Puster Valley – “Val Pusteria” in Italian, “Pustertal” or “Hochpustertal” in German – is an area world heritage site in Tyrol on Western Alps. It is also called the “Terra delle Tre Cime” (Three Peaks land), because of the mountains that with their very special profile form the backdrop to the days in the Valley. This area of South Tyrol, however, is not only scenically beautiful and perfect for hikers and trekkers, but it is also one of the more family mountain destinations in Italy.
Families love Pustertal, this is a fact. And Puster Valley is on of the most popular destination for a holiday with kids on the Italian mountains. But when I’ve been there I understood why. Everywhere in the Valley there are wonderful playgrounds, many trails are also suitable for strollers and there are tons of initiatives dedicated to kids. To give you some examples on the top of “Monte Elmo“ (Elmo Mount) there is a wooden playground decorated with small fully functional wooden furniture, a miniature mill and goats. And then there are the huts with play areas, as well as make hiking fun for everyone, including children, changing tables in public places, the paths of fairy tales in the woods and cycle paths for cycling family. All in a natural setting with breathtaking views within reach of even the smallest little legs! 🙂
Believe me, if you’re looking for a destination for a mountain holiday with children in Italy Puster Valley is the ideal destination. Simply … family! As sometimes unfortunately it is not easy to find.
So below found some tips for a holiday with children in Puster Valley . Keep in mind that in addition to what I suggest, and that we did there are many other things to do Puster Valley. Ready? Here they are…
What to do in with children
We have been in this area of Dolomites mountains in June. So here you will find some tips for a holiday in Puster Valley in Summertime. In winter, however, the Puster Valley boasts one of the finest ski areas in Italy with trails suitable also for children, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing.
What to do in Puster Valley with children: trekking
We start from here because if you love the mountains probably also love to hike, with the kids, of course! Even if you are not great walkers, however, keep in mind that there are many walks in the Puster Valley to do with kids. Below there I point out some really easy to do even with the kids (where is possible I’ll write both Italian and German names):
- “Sentiero selle Fiabe” at “Monte Elmo” (The Trail of Fairytales at the Helm): Climb to the cable car to the top of Monte Elmo and then get off on foot into the valley. The walk takes about two hours, but it’s all downhill. If you prefer a shorter trip you can reach the hut in about 20 minutes walk from the top (but then you have to get the kids to climb to catch the cable car!).
- Trekking in “Val Fiscalina” or “Fischleintal” (Fiscalina Valley): From the parking starts a pathway also suitable with normal strollers that in 45 minutes will take you to the refuge. There you’ll find a beautiful playground for children and a restaurant. Alternatively if you have Bicycles can also take the bike path that runs parallel to the path (and is more shaded) .
- From Dobbiaco to the sources of Drava river: Dobbiaco is one of the village of the Puster Valley. From the Grand Hotel area of Dobbiaco starts a very easy path suitablefor strollers (partly cycle track and in part in the forest). The path will lead you to the source of the Drava, passing next to the “Parco del Magico Mondo della Foresta” (Magical World of the Forest Park).
- From Baranci to San Candido: After climbing to Baranci with the chairlift and have played to the park in the top of the mountain you can follow the road signs for the “Bagni di San Candido” (bathrooms of San Candido). The path is almost all downhill (then considered the return uphill) and shaded. We spent about an hour taking the baby on our shoulder for much of the journey. It is not feasible with the normal stroller.
Things to do in Puster Valley: bike trails
If you love cycling in the Puster Valley will have a blast! Bike paths are really everywhere, often skirt the normal roads, allow to reach the main points of interest and are very well marked. It is possible also to rent bikes and do the path from San Candido to Lienz: the path is all downhill and on the way back you can take the train. Bicycles can be rented at the station and returned to San Candido to Lienz and on the way you can stop at the factory of the Loacker.
Visit Pusteria Valley with kids: playgounds
The problem is that playgrounds in Puster Valley are so beautiful that children will not want to leave them! 🙂 Below we point out some of those where we stopped us and that we liked:
- “La malga dei bambini” at “Monte Elmo” (Apine Hut at Helm Mount): at the exit of the Helm cable car there is a beautiful playground with some wooden huts made suitable for children, with lots of gnomes bed, wardrobes and tables. There are also a small mill, a sandbox with games and some slipways.
- “Il Parco del Bosco Incantato” in Dobbiaco (the Enchanted Forest Park in Dobbiaco): The Enchanted Forest Park is a beautiful playground made of wood with educational panels and games. The theme is the forest: there are animals footprints to recognize, animal burrows, the path of wood, mushrooms … It ‘s really a special place! To reach it, there are two entrances, one is behind the Grand Hotel the other is along the path that leads to the sources of Drava.
- Playground under Three Peaks cable car in Sesto: If you intend to climb up to “Stiercarten” to enjoy the view the valley or to take one of the many tours that leave from there you can stop to this playground that is located at the parking lot of the scenic cable car in front of the bar “the Hen House”. It is beautiful and made by wood.
- Amusement Park in Baranci: Define Baranci a playground is an understatement. Once up at the top of the chairlift in fact you will find a refuge in the face with a large play area with a lot of elastic and sandpit carpets but also a tubing track and a climbing route on the trees (the latter two are extra). To get off you can choose from a simple walk of about an hour, the chair lift or the chills of the rail bobsleight.
- Hotel Rainer Playground in Moso: The playground in front of this hotel is very nice, on a hill in the middle the trees, with suspended bridges, towers, ropes to climb and slides. In front of this playground there is also a small pond with ducks and rabbits and a lawn where are the cows. It lies along the path that leads to the cable car from “Sesto Tre Cime”. To use this playground you have to register at the hotel reception.
Things to do in Puster Valley: Go swimming
If you want you can spend an afternoon in one of the two lakes of Puster Valey: the Dobbiaco Lake and Lake Braies. Dobbiaco Lake (or “Toblach Lake” bacause Dobbiaco in german is Toblach) is a perfect place to kids: you can rent paddle boats, taking a walk or play. At Lake Braies you can make a boat ride or a swim.
What to see in Puster Valley with kids: Wild Park
WildPark in Dobbiaco is a wildlife park where you can see up close deer, lynx, wild boars, raccoons and many other small animals. The animals are housed in cages and pens and you can visit the park on foot, following the dirt paths that runs through the meadows of the park (is not suitable for normal strollers). Tickets can be purchased at the front of the gate and there is a picnic area bar restaurant there before.
What to do in Puster Valley if it rains
If you choose a holiday on mountains be prepared because sometimes would be rain. Below you can find some tips about what to do in Puster Valley with kids if it’s raining:
- San Candido Fun Park: it is a covered water park with slides and pools where to stay and play with kids in a rainy day in Puster Valley.
- Hot springs: Puster Valley has a long of tradition of spa and thermal baths. Often hotels also have an private spa for their guests.
- DoloMytos: In a rainy day in Puster Valley you can pass a afternoons in San Candido going to DoloMytos Museum. This museum is perfect for kids who like dinosaurs (and fossil).
A holiday in Pusteria Valley with kids: useful tips
Where is Val Pusteria Pusteria
Puster Valley is in Tyrol, on the border with Austria and includes the towns of Sesto, San Candido, Dobbiaco, Villabassa and Braies. This region is called also “Hochpustertal” (this is the german name) and most of the people there are bi-langual (italian and german). Part of the valley is Italian and part is Austrian, today I’ve told you about the italian one.
How to get Puster Valley
We get Puster Valley by car but you can also go there by train down to Dobbiaco and San Candido train station. From the Puster Valley with a short drive you can enter in Veneto Regione and you can reach the beautiful Misurina Lake, a magical place.
Where to sleep in Puster Valley with kids
There are many hotels in Puster Valley. We stayed at the Family Resort Rainer. It is a Family Hotel really well organized which is located in Sesto (Sexten in german). Rainer is a hotel dedicated to children, with spacious rooms furnished in “mountain style”, excellent restaurant, entertainment service, a large indoor and outdoor playground area and a wooden playground in front of the hotel then struttura. The hotel has a area with heated indoor pools, a little hot outdoor pool and a wellness and spa area where, at certain times, children can enter. The area is quiet and the view to the mountains is spectacular. In short, we stayed very well and I would suggest it.