Lake Garda

Alex and I first went to Lake Garda many years ago, pre-children. I’d always thought it would be a nice place to go back to with the kids and this summer, that’s what we did.

Lake Garda is Italy’s biggest lake – just over 50km long and 17 km wide with a perimeter of almost 160 km – with a stunning backdrop of hills and mountains and surrounded by pretty villages and towns.

We bought a day’s ferry pass and spent a day cruising between Peschiera where we were staying, Bardolino (famous for its wine) where we had lunch and Garda where we spent some time relaxing and swimming at on one of the many little beaches which surround the lake.

Verona is nearby so we spent an afternoon exploring, visiting Juliet’s balcony and having some of the best ice cream we have ever tasted at l’Arte del Gelato and an evening at the opera.
I was particularly excited about taking Livi to the Roman amphitheatre to see Aida – she is a big music lover and I had been promising to take her to the opera for a while. Despite the performance stopping several times due to rain (it has to stop at the first sign of rain so that the musical instruments don’t get damaged) and us not leaving till 2am, it was amazing. Toby, who had fallen asleep at around midnight on the large stone steps we were sitting on, was less enthusiastic, but fortunately I had brought a blanket along and hired some cushions on the way in, so everyone was happy.

There are a couple of theme parks near the lake and even though I am an ardent rollercoaster lover, I couldn’t face queuing and crowds in the heat of the day so we went to Gardaland one evening and had a great time – it was cooler, cheaper and there were fewer people.

We’d had a busy week previously so also spent time visiting some of the other villages around the lake, playing golf (Toby and Alex) and relaxing by the pool

We stayed at the Park Paradiso & Golf Resort in Peschiera at the South end of the lake. The resort has three pools (two fairly calm and quiet, one with music and entertainment), a very good a la carte restaurant Il Pirlàr with lovely views plus a very reasonably priced pizzeria, a buffet restaurant and a poolside snack bar. There is also a golf course for which guests receive a 20% reduction in their green fees and a health and wellness centre and other sporting facilities.

Disclosure: We travelled as guests of Thomson Lakes.

About catherinecooper

Journalist and author specialising in travel with children. I write for several national publications and am author of Travelling with Children: A Parent's Guide. You can see some of my articles at
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