Lago di Lugano, or Lake Lugano, is on the borders of the Italian section of Switzerland and Italy itself. The scenery is breathtaking, of course, but while that will impress the younger members of the family, it needs to be tied in to activities that will attract them, to really hold their attention. Thankfully, there is plenty to do!
The centrally-situated Parco Civico has a large playground, and a lakeside beach at one end - everyone will appreciate the delicious Italian ice cream on sale in the park - or make for a Lido with a swimming pools and diving boards, carefully watched by lifeguards. The Parco San Grato provides more playgrounds, and will please adults with its beautiful rhododendrons, making it a good spot for a family picnic.
Promenades are always good for running, cycling or hopping on a scooter, and Parco Ciani has the added advantage of stunning views of stately mountains, in particular Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, viewed from under the shade of leafy trees and spring blossoms. Rent a boat and take the family out on the lake to discover the town from a distance.
Switzerland is as famous for its superior chocolate as Italy is for its "gelato", and all ages will enjoy learning the history of this delicious confection at the Museo di Cioccolato Alprose, or Schokoland, in the town of Caslano. During the week, visitors can watch production in the factory, and every day, there are free tastings in the shop!
The San Salvatore rack-and-pinion railway, around ten minutes drive from the town centre at Capolago, is great fun, and an easy way to get into the mountains. Footpaths and nature trails will help the whole family to explore safely. Older children will enjoy Monte Brè's mountain bikes for hire, or its hiking opportunities - get there by Cassarete's funicular railway or on a bus from Lugano. Or board a train or boat to Swissminiatur, for miniature models of Swiss attractions.
Monte San Giorgio is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its richness of Triassic marine fossils. The long pathway and forest track to the summit may be too much for a family trek, but the path on the way down displays panels showing the finds with their excavation sites. Alternatively, take them to the Museo dei Fossili in Meride.
Lugano is around four or five hours from the Bavarian Forest, so is suitable for an overnight trip from your hotel, or as part of a two-centre holiday. Or why not take the chance to get to know Bavaria, and save Lugano for another break? Ulrichshof has both indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds and sports facilities, as well as its own beautiful scenery, while adults can indulge themselves with a variety of room types, a choice of restaurants, and a wellness centre.
ULRICHSHOF Baby & Kinder
Bio-Resort | Ulrich N. Brandl & Co. KG
Zettisch 42 | 93485 Rimbach
Bayerischer Wald | Bayern | Deutschland