We have had our family holiday in Lake Garda planned and booked for over a year. This time we decided to book via Canvas holidays and booked a Moda 3 Bed Caravan. We managed to get a great deal of approx £300 for 6 nights. Which we thought was a great price for accommodation. Don’t you agree? We also booked a night in Mestre so we could have a day in Venice before heading to Lake Garda. Remember there are lots of places to stay around Lake Garda, which means there are many things to do. However, we planned our itinerary around staying at Peschiera del Garda.
Our Family Friendly Lake Garda Itinerary
Flying to Italy
We flew from Edinburgh to Venice airport, this meant an early start (4am to be exact). However, the boys were great and were full of energy as soon as they got up! We met up with my parents inside the airport before checking in our bags and car seats.
We headed straight through security so we could go get some breakfast before the flight. The only problem we were faced upon finding somewhere to eat was that they did not do Soya milk. Nick went off in search of milk but came back empty handed. Luckily I headed to Costa and managed to buy some (score!). We had bought along the boys cereal so they sat down to eat while we had our own breakfasts.
On the flight the boys sat with Nick (mummy win here!) which meant I got to enjoy some “peace and quiet”. We had colouring books and the boys tablets. We have learnt over the years what is best for keeping them entertained while travelling.
1/2 a day in Venice
Upon arrival in Venice airport we collected our luggage and car seats and headed off to collect our hire car. Big tip here…it is a looooong way to walk. I think it is the furthest we have ever had to walk to get to the car hire collection point. Once we collected our car and I fitted the car seats, we headed off to our hotel in Mestre. It was only 5-10 mins from the airport which meant we got to the hotel in good time.
Even better was that we only had to wait 10 minutes and our rooms were ready. Which arriving 3 hours early for check in, is pretty good in our books. We changed our clothes once in our rooms and then headed off to reception to book the hotel minibus to take us to Venice.
The minibus dropped us off at Piazzale Roma, which is where there are buses, taxis etc. We found a stall and ordered ourselves some lunch. The food was really good and not too expensive either. Then we headed off on foot to try see the sights in Venice. Our biggest tip for Venice is to either have Google Maps on your phone or a map so you can try navigate your way to the top sights. Even having them marked on the map really helps.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Venice before catching a taxi back to the hotel for our evening meal.
On our way to the Campsite we stopped at Parco Natura Viva which everyone really enjoyed. We had lunch and spent a good 3-4 hours looking around. It is pretty hilly, so make sure you have a pram or carrier if you have little ones. Tired, grumpy children do not make a fun day.
There are lots of animals to see and the safari section of the park (drive around) is also really good. The boys loved seeing all the animals and it was well worth the visit.
We then headed off towards the campsite, which was only about 10 minutes away. Our first impressions didn’t go too well. Check in was a faff, we kept getting told to bring different items to check in which meant we had to keep leaving the queue to go get the items. It would have been nice to be told everything in one go. Then after checking in at reception you then had to go to the Canvas caravan to collect keys. We found the whole process was just time consuming and definitely not needed.
For dinner that evening, the canvas rep had gave us a list of places that did Gluten Free food. She mentioned they could also make the meals milk free too. Which for us was another win…especially in Italy. Little K had his first ever pizza for his dinner, which made him the happiest boy ever.
Attempt Monte Baldo and failed
This was a Sunday, so we headed off up towards Monte Baldo. However, along the way I checked Google Maps and there are a huge red area of traffic. We eventually reached the traffic and it didn’t look good. After about 20 minutes we reached a sign where everyone was turning round and going back the way we came. Upon doing a quick Google translate and it said the road would be closed between 8am and 2pm for some event.
Which meant no Monte Baldo for us! We quickly decided we would head back down the road and stop at some of the towns we passed along the way. We would highly recommend visiting some of the lovely towns like Garda and Lazise. Sitting having a picnic by the lake watching the world go by is so lovely. Even the boys enjoyed it.
Outdoor fun at the park
On our way to Parco Sigurtà we stopped at Borghetto sul Mincio which is a little picturesque village not far from Lake Garda. We took some pictures and walked around the streets before heading back to the car to drive to Parco Sigurtà. The park is a public park, however you have to pay to get in. Which isn’t really like the public parks near where we live.
It is a beautiful place to explore and let the kids run around. We spent a good couple of hours walking around and exploring. There was also benches around the park which we sat down on for a picnic lunch. If your family loves the outdoors then add this to your list of places to visit.
Monte Baldo Take 2
After our failed attempt a few days ago we decided to try to get to Monte Baldo again. It was well worth the visit and we were not disappointed! We parked our car in Malcesine, it took a while to find a car park that didn’t have a height limit. We then had to walk back towards the base station to take the cable car up. What makes the journey up great, is that the second cable car rotates 360 degrees.
Once at the top you get great views of the surrounding mountains. To see the view of Lake Garda, you have to walk a short distance. We stopped for a picnic and enjoyed the views (can you tell we plan our days around food?). After our lunch we then set off walking to the main view point. It would be a shame not to visit as the views are well worth it. The boys enjoyed watching some people parachuting off the side of the mountain too.
After our walk to the view point we headed back to the top station for a drink in the restaurant before heading down and back to our campsite.
Verona by Train
Getting to Verona from Peschiera del Garda is pretty simple. We parked at the train station before heading inside to buy our tickets. We used the machines to buy our tickets are the queue was taking ages. I just purchased single tickets as it seemed to give set times for coming back and we didn’t want to have to rush.
It’s only 15-20 on the train, so it doesn’t take too long at all. Then to get to the historic centre it is roughly a 20 min walk, although I’m sure there are buses which go that way. Just like with Venice, I had set up on Google Maps the most popular sights to see so we could find them. This also came in handy around lunch time when we realised we had forgot the boys picnic lunch. Using Google, we managed to find a restaurant which did gluten free food. Once we got to the restaurant we were relived that they could do a meal milk free as well. After lunch we spent another couple of hours walking around the sights before getting the train back.
On our last day we headed to Sirmione and Desenzano del Garda to look around and have some lunch. Sirmione was first up and our first challenge was to find the toilets. It took us a good 20 mins to find some public toilets but once we found them we then headed off to explore. Note: The public toilets are at the public beach near Bar Della Torre. We walked all the way up to Archaeological site of Grotte di Catullo before heading back for some ice cream. We had noticed on the way in that so many had milk free and gluten free ice cream so we thought it would be great to let the boys enjoy one.
Heading back to the car we then drove to Desenzano del Garda and had lunch in the little park (Giardini Marinai d’Italia). After lunch we headed to a cafe for a drink before heading back to the campsite to pack our bags up for our early start the next day.
We had our dinner in the same restaurant (Bellavista) where the boys enjoyed another gluten/milk free pizza.
We left the campsite as early as we could, so that we could drive to Venice airport. We didn’t know what the traffic would be like so we decided it was best to do it this way. No one wants to be rushing through an airport with kids! We had our lunch at the airport before catching our flight home to Edinburgh. Now to plan our next holiday!
There you have it, our family friendly Lake Garda itinerary. It is definitely a place we would recommend to any family thinking about going. There are so many places to visit that you are bound to have a great time. Have you been before or thinking of going to Lake Garda? Let us know in the comments below.