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Boy wading in water and looking out at turquoise lake.

Lake Molveno with Kids – A Guide to Italy’s Most Family-Friendly Lake!

Updated on January 15, 2024

I don’t throw out the ‘Italy’s Most Family-Friendly Lake’ title easily.  After all, Italy has Lake Garda – a gorgeous lake with plenty of activities for kids. 

But, after I recent visit with my three young kids, I can say that this gorgeous lake tucked into the Brenta Dolomites gets my vote! 

Lake Molveno (Lago di Molveno in Italian) is one of Italy’s cleanest lakes, and it’s home to excellent playgrounds, activities for everyone in your group, family-friendly restaurants, and spectacular scenery.

Thinking of adding it to your Italy itinerary?  Let’s take a look at why we love it and why you should visit!

Note:  While the area is also a winter destination, I’m focusing on Molveno in the summer.

Read more about Visiting the Dolomites with Kids

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Where is Lake Molveno?

Lake Molveno sits at the base of the Brenta Dolomites in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige in Northern Italy.

The town of Molveno sits on the northern end of the 2.5-mile long lake.  It’s the only town on the lake, so if you want to be on the lake, Molveno’s your place!  Otherwise, you can stay in nearby Andalo or in another town further away and visit Molveno on day trips.

Is Lake Molveno a Good Destination for Your Family?

Reasons You Should Visit Lake Molveno with Kids

Lake Molveno is a gorgeous, clean turquoise lake.

Molveno has playgrounds galore (and they’re great quality).

Molveno has a variety of kid-friendly activities (hiking, mountain biking, water sports, mini golf, events for kids, etc).

Molveno has an enormous green area (with really nice grass) on the lake.

Molveno has so much space at the lake (beaches and green area) so you’re not packed like sardines.

A visit to Molveno can be easily combined with other parts of the Dolomites.

Molveno is full of other families – your kids can make buddies, and you don’t feel like the loud ones at the restaurant!

I noticed a lack of mosquitoes, which was heavenly for this Tuscany-based gal!

Reasons to Skip a Visit to Molveno with Your Family

Molveno isn’t close to many places for day trips.  Family-friendly Andalo is next door, but you need to drive for a while to get to other destinations.

Molveno is a small town / large village.  If you’re looking for busy city life, Molveno’s not for you!

Lake Molveno’s lake water is chilly

Molveno is a fairly quiet town.  While there are events in town (there was a magic show when we were in town, and live music at the lake another night), most of the action takes place during the day. 

Activity prices seemed high to me.

Molveno is not as perfectly manicured as some other places in the Dolomites.  It’s still a lovely town, but those expecting an immaculate Dolomites town may be disappointed.

The Best Time to Visit Lake Molveno with Kids

We visited Lake Molveno in June, and I would visit again at the same time.  July and August are also lovely weather-wise, but the population soars with visiting Italians and Europeans.

Good To Know:  Italian schools finish mid-June (preschool finishes at the end of June) and the new school year begins in mid-September.

Molveno Italy Weather

Average High (°F)5259.5626255
Average Low (°F)44515554.549
Source: Climate-Data.org

June, July, and August are the rainiest months in Molveno, with each month bringing around 200mm of rainfall.

These weather averages may seem low – I thought so too. But, it’s a popular lake and locals told me temps in the upper 70’s and lower 80’s are common in the summer. When we visited in June, the temperature ranged from the upper 60’s to the lower 80’s and it was perfect for swimming and spending time outside.

Things to Do in Molveno with Kids

Your children will never complain they’re bored in Molveno!  There are so many things to do, and as a parent, I love that there are so many well-organized activities to choose from.

Swim in Lake Molveno

Three boys look at a boat in the lake. Forested mountain in background.
My boys swimming in Lake Molveno

When you drive up and see the turquoise lake, you’ll want to jump right in.  But first things first – this is a mountain lake, so don’t expect Maldives temperatures! 

My boys swam every day, played on the pebbly shore, and I joined them for my ‘refreshing dip.’ 

Many kids swim in the water, but we didn’t see anyone swimming far from the shore (too cold?).

Good To Know:  The beaches are made up of small pebbles.  My boys went barefoot with no complaints, but I wore Birkenstock EVAs in the water and on the shore.

Good To Know:  There are lifeguard stands at the lake.  If you see the red flag out, it means there are no lifeguards on duty or that swimming conditions are dangerous.

Helpful Tip:  Bring a towel to fold up and sit on – the pebbles aren’t comfortable to sit on. 

Take a Boat out on Lake Molveno

You can rent a pedal boat or an electric motorboat to take out onto the lake.  Life jackets are provided.

Good To Know:  You can’t reserve a boat – they’re first-come-first-served, which is kind of a pain.  You may need to have someone in your group hang out at the ticket booth by the dock if you’re visiting in July or August.

Have a Picnic in the Grassy Area at the Lake

Boys playing on green grass. You can see mountains in background. Trees in grassy area.
This gorgeous grass is rare in Italy – so we made the most of it!

Shop for picnic supplies at the Coop by the lake or the Conad in the town center.  Bring a towel (or just sit on the soft grass) and set up your picnic at the lake.  There are trees for shade, toilets, and playgrounds on the grassy area.

Play at One (or ALL) of Molveno’s Playgrounds

Lake Molveno does playgrounds right.  The playgrounds here are some of our favorite in the Dolomites (and Italy).  My boys especially loved:

  • The boat playground on the water
  • The playground near the bridge at the lake

We also saw a new playground being built on the water just north of the bridge. 

Take the Funivia up to Pradel

Two boys in cable car looking down at turquoise Lake Molveno.
My boys on the funivia up to Pradel

For epic views of Lake Molveno and the town, board the funivia (cable car) in Molveno and ride the few minutes up to Pradel (1350 meters). 

From there, you can take a chairlift up even higher for incredible views of the mountains.  Or, stay at the first stop and take a short walk to Malga Tovre (cheese, anyone?), let your kids try the ropes courses at the Forest Adventure Park (aka Forest Park Molveno), or walk the Sciury Trail.

Good To Know:  The second lift is an open chairlift.  I didn’t feel comfortable bringing my 2-year-old on it.

Helpful Tip:  Check the funivia hours so you have enough time up top (and you don’t miss the last one down!).

Walk the Sciury Kids Trail

Three boys throwing pinecones through holes in a wooden board in a wooded area.
We all enjoyed walking the Sciury trail and stopping at the stations along the way

Our family loved hiking the 2.5 kilometer gravel and dirt Sciury trail.  The forest path begins near the top of the Molveno-Pradel cable car and is focused on Sciury, a local squirrel.  On the trail, kids can stop at info boards and learn about squirrels, play on Sciury’s toys, and check out the trees and flowers in the forest. 

My boys loved the pinecone toss, climbing the wooden structures, seeing the mountain bikers (where the trail crosses the road), and stopping at the viewpoints.

We walked the shady trail on a hot day and we were thankful for a little break from the sun.  It took us about 1.5 hours, with plenty of time playing.

Helpful Tip:  Use the toilets at the top of the cable car (before you start the hike). 

Good To Know:  Yes, you can bring a stroller, but just be ready for a few steep(!) sections.  The elevation gain / loss is just over 100 meters.

Walk Around the Molveno Town Center

Colorful buildings in the pedestrian area of Molveno, Italy in the Dolomites.
Colorful streets of Molveno

Molveno town is full of restaurants (many with outdoor terraces), fashion and sports clothing boutiques, souvenir and food shops, gelaterie, and bakeries. 

There are also events in town by the church.

Good To Know:  It’s not a pedestrian center, so be aware of cars and keep your little ones close.   

Go Mini-Golfing

Boy playing mini-golf on the shore of Lake Molveno in Italy.
My son focusing on an important putt

My boys had been requesting this for over a year (yes, really), so they were thrilled to try out Lake Molveno’s mini-golf course.  It’s a simple course in a beautiful setting – go for it!

Cycle Around Lake Molveno

It’s around 10 kilometers around the lake, on a wide gravel trail.  You can rent bikes in one of the shops in town or at the lake.  The ride is doable with a bike trailer (for little ones) and you can also rent an e-bike to make things a little easier.

Ride clockwise to see the best views in the early part of your ride (good to keep your kids interested). 

When you’re finished, stop at the boat playground!

Helpful Tip:  Make sure you bring water and snacks, as there aren’t places to stop along the way.

Read about more gorgeous Italian lakes!

Find Your Favorite Colorful Buildings

We love colorful towns, and Molveno had plenty of brightly-painted hotels and homes.  Let your kids find their favorites!

If you love colorful buildings, check out where you can find Colorful Houses in Italy!

More Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Molveno

  • Ride the mini-cars and mini-Jeeps by the lake
  • Go paragliding (older kids)
  • Bring a ball (or buy one in town) and play soccer on the grassy area at the lake or volleyball in the sand court
  • Take a walk out on the dock
  • Walk along the lakeside path (even with a stroller).  You don’t have to go all the way around the lake.  If you want to do and out-and-back, go clockwise for a couple of kilometers until you see the views of the lake.
  • Go down the water slides and swim in the pool at the Aqua Park

Things to Do with Kids Near Lake Molveno

Andalo – Another kid-friendly town!  It’s inland and full of playgrounds, adventure parks, and kids activities.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Molveno

Front of Pizzeria Ciao restaurant. Lilac colored building.
Pizzeria Ciao – we loved the pizza here!

It’s hard to find a restaurant in Molveno that’s not family-friendly! 

Pizzeria Ciao

Indoor or outdoor seating and quick service.  Piazza and delicious primi piatti.  I loved the gluten-free pizza (some of the best I’ve had in Italy).  There’s also a good selection of salads and wines.

Ristorante Pizzeria Europa

This pizzeria has view of the lake AND a great little playground for kids right at the outdoor dining area. 

Beachside Bar

There’s a small bar /café at the beach right at the boat playground.  There are chairs set up on the lawn so you can relax and sip or snack while you watch your kids play.  There are also ice cream bars and simple snacks like panini and piadine.

Where to Stay in Lake Molveno with Kids

Helpful Tip:  Be sure to ask your hotel for the local discount card (Dolomiti Paganella Guest Card).  To use it, you download the app and you can scan the digital card on your phone to get discounts on so many restaurants and activities in the area.  We used ours a ton and sometimes the savings are significant!

Casa Vacanze Dorigoni

We stayed in Molveno town at Casa Vacanza Dorigoni in an apartment that sleeps 8 (two bedrooms with queen and upper bunk plus a sofabed in the living room).  We liked having a kitchen in Molveno and we stocked it with groceries from the Coop and Conad. 

It was an easy 5-minute downhill walk to the lake along a pedestrian path. 

We had a town and mountain view, but the apartment next to us had an epic lake view (but only sleeps 5).

Check rates and dates for Casa Vacanze Dorigoni.

Garden Hotel Bellariva

No-frills rooms with a location that can’t be beat – right on the lake.  The garden area is beautiful and there are plenty of places to sit and a small kids play area.  But, you can also walk out of the garden and right onto the grassy area of the lake. 

Check rates and dates for Garden Hotel Bellariva.

Alexander Hotel Alpine Wellness Dolomites

Located in the town center, the Alexander Hotel is well-known for comfortable rooms, excellent service, and delicious food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  It also has an outdoor swimming pool.

The two-bedroom apartments are great choices for families, sleeping up to 7 people. 

As it’s in the center, you have to walk down to the lake, but you can take pedestrian paths or walk on the sidewalk with your stroller.

Check rates and dates for Alexander Hotel Alpine Wellness Dolomites.

Hotel Lido

Located close to the lakeside, Hotel Lido has junior suites that work well for families – there are two rooms and the bathrooms have a bathtub (a luxury in Italy, but great if you’re traveling with kids!).  This family hotel also has an indoor kids play room and kids toys in the grassy garden.

Check rates and dates for Hotel Lido.

Read more about
Where to Stay in the Dolomites with Kids
Accommodation Options in Italy – From Agriturismos to Villas

Lake Molveno with Kids Logistics

Grocery Stores – If you need to purchase food or any kids basics like diapers, baby wipes, or baby food, there’s a Conad Margherita in the town center.  It’s a small shop, but I was able to find everything we needed, and the staff were so lovely, I was happy to return each day. 

The Coop by the campground is also a good option (has parking, lower prices, more selection).

Read more about Going to the Grocery Store in Italy

Diaper Changes – If you’re out and about and need to change your baby’s diaper, use a portable changing pad.  I changed a lot of diapers while we were at the lake, out hiking, etc, and no one ever batted an eyelid.  There are so many other families here, and they’re all doing the same thing! 

Strollers – Molveno and the lake are very stroller-friendly.  If you bring your stroller from town down to the lake, it’s easiest to use the sidewalks on the main roads.  We took a path from our hotel to the lake, and while a stroller was possible, it was a little too steep for my comfort level.  You can use your stroller everywhere at the lake, and even up at the top of the cable car.

Toilets – There are two main toilets down at the lake.  Heads up – on our visit, they were all squat toilets.  Clean, but squat toilets.  Read more about Bathrooms in Italy.

Heat and Sun – Make sure you have sunscreen and a hat for your time at the lake.

Read more about
Italy with a Baby or Toddler
Packing List for Italy with a Baby or Toddler

Lake Molveno with Kids FAQ

View of turquoise lake Molveno from Pradel.
A view of Lake Molveno from Pradel
Is Lake Molveno crowded in July and August?

Like other parts of Italy, Lake Molveno fills up with vacationing Italians and visitors in the summer months of July and August.  Restaurants and activities are busier, but the large green space and large beaches at the lake means there is still a lot of space to spread out.  We visited in late June and one of the things we loved most was how it didn’t feel packed on the water like it feels at Lake Garda and Italian beaches during the summer.

Can you swim in Lake Molveno?

Yes!  We swam in Lake Molveno and although it’s cold, it feels great on a hot summer day. 

Should I bring water shoes to Lake Molveno?

We didn’t use them, and I didn’t see anyone else with them, but the pebbly beach isn’t very comfortable to walk on.  I did wear Birkenstock EVA sandals in the water and I was glad I had them.  If you usually use them for rocky or pebbly surfaces, I’d bring them.

Which outdoor activities are available for kids at Lake Molveno?

On a visit to Molveno Lake, your kids can swim in the lake, ride in boats, go cycling or hiking, explore playgrounds, play minigolf, and more!  There are so many ways to have an active vacation with your family at Lake Molveno, with both younger children and older kids and teens.

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