Italy is a fantastic destination to visit in spring. Flowers are blooming from North to South. The temperature gets warmer everywhere, and children are delighted to spend the day outside, involved in outdoor activities. If you are thinking about Italy for a spring vacation with kids, this is my selection of 10 spring break ideas for families on a budget.
Be sure to exclude Easter holidays, April 25th and May 1st (these dates are in fact bank holidays in Italy), and you will grab the best rates everywhere in the country. At spring, prices of accommodations are lower in comparison to summer, and from April to Mid June, Italians are still at work and kids at school from Monday to Friday.
Where to go to Italy for a spring break on a budget
1) Lake Maggiore
Amongst the best destination to visit in spring, pencil Lake Maggiore. Arona is the first city on the map, and it stands 25km far from Malpensa Airport. It is the doorway to the lake. From this city, you can hop on a ferry and go discovering ancient manors, amazing gardens with full blooming and even enjoy the view from the top of a mountain. But sleeping in Arona is not exactly a bargain. A cheaper idea is to move to the village of Baveno (at 21km North) and look for budget accommodation. Camping Residence Orchidea is a great option when travelling with children in tow. Plenty of facilities for kids, swimming pool, playground and even the beach.
What to do at Lake Maggiore in spring
- Visit the gardens of Villa Taranto in bloom
- Sail to Isola Madre, the smaller of the Borromean Islands, and to Isola Bella
- Relax at the beach
- Go for a bike ride on the Toce River bike lane
- Hike one of the beautiful paths at the mountains
- Visit Angera’s castle
- Visit the hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso
Lake Maggiore can be a popular destination. If you prefer a quieter spot, drive 15 minutes to Orta San Giulio. Lake Orta is a sort of “little lake Maggiore” with all the benefits of a smaller destination and none of the disadvantages.
2) Sagna Rotonda – Piedmont
Sagna Rotonda is a tiny village in the heart of Maira Valley. An eco-village that has been completely restored to promote the heritage, the traditions and the unspoiled nature of these mountains. During a spring break at Sagna Rotonda, families can live in touch with pure nature to the fullest. No cities, no markets, no facilities apart from the ones offered in each apartment.
Just mountains, hiking paths, MTB and silence. The best place to restore body, mind and soul.
3) Levanto – Liguria
Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are around the corner. But the unusual spring break destination for families in love with these five little villages, is Levanto, 10 minutes far by train.
The benefits of this choice are lower prices, no crowd and a small (but sandy) beach.
Why Levanto in spring? Because of the milder temperatures compared to summer ones, that even invite families with kids to hike on the hills.
Best things to do in Levanto with kids
- Enjoy the beach
- Have a bike ride to Bonassola and Framura through the former railway tunnels
- Eat “focaccia al pesto” and gelato at the beach
- Dive at Marine Park of Cinque Terre
4) Riva del Garda – Lake Garda
Riva del Garda is the on the top North of Lake Garda, and it is the central town in the Garda Trentino area. We particularly love this place as it is nestled between nature, art and history. Thus, this place offers so many outdoor activities that you can’t get bored.
Riva del Garda worths a visit 365 days a year, but a spring break trip on the shore of Lake Garda is unbeatable. Thanks to the climate, on these mountains tourists can assist to the spectacular scenario of full bloom, find olive and lemon plantation and scent of wisteria all around the villages.
If you are bike-lovers, the best place to stay at is Hotel Rudy, a lovely and budget three stars hotel with a great spa to relax at the end of your day. Families that love camping instead can enjoy a real tent adventure, as there are many campsites dotted around the shores of the Lake Garda. Campings usually open at Mid April or for Easter vacations.
Best things to do in Riva del Garda with kids
- Visit “La Rocca” a medieval fortress with quadrangular bastions directly on the shores of the lake
- Have a bike ride along the lake
- Visit the medieval town of Canale di Tenno and hike until its lake
- Eat “carne salada (salted raw meat) with beans”
- Explore Varone’s waterfall
5) Pitigliano – Tuscany
When you turn right after the last hairpin, Pitigliano appears in all its glory. Arriving there by car is already a journey. Pitigliano is the most famous of the three tufa towns and even it stands in the heart of Maremma area; this medieval village is closer to Roma than to Florence (Pitigliano is 154km far from the Eternal City and 191km far from the capital of Tuscany).
Pitigliano dates back to the centuries as its area was even inhabited in Etruscan times. This village is a hidden gem of Italy and worths a visit in spring as no one will be there. In fact July, August and September are very crowded months, full of events, festivals and shows. It’s fascinating to be there on that period, but your vacation won’t be cheap!
Best things to do in Pitigliano with kids
- Visit the medieval town and admire Palazzo Orsini
- Hike through Vie Cave
- Eat “acquacotta” (boiled water) a traditional peasants dish made with vegetables, meat, bread and egg
- Explore the others Tufa Town (20 minutes drive far)
6) Giglio Island
11 miles away from the Tuscan coast of Argentario, families travelling to Italy with kids can explore a tiny and green paradise. This small and gorgeous little island is called Giglio “Isola del Giglio” in Italian, and it gives its best in spring thanks to the full blooming. Giglio Island is a rocky mountain, covered in Mediterranean vegetation: maritime pine, broom and oleander.
Besides beach activities and many scuba diving spots, Giglio Island offers ancient pirates legends, a fortress at the top of the hill, a super wine to taste and two tiny villages to stay for the overnight.
7) Castiglione del Lago – Umbria
Castiglione del Lago is a marvellous village that lays on the shores of Lake Trasimeno close to the borders of Tuscany. For a bunch of kilometres, we are in the greenest region of Italy, Umbria, the so-called “green heart of Italy”. Castiglione is 40 minutes drive from Perugia and nearly one hour from the beautiful Assisi. Beyond the fact of being a tiny medieval village, surrounded by ancient walls full of history, every two years Castiglione del Lago host a huge kite event. That’s the reason why among the family spring break ideas, Castiglione del Lago is the best at all. The great show is called “Coloriamo i Cieli “ (let’s colour the skies) and the festival is held on no fixed date in late April or May. It is an international event, where you can even find hot air balloons and thousands of colourful kites. For this reason, families need to book well in advance their room at Castiglione del Lago.
Best things to do in Castiglione del Lago with kids
- Visit the medieval town
- Eat at “L’Acquario Restaurant”
- Explore Lake Trasimeno
8) Cervia – Emilia Romagna
Cervia is a village on the Adriatic Coast, close to the city of Ravenna. The Italian Riviera is one of the most chosen destinations for family travel, as every town offers plenty of facilities or services for kids. Among this iconic destinations, Cervia has gained our attention because of its natural surroundings. The entire area of Cervia is a pure gem. Once there you can visit Cervia’s salt pan, go birdwatching, and explore the nature reserve where kids can even admire flamingos.
Best things to do in Cervia with kids
9) Numana – Le Marche
Numana is an ancient fisherman village on the Adriatic Sea, nestled in the pure woodlands of Conero Park. The village is divided into two sections: the old town, that dates back to the Neolithic era, and the touristic area, where hotels, resorts and restaurants follow the beach. A seaside promenade brings families with kids from the fun of Marcelli (the touristic side of this place), to the upper old town, revealing the difference of the coastal area: wild beaches hidden by the nooks of Mount Conero and the extensive stretches of shingles beaches and resorts fully equipped with services.
Best things to do in Numana with kids
- Have fun at the beach
- Hike on the Mount Conero
- Explore the hidden city of Osimo and Camerano (15 minutes drive)
- Taste a gelato or enjoy the aperitivo at Sirolo, a tiny village nestled on the top of the hill
10) Tremiti Islands – Apulia
The Caribbean at hand. Undervalued by the majority of Italian families that prefer to drive straight to Salento, the Southern district of Apulia, Tremiti Islands are five tiny islands that give their best in Spring. Sea caves, rocky cliffs and a white killing sandy beach.
Among the unusual spring break destination for families, I highly recommend the Tremiti because they are cheap and because once there you’ll be the only tourist among locals (roughly 400 inhabitants).
Choose these little paradises for your spring vacation to Italy if you are an addicted diver. Kids will be astonished about this sea!
Evening relax is guaranteed: imagine an aperitivo with sea urchins served on a slice of warm bread and salad butter, then a fresh fish dinner in front of the sea. Suddenly it’s the time to go to bed. Children will sleep tight after a day at the beach. Add a glass of white wine, a good read… and the game is over.
Italy is a fantastic country for family travel. Which one do you prefer? Tell us what’s your best spring break destination on a budget and why your kids loved it!