Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Fri November 06 2015

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  • Sam Schuler | November 6, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    3 Perfect Kid-Friendly Destinations in Italy

    3 Perfect Kid-Friendly Destinations in Italy

    PHOTO: Driving in Italy can be a fun experience, even with kids (courtesy Auto Europe)

    If you ask a child what comes to mind when you mention Italy, the answer might very well be pizza or spaghetti.

    While it’s true that the Italians are the masters of pasta and pizza, this Southern European country with its boot-like shape has a lot more than culinary delights to offer young families on holiday.

    Once you’ve shown the kids Michelango’s famous frescos in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel or his David statue in Florence, why don’t you rent a car in Italy to get away from the crowds and let your children experience some of the best outdoor adventures in this memorable destination.  

    Lake Garda

    The best-kept secret destination of European families, Lake Garda in North-Eastern Italy has all the ingredients for an unforgettable family vacation: beaches, boats, castles, an amusement park, an aquarium and a myriad of other activities associated with a lakeside holiday.

    Lake Garda, with its surface area of 370 km², is Italy’s largest. The scenic western shore is characterised by ancient towns against the backdrop of formidable cliffs and mountains, while the eastern shore boasts more beaches, ranging from pebbly in the north to sandy in the south. Once you’ve soaked up enough sun, grab some action at Gardaland, Italy’s largest amusement park and ranked among the top in Europe. With Lake Garda as base, easy day trips to Verona (25 km), Venice (125 km) and Milan (120 km) are possible.

    South Tyrol

    If it’s breathtaking mountain scenery with snow covered ski slopes that make your family tick, head to South Tyrol, Italy’s autonomous northernmost province. Not only is South Tyrol one of the most affordable ski destinations in Europe, it’s also very family friendly. The slopes aren’t overcrowded and beginners and children will feel at home on the hundreds of kilometres of blue (easy) slopes in the area. For the more experienced and adventurous skiers, there are also ample red (intermediate) slopes.

    The main ski area in South Tyrol is called Dolomiti Superski, with more than 1,000 km of downhill runs. The Dolomites is a mountain range that was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2009 because of its unique beauty and geological features. And if mom or little Billy find the slopes too daring, winter in the Dolomites or the Italian Alps in South Tyrol is about much more than just skiing. Cosy up with hot chocolate in a mountain hut, go sledging or ice skating or relax in a jacuzzi or indoor swimming pool.

    Etruscan Coast

    Tuscany is best known for its rolling hills and charming hillside villages, but did you know it also boasts a long coastline with beautiful beaches?

    The perfect combination to keep everyone in the family happy. In fact, the beaches of southern Tuscany are where Italian families go to spend their summer holidays when the rest of their country is overrun by tourists. Rent a car in Rome or Florence and discover this unknown part of Tuscany with its amazing ocean vistas at your own leisurely pace. Stop along the way to walk in the footsteps of the Etruscans who inhabited the area in the 9th century.

    The Archeological Park of Baratti and Populonia in the Gulf of Baratti (between San Vincenzo and Piombino) is especially worth a visit. Some of the best beaches to visit with children include Chiarone, Ultima Spiaggia, and La Torba along the sandy coastline of Capalbio. Or check out the beaches of Follonica if you are looking for a lively vibe, pizza and kids play areas to add to the holiday experience.


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Sam Schuler Europe by Car

Sam Schuler Sam Schuler is a travel writer, photographer, graphic artist and a member of Auto Europe's marketing team in Portland, Maine. An Oregon native, Sam has enjoyed trips to France, Italy, Bermuda, and Mexico on multiple occasions. Sam continues to draw creative inspiration from his travels, documenting many of them in a variety of mediums, including travel blog writing and photographic exposes.
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