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The Ultimate Winter Adventure and Cultural Experience in South Tyrol, Italy

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Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The Italian Dolomites, located in Northeastern Italy, is one of the most breathtaking and fascinating destinations I’ve visited. What so many people do not know is that there is more to Italy than the typical tourist locations. Don’t get me wrong, places like Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence and Amalfi Coast are all amazing and definitely must-visit locations in Italy, but as someone who comes from a large percentage of Italian descent, it is really important for me to visit the areas of Italy that are untouched and to learn more about Italian culture, history and its biodiversity. (Things that you normally don’t hear about regarding Italy.) That is why I decided to do my annual winter trip to the breathtaking region of South Tyrol, Italy.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In 2009, the Italian Dolomites were declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. For those who do not know much about World Heritage sites, UNESCO is very selective about what areas and landmarks of the world are chosen. The organization found the Dolomites to be one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world because of its scenic beauty as well as its geological and geomorphological significance.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

As my first international trip of the new decade, I spent a full week in the Dolomites exploring the natural beauty of the South Tyrol region and experiencing all of the winter activities and experiences the Italian Alps are known for. The first part of my trip was spent in the charming Alpine town of San Vigilio where I got to stay at the awesome Hotel Teresa and participate in their nature adventures. During my time in San Vigilio, I also got to experience the amazing ski slopes of Kronplatz! The last part of my trip was spent in Selva where I went skiing and explored the breathtaking mountains of Val Gardena.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In this blog post, I am so excited to share my experience discovering the outstanding nature of the Dolomites during my time in San Vigilio.

*During my time in San Vigilio, Hotel Teresa hosted me and provided me with an incredible nature hike, spa and local food experience.


Getting to the Italian Dolomites:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Before I go into how I traveled around the Italian Alps, I want to admit that there is no easy way to get to the Dolomites, especially from the United States. I was thankful to have found affordable flights from Newark Airport to Zurich, Switzerland (click here to read my blog post on Zurich). From Zurich, I took a separate and short 45-minute flight to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. Venice is the easiest and most cost-effective city to fly into if you are planning to go to the Dolomites. Other cities you could fly into, but will be more expensive, are Milan, Verona, Trieste, Bergamo and Innsbruck.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Another important fact to note is that public transportation in the Dolomites is almost nonexistent. You could find options for buses, but depending on where you go, public transit will take you much longer to reach your destination. Click here to discover ways you could get around the Dolomites using public transportation. If you are looking to see a lot within the Dolomites and not just stay in one location, it is best to rent a car like I did!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Before I go into the details, if you need to rent a car in Italy (or anywhere in the European Union), you will need to have an international driver’s permit in addition to your regular driver’s license. I don’t know how the process works for every single country out there, but for U.S. residents, you could easily obtain one by going to your local AAA office. I got mine a week before I left for my trip and it took me 10 minutes. I rented my car from Fox Rent A Car through Sicily by Car in Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. I highly recommend booking your rental car in advance, especially if you are looking for an automatic vehicle. Since I don’t drive manual or stick shift, I needed an automatic car, so I was lucky that the rental car company provided me with an Opel Crossland (it’s a European SUV) and it was perfect for the mountains. I will have a separate blog post on how to rent a car in Italy, but for now, that is what I did in order for me to get to and around the Dolomites.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Staying at Hotel Teresa:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

One of my top experiences during my time in the Italian Dolomites was staying at Hotel Teresa in San Vigilio. This newly renovated family-owned chalet hotel is situated on the outskirts of the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park, is right around the corner from the cable cars Transbronta/Piz de Plaies and cross-country slope at Kronplatz and they offer amazing facilities, natural materials and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The rooms at Hotel Teresa offer Alpine comfort and are spacious and super clean. I stayed in the Fodara room, which is brand new that offers a balcony with scenic views of the Dolomites. It also has a lot of light and is equipped with a double bed and a loft with a sofa underneath. Even though I traveled to the Dolomites solo and stayed in this room, it is also perfect for a small family! There was a satellite television, telephone, hair dryer, en-suite bathroom with a nice shower, mini fridge, two closets and a safe. I loved the Alpine warmth and comfort and I also enjoyed the fresh wood smell coming from all the décor that consist of pine, larch and Swiss Stone Pine – all from local and sustainable forests.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

I had never felt more at home than I did while staying at Hotel Teresa! From the moment I checked in, the staff was warm and welcoming to me and ensured I was comfortable and happy at all times. I also really connected with the hotel staff as well and they did a lot of the fun activities with me! I am happy to say I made great friends here, not only with the staff members, but also with some of the guests! (Shout out to Catrin, Sara, David, Davide, Luca and Federico.)

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Not only does Hotel Teresa offer beautiful rooms, there is also private parking, a wellness center, indoor-pool, Finnish and steam sauna rooms, Kneipp spring and more. What is nice about the spa area is that they also offer water beds and hay-filled beds for relaxation.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During my stay at Hotel Teresa, there was a continental buffet breakfast in the morning where you could savor Italian cold cuts, fresh fruits, croissants and baked goods, cereal, yogurt and freshly squeezed juices. You could also order a specialty coffee or tea. For dinner every night, Hotel Teresa’s talented chefs cooked amazing Ladin, Italian and international dishes. (I go more into traditional Ladin cuisine and culture below.) There is also a bar to the side of the hotel that has a great bakery.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Not only is the nature park and ski slopes of Kronplatz located near Hotel Teresa, there are also amazing restaurants, local shops, churches and activities nearby. During my first evening in San Vigilio, Catrin and Sara took me and a few others who were staying at the hotel to see the ice sculptures. Every year in early January, the towns of San Vigilio and San Candido host the Schneeskulpturen Festival or the Festival Sculture di Neve. This year, there were talented sculpture artists from Germany, China, the Netherlands, India, the United States, Ecuador, Latvia, Italy and Austria. The ones I got to see in San Vigilio were called “Round About”, “To Commemorate a Busy Time”, “Universum”, “Chair”, “Man Hole”, “Galapago Turtle”, “Dance of Seasons”, “Il Frutto della Madre”, “What do you see?” and “Climate Change”. They all were so cool to see and I loved all of them. If I had to choose a favorite, I think the climate change sculpture was unique and powerful.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

After checking out the epic sculptures of San Vigilio, we went to the town pub called Busstop Pub, which is an old bus station, turned into a fun pub for all to enjoy! This awesome pub is owned by a Brazilian and it offers a disco bar with live music, DJs and theme parties (they have a huge celebration for Carnival in February). Busstop Pub also has a full bar, game room, coffee shop, bistro and fast food. What is cool about this bar is that there is a retro bus located in the middle of the pub where you could sit down and pretend like you’re actually on the bus while you have a beer or a bite to eat. It’s such a fun place!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During Advent Season, San Vigilio also has a lovely Christmas market for all to enjoy!

Ladin History, Culture and Cuisine:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The official language and culture of the South Tyrol region of Italy is Ladin (pronounced as La deen). It is an old language that residents of South Tyrol are doing their best to preserve. Most people who reside in the Dolomites actually know up to four languages: Ladin, Italian, English and German.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

There are four different types of Ladin languages spoken today and those are Dolomite-Ladinia (which is the language spoken where I was in South Tyrol), Grisons (Switzerland), Comelico and Friuli (near the Slovenian border). Some facts about the Ladin language is that it is a retoromance language; it is spoken by 30,000 people and each village in South Tyrol has its own dialect. For those who do not know, Italy is a fairly new country as it was founded in March 1861. Modern Italy became a nation-state during the Risorgimento when most of the states of the Italian Peninsula and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies were united under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy, which included the King of Sardinia and a realm that included Piedmont. At the time, the South Tyrol region was part of Austria.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Times in Europe were tough during the late 19th and early 20th Century. A lot of Italians immigrated to the United States (as well as to Canada and Australia) in search of a better life. It wasn’t much later that South Tyrol became affiliated with Italy in 1919 after World War I. Under Benito Mussolini’s rule from 1922, the system of Italianization took place in South Tyrol. The use of German language was entirely prohibited in schools, the media, through administration and in court. German town names were replaced by Italian names and people even had their own names changed.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In 1939, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini made an agreement, South Tyroleans had an option to emigrate to the German Reich or stay in Italy where they would give up their culture and language. After a difficult and long negotiation process, the Gruber de Gasperi Treaty (Paris Treaty), granted rights and protection of the German-speaking population in South Tyrol as well as Trentino. Today, South Tyrol offers an incredible and fascinating culture that people from all over the world are itching to get a taste of.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

When it comes to the food and architecture in South Tyrol, there portrays a harmonious bond between the people, mountains and countryside. Ladin homes (or the Viles) are wooden chalet huts spread all throughout the mountains and rolling green hills. The Ladin people also celebrate their culture by wearing traditional clothes. During church events and celebrations, women will wear the traditional Ladin dresses. An unmarried woman will wear a white apron with her dress and a married woman wears a dark blue one. I was able to see these beautiful dresses when I went into some of the restaurants during my time in the Dolomites and they resemble a German dirndl. If you want to learn more about the life of the Dolomites’ Ladins, I recommend visiting the Museum Ladin Ciastel de Tor.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Traditional Ladin food is absolutely delicious and Hotel Teresa definitely exposed me to the best that South Tyrol offers. On my first evening at the hotel, I had dinner with Sara and Catrin while David presented us with the meals for the night. I first had some delicious appetizers such as speck, which is a cured smoked meat that is a staple to the Dolomites (it’s similar to prosciutto, but thicker). I also had feiès da soni, which are fried potato wedges; tultres, which is similar to a fried spinach ravioli; cancì checi, which is cooked ravioloni; soprassata (smoked Italian sausage) and Italian flatbread (similar to pita). With my appetizer, I enjoyed a Hugo, which is an Alpine Spritz made with Prosecco, elderflower syrup and mint. It is so refreshing! After savoring the amazing appetizers, we were given jopa da zigher, which is a soup made with local cheese and edible flowers followed with spinach spätzle and cream. For the meat dish, we had spine de porcel sciöme (smoked pork) with an amazing regional red wine on the side. Everything was amazing! For dessert, we savored a delicious chocolate mousse with apricot in the middle.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During my second evening at Hotel Teresa, I ate a refreshing quinoa salad with speck; gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) with pomodoro sauce; roasted piglet with mashed potatoes that were sprinkled with pesto and sauerkraut on the side and then panettoncino with fig and chia seeds for dessert. It was absolutely delicious! To easily put it, I would say that traditional Ladin cuisine is a mixture of Italian and German foods.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Winter Activities in the Dolomites:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During your stay at Hotel Teresa, there are so many amazing winter adventures you could sign up for in the Dolomites. While I was in San Vigilio, I went skiing at Kronplatz, which was absolutely incredible and one of the best ski days I’ve had! (Click here to read about my ski day at Kronplatz.) I also had the opportunity to do an epic nature hike in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park with the hotel.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In addition to skiing and hiking, you could also go cross-country skiing (it is huge in the Dolomites), ski mountaineering, snowshoeing, ice climbing, sledding/tobogganing, ice skating, paragliding and horseback riding. Hotel Teresa offers unbeatable packages to introduce you to the best adventures of the Dolomites. (During the summer, you could experience mountaineering and climbing, hiking, biking, zip lining, horseback riding, paragliding, canyoning, rafting, archery and more.)

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Experiencing Nature in the Dolomites:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Sadly, even though the rest of the world’s biodiversity is shrinking; here in the Dolomites, it is actually expanding! During my stay at Hotel Teresa, I went on an epic hike in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. David of Hotel Teresa is a passionate ecologist and with Swarovski Optik, we were able to see some wild animals from the highest summits of the mountains. (Hotel Teresa is a collaboration and partner hotel of Swarovski Optik). David provided me with binoculars and he also brought a telescope that also came with a device where I was able to capture everything we saw with my iPhone X. It was incredible!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

When we first arrived at the nature park, I was given crampons, which are a traction device that you attach to your shoes for snow hiking, ice climbing, etc. so that you don’t slip and fall. From there, we made our way up the mountains in the nature park. Before I go into my experience at Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park, there are rules of conduct that everyone must follow: there are no engines permitted; you cannot leave marked paths; do not leave garbage behind; do not pick mushrooms and plants or take home any minerals; avoid making loud noises; respect the huts and fences; tents or camping is prohibited as well as open fires and all dogs must be kept on a leash.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The Dolomites are known to have fresh scents, bright colors and some of the most beautiful flora in Europe. (Elderflower is a popular flower in the Dolomites.) Obviously, you could see more of South Tyrol’s flowers during the spring and summer months, but the beauty of the snowy mountains are truly incredible. There are also medicinal and poisonous flowers, forage plants and grasses that are important for wildlife, insects and farm animals. During our hike, we saw a lot of chamois, which is a species of goat-antelope that is native to the Alps and Pyrenees. We even witnessed them migrating from one side of the park to the other. It was so cool to see! Other animals you could find in the Dolomites are deer, ibex, marmots, eagles (the golden eagle is special to see) and there are also bears. (The bears recently made their way to the Dolomites.) There are also birds, butterflies and so much more!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Italy boasts Europe’s highest mountain and today’s mighty peaks of the Dolomites are iconic for their cone shape and were formed around 270 to 200 million years ago, in the Upper Permian and the Triassic eras. They were once atolls and coral reefs from the tropical sea, which is so cool. As we continued our hike, David showed me the different types of trees that dominate the Dolomites, areas that featured red rocks and stunning freshwater lakes and rivers.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Something I noticed as I was hiking were tall wooden logs ascending from the ground that had troll faces carved into them. David explained to me that South Tyrol is known as the “Kingdom of the Fanes”, a mystical world of legend. There are numerous folklore telling stories of war heroes, alliances and conspiracies. The rugged rock formations, clear lakes and different wildlife are likely to have encouraged these legends.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

After a few hours of hiking, we made our way to Rifugio Fanes Hütte, a warm and welcoming hut in the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. I absolutely loved the adorable mountain huts throughout the Dolomites and they were so cozy. One piece of advice I would love to give you all is when you go to a hut to have lunch, it is best to eat your food inside. I completely understand that it is tempting to sit outside and enjoy the views even on a winter’s day because you also sweat underneath all of your heavy clothing when you go hiking or skiing, but your food will get cold quickly.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Since the South Tyrol region isn’t densely populated, a lot of people know each other, even if they are from other villages. When I stepped into the hut, everyone was gathered around playing cards, eating lunch and drinking a beer. It was such a happy feeling! During lunch, I savored speck dumpling soup, which was absolutely delicious! It consists of speck, flour, eggs, parsley, bouillon and chives. It is the perfect meal to savor on a cold winter’s day! For dessert, we had Tyrolean pancakes which are delicious sweet cakes with raisins that are chopped up and topped with powdered sugar. It came with apple mousse and lingonberry jam. It was so good!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

On our way down the mountain, we sleighed down with a toboggan and it was such a blast! I will admit that it did get scary when we went fast around the edge of the mountain, but overall I’m so glad I did it. There were also a few times where the terrain flattened out and we had to walk the toboggan to the next hill. I definitely recommend doing this when you go on a hike in the Dolomites!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

A Dolomitic Spa Experience:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Another wonderful experience I got through Hotel Teresa was a wonderful Dolomitic Facial. Before I dive deep into my amazing facial, I do want to let you know that the hotel offers a variety of spa packages from massages to facials and manicures to pedicures.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

One of the top things Hotel Teresa wanted to offer its guests was the ultimate natural beauty experience right from the Italian Alps. They are so excited to offer the brand-new Dolomitic Water Aqua 1296 skin care line to their facials. Dolomitic Water offers hydration from high altitudes in the mountains and it is derived from the union of water of the Dolomites and porphyry stone of Trentino along with the combination of prehistoric nature with the latest in biotechnology.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

This amazing spa experience was so refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating for my skin and it left my face glowing and feeling super soft. The freshness of the mountain waters and the power of the stone allow you to feel total regeneration. The Dolomitic Water offers calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, which stimulates hydration and allows your skin to recover fast. All Dolomitic Water products are dermatologically tested and suitable for all skin types. They are also completely free from synthetic dyes, have a delicate fragrance and are paraben free. The products felt amazing on my skin and I loved how awakened I was after the facial. Overall, it was an hour long and the esthetician did an amazing job.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

A Day Trip to Lago di Braies:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Even though I visited Lago di Braies on my very last day in the Italian Dolomites and didn’t go through the hotel, I highly recommend making your way there since it located on the other side of Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Lago di Braies is the largest natural lake in the Dolomites and it is also one of the deepest. During the summertime, you could see this stunning lake reflect its emerald colors and are filled with colorful canoes. In the winter, Lago di Braies is covered with ice and snow and it offers the perfect playground for snowshoe hikes and Nordic Walkers. In addition, you could go hiking all year round and, in the wintertime, they offer dogsledding.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During your time at Lago di Braies, I recommend walking around and checking out all of the beauty, including the stunning chapel located right on the lake! In addition, the Hotel Pragser Wildsee is the perfect place to grab a nice lunch and a local wine!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time enjoying the nature and culture of the Dolomites as well as my experience staying at Hotel Teresa. If you have any questions about my time in the Italian Dolomites, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Basic Facts of Italy:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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26 Comments

  1. Brittany Sneller on January 24, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Aww, looks like such a fun winter getaway! I had no idea that there were 4 Ladin languages! Hotel Teresa also looks like such a cozy place to retreat to after a day of skii and sledding! Makes me miss sledding with my sister in NC during winter! Great article Taylor 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much Bri! It truly was an amazing trip. 🙂

  2. Emma on January 24, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Oh this looks so incredible & all of the photos are so stunning! I can’t wait to visit soon. And that hotel looks so cute, definitely my kinda place!

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much Emma! You would love the Dolomites. 🙂

  3. Kim Deer on January 24, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Looks like an amazing place to go ~ so full of natural beauty! The mountains are breathtaking and it seems that there are endless activities to enjoy both in the winter and summer ~ I really learned a lot about the Ladin culture and how they are preserving nature and all the beautiful animal life! It looks like the people were amazingly friendly and the food sounded and looks phenomenal in your pictures. Your photos brought your trip to life. The history behind this region was very interesting. It seems like the people there are very healthy and in good shape. They eat healthy food and keep very active. Looks like an overall happy place! Hope to visit it with you in the summer/fall time! Love you, Mom xoxo <3

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 8:45 am

      It really is an amazing place to go to and I couldn’t recommend it more! 🙂

  4. Alina on January 25, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Glad to see there are some places left where there is a real winter wonderland! And so sunny as well! I am not much of a skier myself, but my husband would totally love this place, and all those spa experiences might make come join as well!

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Yes, it was absolutely beautiful! I couldn’t recommend visiting the Dolomites more. There is so much to do for everyone. 🙂

  5. Elena Pappalardo on January 25, 2020 at 10:17 am

    How gorgeous!! I’ve honestly never seen the Dolomites in winter so it was wonderful to see it as a winter wonderland! You’ve definitely inspired me to visit 😊

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:33 am

      Thank you Elena! You and Stef totally have to go at some point. 🙂

  6. Linnea on January 25, 2020 at 10:24 am

    Your pictures are stunning! The busstop pub sounds so cool! I would love to go for a winter ski holiday! Definitely will reference your guide when it comes to planning trips.

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Thank you so much Linnea! Yes, it was such a fun place and you would love the Dolomites. 🙂

  7. Kelly on January 25, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Love this and would love to visit the Dolimites! I always love exploring offbeat destinations, even if public transportation is non-existant! Also love some of the hotels you stayed in! So charming!

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:52 am

      Thank you Kelly! I love the offbeat destinations as well and am trying to visit more this year. I couldn’t recommend the Dolomites more. 🙂

  8. Micamyx|Senyorita on January 25, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Wow! Winter Wonderland feels! <3

    I haven't been to Italy but my best friend is currently studying there. She's been bugging me to apply for a Schengen visa and visit so we can tour around. Will keep Dolomites in mind 😀

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Thank you!!! You totally should go. The entire country is amazing! 🙂

  9. Katja | placesandnotes on January 25, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Oh such amazing pictures! We´ve done a skiing road trip through the Dolomites last December but I got some new ideas for next time now. Dolomites are so amazing in every season, thanks for sharing x

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you so much Katja! Isn’t it so amazing?! I really want to go during the summer too.

  10. Josy on January 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Woooowza! It all looks so different in the snow! We visited the Dolomites for a hiking holiday in the summertime and it was honestly one of the most amazing trips of my life. I would LOVE to go back and experience the area as a winter wonderland (especially now I have learnt how to ski!) I totally agree with you about the food. Everything we ate in that area was so, sooo good. It seemed to be more German, but with Italian cheese sprinkled on the dumplings and Italian wine to complement the dishes. I blooming love it!

    Hotel Teresa looks like a fantastic place to rest after your adventures too.

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Yes, it was one of my best trips too and I totally want to go back during the summertime. Also, I’m home now, but dreaming about all the food still. 🙂

  11. Viola on January 25, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Stunning photos! You are brave for going out in a dress girl :O

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you Viola and I took my jacket off for the photo! I really liked that dress with the scenery at Lago di Braies. 🙂

  12. Kiara Gallop on January 26, 2020 at 4:38 am

    I love your photographs 🙂 this looks like such a fun wintery adventure and I’m well overdue one of those! Definitely gonna look into doing something like this for next winter 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on January 26, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you so much Kiara! It was such a memorable trip and I couldn’t recommend it more. 🙂

  13. Emma on January 28, 2020 at 11:40 am

    This looks so great, I love your pictures!
    I want to spend some time in the mountain too, I missed the fresh air!
    Thank you for putting this article together.

    • Taylor Deer on January 28, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Thank you so much Emma! I’m glad you enjoyed it. The mountains are so refreshing in the winter. 🙂

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The Ultimate Winter Adventure and Cultural Experience in South Tyrol, Italy

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Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The Italian Dolomites, located in Northeastern Italy, is one of the most breathtaking and fascinating destinations I’ve visited. What so many people do not know is that there is more to Italy than the typical tourist locations. Don’t get me wrong, places like Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence and Amalfi Coast are all amazing and definitely must-visit locations in Italy, but as someone who comes from a large percentage of Italian descent, it is really important for me to visit the areas of Italy that are untouched and to learn more about Italian culture, history and its biodiversity. (Things that you normally don’t hear about regarding Italy.) That is why I decided to do my annual winter trip to the breathtaking region of South Tyrol, Italy.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In 2009, the Italian Dolomites were declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. For those who do not know much about World Heritage sites, UNESCO is very selective about what areas and landmarks of the world are chosen. The organization found the Dolomites to be one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world because of its scenic beauty as well as its geological and geomorphological significance.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

As my first international trip of the new decade, I spent a full week in the Dolomites exploring the natural beauty of the South Tyrol region and experiencing all of the winter activities and experiences the Italian Alps are known for. The first part of my trip was spent in the charming Alpine town of San Vigilio where I got to stay at the awesome Hotel Teresa and participate in their nature adventures. During my time in San Vigilio, I also got to experience the amazing ski slopes of Kronplatz! The last part of my trip was spent in Selva where I went skiing and explored the breathtaking mountains of Val Gardena.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In this blog post, I am so excited to share my experience discovering the outstanding nature of the Dolomites during my time in San Vigilio.

*During my time in San Vigilio, Hotel Teresa hosted me and provided me with an incredible nature hike, spa and local food experience.


Getting to the Italian Dolomites:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Before I go into how I traveled around the Italian Alps, I want to admit that there is no easy way to get to the Dolomites, especially from the United States. I was thankful to have found affordable flights from Newark Airport to Zurich, Switzerland (click here to read my blog post on Zurich). From Zurich, I took a separate and short 45-minute flight to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. Venice is the easiest and most cost-effective city to fly into if you are planning to go to the Dolomites. Other cities you could fly into, but will be more expensive, are Milan, Verona, Trieste, Bergamo and Innsbruck.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Another important fact to note is that public transportation in the Dolomites is almost nonexistent. You could find options for buses, but depending on where you go, public transit will take you much longer to reach your destination. Click here to discover ways you could get around the Dolomites using public transportation. If you are looking to see a lot within the Dolomites and not just stay in one location, it is best to rent a car like I did!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Before I go into the details, if you need to rent a car in Italy (or anywhere in the European Union), you will need to have an international driver’s permit in addition to your regular driver’s license. I don’t know how the process works for every single country out there, but for U.S. residents, you could easily obtain one by going to your local AAA office. I got mine a week before I left for my trip and it took me 10 minutes. I rented my car from Fox Rent A Car through Sicily by Car in Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. I highly recommend booking your rental car in advance, especially if you are looking for an automatic vehicle. Since I don’t drive manual or stick shift, I needed an automatic car, so I was lucky that the rental car company provided me with an Opel Crossland (it’s a European SUV) and it was perfect for the mountains. I will have a separate blog post on how to rent a car in Italy, but for now, that is what I did in order for me to get to and around the Dolomites.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Staying at Hotel Teresa:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

One of my top experiences during my time in the Italian Dolomites was staying at Hotel Teresa in San Vigilio. This newly renovated family-owned chalet hotel is situated on the outskirts of the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park, is right around the corner from the cable cars Transbronta/Piz de Plaies and cross-country slope at Kronplatz and they offer amazing facilities, natural materials and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The rooms at Hotel Teresa offer Alpine comfort and are spacious and super clean. I stayed in the Fodara room, which is brand new that offers a balcony with scenic views of the Dolomites. It also has a lot of light and is equipped with a double bed and a loft with a sofa underneath. Even though I traveled to the Dolomites solo and stayed in this room, it is also perfect for a small family! There was a satellite television, telephone, hair dryer, en-suite bathroom with a nice shower, mini fridge, two closets and a safe. I loved the Alpine warmth and comfort and I also enjoyed the fresh wood smell coming from all the décor that consist of pine, larch and Swiss Stone Pine – all from local and sustainable forests.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

I had never felt more at home than I did while staying at Hotel Teresa! From the moment I checked in, the staff was warm and welcoming to me and ensured I was comfortable and happy at all times. I also really connected with the hotel staff as well and they did a lot of the fun activities with me! I am happy to say I made great friends here, not only with the staff members, but also with some of the guests! (Shout out to Catrin, Sara, David, Davide, Luca and Federico.)

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Not only does Hotel Teresa offer beautiful rooms, there is also private parking, a wellness center, indoor-pool, Finnish and steam sauna rooms, Kneipp spring and more. What is nice about the spa area is that they also offer water beds and hay-filled beds for relaxation.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During my stay at Hotel Teresa, there was a continental buffet breakfast in the morning where you could savor Italian cold cuts, fresh fruits, croissants and baked goods, cereal, yogurt and freshly squeezed juices. You could also order a specialty coffee or tea. For dinner every night, Hotel Teresa’s talented chefs cooked amazing Ladin, Italian and international dishes. (I go more into traditional Ladin cuisine and culture below.) There is also a bar to the side of the hotel that has a great bakery.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Not only is the nature park and ski slopes of Kronplatz located near Hotel Teresa, there are also amazing restaurants, local shops, churches and activities nearby. During my first evening in San Vigilio, Catrin and Sara took me and a few others who were staying at the hotel to see the ice sculptures. Every year in early January, the towns of San Vigilio and San Candido host the Schneeskulpturen Festival or the Festival Sculture di Neve. This year, there were talented sculpture artists from Germany, China, the Netherlands, India, the United States, Ecuador, Latvia, Italy and Austria. The ones I got to see in San Vigilio were called “Round About”, “To Commemorate a Busy Time”, “Universum”, “Chair”, “Man Hole”, “Galapago Turtle”, “Dance of Seasons”, “Il Frutto della Madre”, “What do you see?” and “Climate Change”. They all were so cool to see and I loved all of them. If I had to choose a favorite, I think the climate change sculpture was unique and powerful.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

After checking out the epic sculptures of San Vigilio, we went to the town pub called Busstop Pub, which is an old bus station, turned into a fun pub for all to enjoy! This awesome pub is owned by a Brazilian and it offers a disco bar with live music, DJs and theme parties (they have a huge celebration for Carnival in February). Busstop Pub also has a full bar, game room, coffee shop, bistro and fast food. What is cool about this bar is that there is a retro bus located in the middle of the pub where you could sit down and pretend like you’re actually on the bus while you have a beer or a bite to eat. It’s such a fun place!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During Advent Season, San Vigilio also has a lovely Christmas market for all to enjoy!

Ladin History, Culture and Cuisine:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The official language and culture of the South Tyrol region of Italy is Ladin (pronounced as La deen). It is an old language that residents of South Tyrol are doing their best to preserve. Most people who reside in the Dolomites actually know up to four languages: Ladin, Italian, English and German.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

There are four different types of Ladin languages spoken today and those are Dolomite-Ladinia (which is the language spoken where I was in South Tyrol), Grisons (Switzerland), Comelico and Friuli (near the Slovenian border). Some facts about the Ladin language is that it is a retoromance language; it is spoken by 30,000 people and each village in South Tyrol has its own dialect. For those who do not know, Italy is a fairly new country as it was founded in March 1861. Modern Italy became a nation-state during the Risorgimento when most of the states of the Italian Peninsula and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies were united under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy, which included the King of Sardinia and a realm that included Piedmont. At the time, the South Tyrol region was part of Austria.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Times in Europe were tough during the late 19th and early 20th Century. A lot of Italians immigrated to the United States (as well as to Canada and Australia) in search of a better life. It wasn’t much later that South Tyrol became affiliated with Italy in 1919 after World War I. Under Benito Mussolini’s rule from 1922, the system of Italianization took place in South Tyrol. The use of German language was entirely prohibited in schools, the media, through administration and in court. German town names were replaced by Italian names and people even had their own names changed.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In 1939, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini made an agreement, South Tyroleans had an option to emigrate to the German Reich or stay in Italy where they would give up their culture and language. After a difficult and long negotiation process, the Gruber de Gasperi Treaty (Paris Treaty), granted rights and protection of the German-speaking population in South Tyrol as well as Trentino. Today, South Tyrol offers an incredible and fascinating culture that people from all over the world are itching to get a taste of.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

When it comes to the food and architecture in South Tyrol, there portrays a harmonious bond between the people, mountains and countryside. Ladin homes (or the Viles) are wooden chalet huts spread all throughout the mountains and rolling green hills. The Ladin people also celebrate their culture by wearing traditional clothes. During church events and celebrations, women will wear the traditional Ladin dresses. An unmarried woman will wear a white apron with her dress and a married woman wears a dark blue one. I was able to see these beautiful dresses when I went into some of the restaurants during my time in the Dolomites and they resemble a German dirndl. If you want to learn more about the life of the Dolomites’ Ladins, I recommend visiting the Museum Ladin Ciastel de Tor.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Traditional Ladin food is absolutely delicious and Hotel Teresa definitely exposed me to the best that South Tyrol offers. On my first evening at the hotel, I had dinner with Sara and Catrin while David presented us with the meals for the night. I first had some delicious appetizers such as speck, which is a cured smoked meat that is a staple to the Dolomites (it’s similar to prosciutto, but thicker). I also had feiès da soni, which are fried potato wedges; tultres, which is similar to a fried spinach ravioli; cancì checi, which is cooked ravioloni; soprassata (smoked Italian sausage) and Italian flatbread (similar to pita). With my appetizer, I enjoyed a Hugo, which is an Alpine Spritz made with Prosecco, elderflower syrup and mint. It is so refreshing! After savoring the amazing appetizers, we were given jopa da zigher, which is a soup made with local cheese and edible flowers followed with spinach spätzle and cream. For the meat dish, we had spine de porcel sciöme (smoked pork) with an amazing regional red wine on the side. Everything was amazing! For dessert, we savored a delicious chocolate mousse with apricot in the middle.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During my second evening at Hotel Teresa, I ate a refreshing quinoa salad with speck; gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) with pomodoro sauce; roasted piglet with mashed potatoes that were sprinkled with pesto and sauerkraut on the side and then panettoncino with fig and chia seeds for dessert. It was absolutely delicious! To easily put it, I would say that traditional Ladin cuisine is a mixture of Italian and German foods.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Winter Activities in the Dolomites:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During your stay at Hotel Teresa, there are so many amazing winter adventures you could sign up for in the Dolomites. While I was in San Vigilio, I went skiing at Kronplatz, which was absolutely incredible and one of the best ski days I’ve had! (Click here to read about my ski day at Kronplatz.) I also had the opportunity to do an epic nature hike in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park with the hotel.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

In addition to skiing and hiking, you could also go cross-country skiing (it is huge in the Dolomites), ski mountaineering, snowshoeing, ice climbing, sledding/tobogganing, ice skating, paragliding and horseback riding. Hotel Teresa offers unbeatable packages to introduce you to the best adventures of the Dolomites. (During the summer, you could experience mountaineering and climbing, hiking, biking, zip lining, horseback riding, paragliding, canyoning, rafting, archery and more.)

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Experiencing Nature in the Dolomites:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Sadly, even though the rest of the world’s biodiversity is shrinking; here in the Dolomites, it is actually expanding! During my stay at Hotel Teresa, I went on an epic hike in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. David of Hotel Teresa is a passionate ecologist and with Swarovski Optik, we were able to see some wild animals from the highest summits of the mountains. (Hotel Teresa is a collaboration and partner hotel of Swarovski Optik). David provided me with binoculars and he also brought a telescope that also came with a device where I was able to capture everything we saw with my iPhone X. It was incredible!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

When we first arrived at the nature park, I was given crampons, which are a traction device that you attach to your shoes for snow hiking, ice climbing, etc. so that you don’t slip and fall. From there, we made our way up the mountains in the nature park. Before I go into my experience at Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park, there are rules of conduct that everyone must follow: there are no engines permitted; you cannot leave marked paths; do not leave garbage behind; do not pick mushrooms and plants or take home any minerals; avoid making loud noises; respect the huts and fences; tents or camping is prohibited as well as open fires and all dogs must be kept on a leash.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

The Dolomites are known to have fresh scents, bright colors and some of the most beautiful flora in Europe. (Elderflower is a popular flower in the Dolomites.) Obviously, you could see more of South Tyrol’s flowers during the spring and summer months, but the beauty of the snowy mountains are truly incredible. There are also medicinal and poisonous flowers, forage plants and grasses that are important for wildlife, insects and farm animals. During our hike, we saw a lot of chamois, which is a species of goat-antelope that is native to the Alps and Pyrenees. We even witnessed them migrating from one side of the park to the other. It was so cool to see! Other animals you could find in the Dolomites are deer, ibex, marmots, eagles (the golden eagle is special to see) and there are also bears. (The bears recently made their way to the Dolomites.) There are also birds, butterflies and so much more!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Italy boasts Europe’s highest mountain and today’s mighty peaks of the Dolomites are iconic for their cone shape and were formed around 270 to 200 million years ago, in the Upper Permian and the Triassic eras. They were once atolls and coral reefs from the tropical sea, which is so cool. As we continued our hike, David showed me the different types of trees that dominate the Dolomites, areas that featured red rocks and stunning freshwater lakes and rivers.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Something I noticed as I was hiking were tall wooden logs ascending from the ground that had troll faces carved into them. David explained to me that South Tyrol is known as the “Kingdom of the Fanes”, a mystical world of legend. There are numerous folklore telling stories of war heroes, alliances and conspiracies. The rugged rock formations, clear lakes and different wildlife are likely to have encouraged these legends.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

After a few hours of hiking, we made our way to Rifugio Fanes Hütte, a warm and welcoming hut in the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. I absolutely loved the adorable mountain huts throughout the Dolomites and they were so cozy. One piece of advice I would love to give you all is when you go to a hut to have lunch, it is best to eat your food inside. I completely understand that it is tempting to sit outside and enjoy the views even on a winter’s day because you also sweat underneath all of your heavy clothing when you go hiking or skiing, but your food will get cold quickly.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Since the South Tyrol region isn’t densely populated, a lot of people know each other, even if they are from other villages. When I stepped into the hut, everyone was gathered around playing cards, eating lunch and drinking a beer. It was such a happy feeling! During lunch, I savored speck dumpling soup, which was absolutely delicious! It consists of speck, flour, eggs, parsley, bouillon and chives. It is the perfect meal to savor on a cold winter’s day! For dessert, we had Tyrolean pancakes which are delicious sweet cakes with raisins that are chopped up and topped with powdered sugar. It came with apple mousse and lingonberry jam. It was so good!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

On our way down the mountain, we sleighed down with a toboggan and it was such a blast! I will admit that it did get scary when we went fast around the edge of the mountain, but overall I’m so glad I did it. There were also a few times where the terrain flattened out and we had to walk the toboggan to the next hill. I definitely recommend doing this when you go on a hike in the Dolomites!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

A Dolomitic Spa Experience:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Another wonderful experience I got through Hotel Teresa was a wonderful Dolomitic Facial. Before I dive deep into my amazing facial, I do want to let you know that the hotel offers a variety of spa packages from massages to facials and manicures to pedicures.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

One of the top things Hotel Teresa wanted to offer its guests was the ultimate natural beauty experience right from the Italian Alps. They are so excited to offer the brand-new Dolomitic Water Aqua 1296 skin care line to their facials. Dolomitic Water offers hydration from high altitudes in the mountains and it is derived from the union of water of the Dolomites and porphyry stone of Trentino along with the combination of prehistoric nature with the latest in biotechnology.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

This amazing spa experience was so refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating for my skin and it left my face glowing and feeling super soft. The freshness of the mountain waters and the power of the stone allow you to feel total regeneration. The Dolomitic Water offers calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, which stimulates hydration and allows your skin to recover fast. All Dolomitic Water products are dermatologically tested and suitable for all skin types. They are also completely free from synthetic dyes, have a delicate fragrance and are paraben free. The products felt amazing on my skin and I loved how awakened I was after the facial. Overall, it was an hour long and the esthetician did an amazing job.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

A Day Trip to Lago di Braies:

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Even though I visited Lago di Braies on my very last day in the Italian Dolomites and didn’t go through the hotel, I highly recommend making your way there since it located on the other side of Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Lago di Braies is the largest natural lake in the Dolomites and it is also one of the deepest. During the summertime, you could see this stunning lake reflect its emerald colors and are filled with colorful canoes. In the winter, Lago di Braies is covered with ice and snow and it offers the perfect playground for snowshoe hikes and Nordic Walkers. In addition, you could go hiking all year round and, in the wintertime, they offer dogsledding.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.
Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

During your time at Lago di Braies, I recommend walking around and checking out all of the beauty, including the stunning chapel located right on the lake! In addition, the Hotel Pragser Wildsee is the perfect place to grab a nice lunch and a local wine!

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time enjoying the nature and culture of the Dolomites as well as my experience staying at Hotel Teresa. If you have any questions about my time in the Italian Dolomites, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Experience the nature and culture of the Italian Dolomites. Discover the ultimate winter adventure in South Tyrol, Italy.

Basic Facts of Italy:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome

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26 Comments

  1. Brittany Sneller on January 24, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Aww, looks like such a fun winter getaway! I had no idea that there were 4 Ladin languages! Hotel Teresa also looks like such a cozy place to retreat to after a day of skii and sledding! Makes me miss sledding with my sister in NC during winter! Great article Taylor 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much Bri! It truly was an amazing trip. 🙂

  2. Emma on January 24, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Oh this looks so incredible & all of the photos are so stunning! I can’t wait to visit soon. And that hotel looks so cute, definitely my kinda place!

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much Emma! You would love the Dolomites. 🙂

  3. Kim Deer on January 24, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Looks like an amazing place to go ~ so full of natural beauty! The mountains are breathtaking and it seems that there are endless activities to enjoy both in the winter and summer ~ I really learned a lot about the Ladin culture and how they are preserving nature and all the beautiful animal life! It looks like the people were amazingly friendly and the food sounded and looks phenomenal in your pictures. Your photos brought your trip to life. The history behind this region was very interesting. It seems like the people there are very healthy and in good shape. They eat healthy food and keep very active. Looks like an overall happy place! Hope to visit it with you in the summer/fall time! Love you, Mom xoxo <3

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 8:45 am

      It really is an amazing place to go to and I couldn’t recommend it more! 🙂

  4. Alina on January 25, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Glad to see there are some places left where there is a real winter wonderland! And so sunny as well! I am not much of a skier myself, but my husband would totally love this place, and all those spa experiences might make come join as well!

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Yes, it was absolutely beautiful! I couldn’t recommend visiting the Dolomites more. There is so much to do for everyone. 🙂

  5. Elena Pappalardo on January 25, 2020 at 10:17 am

    How gorgeous!! I’ve honestly never seen the Dolomites in winter so it was wonderful to see it as a winter wonderland! You’ve definitely inspired me to visit 😊

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:33 am

      Thank you Elena! You and Stef totally have to go at some point. 🙂

  6. Linnea on January 25, 2020 at 10:24 am

    Your pictures are stunning! The busstop pub sounds so cool! I would love to go for a winter ski holiday! Definitely will reference your guide when it comes to planning trips.

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Thank you so much Linnea! Yes, it was such a fun place and you would love the Dolomites. 🙂

  7. Kelly on January 25, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Love this and would love to visit the Dolimites! I always love exploring offbeat destinations, even if public transportation is non-existant! Also love some of the hotels you stayed in! So charming!

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 10:52 am

      Thank you Kelly! I love the offbeat destinations as well and am trying to visit more this year. I couldn’t recommend the Dolomites more. 🙂

  8. Micamyx|Senyorita on January 25, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Wow! Winter Wonderland feels! <3

    I haven't been to Italy but my best friend is currently studying there. She's been bugging me to apply for a Schengen visa and visit so we can tour around. Will keep Dolomites in mind 😀

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Thank you!!! You totally should go. The entire country is amazing! 🙂

  9. Katja | placesandnotes on January 25, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Oh such amazing pictures! We´ve done a skiing road trip through the Dolomites last December but I got some new ideas for next time now. Dolomites are so amazing in every season, thanks for sharing x

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you so much Katja! Isn’t it so amazing?! I really want to go during the summer too.

  10. Josy on January 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Woooowza! It all looks so different in the snow! We visited the Dolomites for a hiking holiday in the summertime and it was honestly one of the most amazing trips of my life. I would LOVE to go back and experience the area as a winter wonderland (especially now I have learnt how to ski!) I totally agree with you about the food. Everything we ate in that area was so, sooo good. It seemed to be more German, but with Italian cheese sprinkled on the dumplings and Italian wine to complement the dishes. I blooming love it!

    Hotel Teresa looks like a fantastic place to rest after your adventures too.

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Yes, it was one of my best trips too and I totally want to go back during the summertime. Also, I’m home now, but dreaming about all the food still. 🙂

  11. Viola on January 25, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Stunning photos! You are brave for going out in a dress girl :O

    • Taylor Deer on January 25, 2020 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you Viola and I took my jacket off for the photo! I really liked that dress with the scenery at Lago di Braies. 🙂

  12. Kiara Gallop on January 26, 2020 at 4:38 am

    I love your photographs 🙂 this looks like such a fun wintery adventure and I’m well overdue one of those! Definitely gonna look into doing something like this for next winter 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on January 26, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you so much Kiara! It was such a memorable trip and I couldn’t recommend it more. 🙂

  13. Emma on January 28, 2020 at 11:40 am

    This looks so great, I love your pictures!
    I want to spend some time in the mountain too, I missed the fresh air!
    Thank you for putting this article together.

    • Taylor Deer on January 28, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Thank you so much Emma! I’m glad you enjoyed it. The mountains are so refreshing in the winter. 🙂

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