23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide
Glamorous, historic, and gloriously chic, Cortina d’Ampezzo is the undisputed Queen of Italian ski resorts. Nestled deep within the red tinged Dolomitic Alps, overlooking the crystalline water of the Boite river, this stunning town delivers adrenaline pumping adventure the Italian way: dripping with elegance and flair.
Cortina d’Ampezzo dates back to medieval times, and was a favorite vacation spot for cultural icons including Ernest Hemingway, Sir Francis Bacon, and Dino Ciani. In the 19th century, rich nobles revered the historic spot as one of the best health spas in Europe, and travelled from across the continent to rid themselves of ailments.
Cortina with the Dolomites in the background
Today the resort maintains its position as one of the glitziest ski destinations in the world, attracting jet setters, celebrities, and ski enthusiasts alike.
Despite this glamorous reputation, the prevailing attitude in Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of down to earth adventurism, with a variety of winter and summer sports activities on offer, and a host of opportunities to explore the rugged Alpine surroundings.
By far the most popular activity in the town is skiing. Boasting more than 120km of immaculately groomed pistes across three very different areas, powder bunnies of all experience levels will find a suitable slope.
The Tofana-Socrepes area is perhaps the best known of the three, with an extensive network of accessible blue runs, which is perfect for beginners and families. There are also several challenging red runs, and a breathtakingly scenic black run, which boasts views across nearby mountains, as well as a birds eye perspective over the town.
The Faloria-Cristallo network is best suited for confident intermediates, with a stunning selection of red and black runs, all of which offer superb views. There is also a terrain park complete with rails, a jump and a halfpipe – great for practicing tricks.
Cortina d’Ampezzo – Many off-piste slopes
For the most epic scenery in the area, head to Cinque Torri-Lagazuoi. The red and blue runs here offer some of the most stunning panoramas in all of Italy, with sweeping green valleys visible between the plunging cliffs and cragged red rock faces.
For non-skiers, or skiers needing a break from the slopes, there is ample opportunity for winter hiking and snowshoeing. Trained mountain guides are available throughout the season to lead you to some of the most spectacular views in the Dolomites, as well as to provide fascinating insight into the history of these snowy outcrops.
For something a little different, head to the nearby village of Pocol, where qualified husky sledders are on hand to show you the ropes, and take you on a canine winter excursion.
While many Italian ski resorts virtually shut down in the snow-free summer months, Cortina d’Ampezzo remains an idyllic vacation spot, with an alternative host of outdoor activities.
The most popular of these is hiking, with well worn trails springing into life thanks to the balmy Italian sunshine. Silky green meadowland emerges from its monochrome winter blanket, revealing bouquets of crimson, lavender, and buttercup yellow.
More than 15,500 m of via ferrata trails surround Cortina d’Ampezzo, equipped with the necessary tools to tackle challenging ascents. These are best approached with a qualified guide, who can be found in abundance in the town centre, or booked through companies like explore-share or Pow Rock.
Popular climbs include the 2,999 m Cima Grande di Lavaredo, and the highest mountain in the Dolomites, the Falzarego Towers, and the 3,343 m Marmolada.
Visitors will also find a multitude of cycling routes of varying difficulties, all of which offer stunning views.
How to reach ?
The closest airports can be found in Venice or Innsbruck, in Austria. The easiest option from here is to drive to the town, but if you want to avoid renting a vehicle then there are regular buses from Venice Mestre train station, Venice Marco Polo airport and from Treviso airport.
Where to stay ?
Accommodation tends to lean on the expensive side in Cortina d’Ampezzo, and there are plenty of fabulous five star options, including the historic Grand Hotel Miramonti Majestic. If you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly then you can find a room for around $50, or less in the summer season.
The town offers a huge variety of restaurants and cuisines, ranging from low key pizza joints to Michelin-starred show stoppers. There are plenty of options both on the slopes and in the town centre.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is famous for its shopping. Impressive boutiques sit alongside artisan chocolatiers, and the usual fare of outdoor gear is also available.
Perched at the top of northern Italy like a rock clad cathedral, the majestic stone spires of the Dolomites are one of the most spectacular natural wonders in Europe.
Beloved by walkers, climbers, skiers, and cyclists alike, the Dolomit…...
23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide