The Val Gardena: The Perfect Journey With Summer Sun And Winter Snow
This side of the valley has lots of cosy huts to choose from for lunch, drinks or snacks, whether that be for a Tyrolean speciality or the chefs special spaghetti. We paused at the friendly Daniel-Hutte, not far from Sofie-Hutte (itself a gourmet mountain retreat with a restaurant that has caught the attention of food critics) for a bite to eat. Winter also offers opportunities for cross-country skiers, with 115 kilometres of runs above Monte Pana, while for winter hiking and snow-shoeing the Langental is an attractive and appealing area.
With skiing, snow-shoeing and other winter sports in the colder months; hiking and mountain biking in the summer; and a cuisine that sets it apart, Val Gardena is about individuality as much as it is about freedom. The light, you soon discover, is critical in delivering the magical aura of the Dolomites. Shimmering off the rock architecture, it reflects a pinkish hue in the mornings and a vivid orange on the mountains in the afternoon – stunning on the snow in winter, strikingly vivid in summer. The unique formations of this part of northeastern Italy, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009 for their historical and geomorphological significance and among the oldest rocks on the planet, offer a wonderful palette.
With long valleys between picturesque villages, the Dolomites create a mesmerising backdrop. Val Gardena is such a location, where a narrow ravine in the Val d’Iscaro leads to the 25-kilometre valley with its three famous villages. Here, activities combine with high-quality accommodation, spa and wellness facilities and excellent cuisine, whether you are in the restaurants of the villages or the huts in the mountains. As the larger of the three communities, Ortisei has many cafes, bars and an active nightlife with excellent restaurants, but its sister communities are also sociable villages with a character and ambience of their own.