fun things to do with kids in lake maggiore italy   Travel for Kids
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Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore)

Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore is a long snaky lake that spans both Italy and Switzerland. Scenic mountains rise up from the lake, hillsides are dotted with charming villages. Along Lake Maggiore are resort towns, accessible by train, car and ferry. The mountains and nature reserves are well-suited for day hikes with kids – listen for the sounds of cow bells as you walk through the alpine forests.
    Stresa –
      Lakeside walk (Lungo Lago) – Take a walk along the lake on the promenade that runs north or south from the central boat dock (and tourist office). Walk all the way north to Carciano (where you can pick up the Funvia). On the way are stairs down to the lake – stop to play on the pebbly beaches and skip stones on the lake.
      Playground – This is surely one of the most idyllic playgrounds, situated right next to the lake on the promenade, across from the Regina Palace Hotel. Children can swing on the swings, slide down the climbing structures, play on those bouncy springy things, run around on the grass, while parents relax on the benches.
      Boat rides – Ride the ferries for a delightful lake cruise. Take the ferry across to Verbania and back, or ride the ferry to Isola dei Pescatori, a tiny, kid-size island (at the north end is trees and grass, and a great picnic spot). Pick up the ferries at the central ferry dock in Stresa, or at Carciano. Here's the schedule.
Funvia Mottarone
    Funvia Mottarone – Ride the Funvia (cable car) to the top of Mt. Mottarone. It's a good long ride, about 20 minutes, with two stations, Alpino and Mottarone. As the cable car ascends up the mountain, there are stellar views of Lake Maggiore, and look down to the green forests below, cows peacefully grazing on alpine pastures. The Funvia is located at the north end of Stresa, in Carciano.
      From the Mottarone cable car stop, ride the chair lift (seggiovia) to the summit for panoramic views of mountains in all directions. To return to the cable car stop, walk back down the mountain (it's a nice walk, with cafes and restaurants along the way), or take the speedy option, the Alpyland bobsled.
      If you have time, hike the trails down the mountain from Mottarone to the Alpino cable car stop – takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, follow the red and white signs. Cafes are available, or bring your lunch.
      Tip: It's cooler up on the mountain top, so bring something with long sleeves, and wear comfortable shoes for hiking.
      Mini-golf La Betulla – South of town (on the road going toward Belgirate) is a miniature golf course, right on the lake. Parents can relax in the snack bar, while kids play ten holes.
      Hikes on Mottarone – Mt. Mottarone has lots of different hiking trails, marked with red and white signs. Posted signs indicate how long the trail (sentiero) will take to get to various points along the way, e.g. 0h 30 (30 minutes) or 1h 10 (one hour ten minutes).
      At the tourist office, pick up the brochures "Trekking alle pendici del Mottarone" (Trekking on the slopes of Mt. Mottarone) and "Sentieri del Mottarone" (Trails of Monttarone).
    - Sentiero L5 – This trail goes from Stresa up the mountain slope toward the towns of Vezzo and Gignese. From central boat dock and tourist office, walk up Via Roma, go under train tracks, then turn right onto Piazzale Sant Ambrogio (where all the tour buses are parked).  At the far end of the piazza, look for a small street marked with a red and white sign, "Vezzo - 1h 30, Gignese 2h 10."   Walk up the street until you see red and white painted stripes, marking where the path goes off through the woods.  Hike up the trail as far as the kids like.
    - Sentiero L2 – A trail from Stresa through the woods in the direction of Passera and Belgirate villages. From the boat dock and tourist info office, walk up Via Antonio Rosmini until you see the red and white sign. Follow the red and white signs, turning left at Via Al Castello, then follow the cobblestone road (this was once a Roman road). As you continue hiking through the woods, follow the red and white painted markings for the trail – it's like a treasure hunt.
    Baveno –
      Lake Maggiore Adventure Park – Come to this adventure park for let the kids practice their mountaineering skills, with a suspension course (the challenge is to cross rope bridges and ride zip lines from one platform to the next), climbing wall and bungee trampolines. Helmets, gloves and harnesses provided, March to November.
travel for kids | italy | italian lakes | lake maggiore
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