Where in the world is Cortina?!
Cortina d’Ampezzo, or more simply Cortina, is a small town in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Situated in the centre of the Dolomites (part of the Italian Alps), this village has been named “The Queen of the Dolomites” for its natural beauty and wide range of mountain activities. Cortina is also easy to reach from other countries, located only 2 hours north of Venice.
We recently spent 4 days in this lovely town which was the perfect amount of time to visit this ski destination. Aside from skiing, Cortina has an interesting military history, having fought against the Austrians during the First World War, and this is evident in the large collection of bunkers, trenches and tunnels available to explore. The Great War Open Air museum is also definitely worth a visit.
However, the true draw to the town is Cortina’s ski scene which is not to be missed! While you can visit this cute town all year around, the best time to visit is in the winter. In fact, being part of the Dolomiti Super ski terrain makes Cortina part of the world’s largest skiing area. Opting for a single skipass will give you the opportunity to access more than 450 lifts and 1.220km of ski pistes, as Cortina is surrounded by mountains on almost all sides: Tofane to its West (part of the Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti), Cristallo and Faloria to the northeast and Cinque Torri (Five Towers) to the south. On our trip we had the chance to visit every ski station mentioned above!
On our first day we chose to take it easy and spend some time walking around the city centre, renting the ski equipment and having a delicious hot chocolate! The following day we decided to drive to Cinque Torri, as the weather was particularly nice and the landscape just breathtaking on a sunny day! It also deserves to be mentioned that the food we had was exquisite and really cheap! Here are some of the typical dishes you can find:
- Barley Soup
- Patate Ampezzane
- Kaiserschmarrn (The Emperor’s Omelette)
The next days, we opted for Tofana, including Ra Valles (2.475m height) and Faloria for exhilarating slopes in crisp, beautiful weather. On the other hand, if the idea of launching yourself down a mountain does not appeal, you can still take the cable car and stop to eat with a breathtaking view or walk one of the Tofana’s snowshoe trails. At a height of approximately 2.600m, the trails are perfect for beginners and will take around 1 hour to complete. And if you really want to make the most of the mountain experience, you could choose to sleep in one of the many chalets situated on the trail.
Cortina is an ideal place for families, groups of friends or couples to have their first ski trip in rich Italian style! Don’t forget to bundle up though, it’s pretty cold up there!