Pink rock peaks set against the bluest of skies, surrounded by century-old pine trees and tons of snow: it’s really no wonder that the Dolomites are one of Italy’s best loved mountain destinations, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area has been extremely popular with avid skiers for decades thanks to the impressive Dolomiti Superski circuit, which features an amazing 1200 kilometers of slopes, but recently the region has also expanded its offer, becoming more and more attractive even to those who desire a different kind of vacation. From quirky and unique museums to Michelin-starred restaurants to wellness resorts, the Dolomites have it all, making the area a top destination for those who want to enjoy great skiing and those who prefer mellower vacations.
Alpe di Siusi. Wide and basking in sunlight even in the middle of the winter, Alpe di Siusi is a much loved destination for those who enjoy long walks, wide landscapes and virtually no cars. Only those who have booked a room on the Alp can reach it by car, while the others have to rely on public transportation or gondolas. The reward is some much needed peace and quiet, great views and quaint wooden huts serving simple yet delicious meals to skiers and walkers. http://www.seiseralm.it /en/holidays-in-the-dolomites.html
Terme Merano. Famous for being one of the best wellness centers in Northern Italy, Terme Merano is the perfect place to relax and unwind while taking in some stunning views of the Dolomites. With outdoors and indoors swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms and a large wellness center, Terme Merano offers a wide variety of wellness and beauty treatments, as well as many Spa packages and vacations in the nearby hotel. http://www.termemerano.it/it
Santa Croce: a sacred cross in a stunning setting. Up above Pedraces in Val Badia, Santa Croce is a beautiful destination, reachable by foot or by skiing and offering a unique opportunity to unwind in the most gorgeous natural setting. Right under the La Crusc massif, the small church of Santa Croce is a little gem, always open to the public, and the nearby Rifugio La Crusc has been serving delicious traditional food for five generations. The views are simply breathtaking and the Rifugio is the starting point for many incredible excursions, from easy to more demanding ones.
Marmolada Grande Guerra. The Museum of the Great War is dedicated to the soldiers that battled among the peaks and glaciers of the Dolomites to gain control of the underlying valleys. Its rooms give visitors a clear idea of what it was like to fight against man and against the forces of nature, which were often hostile, savage and sinister.
The museum is characterized by an interactive, multi-media and multi-sensory course that guides the visitor to experience what the weather conditions at high altitudes were like. They get the impression of ending up in the middle of the war, in the same situation as the soldiers from the past: a unique and unforgettable experience.
Messner Mountain Museum. The “Museum in the Clouds”, located on Monte Rite between Pieve di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo is sensational and a must-see for the views over the most spectacular mountains in the Dolomites. The museum itself illustrates the long process of the conquest of the Dolomites, as well as an interesting gallery housing a collection of unique paintings of the area, from the Romantic period up to today. The Messner Mountain Museum is part of a group of similar museums; for more info: http://www.messner-mountain-museum.it/en/
Amazing gastronomy in Val Gardena. A rather small but spectacular valle less than one hour away from Bolzano, Val Gardena is home to many incredible restaurants sure to impress foodies of all ages and nationalities. While eating seafood on the slopes might seem like a crazy idea, Rifugio Emilio Comici has served fresh fish since 1955 and is famous for its extravagant and fun themed nights: http://www.rifugiocomici.com. For a more traditional dining experience, Maso Costamula offers upscale local delicacies, mostly meat and stuffed pasta, in a beautifully renovated mountain hut from 1608. Both, although directly on the slopes, can be reached by non skiers and are also opened for dinner. Last but not least, Alpenroyal Gourmet Restaurant is the only establishment in the valley donned with a prestigious Michelin star and a must-try for avid gourmands. http://www. alpenroyal.com/en/dining-alpenroyal-gourmet-restaurant.asp