Italian Lakes: Exploring Lake Maggiore with kids

Lake Maggiore with kids

Lake Maggiore with kids

We headed to Lake Maggiore, Italian Lakes during the Easter holidays and stayed in the luxury Villa Sereni with Bookings for You. Having visited (and fallen in love with) Country Relais Spa Le Capanne in Tuscany a few weeks before our Italian Lakes trip, I had high expectations. I have to say – Lake Maggiore was as beautiful and breathtaking as I had hoped it would be.  If you are looking for a family friendly destination then look no further. Lake Maggiore has so much to do for families – whatever the weather. If you are thinking of heading to Lake Maggiore with kids, read on to find out what we got up to during our week.

Lake Maggiore holidays

We stayed in a gorgeous and modern luxury villa with Bookings for You. Bookings for You is owned by Jo Mackay and the company have grown and now expanded their portfolio to over 300 holiday villas and apartments in the Italian Lakes, Lazio, Florence, Le Marche, Puglia and France and Monaco. Jo and the Bookings for You team have personally visited every property to allow them to be able to offer advice and provide information to ensure your accommodation is tailored to your needs and requirements. Jo’s knowledge and handy travel guide allowed us to research and plan our week-long trip, thus really getting the most out of our stay.

Lake Maggiore, Italian Lakes

Lake Maggiore appears to be the lesser known of the Italian Lakes to people in the UK, yet it is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland.  Beautiful, yet mysterious, with snow-capped mountains creating a perfect backdrop over the lake, and quaint and charming villages dotted around Lago Maggiore, it is not hard to see what it has been described by Huffington Post as one of Italy’s most charming and best kept secrets. There is so much to see and do in Lake Maggiore with kids, whatever the weather. We hired a car out following Jo’s recommendation and Jo provided us with all the advice we needed to arrange our car hire. Just one tip – make sure that you take a credit card that is in the name of the named driver!!! We got caught out here and had to pay an additional fee. Lake Maggiore is situated just over an hour from Milan Malpensa airport. I would say that hiring a car was essential for our villa holiday. Bookings for You offer advice on all aspects of car rental.

The weather in Easter was varied, and we experienced both beautiful Spring sunshine, and Spring showers. Whatever the weather – you will be spoiled for choice for things to do around the Lake.  Here is an introduction to what we got up to during our week exploring the beautiful Lake Maggiore in Italy.

Lake Maggiore Beaches

There are some really wonderful beaches on Lake Maggiore. Our kiddies are happiest on a beach, and they particularly loved collecting the pebbles…I often came back to the villa with a pocketful of ‘pebble treasures’ to take home to save or paint.

Maccagno Beach

We loved Maccagno beach. Once we eventually found it, we realised just how close it was to our villa. It is a large beach, with good facilities for the kids, a car park, toilets, cafe and play park. The scenery is just breathtaking, the water crystal clear and I loved all the trees dotted around which I imagine would offer great shade during the warm summer months. The beach was fairly quiet over the Easter break, so it was even more spectacular having those stunning views all to ourselves….

Cannobio beach

Another favourite of ours was the beach at Cannobio. Cannobio offers an abundance of watersports including the opportunity to hire out pedalos or boats. There is a large stretch of grass with plenty of picnic tables, and a play park for the little ones. Cannobio is just beautiful, with pretty streets, quirky shops, and restaurants and coffee shops to stop and enjoy a hot chocolate overlooking the lake.


Cannobio is a beautiful and picturesque town on the shores of Lake Maggiore. It has cobbled streets, colourful buildings, lanterns dotted about in the trees and a gorgeous beach with an abundance of watersports on offer. We spent many an hour sitting in one of the cafe’s dotted along the shore, sampling coffee, hot chocolate and cake… I love the laid back way of life here, and sitting back and just admiring those views.

Valle Verzasca and Verzasca Dam

I would say that Valle Verzasca is definitely worth a visit. We headed here on a particularly rainy day, yet it was just spectacular in every way. Whilst you are here you can visit the Verzasca Dam (Goldeneye, anyone?) We picked up a map from the tourist information desk and then we headed up the mountain in the car. There are places to park up and enjoy the views, and a number of walks if you prefer. There are also parking spots where you can access the river for a swim.  Even in the torrential rain I could not get over the colour of the water, and I would absolutely love to return on a beautiful sunny day – I can only imagine it is just breathtaking.


During our week we headed over to Arona to marvel at the 1500+ floating umbrellas. Back to Arona launched ‘under colours Arona (#UndercoloursArona)’ which started in March 2018 and ended in May 2018. During this time the streets took on a new atmosphere, and I loved that we got the opportunity to visit during this time, to capture colours in Arona.

A post shared by Katy ( on Locarno

On our last day we drove to Locarno, a City in southern Switzerland on Lake Maggiore and known for its sunny climate. Although we didn’t visit, there is a lido in Locarno that is open throughout the year, whatever the weather with indoor and outdoor pools, a thermal pool, play pool and plenty of water slides. We had just missed the thousands of inflatables that had been placed in Piazza Grande over the weekend. Hundreds of colourful flamingo floats!!


Ascona was another favourite of ours – a picturesque town in southern Switzerland. We found a coffee shop (our newly crowned all time favourite coffee shop Bar Batello) that we could’ve honestly sat in all day and watched the world go by.  It was beautifully decorated with gorgeous sheep skin rugs and blankets, candles, lanterns and swings just out on the terrace – and it was a quiet haven to just sit and admire those views, and yes.. our girls absolutely LOVED the swings!!!


We also enjoyed a walk around the Swiss city of Lugano during our week. There is the Monte San Salvatore funicular – a 10 minute ride taking you to the mountain top to view those spectacular views!! There are also plenty of shops, restaurants and coffee shops and a lido that is recommended by Bookings for You in the comprehensive information guide, where you have access to the lake and 3 swimming pools, slides and diving boards.

Luino and Luino Market

Luino is just a few minutes drive from the villa Sereni, and it had plenty of restaurants, shops, and a number of large supermarkets. This is also where we hopped on the boat to visit the many beautiful towns, villages and cities around Lake Maggiore. Travelling by boat is a really simple way of getting around and timetable is available online. Every Wednesday you will find Luino market. We couldn’t visit Lake Maggiore without mooching around Luino Market. Be prepared, it’s a big market, and it gets very busy!! I did love wandering around the stalls, and I have to say I was quite taken with Luino…it had a lovely friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Lake Maggiore with kids

There is so much to see and do around Lake Maggiore. We didn’t get the chance to see the Borromeo Islands and I would have liked to have tried out those famous bucket cars. You can get to the Borromeo Islands from Stresa…and whilst you are in Stresa I have heard that the view from the Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone cablecar is absolutely spectacular!! Clearly I just need to return….

For more information on the Italian Lakes, available villas, or if you have any queries then do head over to Bookings For You online

Lake Maggiore with kids

Have you ever visited Lake Maggiore with kids?

Find out what we thought of our stay in Villa Sereni on Lake Maggiore

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Italian Lakes: Exploring Lake Maggiore with kids

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***Disclosure - we were invited to review Villa Sereni by Bookings for you, however all travel, car hire and attractions were paid for by ourselves. All opinions and thoughts are my own.***


  1. June 20, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    This post makes for a lovely read – and what beautiful pictures! My two would have loved those swings, too. The towns around Lake Maggiore look perfect for just wandering round, at a gentle pace. It looks as though you had a good time there, despite the occasional shower 🙂

  2. June 21, 2018 / 9:07 am

    This brought back so many memories reading your post Katy! We also fell in love with the scenery and beaches. My boys still ask when we can go exploring by boat on the lake now, six months on! So pleased you loved Cannobio as much as we did xx

  3. June 21, 2018 / 11:56 am

    Oh it looks gorgeous – we’ve just returned from Genoa and they had umbrellas in the street too – perfect photo op!

    I love the idea of a bar with swings – reminds me of a place we loved in Cancun many moons ago 🙂

  4. June 21, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    Lake Maggiore is just so incredibly beautiful. This has got me really excited about our holiday to Italy in August!

  5. June 23, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    I am SO excited for our family trip to Lake Maggiore next month now I’ve read this. I’ve already done loads of research and am pleased that some of the places I’ve looked into visiting are places you would recommend. Definitely going to try and find the café with the swings – how fun!

  6. June 26, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    It looks like such a peaceful and relaxing holiday for families with young kids. The lake is literally stunning

  7. July 11, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    What a gorgeous place to visit! I love northern Italy – I used to visit there so many times as a young one and would love to take my family there one time. The Villa looks lovely too!

  8. March 11, 2019 / 9:23 am

    We visited Lake Garda a couple of years ago and have said how much we would love to explore more of the area. This is a fabulous post and despite the weather it appears it was still brilliant. Love some of the towns you visited and the café with swings seems a must.#MondayEscapes

  9. March 11, 2019 / 9:49 am

    Lago Maggiore has such a special place in my heart as we lived there for 9 months. Your photos bring back such lovely memories and I’m so excited to be going back here in a couple of months! #MondayEscapes

  10. March 11, 2019 / 10:57 am

    I can’t wait to head there in a few months. You’ve got me so excited. #MondayEscapes

  11. March 11, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    That just looks beautiful!! Love the umbrellas. #MondayEscapes

  12. March 13, 2019 / 3:51 pm

    Oh this looks lovely. Italy is somewhere we need to explore more. Only ever been to Rome! And what a great idea for a cafe to have swings #MondayEscapes

  13. March 13, 2019 / 4:52 pm

    Oh wow, this looks lovely! I don’t know this part of Italy at all but would love to visit. Especially that bar with the swings – how cool! #mondayescapes

  14. March 15, 2019 / 9:48 am

    Such lovely photos! I’ve never been to this region but it just looks beautiful! That bar with the swings, love it! #MondayEscapes

  15. March 15, 2019 / 8:52 pm

    I love lake maggiore – we stayed at golf o gabello and I’m constantly plotting a return #mondayescapes

  16. March 18, 2019 / 7:01 pm

    Oh wow, this place looks beautiful and is somewhere I’ve never heard of before. I’ll definitely be finding out more. Jemma #MondayEscapes

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