Every time that I plan a holiday in the nature, before leaving I always wonder if in the mountains and in the woods, I will find enough things to do and see. The city is my natural environment, the place where I am at ease. So once again I was slightly anxious during the long train journey from Rome to Trentino Alto Adige. The only thing that offered me a real comfort was the idea to run from the Roman heat during a summer that forecast boiling temperatures. But this time, I got many surprises. I don’t know if it was because it was a long time since when I went away from the city, but all the negative ideas I had about going to the mountain during the summer disappeared after about an hour of my arrival at San Candido.
San Candido is a small town with just over 3000 residents, mostly of German mother tongue. The town streets are clean and tidy. The houses are the typical South Tyrol’s mountain villages houses: white or pastel coloured walls, wooden balconies, sloping roofs, red or brightly coloured doors.
Plants and flowers everywhere and bicycles leant against the walls without lock or chain.
The village can be visited in few hours. I liked it a lot and I returned there several times walking through its streets, popping into the shops that sell typical products or sitting in a bar drinking a typical drink under the summer sunrays.
One of the must-see places of the area is Lake Braies which is about 25 minutes away from San Candido by car. The lake is famous for its emerald colour and the unique landscape on the background: the Croda del Bracco with its 2800 meters.
Beside admiring the panorama, you can take a boat ride or go for a walk along the path around the shores of the lake. There are rowboats and you can rent them in the log cabin. The path is around 3,5 km long, it can be entirely walked in about an hour and a half, and it is suitable for everyone.
I went for a picnic on the grass with my family, near the small white church with a pointed roof. There is also a big hotel with a restaurant and a bar where you can buy sandwiches, plates with sausages and potatoes, cakes and ice creams.
Within very short distance from San Candido (about 10 minutes by car), there is Lake Dobbiaco, definitely quieter than Lake Braies. Here you can rent a paddle boat and see swans and ducks.
Crossing the regional borders and arriving in Veneto, there are also Lake Misurina and Lake Antorno, both beautiful and no more than half an hour away.
Ps. Along the road for Lake Misurina I met these nice long-haired cows originating from Scotland. In these areas you can see many cows grazing freely in the fields, and with any luck you can meet this breed as well!
Day-trip to Lienz
Austria is around the corner, just a very few kilometres away, and if you have half a day free, you can go on a trip to Lienz. We went on Sunday and, to be honest, we found an almost surreal atmosphere. Here, the Sunday day-off is taken seriously and indeed we found all the shops closed and a semi-desert town.
Actually, we didn’t mind that because we enjoyed the calm of this small Austrian town by walking through its cobblestone streets and its coloured houses.
For your information, there is a cycle path from San Candido to Lienz. It is 44 km long and it easily practicable, even if you’re not so well-trained. It is also possible to go back by train, suitable for carrying bicycles. If you don’t have a bicycle, you can rent one in the several rental shops in San Candido.
Activities for kids
Experiencing the dimension of a mountain village with a child has been particularly pleasant. San Candido is small, there are pedestrian streets, the green spaces are clean and there are many activities for kids. I’ll tell you which ones we preferred.
The chair lift for Monte Baranci and the funbob
This is absolutely one of the funniest activities to do around here. We went up by chair lift thinking that the only thing to do there was the descent by funbob; but we were wrong!
The Monte Baranci station hosts a playground with inflatable games, toboggans, swings and many other games. Our tour that was supposed to last half an hour turned into a long morning of fun, and then we had lunch at the Haunold refuge.
After lunch, it was the long-awaited moment of the descent by funbob: 1739 meters of rail trail (the longest in Alto Adige) that brings you directly downstream in few minutes! It was a very funny experience (with a souvenir picture) that we repeated the day after because Bernardo was looking forward to return to “that yellow thing that goes so fast!”.
Some useful information: the chair lift is open from 9:30 to 17:30 every day. The ticket price (ascent by chair lift + descent by funbob) is 16.70€ for adults and 11.70€ for children (children under the age of 8 don’t pay! And buying multiple journey tickets is cheaper). Children older than 8 years old have to use the funbob individually.
The playground in the woods
On the top of a hill from where you can see the village of San Candido from above, there is a playground in the woods: one of the most wonderful places where I have brought Bernardo to play. There are three paths that can bring you there. The first one is at the end of Via Freising and starting from San Candido city centre is the best way; the second one is at the end of Via Baranci (at the beginning of the dirt road), it is steeper but shorter. Lastly, the third path can be reached along the road that from Sesto arrives to San Candido (before arriving to the Hotel Sole Paradiso).
The park is in the middle of trees and there are many wooden games such as toboggans, swings, a pulley and also a pond that, in this period (June), is full of tadpoles. There is also a bridge and a raft for crossing it.
The Magical World of the Forest
The last place that I recommend you is Il Mondo Magico della Foresta (The Magical World of the forest). It isn’t a basic playground, but an educational path in the woods where children can climb trees, explore log cabins and learn lots of things about animals, rocks and forests. The park can be reached by walking a short path starting from behind the Visitor Centre of the Grand Hotel of Dobbiaco.
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