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Sellagruppe in den Dolomiten, Bild: cherryyblossom / shutterstock

Val Gardena: Hospitable holiday paradise in South Tyrol

Val Gardena (Val Gardena) is considered a real holiday paradise due to its location in the Dolomites and the well-known Val Gardena hospitality. The Val Gardena, which is surrounded by picturesque meadows, high mountain peaks and the three villages of Selva, Ortisei and S. Cristina, invites you to cycle, hike and linger. In winter, winter sports enthusiasts have access to an extensive ski area that offers suitable slopes for both beginners and professionals.

The three villages in Val Gardena

The Dolomites
The Dolomites, Image: OlegRi / shutterstock

The three Val Gardena municipalities in South Tyrol – Selva, Ortisei and S. Cristina – are located at an altitude of between 1,200 and 1,700 metres above sea level. Each place exudes its own charm. The Dolomite villages are famous above all for their traditional woodcarving art, but also for the specialties of South Tyrolean cuisine.

S. Cristina

The smallest village in Val Gardena is S. Cristina. It is located exactly opposite the main summit of the Sassolungo group in the Val Gardena Dolomites, the Sassolungo. S. Cristina is located between Selva and Ortisei and is an ideal starting point for day trips to the region in summer and winter, for example to the Sciliar-Catinaccio or to the Puez-Odle Nature Parks.

There are numerous hiking trails available for hiking enthusiasts. Many paths are suitable for prams. Mountaineers and climbers also get their money’s worth. Directly on the doorstep of the village are Monte Pana, Seceda and the Pic mountain. In winter, there are numerous opportunities for young and old winter sports fans. S. Cristina is located on the FIS World Cup slope Saslong. Monte Pana, on the other hand, offers perfectly groomed trails, making it a paradise for cross-country skiers.

In the village itself, in addition to pretty houses, there are many small shops and cafés for strolling and stopping for a bite to eat. If you are looking for a hotel in S. Cristina in Val Gardena , you will also find it. To learn more about S. Cristina, you can go from here, for example, on the famous Legends Trail, where numerous display boards tell the story of Count Stetteneck. The Legends Trail has a total distance of about 5.8 kilometers and takes about three hours, depending on your walking speed. The village tour is somewhat shorter at about 3.9 kilometres, where the waterfall and the life-size wooden nativity scene are two popular highlights.

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Ortisei

Ortisei is the main town of Val Gardena and is particularly known for its beautiful village centre, the beautiful pedestrian zone with many small shops, restaurants and cafés. Like S. Cristina, Ortisei also offers ideal conditions for an active and hiking holiday in the mountains – both in summer and winter.

In the warm season, you can reach many beautiful hiking trails in the region from Ortisei. The Alpe di Siusi with its lush green meadows is an absolute highlight. Seceda and Resciesa are also very easy to reach. In winter, the surrounding ski areas provide plenty of winter sports fun in all levels of difficulty. Culinary specialties await visitors in numerous ski huts.

Ortisei has been an important location for wood carving since the 17th century. As early as the 19th century, tourism in the beautiful Dolomite town gained economic importance when mountaineers used the place as a starting point for their mountain tours. Today, tourism is the most important source of income. The old Val Gardena tradition meets an excellent infrastructure for visitors and modern accommodation.

Selva

Selva is one of the most famous villages in the entire Alpine region and in the Dolomites. The location of the place could not be more perfect – in the middle of the Dolomites, which have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the immediate vicinity of the picturesque village is the Vallunga, which leads into the Puez mountain range. The landscape around Selva is also characterised by the Sella massif, the Sassolungo Group, the Gardena Pass and the Cir peaks.

The history of Selva dates back to 1288. Here the place was first mentioned in a document as “ze Wolkenstain”. Today, tourism is the most important economic sector of the Dolomite town. The great hospitality, the very good infrastructure and the wonderful location in the middle of the Dolomites make an important contribution to the fact that people from all over the world are drawn to Selva every year.

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In spring and summer, there is a lot to discover in and around Selva: on foot, by bike or mountain bike. In winter, the area turns into a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. The village offers, for example, direct access to the Sella-Ronda ski carousel. The world-famous ski circuit around the great massif of the Sella is an absolute must for winter sports fans. It offers the opportunity to circumnavigate the mountain on over 500 kilometers of slopes, on skis.

Val Gardena – a holiday “par excellence”

Some want to do sports, others want to slow down while hiking, breathe clear mountain air and enjoy the unique view over the Dolomite peaks and green mountain meadows. Val Gardena offers a large network of relaxed, well-signposted hiking trails to challenging narrow paths for mountain bikers. Numerous lifts take visitors to the mountains even in the warm summer months. For a rest, the inviting huts are recommended, where hikers can indulge in South Tyrolean delicacies.

You could say: Val Gardena offers a holiday in a class of its own. This is also ensured by a pleasantly warm climate in summer and plenty of snow in winter. In summer, temperatures average a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius during the day and 10 degrees Celsius at night. In winter, they range from minus 3 degrees Celsius at night to 7 degrees Celsius during the day.

It never gets boring in Val Gardena. There are numerous events taking place in both summer and winter, from sporting events to art festivals and film festivals. Many events focus on customs and culture in Val Gardena.

For example, every year on the first Sunday in August, the locals get their festive clothes out of the closets. At “Val Gardena in Traditional Costume” you take yourself back to another time. The “Dolomitale Film Festival” takes place every year in September. The aim is to promote the work of local film producers and make it accessible to a wider audience. Last but not least, sports enthusiasts are drawn to the numerous sporting events in the region – whether “HERO Südtirol Dolomites”, the toughest mountain bike race in the world, or “Sella Ronda Bike Day”, the bike event for the whole family in September.