Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
How to get there
Often regarded as being the very heart of the Ampezzo Valley and frequently referred to as ‘the pearl of the Dolomites’, Cortina d’Ampezzo is nestled in a spectacular natural amphitheatre in the scenic eastern Dolomites. This breathtaking ski resort hosted the seventh Olympic Winter Games in 1956 and has become one of the most fashionable towns in Italy. Cortina d’Ampezzo is located in the Veneto area of Belluno province, just 44 kilometres from the Italian border with Austria.
By far the most convenient way to reach the resort is by taking a flight to Treviso International Airport. If you book a package deal, a coach transfer will take you direct to the resort in just 90 minutes. If you are travelling independently, you will need to travel via a combination of train and bus or taxi. If you would prefer to fly to Venice, you will need to take a bus from the airport to Mestre train station. From there, take a train to Calalzo di Cadore, which is located just 35 kilometres away from the ski resort. A bus or taxi will take you straight to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Alternatively, you can hire a car from Venice airport. The journey to the resort will take you via the A4 and A27 motorways.
You may prefer to take the train from the UK to the resort. Catch the Eurostar to Paris and then take an overnight train to Venice. You will need to transfer from Venice to Calalzo di Cadore station and then take a bus or a taxi straight to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
If you want to drive from the UK to Cortina d’Ampezzo, you will need to allow between 11 and 12 hours from Calais. The distance between the two places is 1200 kilometres and will take you through France, Germany, and Austria. Bear in mind that toll fees will set you back a considerable amount.
Who does the resort cater for?
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a delight for intermediate skiers. Over half of the runs are dedicated to skiers of this standard, with a further third suitable for beginners. Expert skiers are slightly less well-catered for and may become frustrated by the relative lack of options on offer. Cross-country skiers are likely to be the happiest, however, with several long and varied tracks available to them.
The resort is perfect for families because there is a wide range of activities on offer for those who choose not to hit the slopes during the day. Visitors enjoy taking advantage of kayaking, snow rafting, sledging, snow racket tours, and taxi-bobs. For those looking for something more cultural, there are several art exhibitions open throughout the winter season. Those wanting to go on day trips will be spoilt for choice with the nearby hamlets of Pecol, Borca di Cadore, and San Vito di Cadore being beautiful places to spend a day or two.
The nightlife in the resort is not particularly lively but there are several cinemas and nightclubs offering evening entertainment.
What accommodation does the resort offer?
The range of accommodation on offer in this resort is impressive. You can choose to stay in a luxury hotel, such as the Hotel Cristallo or the Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel. The Hotel Cristallo has a Swiss Beauty Centre for spa treatments, a solarium, a Turkish bath and an indoor swimming pool offering the chance to relax after a hard day on the slopes whilst overlooking the beautiful valley below. It sits on top of a quiet hill and the dining options on offer are simply amazing. The Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel is also located on top of a hill, offering panoramic views of a breathtaking natural park. All rooms are furnished to a very comfortable standard and there is an indoor swimming pool, a fitness room, a sauna, and even a cinema.
If your budget does not quite stretch to these luxury options, you could try a private apartment or even a farm house. Farm House Meneguto is a large farm house that offers comfortable accommodation for skiers. Activities on offer include horseback riding and hiking. Alternatively, Bed and Breakfast accommodation is always a popular choice with those on a tighter budget.
There are 7 black runs (suitable for expert skiers), 30 red runs (suitable for intermediate skiers), and 39 blue runs (suitable for beginners). The slopes are served by modern lifts and they take over 60,000 skiers per hour up the mountains. The main ski season starts in late November and lasts until the middle of April. The resort also has 30 snow cannons which generate artificial snow to supplement the natural snow.
- Downhill Pistes: 140 km
- Cross Country Trails: 48 km
- Number of Ski Lifts: 37
- Maximum Vertical: 1880 m
- Highest Lift: 2930 m
- Altitude of Resort: 1220 m
- Lowest Piste: 1050 m