With the grassy shores of Lake Maggiore and wooded mountains for a backdrop, Tenero’s the place to pitch your tent under a canopy of stars. Campofelice Camping Village, one of the largest and best equipped campsites in Europe, offers simple pitches, caravans and cute wooden bungalows to rent, and family-friendly activities from kayaking to circus skills. Shaded by ancient trees, nearby Campeggio Lido Mappo meanwhile has a more intimate, park-like vibe, with great kids’ activities and a surprisingly versatile restaurant menu.
Guests at Albergo Losone could be forgiven for thinking they’ve touched down in the Caribbean. Towering palms and rustic thatched canopies surround the pool in lush, landscaped grounds, while rooms are large, airy and quiet. And kids are in heaven – there’s even a petting zoo. Youngsters are also spoiled for choice by mini golf, ping-pong, pool and more in the gorgeous gardens of Park Holel Brescino, while the décor’s gently Miami Vice vibe will make adults feel young again too.
Sumptuous spas abound in the area, with Villa Orselina one of our favourites. Decorated in soothing shades of ivory and with breathtaking views from its hillside location, this boutique beauty destresses you before you even step into ‘La Spa’ – and the dining is divine. Ascona’s Castello del Sole stirs unique history into the wellness mix, its Italianate, 1532 building now complemented with a state-of-the-art 2,500m2 spa, tranquil private lake beach and exquisite cuisine in five restaurants.
Bijou Ascona and Locarno may be, but they’re big on cosmopolitan style. Locarno’s Hotel Caffè dell’Arte radically reinvents a historic shell nestling in a central Old Town streetscape, with nine individually designed rooms ranging in style from pure-white minimalism to full-beam, Jackie Collins hyperglamour. Ascona answers with Art Hotel Riposo, an equally creative boutique property and member of HIP Hotels, with a pool set in a charming rooftop garden overlooking Lake Maggiore. Don’t miss the weekend jazz jams in the cute courtyard.