The Dolomites on your doorstep
Feel the power of the mountains
In June 2009 the Dolomites were added to UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage list. Their unique beauty derives in particular from the spectacular variety of the scenery: steep mountains, soaring pinnacles and turrets alternating with deep valleys and rolling hills.
There is scientific evidence to prove that a holiday in the Dolomites is good for your health: Even a few days spent at an elevation of between 1,200 and 2,000 metres above sea-level strengthen the circulation and the immune system, stimulate the production of red blood corpuscles and endorphins, and improve the quality of your sleep and your mood. Apart from the sheer pleasure, a holiday in the mountains of Val Gardena is the perfect way to benefit from these healthy side effects.
You will be thrilled by the sunrise on Alpe di Siusi, by the fiery glow of the Sella massif and the Sassolungo when the day draws to a close in the evening, and by the sheer natural beauty of the Puez Odle Nature Park.
Take time off and create your own space for dreams!
The Dolomites: a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site
Bizarre rock formations are a typical feature of the “pale mountains” (“monti pallidi” in Italian), which glow fiery red at sunset. More than any other mountain range, the Dolomites – with their pronounced bands of rock – tell the story of their creation and provide striking evidence of the history of the Earth.
The rock of the Dolomites is made up of petrified coral reefs that grew 230 million years ago on the bed of an ancient sea. The collision of the continental plates thrust the rock up and out of the sea, forming the spectacular mountains that now soar up to 3,000 metres under a mostly radiant blue sky. By the way: The name “Dolomites” goes back to the French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu, who was the first to describe this type of rock.
Today the Dolomites are world-famous for spectacular walking and skiing. In June 2009 they were placed on UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage list. To learn all about them, join our experienced local skiing and walking guides on one of our guided outings.
From wonderful walks, mountain climbing and mountain biking to skiing thrills, snowshoe walks and high-level cross-country skiing – variety is the spice of life in Val Gardena.
Whether you are looking for a challenge or prefer a more leisurely style, the Val Gardena walkers’ paradise is the place for all comers. On foot, by bike or with the convenience of a modern lift – the choice is yours when discovering the fascinating world of the Dolomites.
Feel the power of the mountains at sunset on the Alpe di Siusi, Europe’s biggest high-level plateau. Enjoy the fabulous views of the mountain landscape in the Puez Odles Nature Park. Let your thoughts roam free at the heart of the Dolomites.
The Dolomiti Superski winter sports paradise is the world’s biggest interconnected ski area, with 450 modern lifts and cable cars and over 1,200 kilometres of perfectly groomed trails with guaranteed snow cover. And there are plenty of alternatives, too: tobogganing, winter walks, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and leisurely sleigh rides.
And for the après-ski, there is always a snug mountain lodge waiting with typical regional fare.
In the Dolomites of Val Gardena, it is always the right time for healthy exercise in a splendid natural setting.
Ortisei in Val Gardena
In the centre of the South Tyrolean Dolomites lies Val Gardena, a 25 kilometre long side valley of the Eisack Valley. It is one of the best areas for skiing and walking in Europe and a very popular all-year holiday region.
At 1,236 stimulating metres above sea-level, the lively traditional wood-carving village of Ortisei in Val Gardena offers not just breath-taking scenery but also everything else needed for a holiday in the way of entertainment and sports: a pedestrian precinct with lots of little shops and attractive coffee houses, concerts and other cultural events, all kinds of sports for the energetic as well as quiet corners for sheer relaxation and time for yourself ...
Occupying a quiet location in Ortisei’s pedestrian precinct, the Hotel ADLER DOLOMITI Spa & Sport Resort is your central base for countless outdoor experiences at the heart of the Dolomites. The main cable cars are close to the hotel so, if you wish, you can put your car in the garage when you arrive and leave it there.
The hotel’s own local guides – Thaddäus, Pauli, Leo and Verena – are at your service throughout the year with an attractive programme of outdoor activities. On foot, mountain bike or skis, they will help you discover the very best of the Dolomites.
Sport Events in Val Gardena - Summer
Val Gardena Mountain Run - June
A race in the mountains over a distance of approx. 14,5 km and a vertical drop of 1,280 m. fopr elite athletes and amateure, with a spectacular sart in Ortisei (1,238 m) and the finish at the top of Seceda (2,518 m).
Sellaronda Hero - June
The hardest mountain bike marathon around the Sella.
This long-distance race is open to elite and amateur mountain bikers, who can choose between two routes: the marathon distance of 85 kilometres and 4,500 metres of altitude and the classic distance of 60 kilometres and 3,400 meters.
In 2015 the Hero was also the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship.
Sellaronda Bike Day - June & September
A must for cycling aficionados. The four passes around Sella are closed to car traffic and reserved for cyclists.
Sport Events in Val Gardena - Winter
Alpine Ski World Cup
The Alpine World Cup in Val Gardena has been one of the sporting highlights since 1970. Athletes from all over the world compete on the famous Saslong, racing down the slopes and over the "Camel Cumps" at a speed of 100 km/h an more. Don’t miss the World Cup atmosphere!
Sellaronda Ski Marathon - March
A spectacular international night ski mountaineering race. The route is 42 km long, and the participants have to tackle the 4 passes around the Sella massif (Sella, Gardena, Pordoi and Campolongo).
Gardenissima - end of March
The longest giant slalom in the Dolomites (7 km), leading from Seceda (2,500 m) to S. Cristina (1,400 m). The race is open to both Alpine greats and amateur skiers. You are invited to participate, too!
Cultural Events in Val Gardena
valgardenaMusika - July & AugustDuring July and August, the "valgardenaMusika" music festival includes top-level classical concerts with internationally renowned artists.
Val Gardena Folklore Festival - AugustVal Gardena's traditional costumes are among the most splendid and elaborated in the Alps. Every year on the first Sunday in August, a parade with traditional Ladin costumes is held in one of the three towns of the valley.
Unika - end of AugustIn this attractive exhibition, Gardena's sculptors present to the public their wood carving art at the Ortisei Tennis Centre - a great opportunity to make contact with many artists who work for a living.
Christmas in Val Gardena
Christmas Village & Market
A hundered emotions, a thousand gift ideas and a host of events not to be missed ...
In December Ortisei is transformed into a magical Christmas world, with a Christmas market to be enjoyed with all the senses.
Fairy-tale standa offer visitors regional products and scrumptious dishes. You’ll be spoilt for choice, with a wide range of original gift ideas, delicious biscuits and cakes, and fine wines and grappas.
Choirs, ensembles, alphorn musicians and students from the Val Gardena Music School will ensure that the Christmas Village of Ortisei rings out in festive cheer.More information
Other markets nearby:
Bressanone, Vipiteno, Brunico, Bolzano, Merano.
Worth a visitThe Dolomites are the biggest and most amazing sight in Val Gardena, while museums, churches and other cultural institutions provide information on the history and life of the people.
Here are some tips, including some ideas for rainy days:
The many churches and chapels of Val Gardena
The oldest church in Val Gardena stands above Ortisei and dates back to the 12th century. The Church of San Giacomo is dedicated to St. James, the patron saint of walkers and pilgrims. The church as it stands today is a Gothic structure. Art lovers will also be interested in the churches of Ortisei and S. Cristina.
Cësa di Ladins, the Val Gardena Regional Heritage Museum
Learn about the history and culture of Val Gardena. The local museum ("Museum de Gherdëina" in Ladin) has a section devoted to the history of wood carving in the region, houses the Luis Trenker Collection, and offers an insight into the local geology, fauna and flora.
The Ladin Regional Museum in St. Martin in Thurn
The "Museum Ladin Ciastel de Tor", as it is called in Ladin, provides a multimedia introduction of the language, culture and history of the Ladin people in the Dolomites.
UNIKA was established in 1994 as a platform for arts and crafts in Val Gardena. Its members include wood carvers, sculpture painters, gilders and ornamental sculptors. With its 500 sqm. of floor space, the gallery contains works by 45 artists, all of them unique items. Among other things, daily carving demonstrations are also offered.www.arsunika.com
ART 52 exhibition
The Cultural Centre in Ortisei provides an overview of modern arts and crafts in Val Gardena, with works of 52 sculptors and painters as well as dealers’ items presented on 330 sq.m. of floor space. The styles of the exhibits are indicative of the sheer variety of developments in local arts and crafts in a tradition that goes back over 400 years.
Gallery Doris Ghetta
Gallery Doris Ghetta at Pontives near Ortisei is one of the most important addresses for contemporary art in the Dolomites - with representation in international art fairs such as Miami, New York and Basel. Collectors or simply lovers of contemporary art will find a large exhibition space, with high-quality works of local and international artists and interesting solo exhibitions.www.dorisghetta.com
Cultural and Artistic Circle
The Cultural and Artistic Circle in Ortisei is a volunteer association of people interested in art. The activity focuses on cultural events for all age groups, exhibitions and the management of the art library. On the ground floor there is an exhibition hall, where throughout the year different art exhibitions by international artists from around the world take place.www.circologardena.org
Ötzi, the Man from the Ice
Take a look at the world’s oldest glacial mummy and learn about life in a very distant past. 5,300-year-old Ötzi, plus various items of his clothing and equipment, are to be seen in the South Tyrolean Archaeology Museum in Bolzano.www.iceman.it
Reinhold Messner has dedicated a museum occupying six unusual locations in the spectacular Alpine landscape to the world’s mountains and mountain cultures. The heart of the Messner Mountain Museum is MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bolzano, where the focus is on the man-mountain relationship.
Messner Mountain Museum
Gardens of Trauttmansdorff
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, located in the town of Merano (Meran) in northern Italy, is a botanical garden nestled into a twelve-hectare amphitheatre with an altitude differential of 100 meters. Trauttmansdorff offers spectacular views of exotic gardens and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and the spa resort town of Merano.
Colorful plants from all around the world thrive and bloom in Trauttmansdorff’s more than eighty garden landscapes.
The Touriseum, South Tyrol’s Museum of Tourism, moved into the beautifully restored rooms Trauttmansdorff Castle in 2003. Since then, this Merano museum has carried visitors of all ages on an intriguing journey through 200 years of Alpine tourism history.
One of the Touriseum’s very unique features is the South Tyrol Pinball Machine. Measuring ten metres in length, it is the world’s largest pinball machine. It was created by a master woodcarver from the Gardena (Grödner) Valley, and will take you on an amusing and thrilling journey through South Tyrol.
The women's museum describes the history of the woman with clothes and fashion trends, with accessories and everyday objects; tells about the woman's life, about dreams, hopes, and also about progress.
In our special exhibition hall we show women-specific exhibitions from home and abroad which deepen the subject of women's ideals, women's pictures, and women's roles. In addition, different cultural events are conducted at the museum.
Culture & tradition
Did you know that ...?
The ferata - the Val Gardena railway
... was built during World War I tosupply the Dolomite front?
Thanks to the labour of 3,500 soldiers, 6,000 prisoners of war, and more than 500 civilian labourers, engineers and technicians, the work was completed in just six months. The railway was also crucial in the post-war period for transporting passengers and goods, and contributed greatly to the development of the tourism industry in the valley. Today there is a walk along the line fo the old railway.
The traditional costumes of Val Gardena
... are among the richest and most developed in the Alps?
On theis travels, Gardena merchants were able to buy fine fabrics, silk ribbons, laces, buckles and precious stones. Nowadays, these beautiful clothes are worn especially during religious festivals and processions.
...is still the mother tongue of most of the population of Val Gardena?
This language goes back to the ancient Roman settlements in the valley two thousand years ago. A Ladin radio station, television news and other publications, as well as teaching in schools all help to keep the Ladin language and culture alive.
... and tourism are the most important industries in Val Gardena?
The wood carving tradition dates back to the sixteenth century, when families began to make religious images and toys at home. Even today the industry employs over a thousand people and their creations are exported and sold all over the world.
The World Ski Championships
... took place in Val Gardena in 197?
Their memory is linked to that of legends like Karl Schranz, Patrick Russell, Piero Gros and Gustav Thöni. But the local communities have also produced champions as Peter Rungaldier and Isolde Kostner. Since 1970 Val Gardena hosts every year in mid-December men's World Cup races.
Forestum to Gredine
... is the first written document mentioning the Val Gardena and dates back to the year 999?
The manuscript recorda the transfer fo the forests of Val Gardena to Bishop Gottschalk von Freising. It took many centuries before the first road to Val Gardena was built (1856). That opened a new era for the valley and marked the befinning of economic development.
Celebrities of Val Gardena
Did you know that they were born in Ortisei?
... mountaineer, acchitect, book author, actor and director of many mountain films, as well as architect. In 1926 he helped design the central structure of the ADLER. He is buried in the cemetery in Ortisei. The Val Gardena Museum preserves his estate.
... world-famous composer, record producer and winner of three Oscars for Best Score. He currently lives in Beverly Hills but returns regularly to Ortisei for summer vacations.
... international star of figure skating: 15 medals at Olympic Games, World and European Championships. Among his greatest successes there are the victory of the World Championship in 2012 and the bronze medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.