Discovering Ortisei, the most populated town in Val Gardena, near Bolzano.
When we say “holidays in Italy”, we usually think of sea, sunny shores and cities of art.
But there is way more than this!
Medieval hamlets, culinary tradition admired worldwide, uncontaminated mountains and many UNESCO World Heritage spots.
One of these is Ortisei, the most populated town in Val Gardena, near Bolzano.
1.236 meters on the sea level, this is the perfect location if you are looking for well-being, relax and mountain excursions.
Ortisei is a very typical village, with the whole pedestrian downtown perfect to take a walk and – why not – also to do some shopping in the many small shops of the main street.
Known also with the German name “St. Ulrich”, it offers the perfect getaway for families, but also for friends groups willing to visit the heart of the Dolomites and explore the surroundings.
It represents the ideal winter vacation spot, but it is equally valuable in summer, to run away from the heat of the big cities: even in this season, the average temperature does not overpass 25 Celsius degrees.
There are many touristic activities and interesting places, so here it is a list of what to do and see in Ortisei.
Skiing lovers will find here some good cableways to easily reach Rasciesa, Seceda e Alpe di Siusi, part of the Superski Dolomites and location for skiing and exploring.
This is the biggest world ski resort, with 1200 km of slopes, 450 arenas, 12 skiing areas and 1 single ski pass valid in the entire Region.
You cannot lose the opportunity to ski in such a natural, unique and charming scenario.
Ortisei satisfies also art lovers with the Val Gardena museum, an ethnographic museum inaugurated in 1960.
This is a place in which you can in-depth discover the valley history through a two-floors and six main areas path:
1. Wood sculpture from XVI to XX century;
2. Famous local artists paintings;
3. Ancient wood toys, minerals and fossils from the Dolomites;
4. Alpine fauna and flora;
5. Archaeologic evidences of the local area;
6. Archive and exposition of Luis Trenker, a famous climber, actor and director from Val Gardena.
A visit to this museum offers the possibility to really get to know this territory and its huge heritage.
St. James’ Church is another evocative place to visit: this is the most ancient church in Val Gardena, presumably built around 1180.
Located in the St. James’ village – he was the protector of hikers and pilgrims – near Ortisei, it can be reached only by foot, with approximately a one-hour walk in the woods.
At the end of 1300, the roof was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt.
Obviously, throughout the years, the structure has been renovated and other architectural changes have been applied, so nowadays the inside of the church is mainly in gothic and Baroque style.
If, while on holidays in Ortisei, it rains, don’t get discourages: the place offers also some indoor alternatives.
At Mar Dolomit you will find no limits amusement and relax with the indoor or outdoor pools, a Finnish kelo-sauna and Turkish bath, in addition to the local delicacies available at the restaurant.
If you are looking for a luxurious mental and physical kind of relaxation, then you could enjoy the Spa of the Adler Dolomiti Hotel.
A 5 stars wellness centre, equipped with all comforts and surrounded by a beautiful park.
Hotel guests can use the Spa, but for externals a reservation one day before the arrival is required.
If you are passionate about tennis, you can practice it during your stay in the Dolomites.
Ortisei tennis centre will host you with its outdoor sand fields or indoor in artificial grass.
When choosing a holiday in Ortisei, it is for sure because you’re driven by the desire of enjoying nature at its fullest.
There are many tracks to explore the area and beyond, each of them different from another, to experience an always unique and special tour.
Here’s a list of the possible trails you can follow:
1. From Ortisei to Santa Cristina: a whole flat walk of approximately 45 minutes, along the Rio Gardena river which runs along Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva;
2. L’Alta Via di Resciesa – Raschötz (“Resciesa’s long street”): a 15 km path in natural mountain pasture;
3. Sull'Alpe di Siusi (“on Siusi’s Alp”): a 15 km walk, easy-going and suitable for families;
From Ortisei to Santa Maddalena: a beautiful 14.5 km excursion from Ortisei, through the Brógles mount, reaching Santa Maddalena in Val di Funes;
4. On Pic Berg Mount: a panoramic 9.8 km path arriving to the Seceda funicular railway, by which you can then go back to the valley;
5. Throughout the Puez-Odle Natural park: about 17 km from Seceda beside the main Dolomites street, crossing the wonderful Puez-Odle Park;
6. On the Troi Paian: 17.5 km walk from Saint Peter’s Church, beside the Heidensteig trail;
Dolorama Street - 4° Stretch: a track of 9.8 km with a view on Sassolungo and Sasso Piatto (literally “long stone” and “flat stone”);
7. From Seceda to Ortisei: you will walk for 10 km from Seceda to Ortisei passing on top of the Pic Mount;
8. From Ortisei in Val Gardena to the Pic Mount: 12.6 km tour from Ortisei to the feet of the Seurasas, continuing to the top of the Pic Mount.
There are many more alleys to discover, even at the slopes of Sassolungo and Sella Pass.
Some of them can be reached by car or bus, to start then walking to explore this enchanted nature.
Also, do not miss Frederick August trail – dedicated to the king of Saxony, founder of its realisation – to enjoy a wonderful panorama on the Dolomites.
As seen, Ortisei is a real paradise for those who seek for fun and relax: hikers, cyclists, climbers, nature and good food lovers, but also families and friends groups.