Camping in Italy: Camping Isolino
Popping over the border to Italy for the weekend still blows this Australian-born mind, so when SFT editor Pamela suggested we go and try out the campground Isolino just over the Swiss/Italian border late last summer it didn’t take me long to agree. As soon as the kids were out of school on Friday afternoon we jumped in our cars and convoyed south, direction Italy. Despite arriving in the dark due to traffic jams (surprisingly not at the Gotthard) we had a nice relaxing 2 night stay at this five star campground.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAMPGROUND AND THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE:
Camping Isolino is located on the shores of the Lago Maggiorie around a 30 minute drive past the swiss-italian border. If your planned arrival time has you navigating past Bellinzona and Locarno during rush hour (5-7pm) plan accordingly. Leaving directly after school on Friday afternoon we surprisingly didn’t get stuck in front of the Gotthard Tunnel in traffic, but rather after we left the motorway in Bellinzona. This area is notorious for after-work traffic jams and as our bad luck would have it we drove through exactly at 5.30pm. So a good 3 hour drive from central Switzerland turned into a 5-hour journey that had us pitching our tents in the dark.
WHAT TYPES OF ACCOMMODATION ARE ON OFFER?:
Arriving after the sunset, we chose our pitch by iPhone light, choosing two of the larger pitches so our families could be next to each other. The pitches were close enough to the bathroom but only a short stroll to the lake. The lakeside pitches were full, so if those are on your wish list reserve early to get ahead of the crowds. For families without camping equipment there are permanent mobile homes & bungalows for rent as well as apartments by the entrance.
WHAT FACILITIES DOES THE CAMPSITE OFFER?:
The facilities available are what you would come to expect from a 5-star campground in Europe—very clean and modern bathrooms, with a special bathroom just for children. The washing up areas were kept immaculately clean by each camper who used them. There are on site laundry facilities that we didn’t use. The Teens were happy the site had free WiFi.
The pool facilities were lovely with a kids splash area including slides, an adults only pool/spa, as well as a large family pool. As with many pools in Italy, bathing caps are compulsory and can be purchased at the shop.The lifeguard staff take their job very seriously and aren't so keen on people breaking the rules or moving pool furniture around. The kids loved the large playground located conveniently close to the restaurant and pool.
As it was no longer peak season the pool bar and ice cream store were closed but their pizzeria and bar were open. The onsite supermarket was large and carried everything we could have wanted for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No need to pre-order bread here, either.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DOES THE CAMPSITE OFFER?:
As we were there to relax and spend time together with each other we didn’t go searching for the activities on offer but did notice watercraft for rent down by the lake. We also noticed the large amphitheater as we drove in which I guess holds kids discos and the like during peak season. In peak season there are pony rides, circus events and pool parties.
For those looking for more sporty pursuits they had a tennis court, ping pong tables and a football field. As we never actually left the campground until Sunday, we only then noticed outside the grounds a great area for walks.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER: WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS?:
We purchased both breakfast and lunch supplies from the onsite shop as we needed, although Pamela did did bring the bacon for breakfast from Switzerland which we were so grateful for. For dinner we enjoyed pizzas on the balcony of the restaurant above the pool with very friendly staff practicing their English on us.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO OUTSIDE THE CAMP GROUND?:
We stuck to the campground for this trip, which is located on the outskirts of town. It was a little out from town but we had no real motivation to leave. However the towns we did drive through did look lovely. If we did stay a week we would have for sure explored further afield. Here is more on what’s on offer in the region.
ANY TIPS OF WHAT NOT TO FORGET?:
The campsite is big so don't forget a scooter for smaller kids to get to the playground quicker. Bring a ball as there is a football field and don't forget sand toys for the beach. Oh, and don't forget your bathing cap if you don’t want to have to buy one from the shop!
BEST WAY TO BOOK?:
We booked directly with the campground although we were not promised a specific plot.
WHAT SETS THIS CAMPING GROUND APART FROM THE REST?:
This is a great spot to spend a long weekend along the Lago Maggiore, especially for families looking for a campground with everything at their fingertips There was really no reason to leave at all. The lakeside position can’t be beat!
WHAT TYPE OF CAMPER ARE YOU? :
We are a family 5 who are willing to try it all. From cabins to caravans, motor homes to roof top tents. All us adults need is a comfortable place to sleep and a clean bathroom to use. The dream is to own a VW Camper but until then we enjoy either renting one, or enjoying other things that campsites have to offer.