Winter wonderland in Val Gardena

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

When the snow starts to fall and the mountains begin softly calling your name, don’t write Italy off as a warm-weather destination only. The Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy are a great place for a winter family vacation. Val Gardena, a village of just 2,700 inhabitants, is surrounded by imposing mountains and brimming with activities for everyone.

The Selva Val Gardena - Dolomites Active & Events office has created a winter program that is sure to thrill its visitors. The guided adventures mixed with the enchanting beauty of the area combine for ideal day excursions. Explore the glittering landscape on skis, snowshoes or just with your hiking boots. Activities include winter excursions such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, tobogganing, cooking lessons, indoor rock climbing and hiking.

One such magical adventure includes snowshoeing through the glorious mountains to a horse riding school. Here you’ll have the opportunity to go on a sleigh ride. The hike itself is easy and the entire trip lasts four a half hours for 25 euros. Those who would rather not walk to visit horses have the opportunity to rent a fatbike and go on an easy ride that ends with dinner in a traditional hut. This three and a half hour tour runs 90 euros per person.

If you’d prefer to stay inside, there is a cooking class with farmer Anna. For two hours, you’ll learn traditional recipes of the local Ladin cuisine for 40 euros. For a more active indoor experience, take a beginner climbing lesson. For one hour you can climb while securely fastened in your harness, out of the elements. This activity includes the harness and climbing shoes for 25 euros.

Ski buffs will especially enjoy this area for the Sellaronda, a circular ski route that is almost 25 miles long. Without seeing the same run twice, skiers can bask in the glory of hours of runs that are never the same. After skiing the Sellaronda clockwise on day one, ski it counterclockwise on day two for a whole new experience! The views themselves are worth it, as snow-capped mountains tower for as far as the eyes can see.

Whether you’re ready to hike through the snow to experience mountain views that are sure to leave you awestruck or just hang out in the kitchen and learn some new recipes, Val Gardena is the place for you. Get active this winter before the blues get ahold of you.

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