During the summer I showed you some of our holiday pictures from our trip to Altomincio Holiday Park courtesy of Thomson Al Fresco. I thought it was probably about time that I provided you with the lowdown of the trip. Especially as it’s so dark and gloomy out, you might be thinking about organising next years holiday!
It was a trip of highs and lows for the adults, but without doubt, magnificent highs for the children. So much so, that just yesterday I found them both sitting sobbing to themselves on the sofa, when questioned they said it was because they missed Italy so much.
Despite being fairly accomplished travellers we have not been abroad as a family, mainly due to cost but also due to fear at the potential for things to go wrong on an airplane. Well, yes, I was right about that one, as on our return trip the Boy was fairly consistently sick throughout the entire flight thanks to us having to sit at the back (the only seats possible together) where the air pressure was too much for him. On a brighter note Fifi was alright, so I guess it’s an individual thing. I would advise you try to get seats in the middle if you have little kids though!
Altmonicio Holiday Park sits south of Lake Garda and about half an hour away from Vernona airport by car, at least it did on our return journey. It took us two hours of driving through a hailstorm to get there with a dodgy Italian map. NOTE TO ALL: Make sure you either have sat nav or a decent map purchased prior to the trip before you attempt a holiday like this.
On arriving at Altomincio I was struck by two things; First the disused industrial chimney in the distance. Secondly, how much it reminded me from a scene from Dirty Dancing. It’s quite a high density site with lots of little park homes clustered around play areas. Brilliantly safe for the kids, as there are no cars, but not so fantastic in terms of night-time noise during peak season. In fact, I didn’t actually manage a single nights sleep thanks to a screaming baby next door. Sob.
Our Thomson rep helpfully assisted us with our bags and showed us to our little home. The children fell in love with it instantly and worked out which beds they wanted. Being used to luxuries, I was a little skeptical, the husband was downright shocked to discover that there was no television. No television, how would we cope?
Well, when it’s not raining, Altomincio is a fab place to be. There is a great gelateria which sells the most scrumptious ice-creams, I recommend the cherry one, a bar and without question one of the best toddler swimming pools I have come across (alongside 2 other pools- one for serious swimming). The pool is about 30 cm deep and is constructed from soft rubber which helps prevent nasty accidents. At the centre of the pool is a giant whales head, complete with slide, areas to sun yourself and a tunnel to crawl through. It’s also a great platform for squirting everyone in range with your water gun as Fifi discovered. For slightly older kids and adults there is a couple of big slides which are great fun. As the pool is quite large there is quite a big circumference for sun-loungers, so provided you get there at a reasonable time (or later in the day) you can be fairly assured of a front row seat from which to watch all of this.
For the children the high-light was the activities provided by the Young Friends, this is the campsite kids club. They have an indoor area for crafts and a bouncy castle and each night,and a certain parts of the day at the pool, they hold a mini-disco. The kids absolutely loved this, it was the highlight of their day and we even ended up buying the CD.
In terms of the area, Lake Garda has a lot to offer for families and although I have to admit the holiday was neither as cultured or as beachy as I would have liked, it was entertaining. We took a day trip to Sirmione which is one of the jewels of Lake Garda and former home to Maria Callas. The castle was great fun to explore, the Roman ruins a marvel and if you get the chance to do it I would thorough recommend a boat trip around the perimeter of the town. This was really fabulous.
The local town of Peschiera del Garda was also rather beautiful and we found the most wonderful restaurant to have lunch, a treat which broke the bank but changed the holiday for me. The area also has a few theme parks, cantinas for wine fans and of course the Lake itself on which to take boat trips. Unfortunately due to circumstance we couldn’t afford to do any of these, but they do come highly recommended.
In essence, the holiday itself was primarily the for the kids and I am not going to mislead you, I feel like I need a holiday to recover. The children had a magnificent time, it was a total adventure for them and they are begging me to book it again for next year. For me, there were a few niggles with the accommodation, most of which were sorted and I would not like to visit again during Peak Time as the parking was exceptionally difficult. The whole experience has made me realise that it is possible to travel abroad with a couple of toddlers and survive, in fact even have a reasonably good time. I’d recommend Altomincio if your children are little water babies. The pool is so safe and clean that provided you get yourself a good book and make sure the hubby has packed his swimming trunks you could spend your entire holiday on the park. Which makes it great value.
For the purposes of this trip we were provided with flights, accommodation and some of the car-hire costs.