Planning a family winter holiday this year? Try Northern Italy. It’s one of the most popular winter destinations in Europe for families. And a lot of that comes down to three great regions: Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Take a look.
1/9 Pila, Valle d’Aosta: recommended for a family winter holiday with younger kids
If you’re planning a family winter holiday with younger kids. Or up for your first ever family ski holiday. Pila is an excellent choice. It’s a car-free resort with plenty of ski-in/ski-out accommodation. Local ski schools start lessons from age five. And there are lots of exciting activities off the slopes too. Plus, round about Christmas few places – even in lovely Valle d’Aosta – are quite as magical.
Why pick Pila for a family winter holiday?
- High altitude, long snow-sure season and spectacular scenery: think views of Mont Rosa, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
- A 20 minute gondola ride from historic Aosta, the lively regional capital and home to one of Valle d’Aosta’s prettiest Christmas Market.
- Fun festive traditions like the Torchlit Parade of Ski Instructors on 30 December each year.
- Pila’s Fun Park Chacard is a fantastic family playground with everything from tubing and tobogganing to bob sledding.
- 70km of runs and the only resort in Valle d’Aosta with a 6-seat chairlift in its network.
- Dedicated Winter Club with professional childcare, for kids aged three to 12 years, and babies from birth to age three.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Pila is an hour and 20 minute drive north of Turin Airport.
2/9 Courmayeur, Valle d’Aosta: the resort for Alpine chalets and great ski schools
Probably the most famous resort in Valle d’Aosta, Courmayeur is sweetly traditional right down to its cobbled streets and Alpine chalets. But don’t judge on looks alone. It’s also home to the phenomenal Skyway Monte Bianco and linked directly to the Vallée Blanche ski area. Kids can start ski lessons here from age five at one of Italy’s finest ski schools – Scuola Sci Monte Bianco.
Why families love Courmayeur?
- On the Italian side of Mont Blanc with fast access to the Vallée Blanche ski area, and Skyway Monte Bianco.
- Over 100km of runs at altitudes from 1250m to 2755m.
- Local ski schools start kids’ lessons from age five.
- Two snowparks, and good range of family activities including dogsledding and fat biking.
- Fully supervised childcare at Club Lo Toto for kids from age three to 12 years. Mini-Club Blancaneve offers professional childcare from birth to age 10.
- Built as a spa town in the 19th century, Courmayeur is famously lovely, known for great restaurants, and entirely car-free.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Courmayeur is an hour and 30 minute drive north of Turin Airport.
3/9 Ayas Valley, Valle d’Aosta: best for family friendly resort villages
Prepare to fall in love with the Ayas Valley for skiing on the Monterosa area alone. Add a liberal scattering of charming, family-friendly resort villages around the district. Then throw in panoramic views everywhere you look. It quickly becomes clear why you may not have heard of this Valle d’Aosta gem until now: families in the know have obviously been keeping it a secret.
Why choose Ayas Valley for a family winter holiday?
- Ayas Valleley resort villages like Champoluc, Antagnod and Crest are some of the most family-friendly and relaxed in Valle d’Aosta.
- Over 200km of pistes across the Monterosa ski area; 170km covered by snow cannons.
- Family snow playgrounds for toddlers to 12 year olds at Crest, Antagnod and Estoul.
- Excellent kids’ activity programmes at Ski2 Penguin Club in Champoluc, and Fiocca di Neve at Monterosa Terme (both have bi-lingual staff).
- Good area for family activities like snow biking, dogsledding, snowshoeing and sledging.
- Champoluc and Antagnod ski schools start kids lessons from age five.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. The Ayas Valley is an hour and 45 minutes drive north of Turin Airport.
4/9 Chamois, Valle d’Aosta: the fairy tale Alpine resort for a fun family winter holiday
When people describe Chamois they tend to get a bit lyrical. Hardly surprising as it’s the only resort in Italy that can’t be reached by car. And the lightest dusting of snow turns it into a fairy tale. So expect authentic Alpine character and heaps of old-fashioned charm. But look forward to a lively family winter holiday here too.
Why families recommend Chamois?
- Known as ‘The Pearl of the Alps’, car-free Chamois is one of the prettiest traditional ski towns in Italy.
- 17.5km of pistes, accessed by three high-speed lifts and two ‘tapis roulants’.
- Good resort for cross-country with five kilometres of well-marked trails.
- Chamois 2500 Ski School starts kids lessons from age five, and has excellent snowboarding instruction for over eights.
- A short drive from Cervinia for great family snowparks, and close to the pretty village of Magdeleine for dogsledding.
- Chamois is one of the safest family resorts in Europe, entirely free of traffic, and accessed by fast, modern cable car.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Chamois is an hour and 25 minutes drive north of Turin Airport.
5/9 Vialattea, Piedmont: one of the largest ski areas in Europe
Vialattea is one of the largest ski areas in Europe. It’s home to several outstanding resorts, and less than an hour and 20 minutes west of Turin Airport. Even in family-friendly Piedmont, nowhere else entertains kids of all ages so well. It’s also one of the few places to offer after-dark skiing. The choice of family accommodation is good. And plenty of ski-in/ski-out hotels and chalets take full advantage of the extensive local lift network.
Why Vialattea is perfect for a family winter holiday?
- Good value winter holidays in family-friendly resorts like Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx.
- There are 400km of pistes across Vialattea, plus three terrain parks. The entire ski area is one third larger than Éspace Killy and Tignes combined.
- Sestriere is the only resort in Piedmont with floodlit night skiing, and Sauze d’Oulx is one of the sunniest ski resorts in Europe,
- Both Sauze d’Oulx and Sestriere have bi-lingual ski and snowboard schools, and start kids’ lessons from age five.
- Vialattea translates as Milky Way and links the resorts of Claviere, Pragelato, Sansicario, Sauze d’Oulx and Sestriere, making it one of Europe’s largest high mountain ski areas.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Sestriere is an hour and 25 minutes drive north of Turin Airport.
6/9 Bardonecchia, Piedmont: for family skiing in Italy and France this winter
Bardoneccia sometimes gets overlooked in the rush for Vialattea. But it’s perfect for families. The skiing’s a good balance of beginner, intermediate and red runs. There’s a lively resort atmosphere. Plenty for kids to do, on and off the slopes. It’s also well placed if you want to cross-border ski into France. And, cementing its reputation for good value, Bardonecchia offers free ski bus services during the winter season.
Why families prefer Bardonecchia?
- Friendly and good value family resort set in a sunny valley close to the French border in the west of Piedmont.
- 100km of pistes, 23 ski lifts, and a free ski bus to several neighbouring resorts.
- Fast road and rail links between Bardonecchia and Turin make it a firm favourite with city skiers at the weekend.
- Bardonecchia has six ski schools and over 250 fully qualified, mostly bi-lingual, ski and snowboarding instructors.
- Villaggi Olimpico on the edge of Bardonecchia was built for the 2006 Winter Olympics when the town hosted snowboarding events. Today it’s home to an excellent sports centre, swimming pools, an indoor playground and spa.
- Take kids to France for the day on a cross-border ski between Bardonecchia and the charming village of Montegenèvre in the Hautes-Alpes.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Bardonecchia is one hour and 10 minutes drive west of Turin.
7/9 Limone Piemont, Piedmont: the great, family friendly all rounder
One of Piedmont’s more southerly resorts, Limone Piemont shares the magnificent Riserva Bianca ski area with Limonetta and Quotta 1400. Looking for a family-friendly all-rounder? This is the resort which excites experienced skiers and gently introduce younger kids to the slopes. It also packs every day with activities. And the town of Limone looks delightful too.
Why families love Limone Piemont?
- Riserva Bianca’s famously broad runs are a big hit with young snowboarders.
- 80km of pistes, 17 ski lifts. 55% red runs and 29% black runs.
- Both the resort ski schools have bi-lingual instructors and start kids’ lessons from age five.
- The Riserva Bianca lift pass accesses the entire ski area, as well as fun stuff like Limonetto’s 3500m snowpark.
- Good area for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, freestyling and guided backcountry ski tours.
- Limone is a lovely, traditional Piedmont village with a cheerful atmosphere, and several good family restaurants, cosy bars and cafés,
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Limone Piemont is one hour and 40 minutes drive south of Turin.
8/9 Alagna Valsesia, Monterosa, Piedmont: the legendary ‘freeride paradise’
Monterosa is the ski area known as ‘freeride paradise’. You can ski here for eight hours straight without touching the same run twice. Stay in Alagna Valsesia and you’ve access to all that skiing, plus fantastic family activities. And, if you’ve a moment to spare, the views are pretty spectacular too.
Why families love Alagna Valsesia?
- Alagna Valsesia is a great all-rounder for families, with fun snow playgrounds for younger kids and exciting activities for teens, balanced against some of the most challenging skiing in northern Italy on the Monterosa area.
- Alagna Valsesia offers 15km of pistes, 5 ski lifts. 55% red runs and 29% black runs.
- Alagna Ski School has bi-lingual instructors and starts kids’ lessons from age five.
- Good area for bobsleigh, guided ice climbing and snowshoeing, tobogganing, cross country skiing and Nordic walking.
- Look out for traditional Christmas Markets, New Year celebrations, Mardi Gras events, and family festivities throughout the Monterosa area in winter.
- Direct UK flights to Turin, two hours, year round. Alagna Valsesia is two hours drive north of Turin.
9/9 Sappada, Friuli Venezia Giulia: one of the prettiest resorts in the Dolemites
Sappada is easily the prettiest resort in the Dolemites. Think sweet Tyrol-style chalets, an ice-cream coloured Baroque church and a backdrop of forested mountains. It’s also one of the most family-friendly and packed with exciting activities for toddlers to teens. Plus, thanks to a southern Bavarian heritage, kids can expect lots of lovely traditions for Christmas and New Year.
Why families choose Sappada?
- Sappada is home to Nevelandia, a themed snow playground where kids can try anything from tobogganing to ice skating.
- Sappada offers 15km of pistes, along with 25km of cross-country trails
- The Italian Ski School Sappada has over 50 bi-lingual instructors, starts kids lessons from age five, and also organises fun family events throughout the winter season.
- Ice climbing, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and walking, and snowmobiling are just a few activities that make full use of Sappada’s spectacular location in the Dolomites.
- Sappada is a ‘German Island’ within Italy, and sits on the border of Austria, so winter traditions tend to have a hint of Bavaria and Tyrol in the mix, which means kids can expect sensational Christmas celebrations, cute markets, and a reliably authentic Father Christmas.
- Direct UK flights to Venice Treviso, two hours, year round. Sappada is one hour, 50 minutes drive north of Treviso Airport.