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Summer in the Dolomites with children

Many people thought I was mad booking a hiking holiday with two young kids. Spending the summer in the Dolomites with children?  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!

An Italian family holiday

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

But this one was different, it’s the first time we’ve experienced spending summer in the mountains on an Italian family holiday.  It’s 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. If I could bottle those feelings I would be a very happy lady.

view of greenery covered mountains in the background with Sima's feet up and blue painted nails resting on a wooden balcony alongside a cup on tea

Dolomites hiking

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 this beautiful location in northeast Italy. Here’s the perfect Dolomite itinerary for first-timers and those wanting a family-friendly hiking holiday.

SAN CASSIANO, Italy

This lovely little mountain village was our base and the location of Hotel Rosa Alpina where we stayed.

view of a clock tower in San Cassiano, Italy

Piz Sorega

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.

Inside the Piz Sorega yellow cable car hub

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.

sima on a piece of fitness equipment in a green jacket and sunglasses overlooking the greenery and valleys of the dolomites

Things to do in Piz Sorega

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.

view of a wooden sign engraved with 'movi ment - move to relax'

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?

Las Vegas Alta Badia

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.

Las Vegas sign looking towards the Dolomites valley and mountains

This would be the alpine version of course not the neon USA playground!

Malga Saraghes

We continued with a descent down to Saraghes, which was a further 30 minutes walk through meadows and on walking paths.

three people on a grassed hill looking over an Ariel view of the Italian Dolomites
family overlooking the green trees and valley in blue and pink jacket pushing yellow and black pushchair

Over the final hill and with the goal in sight the girls ran all the way down the hill to the rifugio (mountain hut).

view down in the valley of people walking on the greenery
wooden hut at the bottom of the valley 'malga Saraghes all' bar and restaurant

It housed a great wooden playground, mini zipwire and a meet and greet style goats pen with rabbits. The kids were all over it!

Food at the Rifugio

The food was brilliant we chomped on the classic spaghetti aglio e olio, polenta with mushroom stew and a scrumptious mountain cheese plate.

three plates of food including one with tomatoes, herbs and spaghetti on a table along side a bottle of water and a glass.

Bellies full and playground exhausted, we made the hour walk back down to San Cassiano through magnificent scenery.

family of 4 walking towards the mountains along gravel path surrounded by tall green trees
wooden sign covered with greenery with directions to pin Sorega, Saraghes and pralongia
man in. red coat and brown back pack holding girl in blue jacket and black hair on his shoulders walking towards the mountains on a gravel path

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.

LA VILLA

Piz la Ila

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.

view from La Villa looking down 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.

COLFOSCO

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!

looking up towards the mountains surrounded by green grass, facing a white painted resort, wooden resort and blue skies

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.

looking towards the pisciadu waterfalls valley surrounded by pine trees and small wooden huts

Pisciadu waterfalls

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.

wooden sign at the bottom of the water fall 'wasserfall pisciadu cassata pisciadue'

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.

view of sima in white t-shirt and black cap and her family, girl in orange t-shirt, green glasses and denim short, girl in white sunglasses, purple t-shirt and denim short and husband in red reflective sunglasses, canon camera around his neck with grey t-shirt and blue shorts in front of the waterfall

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’.

family pulling a push chair up the mountain top surrounded by trees and grass

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.

picture of a bull and cow in the meadow surrounded by grass

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.

family tired having a break from pulling the pram up the mountains!

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.

view of Jimmys hutte at the bottom of a mountain

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.

sima watching child play on a green tractor at Jimmys hutte.

This time it was me who had to be dragged from the cosy oversized bean bag at home time.

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

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.

CORVARA

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.

view of the cable cars taking people up the mountain alongside wooden resorts and pine trees

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.

sima and friend jumping mid air with the dolomites in the background, grass, fields and mountains

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.

Overall…

I cannot recommend this Italian family holiday enough to anyone with tiny humans – 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.

pictures of sima and her family/friends outside a wooden hut

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!

The two closest international airports serving the Dolomites are located approximately 100 miles away in Venice and Innsbruck .Check out the latest flight times and prices here.

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 box below.

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Another post you might find of interest is summer in Verbier at Sir Richard Branson’s Lodge.

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Summer in the Dolomites with children | an Italy family holiday

12 Comments

  • Ana De Jesus 5th September 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Those views are literally unreal! I love that you can work out and have fun with the alpine views before you.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th September 2016 at 1:13 pm

      It certainly takes the edge off Ana!

  • Kimbelry C. 5th September 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Incredibly brave of you to do these walking trips with your kids. Mine would’ve been so not having it. (Well, except for the park with the slides and trampoline) Great exercise too. I think the views were amazing and reminded me of The Sound of Music scenery. Your photos made me feel like I was there. Thanks.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th September 2016 at 6:33 pm

      It’s so geared up for kids, that it makes the whole thing very easy to do with kids. Once you do it, you get the bug.

  • Ayesha 5th September 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Beautiful. Would take mountains over beach any day! Well done to your little girls for being such excellent mini hikers!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th September 2016 at 11:03 pm

      Such tranquil beautiful places. I was super proud of my mini hikers too! Thanks lovely xx

  • Jessica 7th September 2016 at 2:18 am

    each photograph is just so inspiring! I will always choose mountains than beach! Better keep moving thru hikes in a summer. Your little ones are too adorable! 😉

  • Marta 7th September 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Wow, amazing photos and breath-taking scenery! Dolomites are on my bucket list and no I want to go there as soon as I can! I can see you’ve had really great time with your family.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 7th September 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Marta. It’s probably been one of my best family holidays so far. Fingers crossed you get there soon x

  • LAURA 8th September 2016 at 9:04 pm

    This looks SO COOL!!! I love how lush and green it is – it reminds me of my home (New Zealand). It looks like you all had a great time – love those playgrounds!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 8th September 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Laura is was amazing. It looked even better than the pictures! I’d love to go to New Zealand, def on my wanderlist! x

  • janella panchamsingh 9th September 2016 at 12:05 pm

    You captured some really beautiful still life. Your trip looks like it was a great one.

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