Discovering Lake Garda and its diverse landscapes is quite easy for singles or couples. The range of attractions is huge, with new discoveries and events every day – or the true dolce far niente at beautiful spots with fantastic lake and shoreline views. Travelling with children is usually a little more challenging, particularly as kids today have their own and often very precise ideas about what they want to do! But the possibilities for spending family days on and around the lake are fantastic.
Gardaland: A trip to Italy’s largest amusement park
No child will turn down the offer to spend a day – or several days – at the Gardaland Resort. The attraction of the large theme park, including Legoland Waterpark and Sea Life Aquarium, is too powerful. The large complex is located near Castelnuovo del Garda on the southeastern shore of Lake Garda.
Getting to Gardaland by car, train, boat or ship
Getting there is easy. By car from the A4 Milan-Venice motorway, take the Peschiera del Garda toll booth – from there, the park is only about four kilometres away. From the direction of Brennero or Modena, the approach is also via the motorway.
Those travelling by train should get off at Peschiera del Garda station and take the free shuttle bus that takes visitors to the park every 30 minutes. The amusement park is also easily accessible with bus connections around the lake.
The best way to get there, for example, from the Eden Reserve Hotel & Villas, is definitely by boat on the Navigazione Lago di Garda. A free bonus on the way to your destination is the fantastic view of the lake and the shore landscape from the ship. From the port of Gardone Riviera, you go to the pier in Peschiera del Garda and continue by taxi. The more luxurious method is to hire a charter boat and be ferried to the theme park. Via Verdi borders Gardaland to the south, almost reaching the lake, where it meets the promenade, from which some jetties extend into the lake. From here, the main entrance is just under a kilometre away. If you want to reach the amusement park by car from Gardone Riviera, you can combine the pleasant with the useful and take the car ferry from the neighbouring town of Toscolano-Maderno to Torri on the eastern shore and head for Gardaland via Garda and Lazise.
Attractions at Gardaland: Legoland Water Park, Jumanji Labyrinth & Co.
The number of attractions is large, and the possibilities of discovering Gardaland are still not exhausted after several days of visiting. In the park’s “Adrenaline” area, four roller coasters, some of them huge, provide thrills. The “Adventure” area also offers wild water rides with pirate themes, jungle and mine rides. There is also a 4D cinema whose design and programme are based on current films, such as Mowgli’s Jungle Adventure. The “Fantasy” area appeals to families with younger children, with viewing platforms, playgrounds, carousels and roller coasters for the whole family. The themed attractions are complemented by shows and performances such as “Gardaland in Broadway”.
Gardaland Park is the largest amusement park in Italy, with over three million visitors a year. New attractions are being added all the time, such as the Jumanji maze in 2023. Integrated into the Gardaland resort since 2021 is the Legoland Waterpark, with interactive water games and a miniature land made of almost five million Lego bricks.
Sea Life Aquarium – from Lake Garda straight into the deep sea
In the immediate vicinity, and connected to Gardaland, is the two-storey Sea Life Aquarium with an area of 19,000 square metres and 37 water basins and tanks – home to more than 5,000 animals, including sharks! Before a visit, parents can check which attractions their children are allowed to use by entering their children’s height on the Gardaland website, which is a great help when planning a visit.
Canevaworld Resort – largest water park on Lake Garda
Those who like it a little less gigantic for their children and themselves should visit the Canevaworld Resort. It is located nearby between the towns of Lazise and Peschiera del Garda on the shores of the lake. The area of the amusement park is much smaller, but the Aqua Paradise Park inside is considered the largest water park on Lake Garda.
Visit the zoo at Parco Natura Viva: discover animals and lots of nature
It is also possible to get a little closer to nature with a visit to Parco Natura Viva, which is certainly no less exciting for children! A modern zoological garden that has taken on an active role in species conservation over time. The zoological park near Bussolengo, west of Verona, is just ten kilometres from Lake Garda. In addition to areas for mammals and African birds, the Parco Natura Viva also offers a dinosaur park. For the first time in Italy, visitors can marvel at lifelike plastic replicas of various reptiles from past eras.
One of the most beautiful landscape gardens in Europe: the Parco Giardino Sigurtà
Another nature park is the Parco Giardino Sigurtà, near Valeggio sul Mincio and about ten kilometres from the southernmost end of Lake Garda. There are no exotic animals to marvel at here, but the large landscape park, which has won several awards, is one of the most beautiful in Italy. The entrepreneur Giuseppe Carlo Sigurtà bought the ancient park and the villa belonging to it in 1941, enlarging it to 600,000 square metres and creating a fascinating, solitary park in the style of English landscape gardens, including groups of trees and individual trees, some of them very old, structure large meadow areas.
The Sigurità Park is particularly popular for the splendour of its flowers all year round. The annual “Tulipomania” is well-known: over one million tulips attract many international visitors to the fascinating park in March. From May onwards, more than 30,000 roses, like the tulips before them, bloom in a wide variety of colours. Picturesque water lilies grow and blossom on the almost 20 water surfaces of Parco Giordano, which has been open to everyone for 40 years. The large maze of taxus hedges, which leads to a small viewing platform in its centre, is certainly highly interesting for children. Young visitors are also sure to enjoy a ride on the park train. The Parco Giardino Sigurtà is not without animals either, with an adventure farm where dozens of medicinal herbs are cultivated, and animals live that can also be stroked.
Top highlight on Lake Garda for children: lake, beach and the surrounding area
Lake Garda in itself exerts a great fascination for little guests. A trip by boat or even sailing ship is easy to organise and always goes down well. Even for the smaller visitors to Lake Garda, for example, a half-hour boat trip around the Sirmione peninsula is bound to be exciting. Beach castle builders will have to do some searching for sandy beaches, as gravel and rocky beaches predominate on Lake Garda, but In Lazise or Sirmione, they will find what they are looking for. Sirmione itself is also a highlight for children. Even the approach to the town over the bridge guarded by a Scaliger castle is fantastic, as is the Castello Scaligero in its crenellated medieval look. Children can also be persuaded to walk across the car-free peninsula where flat sandy and smooth rocky beaches beckon.
Wine, beach and promenades in Bardolino
There are also pretty bathing beaches in Bardolino on the eastern shore. North of Punta Cornicello, beautiful lawns with shady trees reach all the way to the lakeshore. The Lido Mirabello lido on the southern peninsula is also good for sunbathing and swimming. The wine town of Bardolino is a great place to stroll and taste the popular and well-known red wine.
360-degree cable car gondola, past waterfalls or roped up through the high ropes course
Hiking on Monte Baldo? That sounds like stress to many children. But it can be easier – with one of the most modern cable cars in the world from Malcesine; you go up from the lake to almost 1,800 metres. And that’s with a fantastically beautiful eagle’s-eye view of Lago di Garda. What’s more, the cabin slowly rotates 360 degrees on the way to the top station.
If you want to offer your children more action or if the kids demand it – in the Busatte Adventure high ropes course, near Torbole on the north-eastern shore, very active children and parents too can swing through the air on around 50 suspension and rope bridges, net rolls and lianas. There is also a BMX track and several sports fields here.
The Molina waterfalls, some of which are spectacular, near San Pietro in Cariano are located in the Parco della Cascate nature park in the Lessinia mountains in the Valpolicella valley, which attracts visitors with its lush nature, caves and gorges. Themed trails lead through the nature park, to the waterfalls of Molina and over bridges, some of which are quite adventurous. Insider tip: It is very worthwhile to plan a picnic here.
Lake Garda in the rain: go-karting and indoor climbing
On the rare chance it rains on beautiful Lake Garda, one option is a day trip to the city of Verona, which is about 30 kilometres from the lake and about 80 kilometres from Gardone Riviera and the Eden Reserve. Here you can visit King Rock Verona, one of the largest climbing gyms in Italy. There is a separate climbing facility for the little ones, where the young climbers are also always in view of their parents.
Go-kart track with Formula 1 feeling: Michael Schumacher has already done laps here
Karting is usually the first step for anyone who wants to get actively involved in motorsport. However, karting is also fascinating for anyone who wants to get behind the wheel for fun and do some fast laps. Very close to Lake Garda, about five kilometres south of Desenzano, is South Garda Karting at Lonato del Garda. The 1.1-kilometre-long track, with its challenging curve design, is one of the best-known internationally as Formula 1 greats like Michael Schumacher regularly did training laps there. When there are no races or professionals training, the track can be booked by anyone. Children can take a mini kart onto the course if they are at least eight years old and 1.30 metres tall. The karts get six hp out of 200 cubic centimetres of displacement with four gears and are thus fast at 60 kilometres per hour. Not only as a solo driver but also together, you can get the adrenaline rush on a two-seater. Those who want to whiz around the track at a full 80 kilometres per hour for ten minutes can do so with a sports kart.
As this selection of tips already shows, the Lake Garda region offers many possibilities for families with children. Children and parents will certainly not be bored, and everything can be found, from very relaxed beach days to highly active sports activities in the so different landscapes around the lake.