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10 Reasons to Swap the Beach for a Family Adventure in the Italian Dolomites

Are you looking a change from your usual family beach holiday of tanning on a sun lounger, dozing off to the sound of lapping waves, kids frolicking in the sand?

How about some action and adventure instead! South Tyrol could be the answer. The land of lush green mountain valleys, bubbling streams, dense forests, isolated villages and snow-tipped mountains all surrounded by the magnificent pink-grey walls of the Italian Dolomites; a perfect place for a family adventure.

10 Really Good Reasons To Visit The Dolomites!

Ariel view of the Italian Dolomites mountains
three people on a grassed hill looking over an Ariel view of the Italian Dolomites

We ventured on our first family hiking holiday in the mountains with a four and seven-year old. Some thought we were crazy, but it was the start of family love affair with summer in the mountains.

Here are ten reasons on why an Alpine summer holiday and a trip to the Dolomites should be next on your travel list:

It’s Something different!

view of a wooden hut in the grassed mountains of the dolomites

I’m the type of holidayer who wants to enjoy different experiences, cultures and countries every time I step off a jet plane. Going to the same place year on year just doesn’t cut it for me. I’m always on the hunt for new and unusual ways to spend my hard-earned holiday time.

READ MORE: Summer in the Dolomites with Children

In the early days of motherhood I was tied to resort style holidays for ease, comfort and quite frankly a god damn break from my mummy chores. Don’t get me wrong I’m by no means knocking the summer beach holiday. From the Algarve to the Maldives you can see I revel in them as much as the next person. However, I can’t deny I’m always itching for an adventure and the Alta Badia region in the Italian Dolomites is just the ticket!

two girls in red jackets walking down the gravel path surrounded by greenery, hills and mountains

Introducing the kids to an activity based holiday and broadening their horizons beyond beach holidays play a huge part. Although there is always room for both lazy beach and action mountain holidays in my world if annual leave and the wallet allows.

Mountain prices aren’t sky high in the summer

view of the Rosa Alpina from the outside/car park

Summer in the mountains can be very cost effective! A lot of the luxury ski chalets slash their prices during the summer months. You can bag some incredible bargains, on average accommodation can be 40% cheaper than in winter. We stayed at a charming hotel Rosa Alpina in the quaint village of San Cassiano. It’s home to a two Michelin star restaurant too and we received a fantastic five night deal you can read about here.

READ MORE: Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa Review

view of the clock tower in the village

And it’s not just about taking advantage of the off-season perks and lack of crowds. It’s about making the most of the alternate world that’s uncovered once the snow melts.

Jaw-dropping scenery Of Italy

view of the Dolomites looking up the mountains.  Lower half greenery and trees plus small buildings upper half snow/cloud covered mountains with blue skies

In the summer months the 90,000 acres of breath-taking mountain landscape morphs into a stunning playground for both active types and those just seeking a peaceful and picturesque escape.

The white blanket is replaced by vibrant green with thick grass and beautiful wild flowers. The Dolomites are known as the ‘pale mountains’ for their limestone hue. The peaks emerged from the sea as coral reefs millions of years ago. They’re widely regarded as the most beautiful mountain range in the world. No surprise the area was named a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 2009.

view of the greenery at the bottom of the mountains with cows grazing

On our walks it was like we were on constant rewind of the opening scene from The Sound Of Music, with the blue skies, rolling countryside and faint tinkling of cowbells in the distant. Our own slice of alpine heaven.

Sunbathing on top of a mountain?

Sima laid on bark picture of black Adidas trainers only over looking the greenery and grey mountains

Well have you? You’re missing out if you haven’t. And believe me there is nothing like resting tired legs on a massive bean bag thousands of feet above sea level surrounded by stunning views.

What Is The Weather Like In The Dolomites?

When the sun is out the temperatures can soar to the mid to late twenties on the lower slopes. Being the mountains you can also have some unpredictable weather days, but as long as your prepared with sensible clothing. Even the rainclouds make for a spectacular picture.

Perfect Place For Children.

Many of the chalets are accustomed to catering for younger guests during ski season, so the same applies in the summer too. Most hotels and chalets are fully equipped with cots and high chairs, buggies, children’s bikes, kids menus and so on. Babysitting can be very easily arranged too if required.

families with pushchairs, walking sticks, backpacks playing on a playground with climbing frame surrounded by mountains

Little people? No problem…

Plus you are spoilt for choice when it comes to parks – adventure, trampoline, animal. You name it, they’ve got it.

Dolomites Child Friendly trek

Along with themed child friendly walks. Before you even get to the parks there are chair lifts and cable cars for easy access to various peaks, providing no end of fun for mini hikers. You can’t expect those little legs to climb all the way up the mountain. That would be plain mean!

view of the yellow cable cars at the top of a peak.

Adventures with your family

We found a walking holiday in the Italian Dolomites perfect for families due to its flexible landscape. Depending on the age and ability of your family you can choose to meander across meadows and woodlands or enjoy more challenging walks. There is something for everyone. The endless list of flattish hikes with easy access, amazing playgrounds, absence of dangerous predators (bonus!) and idyllic rolling hills for the perfect picnic stop makes it an all round hit.

view of the mountains with 4 cyclists biking to the right on a gravelled path in the forefront of the picture

Adrenaline junkies can try their hand at mountaineering, potholing, mountain biking, skyrunning, abseiling and paragliding. Or take it slightly easier with an electric bikes. They’re all the rage and makes cycling up steep mountain slopes a doddle. You’re allowed to cheat on holiday, right?

Recharge your batteries In Italy

Healthy mind & Healthy body

When you return from your mountain you’ll feel like you’ve purchased a new set of lungs. There’s something in the fresh mountain air or maybe it’s just the biology. Apparently staying at altitude gives your body a natural boost by encouraging it to produce more red blood cells, given the lack of oxygen. So whether you care about running a faster 5k or not – a holiday in the mountains will always makes you feel better.

view down in the valley of people walking on the greenery

Plus I think its the first time I’ve come back from a holiday and not put on any weight. With all the glorious food on your doorstep from the mountain huts to the abundance of high-end cuisine available in the Alta Badia, weight gain could be an issue. Not on this holiday. Super active days will easily burn off those pesky calories – Win Win? Glad we’re agreed.

Italian Cuisine!

Food glorious, food!

The region of Alta Badia in South Tyrol boasts 16 Michelin star restaurants. Considering it’s an area the size of Devon with half its population that’s pretty impressive! I was lucky enough to eat at two of the restaurants La Stüa de Michil in Corvara and Restaurant St. Hubertus in San Cassiano.

plate of Kaiserschmarren with two forks and plum compote in a glass bowl on the site

The food in the Rifugios or mountain huts is extraordinary too. Diverse menus feature cured meat platters, dumplings, polenta, grills, pizza to pasta. And don’t miss the Kaiserschmarren – shredded caramelised pancakes served with a plum compote and powdered sugar. I could’ve dined on this alone after every hike.

Picturesque towns

View of a wooden home with red, pink and white flowers/baskets decorating the balconies

While the horizon is dominated by majestic mountains the valleys are dotted with picture postcard towns full of  flower lined wooden houses, castles straight out of fairy tales and quaint churches.

which church with tall spire against dark blue sky

The hospitality and warm welcome from the people of South Tyrol is incredible. The towns create their own magical vibe against the jutting mountains in the background.

Unique cultural diversity

You will be greeted with Halo in German and Ciao in Italian. The Dolomites were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but the border lines were ultimately drawn to take them into Italy. Through this melting pot of two traditions the Austrian alpine and Italian dolce vita along with the regions strong Ladin culture, makes this an area unlike any in Italy. Many of the towns and villages often have three names – German, Italian and Ladin. Makes it interesting when driving around and reading the road signs.

sima with family alongside a pile of wood overlooking valley and Dolomite mountains

If you’re after some action, movie worthy vistas and some healthy air in your lungs the Alta Badia region for your next family adventure in the Italian Dolomites is the place for your next break away. Trust me, you won’t regret it – We didn’t.

For more information visit the Alta Badia website.


Have you spent summer in the mountains?
I’d love to know about your experience. If not have I convinced you to go? 
Let me know in the comments box below.



10 reasons to swap the beach for the mountains

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my disclosure policy here.


  • Kimberly C. 29th August 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Wow, you didn’t even have to write one word…Your photos speak for themselves. Gorgeous. I would love to visit there. Good to know that there’s plenty to do for the little ones too, and those cable cars are so cool. They remind me of my childhood at Dutch amusement parks. So much fun. Thanks for sharing. Always nice to discover new places.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 29th August 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Thanks so much Kimberley! It was actually hard to stop writing. There is so much to write about. Glad you enjoyed the read and I hope it inspired you to don your hiking boots

  • lex 29th August 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Great images for a well written and pictured post, numbers 4, 7 and 8 sounds the best part of this post to me though. everyone will have a few selections and now i see more reason for the swap of beach fun for some family time and adventure. thanks for sharing.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 30th August 2016 at 3:49 pm

      So glad it has inspired you too Lex. Mountains rock! x

  • GIGI 30th August 2016 at 12:31 am

    Omg I love isolated country side! The weather looks amazing I can smell it! I can imagine this would be my fancy getaway vacation combining my passion for outdoor activities. I’ve never tried mountain bike but if I go there I would totally do it. Nice discovering this place though!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 30th August 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Add to your list of things to do Gigi. It’s a fantastic break to help escape and clear the mind. Being surrounded by nature certainly recharges the batteries.

  • Keith Haney 30th August 2016 at 2:47 am

    Holy cow. Who knew. You have done an amazing job painting a beautiful picture of the ideal family getaway. And I love the pictures. Thank you.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 30th August 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks so much Keith! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Barbara Chapman 30th August 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I love your photos and this looks like a beautiful place to visit. I have a son so it might be good to travel there for some family time in the future and maybe even take him to the park in one of your photos.

  • Ana De Jesus 30th August 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I am the same, I love the beach but I like beaches because I like to explore and not to sunbathe. Its why I prefer sightseeing holidays to ones solely for partying!

  • liz cleland 31st August 2016 at 1:28 pm

    My family has come to the realization that huge tourist destinations like the beach are not as enjoyable as a hike in the mountains. We love the views and almost camp like atmosphere. I think I just overall prefer this over hot, sticky sand and baking in the sun.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 1st September 2016 at 9:46 pm

      I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree. I came back feeling so alive from this holiday!

  • Bluedreamer 1st September 2016 at 12:30 pm

    wow it feels like I am lookin to post cards! Your pictures are truly amazing.., you captured them so well that it makes me want to visit this place someday! Oh how I wish I will be given a chance to travel this far and have the opportunity to embrace the beauty of this place

    • Sima Sthanakiya 1st September 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Thank you so much xx

  • Maggie 1st September 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Wow what stunning photos Sima!!! The Dolomites look absolutely stunning!! xx

    • Sima Sthanakiya 1st September 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Maggie. The Dolomites is an unbelievable place in summer. I absolutely loved it.

  • Eloise 4th September 2016 at 6:49 pm

    holy frickin beautiful place! I think this will be on my top list of places to go to in my lifetime, amazing photos and thanks for sharing this place!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 4th September 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Oh Eloise. It has to be on your wanderlust list. An amazing place and even more beautiful in real life.

  • Katy Clarke 3rd March 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Sima it doesnt take much for me to be excited about a trip to Italy and this looks amazing! We are thinking of going to the Dolomites for Christmas but summer looks gorgeous too. We did a similar break in Switzerland last year and loved it. Pinning and saving. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

  • Amanda 3rd March 2017 at 1:49 pm

    That looks AMAZING!!! I want to lace up my hiking boots. I’ve been searching for tickets for a summer holiday to Switzerland, but maybe the Dolomites are a better choice…

  • Corey @ fifi + hop 3rd March 2017 at 7:36 pm

    All good reasons! I am always torn between the mountains and the beach, and we tend to do a combination of both each summer. I think the adventures, scenery and the towns are my personal favorite reasons. Love mountain towns! #farawayfiles

  • Christine @afamilyday 3rd March 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I’m very much a mountain person anyway so I wouldn’t need much (any) persuading to visit the Dolomites. I had an Italian pen friend when I was a teenager and she sent me a photo of her in the Dolomites- I’ve always remembered how stunning the scenery was in it! #farawayfiles

  • Jonny (Daisy the bus) 6th March 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Absolutely stunning. I found myself nodding in agreement with all of your ten reasons, and gaping in amazement at your photos. We have visited this region a few times and love the bizarre mix of Italian and German cultures, not to mention the awe-inspiring scenery and plethora of things to see and do. Great article – thanks! #FarawayFiles

  • SOLD! Living in Copenhagen’s flat, I find I crave scenery of epic magnitudes – this would definitely fit the bill! Sooo beautiful! Thank you kindly for your very persuasive post for #FarawayFiles! Cheers from Denmark, Erin

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) 7th March 2017 at 7:10 pm

    You have certainly convinced me to go, Sima! I’ve been to the Dolomites for skiing but would love to enjoy that beautiful mountain scenery and a walking holiday with young kids is completely doable. There are some family travel companies in the UK that are offering summer Dolomites packages and they’ve had huge success in the last twelve months so you’re not alone. It does look fabulous. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • Julia 8th June 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I’ve never much enjoyed the beach in the first place, but this literally looks like my ideal holiday!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    • Sima Sthanakiya 11th June 2018 at 7:29 pm

      I absolutely love the mountains in summer, you must try it Julia x

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More


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