We flew into Verona, a short hop to Bardolino where we were staying at the four star Caesius Hotel. This hotel is fabulous, catering for both families and adults holidaying alone excellently well. The double rooms have an extra sofa-bed for a child or there are family suites in a separate block that has its own children's pools and play area.
In fact the facilities at the hotel - indoor pools, spa and therapy rooms plus outoor pools with water therapy features, beautifully kept gardens and delicious food in the restaurants - might tempt you to stay put and not venture out. And if you are worried about all the calories there’s a water aerobics session every morning!
We went out on to Lake Garda on Caesius Hotel's own 1926 sailing boat (a trip is included in the brochure price). The afternoon was perfect - hot and sunny.
The scenery is spectacular and a swim in the lake - along with the ducks and swans - was deliciously refreshing! In fact the shore of the lake has a real sea-side feel to it - without the salt water.
Bardolino has much to offer. The market runs along the lakeside on Thursday mornings and is great for adults' and children's clothes, kitchen wear, leather goods and lace plus toys ... We walked the length of the stalls and then stopped for a drink and ice cream at the Cafe di Lido which has comfortable chairs and sofas placed in the shade. This is also a good place for lunch as the menu was very reasonable and you have a great view of the lake.
A warren of small streets with masses of interesting shops Bardolino has so many restaurants you are spoiled for choice. Within strolling/hiking distance of the hotel are the villages of Garda, Punta San Vigilio, La Rocca and Lazise. Or, if you prefer, bikes can be hired from the hotel.
We also visited the Museo del Vino (www.zeni.it) which is free to enter but you pay for a guided tour and any wine-tasting in the new baroque cellar which is cool and beautifully decorated. The Zeni family have been making wine in the area for six generations and the guided wine-tasting was informative – and fun!
In the same afternoon we took in another museum – Museo dell’ Olio d’Oliva which has a short film about the history and making of olive oil –narrated by someone who sounds (hilariously) like The Queen! Neither of these museums is hands-on and interactive but both have interesting models and scenes that keep children amused for the short time you are there. Both have shops and products are very competitively priced.
Anne was a guest of Crystal Lakes. The starting price for a week half board at Hotel Caesius Thermae Spa (with flights from the UK and transfers) is from £639 per adult and £383 per child.
There is a free excursion for a child up to and including 12 years when an accompanying adult books the same one.
To book visit www.crystallakes.co.uk or call 0871 230 8180.