Author: Marta Barotti
Springtime in the Italian mountains
Winter season is almost over in the Alps, but adventures and experiences are a never-ending reality up there. With spring moving forward, the snow melts, the sun shines late and the temperature gets warmer.
Spring is one of the best periods to enjoy the Italian Alps, especially the northeastern side, the Dolomites. They got their name from the characteristic rock they’re made of: dolomite. It’s been ten years since the Dolomites have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They offer breathtaking sceneries and so many opportunities for anyone, that they totally deserve some space among your next travel destinations.
Adventures and sports for anyone
When thinking about the Dolomites, are snow and winter sports the only things that pop up into your mind? It shouldn’t! During spring there are so many experiences you can enjoy in the mountains and anyone is able to find something, depending on their aptitudes and passions. Let’s see together what to do and where to do it.
One of the most popular things to do is hiking. It offers the chance to appreciate astonishing landscapes. You can decide how far you want to go and how much time your hike will take.
Tips: There are so many paths it’s difficult to suggest one. It depends on your skills and your will. The best thing to do is to go to the nearest tourist office (every village has one, even the smallest ones) and ask for a guide to the most famous hikes nearby.
Photo credits: Dolomiti tour
A bike is the most versatile way to move around the Dolomites, from cycling through the town centers to mountain biking up and down the peaks. You can easily rent bikes in every village you are lodging. Prices can start from more or less 10 euros per day, depending on the kind of bike you choose. If you have kids usually it’s possible to rent small carts to bring them safely with you.
Tips: Here are two different cool solutions for very lazy and very athletic people. For the first ones, if you don’t want to make any effort you can rent an e-bike, which is electric and makes all the work for you. For the others, you can try downhill or freeride, which means going down the slope with a mountain bike at a very high speed.
This sport is very popular in the Dolomites and like many other activities you can do it at any level of expertise. Be very careful when you choose the path you want to do, always check cautiously the weather forecast (it changes quickly in the mountains) and be prepared with all the equipment you need. Arranging a trip with a guide, especially if you are not familiar with this kind of experience, could be a wise decision to enjoy your adventure on the rocks.
Tips: The equipped path that goes from Averau to Nuvolau mountains groups, between Cortina D’Ampezzo and San Vito di Cadore, is a good place for newbies and people who want to practice their skills.
Photo credits: Alberto De Giuli
This is probably the most exciting way to feel totally free and enjoy wide landscapes crossing the horizon and displaying the charming power of Nature. You don’t have to be an expert, anyone can try this sport with a guide; if you prefer there’s the option of “tandem flies”, to share the experience with someone you love. It may take from 15/20 to 30/40 minutes and fares range from 120 to 170 euros in the Fassa Dolomites.
Tips: Since 2017 there’s a new type of paragliding, starting from Campitello di Fassa, which flies at dawn to benefit from the quiet morning streams and the peace you feel watching the sun rising and the valley awakening.
ADVENTURE PARKS AND HORSE RIDING
The Dolomites are a top-quality place to spend an unforgettable family holiday because they provide lots and lots of activities that could involve and amuse kids. In addition to hikes and bike tours specifically customized for toddlers to teenagers, adventure parks have increased a lot their presence in these mountains. They offer many different paths and itineraries to test abilities and courage. From zip lines to Tibetan bridges or from cableways to platforms on trees children wont be the only ones enjoying.
The little ones in love with animals can easily find places to ride a horse or a pony.
Tips: One of the most exciting adventure parks is the “Agility Forest”, near San Martino di Castrozza, with 55 different paths divided according to complexity level. Some of them are doable by kids from 3 to 6 but others, marked with black colour, are made only for teenagers and adults.
Photo credits: altabadia.org
You’re a golf addict or you’ve always wanted to try out this sport? This is your moment to shine! The Dolomites offer 11 wide areas for both professional and beginners.
Tips: “Altogarda golf” offers several pitches very close to Garda Lake, where you can spend a lovely evening on the water to relax your muscles after a long day at the golf park.
Water is your element? You’re not afraid of cold streams and rapids?
Rafting and canyoning are two of the most popular sports around these mountains. Fun and excitement will be the core of your experience, going up and down between the waves. Not as easy as it looks!
From sailing to windsurfing and more, Garda Lake is the best place to perform other water sports, thanks to some clubs organizing classes in Italian and German. Go through Vemgoo’s website to discover more about kitesurfing lessons in Limone del Garda!
Tips: “Extreme Waves”, in Sole Valley, organizes many different activities, from rafting to mountain bike, trekking, adventure parks and several courses, which culminate in an outdoor picnic all together!
SKI MOUNTAINEERING AND ICE SKATING
If you are a winter-wistful and you think you can’t live without ice and snow, don’t give up hope, there’s something perfect for you! The Dolomites have very high summits (Marmolada is more than 3,000 meters high!) where you can find snow almost any time along the year. Ski mountaineering will allow you to hike with your ski till the top of the mountain and then go down like in downhill skiing. Be extra careful because snow could be very tricky and avalanches are very recurrent in some areas; be sure to organize a trip with someone who is skilled and experienced.
Ice skating in spring is not only a dream! In some towns, stadiums provide big indoor areas where you can ice skate and play hockey.
Tips: If you’ve always been interested in curling, Palacurling Cembra, not far from Trento, with 160 square meter surface, allows anyone to practice or learn with good instructors.
What to do next: relax and eat
Going to the mountains does not mean only experiencing adventures and outdoor activities, it means a full package of emotions, even when you come back to your hotel. The two fundamental steps you can’t quit to fully live the Dolomites perfect holiday are relaxing in a spa and eating some typical food.
Several hotels offer their own spa and thermal baths; sometimes this perk is included in the hotel fare, sometimes it’s a plus you must pay for. If the place you’re staying does not provide this kind of experience, don’t worry: there are a lot of facilities which are made to fulfil your needs. Just have a quick look online for the nearest one to your accommodation and let them do their best for you.
Tips: Even if you’re not a big fan of spas, there’s a franchise that will grab your heart and never let it go, “QC Terme”; the one in the Dolomites is located in Pozza di Fassa, in the Fassa Valley. You can find QC Terme in the most important cities in Italy, but you can’t deny that plunging in a hot tub just outside a wooden building, exactly next to a big green forest and in front of wonderful mountains has a totally different meaning than doing it in the city center in Milan, Turin or Rome. It provides dozens and dozens of different kinds of saunas, swimming pools that can be very cold or very hot, wellness itineraries and massages that will be the cherry on top of your dream holiday.
Photo credits: hotellupobianco.it
Italy is famous worldwide for its food and the Dolomites make no exception to this rule. You’re coming back from a very active day, whether it’s hiking or climbing or windsurfing, that means you don’t have to concern about calories, your stomach deserves a refill. For starter, just choose if you prefer cured meats, cheese or both together coupled with homemade marmalades and some bread. As the first course, you can choose between different kinds of pasta, while as a second course you have to try local meat, like the deer. Don’t miss out the desserts!
Tips: Tasty restaurants for all budgets are everywhere: be sure to download a good app to look for the best place for you.
Photo credit: H. Rier
Recap for your spring holiday in the Dolomites
Here we go, you have all the information you need to organize and make your holiday in the Dolomites special and unforgettable. Now you know there are plenty of experiences and sports for anyone to do in this season, from hiking to cycling, water sports, climbing, paragliding and many more, depending on what you love most. And when you need a break from your day, spent running from one sport to another, just relax and enjoy some peace in a spa or in a spaghetti bowl. Italian mountains are family and animal-friendly, always looking for the best way to make this holiday the best of your life!
You’re already packing your stuff and booking your stay, aren’t you?