Family Ski Trip: Livigno, Italy

High amongst snow-dusted pine trees of Italy’s Lombardy region, you’ll find the magical town of Livigno, Italy.  Known as “Little Tibet” due to its altitude and remoteness, this perfect frozen paradise is worth the trek. It’s easily accessible by car from the airports of Milan.


Each year, over a million eager skiers look to take advantage of the 115 km of pristine ski slopes, great value prices and the extended ski season, which runs from the end of November to early May. For families, however, Livigno offers even more advantages which makes this Italian destination one of our top picks.  Here’s why: 


The town of Livigno is a lively, charming village with low-level chalet buildings and a pedestrian-only shopping street. Once you arrive in Livigno, you won’t need a car as there is a fantastic free bus service around town. Three different lines operate from 7.30 am to 8 pm, linking all parts of the resort with the main lift bases. From 9.30 am to 4 pm a shuttle runs every 10 minutes between the Mottolino and Carosello gondolas. Most accommodation options are within walking distance to the slopes.


We stayed at the Hotel Amerikan, a 4-star wellness resort located just steps from the ski lift. This cosy five-floor hotel features an indoor pool and saunas, ski storage and restaurant serving guests breakfast and dinner.  Our two-storey duplex family room had fantastic views of the mountain. 


Shopaholics beware, you might not find time to ski! The area, long known for its duty-free status sells items such as cigarettes, alcohol, perfumes, and electronics at extremely low prices.  Outlet stores provide great deals on fashion and fuel is around 50 percent cheaper than in the rest of Italy.  


When we were deciding on a ski destination, we loved the idea of experiencing a premium ski vacation at an affordable price (who wouldn’t?) And Livigno is certainly a bargain.  The resort offers deals throughout the year, including free ski passes with your hotel stay and 50% off junior ski passes.  Although these discounts might not apply during the busiest times of the year, the area certainly is more affordable than many of its European neighbours. 


Easy... Skiing

As a family with three young skiers, we loved the fact that there are plenty of slopes for beginners.  Although our children have a couple of years under their belts, techniques were harnessed and the runs were enjoyable.  The altitude guarantees that the snow is dry and plentiful and the pistes are wide and easy to follow.



To make sure our kids continued their learning, we enrolled them in Ski School Centrale, Livigno’s top ski school since the 1950s, offering both group and private lessons. With 120 certified teachers, each a specialist in various areas and techniques, you are sure to find your perfect match. We were lucky enough to find ours….Mr. Positivity himself, Andrea Nana.  Our boys loved Andrea, not only for his playful, patient style but also because he took their abilities to the next level.  Andrea was flexible, efficient and always lit up the day no matter what the weather conditions.


Easy... Checking In

The Ski School Centrale also offers a ski rental facility right beside ski field number 23.  Here, all of our equipment needs were expertly taken care of by professionals who quickly got our group outfitted within minutes. Big smiles and plenty of Italian charm made the process enjoyable.


More and more, what you do after skiing is as important than the skiing itself but Livigno has plenty on offer.  The town’s après-ski culture is in a class of its own. There’s no shortage of lively places to party, including venues at the bottom of the gondolas on both the Carosello and Mottolino sides of the valley featuring a variety of music and DJs.  Fun bars, restaurants, and quieter sophisticated venues- mostly located within the hotels- ensure that the wind down in the afternoon is an enjoyable and actively participated affair.  


We’re in Italy after all.  Livigno has no shortage of great restaurants.  Pizzerias, family pasta places, and upscale gourmet awaits.  Hands down, our favorite was Restaurant Calcheira.  Traditional dishes are paired with a cozy atmosphere in this alpine restaurant which greets you as family and sends you off full and happy. 


One of the best aspects of Livigno is the extras.  The resort offers much more, ensuring that you don’t need to be a skier or snowboarder to enjoy this amazing location. 


Take a cultural tour and learn about the traditions and inhabitants from the past at the MUS! The museum of Livigno and Trepalle. Guided tours are available with reservations.


For extra adrenalin-infused experiences try FatBike, ice climbing, snowmobiling, ice-driving courses, dog sledding, horse riding, ice quad biking, paragliding, and ice skating.

For Livigno’s youngest visitors, the Kinder Club is the place to be. A well-equipped outdoor play park is well-positioned by ski area 23 and staffed by friendly animators who, with the help of the resort’s mascot, Lupicino, are ready to make the little ones giggle all throughout the day. 


Another fun location is Aguagranda. Our kids loved the Slide & Fun area which includes three slides measuring 12m in height and 100 m in length. Various splash pools and an entertaining staff also guarantee a fun filled day without having to bundle up.  Aguagrada is organized in various areas so there is something for the whole family.  Parents shouldn’t miss out on the Wellness&Relax area, with its wet and dry saunas, swimming pools, hot tubs and relax rooms.  Visitors can also take advantage of the gym, and on-premise doctors and health professionals.


Finally, don’t forget to check out the ski show every Monday night. Fair enough; watching the large snowflakes fall like New Year confetti from the comfort of your hotel room might tempt you to stay indoors, but if you are going to go out for any reason, it should be to see the ski show put on by the Ski School Centrale. Instructors from all over the world line up to impress you with their skills on skis and snowboards including freestyle jumps such as backflips; coordinated ski acrobats, comedy, and fireworks.  It certainly is a show not to be missed. 


From our family to the wonderful people that made this ski vacation specia,  Grazie Mile!


Flights to Milan


- Karyn and Olav