Val Gardena in summer
Le The Dolomites, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with their scenic mass in dolomite rock, frame lush valleys dotted with lakes, waterfalls, forests and postcard mountain villages.
Val Gardena is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Dolomites and extends from Ponte Gardena to the Gardena Pass, the Sella Pass and the mountain massif of the same name.
It extends over the entire grandeur of Rio Gardena, that is to say for about 25 km, in the shadow of iconic peaks such as the Sassolungo Group, the Odle Group, the Puez and Sella Group.
In the Ladin language "Gherdeïna", in German "Gröden" and in Italian "Val Gardena": for everyone, however, it is certainly a place that brings together some of the most extraordinary beauties of South Tyrol and the entire Dolomite arch.
From the majestic peak of the Sassolungo (3.181 m), symbol of the valley, al Puez-Odle Natural Park (over 10 thousand hectares of intact nature at 2.500 m high).
The valley offers a splendid view of the The Dolomites and offers many points of interest for those who love the mountain in summer.
What to do and what to see
If in winter it is a popular destination for ski and winter sports enthusiasts, in summer Val Gardena enchants the visitor with its vivid colors, its clear and clean air and its enchanting landscapes.
For example from mid-May until late July, in this splendid Dolomite valley the mountain bloom: the steep slopes of the Pale Mountains are therefore colored by alpine meadowsweet, violets, crocuses, alpine roses, alpine poppy bluebells, in an explosion of color worthy of a painter's palette.
The summer it is the ideal season to dedicate yourself to climbing, on walls that exceed 3000 meters in height such as those of Fuchetta, Sass Rigais and Sassolungo.
Then there is the possibility of exploring the territory on 600 km of mountain-bike and e-bike trails, on dirt roads or mountain paths immersed in the woods, or to organize excursions to discover the Sciliar-Catinaccio Nature Park and the Puez-Odle Nature Park.
Val Gardena is lucky enough to be able to share 2 of the most beautiful and famous mountain passes in the Dolomites with the nearby valleys, we are talking about the Sella Pass and the Gardena Pass.
The passes of Val Gardena are the reference point as they are the destination or starting point for some of the most spectacular excursions offered by this South Tyrolean valley.
It can be accessed by car or with the ski lifts (also active in summer) in order to reach some of the most fascinating viewpoints in the world, or leave for an excursion to the magnificent alpine refuges located at the foot of the great mountains.
The Sella pass is perhaps the most famous among the passes of the Dolomites because in front of it stands out in all its grandeur the summit of Sassolungo. It is in fact nestled between the Sella Group, from which it takes its name, and the Sassolungo.
It actually marks the border between Trentino and Alto Adige, more precisely divides the Val di Fassa (Trentino) from Val Gardena (South Tyrol).
Being the most famous, it is also the most popular with tourists who by car or motorbike climb up to its 2200 meters to admire the 360 degree panorama. THE free parking spaces are few and in fact you have to arrive very early to be able to find someone free in high season, it is better to set the alarm early and reach the Sella Pass before 8 am to be able to guarantee free parking.
Alternatively, there are other paid car parks but these too soon run out of places in July and August.
The best solution is to leave the car in the valley and reach the pass with the shuttle buses or with the ski lifts. Certainly more binding means for the timetable but which effectively reduce the stress due to parking.
The Sella Pass allows you to admire the view to the Sassolungo, Sella group overlooking the part of the Val Badia or the one towards Pordoi, and still admire the glacier of the Marmolada or the peaks surrounding the Val di Fassa. Further on you can see the Odle that overlook the Gardena Valley and on days of good weather you get to observe the Austrian glaciers.
From the Sella pass there are numerous walks that can be undertaken, suitable for all tastes.
For the less experienced and trained you can go up in the direction of Rifugi at the foot of Sassolungo such as Miara hut, a small alpine hut which has now become a mountain restaurant, or the very famous and beautiful Friedrich August refuge which offers a magnificent view over the Val di Fassa and the peaks of the Alpe di Siusi.
Always starting from the Sella Pass you can take a simple hike along the South Tyrolean side which first leads us to the city of stones and then comes to the famous Comici Refuge, style icon in the Dolomites.
The city of stones is a particular point at the foot of the Sassolungo where there are large boulders of rock that fell during an ancient landslide, now the large stones have been incorporated into the alpine vegetation giving the feeling of being in a neighborhood where the scene is not dominated by concrete buildings but by the rocks of the Dolomites surrounded by greenery.
Many animals, among all, also find refuge in the ravines formed by the stony ground the marmots which nice ones roam undisturbed in the meadows and hide in the burrows at the slightest sign of danger.
The city of the Sassi at the Sella Pass is a path especially suitable for families with children, adults can enjoy the view towards the Sella group and children will have fun in the greenery and nature of the Dolomites.
those who love the most demanding excursions you can opt for the Sassolungo tour or the around the Sassolungo and Sassopiatto. Both start from Passo Sella and with a circular route allow you to travel around the surroundings of this important mountain group.
It is useful to leave early in the morning so as to return in time before the classic afternoon thunderstorms and reserve some refreshment stops along the way. It is also good be a little trained in order to avoid a day full of fatigue as the excursion takes the whole day.
In particular, with the Sassolungo and Sassopiatto tour you can admire the landscapes and panoramas of Val Gardena, the Alpe di Siusi, the duron valley which is a small side valley of the Val di Fassa and return to the pass with a magnificent view of Sass pordoi .
Passo Gardena divides Val Gardena fromAlta Badia, 2 of the most fascinating Dolomite valleys.
From the Gardena Pass you can admire a magnificent landscape towards the Sassolungo which appears in all its name from the gardena. An imposing stone wall that rises from the green slopes. But it is the Sella Group that is the real protagonist of this pass in the Dolomites.
From the Gardena pass it almost seems to touch the angular peaks of the saddle group with a finger, alternating gigantic stone bell towers to the scree that descends to touch the green meadows.
From the Gardena Pass you can undertake various excursions to the surrounding peaks or you can simply enjoy this magnificent panorama between Val Gardena and Val Badia. Nearby is the landmark of the Gardena pass, la Chapel of San Maurizio a small mountain church with a characteristic appearance immersed in a spectacular setting.
A separate note deserve the Castles of the Gardena Valley, which embody the millennia of history of the valley and which deserve to be visited. The valley is home to three imposing buildings, an imperishable testimony of the history they contain: Castel Gardena, Wolkenstein Castle and the medieval castle of Stetteneck.
Il medieval castle of Stetteneck contains an ancient legend and was believed lost until 2000, the year in which archaeological excavations began in Sant'Anna, which brought to light the foundations, a part of the keep, a part of the surrounding walls, a Romanesque arch and a castle door.
Villages of Val Gardena
Ortisei is the capital of the Valley, is famous for its historic center, which contains works of art to be discovered, but also for the vast offer of activities and sports that can be practiced and, last but not least, as a shopping center in the valley.
The most suggestive spectacle, however, of Ortisei is offered by the mountains: the Resciesa to the North, reachable thanks to a funicular, the Seceda further east, connected by a cable car, the Alpe di Siusi with its prairies to the south, which was reached thanks to a gondola.
The historic center of this characteristic village is dotted with churches including the sixteenth-century Chapel of S. Anna complete with a characteristic cemetery, the late-Baroque style Parish of S. Maria Assunta with a beautiful altarpiece by Josef Moroder Lusenberg inside. and above all the Church of San Giacomo.
The latter is one of the oldest churches in Val Gardena dating back to the XNUMXth century and is located in a spectacular panoramic position, with a unique view of the Sassopiatto, the Sassolungo and the Sella Group.
In Ortisei there is also the "Museo de Gherdëina" located inside the Cësa di Ladins: here you can admire wooden sculptures of the nativity, animals and sacred art, but also collections of butterflies, stuffed animals, herbariums, fossils, collections of minerals and ancient toys, with some pieces dating back to 1750.
Selva di Val Gardena
Selva di Gardena is the highest village in the valley, located at an altitude of 1563 meters between the Puez Group and the Sassolungo. In particular, the Chapel of San Silvestro frescoed at least 3 centuries ago, the Church of Santa Maria ad Nives dating back to the XNUMXth century and the remains of the XNUMXth century castle of Wolkenstein, reachable via a steep path, are worth seeing.
In Selva di Gardena there is also the Casa Sartëur, on whose blue facade there is a clock complete with a carillon which, at 11:00 and 18:00, comes to life with the parade of four medieval sculptures to the rhythm of music.
Santa Cristina Val Gardena
It is the vault of Santa Cristina, a village located at an altitude of 1428 meters right in front of the mass of the Sassolungo. Less touristy than Ortisei, this small town in Val Gardena hides small jewels such as the Church of S.Cristina and S.Antonio, also mentioned in the papal letter of 1342 even if only the Romanesque bell tower remains of the original layout.
In the Iman sports center, on the other hand, there is the largest wooden crib in the world, carved by the artisans of the valley: it is one of the greatest expressions of the art of carving, which between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries made the fortunes of the entire Val Gardena.
After a look at the Spherical Equatorial Sundial located on Monte Pana, from the Col Raiser station you can reach the UNESCO Cinema, one of the most beautiful and photographed viewpoints in Val Gardena. It is about a belvedere overlooking the peaks that surround the valley, reproducing their profile on the carved wooden railing.
To fully experience and get to know Val Gardena from a landscape point of view, there is nothing better than organizing excursions, for simple beginners or for the more experienced and trained.
From the village of Santa Cristina there are a series of paths that can also be followed by families, such as the Ferata de Gherdeina which takes place on the ancient stretch traveled in the past by the Val Gardena train.
From Santa Cristina then the Troi Dala Lijëndes trail which reaches the Church of S. Giacomo in Ortisei, complete with signs that tell the legend of Count Jakob von Stetteneck.
Speaking of Santa Cristina, from the valley station of Monte Pana another easy path starts towards the beautiful ones Tervela Falls, born from a stream that originates from the Sassolungo. Along the way you will come across the workshop of Otto Moroder, a great wood carving artist.
From the same village you can also reach the Seurasas hut, another of the panoramic points of Val Gardena, born as a simple shelter for shepherds: from the terrace you can enjoy a splendid view of the Alpe di Siusi, the Sassolungo and the Sella Group. It can be reached by taking the Col Raiser cable car, then following path 2 to Monte Pic, passing through Sella Cuca and Lake Santo.
Instead of the cable car, you can get to Col Raiser on foot, with the opportunity to meet the Iman Lake of glacial origin, located at 2873 meters above sea level in the shadow of the Grande Fermeda.
Excursions in Val Gardena
Between the most beautiful excursions to do in Val Gardena there is the one at the time of the Alpe di Siusi, which has always been interested in legends of enchanted and magical beings. The Alpe di Siusi cable car departs from Ortisei leading to the top of Mount Bullaccia: path n.14 crosses pastures and meadows up to Croce Filln and the suggestive Witches' Benches, curious rock formations among which an old witch seems to be wandering.
Far more demanding is theexcursion to the Sella Group, crossing lunar moors shrouded in total silence: you cross the Pordoi Pass, the Cavazza al Pisciadù Refuge, located next to the lake of the same name with crystal clear waters and then the Gardena Pass.
From the Dantercepies plant in Selva di Gardena you can reach the enchanting Jimmy Hutte Refuge, located in its typical Tyrolean style at 2220 meters above sea level in the presence of the Sella Group. From the refuge, along the path n.2, you reach the Forcella Crespeina e the Crespeina Lake emerald color thanks to the presence of algae in the seabed. The final stop on this excursion is the historic Puez Refuge, born in 1889 thanks to the Ladin DuÖAV section.
Holidays in Val Gardena
In light of the many outdoor activities to do in the summer in Val Gardena, a week is the minimum for a holiday in this wonderful Dolomite valley.
In this way you have time to enjoy the nature of Val Gardena on exciting excursions, stop in the shelters to taste the typical cuisine (from canederli to ravioli crafuncins up to barley soup, goulash with polenta, speck and excellent strudeòl) and participate in folkloric events.
For example, on 1 August in the three most important villages of Val Gardena parades of citizens dressed in typical clothes, including dances and popular music, take place.
The accommodation offer in Val Gardena is varied and meets the needs of everyone, from those of families to the needs of hikers: there is therefore no shortage of residences, holiday apartments, typical mountain hotels furnished with larch furniture and above all the garnì, that is the version montana family run B&B.
Holidays for families with children
Val Gardena is one of the main valleys of the Dolomites choice for families with children. The reason for this choice is given by the dedicated tourist offer that meets the needs of families such as paths suitable for children, presence of comfortable shelters and hotels with dedicated offers.
Val Gardena can count on several family hotels with services and offers specially designed for families with children. Fromkindergarten for children smaller ones to the animation for those a little bigger, dedicated menus and large rooms for a comfortable holiday.
These are the characteristics most requested by those who stay in the villages of Ortisei, Selva and Santa Cristina, characteristics that are found not only in large hotels but also in many of the Garnì and bed and breakfasts in the valley.
The accommodation facilities in the valley are a great one that is accompanied by a wide choice of easy excursions suitable for children. from paths suitable for strollers to educational hiking trails where you can discover the secrets of the forest, and a dense network of routes facilitated by the ski lifts that reduce the altitude difference and allow access at high altitude even to families.
I shelters they are the icing on the cake with modern and fully equipped facilities all services even in the high mountains, this offers greater safety on cloudy days or in case of sudden bad weather.
On rainy days the center of the villages offer various pastimes from museums at the exhibitions on nature and South Tyrolean traditions.
Val Gardena is fortunate to be directly connected with the lifts to theSiusi plateau, a real semi-flat paradise at 2000 meters with easy paths, typical huts and the peaks of the Dolomites soaring towards the sky.
Summer holidays Val Gardena
If you are considering a summer holiday in Val Gardena, below you can find useful links to find hotels and holiday apartments.
Find Summer Offers
The best offers in the mountains in summer, in hotels, bed and breakfasts or holiday apartments