San Candido Italy: what to see and do in this pretty mountain town

two churches in San Candido

The best things to do in San Candido Italy and tips for visiting this stunning mountain village in the Italian Dolomites.

San Candido / Innichen is a delightful small town in the Italian Dolomites and a wonderful home base for a hiking family vacation.

The town is in Val Pusteria, a beautiful Alpine valley in the province of Bolzano, and its simply breathtaking.

Nestled on the valley floor, San Candido is surrounded by green slopes, running brooks and it is overlooked by Mount Baranci, a breathtaking Alpine Peak towering over the town like a mighty, otherworldly guardian.

There is plenty to see and do in San Candido area.

We have been vacationing here for years and we highly recommend it to families as a place with lots of children entertaining options, good family hotels and very many kid-friendly and even buggy-friendly hikes for all ages.

I am sure by the end of this post you will agree this is one of the best places to visit on the Dolomites as a family!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Where is San Cadido and how to get there

San Candido is a small town in Val Pusteria, in the province of Bolzano, in the Italian region of Trentino Alto Adige.

The town is in South Tyrol, an area of Italy Bilingual Italian-German and therefore comes by two names: San Candido and Innichen, which you will find alternatively or together on road signs leading to the town.

The best way to reach San Candido is by car, at this will allow you to discover the area.

However, you can also reach the city by train. A small train station serves the area and connects the town to both Bolzano (Italy) and Lienz (Austria)

The best things to do in San Candido Italy

The main attraction of San Candido is the stunning position it is in and the easy access to many hikes.

However, there is a lot to do in the city too: these are our favorite family attractions in San Candido.

Visit the pretty town center and its colorful houses

San Candido has a lovely town center with the typical Alpine architecture of the area.

Some of the houses are painted in pastel colors, many have wooden balconies with flowers and all are immaculately well kept, flowers, garden gnomes and wooden carvings being popular outdoor decorations in the area.

The best way to enjoy them is to park the car and simply wander: some of the prettiest homes are along the main streets but do not discard the little lanes that seem to lead nowhere!

They often open up onto the prettiest corners!

Adorable yellow and pink houses in San Candido / Innichen with flowers on the windowsill and balconies

Visit San Candido’s churches

The town has two main squares with shops and cafes and it also has two main churches worth seeing: the Collegiata (San Candido Collegiate’s Church) and St Michele’s church.

The churches are very different from each other but both interesting in their own way as typical of the area.

Personally, I find la Collegiata unmissable.

The church dates back to 1143 and it is a simple yet striking appearance both inside and out, with exposed grey bricks and a sober look.

Outside, the main thing you will notice is the tower, which dates to the XII century, but the real surprise is inside: worth seeing are the ceiling frescoes and the beautiful wooden crucifix above the altar, truly touching and unique.

Inside of collegiate church San Candido Italy

The other church you will see in San Candido is San Michele, which overlooks one of the main squares.

The church is in Baroque style and what is most noticeable here is the tower bell, which has the round and pointy top that is so typical of this area (and that give the church a distinct fairy tale look)

See San Candido Town Cemetery

A visit to a cemetery may not strike you as appealing however, the cemeteries in this area are characteristics and the one in San Candido also has some local art worth seeing.

The cemetery is pretty, walled and with nice lawns hosting graved with carved iron crosses, and it has peculiar artwork by local artist Martin Rainer, which is interesting to see both for adults and kids.

Visit San Candido Bakeries

San Candido has wonderful bakeries and sitting in their wooden stube with a slice of cake is one of the great pleasures of vacationing here!

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The specialties here are influenced by Austrian cuisine and worth tasting are the local Apfel strudel (apple strudel), Linzer cake (buttery, with jam), ricotta cakes and kaisersmarren, a local type of pancake-style sweet served with jam. Wonderful!

Other things worth ordering are mixed berries (in summer) and anything with whipped cream: the local dairy products are out of this world delicious.

You can find here >>> my overview of foods from South Tyrol.

Go shopping for Tyrolean textiles and wooden carvings

San Candido is a lovely place to buy authentic souvenirs which in this area take the form of Tyrolean style textiles and wood carvings.

Traditional of the area are printed table cloths and kitchen apparel, tyrolean outfits (super cute for kids) and wooden sculptures especially, although you will also find fabulous food specialties such as grappa and speck.

If you are looking for sports apparel, San Candido is also great as there are very many shops catering for hikers big and small – quality tends to be high but prices are steep, budget carefully!

Rent a bike and go to…Austria!

San Candido is connected to Lienz in Autsria by a beautiful and easy cycling path that you can even tackle with the kids.

San Candido Italy cycling route to Austria

The cycle is long but easy and on the way back you can hop on thy train – special wagons for bikes are available.

Bikes can be rented at several locations in town and maps and basic gear are provided.

Visit San Candido War memorial

Immediately outside of San Candido town center, there is an ossuary and war monument worth a visit.

The ossuary is one of the main mementos in the area of fighting this area lived during the first world war and it easy to visit as it is just on the side of the main road leaving the town.

If you have school-age kids, it can be a good opportunity to talk about this period of history and why this area was so heavily affected by it.

Go hiking: Easy hikes in and near San Candido

San Candido is a wonderful base for hikes which are the real attraction of this area.

You will need to car to reach the starting point of pretty much all of these but they are all short enough drives, allowing for day hikes.

Some of out favorite are:

  • Chairlift up the Baranci perfect for easy views over the town
  • Valle Campo di Dentro, lovely easy walk to the Rif. Tre Scarperi Mountain Hut, suitable for young kids and all terrain strollers. From here, you can keep going on a more challenging walk all the way to the Three Peaks of Lavaredo
  • Monte Elmo Hikes, especially those to Rif Larici, Alpe di Nemes, Malga Klambach (this is an easy but longer one, suitable for older kids)
  • Val Fiscalina forest walk
  • Croda Rossa, easy to reach by chair lift of with a moderate hike from Val Fiscalina
  • Three Peaks of Lavaredo area, the stunning area symbol of the Dolomites
  • Lake Dobbiaco – lovely place for easy lakeside hike and boating
  • Lake Braies, picture perfect lake with nice views over the peaks
  • You can find a list if our 10 favourite family hikes near San Candido here.

Things to do in San Candido with kids

San Candido is very family-friendly and has plenty to offer to kids and parents. Some of the best things to do in San Candido with kids are:

Play Crazy Golf

San Candido’s crazy golf has always been a huge attraction for kids and the position is beautiful too, with nice views over the town.

The Miniature Golf course is right at the bottom of the Branch chairlift, easy to reach on foot from the town center.

Have a splash at San Candido swimming center (Aquafun park)


Many hotels in the area offer pool but if they don’t or you want one more geared towards kids, the San Candido water center is the place for you.

Here you have a 25mt pool, a kids swimming area, long pool slide, lazy river, massage and sauna areas for adults. Perfect especially in winter or on a rainy day in summer!

Get the chairlift to the top Mount Baranci (and find a fantastic mountain playground)

Mount Baranci overlooks the town of San Candido and it is a fantastic place for kids.

A handy chairlift leads you to the top (you can also hike up there in about 1h) and, on arrival, you have a surprise.

As well as a family-friendly mountain restaurant you also have kids’ adventure trails, two small ponds, a fantastic mountain playground and a fun bob station, so you can swiftly come back down to the town while having a thrilling ride!

Where to stay in San Candido

San Candido has many hotels that are perfect to most types of travelers. Some to consider are (affiliate links):

The best time to visit San Candido Innichen

There are two main seasons to visit San Candido: the summer for hiking and the winter for skiing.

In summer, June tends to be quieter and several hotels have offers, making this expensive area a little more affordable.

At this time, most hiking paths are open however, check local conditions especially at the beginning of the month and if going at very high altitudes.

July and August are wonderful for hiking but they get busy: this is an area with many returning visitors and it is not unusual for places to fill up for the summer already in February. Book as soon as you know you will come.

The winter is perfect if you want to sky. The area is famous for skiing, cross country skiing but and for night skiing too!

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the best things to do in San Candido Italy and it inspired you to go visit. Safe travel planning!

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