As part of the Val di Fassa region of the Dolomites, the village of Canazei has some fairly impressive credentials when it comes to skiing. But in summer, the picturesque mountains and valleys around the village transform into an exciting network of mountain biking trails. With steep, rugged uphill trails and gentle rides through woodlands skirting streams and high altitude lakes, to thrilling descents to challenge even the most seasoned riders, MTB offers a wonderful way to get up close and personal to appreciate this awe-inspiring landscape.
Top Tough MTB Trails
In the immediate area around the town there are lots of tough trails to get your wheels straight into. The circular route from Canazei to Passo Luissa via Moena is 32 miles of adrenaline pumping ascents and descents, which take you through some amazing scenery. For an added degree of torture that hurts in all the good ways, instead of turning back at Moena, take the route home through Passo di Costalunga and Carezza, which adds another few miles. These routes will take around six hours to complete.
The Circular Sassolungo is another challenging route of around 28 miles, and while it may be shorter than the preceding one, with lots of uphill sections it will take on average around 11 hours to complete. You’ll need to set off early for this one!
The 28-mile trail from Canzei to Media, Pozza Val San Nicolo and back includes some welcome flat sections past lovely pine forests, streams and mountain huts. (Keep an eye out for some very unusual wooden carvings along the way!) This route will take around six hours for experienced riders.
The route from Canazei through Paso Duron, Val Gardena, and on to Passo Sella and back is around 24 miles – and it’s not for the faint hearted. There are a lot of uphill sections and in quite a few places you’ll have to dismount and carry your bike through the dramatic, rugged landscape.
Another much shorter but suitably tough route is from Canazei up to Refugio Contrin (where you can stop for lunch and take in some amazing views over the valley) and back. It’s an 11-mile round trip and should take about three hours – or longer, depending on what you order for lunch and just how long you want to sit in the sun.
The shortest, but by no means easiest route (in fact, quite the opposite) is the Bicipateo al Pass Ombretta Marmolada. It’s around seven miles of very steep and arduous going, but the views and the feeling of achievement are well worth the effort. When you reach the 2700m altitude, make sure you have your photo taken at the signpost to prove you made it! There are various ways of getting back, one being via the Refugio Contrin, which is highly recommended. It will take about 5.5 hours to get to the high point.
Equipment and Lift Passes
If you’re planning on bringing your own bike, nearly all the hotels will have some kind of storage facility, although some may charge. There are also plenty of places you can hire a decent bike in town, including Bikeasy (Streda del Ciuch), Northland (Streda del Piz), and Detomas Shop (Streda del Pareda). Prices start at around €6 an hour or €25 a day.
To get you around the entire Val di Fasso region, the winter ski lift system is adapted to carry bikes. A mixture of cabin and chair lifts range from €5 to €14 for a one-way ticket including bike, and there’s also a bus service, ‘Fiemme-Fassa Bike Express’, which runs every day, three times a day, from Molina di Femme to Canazei.
While there’s plenty of easy trails for beginners and intermediates, for the serious, experienced biker, Canazei is one of the best places to grab a few mates and head off for a weekend of dirty downhill adventure!
How to Get to Canazei
Depending on your closest airport in the UK, you can fly in to Innsbruck, Munich, Verona, Bolzano, or Venice. If you arrive via Marco Polo airport, a shared or private Venice airport transfer with Shuttle Direct is the easiest, most convenient way to get the rest of the way to Canazei. You’ll be met at the airport and then driven directly to your accommodation in the picturesque Dolomites in around 3 hours. If you’re bringing your mountain bike, let us know in advance so we can arrange suitable transport.
If you’re driving to Canazei from the UK, you should set aside two days travel time unless you have multiple drivers and particularly want to get there in a hurry. From Calais the journey will take a total of 12-15 hours driving time, staying the night in France or Germany, then heading up through Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass into Italy.
Where to Stay:
Residence Bel Sit – A superb location for a mountain bike holiday base, the Residence Bel Sit offers affordable accommodation with character and charm. The contemporary timber décor of the apartments provides the perfect frame to offset the magnificent views, and with a fully-equipped kitchen, you can enjoy home cooked meals on the balcony under the shadow of the magnificent Dolomites.
Hotel & Club Bellevue – Cycle straight from the trails to the door of your accommodation at the Hotel & Club Bellevue. You’ll know you’re in Italy here, with ambient décor infused with bright colours, cosy timber details and traditional features. With plenty of storage for your bikes, and close to the hire shops in town, you can explore the mountains all day, then return to a relaxing session in the wellness centre.
Chalet Vites Mountain Hotel – Chase the adrenalin rush of mountain biking all day and enjoy the lap of luxury when you return to the Chalet Vites Mountain Hotel. The striking décor of the hotel creates a unique ambience, with the warm timber accents offset with modern artworks and furnishings, creating an elegant fusion of contemporary and traditional. You’ll be ready for another day’s biking after one of the wellness centre’s sensory showers or steam baths.