Conco D’Oro Camping Village is located on beautiful Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes Region about an hour northwest of Milan. The family-run resort is both a self-contained, park-like destination and a perfect base for experiencing the area’s many outdoor activities and scenic lakeside towns. The resort’s casual waterfront setting is a great spot to take a break from Europe’s more chaotic, urban destinations, giving guests the opportunity to savor casual, low-key lake time without sacrificing that morning cappuccino or afternoon gelato. Our family enjoyed the chance to slow down and pause our busy sightseeing schedule to relax, recover, and give the kids time to play and explore.
Where to stay?
The name “Camping Village” may be misleading, as there’s a wide variety of accommodations here, ranging from traditional tent sites to fully-equipped safari lodges to small modern kit houses that are worthy of a feature in Dwell magazine!
The safari lodges provide a unique chance to have a rustic outdoor lake experience without really roughing it. These tent-like structures are surprisingly well-appointed with flat screen televisions, kitchens, and full bathrooms, yet you can roll up the canvas walls and live alfresco. We found it to be just the right mix of comfort and memory-making adventure.
Accommodations at Conca D’Oro range widely depending on the type of stay that you choose and when you visit. The safari lodges are at the upper end and range from $83 to $150/night for a family of four.
KidTripster Tip: Most visitors to Conca D’Oro are well-prepared European campers from the region, but for the less-equipped, non-European vacationers, items like towels and bed sheets are available for a small additional fee.
What to do?
The area around Lago Maggiore is a haven for family-friendly activities. At the resort itself, you can enjoy lazy, slow-paced days with kids playing on sandy beaches and parents simply relaxing. Or rent mountain bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, and powerboats from the resort for more action.
KidTripster Tip: Conca D’Oro is made up of three adjacent properties, each with its own unique amenities. It’s not always clear that the properties are connected and available to guests, but know that visitors are welcomed and encouraged to utilize the collective facilities, including bocce courts and additional restaurants and cafes.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, the resort can hook you up with area outfitters to meet any family’s thrill-seeking needs. Its English-speaking staff can help arrange a wide variety of tours including mountain ziplines, whitewater rafting, adventure parks, and more.
The area also sports some great hiking with a wide range of difficulty levels. The Chestnut Route is an easy and popular nearby hike that winds through chestnut woods and takes walkers through multiple small villages. The picturesque walk takes about 2-½ hours and ends at Belgirate, where you can return by ferry or train. Check timetables to properly time your hike.
More notably, the lake has many small Italian and Swiss towns along its miles of shoreline that are beautiful and easy to get to by car or ferry. Of all the villages and towns, Stresa is a must-see with its iconic hotels, quaint shops and cafes, and stunning scenery. Visitors can also use the ferry system to visit the three small picture-postcard islands that sit majestically just off shore.
If you’re willing to go a little farther, check out Cascata del Toce, Europe’s second highest waterfall. It’s an amazing destination with spectacular views from both above and below this natural wonder. At the top, linger and enjoy a meal at the historic alpine hotel and restaurant. The valley below is filled with picturesque hikes and walking paths, ideal for any ability level.
KidTripster Tip: The waterfall only runs during a portion of the year, so check in advance to be sure it's at its impressive full strength.
What to eat?
Conca D’Oro has several options on the grounds that range from sit-down restaurants like Mama’s Restaurant and Wine Store to casual coffee cafes. You’ll be quite surprised at the quality and variety of the fare, as well as the very reasonable prices. Our kids were able to enjoy their requisite pizza margherita, as well as prosciutto and melon dishes that became favorites. The restaurant kitchen really hit everything that we ordered - from delicate fish dishes to classic pastas - out of the park. In the evenings, we found ourselves returning for gelato and a stroll around the grounds. Other cafes serve lighter fare and provide a great place to have coffee, breakfast on the shaded terrace or a midday treat to go.
KidTripster Tip: The on-site convenient store has all of your basics, and its prices are surprisingly reasonable. So if you choose to utilize the full kitchen in your lodge, it’s a viable option for stocking your cupboards.
Conca D’Oro is best reached by car and is accessible via the A26/E62 freeway. The resort is an easy, hour-long drive from Malpensa Airport in Milan, the closest international airport in the area.
Jason Bacon lives in Portland, Oregon, and travels regularly with his wife and their three adventurous kids, ages 11, 14, and 17.
This writer received a complimentary stay for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely his own.