The Dolomites: Not just for winter

With summer coming to a close and the long nights drawing in, there is no better time to look ahead to 2018 (yes, already) for the perfect family holiday. Whilst the Dolomites has long been hailed a destination for winter sports, thanks to its world class ski runs and fantastic après, the massif is a playground for adventurers throughout the summer too. Jam packed with adventure, there are few better terrains to hike and bike around than in the shadow of Italy’s spectacular mountains. Ski expert, Grace, handpicks her highlights for the perfect alpine summer adventure.

Activities

Whilst mountain biking may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I was thrilled to discover the availability of e-bikes in the Dolomites. My stay there was made even better by trying my hand at e-biking, there is no better feeling than whizzing uphill past other cyclists thanks to the extra help of an e-bike! E-bikes have made mountain biking accessible to the whole family, and are available to rent daily from many hotels and at the top of the gondolas.

From gentle walks along stunning mountain plateaus in Alpe di Siusi, to more adventurous hikes in San Cassiano there is something in the Dolomites to suit everyone. The luscious green fields are peppered with bright wild flowers and roaming cows, making for beautiful alpine views.

Get off the beaten track

Escaping the crowds in summer can be a challenge even for the most savvy traveller. Yet head to the mountains and you will be rewarded unspoilt scenery as far as the eye can see. You will find charming and peaceful villages such as San Cassiano and Corvara in the Dolomites, and Europe’s largest mountain plateau: Alpe di Siusi.

Food and wine

If I had to pick my favourite thing about the Dolomites, it would have to be the outstanding food and wine. There really is no such thing as a bad meal there, whether you want something simple such as a pizza, homemade pasta or local cheeses and meats, or you are looking for a fine dining experience: the Dolomites has it all!

Whilst it would be impossible to name a favourite restaurant, my top picks were definitely the more traditional mountainside huts, affording spectacular views and delicious cuisine. The Utia de Bioch, situated at the top of the Biok chairlift, is a traditional wooden hut serving gourmet food boasting with panoramic views from the large sun terrace. Alternatively, the Rauch Hutte in Alpe di Siusi is a family run hut that has been passed down through four generations, serving up local wines and homemade pastas with a view. I recommend trying the dumplings and trying the Kaiserschmarrn for dessert, a sort of chopped up pancake with fruit compote. A delicious sweet treat after an adrenaline fuelled day!

Hotels

For those looking for the most luxurious holiday in the Dolomites look no further than the hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano. Great for couples and families alike, there are touches across the hotel that show the staff at the Rosa Alpina have taken extra care to cater to everyone: from the complimentary sweet bar at the reception, to the adult-only and separate family friendly spa and pool areas. The hotel is on a bed & breakfast basis so that you can take advantage of all the fabulous restaurants in San Cassiano, as well as the hotel’s own eateries, including its informal pizza and grill restaurant and two Michelin starred St Hubertus.

Perfect for an independent family holiday, the Lagacio Mountain Residence is located in the centre of San Cassiano and has a choice of three different suites sleeping 2 to 6, all with kitchenettes. The hotel is on a bed & breakfast basis, and offers a twice-weekly 3-course dinner package delivered to your suite for those days when you have tired yourself out on the mountain!

Looking for privacy and uninterrupted views? The Adler Mountain Lodge in Alpe di Siusi ticks all the boxes. No stone has been left unturned at the hotel, they have thought of everything- so you don’t have to! Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included in your stay, as well as fabulous local wines. Additionally, daily activities are also included, such as guided walks, yoga and e-bike tours.

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