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Just like Australia's Gold Coast, the Lake Garda region in Italy's north is home to an abundance of theme parks and one of them, Gardaland, has become a family favourite in our household. Gardaland is like a smaller Italian version of Disneyland (or even Australia's Dreamworld) with lots of rides, rollercoasters and shows to suit all ages. Other theme parks around Lake Garda include Movie Land Studios, Caneva World (think Wet 'n' Wild) and an animal-themed park, Parco Natura Viva.



A day at Gardaland Theme Park in Italy

 

Gardaland and the other theme parks mentioned above are all situated around Peschiera del Garda at the southern end of Lake Garda. If you're not staying around the Lake itself, the theme parks are only an hour away by train from Milan and two hours from Venice, making them easily accessible.

 

gardaland-italy

 

Our first visit to Gardaland was in 2000 when our kids were five and eight years old. When we returned to Lake Garda five years later, it was top of their minds - we had to go back again! On another visit to the region in 2008 we were tossing up whether or not to go back to Gardaland.  The days were very hot - well over 35C - and I couldn't stand the thought of lining up for rides in blistering heat. However, the local representatives at the holiday park we were staying at offered us free tickets - previous guests had bought two day tickets but only used them on one day so the tickets were going begging!  When I also found out the park stays open until 11pm during summer, it was all go. We arrived at Gardaland around 5pm, just as the hottest part of the day was passing, and stayed until closing.

gardaland-collage

I'll admit on my first visit to Gardaland I was a bit apprehensive as to how we would manage as we don't speak any Italian but I needn't have worried.  Gardaland attracts lots of international visitors (Lake Garda is a popular holiday resort for Brits) so park maps were available in English, as were signs and announcements, and most of the food vendors and shop assistants we dealt with also spoke English.

 

gardaland

 

Useful info about Gardaland

rollercoaster-gardaland

 

If you're staying in the area, particularly if you are travelling with children or teenagers, I'd definitely recommend a visit to Gardaland. There really is something for everyone - even for those who aren't rollercoaster fans (like me!) - and it's a great way to mix up your holiday sightseeing. After all, churches and museums do start to look the same after a while.

 

Are you a theme park fan? Please tell me your favourite European theme park.