For a picturesque escape and active escape in the mountains this summer, look no further than the dazzling Dolomites.
For a picturesque escape in the mountains this summer, look no further than the Dolomites. This UNESCO World Heritage site has everything required for an adventurous summer escape, from its dramatic landscape and mild temperatures with plenty of sunshine to a whole host of activities on offer. Located in northeastern Italy, the Dolomites is a cultural melting pot, fusing Austrian, Italian and Ladin languages and cuisines. In fact, the region boasts the highest concentration of Michelin-star restaurants in the country. Falling into three broad regions - the South Tyrol to the north, Trentino to the west and Veneto to the east - the Dolomites has many towns and villages to explore. Below are a few of our favourite regions.
Situated between 1,300 to 3,000 metres above sea level, Alta Badia valley offers ideal conditions for you to enjoy activity-filled days during the summer months. For active people, it couldn’t be better, offering everything from golf and horse riding to zip lining, tennis and swimming. Here are a few of its more innovative offerings:
Movimënt Parks - a novel concept taking place at 2000m above sea level, combining Nordic walking and Kneipp therapy with a view of the Marmolada glacier. At two scenic outlook points on the high plateau between Corvara, La Villa and San Cassiano, various sporting activities await at the fitness stations. Plus the terrain is perfect for Nordic walking or jogging. Afterwards, you can enjoy some Kneipp therapy (water-treading in fresh mountain water) in order to stimulate circulation.
Bike Beats - try out three new bike trails with differing levels of difficulty from Piz Sorega Plateau to the lower station of the Piz Sorega cable car. The routes are marked according to their difficulty - green for easy, light blue for moderate and red for challenging. If you wish to take things easy then you can hire an e-bike at the Piz Sorega upper station and return it to the lower station in the valley.
Peaks Of Gastronomy - in recent years Alta Badia has really put itself on the map in terms of gastronomy; in an area of just 15km², there are four Michelin-stars. Throughout the summer, the region holds a number of events that will appeal to all foodies, from dumpling and strudel evenings to outdoor cooking demonstrations. On the 20th August, the animal park in Colfosco will host a gastronomic feast, bringing together a number of hotels, restaurants and bars of Corvara and Colfosco who will serve dishes in traditional wooden stalls located in the park, all accompanied by plenty of music and fun.
Often referred to as the “Queen of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is the only Italian resort included in the prestigious Best of the Alps collections; an international seal of quality awarded to resorts for their outstanding services, facilities, cultural, natural and environmental heritage. Hiking and biking are the main attractions with via ferrata and climbing a close second.
10 Years Of Hut-To-Hut-Hiking - 2019 marks 10 years since the Dolomites was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a celebration of the magnificence of these special mountains, Cortina has proposed a 10-day itinerary for experienced hikers incorporating stunning views, via-ferrata routes, trails, trenches and military outposts of the WWI and the area where the first evidence of dinosaurs in the Dolomites was discovered.
Trail running - for trail runners, Cortina has endless options from gentle roads through the forest to challenging routes at altitude. There are a total of 18 GPS tracked itineraries described on a detailed running map available at the information point in the town centre. One of the easiest routes is the Giro de Pian de Ra Spines (15 km) through unspoilt woodland witch glimpses of the river Boite. If you're looking for a challenge then the Giro delle Tofane covers 30 km with a 1,700m altitude gain through the stunning Val Travenanzes.
Starlight Room 360 - just a few kilometres from Cortina is one of the most amazing panoramic rooms in the Alps. Located at 2055m above sea level on Col Gallina, the Starlight Room 360 offers you the chance to spend a night “in the wild” with all the comforts you could wish for. Built in natural wood and glass, the rooms is powered by solar panels and designed to spin 360-degrees, following the movement of the stars. The experience starts at dusk just before sunset where a table laden with food and wine is waiting. Spend the evening watching the sun go down before waking up in the morning to the glorious sun rising over the Dolomites.
With its enchanting scenery, shimmering mountain lakes and magnificent summits, Val Gardena is sure to be the highlight of your summer travels. Where you’re a sports fan or just want to relax in the sun there is plenty to do in the area. Val Gardena hosts a number of important cycling and running races throughout the summer but there is plenty of culture on offer too from plays and concerts to local festivals and traditions.
Slack-lining - founded by two climbers in Yosemite National Park, slack-lining is the hottest sport of the moment. Open since 2011, the slack-line park in Selva Gardena offers 13 different possibilities for mountain slacklines. The idea is similar to tightrope walking but in slackline the web is elastic and moves under the weight of your body making it more dynamic and thus requiring intense concentration, balance and coordination. There are weekly courses for beginners whilst expert slackliners can work their way up to the challenging rodeo line.
Wood carving - the wood carving tradition in Val Gardena dates back many centuries, to a time when local families used it as a form of entertainment on the long winter nights. Ortisei provides you with the opportunity to learn the basic knowledge of the traditional wood carving art with the support of experts.
Geocaching - if you have trouble persuading the children to accompany you on your mountain hike then geocaching is the way forward. The activity is like a modern-day treasure hunt with the “treasures” coming in the form of caches which are containers hidden in the great outdoors. Val Gardena has many geocaching routes, taking you from the idyllic lakes of Mastle Alm in South Cristina to the PanaRaida adventure trail.