Family ski holidays

Why Cortina d’Ampezzo is a perfect choice for easy family ski weekends

Last updated 13th March 2024

Can you fit a Cortina d’Ampezzo ski break into a long weekend? Georgina Blaskey took the challenge with her son, Noah, recently and here’s how it’s done.


Cortina d’Ampezzo © Bandion Italy

Our long weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo started with an early morning flight from Gatwick to Venice. An easy transfer had us in Cortina d’Ampezzo by lunchtime. Then, suited and booted, we were on the slopes by early afternoon. Our mission was to maximise this short break and we were off to a great start.


Cortina d’Ampezzo © Paula D’Andrea

Cortina d’Ampezzo oozes old-school charm

Cortina d’Ampezzo is an iconic Italian ski resort, and you feel it as soon as you approach the town. It was first established as a glamorous getaway in the Dolomites in the 1950s, when the golden age of travel drew European high society and Hollywood film stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn. Today it continues to entice Italians and their European neighbours and glamour is still alive and thriving here: the main street hosts Gucci, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, to name but a few. And there are plenty of non-skiers decked out in chic winter outfits, strolling through town and stopping off at the pretty cafes.

It’s worth noting that there’s easy access to mountain restaurants for active non-skiers who want to meet up with skiing friends or family for lunch.

Although some British families are already regulars here, many have yet to discover Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Dolomites region. But that could be all set to change, as 2026 sees the return of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics: last held here in 1956. The investment in access and accommodation in town is clear and, with ski competitions, classic car races, and fashion and food festivals planned year-round, Cortina is a thriving community with a busy diary.


Grand Hotel Savoia © Giuseppe Ghedina Fotografo

Grand Hotel Savoia is both chic and family-friendly

We checked in to Grand Hotel Savoia at the end of the main street. Bedecked in twinkling lights, with a creamy painted exterior and icing sugar-coated roof, it’s like a frosted old-school palace, glittering with traditional charm.


Grand Hotel Savoia © Gaelle Le Boulicaut

Inside, the interiors are contemporary and cool, with inviting sink-in-to-me sofas and a welcoming foyer bar area. Genuine hospitality is top of the agenda here: from the chic but casual Savoy restaurant, with traditional alpine specialities alongside Mediterranean dishes, to The 1224 Bar & Lounge with its stunning terrace overlooking the Dolomites. When the weather allows, the hotels fires up the BBQ and serves freshly grilled seafood and meat on the terrace. Plus, during school holidays, the hotel’s RUPI kids club is great fun for younger children.


Spa, Grand Hotel Savoia © Gaelle Le Boulicaut

There’s also the recently renovated Savoia Spa, with multiple saunas at different temperatures, steam room, hydrotherapy pool, swimming pool and state-of-the-art gym.

Then, for those who want all the facilities of a hotel along with the convenience and independence of an apartment, Radisson Residences Savoia Palace opposite the hotel features family apartments complete with sitting and dining areas, as well as kitchenettes.


Monte Avarau © Paola D’Andrea

World-class scenery surrounds Cortina d’Ampezzo

One of the reasons Cortina d’Ampezzo has been on my bucket list for a while is the landscape. Every time I’ve seen pictures of its huge boulders, rocky outcrops and ochre cliffs, I’ve always been struck by how different it looks to the typical alpine scenery I’m used to, having mainly skied in France and Switzerland.

The Dolomites is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Dolomiti Superski region is a true winter wonderland: 12 ski resorts; 450 mountain lifts; 1,200 km of first-class slopes; long runs and gentle routes. It’s also a region that offers high-quality skiing for first timers and experienced skiers alike, all set against the backdrop of stunning scenery.

From the town, you can access various lifts that take you to different ski areas. On our first afternoon we stayed close and headed to Faloria, which has a cable car conveniently located next to a ski hire shop.

Olympic ski runs and adventurous challenges for daring teens

Once kitted out, we were swiftly up and away, enjoying tree-lined red and black runs. This is where you’ll find the 1956 Olympic downhill, which we tackled with gusto and soon became my favourite run of the resort. For my adventure-seeking son, there was ample opportunity for darting between trees and bombing through fresh powder to the side of me, while I could remain on the slope, but with him in sight.

Also accessible from Cortina d’Ampezzo is the Tofana ski area via the Freccia nel Cielo cable car, which departs from the centre of town at 1,216 metres to reach the third highest peak in the Dolomites, the Tofana di Mezzo at 3,244 metres.

On our second day we explored this area and had a cosy lunch at Restaurant Col Druscié 1778 before setting off once more. It wasn’t the best weather at this point – raining in the town and snowing at the top – so we stayed as high as we could.


Cortina d’Ampezzo © Digital Aida

Best day on the mountain? Exploring the Super 8

Without a doubt, our best day on the mountain was our last, exploring the Super 8 circuit. The snow stopped, the clouds cleared, blue skies opened up and finally, we could see the majesty of the mountains, the rock face glowing in the sunlight.

The Super 8 Ski Tour is a route along the slopes of the 5 Torri and Lagazuoi ski areas and the itinerary has some unique and exceptional features. It is relatively easy, long, scenic, and travels among some famous Dolomite peaks such as Lagazuoi, Tofana di Rozes, Fanis, Averau, 5 Torri and Conturines.

High-altitude mountain lodges, panoramic terraces, frozen waterfalls and great food make this a skier’s dream. Best of all, for a newcomer to the resort, it’s all clearly signposted so it was easy to simply enjoy the experience without constantly trying to figure out the piste map!


Fairy tale Cortina d’Ampezzo © Dino Colli

Cortina d’Ampezzo is perfect for a weekend or longer

While we covered the three principal areas in our three days of skiing, there’s no doubt that you’ll find plenty more to keep you busy for a longer stay.

From the Super-8 circuit at Lagauoi, you could ski over the ridge and drop into the Alta Badia region, where there’s a ski run that ends with being pulled by horses. There are ice biking trails, ski and climbing experiences and lots of do in town. Cortina d’Ampezzo is an ideal resort for families with small children; the Socrepes area has a wide range of nursery slopes and the hotel can arrange ski school or private instructors. However, it’s also perfect for teenagers who want some independence to wander into town or enjoy the spa.

You could even bookend your days in the Dolomites with a trip to Venice. Palazzo Nani has family rooms which can sleep up to six and the draw of the city centre with its canals and bridges is enticing. And with vaporetti constantly travelling up and down and in-between the islands of the Grand Canal, even the youngest tourist can easily manage a full-day of sightseeing.


Grand Hotel Savoia © Giuseppe Ghedina Fotografo

Exceptional service all weekend long

Cortina d’Ampezzo offered a magical break and the Grand Hotel Savoia looked after us well, from the moment we walked through the doors.

As we only had a short break, we skied on the last day until 3pm, with a 4pm departure for an evening flight. So, what was the trick to that? Rather than the fuss of returning skis and equipment to the hire shop, we were told we could simply leave everything in the hotel ski room and it would be dealt with by the staff. Now that’s what I call first-class service!

Plan a weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo

How to get there

Direct UK flights to Venice, from 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Grand Hotel Savoia transfer to Cortina d’Ampezzo, 1 hour, 57 minutes

 Where to stay

Grand Hotel Savoia, Cortina d’Ampezzo

Radisson Residences Savoia Palace, Cortina d’Ampezzo

Good to know

Grand Hotel Savoia has a shuttle service which can drop you at any ski lift, any time. Just let them know when you want to go.