Standing at 3,343 metres, the Marmolada is visible on a clear day from the Italian city of Venice. This mountain is the highest in the range known as the Dolomites which make up a small part of the Southern Alps connecting Italy with Austria. The whole area is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dolomites are a mecca for outdoor activities most notably skiing in the winter months and hiking or mountain climbing in the summer.
Whilst Cortina d’Ampezzo is the range’s ski destination of choice for many Italian celebrities you’ll be well rewarded for heading further west to Selva Gardena for a more relaxing ski experience. This is one of the most attractive ski resorts in the Dolomites where visitors are spoilt for choice when choosing a place to stay thanks to a fine selection of luxury hotels on the one hand and a great choice of charming Alpine lodges on the other.
Followers of World Cup skiing will be aware of Selva Gardena as it has hosted the legendary downhill race on the Saslong slope since the 1970s.
Skiing in Selva Gardena
The Val Gardena ski area provides access to 175km of slopes served by an impressive network of modern lifts. There are slopes suitable for all ability levels including a great selection of cross country skiing. Snowboarders are well catered for and there’s a great range of snow related activities on offer from the resort including sleighing, tobogganing and ice-skating.
With access to 78 ski lifts, the Val Gardena/Alpe di Siusi ski pass provides ample skiing opportunities for the majority of visitors. However, if you want more simply get hold of the Dolomiti Superski pass which covers 1,220 km of slopes throughout 12 valleys of the Dolomite range. This allows experienced skiers to take any number of stunning ski tours such as the Sellaronda which is a six hour, 26km trip around the Sella group of mountains taking in four valleys in three separate provinces!
The AprÃ¨s Ski isn’t as wild as in some Alpine resorts but there’s a fine selection of lively bars and pubs in the centre of the village with a few nightclubs opening late. There’s a delightful restaurant scene thanks to the fusion of Tyrolean and Italian cuisine.
Getting to Selva Gardena
The stunning drive from Innsbruck Airport (130km) to Selva Gardena takes around 2 hours whilst Verona Airport (205km) is also an option taking around 2 hours 40 minutes by road. In reality, however, the majority of skiers heading for the slopes of not only Selva Gardena but also the Dolomites as a whole tend to arrive in Venice thanks to the larger number of budget airlines offering services there.
Venice has two airports, Venice Marco Polo and Venice Treviso, which are both convenient for getting to Selva Gardena. Venice Marco Polo airport is located right on the edge of the Venetian lagoon overlooking the Adriatic. It’s almost a 200km drive to Selva Gardena which takes a little over 3 hours though the views make the journey worthwhile. Venice Treviso airport is a little closer but with an almost identical journey time you can remain fairly indifferent when choosing the best of the two airports for getting to Selva Gardena.
Specialist ski transfer operator, Shuttledirect, provide transfers from all these airports to Selva Gardena and other resorts of the Dolomites. For a live quote you can check out their rates from Treviso at the website.
Where to Stay in Selva Gardena
You can choose to stay in one of the fine hotels located in the village centre or opt for a rustic Alpine hut nearer the slopes. There’s also a good range of self-catering options around. Any hotels which are members of the local tourist association will provide their guests with a ‘Val Gardena Mobil Card’ which allows for unlimited use of local buses during your stay.
Here are a few recommended accommodation options:
Granvara Relais & Spa Hotel (Str. La Selva 66): You’ll receive a warm welcome in this lovely hotel located a short walk out of the village. The mountain views all around the property are stunning whilst the hotel’s facilities including rooms, restaurant and swimming pool are first class. A 4-star property with 5-star service.
Hotel Sporting (Via Rainel 65): Located just a few minutes walk from the centre of Val Gardena this charming property is a fine option. Great rooms, lovely staff and an excellent restaurant with fantastic mountain views. The hotel provides a shuttle bus service to the Ciampinoi and the Danterceppies ski lifts during the winter season.
Hotel Tyrol (Str Puez 12): Beautiful rooms and delightful staff are just a couple of the compliments earned by this delightful hotel. Well located with an impressive pool and spa area together with an exceptional restaurant make this property another one to consider when planning your visit to Val Gardena.
Mountain Chalet Pra Ronch (Via La Selva 80): Bed and breakfast at this luxurious chalet is a highly recommended alternative to the ski hotel experience. Located in Wolkenstein, it is a 15 minute walk from Val Gardena. The hotel is a rustic, wooden structure run by a charming couple called Erika and Albin who really go out of their way to look after you. Ideal spot for skiing with the slopes just a short walk away.