Val Gardena, Italy

Val Gardena is located in a valley in the Dolomites of northern Italy. Interestingly, those indigenous to the Val Gardena area still speak Ladin, a language which originated in the era of the Roman Empire. The region has been greatly influenced by traditional Ladin practices and no visit to the area will be complete without an attempt to appreciate its rich culture.

Val Gardena is considered to be one of the best ski resorts in Europe. It is large and diverse enough to cater for all tastes and the resort guarantees an unforgettable winter break.

How to get there

The closest airport to the resort is Bolzano, which is 40km away from Val Gardena. Alternatively, you may wish to fly to Innsbruck, Verona, or Munich. You may wish to consider hiring a car and driving to Val Gardena from your chosen airport. However, if you decide against a rental car, transfers can usually be arranged through hotels and guesthouses for an additional fee. Alternatively, you may want to give some thought to purchasing a package holiday which will include an airport transfer.

Rail links to Val Gardena from Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands are all convenient and provide a good alternative to arriving by air.

Who does the resort cater for?

Young families are well-catered for in Val Gardena. Parents who are keen to enjoy the slopes but are also eager to introduce their children to skiing and snowboarding can organise special lessons at the Selva Gardena, S. Cristina, or Ortisei ski schools. Children aged under four can engage in supervised play at the Mini Club Selvi, which is open between 9am and 4pm Tuesday – Sunday. Alternatively, personal baby-sitters and crèche facilities are available.

Older children can join the Rodolfo Kids Club, which organises activities including tennis, climbing, horse riding, and excursions within the local area. Kids who enjoy quieter activities can join in with indoor activities as well as outings to suitable local museums.

A wide range of activities suitable for the whole family are also available. Horse sleigh rides, tobogganing, ice skating, and bowling are just a few of the options on offer.

Sports enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice in Val Gardena. From more adventurous activities such as paragliding, shooting, and climbing, to more sedate alternatives such as bowling and billiards, there should be something to suit all tastes. If you are seeking a more relaxing alternative to pass the time when you are not on the slopes, a wide range of spa and beauty treatments are available.

The nightlife in Val Gardena is varied and lively. Groups of adults and couples should have no trouble finding intimate restaurants serving good food and wine. Most restaurants welcome children and young families.

Accommodation

Val Gardena offers a wide range of accommodation. From luxury hotels perfect for adults eager to pamper themselves to smaller, more intimate guesthouses perfect for couples on a romantic getaway, Val Gardena should cater for all needs. Numerous family-friendly hotels in the area carry the ‘teddy bear mark’, which signifies that discounts are available for children sharing a room with their parents. Many hotels also have baby-sitting services and play areas for children.

If you are interested in booking your own accommodation, the Accommodation Directory on the Val Gardena Tourist Office website is an essential resource. However, you should at least consider the possibility of booking a package with a tour operator. There are many good deals available and booking a package means you will be spared the hassle of organising your own flights and transfers to your accommodation.

Slope Information

Val Gardena is a great location for skiers of all abilities. Local ski schools offer lessons specifically catered to the needs of complete beginners (including children), intermediates, and experts. People who are more interested in learning to snowboard than ski will also find plenty of qualified instructors able to teach them the basics of the sport.

More advanced skiers may be interested in becoming involved in competitions organised by the ski schools but novices should not be discouraged since there are also opportunities to learn the basics in a laid-back, non-competitive atmosphere. Intermediate skiers are particularly well-catered for as 60% of the runs are best suited to this skill level.

In the unlikely event that you become tired of the downhill pistes located in and around the resort, you may want to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the Dolomites through cross-country skiing. Many trails are available, but first-timers should definitely join an outing organised by one of the local ski schools. Whatever your skill level may be, you should always keep to the marked trails. If you are intent on going out alone, make sure you check a weather report and look out for avalanche warnings before you set out.

More experienced skiers should definitely consider exploring the wider area by investing in a Dolomiti Superski Skipass, which will allow visitors to access all of the lift facilities in the Dolomites. The Gherdëina Ski Express pass also represents good value for money, as unlimited use of local bus services is included.

Resort Vitals

  • 1200km of slopes in Dolmites
  • Largest vertical drop: 3593 feet
  • 8 ski and snowboard schools
  • 84 ski lifts
  • 98km cross country slopes
  • Longest run: 9km
  • Resort altitude: 1563m
  • Highest Peak: 2950m