10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids

If you’re visiting Lake Maggiore with Kids then you need to read all about these 10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids.

I visited the area recently for a short break and stayed on the banks of Lake Maggiore at the lovely Golfo Gabella resort with Bookings for You.  We took part in lots of things to do near Lake Maggiore with kids. Here is what we thought and what you need to know.

  1. Lake Maggiore Cable Cars in Laveno Mombello

The Lake Maggiore Cable Cars in Laveno Mombello are one of the most picturesque and most visited attractions on Lake Maggiore with consistently excellent reviews on Tripadvisor including one of mine!  

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There is a choice of bucket car that you can board for the 16/18  minute journey up the mountain, the traditional open metal bucket or an enclosed bucket, we went in an open bucket, and whilst it was terrifying we had incredible clear views back across Lake Maggiore from 1000 metres up.  

I would highly recommend the Lake Maggiore Cable Cars in Laveno-Mombello for anyone who wants an amazing view of the Lake but if you suffer from any anxiety about heights this is possibly not one for you!

Read our full review with tips and tricks about the Lake Maggiore Cable Cars.

Lake Maggiore Cable Cars in Laveno Mombello - Review of Funivie del Lago Maggiore

Lake Maggiore: the perfect destination for outdoor loving families
Lake Maggiore: the perfect destination for outdoor loving families

Visit Luino market with the kids

Now a trip to the market isn’t always the obvious thing to do with kids, but I have a quick tip for you. One of the things I often do with my kids when I’m visiting somewhere I’m not sure they will fully be onboard with is to set them a little treasure hunt. How many stalls selling olives can you find? Who can find the largest loaf of bread? Who can find some really smelly cheese. Those kinds of thing. You might be surprised how much they enjoy it. With Luino Market you also have the added benefit that you can promise them the most amazing hot chocolate when they come out of the other end.

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids

Drink real Italian Hot Chocolate

Jo from Bookings for You who booked the trip for us, recommended her favourite place to try ‘proper Italian hot chocolate’ basically melted chocolate – Ciocco Bacco. We visited on a very rainy day and it was the perfect way to warm up.

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids

Swim at the Locarno Lido

There is perhaps nothing my kids love more than a swimming pool with slides. The Locarno lido is open all year round, whatever the weather. It includes 3 indoor and 4 outdoor pools, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a thermal pool, a play pool and four water slides.  

Locarno Lido is really very popular with families. You can buy anything you need there but lots of people take their own picnics too.  You can easily spend the whole day at the Lido and for the price of 48 Euros for 2 adults and 2 children for the pool and the slides I think you’d need to.

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids

Swiss Miniature 

Swiss Miniature is Switzerland in miniature! Swissminiatur is an open-air miniature park located on the shore of Lake Lugano. There are more than 120 models at scale 1:25 representing the most important buildings, monuments and transportation means in Switzerland. A 3,560m long model railway with 18 trains runs through the park. Self–service restaurant with local, Italian, authentic Chinese and Indian cuisine. Gift shop and playground for children. Small passenger train with route around the park. Large car and bus park available. Open daily from mid March to end October, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We recently visited a miniature wonderland in Hamburg so I know my kids would be keen to try this one out too.

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids

Visit the Borromean Islands 

Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre collectively known at the Borromean Islands are simply stunning.   From Golfo Gabella Lake resort where we were being hosted you can hire a private boat to come and collect you and take you to the Borromean Islands. This had been our plan for the Wednesday during our short break but sadly rain stopped play.  I couldn’t resist sharing this instagram photo I found as I think my girls would love to pretend that they were the princesses and Queens of this island paradise, oh and there is apparently white peacocks too!

You can visit the Borromean Islands on the local ferry too.


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Isola Bella, Borromean Islands, Lago Maggiore. Offshore from the lake town of Stresa, the little island now occupied by the palazzo of the Borromeo family was the home of a small fishing village until the noble family purchased the archipelago in 1632. The house and baroque gardens were the product of Milanese architects Angelo Crivelli and Carlo Fontana. The gardens were completed in 1671 and subsequently became the backdrop for some of the most important social events in northern Italy through the early 20th century. The palazzo and gardens are open to the public and may be reached by ferry.

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Trip to Cannobio

From Golfo Gabella you can wander down to Maccagno and get the ferry across the water to Cannobio.  Cannobio is just across  Lake Maggiore from where we are staying and the sun shone and we spent a gorgeous day pottering around the streets.

With kids the day trip might have involved more playgrounds and beach type stops but it would still have involved eating glorious pasta watching the world go by on the lake edge. The ebb and flow of lakeside life moves with the ferry times which means that pace has to slow down. Time for the kids to play in the playgrounds, to eat pizza and play in the large squares.   It’s a very relaxed way of life and one that kids really enjoy – oh and there is fabulous gelato too!

Sarah has a beautiful photo tour of Cannobio here you can dwell on.

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids


Chocolate Factory

Chocolat Alprose Factory welcomes visitors. Another top tip from Jo at Bookings for You is that if you do stop en route, definitely try and visit on a weekday when it’s more likely that they will have production taking place. It’s very simple but if you have children, they will love it… and they offer free tastings!

Visiting Santa Caterina Monastery with Kids

We visited Santa Caterina Monastery in the pouring down rain and we arrived by road. Whilst I’m glad I went to see the monastery this isn’t the way that I’d recommend anyone getting there or the conditions to visit in. The key reason to visit Santa Caterina Monastery is to see how incredible it is from the lake.  It is built into the cliff edge and seemingly hangs into the sea.  Arriving by boat give you this simply spectacular view and less steps to climb up and down – there are 250 from the road down and back up – although you can pre-book a lift ticket both ways.

We disagreed slightly on the trip I was on about whether this was something suitable for kids. Some said it wouldn’t be something for their kids, but we have always taken our kids along to churches, and national monuments and places of interest like this since they were very small. I honestly believe if you wave a story about why and how something exists you can engage the kids in anything.

10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids
Photo Credit: http://www.illagomaggiore.com


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[AD – press trip] The weather Gods were not in our favour yesterday ☔🌧️ but apparently the thing to do in Italy when it rains is… eat! So that we did. .. We took the train to the markets in Luino, sampled the gorgeous cheeses and delicacies, luncheoned in Laveno, and then found shelter in a 12th century church built into a cliff. A very lovely day indeed 💛 .. But now it’s time to pack our bags, and head back to the airport. But keep an eye on the @bookings_for_you stories, which I’ll be taking over today, as we’re still going to fit in a little something before we board the plane 😘 .. .. .. #italyforfamilies #lakemaggiore #handpickedbybfy #notjustavilla #italianlakes #italylove #italytravel #golfogabella #maccagno #italyvilla #thelakes #lakesofitaly #travelwithkids #familytravellove #fearlessfamtrav #wearetravelmums #mumsinphotos #uktravelblogger #familytravelblogger #mummyblogger #tmom #wanderlustmomblogger #lppathfinders #ourtribetravels #traveljunkies #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #ourtribetravels #takeyourkidseverywhere #mondayescapes

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Pizza Making at Golfo Gabella 

Pizza making at Golfo Gabella was a real treat and something my kids would absolutely love to do if they were staying in Italy. To go behind the counter and roll out the dough with the real pizza chef and then choose all your own ingredients made me feel like a kid in a sweet shop (well pizza shop) never mind the kids.  They would love it, it’s a brilliant thing to do on a rainy afternoon, or after a day out on Lake Maggiore.

Pizza Making at Golfo Gabella
Pizza Making at Golfo Gabella

Part of my 10 Things To Do In… series

Discover more great places to visit and things to do in the UK.

You can find out more Things to do in Lake Maggiore in these posts too:

15 Things to do in Lake Maggiore with Kids

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10 Things to do near Lake Maggiore with Kids


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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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