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Winter Adventure in the Italian Dolomites

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Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Val Gardena is a unique and exciting valley located in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. Known as the Dolomites’ valley par excellence, Val Gardena offers something for everyone no matter what time of the year you decide to travel to the Alps.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Located in the South Tyrol region of Italy, Val Gardena is surrounded by the untouched Puez Odle Nature Park, offers 300 days of sunlight a year, features Ladin culture and includes the three charming towns of Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei. 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 participate in nature adventures and go skiing at Kronplatz. The later part of my trip was spent in the beautiful town of Selva where I went skiing and explored the breathtaking mountains of Val Gardena.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In this blog post, I am so happy to share my experience skiing, hiking and immersing myself in the culture of Val Gardena.

*My three nights spent in Val Gardena was a press trip through the Val Gardena/Gröden Tourism Bureau.


Getting to the Italian Dolomites:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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. 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 the Dolomites. Other cities you could fly into, but will be more expensive, are Milan, Verona, Trieste, Bergamo and Innsbruck. (Munich is another airport you could fly into, but it is a bit further.)

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Another important fact to note is that public transportation in the Dolomites is almost nonexistent. You could find options for trains and buses to and from Venice and Val Gardena, 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.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Getting around Val Gardena is super easy! After I arrived, I didn’t need to use my car until I left. There are free buses for guests staying at establishment members of the Val Gardena Tourism Bureaus. The MobilCard was provided to me when I checked into my hotel. Even though I was able to walk around Selva without transportation, I did take the buses to Santa Cristina and Ortisei. (You could also bring your ski equipment onto the bus as well.)

Where to Stay in Val Gardena:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

As I mention above, I stayed in the quaint ski village of Selva. Located right off the slopes of Val Gardena is the adorable boutique hotel called Garni Sayonara. The owners of this lovely bed and breakfast welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home from the moment I stepped in.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

During my three nights at Garni Sayonara, I stayed in the double room which had a double bed, en-suite bathroom, television, phone, desk and a balcony with a view of the Dolomites. There are also single rooms and an apartment on the first floor. Every morning, breakfast was served from 7:30 to 9am. There would be a spread of different cold cut meats including speck, which is a cured smoked meat that is a staple to the Dolomites (it’s similar to prosciutto, but thicker); croissants, cakes and fresh bread straight out of the oven; fresh fruits and refreshing juices. The owner of the bed and breakfast would even make egg dishes as well. The hotel also offers a ski room with a ski boot warmer, bicycle storage, onsite parking, WiFi as well as a sauna, which is perfect after a long day on the slopes.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

What is awesome about the ski slopes at Val Gardena are that you could actually ski into your hotel’s parking lot, depending on where you stay! It’s pretty awesome.

Top Things to do in Val Gardena:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Even though Val Gardena is thriving all year long, there is truly something special about visiting here during the winter months. During Advent season, there is a magical Christmas market in all three towns that feature miniature wooden cabins, Christmas lights, dried fruitcakes, gingerbread biscuits, artisanal chocolates, mulled wine and cider as well as artisanal crafts. If you are a skier or snowboarder, the slopes feature amazing conditions for all levels and the options for those who enjoy the active lifestyle are endless! In addition, there is an amazing culinary scene within the mountains of Val Gardena. Discover the top things you could do during your time here:

Ski or Snowboard at Val Gardena:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

It is so true how skiing keeps everyone young. It’s really the ultimate highlight of the winter for me and I’m so glad I decided to take up winter sports at a young age. In fact, I actually started off snowboarding, but found more joy in skiing, so that is why I stuck to that instead. Over the years, I’ve made so many amazing memories skiing and for some reason, time tends to stop on the slopes. I am focused, living in the present and full of pure bliss.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Known as a ski paradise from beginners to World Cup stars, Val Gardena offers 500km (311 miles) of powdery white slopes and the largest skiing carousel in the world. It also has the longest ski slope in South Tyrol. Val Gardena is also part of the Dolomiti Superski, which is a world-famous network of 12 ski areas in the Dolomites and you could access all of them using just one ski pass. Not only could you ski in Val Gardena, you could also ski through four Ladin valleys and three Italian regions.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Located at Val Gardena is the Saslong, which is an Alpine slope that is 3.4km (2 miles) and 839 meters (2753 feet) high. The Saslong played an important role in downhill ski races in the international Ski World Cup. Right near my hotel, in the heart of Selva, is the Ciampinoi ski lift that will take you to the beginning of where the Saslong starts. (The Saslong is a black hill, which is for advanced skiers.)

There are so many other great slopes and championship runs that you could ski or snowboard down during your time in Val Gardena. The Passo Sella is nestled between the Sella massif in the south and the Cir peaks in the north. You can also enjoy the breathtaking views of the valley from the Sassolungo, which was the location of the women’s downhill ski race during the 1970 ‘Cir’ World Championships. During my ski day in Val Gardena, I am proud to say that I experienced the La Longia, which is the longest ski slope, stretching from mount Seceda, which is a 2500m (8200ft) mountain.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Val Gardena’s ski season begins in early December and goes through mid-April. There are a few epic ski routes you could take: The Val Gardena Ronda includes all three villages and it features one of the most eventful ski carousels. ‘Culturonda’ on skis adds cultural highlights on the slopes. You could ski past the Stone City and reach the Passo Sella with its beautiful view over the Sassolungo, Punta delle Cinque Dita and Marmolada, stretching as far as Monte Pana to the equatorial sundial. This route continues along the Saslong and past Castel Gardena, which is the Renaissance summer and hunting lodge built in the 17th Century by Engel Dietrich von Wolkenstein-Trostburg. From there, you could continue across Col Raiser to the Seceda Alm (which is the area I skied in). If you are looking to ski into different Italian provinces, I recommend doing the Sellaronda, where you could ski for 5 hours into Bolzano, Trento and Belluno. In addition, you could also do a ski day trip to the Marmolada, which is considered the Queen of the Dolomites.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

When you plan your ski trip to Val Gardena, please note that there are different levels of skiing; black is for experts, red is for intermediate and blue is for beginners. (I found that Val Gardena had more red and black slopes than Kronplatz.) Skiing in Italy is a little different than skiing in the United States. The green slopes in the U.S. are considered intermediate; in Italy, they are the red slopes. Also, I found the slopes in general to be steeper in Italy as compared to the U.S. (A blue hill in Italy is like a green in America.) From my own personal experience, the snow in the Alps is much better than it is on the East Coast of the United States. Although I have not skied out west in the U.S., I’ve heard the conditions are great there too.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

As I also mentioned in my Kronplatz blog post, I found that skiing in the Dolomites is much more efficient when it comes to getting on and off the lift. When you go to the ticket counter after you first arrive, they will give you a small ticket. You could keep this pass sealed up in your jacket or pants pocket. As you enter through the gates to get onto the lift, it automatically scans the pass that is located in your pocket. If you are used to skiing in the United States, it is a bit old fashion and you still get a pass that you need to attach to your coat zipper and a staff member will come around and scan it before you get on the lift. In the Italian Dolomites, you will not wait on any lines either. It’s amazing!

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Before you go skiing in Val Gardena, I recommend downloading the app that provides you with local information, weather, events, webcams, lifts, activities, shopping, gastronomy, bus schedules and more. The app is available through iOS and Android and it comes in English, Italian and German.

Savor Traditional Ladin Cuisine in a Charming Hut or Restaurant:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

One of my favorite parts about skiing in Italy is that you could ski into a mountain hut and savor a plate of pasta with a spritz! Throughout Val Gardena, there are 65 traditional huts that have been run by the same family for generations and each of them is proud to deliver a unique offer that ranges from traditional dishes such as speck dumpling soup and spinach spätzle to sophisticated cuisines such as grilled steaks and seafood.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.
Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

During my day skiing in Val Gardena, I enjoyed lunch and an Italian hot chocolate at Baita Daniel Hütte right by Seceda. A popular and nourishing dish to eat on the slopes is roasted potatoes with bacon and fried eggs (you could get your eggs cooked the way you like them). It is such a great lunch dish on the slopes. No matter where you ski in Val Gardena, you will not have a problem finding a hut.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition to the charming huts located throughout the mountains, Val Gardena also has an amazing culinary scene. Local Ladin cuisine features rich, regional recipes with hearty ingredients such as speck, smoked sausages, local cheese and more. Throughout Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei, you could find traditional eateries, pizzerias and Michelin star restaurants.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.
Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.
Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

My first night in Val Gardena was spent meeting up with Silvia of Val Gardena Tourism Bureau and we had a lovely dinner at Hotel Freina. For my first course, I savored paccheri pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and monkfish. (It was so delicious!) For the main course, we both had the tuna with fresh tomato sauce, homemade spaghetti and sautéed spinach. (It was also amazing and I’m not usually a tuna person.) For dessert, I had lemon gelato with limoncello. This delicious dessert is served with a scoop of lemon ice cream with a shortbread cookie and a shot of limoncello that you pour over everything. On my second evening in Val Gardena, I was craving pizza and enjoyed a delicious pizza con prosciutto at Ristorante Pizzeria Costabella and on my third evening, I had a homemade pasta dish with tomato sauce, zucchini and shrimp at Pizzeria Sun Valley Stübele. For dessert, I had a delicious apple strudel. Overall, I loved everything I ate during my time in the Dolomites.

Attend a Local Event:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Throughout the year, there are plenty of events taking place in Val Gardena. Below are a list of events to attend:

Winter:

  • Christmas Markets (Late November through early January)
  • FIS Ski World Cup (Late December right before Christmas)
  • Snow Sculpture Competition (Week between Christmas and New Year’s)
  • New Year’s in Val Gardena
  • Carnival in Val Gardena (Late February)
  • Rock the Dolomites winter music festival (Late March)
  • Sellaronda Skimarathon (Late March)
  • Spring Race Party (Late March)
  • Gardenissima After Race Party (Late March)
  • Südtirol Gardenissima both adults and kids (Early April)

Summer:

  • Dolomites Saslong Half Marathon (Early June)
  • Hero Südtirol Dolomites (Late June)
  • Sellaronda Bike Day (Late June)
  • Gherdëina Craft Beer Festival (Month of July)
  • Sëira dl Vin (Mid July)
  • Weekly Farmer and Craftsman Market (Months of July and August)
  • Dolomites Summer Market (Month of August)
  • Unika (Early September)
  • ITF Women’s Tournament (Month of October)
  • ITF Men’s Tournament (Month of November)

Experience Mountain Bliss on a Hike:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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 when the European and African tectonic plates came together. They were once atolls and coral reefs from the tropical sea. Now, they stand proudly with peace and beauty and are filled with amazing nature and wildlife.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

The Dolomites are the perfect place for those who love the outdoors! Hiking in general makes my soul come alive, but hiking in the winter brings on a whole new level of serenity. There is something so healing about that fresh winter air and the snow around you that glistens with the sun. During my time in Val Gardena, I did an unforgettable hike where I got to experience 360-degree views of the iconic peaks and valleys of the Italian Dolomites. The hike I did was called La Capela del Christ, which is the hike to the Holy Cross Chapel on Resciesa. A group of Italians and myself took the funicular in the town of Ortisei to the Alpe Resciesa in the Puez-Odle Nature Park of Val Gardena.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Our awesome hiking guide, Roman, led us on a peaceful and breathtaking winter path that took us to the Summit Cross and then to the Holy Cross Chapel. As we walked through woodland paths and across powdery snow, we captured enchanting panoramic views that left us all speechless. From the summit, not only did we get amazing views of the Italian Dolomites, we also got to see the Alpine peaks in three other neighboring countries – Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The views were unbelievable!

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

On our way down, we made our way to Schutzhütte Raschötz; an adorable mountain hut with a warm and welcoming vibe. I had a Hugo, which is an Alpine spritz that includes Prosecco, elderflower syrup and mint with spinach spätzle with tomatoes and prosciutto. At the end of the hike, we cheers with a grappa, which is a Northern Italian grape-based pomace brandy.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition, to regular hikes, Roman also guides nature hikes as well. I did a nature hike during my time in San Vigilio. Click here to read about it. There are also winter hikes on the Alpe di Suisi, to Sassolungo, Mont Sëura, below the Odle, in the Vallunga and to mountain farms. There are also a variety of snowshoeing excursions.

Have Fun at an Après-Ski:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Après-ski is always a good time and in the Dolomites, it is taken to a whole new level. In case you’ve never heard of après-ski, it is the party after a full day of being on the slopes. Whether you are celebrating in a hut, at an umbrella bar or pub, you will definitely have a good time! In Val Gardena, there are live bands, DJs and all different types of skiers and snowboarders having fun. The places where I enjoyed après-ski in Val Gardena are La Stua Après Ski, Luislkeller and Après-Ski Bar Saltos in Selva as well as Après-Ski Snowbar in Santa Cristina.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Two popular drinks to enjoy at an après-ski are an Aperol spritz and a bombardino. An Aperol spritz is the official cocktail of the Venezia region of Italy and it is a wine-based cocktail made with Prosecco, Aperol and soda water/tonic that is commonly served as an aperitivo. A bombardino, otherwise known as the Italian eggnog, is made with Advocaat or eggnog and is mixed with brandy and topped with whipped cream. It is served warm.

Do a Torchlight Walk:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Another popular thing to do in Val Gardena is a torchlight walk at night. There are quite a few torchlight walk options you could choose from. You could do a torchlight walk and visit a handcraft laboratory, where you stroll through the magical village of Ortisei and see the stunning churches and learn about the many traditions of Ladin culture. There is also an evening torchlight walk at Monte Pana, where you will hike on the Art and Nature Trail and learn about the centuries-old craftsmanship of Val Gardena.

Learn How to Cross-Country Ski:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

One of the most popular sports in the Dolomites is cross-country skiing. Overall, cross-country skiing is a discipline that benefits both the body and soul and it allows you to see natural beauty while making physical movement. Val Gardena offers cross-country skiing excursions to Monte Pana and Vallunga for beginners!

Enjoy Tobogganing or Dog Sledding:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

One of the most fun and relaxing activities you could do in the Dolomites is go tobogganing or sledding (with dogs)! Val Gardena offers different areas and trails where you could do this and it is fun for all ages! (You could read all about my tobogganing experience by clicking here.) During your time in Val Gardena, you could go night sledding under the stars (because the stars in the Dolomites are so magical) and have dinner in a hut in Puez-Odle Natural Park.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition to tobogganing, you could also partake in a fun dog sledding adventure. In Val Gardena, Siberian Huskies will tow you through a winter wonderland in Vallunga. Afterwards, you could pet and cuddle with the huskies. (Click here to read about my dog sledding experience in Lapland, Finland.)

Take a Cooking Class or do a Beer Workshop:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

If you are foodie and beer lover like myself, I highly recommend participating in the cooking lesson at Anna’s Farm “Curijel”. She will help you make delicious regional dishes and then you will enjoy them in a typical Tyrolean “Stube”.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition to cooking, you could also do a beer workshop where you look into the process of brewing craft beer at a local brewery. Afterwards, there will be a tasting where you get to know the different local beer types and hop varieties.

Participate in a Wood Carving Course:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

The art of woodcarving has a centuries-old tradition in Val Gardena. It was considered a pastime for families during long winter evenings. Nowadays, woodcarving extends from sacral to contemporary art. This introductory course will help you learn the basic knowledge of woodcarving.


Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in Val Gardena and discovering the top things to do during the winter. If you have any questions about my time in Val Gardena, please email me at [email protected]

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Basic Facts of Italy:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome

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34 Comments

  1. Allie Eskinazi on January 29, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Such an informative and beautiful post Taylor! I love all your photos – I’m counting down the days till I can try and Alpine Spritz!

    • Taylor Deer on January 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you so much Allie! It was such a great trip. I’m so excited for you. 🙂

  2. Brittany Sneller on January 29, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Selva looks like such a charming ski town! If one day I ever get to go back to Europe to ski we’ll have to think about doing a trip in the Dolomites. I would love to take some photos of those lovely, jagged mountain peaks! P.S. Was the bombardino good?! I’m not sure I could down eggnog topped with whip cream, but who knows!

    • Taylor Deer on January 29, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Yes, you guys would love the Dolomites! Also yes, it was tasty, but a little strong. I was happy I tasted it.

  3. Kim Deer on January 30, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Wow, I feel like I experienced Val Gardena in person. Your detailed guide and beautiful photography made Val Gardena come to life in this awesome blog. Looked like you had a wonderful time in this stunning region. So much to do there too ~ love all the activities they offer ~ another amazing informative blog ~ love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on January 31, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you mom! It was such an amazing place <3

  4. Merrie Rodriguez on January 31, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Wow!! This looks like an amazing trip!! I love going to mountain areas so this would be a dream!!! Also the food there looks incredible!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

      It really was a memorable trip. I couldn’t recommend it more and Ladin food is to die for! 🙂

  5. Lisanne on February 1, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Great article! Would love to visit Val Gardena. Thanks for the great tips.

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

      Thank you Lisanne! It’s definitely a wonderful place to visit. 🙂

  6. Daniel & Breanne on February 1, 2020 at 10:29 am

    This is an adventurer’s dream. Our Colorado hearts are telling us we must go someday. Thanks for sharing such great information!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:18 am

      Yes, I definitely recommend it if you’re into nature and adventure travel. Colorado is amazing too! 🙂

  7. Jackie on February 1, 2020 at 10:32 am

    What an extraordinary experience! Your photos of the Italian Dolomites are truly breathtaking; I can’t even imagine what it must have been to see those soaring snow-covered peaks in real life. WOW! And it looks like you enjoyed some great skiing, too! This adventure is on my bucket list. Of course, food in Italy always gets me drooling. I have not heard of speck, but love prosciutto so will look to try it next time I’m there. It would also be really fun to take a wood carving class. Thanks for posting these suggestions!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Thank you so much Jackie! You would totally love the Italian Dolomites. It’s absolutely beautiful and the culture there is so fascinating. 🙂

  8. Michelle on February 1, 2020 at 10:40 am

    This is such a great post. Your pictures are so beautiful so I can only image what it looks like in person. I would definitely sink my teeth into that delicious looking pasta as well!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:20 am

      Thank you Michelle and yes, it was absolutely breathtaking! Also Ladin food is amazing!

  9. Elena Pappalardo on February 1, 2020 at 10:58 am

    Val Gardena is just STUNNING and you’ve captured this winter wonderland perfectly! I will admit, I had no idea how tricky it was to get to the Dolomites (and that public transportation is basically nonexistent), so I very much appreciate your tips on that as well!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Thank you so much Elena! I will definitely have a more in-depth blog post on renting a car in Italy for sure. 🙂

  10. Casey on February 1, 2020 at 11:11 am

    I love me some European mountains in the wintertime! But I’ve never heard of Val Gardena, adding it to my list as we speak 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Yes, it’s absolutely breathtaking. You would love it so much Casey. 🙂

  11. Federica on February 1, 2020 at 11:15 am

    For the first time this year, I am not going to Val Gardena and I am just missing it after reading your post!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Aw that’s a bummer! I hope you get to go in the summer though. 🙂

  12. Stephanie Mayo on February 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    The Dolomites have been on my bucket list for a few years now but I never thought of visiting in the winter! Wow, it looks and sounds like a magical winter wonderland to explore, eat to your heart’s content, and take in all the fresh air and outdoor activities!

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      I highly recommend going in the winter even if you aren’t into winter sports. There is something to do for everyone and the nature is perfect!

  13. Alysa on February 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    The Dolomites are definitely on our list! So so so beautiful and look at the sky.

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      You would love it so much! The beauty there is amazing!

  14. Paulina on the Road on February 1, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Oh this is so dreamy! I hope to visit soon!

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:55 pm

      You would love it Paulina! 🙂

  15. Sophie Clapton on February 1, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    The Dolomites look so beautiful in winter. I had no idea there was so much to do beside skiing, now I definitely want to go!!

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      Yes, it’s perfect for everyone to experience a magical winter wonderland! 🙂

  16. Helen on February 1, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing!!!

    Last time I went skiing was in 2004! Definitely need to go back again! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      It definitely was and yes, you totally should go to the Dolomites! 🙂

  17. Zsuzsanna on February 2, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Such a cool post about the Dolomites! We would love to visit that part of Europe, thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Thank you so much my friends! It’s absolutely breathtaking there! 🙂

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Winter Adventure in the Italian Dolomites

Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Val Gardena is a unique and exciting valley located in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. Known as the Dolomites’ valley par excellence, Val Gardena offers something for everyone no matter what time of the year you decide to travel to the Alps.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Located in the South Tyrol region of Italy, Val Gardena is surrounded by the untouched Puez Odle Nature Park, offers 300 days of sunlight a year, features Ladin culture and includes the three charming towns of Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei. 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 participate in nature adventures and go skiing at Kronplatz. The later part of my trip was spent in the beautiful town of Selva where I went skiing and explored the breathtaking mountains of Val Gardena.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In this blog post, I am so happy to share my experience skiing, hiking and immersing myself in the culture of Val Gardena.

*My three nights spent in Val Gardena was a press trip through the Val Gardena/Gröden Tourism Bureau.


Getting to the Italian Dolomites:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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. 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 the Dolomites. Other cities you could fly into, but will be more expensive, are Milan, Verona, Trieste, Bergamo and Innsbruck. (Munich is another airport you could fly into, but it is a bit further.)

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Another important fact to note is that public transportation in the Dolomites is almost nonexistent. You could find options for trains and buses to and from Venice and Val Gardena, 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.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Getting around Val Gardena is super easy! After I arrived, I didn’t need to use my car until I left. There are free buses for guests staying at establishment members of the Val Gardena Tourism Bureaus. The MobilCard was provided to me when I checked into my hotel. Even though I was able to walk around Selva without transportation, I did take the buses to Santa Cristina and Ortisei. (You could also bring your ski equipment onto the bus as well.)

Where to Stay in Val Gardena:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

As I mention above, I stayed in the quaint ski village of Selva. Located right off the slopes of Val Gardena is the adorable boutique hotel called Garni Sayonara. The owners of this lovely bed and breakfast welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home from the moment I stepped in.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

During my three nights at Garni Sayonara, I stayed in the double room which had a double bed, en-suite bathroom, television, phone, desk and a balcony with a view of the Dolomites. There are also single rooms and an apartment on the first floor. Every morning, breakfast was served from 7:30 to 9am. There would be a spread of different cold cut meats including speck, which is a cured smoked meat that is a staple to the Dolomites (it’s similar to prosciutto, but thicker); croissants, cakes and fresh bread straight out of the oven; fresh fruits and refreshing juices. The owner of the bed and breakfast would even make egg dishes as well. The hotel also offers a ski room with a ski boot warmer, bicycle storage, onsite parking, WiFi as well as a sauna, which is perfect after a long day on the slopes.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

What is awesome about the ski slopes at Val Gardena are that you could actually ski into your hotel’s parking lot, depending on where you stay! It’s pretty awesome.

Top Things to do in Val Gardena:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Even though Val Gardena is thriving all year long, there is truly something special about visiting here during the winter months. During Advent season, there is a magical Christmas market in all three towns that feature miniature wooden cabins, Christmas lights, dried fruitcakes, gingerbread biscuits, artisanal chocolates, mulled wine and cider as well as artisanal crafts. If you are a skier or snowboarder, the slopes feature amazing conditions for all levels and the options for those who enjoy the active lifestyle are endless! In addition, there is an amazing culinary scene within the mountains of Val Gardena. Discover the top things you could do during your time here:

Ski or Snowboard at Val Gardena:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

It is so true how skiing keeps everyone young. It’s really the ultimate highlight of the winter for me and I’m so glad I decided to take up winter sports at a young age. In fact, I actually started off snowboarding, but found more joy in skiing, so that is why I stuck to that instead. Over the years, I’ve made so many amazing memories skiing and for some reason, time tends to stop on the slopes. I am focused, living in the present and full of pure bliss.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Known as a ski paradise from beginners to World Cup stars, Val Gardena offers 500km (311 miles) of powdery white slopes and the largest skiing carousel in the world. It also has the longest ski slope in South Tyrol. Val Gardena is also part of the Dolomiti Superski, which is a world-famous network of 12 ski areas in the Dolomites and you could access all of them using just one ski pass. Not only could you ski in Val Gardena, you could also ski through four Ladin valleys and three Italian regions.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Located at Val Gardena is the Saslong, which is an Alpine slope that is 3.4km (2 miles) and 839 meters (2753 feet) high. The Saslong played an important role in downhill ski races in the international Ski World Cup. Right near my hotel, in the heart of Selva, is the Ciampinoi ski lift that will take you to the beginning of where the Saslong starts. (The Saslong is a black hill, which is for advanced skiers.)

There are so many other great slopes and championship runs that you could ski or snowboard down during your time in Val Gardena. The Passo Sella is nestled between the Sella massif in the south and the Cir peaks in the north. You can also enjoy the breathtaking views of the valley from the Sassolungo, which was the location of the women’s downhill ski race during the 1970 ‘Cir’ World Championships. During my ski day in Val Gardena, I am proud to say that I experienced the La Longia, which is the longest ski slope, stretching from mount Seceda, which is a 2500m (8200ft) mountain.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Val Gardena’s ski season begins in early December and goes through mid-April. There are a few epic ski routes you could take: The Val Gardena Ronda includes all three villages and it features one of the most eventful ski carousels. ‘Culturonda’ on skis adds cultural highlights on the slopes. You could ski past the Stone City and reach the Passo Sella with its beautiful view over the Sassolungo, Punta delle Cinque Dita and Marmolada, stretching as far as Monte Pana to the equatorial sundial. This route continues along the Saslong and past Castel Gardena, which is the Renaissance summer and hunting lodge built in the 17th Century by Engel Dietrich von Wolkenstein-Trostburg. From there, you could continue across Col Raiser to the Seceda Alm (which is the area I skied in). If you are looking to ski into different Italian provinces, I recommend doing the Sellaronda, where you could ski for 5 hours into Bolzano, Trento and Belluno. In addition, you could also do a ski day trip to the Marmolada, which is considered the Queen of the Dolomites.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

When you plan your ski trip to Val Gardena, please note that there are different levels of skiing; black is for experts, red is for intermediate and blue is for beginners. (I found that Val Gardena had more red and black slopes than Kronplatz.) Skiing in Italy is a little different than skiing in the United States. The green slopes in the U.S. are considered intermediate; in Italy, they are the red slopes. Also, I found the slopes in general to be steeper in Italy as compared to the U.S. (A blue hill in Italy is like a green in America.) From my own personal experience, the snow in the Alps is much better than it is on the East Coast of the United States. Although I have not skied out west in the U.S., I’ve heard the conditions are great there too.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

As I also mentioned in my Kronplatz blog post, I found that skiing in the Dolomites is much more efficient when it comes to getting on and off the lift. When you go to the ticket counter after you first arrive, they will give you a small ticket. You could keep this pass sealed up in your jacket or pants pocket. As you enter through the gates to get onto the lift, it automatically scans the pass that is located in your pocket. If you are used to skiing in the United States, it is a bit old fashion and you still get a pass that you need to attach to your coat zipper and a staff member will come around and scan it before you get on the lift. In the Italian Dolomites, you will not wait on any lines either. It’s amazing!

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Before you go skiing in Val Gardena, I recommend downloading the app that provides you with local information, weather, events, webcams, lifts, activities, shopping, gastronomy, bus schedules and more. The app is available through iOS and Android and it comes in English, Italian and German.

Savor Traditional Ladin Cuisine in a Charming Hut or Restaurant:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

One of my favorite parts about skiing in Italy is that you could ski into a mountain hut and savor a plate of pasta with a spritz! Throughout Val Gardena, there are 65 traditional huts that have been run by the same family for generations and each of them is proud to deliver a unique offer that ranges from traditional dishes such as speck dumpling soup and spinach spätzle to sophisticated cuisines such as grilled steaks and seafood.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.
Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

During my day skiing in Val Gardena, I enjoyed lunch and an Italian hot chocolate at Baita Daniel Hütte right by Seceda. A popular and nourishing dish to eat on the slopes is roasted potatoes with bacon and fried eggs (you could get your eggs cooked the way you like them). It is such a great lunch dish on the slopes. No matter where you ski in Val Gardena, you will not have a problem finding a hut.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition to the charming huts located throughout the mountains, Val Gardena also has an amazing culinary scene. Local Ladin cuisine features rich, regional recipes with hearty ingredients such as speck, smoked sausages, local cheese and more. Throughout Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei, you could find traditional eateries, pizzerias and Michelin star restaurants.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.
Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.
Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

My first night in Val Gardena was spent meeting up with Silvia of Val Gardena Tourism Bureau and we had a lovely dinner at Hotel Freina. For my first course, I savored paccheri pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and monkfish. (It was so delicious!) For the main course, we both had the tuna with fresh tomato sauce, homemade spaghetti and sautéed spinach. (It was also amazing and I’m not usually a tuna person.) For dessert, I had lemon gelato with limoncello. This delicious dessert is served with a scoop of lemon ice cream with a shortbread cookie and a shot of limoncello that you pour over everything. On my second evening in Val Gardena, I was craving pizza and enjoyed a delicious pizza con prosciutto at Ristorante Pizzeria Costabella and on my third evening, I had a homemade pasta dish with tomato sauce, zucchini and shrimp at Pizzeria Sun Valley Stübele. For dessert, I had a delicious apple strudel. Overall, I loved everything I ate during my time in the Dolomites.

Attend a Local Event:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Throughout the year, there are plenty of events taking place in Val Gardena. Below are a list of events to attend:

Winter:

  • Christmas Markets (Late November through early January)
  • FIS Ski World Cup (Late December right before Christmas)
  • Snow Sculpture Competition (Week between Christmas and New Year’s)
  • New Year’s in Val Gardena
  • Carnival in Val Gardena (Late February)
  • Rock the Dolomites winter music festival (Late March)
  • Sellaronda Skimarathon (Late March)
  • Spring Race Party (Late March)
  • Gardenissima After Race Party (Late March)
  • Südtirol Gardenissima both adults and kids (Early April)

Summer:

  • Dolomites Saslong Half Marathon (Early June)
  • Hero Südtirol Dolomites (Late June)
  • Sellaronda Bike Day (Late June)
  • Gherdëina Craft Beer Festival (Month of July)
  • Sëira dl Vin (Mid July)
  • Weekly Farmer and Craftsman Market (Months of July and August)
  • Dolomites Summer Market (Month of August)
  • Unika (Early September)
  • ITF Women’s Tournament (Month of October)
  • ITF Men’s Tournament (Month of November)

Experience Mountain Bliss on a Hike:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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 when the European and African tectonic plates came together. They were once atolls and coral reefs from the tropical sea. Now, they stand proudly with peace and beauty and are filled with amazing nature and wildlife.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

The Dolomites are the perfect place for those who love the outdoors! Hiking in general makes my soul come alive, but hiking in the winter brings on a whole new level of serenity. There is something so healing about that fresh winter air and the snow around you that glistens with the sun. During my time in Val Gardena, I did an unforgettable hike where I got to experience 360-degree views of the iconic peaks and valleys of the Italian Dolomites. The hike I did was called La Capela del Christ, which is the hike to the Holy Cross Chapel on Resciesa. A group of Italians and myself took the funicular in the town of Ortisei to the Alpe Resciesa in the Puez-Odle Nature Park of Val Gardena.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Our awesome hiking guide, Roman, led us on a peaceful and breathtaking winter path that took us to the Summit Cross and then to the Holy Cross Chapel. As we walked through woodland paths and across powdery snow, we captured enchanting panoramic views that left us all speechless. From the summit, not only did we get amazing views of the Italian Dolomites, we also got to see the Alpine peaks in three other neighboring countries – Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The views were unbelievable!

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

On our way down, we made our way to Schutzhütte Raschötz; an adorable mountain hut with a warm and welcoming vibe. I had a Hugo, which is an Alpine spritz that includes Prosecco, elderflower syrup and mint with spinach spätzle with tomatoes and prosciutto. At the end of the hike, we cheers with a grappa, which is a Northern Italian grape-based pomace brandy.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition, to regular hikes, Roman also guides nature hikes as well. I did a nature hike during my time in San Vigilio. Click here to read about it. There are also winter hikes on the Alpe di Suisi, to Sassolungo, Mont Sëura, below the Odle, in the Vallunga and to mountain farms. There are also a variety of snowshoeing excursions.

Have Fun at an Après-Ski:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Après-ski is always a good time and in the Dolomites, it is taken to a whole new level. In case you’ve never heard of après-ski, it is the party after a full day of being on the slopes. Whether you are celebrating in a hut, at an umbrella bar or pub, you will definitely have a good time! In Val Gardena, there are live bands, DJs and all different types of skiers and snowboarders having fun. The places where I enjoyed après-ski in Val Gardena are La Stua Après Ski, Luislkeller and Après-Ski Bar Saltos in Selva as well as Après-Ski Snowbar in Santa Cristina.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Two popular drinks to enjoy at an après-ski are an Aperol spritz and a bombardino. An Aperol spritz is the official cocktail of the Venezia region of Italy and it is a wine-based cocktail made with Prosecco, Aperol and soda water/tonic that is commonly served as an aperitivo. A bombardino, otherwise known as the Italian eggnog, is made with Advocaat or eggnog and is mixed with brandy and topped with whipped cream. It is served warm.

Do a Torchlight Walk:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

Another popular thing to do in Val Gardena is a torchlight walk at night. There are quite a few torchlight walk options you could choose from. You could do a torchlight walk and visit a handcraft laboratory, where you stroll through the magical village of Ortisei and see the stunning churches and learn about the many traditions of Ladin culture. There is also an evening torchlight walk at Monte Pana, where you will hike on the Art and Nature Trail and learn about the centuries-old craftsmanship of Val Gardena.

Learn How to Cross-Country Ski:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

One of the most popular sports in the Dolomites is cross-country skiing. Overall, cross-country skiing is a discipline that benefits both the body and soul and it allows you to see natural beauty while making physical movement. Val Gardena offers cross-country skiing excursions to Monte Pana and Vallunga for beginners!

Enjoy Tobogganing or Dog Sledding:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

One of the most fun and relaxing activities you could do in the Dolomites is go tobogganing or sledding (with dogs)! Val Gardena offers different areas and trails where you could do this and it is fun for all ages! (You could read all about my tobogganing experience by clicking here.) During your time in Val Gardena, you could go night sledding under the stars (because the stars in the Dolomites are so magical) and have dinner in a hut in Puez-Odle Natural Park.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition to tobogganing, you could also partake in a fun dog sledding adventure. In Val Gardena, Siberian Huskies will tow you through a winter wonderland in Vallunga. Afterwards, you could pet and cuddle with the huskies. (Click here to read about my dog sledding experience in Lapland, Finland.)

Take a Cooking Class or do a Beer Workshop:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

If you are foodie and beer lover like myself, I highly recommend participating in the cooking lesson at Anna’s Farm “Curijel”. She will help you make delicious regional dishes and then you will enjoy them in a typical Tyrolean “Stube”.

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

In addition to cooking, you could also do a beer workshop where you look into the process of brewing craft beer at a local brewery. Afterwards, there will be a tasting where you get to know the different local beer types and hop varieties.

Participate in a Wood Carving Course:

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

The art of woodcarving has a centuries-old tradition in Val Gardena. It was considered a pastime for families during long winter evenings. Nowadays, woodcarving extends from sacral to contemporary art. This introductory course will help you learn the basic knowledge of woodcarving.


Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in Val Gardena and discovering the top things to do during the winter. If you have any questions about my time in Val Gardena, please email me at [email protected]

Top things to do in Val Gardena during the winter. The best winter adventure in the Italian Dolomites.

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Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome

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34 Comments

  1. Allie Eskinazi on January 29, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Such an informative and beautiful post Taylor! I love all your photos – I’m counting down the days till I can try and Alpine Spritz!

    • Taylor Deer on January 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you so much Allie! It was such a great trip. I’m so excited for you. 🙂

  2. Brittany Sneller on January 29, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Selva looks like such a charming ski town! If one day I ever get to go back to Europe to ski we’ll have to think about doing a trip in the Dolomites. I would love to take some photos of those lovely, jagged mountain peaks! P.S. Was the bombardino good?! I’m not sure I could down eggnog topped with whip cream, but who knows!

    • Taylor Deer on January 29, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Yes, you guys would love the Dolomites! Also yes, it was tasty, but a little strong. I was happy I tasted it.

  3. Kim Deer on January 30, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Wow, I feel like I experienced Val Gardena in person. Your detailed guide and beautiful photography made Val Gardena come to life in this awesome blog. Looked like you had a wonderful time in this stunning region. So much to do there too ~ love all the activities they offer ~ another amazing informative blog ~ love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on January 31, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you mom! It was such an amazing place <3

  4. Merrie Rodriguez on January 31, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Wow!! This looks like an amazing trip!! I love going to mountain areas so this would be a dream!!! Also the food there looks incredible!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

      It really was a memorable trip. I couldn’t recommend it more and Ladin food is to die for! 🙂

  5. Lisanne on February 1, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Great article! Would love to visit Val Gardena. Thanks for the great tips.

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

      Thank you Lisanne! It’s definitely a wonderful place to visit. 🙂

  6. Daniel & Breanne on February 1, 2020 at 10:29 am

    This is an adventurer’s dream. Our Colorado hearts are telling us we must go someday. Thanks for sharing such great information!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:18 am

      Yes, I definitely recommend it if you’re into nature and adventure travel. Colorado is amazing too! 🙂

  7. Jackie on February 1, 2020 at 10:32 am

    What an extraordinary experience! Your photos of the Italian Dolomites are truly breathtaking; I can’t even imagine what it must have been to see those soaring snow-covered peaks in real life. WOW! And it looks like you enjoyed some great skiing, too! This adventure is on my bucket list. Of course, food in Italy always gets me drooling. I have not heard of speck, but love prosciutto so will look to try it next time I’m there. It would also be really fun to take a wood carving class. Thanks for posting these suggestions!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Thank you so much Jackie! You would totally love the Italian Dolomites. It’s absolutely beautiful and the culture there is so fascinating. 🙂

  8. Michelle on February 1, 2020 at 10:40 am

    This is such a great post. Your pictures are so beautiful so I can only image what it looks like in person. I would definitely sink my teeth into that delicious looking pasta as well!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:20 am

      Thank you Michelle and yes, it was absolutely breathtaking! Also Ladin food is amazing!

  9. Elena Pappalardo on February 1, 2020 at 10:58 am

    Val Gardena is just STUNNING and you’ve captured this winter wonderland perfectly! I will admit, I had no idea how tricky it was to get to the Dolomites (and that public transportation is basically nonexistent), so I very much appreciate your tips on that as well!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Thank you so much Elena! I will definitely have a more in-depth blog post on renting a car in Italy for sure. 🙂

  10. Casey on February 1, 2020 at 11:11 am

    I love me some European mountains in the wintertime! But I’ve never heard of Val Gardena, adding it to my list as we speak 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Yes, it’s absolutely breathtaking. You would love it so much Casey. 🙂

  11. Federica on February 1, 2020 at 11:15 am

    For the first time this year, I am not going to Val Gardena and I am just missing it after reading your post!

    • Taylor Deer on February 1, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Aw that’s a bummer! I hope you get to go in the summer though. 🙂

  12. Stephanie Mayo on February 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    The Dolomites have been on my bucket list for a few years now but I never thought of visiting in the winter! Wow, it looks and sounds like a magical winter wonderland to explore, eat to your heart’s content, and take in all the fresh air and outdoor activities!

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      I highly recommend going in the winter even if you aren’t into winter sports. There is something to do for everyone and the nature is perfect!

  13. Alysa on February 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    The Dolomites are definitely on our list! So so so beautiful and look at the sky.

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      You would love it so much! The beauty there is amazing!

  14. Paulina on the Road on February 1, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Oh this is so dreamy! I hope to visit soon!

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:55 pm

      You would love it Paulina! 🙂

  15. Sophie Clapton on February 1, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    The Dolomites look so beautiful in winter. I had no idea there was so much to do beside skiing, now I definitely want to go!!

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      Yes, it’s perfect for everyone to experience a magical winter wonderland! 🙂

  16. Helen on February 1, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing!!!

    Last time I went skiing was in 2004! Definitely need to go back again! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      It definitely was and yes, you totally should go to the Dolomites! 🙂

  17. Zsuzsanna on February 2, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Such a cool post about the Dolomites! We would love to visit that part of Europe, thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on February 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Thank you so much my friends! It’s absolutely breathtaking there! 🙂

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