A perfect day in Italy’s Dolomites mountains for ages 2 – 72

Located in Italy’s northeast corner just a few hours north of Venice, Italy’s Dolomites mountains are known for spectacular scenery and a distinct culture that seems more Swiss or German than Italian.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

When we work with self-described scenery junkies at Italy Beyond the Obvious, the Dolomites are one of the first places we recommend. In addition, the area is arguably also Italy’s most family-friendly region. Below is just one example of a perfect day for a group of people between the ages of 2 and 72.

After breakfast, take the lift up a mountain

Start your day with a hearty mountain breakfast and then walk to the nearest lift. This area of Italy has two high seasons: wintertime, for skiers, and summertime, for hikers and bikers.  Buy a ticket or a pass and take the lift to the top.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Follow the well-marked paths to lunch

While we always recommend having a hiking map, the trails in this area of Italy are incredibly clearly marked. The well-maintained signs include trail numbers and hiking times, and the distance to mountain lunch restaurants. Note that hiking times refer to the amount of time it takes a fit local to walk the path. Our group, which included a toddler and an adult about to have knee surgery, moved more slowly.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Looking at this sign, one could decide whether to walk an hour and 40 minutes to Pralongia’, or, walk an hour and 5 minutes to the (excellent) Las Vegas restaurant.

Enjoy the scenery on trails of every length and difficulty

Our group consisted of 18 people whose ages spanned 7 decades but who had also not seen each other in awhile and wanted to chat rather than get a workout. We had one stroller, three small children with boundless energy, a core group of adults with good fitness, and several people who needed to move more slowly. Everyone walked to lunch.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Sit down for a gourmet lunch of local specialties

The mountain restaurants in the Dolomites are not a pre-wrapped-sandwich-in-a-fridge sort of deal. These places have gourmet menus, extensive wine lists, and actual espresso machines.  Italy isn’t known for having separate children’s menus, but any restaurant will make a child a plate of simple pasta upon request.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Let the kids play

While the adults finished lunch, the kids went to the restaurant’s playground and adjacent petting zoo. Lounge chairs were available for anyone who wanted to take a nap after lunch.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Learn about local history and culture

After lunch, some of our group took the lift back down to the valley to take a nap. Others continued hiking on more difficult trails. Another group went to visit the Ladino Museum to learn more about local history and culture.

Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Re-group for a pre-dinner drink of local wines

This area produces some excellent wines, and while they do not get as much press as those from other Italian regions, we highly recommend them. Cincin!

Watch the mountains turn pink at sunset

This phenomenon happens only in the Dolomites, for a few minutes at sunset, in the right weather conditions. If you’re lucky enough to see it, stop whatever you’re doing and try to get a photo. In local dialect, this is called the Enrosadira.

The perfect day described above was in the Val Badia, a valley about 3 hours north of Venice. Val Badia towns include San Cassiano, La Villa, and Corvara, among others. The Dolomites mountains are full of beautiful valleys, cute towns, well-maintained playgrounds, excellent restaurants, and lifts that cater to hikers. What more does anyone need for a perfect holiday?

Madeline Jhawar is Owner of Italy Beyond the Obvious.

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Comments (7)

  1. Jack says:

    That must be an unforgetable experience! Exploring a new place is always exciting.Happy hours with family is the best.Thanks for sharing to let more people know the place and feel your satisfaction.

  2. Jane says:

    Prettiest part of Italy by far and you’re absolutely right – it is possible to have an amazing family vacation for the entire family here. Having walking trails that give you distance in time is really handy, especially if you’ve got hungry kids with you and I’m so glad that the trails are stroller friendly. Nothing better than a good walk to work up an appetite, especially with the Dolemites in the background. Holidays where there is no upper or lower age limit and the entire family can enjoy are something special.

  3. Layla K says:

    Italy is a great place to have a walking holiday. I particularly like the Dolomites as there are paths when you are young or old and having varying degrees of difficulty depending on your experience. The food in Italy is always infinitely better as well.

  4. James says:

    You wouldn’t think that this place is not far from the quaint and beautiful canals of Venice, it seems so strange to me that such a mountainous area is only a few hours away! You are so right in saying that it seems more Swiss or German, if I had been shown the photographs I would have guessed Switzerland in a heartbeat. The gourmet lunch looks absolutely delicious, it would be great to finish a beautiful hike with a huge plate of pasta. I can’t get over the views in these photographs!

  5. Jess Munday says:

    This place looks beautiful reminds me of Switzerland or Austria. The first photo looks incredible, seems like you had a great time there. The lift up the mountain and scenic trails looks fun. Makes me want to book a trip there.

  6. walter says:

    I’m Walter and I live in the north of Italy, I have often visited the Dolomites both for work and holiday. I confirm that they are one of the most charming Italian attractions not to be missed. Culture, food and landscapes seem to belong to a fairy tale. These “enchanted” places seem not to suffer from stress and chaos, which you find in many other destinations. My favourite season is sprin since in these mountains shine flowers and perfumes of a new life reborn after winter. For snow lovers the period between January and March is surely the most suggestive to do winter sports or have long walks with local guides among the snow. In summer the Dolomites are a destination for riders coming from any part of the world to climb the Dolomites peaks which did the history of ” Giro d’Italia”

  7. Kelly Jones says:

    I adore Italy and this is a stunning part. Walking and exploring on holidays is so important and you have found a great spot to get a bit of everything. I love how family friendly and open for all abilities the Dolomites mountains is.

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