mountain biking in val gardena dolomites

Family-friendly mountain biking in spectacular Val Gardena

Families looking for an activity summer holiday that suits all ages and abilities should head to the glorious Italian resort of Val Gardena, in the heart of the stunning Dolomites.

Mountain biking can sound like a macho activity for ultra-fit experts but in Val Gardena, family-friendly trails take equal pride of place.

There is a network of 1,000 kilometres of trails, with 30 well sign-posted routes for all levels of expertise and fitness. But particularly delightful for families or for those trying mountain biking for the first time are the Gardena Valley Tour, the Easy Langental Tour and the Valle Isarco Tour.

Plenty of fabulous slightly more adventurous routes are also available, using the mountain cable car systems to get to starting points, such as the Panoramic Tour of the Seiser Alm.

The Sellaronda, in winter a spectacular ski tour around the Sella massif, is also a summer bike excursion - and if you don't want to tackle it on your own, guides are available.

To go surprisingly far-afield with far less effort, e-biking is becoming more and more popular here. E-bikes can be hired at shops throughout Val Gardena and thrilling e-bike guided tours are offered.

And if you plan a visit from mid-September onwards, you can look forward to seeing the phenomenon known as the Burning Dolomites. This incredible visual treat happens because of a combination of features at this time of year - the leaves of the larches covering the slopes take on yellow hues as autumn approaches, while the low sun rays colour the unique rock of the Dolomites in vivid reds and oranges.

The result is breathtakingly beautiful. Hikers can experience this unique sight between 13 September and 1 November every Wednesday on guided sunset walks and on a daytime hike on Fridays.

Other imaginative tours that embrace the different enchanting aspects of the area include a sunrise walk for wildlife watching, a culinary tour of mountain huts, and the magical Enchanting Starry Nights event to take advantage of the lack of light pollution to gaze at the heavens.

As well as other such unusual possibilities as a course in the ancient local Ladin language or woodcarving demonstrations, this is the summer with a difference that Val Gardena offers.

Val Gardena is a tri-lingual (Italian, German and Ladin) 25-km valley in the impressive UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Italy comprising the three main villages of Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva.

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