Updated on January 15, 2024
Whether you’re heading to San Cassiano for an afternoon visit, or you’ve decided to make the tiny village your base for exploring Alta Badia, you’ve made a good choice!
San Cassiano, the tiny village with less than 1000 full-time residents, is a perfect spot for families. You can hike, bike, see animals, visit amazing playgrounds, and learn about the Ladin culture.
I’ve been bringing families (including my own!) to San Cassiano since 2004, and it keeps getting better for kids!
Although it’s a popular snow sports base in the winter, I’m a summer visitor, so I’ll focus on the warmer months.
Read on for the best things to do in San Cassiano with kids, plus my recommendations for family-friendly accommodation and restaurants.
IMPORTANT FOR 2024: If you’re hoping to stay with your family at the Rosa Alpina hotel, you’ll need to wait until the winter of 2024/2025. The 5-star luxury hotel is now a member of the Aman Group and is undergoing a major renovation. The hotel’s 3-star Michelin restaurant, St. Hubertus, is also closed while the hotel is renovated.
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Where is San Cassiano?
San Cassiano is one of the villages in Alta Badia in the Dolomites. It’s between the more well-known towns of Corvara in Badia and Cortina d’Ampezzo in the northern Italian mountain playground!
Why Visit San Cassiano with Kids?
San Cassiano is a family-friendly village for a few reasons:
- It’s a quiet, tranquil village
- During non-school hours, there’s a playground in town center
- It has family-friendly hotels and B&Bs
- There’s an excellent playground and hiking at the top of the Piz Sorega lift (which departs from San Cassiano)
Skip a Family Visit to San Cassiano If…
You’ve got teens who want some nightlife. San Cassiano is fairly quiet – neighboring Corvara in Badia and Cortina d’Ampezzo have more ‘action.’
Things to Do in San Cassiano with Kids
Take the Lift to the Moviment Bear Park
The Dolomites has our favorite playgrounds in Italy, and the Moviment Bear Park at the top of the Piz Sorega lift is one of our favorites in the area! My kids could spend all day at the park and return happily the next day. It’s not huge, but there are so many fun things like a playground full of toys, the ‘bear’s den’ play area, a water play area, a sand area where kids can find ‘bear bones.’ There are more activities you can pay extra for, like mini golf and archery, but my boys have been so busy in the normal play area they’ve never even asked me about them.
Adults will love the 360° views and how easy it is to visit. The park’s at the top of the lift, there’s a restaurant if you want a snack or a meal, and there are also plenty of family-friendly hikes from the park.
Good To Know: You can take the chairlift (that’s right at the park) to another Moviment Park – La Ila. Or, go for a hike to Ütia Saraghes. It’s about a 30-minute walk, and… there’s another fabulous play area!
Helpful Tip: If you’re planning on hiking and playing at the Moviment Bear Park, go for your hike first – kids won’t want to hike after playing at the park. Plus, the water area is more fun in the afternoon when it’s warmer.
Say Hello to the Cows
Along the road in San Cassiano, you stroll along the walking path. In summer months, you’ll find the cows hanging out in the grassy areas by the path.
Walk to a Malga
Walk on paths and forested trails from San Cassiano to Malga Valparola. Sample cheese and delicious cakes, say hi to the cows and pigs, and have a lovely afternoon at the malga. You can reach it on foot (even with a stroller!) from San Cassiano (3.5 km, around 1 hr). Or, shorten the walk by driving to Armentarola and beginning the walk from the parking lot at Hotel Armentarola (1.7 km, 30 min). It’s slightly uphill on the way there, and down on the way back.
Helpful Tip: If you have early risers, make the walk in the morning, when it’s less crowded. This malga has definitely gotten more popular, especially with families, and lunchtime can be really busy.
Walk the Santa Croce Route
Older kids and teens will be able to do the Santa Croce hike – it’s got some ups and downs, but it’s mostly downhill.
You’ll need to take the lift from Badia (bus or taxi from San Cassiano) up to the Santa Croce church. There’s an intermediate station, and kids will definitely want to stop at the Summer Park LaCrusc! It’s another epic play area for kids, and if you have small children, you’ll probably just want to spend your day here.
Otherwise, take the second lift up to the church and begin the hike. It’s trail 15 all the way to San Cassiano, along well-worn forested trails. You have beautiful views along the trail, including a peek at the glacier, Marmolada.
This is one of my favorite hikes to do with kids because there are nice views, forests are fun, you can stop at the stations of the cross along the way, and there’s a lot of downhill.
Helpful Tip: The first lift is a 4-person chairlift (with a bubble top), so keep toddlers and babies attached to you in a baby carrier. The second section is served by a closed cable car.
Visit the Bear at the Ladin Museum
The highlight of this small museum is learning about the cave bear that used to roam these parts. See the skeleton of one of the bears, plus learn all about its life through the displays. There’s an English audioguide. Expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour in the museum with kids.
Play at the Playground
If you visit during non-school hours, you can play at the small playground at the school right in the middle of the village.
Stop for a quick gelato at Café Ploner. This is also a great spot for mamma and papà to get a coffee if needed!
Practice Some Ladin Phrases
Your kids will be able to soak up some of the Ladin culture while visiting San Cassiano. Let your children try out some of these Ladin phrases while in town:
- Bun dé! – Good day!
- Bun sëra! – Good evening!
- Co aste pa inom? – What’s your name?
- Prëitambel – Please
- Giulan – Thank you
Where to Eat with Kids in San Cassiano
Our go-to restaurant with little ones in San Cassiano used to be Rosa Alpina’s Wine Bar & Grill, so we’ll be anxiously awaiting the winter 2024/2025 reopening to see if there’s still a kid-friendly option at the hotel.
In the meantime, you can still eat well with kids at:
La Vedla – Pizza, appetizers, and Ladin dishes on the small piazza by the church.
Ciasa Salares – A few restaurant options available on-site; I recommend the outdoor deck with little ones; older kids and teens may appreciate Cocun Cellar.
Hotel Armentarola – Sit on the outdoor terrace; large portions.
Tana dell’Orso – In nearby Badia and worth the drive if you have kids with you. The unique decor (rooms have different themes – like bears or witches) is so much fun for little ones – my little ones adored eating here. Classic mountain cuisine. We find that portions are big for kids.
Picnic – Grab picnic supplies at the little Despar grocery store in town and enjoy a meal at your accommodation or along the trail.
Family-Friendly Hotels in San Cassiano
Fun Fact: You’ll see many places called ‘Ciasa …’ The word ciasa means ‘home’ in the Ladin language.
Hotel Störes – This is my pick for a stay with kids in San Cassiano. The hotel’s playground is amazing, there’s green space for play (but it’s not fenced), and it’s close to the center and the Piz Sorega lift. Hotel Störes – info and rates.
Bio Lüch Ruances – A new addition to San Cassiano and an absolute gem for families. Stay in one of the apartments just outside the village and get a close up look at life on this organic farm. Apartments are comfortable, light, and gorgeous. Kids play areas – outdoors and indoors. Laundry available too! Although it’s outside of town, you can reach San Cassiano on the sidewalk. Bio Lüch Ruances – info and rates.
Ciasa Ai Pini – This B&B/hotel just outside the center is spotless, family-run, and has a kids playroom and small outdoor play area; I love the kind staff and the views. Its sister property Residence Dolomieu has apartments in the center of town. Ciasa Ai Pini – info and rates.
Rosa Alpina – Luxury hotel; member of Aman Group; reopening in 2024/2025. I’ve always loved my stays at Rosa Alpina – it’s an elegant, family-run hotel, and I look forward to seeing its new look.
Hotel Fanes – Another luxury option up the hill in town; lots of green space for kids to run around. Hotel Fanes – info and rates.
Ciasa Salares – Just down the road from San Cassiano in Armentarola; classy and unique hotel; green area out front for kids to play; family-friendly hikes from the hotel front door; Hotel Armentarola – Next door to Ciasa Salares; a little more casual but same perks plus a kids playground. Ciasa Salares – info and rates.
Read more about Where to Stay with Kids in the Dolomites
Things to Do with Kids Near San Cassiano
- Play at the playground in Corvara in Badia
- Visit the Deer Park at Lech da Sompunt
- Visit Summer Park La Crusc
- Walk through the open air WW1 museum at Cinque Torri
- Stroll around Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Try the ropes course at the adventure park in Colfosco (above Corvara in Badia)
- Walk to the Cascate del Pisciadù (from Colfosco)
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San Cassiano with Kids FAQ
For the village center, the most convenient parking is between the main road and the town. If you’ll be taking the Piz Sorega lift, you can park in the lot there.
Yes, you can easily walk around San Cassiano with a stroller. There’s also a walking path next to the river (but it isn’t flat).
Yes, there’s a water fountain right in front of the Ladin museum.
There’s a public WC in the parking lot by the Despar. You can also use the toilet at restaurants or cafés in the village.
You can find diapers in the small Despar grocery store.