda with kids.
Lake Garda is the largest and cleanest lake in Italy. We can find it halfway between Milan and Venice. Citrus and palm trees grow on the south side of the lake, which has a mild Mediterranean climate. There are plenty of campsites and hotels. The towns are full of tourists wandering from restaurants to cafes and souvenir shops. In the north, the lake narrows and wedges itself into the Prealpi Gardesane mountain range. Here, the climate is harsher and the wind stronger, which provides an amazing field for windsurfers.
Lago di Garda, as it is called in Italian, offers everything you can think of – mountains, hiking, swimming, water sports, and cycling. And even if you like a quieter vacation and go here just to relax, neither you nor your children will regret it. In addition, the whole of Italy is filled with food that children adore – spaghetti, pizza, or real Italian gelato.
Italy’s largest amusement park – Gardaland
On the southwestern tip of Lake Garda, you won’t find a unique place full of fun. The Italian amusement park GARDALAND was even rated by Forbes magazine as the 5th best amusement park in Europe. Worth a visit. Not only children but also adults will find fun here.
Movieland is an amusement park that is inspired by movie and TV series heroes. The theme park evokes the impression that you are walking through a Hollywood studio. During the day, there are various shows full of attractions for the most famous movie blockbusters. You can enjoy attractions such as the haunted palace (Horror House), a trip to the world of Tomb Rider, or a frantic truck ride (Magma). There is also a top simulator of the U-571 submarine, a Rambo show, the virtual reality of the Police Academy, and a 5D Terminator cinema. The atmosphere is enhanced by replicas of film props such as a car from the Knight Rider series.
Parco Natura Viva, the whole world in one place
Not far from Lake Garda is the Parco Natura Viva, one of the most beautiful zoos in all of Italy. There you will have a very close encounter with the flora and above all with fauna from all over the world.
The history of the Parco Natura Viva complex began in 1969 when it was opened under the name “Parco Zoo del Garda” by the architect Alberto Avesani with his wife Giorgio. During that time, Parco Natura Viva gained considerable fame, for example, receiving the award for the best new attraction (African footprints).
The entire complex consists of five parts. During a drive through the safari park, you will observe animals from the African savannah. Animal Park is a walking trail for animals from all five continents. In the middle of the nature park stands a tropical greenhouse, sheltering a piece of the rainforest with caimans and several parrots. The reptile house has become a second home for various species of snakes, lizards, turtles, fish, and small mammals. In 1979, the Dinopark began operations.
When Johann Wolfgang von Goethe sketched Castello Scaligero in 1786, he probably did not think that a little later the local councilors would interrogate him on suspicion of espionage. However, the half-dramatic, half-laughing story of the famous poet is not the only attraction of the charming town of Malcesine. Remember her when you walk through the narrow streets around the Piazza Statuto square with the Monumento ai Caduti statue and admire the local monuments.
Malcesine (less than 4,000 inhabitants) is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Garda. To the north of it lies the village of Navene, to the south, you will find Cassone and Sommavilla, on the opposite bank lies Pieve. The main ridge of the Monte Baldo alpine massif rises directly above Malcesine.
At first glance, Malcesine will attract you above all with the mentioned castle, which towers over the surrounding buildings. The medieval fortress Castello Scaligero was built by the powerful Scaliger family, and today it attracts visitors with its fortifications, an old tower, and the remains of Etruscan tombs. The baroque church of St. Stephen’s (Santo Stefano), the Palazzo dei Capitani, and the church of Santa Maria di Navene.
Another great Malcesine attraction is the panoramic cable car on Monte Baldo.
Monte Baldo – a royal view of Lake Garda
Monte Baldo should not be missed when visiting Lake Garda! Although it is a place where everyone goes, it is precisely the high number of visitors that proves the uniqueness of this place. In addition, on such a vast ridge, people will easily scatter in all directions, and you will not feel cramped there in the end. At most, you will go up or down in that cable car cabin!
Monte Baldo can be found on the northern side of the lake, where the cliffs resemble a Norwegian fjord in places. You can go up from here by cable car from the town of Malcesine via the San Michele transfer station. This cable car is unique mainly because its cabins rotate around their axis during the ride, allowing a beautiful panoramic view in all directions to all passengers at once. You will go up to a height of 1753 m above sea level and then you can continue the hike to the very top of the mountain, from where there are wonderful views of the lake and the surrounding towns and villages.
Shrine of Italian victories Vittoriale degli Italiani
The unique Vittoriale degli Italiani (Shrine of the Italian Victories) complex is a giant monument to the distinguished Italian poet, writer, and war hero Gabriel d’Annunzio. The artist himself had it built by the shores of Lago di Garda, where he spent the last years of his life.
The Vittoriale degli Italiani complex is located a few hundred meters from Lake Garda, near the resort of Gardone Riviera. You should not miss it, because inside surprises are waiting for you literally at every step. You will have the feeling that you are entering a different era when you enter this well-kept park. The view from any location is spectacular. Plus, in which another park can you find a battlecruiser, a dog cemetery, or even a blue horse statue?
The magical waterfalls of Varone
Invisible at first glance, the Varone waterfalls near Lake Garda are all the more fascinating inside. They hide in the Ravizze valley in a cave through which the river Magnone flows.
La Cascata del Varone waterfall, over 70 meters high, feeds the seepage of the Magnone River into the underground system. The cave itself measures 93 meters in height and 55 meters in width. This interesting natural attraction was opened to tourists on June 20, 1874.
The visitor route, very effectively lit, leads through several floors and thanks to this you can see the waterfall from different heights. Don’t forget waterproof clothing, as the falling water will often sprinkle you heavily. You can also visit the small botanical garden.
The charming Isola del Garda
Go on a boat trip on the lake with the kids, for example to the island of Isola del Garda. Although it is not very large in terms of area (it is only 7 hectares), it is nevertheless the largest in the entire Lake Garda. The attention of visitors is primarily attracted by its lush vegetation and a beautiful villa with a garden, reminiscent of a castle complex.
It lies roughly just one kilometer from the coast, on which the towns of Portese and San Felice del Benaco are located. However, boats leave for it from Manerba del Garda. The romantic appearance of the island, which is 1 kilometer long and 70 meters wide, does not match its original name “Skull Island”. Since the Middle Ages, its owners changed frequently, until it was bought by Count Gaetano de Ferrari from Genoa in the 1870s. This began the era of improvement of the island area.
High concentration of water parks
You will be surprised by how many fun water parks there are around Lake Garda. And believe me, it will be difficult to choose between them. How about such a unique LEGO water park? The environment here is similar to the one in the classic Legoland, only it’s a little wetter here.
How about the Caneva Aquapark with its Caribbean theme of more than 100,000 square meters overlooking the Verona side of Lake Garda? There are countless slides, relaxation zones, and adventure attractions for the whole family.
In contrast, the relaxing water world La Ninfee del Garda does not attract any bombastic advertising or unique attractions. Nevertheless, you can enjoy here in a pleasant, peaceful atmosphere moments of fun and relaxation without the rush of tourists. Families with small children will especially like it here.
And finally, the pools of the Gardacqua water park offer water fun for everyone. Its pride is mainly a generous, glass dome hiding a swimming pool and also a richly equipped gym, a wide range of massages, a salt cave, saunas, and a restaurant. The area also includes an outdoor summer area with other water attractions such as slides and children’s wading pools.
The best beaches near Malcesine
If you want to take a break from exploring and enjoy some water fun with the kids, stop in the town of Malcesine, which stands out for its great beaches, perhaps the best in the entire Garda. The beaches in its vicinity have excellent access, making it ideal for families with children. It is not located right on the border by the road, so you can enjoy a peaceful rest because there are not hundreds of cars and motorbikes driving behind your head like on other beaches. In addition, the waters around Malcesine are not muddy like the southern tip of Garda, which is why they are characterized by their emerald-colored color and you can expect maximum cleanliness here.Italy