Have you ever descended upon a place and immediately feel the buzz of excitement and contentment at once? I have. Ortisei, Italy is a place I think I’ll always have close to my heart. It’s where the mountain top kiss the brim of the sky. It’s where homemade pasta and chilled beer is served after miles of hiking. After a sweltering week in Milan, this mountainside town was a refreshing break – both in temperature and in lifestyle. Yes, I can honestly say Ortisei is a slice of heaven nestled in the Italian Dolomites.
When planning our Dolomite adventure, there were many details to be covered. How would we get there? Are the roads accessible? Where is the central town we’d like to be located in? Are there reasonably good restaurants there? Can we access our favorite hiking trails there?
Through our nitty-gritty research, our choice became clear. Ortisei truly had it all. This small ski town was home to many quaint lodgings, affordable and welcoming eateries… and even better, it was centrally located to the many hiking trails we longed to explore. Getting to Ortisei is reasonably easy, especially by car (…although I’ve heard that it’s also a good choice for those wanting to use public transport).
After picking up our rental car in Milan, we set our GPS coordinates and off we went. Through weaving mountainside roads, we were stunned by the beauty that surrounded us as we reached closer and closer to the Dolomites. The Lombardy region is such a stunner.
Where To Go
Nearby, Accessible Hikes
Ortisei is filled with many a hiking trail… but some of our absolute favorites were Alpe di Siusi, Compatch, Seceda – all of which were accessible via funiculars in town! All three’s views are some of the most unforgettable images I’ve gathered over years of exploring. Avoid the crowds and be sure to take the first ride up. You’ll thank me later. The unobstructed views of the staggering, craggy mountains as the sun awakes are breathtaking.
You’ll find that many of the trails that depart from the funiculars are well trodden and easy to navigate. The blooming pastures that surround the routes are unimaginably beautiful. Hours of walking felt like minutes simply because we were beside ourselves with the natural wonder that surrounded us. Not to mention, lots of the trails we explored feature adorable guest houses and restaurants along our route. We adored eating fresh ravioli and house specialities over a foamy beer after hours of hiking!
For travelers who rented a car, there are a staggering amount of day trips to be had in the Ortisei area! The St. Magdalena and San Pietro valleys offer a new perspective of the giantic mountains. Sella Pass stark and mysterious atmosphere feels like you’re entering scene set in Tolkien’s Mount Doom. A quick drive to Trostburg is a great day trip to explore a nearby town with lots of ancient history too. And if you’re up for a longer drive, be sure to visit Karersee lake with its reflective emerald green waters!
A Slice Of Heaven
There are certain experiences we have while traveling that can’t really be summarized in words… and I love that challenge. To put my love for Ortisei into words is an impossible thing. All I can do is illustrate the beauty that flashes into my mind’s eye when I remember our time there. Our days spent frolicking through green pastures, being welcomed and whinnied at by wild horses. The afternoon naps as a rolling thunderstorm passed overhead, the fresh scent of rain and grass wafting through our room. The homemade pastries and cappucino we downed before departed for a fairytale-like hike every single day. The taste of cold beer while your legs quivered from exhaustion, your mind filled with fairytale stories and longing for more. Ortisei… I can’t thank you enough for these fleeting memories we collected while in your boundaries. I’ll be back, I know it.