Despite the fact that every mountain range has its own remarkable beauty, I also find that mountain ranges often resemble each other. New Zealand is a good example of about six countries squished into one. On one stretch of the road – “it’s just like we are in the Scottish Highlands!”. A few hours later – “Are we in Hawaii?!”. The Dolomites however, represent something mighty and extremely special, and unlike anything I have ever seen before in my travels. We stumbled over this particular area in the Dolomites after a friend had been skiing here a few winters ago. Having stayed in the same area two years ago, we knew it was the perfect location for a weeks respite high in the mountains, after my better half had tackled the SüdTirol Ultra Sky race.
Ortisei is a cosy town gently nestled in a stunning valley, overshadowed by rocky, towering giants. It is about a 3.5 hour drive from Milan Malpensa airport (or just over 7 h + a bunch of hookers on the side of the road if you have your GPS incorrectly programmed…). It is perfectly located for exploring the Dolomites, by bike, air or on foot. We found an extraordinary little farm /chalet, housing both three apartments and the family that run it. All the furniture in the rooms had been handcrafted by the sweet and generous couple that own and run the place, and the romance and nest-like existence of this place reminded me of some of the fairy tales I had read to me as a child. Located about a five minute drive up a steep road away from the town of Ortisei, the stillness and explosive views seen from this working farm are unimaginable.
The opportunities for hiking in this area are overwhelming. We did a few magnificent hikes, one up to the Stevio Hut (read aboout the hike here) and another from the Alpe de Suisi cable car (departing from Ortisei). The pictures speak for themselves… W.O.W.
If you are ever in this area in June or September, jump on a bike (e-bike / mountain or road bike – anything goes) and join the 1000 other cyclists of all shapes and sizes who tackle four mountain passes and 58km in the sensational ‘sellaronda bikeday’. The roads are shut to cars and there are parties in every town you pedal through. The atmosphere and experience is wild. So is the pain in your butt and thighs for several days after…
Italy has SO much to offer. There is really something in this country for every taste, whether you are a beach, mountain or rolling hill kind of person. And ALWAYS, if you are a wine kind of person.
(Cover picture was taken at Lago di Braies. STUNNING).