As part of the Italian Dolomites’ Superski region, Arabba is well-renowned for its family-friendly winter activities, but this picturesque mountain resort has just as much going for it in the summer months. An affordable and accessible destination for a family holiday (budget airlines like easyJet offer prices from as low as under £40 return per person to Venice Airport at any time of the year), Arabba is packed full of exciting activities and attractions that the entire family can get involved in.
Super Summer Fun
The entire Dolomites region is networked with on and off-road cycling routes and, as part of the route of the famous Tour de France, it offers some fabulous biking opportunities. For an off-road adventure, book an MTB tour with Arabba Limitt Bike Service and navigate the route around the famous Sellaronda. For around €75 per person, this tour is as much fun as you can have on two wheels, passing through the incredible rugged, forested scenery of the Dolomites. With several options available, you can select the route based on the youngest family member’s skills. For something a little more sedate, you can embark on a self-guided cycling tour (download a GPX for directions) to explore the area around Arabba, to Sac Bece (difficult), Incisa (medium), or Ornella (easy), and a host of other trails.
If your family prefers to get around under the steam of their own feet, traversing some sections of the famous “Via Ferrata” can be a wonderfully invigorating experience. These routes were established in the 19th century as a means of navigating the Alps, but today, the network of iron cables, steel pegs, and metal ladders make for a real life snakes and ladders that families with somewhat older children absolutely love. The high Alpine routes vary from as short as an hour to entire day-long hikes, and you can hire a private guide from companies in Arabba, like ProGuide, for around €100 each for a family of four (discounted further with a larger group).
Wonderful Winter Pursuits
What can’t you do in the Dolomites in winter is probably a question more appropriate to ask! Skiing is, of course, the main attraction, and you’ll be in a prime position to explore the wonders of the famous Sellaronda network of pistes. You can get a three-day ski pass starting at just €110 for adults and €77 per child, which will give you access to the entire Arabba and Marmolada (the highest peak in the Dolomites) region. One-day and up to two-week passes are also available.
If you want to mix it up a little, the older members of the family might want to try their hands (and feet) at ice-climbing. You’ll learn how to ascend an ice wall with the aid of crampons and an ice-axe – all under the guidance of an instructor and in total safety close to the resort. You can book a lesson and ascent (discounts are usually offered for groups) with a local guide on most weekdays.
For a fast and furious family fun activity to top all others, head over to nearby Santa Maria for some ice-karting, which, as it sounds, is just like go-karts – but on a track of ice and snow! Ice Kart Civetta offers spins around the track for €20 for 10 minutes or €50 for 30 minutes. There are also incentives for family bookings and free minutes for fast qualifying times. It’s open from early afternoon through into the evening.
No matter what time of the year, Arabba is an excellent destination for a fun, affordable, and totally action packed family holiday.
How to Get to Arabba
With low cost flights from all over the UK, Arabba makes perfect sense for a family holiday. You can fly into Innsbruck or either of Venice’s airports and get a convenient shuttle straight to the resort. If you fly into Venice Marco Polo, for example, a shared or private Venice airport transfer will have you right to the door of your accommodation in well under three hours – with the bonus of some spectacular scenery along the way.
There are bus and rail links to the Dolomites from Venice, although several changes are required for both, so for families travelling with young children, pre-booking a shuttle transfer is certainly the most hassle-free way of getting to Arabba without having to wait around or cart heavy luggage. (Tip: Marco Polo Airport has Wi-Fi facilities, so the kids might want to download some entertainment for the journey before you set off. If you want even less hassle on arrival, join the VIP “Il Milione” club and you’ll be escorted to your transfer.)
If you’re driving from the UK to Arabba, it will take around 10-12 hours total driving time from Calais, via Belgium, Germany, Austria and over to Italy through the famous and very picturesque Benner Pass. If you’ve got the family in tow, it’s not recommended you do it one go and instead factor in an overnight stay somewhere to break up the journey.
Where to Stay:
Garnì Astor – With spacious classic family rooms, TV, and free Wi-Fi, the Garnì Astor represents great value accommodation for your holiday in Arabba that doesn’t skimp on the details children love. The friendly staff are renowned for their attentiveness, and children will love the Alpine mountain setting, with plenty of safe areas to stretch their legs in summer or winter.
Residence Baita Antlia – The ideal family home-from-home in Arabba, the Residence Baita Antlia is a little slice of Alpine bliss just steps from the ski fields in winter and the delights of the mountain trails in summer. Everything has been thought of, from the inclusion of children’s toys in the family apartments right down to the indoor pool, hot tub and leisure facilities to please the entire family.
Hotel Evaldo – The owners at the stunning family-run Hotel Evaldo understand exactly what discerning family travellers want. While children will appreciate the satellite TV channels and giant outdoor chessboard, parents will enjoy the opportunity to relax in the opulent wellness centre or take in breathtaking views from the garden. The beautifully appointed family rooms are finished in a classically elegant décor with lovely touches like writing desks and a lounge area.