Lake Garda sights

Lake Garda sightseeing with kids: 13x things to do!

Lake Garda is a destination where many tourists go to vacation every year. The area around Lake Garda has much to offer in terms of sightseeing. There is something for everyone. We have now visited the area twice with our daughter and describe here all the attractions around Lake Garda. At these 13 attractions around Lake Garda.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids: how to get there?

By car: most Dutch families visit Lake Garda with kids by car. From Utrecht, it is about a 12-hour drive to Lake Garda. This, of course, does not include the traffic jams and road works you may encounter along the way. We ourselves have visited Lake Garda twice with our daughter and both times we drove to Italy by car. We always drove in two days there and two days back, staying overnight somewhere along the way.

By plane: you can also fly to Lake Garda with kids. The best cities to fly to then are Milan or Verona. For the city of Milan, there are many daily direct flights from the Netherlands, and to Verona you also have direct flights to this city in the summer months.

You can then rent a car from Milan or Verona and drive to Lake Garda in an hour (or two). Sunny Cars that we usually rent a car from also rents cars in Italy. Then you and your kids will be at your destination within a day. You fly to Milan or Verona in about an hour and a half.

Flying to Milan:

We always buy all our airline tickets through Skyscanner, as this is the website that we find super clear and lists all flights at a glance. Look here for all flights to Milan.

Look here for a rental car in Milan.

Flying to Verona:

Look here for all flights to Verona.

Look here for a rental car in Verona.

Lake Garda sightseeing with kids: family-friendly campsites!

Most Dutch families who go to Lake Garda with kids go to a campsite. You have some very well-known campsites, where most of the Dutch go. We list them below.

#1 Camping Bella Italia
: this is the most popular campsite among Dutch people at Lake Garda and we ourselves also spent three weeks at this campsite with our daughter. This campground is huge. You have several large pools and you can have a great time here at the pool for a whole day.

We had rented a bungalow here and it was super! The only drawback of this campground we found was that there were cars driving around the campground, so with our daughter we sometimes had to be careful where she was (when she was playing in front of the bungalow).

They also have a nice animation team and our daughter has been regularly at camping Bella Italia doing crafts and dancing with this team. A little train also goes from the campground to the center of Peschiera del Garda. We had a super time here with our family.

For more information on camping Bella Italia, take a look here.

#2 Camping Altomincio Village
: this is the second campsite you can visit on Lake Garda with kids. This campground is also enormously popular among Dutch families and we ourselves stayed at this campground for three weeks once. This campground is slightly quieter than Campground Bella Italia and cars are not allowed on the campground. We did find this to be a big plus of the campground.

This campground also has two large pools, including one for kids. The pool also has two slides for the kids. You can also have a great time here with the family for an entire day. Actually, this campsite can be compared to campsite Bella Italia and also at this campsite there is plenty of entertainment both during the day and in the evening.

For more information about Camping Altomincio Village, take a look here.

#3 Piani Di Clodia
: This campsite is not located in Peschiera del Garda, but in the popular town of Lazise. This campground is very family-friendly, as there is an entire water park at this campground with as many as seven different slides. The campground has a Dutch animation team and also a mini-club for kids ages four to 12.

For more information about camping Piani Di Clodia, take a look here.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda attractions with kids #1: Funivia Malcesine Monte Baldo

The literal highlight of Lake Garda is Monte Baldo.

You have a beautiful view of Lake Garda from this mountain. You can take the cable car up here from the town of Malcesine. There are several hikes to be made here and, of course, it is also possible to walk the route down the mountain. 

Besides hiking, you can also mountain bike here and even ski in winter. The first year we visited Lake Garda, we took the cable car up here and enjoyed the beautiful view. Just keep in mind that it can be chilly on top of the mountain.

The second year we went up here again, but this time to paraglide! We thought this was a fantastic experience because you really have a great view and you literally float over Lake Garda.

There are several organizations that offer these flights.

Tandem paragliding: Here, a flight costs 170 euros per person. 

Roberto paragliding: on the website we could not find the price of a flight. 

Basically, most organizations don’t require you to bring much of your own. You usually get a windbreaker from the organization itself. However, it is easier to put on shoes than flip-flops, since you can lose them along the way. Generally, in the mail from the organization you book with, you’ll get a description of exactly what to bring.

You get on the elevator together with the instructor and then you jump down the mountain together. Sanne is afraid of heights with us, but did not find this scary at all. You do get a calming feeling from floating down the mountain like that.

Eventually you land in a lakeside meadow near the town of Malcesine. This village is also a great place to grab a bite to eat before or after your flight.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #2: Sirmione

Sirmione is the place on the southern side of Lake Garda most visited by tourists, and rightly so. Walking into this place is like walking into a castle. The village was also built around the castle in the fifteenth century.

You can visit this castle for a fee and again, on top of the castle you have a beautiful view of Lake Garda. Kids and teens may enter for free.

Especially in the summer it is very busy in the town and towards the village you are definitely in traffic jams. There are three different paid parking lots just outside the town where you can park your car. From the parking lot you can walk right into the village.

There is a tourist train that goes through the town, but walking along the water and the various beaches is also a great option.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #3 Milan

Milan is not on Lake Garda, but you can get there by car in less than two hours. You can also take the train from the town of Peschiera del Garda and it takes less than an hour. You then get off in the center of Milan.

The most famous landmark in Milan is Milan Cathedral. This is the third largest cathedral in Europe. You can walk on the roof of the cathedral and if you want to skip the long queue in the summer, you can book it in advance online.

In the same square where Milan Cathedral can be found is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II. This is a mall with all last brands.

For soccer fans, a visit to San Siro is not to be missed. When we were there, Inter Milan just happened to be playing and we could buy tickets for the match anywhere in the city center.

Wondering what all there is to do in Milan? Then read the travel blog Milan sights. This is a fairly complete list of all the attractions.

If you would like to spend a night in Milan and are looking for a hotel click here.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #4 Verona

Verona is a beautiful city and is known primarily for Romeo and Juliet. The house from the fourteenth century can also be admired here (Casa di Giulietta).

There is also a large amphitheater at the beginning of town, where you can have your picture taken with men dressed as gladiators trying to earn a buck. You can also see this amphitheater inside with a tour.

In this amphitheater, it is even possible to go to the opera.

Verona is a compact city and most attractions are easily reached on foot.

There is a possibility of free parking in Verona. The parking lot at Viale Colonnello Gailliano, opposite Porta Palio is free and it is a twenty-minute or so walk from here to the center.

If you want to stay overnight in Verona, click here.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #5 Venice

A 1.5-hour drive from Lake Garda is the world-famous town of Venice. Venice is famous for its canals, gondolas and romantic alleys.

If you plan to visit many sights in Venice then you can purchase the Venice City Pass. With this pass, you can use public transportation, water cabs and have access to various churches, museums and the Doge’s Palace.

The most famous square in Venice is St. Mark’s Square with the famous St. Mark’s Basilica. The town is fun to walk through and take nice pictures in the different streets. The most famous bridge is the Rialto Bridge in central Venice.

We ourselves found the gondolas a bit too pricey, but did take the water cab through the canals. In Venice you can enjoy yourself for a day, but then you have seen the place.

If you would like to spend a night in Venice click here.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #6 Gardaland

In the south of Lake Garda close to the town of Peschiera del Garda is the amusement park Gardaland. The amusement park has as many as 40 different attractions and has rides for the youngest kids, as well as spectacular rides for older kids.

The park is divided into three different themes. You have the Fantasy section for the smallest kids, adventure for all ages and adrenaline is more for the slightly older kids.

In addition to the amusement park, there is also a large aquarium. In as many as 40 different tanks, more than a hundred different animals can be found and in total there are 5,000 sea creatures.

If you bought a ticket for the amusement park, you will pay an extra 5 euros for the aquarium and without an amusement park ticket you will pay 10 euros per person.

A large Legoland water park is also planned to be added in 2021. As a result, the entire complex surrounding the amusement park is getting bigger and bigger, and one day is no longer enough to visit everything.

Lake Garda sights with kids #7 Lazise

The village of Lazise should definitely not be missing from the list of Lake Garda sights. The old center of Lazise is completely car-free and you can enjoy a stroll through the medieval streets.

Once you have parked your car on the south side of town, you can walk through the old city gate to the small harbor. In the center you have the old church of San Nicole (Chiesa di San Nicolo) which you can visit. There are also plenty of outdoor cafes in this town to enjoy a good meal!

If you like to visit markets on your vacation, there is a market near the town on Wednesdays.

To stay overnight in this place click here.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #8: Bardolino

This town is also located on the southeastern part of Lake Garda. This town also has a nice harbor with a promenade.

From the port you can walk across a large square to the Church Santi Nicole e Severo.

We usually visited these places by the afternoon. After spending a day at the pool, it was nice to visit the town in the afternoon and eat something here. That way, we made sure we didn’t have to cook at the campsite either. After all, it is vacation ;).

We found the old center of most places to be similar. Mostly car-free and winding roads with often loose stones with mostly tourist stores and cozy squares where you can eat and drink something.

For those who love wine, a visit to Bardolino’ s wine museum is recommended. At winery Zeni, you can book a guided tour and wine tasting. Near Bardolino (a few minutes away by car), you can also grab a bite to eat by the water at Locanda San Vigilio, where it seems like time has stood still.

To stay overnight in this town click here.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #9: Isola del Garda

Isola del Garda is an island in Lake Garda, which you can visit by boat. From several destinations on Lake Garda, boats leave for this island. As a result, especially in summer, it can be quite crowded at times.

We found the boat ride across the lake a pleasant activity, but the visit to the island a bit drawn out. Especially with our young daughter who has little patience.

Lake Garda sights with kids #10: Peschiera del Garda

Peschiera del Garda is also known as the Venice of Lake Garda, which is a slight exaggeration. It is definitely a nice place to visit and have a bite to eat and for a few hours you can have a great time here.

From the Bella Italia campsite we could take a very touristy little train from the campsite to the center of Peschiera del Garda.

In Piazza Ferdinando di Savoia square, you can visit the church of San Martino. At Viale Cordigero you have a number of terraces where you can have a nice meal and drink by the water. This town is also nice to visit for a few hours.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #11: Mantua

Mantua is not on Lake Garda and is about a 45-minute drive from Lake Garda (Peschiera del Garda). The city is surrounded on three sides by three large lakes.

The city is not super big and easy to walk around. The most famous landmark is the Ducale Palace. It is one of the largest palaces in Europe.

There is no shortage of palaces in this city, as you can visit two more palaces. In Castello di San Giorgio you can admire beautiful frescoes and in Palazzo Te you can also admire the palace from the inside. The latter palace does lie on the outskirts of the city and is about a half-hour walk from the center.

You have two large squares (Piazza Mantegna and Piazza del Erbe) that form the heart of the city. On both squares are several beautiful buildings such as the Basilica di Sant’Andrea.

There is always a market in town on Thursdays.

Lake Garda sights with kids #12: Salo

In the west of Lake Garda lies the town of Salo and is known for the long promenade that the town has. On this boulevard there are lots of cozy cafes overlooking the lake.

In the town of Salo stands the largest church on Lake Garda, the Duomo Santa Maria Annunziata. You can visit the church for free, but it is closed at noon. Also, you are not allowed to take pictures inside.

Here again you have a car-free shopping street, keeping in mind that the stores are closed from 1 to 3:30.

Tip: In Salo, you can also visit a beach club Mokai Beach. You can rent sunbeds here and have a drink on the terrace. There is often live music in the evenings. Kids can also eat well here, as they also sell sandwiches, pizza and fries.

garda lake sights
garda lake sights

Lake Garda sights with kids #13: The north of Lake Garda

The north of Lake Garda is a lot less visited by tourists, but even here you have several beautiful towns located. We did not visit these places ourselves, but still did not want to withhold them from you. We make a brief list of the different places below.

  • Riva del Garda: this is the northernmost village of Lake Garda. This village looks different from the other villages around Lake Garda. The area is a lot more mountainous and mountain biking is a popular activity here. There is also a castle here and the center is also car-free.
  • Arco: near this town there is a medieval castle on a hill. Again, the village is all about activities such as hiking and biking. There are several hiking trails around the town, where you can take beautiful walks.
  • Torbole: this village is all about the activity of windsurfing. Especially in the afternoon, the wind here can be brisk, so advanced surfers and sailors also get their money’s worth.
  • Canale di Tenno: this medieval town has many fountains, small courtyards and narrow streets.
  • Lago di Tenno: this lake is a 15-minute drive from Riva del Garda. The lake is best known for its blue water. You can take beautiful walks through nature here.

You can theoretically do a lap around Lake Garda in five hours, but especially in the summer, this is difficult to achieve. It is then very crowded with tourists and traffic jams can occur at many villages.

Best travel time Lake Garda with kids

The best travel time for visiting Lake Garda is the summer months. The weather is generally very good then. In the months of July and August it does get very crowded around Lake Garda and you are very likely to get stuck in traffic jams when visiting some destinations. If you have the chance to vacation outside these two months, June and September are still great months to visit the lake. You generally still have fine weather then and there are a lot fewer tourists.

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