Italy often shakes, rattles, and rolls with seismic activity from volcanoes and earthquakes. This geothermal energy has formed countless hot springs, many used as natural thermal spas since ancient Roman times. One of the most famous is the Garda Thermal Park (Parco Termale del Garda), part of the 18th-century Villa dei Cedri estate near Lake Garda.
The Garda Thermal Park includes two thermal lakes with several swimming pools fed by underground hot springs that maintain a soothingly warm water temperature, as well as fountains, waterfalls, and massage jets to loosen aching muscles. The main lake is the warmer of the two, but both thermal water lakes are lit after dark, making for an especially relaxing soak by night. The surrounding 13 acres (5.3 hectares) of grounds and the winter garden glass pavilion are furnished with sun beds, ideal for lounging before and after bathing.
The aristocratic Villa dei Cedri overlooking the park is now a hotel, but you don’t need to be a guest to use the thermal pools inside the estate’s unique natural spa: you can purchase a full- or half-day entry ticket that includes use of all the park’s lakes and pools. For an extra fee you can book massages and other spa treatments, and use the Turkish bath (steam bath), sauna, mineral water hot tub, and fitness room, in the indoor wellness center.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Be sure to bring your own swimsuit and towel. Bathrobes and slippers are available for purchase. A bathing cap is not required.
- The winter garden has changing rooms, storage lockers, and restrooms, all of which are included with thermal park entry.
- There is a self-service restaurant in the winter garden pavilion and a full-service restaurant in the estate’s Villa Moscardo.
- Children are welcome at the thermal baths; those under roughly 4 feet (120 cm) tall enter free of charge.
- There are a number of services for those with limited mobility, including electric cart service to cross the park and ramps and lifts to enter and exit the water.
How to Get There
The Garda Thermal Park is located on Piazza di Sopra in the Veneto town of Colà di Lazise, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Lake Garda and 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Verona. The easiest way to reach the thermal park is by car; there is parking on the grounds.
When to Get There
The park is open daily year-round, but is most crowded during the summer months, when the best time to visit is on a weekday. The park stays open until 1am on Saturday night, which is a fun option for a nighttime soak.
If you are traveling with kids, consider combining a visit to the thermal park with a stop at the nearby Gardaland amusement park, about 10 minutes away by car.