A family-friendly Dolomites itinerary that’s tried and tested by our family; the best things to do with your kids if you’ve got seven days in the area; ideas for itinerary variations and tips for using this Dolomites with kids itinerary
Intro – visiting with other families since 2004, with my own family since 2014. We love the Dolomites, in the sun and snow. Our kids’ favorite things to do in the Dolomites include hiking, riding the gondolas, eating hearty mountain food, exploring Italy’s best playgrounds, and visiting the villages (and Bolzano).
This itinerary is one that we’ve used, and we use variations of it every summer. It covers a part of the Dolomites from Bolzano up into the Val Gardena and on the Alpe di Siusi. We love this area of the Dolomites, and if you follow this itinerary, you may see us up there!
Good To Know: Looking for a 7-day winter itinerary for the Dolomites with kids? I recommend staying in one place and using it as a base for your snow exploration. Our favorite winter bases in the Dolomites with kids are Ortisei, Fiè allo Sciliar, or on the Alpe di Siusi.
Fun Fact: The Dolomites are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and nine specific areas in the Dolomites are protected UNESCO sites. This itinerary takes you to two of them – the Schlern-Rosengarten and Latemar region and the Puez Odle Nature Park.
Read more about Visiting the Dolomites with Kids.
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Map of 7 Day Dolomites Itinerary with Kids
The Dolomites are located in northern Italy and spread into three of Italy’s regions – Trentino-AltoAdige/Süd Tirol, the Veneto, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
This itinerary is completely in the part of the Dolomites in Trentino Alto-Adige.
In seven days, you’ll visit:
- Merano (optional)
- Fiè allo Sciliar
- Alpe di Siusi
Day 1 – Bolzano & the Ice Man
Transport: Arrive in Bolzano by car or train. If you arrive by car, take the Bolzano Sud exit. The train arrives at the Bolzano/Bozen train station, a quick 5-minute walk from the main piazza, Piazza Walther.
Activity: After dropping your bags at your hotel, it’s time to explore Bolzano!:
- See Ötzi, the Ice Man – a 5,000-year-old mummy – at the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum
- Have a Sausage at the Piazza delle Erbe Market. Check out the flowers, local foods, and grab some snacks for later.
- Spend the afternoon at Talvera Park and Playground. Kids of all ages will have a blast in this immense green area by the river. There are fun toys at the playground and you can also walk along the river, stop for a snack, or join the locals in a soccer game.
- Other things you could do: Go shopping on via dei Portici, check out the Sportler shop, spend time in Piazza Walther, visit a castle (Castel Mareccio or Castel Roncolo).
Dinner: Wirsthaus Vögele (via Goethe, 3) – Traditional Austrian food. Be sure to follow up dinner with a stroll through town and a gelato!
Accommodation: Bolzano. Although Bolzano doesn’t have any family-focused hotels, it’s nice to spend a day or two based in the city. Our recommendation: Parkhotel Mondschein.
Good To Know: If you drive to Bolzano, the easiest places to park are at your accommodation, in the Mondschein Parking Garage (exit the garage and you’re in the center of Bolzano), or in the Bolzano Centro Garage (a 5-minute walk to Piazza Walther).
Helpful Tip: Avoid waiting in line to see the Ice Man and reserve your visit online.
Day 2 – Cycling Valley Paths
Buongiorno! Today’s an active day and you’ll be cycling one of my favorite routes with kids – the Val Venosta (Vinschgau) path, which runs for over 100 kilometers, from Reschen/Resia to Bolzano.
Task: Get picnic supplies at a grocery store in Bolzano (or pick some up on Day 1 if you have a fridge in your room). Ideas: sandwiches, speck, local cheeses and breads, fresh fruit.
Transport: Take the train from Bolzano to Merano.
Activity: Cycle from Merano to Bolzano (about 30 kilometers). Use the bike rental company Südtirol Rad and look at the red Val Venosta Route. You can cycle this route with kids of all ages – I’ve pulled babies in bike trailers, we’ve had a 3-year-old ride part of it on his own bike and the rest in a trailer, and older kids can cycle most or all of the 32 kilometers, mostly-flat and slightly downhill path.
Rent bikes in Merano (just across from the station) and enjoy the ride! The majority of the route is paved and traffic-free. There are a few sections with cars and some parts are gravel, but if you need to, you can get off your bike and walk.
Take breaks along the way for snacks, photos, and let your child walk around and explore. I have lovely memories of riverside picnics, fresh cherries from the tree, and soaking up the sunshine and gorgeous views with my family.
When you reach Bolzano, return your bike to the Südtirol Rad office near the funivia. Bravi!
Good To Know: We’ve also done the route from Mals/Males (around 90 km) with a baby in the trailer and a small child riding part of it. So, feel free to extend your route, but that means you should take the train further than Merano. Check out the brochure on the website for towns that offer bike rentals with Südtirol Rad.
Good To Know: You can hop on the train at multiple stations along the way – with your bike! So, you’re never ‘trapped’ out on the trail. Plus, you can call for help if you need it.
Helpful Tip: If you’d like to visit Merano, I’d recommend saving it for another day. The train station is about a 15-minute walk from the town center and you could easily spend all day checking out the center, visiting a thermal bath, and wandering around the Trauttmansdorff Gardens.
Activity: Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Bolzano.
Dinner: Walther’s (on Piazza Walther) – Delicious food, including pizza, pasta, and gluten-free options.
Day 3 – Fiè allo Sciliar & Tuff Alm
Today you’ll head to our family’s favorite tiny Dolomites village – Fiè allo Sciliar (aka Völs am Schlern in German). Fiè is located north of Bolzano, at about 800 meters above sea level. It’s a quiet, mostly German-speaking village with jaw-dropping views of the Sciliar mountain range (especially at sunset when it has a pink-ish glow). The village makes a perfect base for exploring this part of the Dolomites.
Transport: Take the bus (40 minutes) from the Bolzano bus station or drive (25 minutes) up to Fiè.
Activity: After dropping your bags at your hotel or apartment, it’s time to hike! Head to the town traffic circle and pick up a trail map at tourist info (if you haven’t gotten one already from your accommodation). You can either walk from town up to Malga Tuff Alm, or you can drive and park here for a much shorter walk.
The hike on the way to Tuff Alm is all uphill and there are steep sections. If you’ve got a baby or toddler in a carrier, you’ll be fine (as long as you’re ok with the up!). If you have a small child that wants to walk, you’re better off parking closer and doing the shorter walk.
Helpful Tip: If you don’t have a car but want to do a shorter walk, there are buses that run from Fiè to Laghetto di Fiè (the parking area linked above) – check with tourist info or your hotel for the latest schedule.
Lunch: Have a late lunch at Tuff Alm, and let your child play at the playground and pet the animals. You may even get lucky and hear live music!
Activity: After lunch, make your way downhill (via the same trail, or via the fire road) and back to Fiè. When you get back to town, relax or explore the tiny village.
Dinner: Eat at your accommodation, at the Turm’s fabulous restaurant (best for older kids or well-behaved young kids), at Binderstube, or try the new restaurant Alpin Roof Flora on the main traffic circle. Reserve all.
Accommodation: Fiè allo Sciliar. There are numerous family-friendly accommodations available, especially apartments. I recommend booking one of the apartments in the center of the village (so that you can walk in and around town, to the playground and grocery store, etc). Options include:
- B&B Residence Hubertus – family-run; B&B and apartment options, grassy area, near pond which kids love, walking distance to grocery store, main piazza, playground, restaurants; Daniela and her crew are wonderful and helpful
- Romantik Hotel Turm (for older kids and teens) – my favorite hotel in Italy; unique décor, spectacular views, excellent meals and aperitivo; kids will love rock climbing on the indoor wall; great location on the main piazza; a little too quiet for kids, but we’ve stayed here with babies and toddlers and been fine (hotel is great with kids)
- Hotel Emmy – family hotel option in ‘upper’ Fié, so a little bit further of a walk to town, but gorgeous setting and family-focused
- Florerhof – nice location with small kids play area and indoor playroom; near the main playground in Fiè; it’s a working farm and kids can feed the cows and meet other animals like rabbits and goats
- Moarhof – in ‘upper’ Fiè but still easy to walk everywhere; small kids play area; swimming pool; gorgeous views
- Pitschlmann Farm is also a nice choice (gorgeous views, great restaurant, kids play area, farm animals) but best with a car because it’s downhill from town.
Day 4 – Alpe di Siusi
Read our complete guide to Visiting Fiè allo Sciliar with Kids
The Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German) is a must-see area in the Dolomites, with or without kids. If you’ve seen photos of the Dolomites, they’re likely from this spectacular high alpine plateau. The Alpe di Siusi area is a highlight for children – they’ll delight in the mountain wildflowers, dramatic mountains, play areas at mountain huts, easy walks, cycling routes, and hearty mountain food.
It’s a great place to visit for adults too – not only for its incredible beauty, but for the ease of visiting with kids. There are plenty of facilities on the Alpe, kid-friendly huts and restaurants, signs are well-marked, and kids are so active they sleep well at night!
Transport: Start your morning by taking the bus from the main traffic circle or driving to the base of the Seiser Alm cable car. Note – you can drive up to the Alpe if you go up before 9:00am, but the Seiser Alm gondola is gorgeous and kids love it (in fact, it’s the first thing my kids talk about when I tell them we’re headed to the Dolomites).
Activity: Take and short walk to the Bullaccia/Puflatsch cable car and ride up to Ristorante Bullaccia. Let the kids play in the play area while we soak up the views in the lounge chairs.
Older kids that enjoy hiking can do a more challenging route – like up to Rifugio Alpe di Tires.
Lunch: Mountain food and sciwassers for everyone. Outdoor dining with spectacular views.
Activity: Walk back down and either head back to Fiè or explore more of the Alpe.
Dinner: Pitschlmann restaurant, downhill from the Fiè town center. Walkable, but easiest with a car. If you don’t want to leave town, check out one of the other restaurants mentioned in Day 3.
Accommodation: Fiè allo Sciliar
Day 5 – Laghetto di Fiè
Today is a relaxing day at the small lake above Fiè. It’s popular with locals, and for good reason. The water is very clean (it’s won awards), the scenery is beautiful, and kids can also explore the woods and hiking paths next to it.
Transport: Drive (10 minutes) or take the local bus up to the Laghetto di Fiè paid parking lot. Walk 5 minutes to the lake and set up on the lawn or deck (I prefer the lawn with kids).
Activity: Swim in the lake. It’s deep, so if you have little ones, keep them in the fenced in shallow area. There are also boats to rent but no life jackets. Everyone in our family likes to do the cold Kneipp walk – a walk on small stones and in a shallow pool of very cold water. Let little ones explore the small pond and trails next to the lake.
Lunch: Get ice cream, a snack, or a light meal at the café on the shore, or have a picnic (grab supplies at the grocery store in Fiè before you go to the lake).
Good To Know: There is a freshwater fountain at the lake, on the corner closest to the parking lot.
In the afternoon, visit one of Fié’s playgrounds or walk up to the church and see if you can find the goats.
Dinner: Have pizza (dine-in or take-away) at the tennis court pizzeria or Tschafon on the main road.
Accommodation: Fiè allo Sciliar
Day 6 – Castelrotto
Castelrotto (or Kastelruth in German) is a tiny village near the base of Alpe di Siusi with colorful wall frescoes and a famous local folk band – Kastelruther Spatzen. Read our Guide to Visiting Castelrotto with Kids.
Transport: Take the local bus (20 min), drive (15 min), or walk (10 km, 2 hr 15 min) to Castelrotto.
Activity: Explore Castelrotto. It’s larger than Fiè, so you can stroll the town streets, check out the shops, have a snack at a café, and of course, make your way to the local playground.
You can also take the chairlift from across the street up to Rifugio Marinzen, a kid-friendly mountain refuge with friendly goats, and playground, and a relaxed, family-friendly vibe.
Good To Know: The lift up to Marinzen is open-style, so only go up if you’re comfortable with that.
Lunch: In Castelrotto or up at Rifugio Marinzen.
Activity: If you’re driving, you can stop at Pflegerhof on the way back to Fiè. The organic herb farm is beautiful to see up close and you can purchase some of their teas in the shop. There’s also a kids play structure.
Good To Know: Teas from Pflegerhof are one of my favorite souvenirs to bring back from the Dolomites. If you don’t make it to the herb farm, you can also find a limited selection at the grocery store in Fiè.
You can also stop at the playground in Siusi (on the way back, on the side of the road with easy parking).
Dinner: Stop in Siusi at Ristorante Pizzeria Zum Woscht (great with kids, quick service, pizza or Austrian dishes like schnitzel, table toys for little kids), close to the main traffic circle in Siusi.
Accommodation: Fiè allo Sciliar
Day 7 – Ortisei
Ortisei (St. Ulrich in German, Urtijëi in Ladin), in the Val Gardena, is one of the area’s most kid-friendly villages. It’s got a pedestrian-only area, our kids’ favorite Dolomites in-town playground, and family-friendly hikes. You could definitely spend more than a day here, but one day will give you a good feel for the area.
Transport: Take the local bus (55 min) or drive (30 min) to Ortisei.
Helpful Tip: If you’re driving, the most convenient parking garage is Parkgarage Central.
Activity: Take the funicular (like a little train that hugs the mountain) up to Chalet Resciesa (toilets available at top and bottom of funicular). Hike out-and-back to Rifugio Resciesa – less than 2 kilometers each way, for under 4 kilometers round-trip. I love this hike with kids.
The hiking trail is easy and doable for little kids (after the initial short, rocky climb). Toddlers will love the path and seeing butterflies near the water fountain along the path. Older kids can lead the way confidently.
Lunch: We always pack a lunch (usually sandwiches and fruit) and eat it on the trail. The path is open and the views are amazing, so it’s a scenic pranzo (lunch). You could also eat at the Rifugio or back at the chalet where you began the hike.
Activity: Once back down in Ortisei, walk into the pedestrian center and explore town. This is a nice place to check out shops (although I prefer Bolzano for shopping), get a gelato or apple strudel, and find your favorite wooden figures and art.
If you have the energy, walk up to the town’s playground – our kids love it and we never miss a visit!
Dinner: In Ortisei or back at your favorite place in Fiè.
Accommodation: Fiè allo Sciliar
Alternative Activity: You can also take the cable cars up to Seceda for some of the best scenery in the Dolomites. The trails aren’t as little-kid-friendly as Resciesa (bring a carrier or a backpack), but older kids will be fine on the walks. Bonus: Playgrounds! Read more about Visiting Seceda with Kids and Alpe di Siusi or Seceda – Which Should You Choose?.
Dolomites with Kids Itinerary Variations
- Stay in a hotel with full board or a kids club for a more relaxing break (example: Cavallino Bianco in Ortisei). The Dolomites have some of the best family-friendly hotels in Italy (along with Lake Garda).
- Split your time between Fiè allo Sciliar and Ortisei. Instead of staying four nights in Fiè allo Sciliar, stay two in Fiè and two in Ortisei.
- Base yourself in Fiè allo Sciliar the entire time. Bolzano is a quick 25-ish minute drive or 40-minute bus ride from Fiè, so you can head down for the day or even just a morning or afternoon. I actually prefer to base our family in Fiè so that we can be more flexible with our plans (Bolzano is great on a rainy day too because you can see the Ice Man, look at the shops under the porticoes on Via dei Portici).
- Cut days out or add days. If you’ve only got 5 days, you can cut any two of the days out. You could also add time to make your visit more relaxing. For example, our kids also enjoy relaxing days in Fiè – we visit one or both playgrounds, go for a short walk on a hiking path, get gelato in town, play games in the lawn at our apartment, have meals together – and that’s the day!
- Add another area of the Dolomites. Nearby are Val Badia, Alta Badia (including San Cassiano, Colfosco, Corvara in Badia), the Cinque Torri, and chic Cortina d’Ampezzo. These areas are all gorgeous and offer plenty of kid-friendly hikes and activities. For example, the Cinque Torri has an excellent WW1 open-air museum and kid-friendly hiking. You could spend a day exploring the Cinque Terre from your base in Fiè or Ortisei, or you could move closer and spend a couple of days near Cortina d’Ampezzo (close to the Cinque Torri). Read more about Visiting the Cinque Torri.
- Some more fun things to do near Fiè – visit Castel Prösels, one of our favorite castles in Italy to visit with kids; visit La Crusc Summer Park
Tips for Using This Dolomites with Kids Itinerary
- Reserve hotels as soon as you know your travel dates. The Dolomites are a popular destination with Italians and Europeans, so the best accommodation gets booked quickly. Many travelers return to the same hotels each year.
- Be flexible with activities. For example, if you see the weather forecast for Alpe di Siusi looks poor, Weather change Alpe di Siusi to another day, for example.
- Don’t stay on Alpe di Siusi. While it’s gorgeous on the Alpe, I’ve found it’s more convenient to stay below (grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, playgrounds) and kids love taking the gondola up to Compatsch (main town in Alpe di Siusi).
- Check opening days and times for restaurants and attractions. For example, the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano (home of Ötzi, the Ice Man) is closed on Mondays.
- Make sure lifts will be open when you’re visiting.
- Don’t feel bad about skipping something in the itinerary. Had a big day 4 on the Alpe di Siusi and you’re all feeling tired? Have a relaxing day up at Laghetto di Fiè on day 5 but don’t feel like you need to head to the playground after or walk up to the church in town. After your time at the lake, head back to Fiè and relax!
- Nap times. You can schedule your afternoon nap on Days 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7, but you may want to stay out all day. It depends on your child and his or her napping needs. Our kids actually sleep well in the baby backpack!
Should You Rent a Car for Your Dolomites Visit with Kids?
We usually drive our car to the area because I always appreciate the flexibility that having a car offers. And, we have a lot of ‘gear’ – a baby backpack, a stroller, kids supplies (games, books, toys, etc). But, we’ve also visited the area just using public transport (train from Tuscany to Bolzano and then buses, gondolas, and chairlifts).
You can definitely visit the area using public transport – it’s the only area outside of major cities that I’d say ‘go for it.’ The Dolomites public transport is well-organized, covers a lot of area, is efficient, on-time, and fun! It’s a little bit trickier if you have a baby or toddler and have a stroller and a schedule you’d like to stick to (nap times, meal times, etc).
If you need to rent a car, you can rent one in the area you’ll be in before you arrive and make your way to the Dolomites by car. Our family loves a Dolomites road trip and seeing the scenery change as the mountains get higher and higher. The apple orchards, small villages with onion-roof churches and flashes of the Adige River also make the drive picturesque.
Popular car rental locations for the Dolomites include Bolzano, Venice, and Verona.
Thinking about renting a car for your trip to the Dolomites?
I like to use a search consolidator like DiscoverCars.com or AutoEurope.com.
I recommend checking both DiscoverCars.com or AutoEurope.com and the individual car rental companies for the best prices and vehicle availability.
Good To Know: If you’re planning on exploring the area by car, keep in mind that many of the roads and passes have curvy sections. If you or your children are prone to car-sickness, you’ll want to take it easy and take breaks as necessary.
Helpful Tip: One of our favorite routes is the Sella Ronda, which takes in four spectacular passes – Passo Sella, Passo Gardena, Passo Campolongo, and Passo Pordoi. It’s gorgeous in a car, on a bicycle (older kids and teens who are strong cyclists), or on skis!
More Things for Mom and Dad on this Dolomites with Kids Itinerary
Indulge in a spa treatment. Fiè is known for the heubad, or haybath. Romantik Hotel Turm has the best spa in the area.
Go for a child-free stroll. Sometimes my husband and I trade off so we can have some time alone with the Dolomites! I love my time with my family in the Dolomites, but I also appreciate quick solo walks.
Dolomites Itinerary with Kids FAQ
The Dolomites are located in a huge area, and you could spend weeks or months exploring them. This itinerary includes our favorite area to visit based on annual visits since 2004.
There is one national park in the area – the National Park Dolomites of Belluno (Parco Nazionale di Belluno). There are also Natural Parks in the Dolomites, including Fanes-Senes-Braies, Puez-Odle, Three Peaks (Tre Cime), Sciliar-Catinaccio, and Adamello-Brenta.
Older kids and teens will likely enjoy the adventure of staying in a mountain hut. While there are some luxurious huts in the Dolomites, I recommend keeping babies and toddlers in traditional lodging like hotels, apartments, and B&Bs. You should definitely visit the huts with your kids during the day – the food and views are excellent and many huts have play areas or animals.
Yes, the Italian region is Alto-Adige/Süd Tirol (South Tyrol, in English).
No, the Dolomites are located in Italy, so ‘the Italian Dolomites’ is redundant. It’s a bit like saying ‘the Italian Venice’ or ‘the Italian Amalfi Coast.’
Need help deciding where to go in Italy with your family?
Read about the Best Places to Visit in Italy with Kids!