Photo: Hotel Plan Murin
Berliners unfortunately, spent most of the winter either with firmly cemented gray clouds in the sky or with abstruse squalls. The meteorological situation was honestly more desolate than usual. And after two years of lockdown, we felt the desire for a Berlin escapism even more. But where to? So where do you actually have snow, fresh air and almost always good weather? In the Dolomites!
Visit Südtirol invited us to explore the skiing and hiking region, and we have summarized our main highlights for you.
The Dolomites, located in the southern part of South Tyrol, are known for their sunny days, for the mostly trilingual town signs (German, Italian, Ladin) and probably even more known for the so-called Enrosadira, the Alpenglühen, which puts the landscape into a mystical state and around which many legends entwine, such as that of King Laurin and his rose garden.
In addition to traditional alpine skiing, which is very popular in the Dolomites, alternative sports such as winter hiking, snowshoeing and ski touring, which do not require lifts, have become more and more popular during the pandemic. We took advantage of this opportunity to go on a guided hike from Corvara through the snow-covered forest up to the mountain hut La Marmotta. This is known for its particularly good dumplings, which we highly recommend.
The second winter hike took us from La Val across the idyllic Armentara meadows to the pilgrimage church of La Crusc, which has been standing under the rock face of the Sas dla Crusc in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park since the 15th century. The neighboring hospice has existed since the beginning of the 18th century and used to accommodate pilgrims in the past. Today, the listed building is used as a mountain hut, and you can enjoy local delicacies there, too.
Reaching the summit & experiencing history
The next morning, our journey took us two valleys further: to Arabba. So, we strapped on our skis and headed for the Marmolata, the so-called Queen of the Dolomites. At a dizzying 3343 meters, it is the highest mountain in the Dolomites and part of the Marmolata group, home to one of the largest glaciers in the Dolomites.
This, like many other places in the region, has been important in recent history. During the First World War, the Marmolata was also a border mountain between Austria-Hungary and Italy, where tunnels were blasted into the glacier for food supplies and a veritable “ice city” was built.
The so-called “First World War Ski Tour” also commemorates this dark chapter of history, with its many victims on the Italian as well as the Austro-Hungarian side. The tour leads around the summit of the Col di Lana, which was brought down by blasting, along the former front. Traces of the war, such as tunnels and embrasures, can still be seen in many places. Probably the most spectacular and longest descent of the tour is the slope that leads from the Lagazuoi mountain to Armentarola in the valley.
Dinner—from rustic to elegant
A tour like this can make you very hungry and if you make a reservation in good time, there is no better place to enjoy local food than at Maso Runch Hof, a typical Ladin inn in Badia. The traditional menu consists of barley soup, Tutres (deep-fried dumplings filled with spinach and ricotta), Schlutzkrapfen (spinach and ricotta ravioli), pork knuckle, ribs, or goulash with homemade dumplings or polenta, and apple strudel with ice cream. Of course, you also have vegetarian options. But the inn isn’t fascinating only in the evenings with its rustic parlors; the family-run farm can also be visited during the day and holiday flats can be rented.
As a contrast to this, there is the modern and minimalist Guide MICHELIN restaurant L’ostì in Corvara, which impresses with its extravagant Italian cuisine and biodynamic wine selection. Vegan dishes are prepared on request and are truly delicious. The chefs and staff really do credit to their star.
Observing the stars
If you are interested in more than Michelin stars, you can join the torchlight walk that takes place regularly in all Alta Badia valleys. Due to the low light pollution, this is an opportunity to admire the stars, planets, and constellations that will be explained by an astronomy expert. With the help of a professional telescope, the stars or, depending on the phase of the moon, the moon and its craters can be seen very clearly. In August of this year there will be the Dolomites Star Party again, a festival where stargazing takes place in the context of concerts. So be sure to make a note for this summer.
While the sun has already set in other valleys, you can still enjoy the evening sun in La Val, especially in the spa area on the roof terrace of the recently renovated Hotel Plan Murin. The panoramic view of the mountains makes this place a true oasis of tranquility.