boys hiking resciesa above ortisei, italy

Ortisei with Kids – Our Top 9 Things to Do (+ Itinerary & Helpful Tips!)

Ortisei makes a great base for exploring the Dolomites with your family. It’s relatively easy to get to, it’s gorgeous, and it have everything you need if you’ve got little kids (or big kids!) with you.

Although pretty much everywhere in the Dolomites is kid-friendly, Ortisei is a favorite of ours for its stellar main playground, its pedestrian zone in the town center, and its access to beautiful, family-friendly hikes.

I’ve been bringing families to Ortisei since 2004.  First, families for work, and now my own family with three small boys. 

Here are the best things to do with your family in Ortisei, a sample (parent and kid-approved) 1-day itinerary, plus some tips that will help make your visit stress-free and memorable!

Divertitevi – have fun!

You may want to check out our general Guide to Ortisei, Italy and our 20 Favorite Things to Do in the Dolomites!

Our 9 Favorite Things to Do in Ortisei with Kids

You won’t be able to do all of these in a day, so pick and choose what you think your family will enjoy most. 

Luis Trenker Promenade Playground

This is our favorite Dolomites mountain village park! If you’re in town with kids, don’t miss this place. It’s not huge, but there are plenty of things to do. Kids can play all day here! Highlights include:

  • shaded sand area (with water pump and contraptions)
  • wooden train and castle with slide
  • bouncy wooden structure
  • swings (including baby swing)
  • hammocks
  • mini in-ground trampolines
  • baby train
  • rocking horses
  • slack lines

For adults – the views are fabulous and there are quite a few benches and places to sit while you watch your kids play. There’s a water fountain. The only negatives are no bathrooms and very little shade (which isn’t normally a problem, but can be on a hot Dolomites day).

Good To Know: Ortisei has a few other parks, including one by the Central parking garage (at Bar San Durich) and a small park near the river with a mini bicycle adventure course.

Resciesa (Raschötz) Hike

Boys on the Resciesa hike above Ortisei, Italy.

This hike is fun for all ages and hiking levels, and you get to take a funicular (mountainside train)!

The toughest part of the hike is the steep walk from the Ortisei town center to the funicular station.

 Once you’re at the top, it’s four kilometers to the Resciesa Mountain hut, and it takes around 2.5 hours (150m elevation gain).  Once you get to the hut, you can stop for a skiwasser or continue to the cross.  You can see the climb to the cross. It doesn’t look far, but with kids, it can take forever – remember you also need to walk back to the funicular.

Good To Know: Use the bathrooms at the funicular’s base station (inside) or top station (down the steps below the Chalet Resciesa).

Val d’Anna Hike

Go on a pleasant, relaxing, stroller-friendly walk from Ortisei to the Anna Valley.  You walk along a little stream to a beautiful meadow playground and then to the Baita Pauli and Café Val d’Anna. You can do the hike in less than an hour but it will definitely take longer because the route includes stops for playing in the water or relaxing in trailside hammocks.

Other on-route highlights include a Kneipp walkway, the Col de Flam adventure park and watching paragliders land at Baita Pauli.

The meadow playground has swings, a zip line, slides, rocking areas, and climbing structures. 

Start (and park) at the base of the Seceda cable car.  If you’re on foot, you can get to the Seceda base by the handy moving walkway in the center of Ortisei (kids love it!). 

Helpful Tip:  Bring a towel to dry off feet and extra clothing for little ones.

Seceda Ridgeline Viewpoint

Seceda view in the Dolomites, Italy.

While you can definitely go on a longer hike once you get to the top of the two cable cars, you may want to just check out the incredible views from the easily-reached panoramic viewpoint.

Kids enjoy stepping into the circular iron sculpture that shows what mountains you’re looking at.

Peek at Shops

Whether you buy anything or not, it’s fun to window shop in Ortisei. Walking in town is low-stress because there’s a huge pedestrian zone (zona pedonale) so your kids can run around without you worrying about cars.

The town is full of beautiful wooden carvings and kids love the tiny wooden figurines of animals (heads up – they’re pricey!).

Some of our favorite shops with wood products for kids are Alberto Comploj (wooden figurines, seen from the window) and La Zipla (wooden figurines on an Arc, and a colorful wooden toy section).

You’ll also want to stop at Rusina to check out the window display of toys. The toy gondola is always a hit with little ones.

Parents may want to visit Sport Demetz for its adorable Dolomites traditional clothing for kids (like mini dirndls).

Christmas Market

Presepe from the Dolomites, Italy.

Ortisei has a Christmas market and program, Nadel Urijëi. The other towns in Val Gardena (Selva and Santa Cristina) have Christmas markets as well, and Santa Cristina’s is focused on kids and families.

If you’re visiting Ortisei in the summer, you can check out the wooden Christmas decorations, ornaments, and presepi in the shops throughout town.

Learn more about Presepi – Italian Nativity Scenes!

Museum Gherdëina

Stop into Ortisei’s Ladin museum, which has exhibits on woodcarving, the history of the area, local dress, and native legend, Luis Trenker.  It’s the best Ladin museum we’ve been to.   Our kids love looking at the traditional Dolomites clothing and the wooden carvings.

Good To Know: San Cassiano (in nearby Ladin Alta Badia) also has a Ladin Museum and kids enjoy the cave bear exhibit.

Pufels Rosarium

Rose in Italy.

I wouldn’t normally list a rose garden as a kids activity, but if you want to see flowers, this is a good place to bring the kids.  The paths are fun and interesting, there is unique (small) artwork on display throughout the garden, and there are places along the paths to stop and look at the panoramic views.

The Rosarium is outside of Ortisei off the main road that goes to Passo Pinei.

Good To Know: It’s not stroller friendly.  There’s a tiny shop at the entrance where you can buy products from the garden. 

Col de Flam Adventure Park

Visit the park for the ropes course and zipline, and stay for some of the other highlights, including animals, a wooden marble track, and trampolines!

Tips for Visiting Ortisei with Kids

  • Bring both a carrier (or baby backpack) and a stroller if you’ve got a baby or toddler with you. Ortisei has plenty of places that are great for using the stroller (the pedestrian area, the Luis Trenker Promenade, Val d’Anna hike, parts of Alpe di Siusi).  But, a carrier or pack comes in handy on the Resciesa hike and many trails on Alpe di Siusi. 
  • Don’t stay too far from the town center.  You’ll want to be able to walk into town to explore the pedestrian center and its shops, cafes, and restaurants. Pay attention to where your hotel is compared to the town center – upper Ortisei is on a steep hillside, which can be challenging for both small children and parents pushing strollers.
  • If it fits in your budget, stay at the luxury Cavallino Bianco Family Resort and Spa.
  • Plan some picnics.  Shop at one of Ortisei’s grocery stores and enjoy a meal in an alpine meadow or on a bench with a view!
  • Take advantage of available toilets!  For example, we use the Central Parking Garage, which has public toilets.  There are also toilets at the cable car stations and there’s a nice, free public toilet in the pedestrian area near the intersection of Strada Resia and Via Petlin (near the post office and tourist office).
  • You can breastfeed outdoors on any of the many benches in the town center. A peaceful, quiet place with beautiful views is along the Luis Trenker Promenade. You can also breastfeed indoors at restaurants or cafes.

One-Day Ortisei with Kids Itinerary

Old train in Ortisei, Italy.

Here’s a sample of what you could realistically do in a full day in Ortisei with kids. 

  1. Buongiorno!  Park in the Central parking garage.
  2. Before exploring town, leave the parking garage (say hi to the old train) and walk uphill (you can do it!) to the Resciesa Funicular station. Note: If you don’t have sandwiches or picnic supplies already, stop at the Despar Dolomiti just inside the pedestrian zone to pick up lunch supplies and hiking snacks).
  3. Take the funicular up and do the Resciesa out-and-back hike. Enjoy your picnic lunch along the way. Turn around at the mountain hut.
  4. Take the funicular back down to Ortisei (and use the toilet at the base cable car station if you need to).
  5. Walk to into town to the large pedestrian zone.
  6. Walk along Strada Rezia (in the pedestrian zone) and check out the local shops, woodcarvings, and Austrian architecture.
  7. Continue on Via Rezia as it transitions out of a pedestrian-only zone (careful – cars!). Get gelato if needed.
  8. Walk uphill to the Luis Trenker Promenade and make your way to the town’s main playground.
  9. After playing, head back to the town center for dinner, or back to the parking garage and head back to where you’re staying for dinner.
  10. Ciao!

Check out our guides to Italian destinations with kids:
Alpe di Siusi with Kids
Bolzano with Kids
Dolomites with Kids
Lucca with Kids
Montalcino with Kids

Ortisei with Kids
Orvieto with Kids
Sirmione (Lake Garda) with Kids
Venice with Kids

Eating in Ortisei with Kids

Foods to Try in Ortisei

You can definitely find pizza and pasta at Ortisei restaurants, but any adventurous little ones will want to sample:

GERMANITALIANENGLISH
WürstelSalsicciaSausage
KnödelCanederliGerman Bread Dumpling
ApfelstrudelStrudel di MeleApple Strudel
SpätzleSpätzleSpätzle (noodle/dumpling)
SchlutzkrapfenMezzeluneRavioli (with spinach & ricotta)
KrapfenKrapfenDoughnuts (filled with jam)

Ortisei Restaurants for Families

Turonda Pizza Bistrot – pizza!
Mauriz Keller – traditional South Tyrol dishes

Helpful Tip: The Dolomites are the perfect setting for a picnic! Stop into one of Ortisei’s grocery stores (there are three main ones – Conad City and Despar Dolomiti are our favorites) and pick up supplies – like local cheese, bread, salame, fresh fruit, and apple juice. Nice picnic spots in Ortisei are at the playground on the Luis Trenker Promenade, at benches along the Promenade, along trail of the Resciesa hike, at the top of the Seceda cable car, and anywhere on Alpe di Siusi!

Things to Do with Kids Near Ortisei

Bolzano playground in the Dolomites, Italy.
Talvera Park, Bolzano
  • See the Ice Man and play at the Talvera Park playground in Bolzano
  • Take the cable car up from Siusi up to Alpe di Siusi (if you haven’t already taken it from Ortisei)
  • Go for a swim in Laghetto di Fiè
  • Visit MUSE in Trento
  • Find every family member’s favorite flower at the Trauttmansdorff Gardens
  • Visit the Colfosco Adventure Park
  • Explore the Panaraida Adventure Trail
  • Visit one of the Messner Mountain Museums
  • See the Cave Bear exhibit at the Ladin Museum in San Cassiano
  • Climb at the rockclimbing gym Boulderhalle Runcadic in nearby Passua

On your way to Italy with kids? You may want to read our posts
Italy with a Baby or Toddler
Packing List for Italy with a Baby or Toddler
Italy with Teens

FAQ

When is the best time to visit Ortisei with kids?
I would try to visit in the summer, outside of the busiest month of August. Late June and early July is an excellent time to visit, and if your kids don’t need to be back in school, early September is also ideal. In the winter, December is magical because the Val Gardena is lit up with twinkling lights and there are Christmas markets in each of the valley’s towns.

Trying to decide when to visit Italy? Check out our monthly guides:
Italy in January
Italy in February

Italy in March
Italy in May
Italy in June
Italy in October

Italy in November
Italy in December