Lake Maggiore – May 2017
3 nights in Lake Maggiore was definitely not enough. I need to come back here and maybe in the Summer sometime.
The lake is so large with so many amazing towns around it that 3 days wasn’t enough to get to see more than one of them. We stayed in Stresa, which was beautiful. The lake side was stunning, the islands were amazing but it was more the view from the islands that was impressive I think.
The children and I caught a ferry to 2 of the 3 islands on one of the days. One had way to many stairs for a stroller to be on and apparently the 3rd one had even more, which is why we didn’t go to it. We ended up leaving the stroller at the bottom of the stairs, going to explore and then returning to it later and thankfully it was still there every time. I did see someone in a wheel chair and I really empathised with them. At least we could leave the stroller, they didn’t have that option. Thankfully, Caleb is starting to walk more too. He walked a kilometre down to the lake from our house as Jon had taken the car which had our stroller and pouch in so either we had to stay and wait for him or walk. Caleb opted to walk and he did really well too.
The ferry trips to he islands were short rides, the longest was about 15 minutes but the children loved being on a boat 3 times in one day despite, how short they were. The islands had plenty of places to eat, markets and quaint shops on them. One of them had an amazing botanical garden but I didn’t get to explore it (we just saw it from the boat) with the children because of time issues, stair issues and I couldn’t find the entrance – turns out you had to go through a church to get to the botanical gardens.
In Stresa, there was a playground on the lakes edge. The children got to spend a good few hours there and they were thrilled with it. On the one day that we had sun, I managed to soak it up whilst the children played for ages on the slides and swings.
The old town was nothing grand, and I wouldn’t need to go back for it but it did have everything one would need from a town.
One of the mornings was spent going up to the top of the mountain. We took 2 cable cars and a chair lift to get to the top but the views from the top were incredible! I know when I look back on my life I’m going to think, ‘how on earth did I do a chair lift with 2 toddlers!’ It was pretty easy though. Strap one to you and the guy working there helped Caleb on and off. At the very top of the mountain, there was still snow. Caleb had the time of his life playing in it. At one stage, he was knee deep and loving it. Lil’s didn’t love it as she kept slipping over, in the beginning it was fun but quickly became too much for her. Caleb didn’t want to leave the snow. When we got to the bottom of the mountain he said, ‘mom, I’m cold! Can you take my pants off!’ I bent down and he was sopping wet. I could wring his socks out they had so much much water in them from the snow. The poor child, I didn’t even realise and he didn’t moan at all about it.
Upon driving to the next town to get some groceries, we saw yet another playground so one of the afternoons was spent there too. The shore here was just beautiful with snow capped mountains in the background. I wish we had had more time to explore the other towns. I can imagine this place in Summer. It must be ram packed with tourists and locals swimming and sun bathing.
A castle was one of Jon’s shoot places and we had to go with him. The children were so excited to go into the castle. Caleb was a knight with a stick as his sword and Lil’s was a princess. I’m pretty sure she’s convinced that she is actually a real life princess.
The views of the lake from the castle were incredible because we could climb all the way up to the tower and it over looked the lake. The castle was huge inside and included a toy museum. The museum was a little weird or should I say more that the toys from a long time ago were a little weird. They had beautiful dolls houses and cars for the boys but that’s about all. Their dolls were rather freaky looking. Whilst waiting for Jon to finish off, we waited in the gardens for him. Give my children a pond and some stones and they will happily fill it for you. Sorry for the person who has to clean it.
We wished it didn’t rain as much as what it did whilst we were at the lake, but we had one perfectly sunny day so we can’t complain about that. I would suggest the lake as a destination for families to visit and enjoy, especially in the Summer. There is just so much for everyone to do and keep entertained with. You wouldn’t need a car as there ferry boats go from town to town so you could explore without it. Parking was a bit of a nightmare so as long as you’re up to doing some walking, you can definitely get by without a car.
Would I ever come back here? I certainly would. I would love to go back to just relax in the Summer rather then do a tourist trip and definitely for more than 3 days.