Why Visit the Dolomites With Kids?
The Dolomites, one of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, is a picturesque area of Italy that has something for everyone in your family:
- Hiking for all levels on well-marked trails
- A variety of outdoor sports, including cycling, rock climbing, vie ferrate, skiing
- Delicious mountain food
- Three unique cultures (seen in language, food, architecture)
- The Ice Man!
- Italy’s best playgrounds
- Clean, fresh mountain air
- Incredible family hotels
I’ve spent time each summer in the Dolomites since 2004. I began planning and guiding family trips to the Dolomites almost twenty years ago and now I also bring my family, which includes three young, energetic boys.
I’m sharing my Dolomiti (Dolomites) with kids favorites and I hope you and your family fall in love with the area too!
Please Note: This post is focused on the summer season, but I’ve included a short section on Winter in the Dolomites with Kids. Also, I don’t list every town, area, or activity in the Dolomites – just our favorites!
Where are the Dolomites?
The Dolomites are a part of the Alps in Northern Italy, located along the border with Austria. They run through the Italian provinces of Belluno, Trentino and Alto Adige (aka Südtirol or South Tyrol), Vicenza, Verona, Udine, and Pordenone. They run through the regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and the Veneto.
Most of the Dolomites were part of Austria until the end of World War 1, when the provinces of Alto Adige and Trentino became part of Italy.
Fun Fact: (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol) is autonomous and almost all of its collected taxes remain in the region.
Map of the Dolomites
When To Visit the Dolomites With Kids
The best times to visit the Dolomites with kids are mid-June through mid-September for a summer trip, and from December through March for a winter skiing and snow trip.
July and August can be very busy, but you can find your own space (compared to a city, where you’re kind of squished together with everyone else). Prices are higher in the peak summer season and accommodation is booked solid.
Late September and October can also be lovely weather-wise, but most lifts close mid-September until skiing season.
Good To Know: Avoid early June because there is often still snow on some of the trails.
Good To Know: Afternoon or evening rain showers are likely in the summer.
Weather in the Dolomites
Summers in the Dolomites see mild temperatures (with some hot days scattered around), and evenings can be chilly or cold. Afternoon and evening summer thunderstorms are common.
As you can see from the temperature charts below, locations in the Dolomites valleys (like Bolzano) can be very hot in the summer during the day.
Average Dolomites Temperatures in Celsius
|Corvara in Badia High/Low||Cortina d’Ampezzo High/Low|
|January||6° / -3°||2° / -4°||0° / -8°|
|February||10° / -1°||2° / -4°||3° / -7°|
|March||15° / 3°||5° / -2°||7° / -3°|
|April||19° / 7°||7° / 1°||11° / 1°|
|May||24° / 12°||12° / 5°||16° / 5°|
|June||27° / 15°||17° / 9°||20° / 8°|
|July||30° / 17°||19° / 11°||22° / 11°|
|August||29° / 17°||19° / 11°||21° / 10°|
|September||24° / 13°||15° / 8°||17° / 7°|
|October||18° / 8°||11° / 5°||12° / 3°|
|November||11° / 2°||6° / 0°||16° / -3°|
|December||6° / -3°||3° / -2°||0° / -7°|
Average Dolomites Temperatures in Fahrenheit
|Corvara in Badia High/Low||Cortina d’Ampezzo High/Low|
|January||43° / 27°||36° / 25°||32° / 18°|
|February||50° / 30°||36° / 25°||37° / 20°|
|March||59° / 37°||41° / 28°||45° / 27°|
|April||66° / 45°||45° / 33°||52° / 33°|
|May||75° / 53°||53° / 41°||61° / 41°|
|June||81° / 59°||63° / 48°||68° / 47°|
|July||86° / 63°||66° / 51°||72° / 51°|
|August||84° / 63°||66° / 51°||70° / 50°|
|September||75° / 55°||59° / 47°||63° / 44°|
|October||64° / 47°||52° / 41°||53° / 37°|
|November||52° / 36°||43° / 32°||41° / 27°|
|December||43° / 27°||37° / 28°||32° / 20°|
Important To Know: Weather in the Dolomites can change in an instant! I’ve been sweating in a tank top and shorts on hikes, and minutes later, it’s freezing and hailing! Always dress in layers (or carry some in your backpack) and discuss mountain safety with your kids before you hike.
How Long To Spend in the Dolomites With Kids
If possible, spend 5-7 days. I promise you won’t be bored (and you’ll always wish you had more time).
However, if your time is limited, you can also visit for 2-3 days and still have a wonderful time. Our family often heads up for a 2-3 day break and we all come home feeling happy and refreshed!
Best Things to Do With Kids in the Dolomites
See the Ice Man
Bolzano’s Museum of Archaeology is home to Ötzi the Ice Man, a naturally mummified hunter from over 5000 years ago! You can see his incredibly well-preserved body and his tools, clothing, and equipment.
This is a not-to-miss activity if you’re in Bolzano or nearby.
Try a Via Ferrata
The area’s vie ferrate, or iron ways, were constructed during World War 1 as a way for troops to move themselves and supplies through the mountains. The routes are fixed with metal cables, ladders, and anchors.
There are some epic vie ferrate, but also plenty of routes for beginners – kids included.
It’s best to book a local guide who can help you climb safely – with the correct equipment, at the right time weather-wise, and on a route that’s appropriate for your level.
See the Open-Air WW1 Museums
If your child has studied World War 1 in school or is interested in it, visiting one of the open-air WW1 Musuems is a must-do. Our favorite is the one at the Cinque Torri, near Cortina.
Even little kids are kept interested walking through the trenches and observing the mannequins and props set up throughout the trail. There are explanations in English, and you’re surrounded by amazing views of the surrounding mountains
Logistics: To get to the museum, take the chairlift from Baita Bai de Dones to Rifugio Scoiattoli. The museum is free and takes between 1 to 1.5 hours to walk through. When you’re finished, get lunch at the nearby Rifugio Averau – the bis di primi (two pasta sampler) is absolutely delicious! Of all of the rifugi around the Cinque Torri, Averau has the best food.
Good To Know: If you’re visiting in the afternoon, be aware of the time so you don’t miss the last lift down (it’s usually around 5pm). It’s a long walk downhill, especially for little kids!
Visit Italy’s Best Playgrounds
If you’ve visited other parts of Italy and have been disappointed with the playgrounds, you’re in for a treat in the Dolomites. The playgrounds are colorful, well-maintained, creative play spaces for kids. Our family loves the playgrounds in the Dolomites and we can while away entire afternoons at them!
Some of the region’s best playgrounds are:
- Latemar Montagnanimata – Predazzo (Val di Fiemme)
- Town Playground – Ortisei (Val Gardena) – BEST IN MOUNTAIN TOWN*
- Playground near the bus station – Siusi (Sciliar)
- Pirate Ship Playground – Lake Molveno (base of the Brenta Dolomites)
- Parco Palù – Lake Lavarone (Valsugana)
- Giro d’Ali & Frainus – Alpe Lusia (Val di Fiemme)
- Pradel – Molveno (base of the Brenta Dolomites)
- Fiè allo Sciliar’s Playgrounds – Fiè/Völs (Sciliar)
- Marinzen Playground (above Castelrotto)
- Talvera Park – Bolzano BEST OVERALL*
*awarded by our family 🙂
Hike to a Rifugio with a Playground
Stopping at a rifugio (mountain hut) is a must-do if you’re in the Dolomites. They offer excellent views, hearty mountain food, and a place to sleep at night. Good to Know: These ‘huts’ can go by many names in the area, including: Malga, Rifugio, Alm, Schwaige, and Baita.
If you’re traveling with kids, encouraging them to walk can be tough. But, if you dangle a carrot – playgrounds – you’ll find it’s a bit easier to keep them moving.
Two of our favorite stops with play areas:
- SummerPark La Crusc (above Corvara in Badia)
- Ristorante Bullaccia (above Tschötsch Alm)
Occasionally, you’ll find other attractions for kids – like animals to pet or live local bands. Tuff Alm, at the base of the Sciliar, has both!
Fun Fact: See if your kids recognize the silhouette of the Sciliar – it’s on the packaging of Loacker brand cookies and sweet treats!
Learn about Ladin Culture
Your kids will be exposed to a third(!) culture in the Dolomites. When you enter Ladin Valleys, you’ll see signs in and hear people speaking in the Ladin language.
If you’d like to learn more about the Ladin culture:
- Hire a local guide like Heidi
- Visit the Ladin museum in San Cassiano
- Visit the Ladin museum at Ciastel (Castle) de Tor in San Martino in Badia
- Stay in a Ladin Valley – Val Badia, Val Gardena, Val di Fassa, Livinallongo or Cortina d’Ampezzo
Visit a Local Market
The Dolomites is well-known for its Christmas markets, some of the most beautiful in Italy. If you’re not in the area for the holidays, you can still stop by a local market to shop for fruits and vegetables, clothing, souvenirs, and more. It’s also a nice opportunity to see local life and kids can try out their language skills.
We love Bolzano’s fruit and vegetable market, Castelrotto’s Friday farmer’s market, Fiè allo Sciliar’s Wednesday morning market, and Cortina d’Ampezzo’s Tuesday/Friday market.
Cycle a Valley Path
Cycling the Dolomites Valley paths is an activity for all ages and fitness levels.
You can rent bikes (adult bikes, children’s bikes, trailers, and more) in one town and ride to another town and return your bicycle there. Some of the paths are a gentle downhill (like Merano to Bolzano), but if you get tired, you can hop on a train with your bikes!
The scenery is breathtaking and there are plenty of places to stop along the way. We’ve stopped for cherries, gotten ice cream in small villages, and had picnics next to the river.
If you’re worried it’s too much for your small child, you can rent a kid’s bike and a bike trailer, and when your child gets tired, tie the bike to the back of the trailer and let your child hitch a ride.
These rides are some of our favorite memories in the mountains, and we’ve even done them with the grandparents!
Go Mountain biking on gorgeous, well-maintained mountain bike trails
The Dolomites has some of the most gorgeous and fun mountain biking in the country. It’s home to the Dolomiti Superbike, a premier mountain bike race in July.
If that’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of well-marked and well-maintained mountain bike trails for all levels. Beginners can ride on wide paths on Alpe di Siusi and if you’re got intermediate or expert riders, talk to local bike shops to find trails suitable to your level.
Check out our 8 Tips for Visiting Alpe di Siusi with Kids!
Go for a Horse Carriage Ride
Little legs tired of hiking? Catch a ride in a horse carriage on the Alpe di Siusi, Europe’s largest high alpine meadow.
Tour Prösels Castle
There are quite a few castles you can visit in the area. Our boys love Prösels Castle, above Bolzano.
The original Prösels Castle was built around the year 1200, and later enlarged and changed a bit into the Renaissance castle you see today.
Take the guided tour and see the dungeon, the toilet, and the armory – all favorites of kids!
Good To Know: There’s a green area where the kids can play and a small bar/cafe with snacks and cold drinks.
Visit the Herb Farm
Pflegerhof is an obligatory stop for our family, and we think you’ll like it too. This family-owned farm near Castelrotto has over 500 local and foreign plants that they grow and the property’s teas are a wonderful souvenir. They also sell herbs, syrups, and other products made from their plants.
Some children like learning about the different plants and the organic methods the family uses. The littlest kids will be content with the small play structure at the entrance.
Listen to a Local Band
Castelrotto, at the base of the Sciliar range, is home to the famous traditional folk band, Kastelruther Spatzen (The Castelrotto Sparrows).
If you’re not able to catch them live, look for other local bands and festivals like the Merano Festival and the Südtirol Jazz Festival.
Ride the Gondolas
Sometimes the best way to get kids to go on a hike is to make sure the hike starts and/or ends with a gondola ride! The Dolomites have an incredible network of gondolas and chairlifts that help you reach higher elevations and spectacular views.
Our favorite gondola is the Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway that runs from Siusi to Compatsch on the Alpe di Siusi. It gains 800 meters of elevation in about 4 kilometers and takes 15 minutes.
Say Hi to the Animals at Malga TuffAlm
The uphill hike up to TuffAlm from Laghetto di Fiè (above Fiè allo Sciliar) is doable for all ages and the rewards for adults are spectacular scenery and delicious food. Kids are more impressed with TuffAlm’s petting zoo and playground! Say hi to the horses, alpacas, and rabbits!
Good To Know: You can also take a horse carriage ride from the Laghetto to TuffAlm (or back to the Laghetto).
Good To Know: If you’ve got a stroller, you can take the gravel fire road instead of the trail.
Drink a Skiwasser
If your kids like to try new foods and drinks, a refreshing summer drink in the Dolomites is a skiwasser (ski water). Most bars and restaurants use a skiwasser syrup (raspberry/lemon) mixed with sparkling water.
Get a Gelato
Gelato’s a hit for kids anywhere in Italy, and the Dolomites are no exception. Most towns have a gelateria, but make sure you look for gelato artigianale (homemade).
We love Gelateria Eccetera in Bolzano and the gelato at Sarè in San Cassiano.
Ride or Walk the River Path Near Corvara
Our boys love cycling the gravel path around Corvara that parallels the SS244 heading north out of town. If you don’t have bicycles with you, rent bikes or e-bikes from a local shop and ride as far as your heart desires! The path continues uphill toward San Cassiano (gelato stop!) and even to the base of Passo Falzarego.
Older kids could make it to Malga Valparola for lunch, followed by a nice downhill almost all the way back to Corvara.
If you don’t want to ride bikes, you can walk the car-free path along the river.
Adventure Course Near Corvara
Sleep in a Rifugio
Young and old will love the experience of spending the night at a mountain hut – arriving on foot, having a hearty mountain meal, playing card games with your family, and seeing the night sky full of stars.
If you have athletic teens, hike into the Fanes Valley and stay at Rifugio Fanes.
With younger kids, try to stay in a hut that has a playground or toys nearby. Rifugio Fuciade in Val di Fassa has a kids play area, plenty of grassy area for kids to play in, and you can even reach it with your stroller!
Say Hi to the Happy Cows
Dolomites cows always look so content. If you pass some on a hike or while driving by, take a moment to stop and let your kids say ‘ciao.’ You can show them the bells and explain how they help the farmers locate the cows when it’s foggy or they get spread out in the fields or forests.
Explore the Area with a Local Guide
Any trip to the Dolomites will be incredible, and seeing it with a local guide will make it even more so.
Dig deeper in to the culture, geography, cuisine. Walk on lesser-known trails. Get help with timing and logistics. Have your trip tailored to your family’s needs.
You don’t necessarily need a local guide for your entire trip, but having a day or two with a local expert will help connect you to the area and kids (and adults) can ask any questions they have about the area.
Three excellent local guides I highly recommend are Brigitte Mair and Helmut Kritzinger (Fiè allo Sciliar) and , Heidi Vittur (San Cassiano).
Our Favorite Areas to Visit with Kids
We usually base ourselves here. We love that it’s close to Bolzano, the Alpe di Siusi, and small villages worth exploring.
- Fiè allo Sciliar – nearby Laghetto di Fiè and TuffAlm, playground, Pitschlmann restaurant, quick bus to Bolzano
- Castelrotto – Pflegerhof herb farm, live music, see what the elementary school looks like
- Siusi – playground, gondola to Alpe di Siusi
- Ortisei – playgrounds, adventure park, great access to Alpe di Siusi
- Santa Cristina Val Gardena and Selva di Val Gardena – spacious green playground
Val Badia and Alta Badia
- Corvara in Badia – river cycling path, shopping in town, gelato, Tana del Orso restaurant
- Colfosco – adventure park
- San Cassiano – Ladin Museum, Santa Croce hike (stations of the cross along the route, gradual downhill), Piz Sorega lift to the SummerPark La Crusc play area
Cortina, the 1956 Winter Olympics host, will host again in 2026 with Milan as a partner.
- Cooperativa shopping and exploring
- Have kid ‘aperitivo’ on the main drag
- Hike at the Cinque Torri nearby – watch the rock climbers and visit the WW1 Open Air Museum
- Visit nearby Lake Braies and Lake Misurina, Tre Cime di Lavaredo
- Rent bikes and ride along the old railway path
- Bolzano – Ice Man, outdoor markets, valley cycling paths, Roncolo Castle
- Merano – Trauttmansdorff Castle and Gardens, thermal baths, valley cycling paths
Where to Stay With Kids in the Dolomites
|Accommodation||Type||Location||Area of Dolomites|
|B&B Residence Hubertus||B&B / Apts||Fiè allo Sciliar||Sciliar|
|Ciasa Salares||4* Hotel||Armentarola||Alta Badia|
|Pitschlmann Farm||Apts||Fiè allo Sciliar||Sciliar|
|Cavallino Bianco||4* Family Hotel||Ortisei||Val Gardena|
|Rifugio Fuciade||Hut||Fuchiade||Val di Fassa|
|Nature Hotel Delta||3* Hotel||Colfosco||Val Badia|
|Romantik Hotel Turm||4* Hotel||Fiè allo Sciliar||Sciliar|
|Family Hotel Posta||4* Hotel||Santa Cristina||Val Gardena|
|Biancaneve Family Hotel||4* Hotel||Selva||Val Gardena|
|Rosa Alpina||5* Hotel||San Cassiano||Alta Badia|
|Fanes Hutte||Hut||Fanes Valley||above Alta Badia|
|La Perla||5* Hotel||Corvara in Badia||Val Badia|
Getting To the Dolomites With Kids
I recommend arriving by car if possible. It’s the easiest way to arrive, especially if you have kids with car seats and a lot of kid equipment (stroller, etc) or luggage.
If you’re flying into Italy and the Dolomites is your first stop, depending on where you’re headed in the Dolomites, you can fly into Innsbruck, Venice, Verona, Bologna, or even Milan.
If you’re arriving by train, I recommend getting to Bolzano, and then from there renting a car or taking the bus.
Getting Around the Dolomites With Kids
Car is the easiest, especially with kids. It gives you the freedom to explore on your own terms, stopping whenever and wherever you like. If you’re moving hotels during your trip and you have a lot of luggage or kid equipment, having your own car is handy.
Bus is a close second. The bus system here is first class and we use it every trip, even though we drive up with our own car. Sometimes our car stays parked for most of the trip! We choose to travel around by gondola, public bus, bicycle, and foot.
Eating with Kids in the Dolomites
Dolomites Foods for Your Kids to Try
- Canederli – dumplings, on their own or in broth
- Apfelstrudel – apple strudel
- Spätzle – noodles, often made with spinach
- Krauti – sauerkraut
- Schnitzel – thinly sliced and breaded veal
- Succo di Mela – apple juice
- Gelato (our favorite gelateria in the area is in Bolzano at Gelateria Eccetera)
Our Favorite Restaurants With Kids in the Dolomites
- Pitschlmann (Fiè allo Sciliar) – outdoor patio dining, kids playground on the front lawn
- Mathiaskeller (Colfosco) – nooks and crannies to eat in, near the adventure park
- Walther’s (Bolzano) – dining on the square, pizza (including gluten-free)
- La Perla restaurant – eat on the back patio
- Rosa Alpina Bar & Grill – fun and delicious for kids and parents, reserve an outside table in the front for people-watching
- La Tana del Orso – ‘The Bears Den’ is a unique restaurant, enjoy the decor!
- Picnics – grab picnic supplies at an outdoor market or grocery store and make your own meal in the grass or along a trail
You may want to read our post on Tipping in Italy!
Logistics With Kids in the Dolomites
There are a ton of stroller-friendly family hikes you can do! For example, take the gondola from Siusi to the Alpe di Siusi and walk a paved path from Compatsch to lunch at a hut. There are also plenty of wide gravel trails (like the river path in Corvara).
Like the rest of Italy, Dolomites locals are very supportive of breastfeeding mammas, so feel free to feed your baby wherever and whenever you like. If you feel more comfortable, you can bring a scarf or light covering.
If you need to use the toilet while out hiking, you can use a toilet at a hut or restaurant along the way.
If you’re in a town, you can ask to use the toilet at a bar or restaurant. It’s kind to make a small purchase (like a coffee or a pack of gum).
Some are very windy, so if your child gets carsick, take it easy, and limit your drives. Or, use public transport like the reliable, on-time buses that run throughout the region.
You’ll find plenty of fountains along the trails and they are usually labeled potabile (potable) or non potabile (not potable). If it’s not labeled, it’s up to you whether or not you want to take the risk.
Make sure you bring water on your hike, and if you need to, you can also purchase water at huts or restaurants along the trails.
We usually carry water bottles and a water bladder (like a Camelbak).
Often the Dolomites will get afternoon showers (especially in the summer), but if you do happen to catch a full day of rain, here are some things you can do:
- Bolzano – shop under the porticoes, check out the toy shop, see the Ice Man.
- San Cassiano – see the Ladin Museum.
- Cortina – explore all floors of the Cooperativo di Cortina.
- Visit one of the Messner Mountain Museums.
- Play cards or games at your hotel.
- Most family hotels have indoor kids’ clubs.
What to Pack for a Dolomites Trip with Kids
- Worn-in shoes
- Swimming Gear
- Sunscreen if you have a favorite brand
- Layers! Weather can change in an instant.
- Rain gear
- Water bottle or pack
Good To Know: Don’t worry about bringing dressy clothes unless you’re planning to eat at a nice restaurant (and you probably aren’t if you’re traveling with kids). Mountain clothing is the norm and you won’t feel out of place with casual, sporty clothing.
What You Can Get Easily in the Dolomites
- Diapers, baby supplies
- Sports gear for children and adults – Sportler (huge sports store) in Bolzano, smaller shops in mountain towns, and shops at the base of the Alpe di Siusi lift.
Check out our post on Diapers in Italy – Brands, Sizing, and Where to Buy Them!
Good To Know: Sportler, based in the Dolomites, is one of Italy’s best sports stores. If you’ve forgotten anything, stop by the store(s) in the center of Bolzano.
Visiting the Dolomites with Kids in the Winter
The Dolomites are well-known in Italy and Europe for their excellent skiing facilities, especially on Alpe di Siusi.
On Alpe di Siusi, it’s easy to rent ski gear, the instructors are experienced and friendly, and there are other fun activities like tubing and sledding. You can stay on Alpe di Siusi or in another area and easily take the gondola up.
If you’re coming to ski, try to visit in December when you can also visit the area’s Christmas markets (Italy’s best!).
January (after the first week) and February are less crowded because Italian and European kids are back in school. You will see some kids though, as many families take an official or unofficial settimana bianca (white week).
Good To Know: This is the perfect time to drink the area’s thick hot chocolate!
First trip to Italy? 10th? Either way, check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!
Where are the Cinque Terre in the Dolomites?
You’re probably thinking of the Cinque Torri (the Five Towers), a group of rock towers in the mountains above Cortina d’Ampezzo that are popular with rock climbers.
Are the gondolas in the Dolomites safe for children?
Yes, they are closed and there is always an employee helping people get on. Still, always keep your small children close, as there are moving mechanical parts.
There are also open chairlifts (that skiers use in the winter) in the Dolomites and it’s up to you to decide if your children are old enough or responsible enough to sit in them.