Holidays in Italy are ideal for families with children. The lake areas are synonymous with enjoying the most delicious ice cream in the sun, and the country’s reliably good weather is always conducive to relaxing by the water. The lakes give the north of Italy its very own, distinctive character so read on for more on a holiday in Lake Como and why road biking routes around Lake Garda are so popular.

Planning your trip – flights to Bergamo or Milan?

If you are planning a family holiday in Italy and want to see Lake Garda and Lake Como and the beautiful towns that surround them, we have good news for you. Direct flights to Bergamo are offered by several low-cost carriers or, alternatively, you can start your Italian adventure in the iconic city of Milan. Flights to Linate or Malpensa airports are a good option, although do factor in the cost of a trip between Milan and Bergamo (journey time – about an hour).

How to get around Italy? Public transport is a popular solution, however if you’re travelling with children and want to explore the more remote areas, it is worth considering renting a car. Bergamo Airport, although relatively small, offers access to essential services including car rental, foreign exchange and tourist information. Having a car at your disposal enables you to plan your journey according to everyone’s preferences of your loved ones and determine the route and attractions on an ongoing basis.

Port by the Como Lake © shutterstock
Port by the Como Lake © shutterstock

While in Bergamo, take the opportunity to ride the city’s historic railway that connects the Upper and Lower Towns. It is on the route’s historic hill that you can see Bergamo’s greatest monuments – its famous city gates and defensive walls. Children love the viewpoint at the top of the city tower and the whole family can enjoy a good lunch or an indulgent dessert at a restaurant in the Piazza del Duomo or the Piazza Vecchia.

Rent a car and buy tickets for attractions before you go!

Lake Como – Italy from the water

What does Lake Como mean to tourists? As the deepest lake in Italy with a maximum depth of 425 m, visitors can enjoy a range of water sports and swimming in designated areas around the lake. The Lake Como area offers a unique landscape of mountains, colourful towns and historic hilltop villas, fringed by lush vegetation. It is not without reason that celebrities spend their holidays here; it is also a popular film location for productions such as”Casino Royal”.

The largest city on Lake Como is Como itself. Plan on taking the cable car on the Como-Brunate route which takes around 15 minutes and offers a beautiful panorama of the city against the backdrop of the lake and majestic mountains. It is from here that many ferries and ships depart to the surrounding towns and a cruise on Lake Como is a real feast for the eyes. Popular routes include Varenna to Bellagio and Como to Bellagio and the latter is a great opportunity to see the Nesso Gorge and its waterfall – opt for cruise tickets that allow you to visit the towns along the route. So how much is the Lake Como cruise? Prices depend on the type of ticket, route, tariff and age of the traveller but, for example, an adult ticket for the Como-Bellagio cruise costs around €10-12 one way.

The town of Varenna © iStock
The town of Varenna © iStock

Lake Como’s most beautiful towns

Holidays in Italy are a great opportunity to explore and, if you have a few days to spare, be sure to visit the town of Lenno, located near Como. It is here that the famous Villa del Balbianello is located, known from the aforementioned “Casino Royal”. The surrounding gardens are also noteworthy, while family-friendly beaches include in Cadenabbia di Griante. In the popular and exclusive enclave of Bellagio, there is a free city beach – Spiaggia Pubblica di Bellagio. A much less commercial atmosphere is provided by Varenna, considered one of the most atmospheric towns on Lake Como. The city of Lecca is also unmissabke and is near to the free Spiaggia di Abbadia Lariana beach. In nearby Versasio the cable car will take you to the top of Piani d’Erna – it’s hard to find a more beautiful viewpoint in the area!

If you’re travelling by car then it is worth deviating a bit from the route and planning a trip to the Acquafraggia waterfall in Borgonuovo di Piuro. It is a great place for a family picnic or an easy and pleasant trek.

Mother and daughter admire the scenery of the Alps and Lake Garda in Italy © iStock
Mother and daughter admire the scenery of the Alps and Lake Garda in Italy © iStock

Lake Garda – active break or relaxing on the beach?

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and its unique landscape is created by mountain peaks that contrast with palm trees and citrus trees. Higher peaks can be admired in the northern cities, with Riva del Garda being especially popular. An ideal activity that’s sure to impress young travellers is a visit to the nearby Varone waterfall, or the viewpoint at Torre Apponale. One of the area’s more luxurious resorts is Sirmione, while in Desenzano del Garda you can visit the Archaeological Museum and take a stroll through the picturesque old town. Beautiful Bardolino is a paradise for tulip and wine lovers.

Buy tickets for attractions in Garda
Kids on the beach of Como Lake © iStock
Kids on the beach of Como Lake © iStock

The lakeside towns provide various attractions for children – from the well-kept playgrounds to the pedal boats that dot the lake all around the resort. And what are the best beaches on Lake Garda? While these are mostly gravel and grass they do make a good picnic spot. Lovers of warmer waters should head south to Desenzano del Garda or Sirmione, which is also well known for its thermal springs. Also in the south, the waters can be a bit cooler. Popular beaches in this area include Riva del Garda, Spiaggia Sabbioni and Spiaggia Pini. You can also find ideal conditions for water sports at the beach in Torbole.

Holidays on Lake Garda offer a great opportunity for families to visit the nearby amusement parks, for example, Gardaland. The safari park at Parco Natura Viva is also a great thrill. But most of all, Lake Garda is the perfect place to hire bikes for a leisurely way to explore the area.

Mom and a teenager on a bicycle trip around Como Lake © shutterstock
Mom and a teenager on a bicycle trip around Como Lake © shutterstock

The Lake Garda Bike Path

The unique landscape of Lake Garda is perfect for cycling trips. What’s more, its spectacular routes allow you to explore the entire lake area on two wheels. The Garda by Bike project will create an impressive 140 km of bicycle paths by 2026, with many already open to visitors. What are the most popular and beautiful bicycle routes on Garda? The 2 km-long trail from Capo Reamol in Limone sul Garda is certainly a strong contender. It is an excellent choice for families with a wide path, adequate protection of the route, beautiful views of the lake in the background and no steep climbs. A longer family route runs between Torbole and Riva del Garda – the trail is easy and runs along flat terrain.
Visiting the lake area by bike can be combined with a cruise for the perfect combination of activity and relaxation offering the chance to regenerate and break up the trip routine for both children and parents. Choose ships with extra space for racks – many of the newest tourist vessels are also equipped with charging points for electric bicycles.

We have best flight and accommodation offers in Milan

Northern Italy is a successful recipe for a family holiday. In addition to all the attractions,the local cuisine of ice cream, pizza and pasta is a surefire hit for even the fussiest eater!


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