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10 things to do in Lake Maggiore with kids plus a special holiday offer

Lake Maggiore is Italy’s second largest lake and its shoreline falls not just into Italy but also into Switzerland. Whilst it may not be as famous as its neighbour, Lake Como, it’s definitely far more family friendly with a whole host of things to see and do to keep children of all ages happy and occupied!

Before we go on and share our tips, if you are to try Lake Maggiore for your next family holiday, then take a look at the Italian Lakes villas available to rent. If you find an Italy villa perfect for your next trip – check out our special offer from Bookings For You!

<< Use code ‘KIDDYCHARTS’ to receive an exclusive Italian food hamper when you book – we’d love to get you in the mood with some special Italian treats before you go! >>

We thought we’d pass the baton over to an Italian specialist, Bookings For You, to share their top 10 things to do in Lake Maggiore particularly focused on favourite family friendly days out when staying in an Italian Lakes villa.

1. Whizz down the zip line

One of Lake Maggiore’s newest attractions, the Lago Maggiore ZIPline runs all the way from Pian d’Arla to Alpe Segletta, covering a distance of 1850 metres and with a drop of 350 metres at its highest point. The ride lasts 90 seconds, during which time you’ll reach speeds of up to 120 km per hour. With minimum height and weight restrictions in place this isn’t for really young children but those tall enough and heavy enough to enjoy the ride will be in for a real thrill!

2. Take a ride on one of the cable cars

We always think a visit to any of Italy’s lakes isn’t complete without making the most of one of the many viewpoints they tend to boast. Lake Maggiore is no exception. There are a number of great viewpoints reached by cable car but our favourite and one of the most family friendly is the aptly named ‘bucket lifts’ at Laveno. These aren’t for the faint-hearted but are loads of fun!

3. Spend the day at the waterpark or lido

Lake Maggiore boasts a number of great lakeside lidos. This is where you will enjoy access to the lake but where you will usually find other facilities on offer too. We think the best of these is the lido in Locarno. It’s easy to spend the whole day here with plenty on offer to keep everyone entertained including inflatable obstacle courses on the lake, not one but four outside pools, a separate diving pool, 3 indoor pools and waterslides. There is also a café where you can enjoy a bite to eat at lunchtime and other outdoor activities such as volleyball and table tennis.

4. Visit the Borromean Islands

This is a great activity for all the family when staying in an Italian Lakes villa. The Borromean Islands are a cluster of 3 separate islands – Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola Pescatori. The latter is the only inhabited of the three islands and is well worth a visit to enjoy a spot of lunch in one of the main fish restaurants that it’s home to. However, it’s the other two that draw the crowds. We find children particularly love the famous white peacocks that strut around these gardens.

5. Swim under the waterfalls

This is one of the family friendly activities on Lake Maggiore that tends to be known only by the locals. Booking an Italian Lakes villa with Bookings For You means you get to enjoy the insider information on what there is to see and do in the area!! The Cascate di Cittiglio waterfalls are a series of waterfalls which are easily accessed via a pleasant walk from the parking area. It’s worth doing what the locals do and taking along your own BBQ or picnic food to enjoy after a dip in the refreshing water.

6. Relax at the beach

Lake Maggiore’s shoreline is dotted with beaches. Whilst the majority of these are pebbled, there are a handful of sandy beaches too if your little ones are determined to build sandcastles! The lake is beautifully clean and clear and perfect for swimming in, with the water tending to get deeper very gradually making it ideal for little ones.

7. Enjoy some water sports

If you enjoy the water, then Lake Maggiore ticks all the boxes when it comes to water sports. If you prefer a more sedate pace, then you can hire pedaloes or paddleboards. However, for those that are looking for something a little faster, then there is the option to try windsurfing, water skiing, wake boarding or even hover boarding and fly boarding.

8. Go skiing

Lake Maggiore isn’t just a great family friendly holiday destination in the Summer months. A stay in an Italian Lakes villa is a great option in the Winter too. Lake Maggiore is a great family friendly ski destination, particular for those learning how to get down a mountainside on 2 skis for the first time!

9. Hurtle down the mountainside on a toboggan

Surprisingly, the 9th of our ideas isn’t confined to the Winter months. In fact, it’s much more of a warm weather activity! There are two options to toboggan your way down the mountainside, either on the Mottorone which is the mountain range behind Stresa (and where you can enjoy fantastic views of all seven lakes) or at Monte Tamaro in Ticino.

10. Browse the stalls at one of Europe’s biggest weekly markets

A bit of a different option for our final suggestion but one which seems to be equally enjoyed by both young and old alike is the weekly market in Luino. Held every Wednesday all year round, it boasts up to 350 stalls filled with merchandise from toys to leather goods and from trays of sweets to fresh fruit and vegetables.

We hope you like these ideas, why not check out some more here for family holidays?

Family travel destinations: Ideas from KiddyCharts

Ideas for other family holiday locations from KiddyCharts.

Here are some more Italy ideas too, from off KiddyCharts:

Ideas for Italian travel from the internet

Some thoughts and ideas on family travel in italy - we've given you one place to go - but there are loads more family friendly destinations in the country. Why not take a look at them here?

Some fabulous ideas for family travel both on and off the site, and don’t forget to use KIDDYCHARTS if you decide to check out an Italian Villa Holiday, will you? You’ve get a fantastic Italian hamper as well!

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We really hope to see you again on this site.

Take care,


Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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