Many people thought I was mad booking a walking holiday with two young kids. Honestly, as the holiday approached I too started to have my reservations. Especially whenever my four year old stretches out her arms and cries ‘Pick! Pick!’ on her regular walk to school.
And now. A week after I’ve been back. Hand on heart it’s been the best family holiday we’ve ever been on. Yes, you say that after every holiday, looking back at your escape with rose-tinted glasses whilst sat chained to your desk or kitchen sink once more.
But this one was different, its the first time we’ve experienced spending summer in the mountains as a family. The first time we’ve all worked together to reach a goal (get to the top of that very, very steep hill). The first time I’ve seen faces of pure joy and exhilaration on my girls when they realised they could do it combined with their pop-out eyes at the awesome (their words) park in front of them. If I could bottle those feelings I would be a very happy lady.
We were lucky to have our concierge Alexandra at the Rosa Alpina on hand. Who advised us on many of the walks we did with the kids. There is so much to do, it was great to have some advice! Our walks were all stroller friendly too for my two year old nephew Josh, as we were joined by the Banerjee-Thankys for part of our travels too.
One of the best things you can do is buy a lift pass for either three, five or twelve days. An adult pass for five days is €61 and a junior (8-16 years) is €43. If you do have any under 8 years ensure that you have your passport with you to prove their age. They’re quite strict on the discounts, as we found out!
We spent time in three areas on our visit to the beautiful dolomites.
This lovely little mountain village was our base and the location of Hotel Rosa Alpina where we stayed. You can read my review of the hotel here.
One of our first adventures began with jumping on a cable car to Piz Sorega. Where we experienced our first Movimënt park as soon as we landed on terra firma.
The theory being you can work your muscles whilst being surrounded by glorious alpine meadows. The training effects at the fitness parks are further increased with being 2003 metres above sea level.
There are three main parks like Piz Sorega in the region and you could easily spend the whole days with the outdoor activities on offer.
Kids have access to free climbing walls, little streams with water games, mini golf, a cave with games dedicated to all things bear, slides, adventure trails and geocaching to name a few. Who needs Pokemon Go?
After bribing the kids that there was more on offer for the price of a short walk we walked to Las Vegas and climbed to a further 2011 metres.
This would be the alpine version of course not the neon USA playground! We continued with a descent down to Saraghes, which was a further 30 minutes walk through meadows and on walking paths.
Over the final hill and with the goal in sight the girls ran all the way down the hill to the rifugio (mountain hut).
It housed a great wooden playground, mini zipwire and a meet and greet style goats pen with rabbits. The kids were all over it!
The food at the rifugio was brilliant we chomped on the classic spaghetti aglio e olio, polenta with mushroom stew and a scrumptious mountain cheese plate.
Bellies full and playground exhausted, we made the hour walk back down to San Cassiano through magnificent scenery.
We were subjected to unusually cool temperatures hence the neck to toe clothing. Nevertheless it proved to be a successful first day in the mountains with the kids.
Our second day began in La Villa. We travelled up to 2077 metres via cable car to Piz la Ila. The views were spectacular into the valley below.
Landing straight into another Movimënt park. This time it was really tricky to get the kids off their favourite bit of equipment the trampoline slash huge bouncy mat in one. We were literally dragging them from it to eat lunch at the on set rifugio.
Once we’d finished lunch the clouds had started to gather rapidly and light drizzle soon followed. The decision was made to head back early to the hotel and enjoy the pool. Thank god as by the time we got to San Cassiano there was no rain (the difference of a few hundred metres) but the mountains were covered in thick grey rain clouds.
The third day the weather well and truly perked up, we were set to be walking in 26 degrees – At last the hills were going to be alive with the rays of sunshine!
The idea was to see the Pisciadu waterfalls, followed by a short walk and lunch at a well known spot -Jimmy’s hut. It all started off so well too. The walk to the falls was along flat walking paths. With no shade under the heat we did take a slower pace than usual.
Once you reach the foot of the falls you enter a huge picnic spot which was full of families. The short rocky climb to get closer to the waterfall is not stroller friendly or tiny feet friendly unless little ones are strapped to you.
My girls were keen to go up, so we ventured further whilst little Josh stayed back with his mum to let off steam in the grassy area. We went as far as the tiny bridge enough to get your feet wet. You could climb further for a more challenging walk with older children.
Then the fun and games began. We had a choice of either heading back to the start of the walk and catching a cable car all the way to Jimmy’s Hut or walking to the next cable car stop, via a short slightly steep walk.
Of course we went for the short slightly steep option. Well! a) It wasn’t short. b) There was no slightly steep about it. I’m talking very steep gravely inclines. Even the mountain buggy had trouble staying on course. In the end it was a team effort of lugging the mountain buggy up, carrying a two year old and geeing the four and seven year olds on with promises of ‘it’s not far’.
An hour in. Huffing. Puffing. Melting and slightly concerned we realised the walking path we were on was actually leading us away from the cable car stop we could see in the distance. One executive team decision later we started following (with fingers and toes crossed) an overgrown path in the direction of the promised cable car.
Through meadows full of moo-ing bullocks, unimpressed cows and impressive cowpats we clambered over a few more hills. Making the final push to elusive yellow cable car. Oh the the relief.
The location of Jimmy’s hut is special. The sun terrace looks out to the Sella group of mountains, Langkofel and Cir peaks. Truly spectacular.
Totally famished after our epic walk, Jimmy’s dealt with our hunger with some great food. The kids were happy too with their mini playground, sandpit and trampoline.
This time it was me who had to be dragged from the cosy oversized bean bag at home time.
Once back in Colfosco via the cable car, we ditched our original idea of the 30 minutes walk to Corvara. Enough adventures for the day. Instead we drove and mooched around the town. Mr S even managed some technical trekking clothes shopping. We finally ended with a well deserved dinner at the popular pizzeria La Fornella.
After the two hour hairy adventure from the previous day, our last day took a more mellow vibe. Back to Corvara we took a different cable car to Col Alt and enjoyed lunch at the rifugio at the top.
Stuffed with goodies we took a leisurely 30 minutes walk to the chair lift that would take us to La Fraina where the kids enjoyed the mini playground and animal park with goats, cows, chickens, and rabbits. And the adults indulged in affogatos- the caffeine and sugar content of which causing odd kangaroo and mountain goat-like behaviour.
I suppose you could say we enjoyed ourselves a bit too much. The next time we looked around, there was no-one around apart from us. The rifugio owner informed us the chair lifts were about to close. He kindly called the lift operators of both stations to warn them of a stray family heading in their direction, whilst we made a mad dash. Being stranded at 2003 metres – averted.
I cannot recommend this holiday enough to all you people out there with mini-mes – The breathtaking scenery, the nature, the fun, the fresh mountain air, the health benefits, the animals, the activities,
the cow pats the gastro fest and the people. Yes, I could carry on but I think you get the gist.
It just goes to show that a beach towel doesn’t have to come as standard for a family summer holiday. This was our very first summer in the mountains and it most certainly won’t be our last!
Would you swap the beach for the mountains? Have you already been in the summer? I’d love to know about your experiences. Let me know in the comments below or at:
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