Chilling with children around sounds like a misnomer but it is possible and easy if you pick the right location!
We had not one but two spa days on our recent week long holiday to Italy, because we were well located – staying at a Canvas Holidays resort – Camping Bella Italia, which is on the doorstep of a fabulous and glamorous luxury thermal spa which welcomes families, AND a natural hot spring where you can spend a whole day, relaxing, bathing and enjoying a picnic… and both places even have wifi! (This was a big plus for the kids!)
The area of Lake Garda is actually famous for its thermal spas which drew the Romans in great numbers to Sirmione, the next main town along the lakeside from our base in Peschiera. Garda is Italy’s largest lake and is an area with lots of natural beauty – before this trip the last time I was there was 14 years ago for my mother’s wedding and it is just as beautiful as I remember, and I was happy to be in such a tranquil spot and share it with my own children.
After an initial blazing day with warm temperatures and beautiful sunshine on day one of our half term break, day two was rather overcast with the prediction of thunder. We didn’t want to stay around the campsite, even though it has plenty of facilities but we thought the sport’s bar with the wifi would be packed with other holidaymakers so we ventured out to Aquardens – who advertise themselves as ‘the largest Italian thermal park’ and just a 30 minute drive away.
This place was heaven! It has eleven in and outdoor pools with hot water ranging from 28℃ to 38℃ and is open 365 days a year! There are a succession of pools, lagoons, caves and waterfalls and the mineral rich water has therapeutic features certified by the Italian Health Ministry! Have a look at these shots that I shared on Instagram (using their free wifi!)
A photo posted by JuggleMum (@jugglemumblog) on
They have a restaurant and treatment rooms but we didn’t go into any of these – preferring to stay by the poolside, enjoying the swim up bar and using the poolside cafe for our lunch. We arrived that day at about 11.30am and ended up leaving at around 7pm although it was open until 10pm! We hired bathrobes to wander round in when we weren’t in the water and you can also hire towels or bring your own. At entry you can pay for 2 hours, 4 hours or all day and our all day family ticket for four cost €65 which we thought was a great price for everything that we got and the stunning location.
It was overcast on the day which is why the photos show a little dark but imagine this in bright sunshine!
The Aquardens is located in Santa Lucia di Pescantina and their website is www.aquardens.it Word of warning… Once a month they have a ‘Naked Tuesday’ for their guests to enjoy a totally clothing free day. I wouldn’t have minded too much actually but the kids didn’t like the idea! Our campsite reps found out about Naked Tuesday on their own day off when they were hoping to enjoy the spa action we had! It gave us all a giggle to think of them turning up, rolled towel in hand to relax into the hot tub then finding out they’d see more of their colleagues than they thought!
Our second spa day was at a place we found by chance whilst driving around the area. The Parco Termale del Garda is a natural hot spring in the village of Cola – just 20 minutes drive from our base in Peschiera.
This 13 hectare park has natural beauty with plants and trees and two thermal lakes, plus a spa building where you can opt to have treatments and go into their thermal water pools and the gym. You pay extra for access to this part of the park, so we just paid an entry fee to the lakes and stayed there all day. The adults were €24 each and the child was €15. Our teenager was counted as an adult as they measure on height so the total entry cost was €87. Plus we paid €4 each for a lounger but you don’t need to use one – you can lay a towel on the floor and avoid this charge. There is a cafe on site but we took our own picnic as did plenty of other holidaymakers and you can use their tables and chairs without charge.
Isn’t it beautiful here?
More natural gorgeousness…
The main lake has a geyser shooting out and both lakes of thermal water are warm with temperatures ranging from 28℃ to 39℃. The water is restorative with healing powers and is certified by the Italian Health Department. Sliding into a bathtub at the end of a hard day at work is one of life’s treats so just imagine wading into thermal lakes like these at any time of the day or night to get that effect! This park is open at night and the pools and caves are lit in the evening to allow bathing.
If you are ever in this area of Italy then both these spas are worth a look. If we find ourselves there again, they will both me on my re-visit list! The website for the hot spring, spa and hotel is www.villadeicedri.com
Our base for the holiday was a Canvas Holidays resort: Camping Bella Italia which has excellent facilities of its own but coupled with this incredible location, it makes it a place for a family holiday where every member of the family will find something for them. We were able to enjoy the freedom of camping with the comforts of home and we felt very pampered too after visiting these spas!
A week in a Canvas Holidays Moda at Camping Bella Italia for a family of four in October 2016 will cost you just £300. I chose October when I searched as they are fully booked up for a lot of the summer months – this site is so popular, but Canvas Holidays do have a holiday search facility on their website where you can put in your preferred travel dates and your party size and they will return search results of where they have availability. There are loads of resorts to choose from!
Have you ever visited a spa before with your children? What was your experience or do you have any recommendations of where we should try next? Leave me a comment below.
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