Mark and I had so much fun with The Adventure Challenge—Couples Edition, that we knew our kids would LOVE The Adventure Challenge—Family Edition, and we were right! They asked if we can do another one as soon as this challenge was over! 😆☺️
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The Dolomites, in Italy, are a superb destination for active family adventure holidays. The Via Ferrata is just one activity on offer.
This Dolmomite alpine region is set in Italy in the South Tyrol, bordering neighbouring Switzerland and Austria. In fact, it has only been part of Italy since the end of the First World War and Italian and German are widely spoken there as well as Laden, a dialect that has been around for centuries.
With arguably one of the most beautiful and dramatic mountains ranges in Europe, with peaks of more than 10,000 feet (3,050 metres), the area is certainly very impressive. The mountains are comprised of limestone and the weather has worn the rocks over time, creating spectacular shapes. With so much to explore and so many exciting activities to try, the Dolomites are a fantastic destination for family adventure holidays.
The Via Ferrata (translated into English as the ‘Iron Walk’) was originally created by the locals of the mountains to get from one village to another, but now the network makes for a thrilling outdoor activity for tourists to try. These walkways were enlarged and extended during the First World War, when bitter fighting took place between the Italians and Austrians. The history of the war is indelibly scarred in to the peaks and valleys of the Dolomites, with the remains of trenches visible throughout the area.
There is plenty of variety, with routes and climbs suitable for complete novices all the way up to experienced climbers. While navigating the Via Ferrata is an ideal activity for family adventure holidays, it is imperative that you all have a good head for heights and are fit and healthy.
The walkways consist of metal ladders, cables to help you when traversing up and down difficult, rocky terrain, and bridges suspended across ravines – allowing you to reach peaks and areas that would normally be reserved for very experienced climbers. Although all the equipment is very safe and checked regularly, the bridges do swing, as they are made of slatted wooden planks, held together by steel cables – so be warned! It can be a stomach-wrenching experience to walk across one of these bridges suspended thousands of feet above the ground!
You’ll be fully equipped before you set out on any excursion, including harnesses, climbing helmets and Via Ferrata lanyards that attach to the steel cable running along the walkway, to ensure your safety and stability. Before anyone can start the serious business of climbing, the whole family must take a day with the highly-experienced local guides, learning how to use the safety ropes and harnesses.
Before booking, you can decide on the difficulty of climbing, scrambling or hiking that most suits your family and level of climbing experience. Whilst you are out on the mountain, you’ll encounter grassy valleys that, at certain times of the year, are filled with incredibly beautiful alpine flowers. It is also possible to see squirrels, deer and, if you are very lucky, Golden Eagles. You can undertake one-day climbs or get the most out of this amazing experience with longer treks and climbs that involve overnight stays in mountain huts.
As well as Via Ferrata, the Dolomites offer skiing pursuits in the winter, climbing and hiking in the summer, and, as there are many beautiful lakes in the region, water sports too. If these types of family adventure holidays appeal to you, there are few places as beautiful and versatile as the Dolomites and it will be the experience of a lifetime.