Family Weekend Getaway on Lake Lugano in Italy
Over the May 1st holiday weekend, our family spent a wonderful three days on Lake Lugano, staying at the fantastic Parco San Marco all-inclusive resort. Another family spontaneously joined us which made it an absolutely wonderful weekend getaway from Zürich and a great way to cap off our three week April school holidays.
A friend of mine has recommended this hotel to me since we moved to Zürich. And now I can see why. Upon checking in, the girls were given a treasure map and set off to explore every inch of the property, which took a good hour. This was such a wonderful way to get to know the property as we passed by all the pools, playgrounds, donkeys, turtles, fish, restaurants, volleyball court, basketball court, and kid’s club. (It looks like they also have a wonderful trees and plants walk as well for adults that I hope to do next time.) After they completed the treasure hunt, they got a prize at reception which was so sweet. I love an extra touch in a hotel that makes it memorable for the kids.
Food at Parco San Marco
The food is wonderful. A perk that I love at hotels is when there is a free bowl of fresh and juicy apples at reception. I feel like a lot of times when I am traveling I don’t eat all the fruits and vegetables I would normally, so having such an easy way to eat healthy on the go is a tiny thing that I really appreciate. (I can say that after spending three nights in Disneyland Paris where you can’t find a grocery store to grab some fresh fruit for the long days spent in the park. They really should put in a fresh fruit kiosk. But that’s for another post.) There are four restaurants with tons of choice. The pizza place on the beach was not yet open for the season when we visited, but I can tell that it would be an absolutely amazing place to sit and relax after a full day of water activities.
We ate at Ristorante & Bistro San Marco for the first two nights. There was so much food! From a full salad bar to appetizers and a full children’s buffet, there was something for everyone. This is also where we ate our buffet breakfast every morning, where we were also spoilt for choice. The last night we ate at La Masseria in a wine cave room which was really cool. The waiter was absolutely amazing (as I can apparently be somewhat choosy and love a good recommendation from a waiter with an opinion and hate a floppy waiter who says everything is good or has no recommendations).
Spa at Parco San Marco
My friend spoiled me with a birthday pedicure from the spa during our stay. My last pedicure was at our Austrian Kinderhotel so I was so excited to have another one and it was so special to be treated for my birthday.
Daily Boat Tours
This place is so family friendly. Besides the kid’s club, nightly movies, playgrounds, and pools, the staff is also very kid friendly. I noticed this the most in the water activities we joined. Our first breakfast we sat down and a woman came up to us and asked if we wanted to go on a boat to town for a Saturday farmer’s market. Of course! For 10 Euros we hopped on a boat at Parco San Marco and it took 5 minutes to get to Porlezza where we grabbed fruits, cheeses, and bread for our room and snacks. Our girls grabbed clothes at the market for 10 euros each. The prices were amazing compared with Switzerland. Plus, my girls got to steer the boat on the way to and from Porlezza. So sweet of them.
The next day they asked if we wanted to explore the waterfall, caves, and have pizza across the lake. Of course! I love all this easy organization. I didn’t have to plan a thing and we got to stay at our hotel and not run around. A boat took us to cool places around Lake Lugano. The cave tour was so kid friendly. As we had 4 girls with us, the guide made it so fun for the girls and kept them highly entertained.
So many pools!!!
This hotel has snorkeling and scuba diving as well. Our friends had their girls scuba dive on the last day of our trip. It was so fun for us all to watch them learn to scuba dive in the swimming pool and run through a list of tests. They made the full hour lesson so entertaining and child friendly for the girls. I was really impressed with how tuned into kids they are.
Playground and other family activities
There are so many activities at Parco San Marco for the whole family. I felt like a three night stay was not enough. I’m already trying to figure out when we can go back again. From daily excursions on Lake Lugano by boat (which they were so sweet to let our girls steer), Kid’s Club, nightly kid movies perfectly timed for an adult leisurely dinner, donkeys, face painting, archery, treasure hunt, pools, slides, and playgrounds, there is something fun to do all the time.
Book through the hotel and not through a third party online. I found the prices much cheaper with the hotel than through Booking.com. Go off peak for a weekend away. The train is a quick and easy way to get from Zürich to Lugano, then grab a cab to the hotel (there is a bus that is really cheap as well that drops you off right in front of the hotel). July and August are the most expensive times to go as these are Swiss school holidays and the hotel guests seemed mainly Swiss while we were staying over the weekend.
Parco San Marco is such a wonderful and easy weekend escape from Zürich. Now to figure out when we can go back…