Val di Sole is one of the most scenic valleys of Trentino, in Northern Italy, and a side valley to the more famous Val di Non. This is the kind of place where you’ll find majestic mountains, glaciers, forests and rivers, charming villages and mountain farms.
With altitude ranging from the roughly 700 meters above sea level of Malè, the main town in the area, to those of 3500 of the Cevedale and San Matteo peaks in Stelvio National Park, and home of the Adamello and Brenta Mountains, Val di Sole is a great place to visit for anybody who loves nature and adventure sports in both summer and winter time, and at the same time wants to enjoy good food and wine, a bit of history and culture, and relax every now and then.
I visited Val di Sole for a short winter getaway in mid December, and enjoyed every single moment I got to spend there. So I thought I’d write a mini-guide for anyone who wishes to visit in the winter, highlighting the best things to do and see and how to make the most of it. At the end of the post, I will also share some practical information that will help you plan your trip.
The fabulous slopes of Val di Sole
Everything You Need To Know For A Winter Trip To Val Di Sole
The fabulous slopes of Val di Sole
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Val di Sole in the winter is the incredible range of ski slopes. There’s something like 150 km of slopes only in the Folgarida – Marilleva area (and another 100 km of slopes in the area of Presena Glacier, Passo Tonale and the village Ponte di Legno), with slopes varying in length and difficulty, not to mention the fact that each of them offers a different view and overall experience.
The most important ski station in Val di Sole is Folgarida. Part of Dimaro, this was founded in 1965 on the way that links Dimaro to Madonna di Campiglio, and it quickly grew to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area in the summer and, even more so, in the winter.
The web of slopes of the Folgarida – Marilleva area are connected through a series of gondolas and cable cars, so that people who go skiing in Val di Sole can easily reach the many slopes and have a change of scenery throughout the day.
The slopes of Folgarida have good quality snow throughout the winter, and are perfect even for beginner and intermediate level skiers. Indeed, aside from the black level slopes that attract experienced skiers, there are various blue ones, and the red ones are easy enough even for inexperienced skiers. I had no issues going down, and trust me I am no champion at skiing (I started skiing again after a 17 years break last January, when I went on a weekend trip to Cortina d’Ampezzo).
In any case, if you aren’t confident enough on the skis or want to improve your technique, you can take ski or snowboard lessons in one of the 4 schools located at the station. There even are 3 kinder-gardens, which are perfect for families with small children, who can have a great time learning how to ski.
Scattered throughout the slopes there are several mountain huts, locally known as “rifugi” where you can have a break during the day, to enjoy a hot drink, a earthy, freshly prepared meal and to take in the incredible views of the mountains surrounding Val di Sole.
For more reasons to ski in Val di Sole, read my post “10 Perfectly Good Reasons To Ski In Val Di Sole.”
Practical information about skiing in Val di Sole
How to reach the slopes
The easiest way to move around Val di Sole is by car. You can easily rent one here.
If you prefer using public transportation, you can rely on the free ski-bus that connects the various villages of Val di Sole with the ski stations. The first ride is usually in the early morning (between 8:15 and 9:00 am, depending on the village) and the last ride back is after the last arrival of the cable car, around 4:45 pm).
Another option to reach the ski slopes of Val di Sole is catching the Dolomiti Express train, which connects Trento (Trentino’s main city) to Daolasa and Mezzana ski stations, where passengers have a changing and deposit room where they can lock their stuff before getting on the slopes.
The cost of the ski-pass for the ski-area Dolomiti di Brenta, Val di Sole and Val Rendena starts at €51 per day; whereas that for the Folgarida Marilleva area only starts €42 per day. The longer the validity of the ski-pass, the lower the prices per day. You can get a ski-pass in any of the cable car stations (they open at 8:00 am) or even online, here.
Where to rent ski equipment
You can rent ski equipment (boots, skis, rackets and helmet) in various places in Val di Sole. There’s at least 3 different places that rent equipment at the Folgarida Marilleva cable car station. It costs €25 per day to rent the full equipment.
Good to know
Biancaneve slope in Marilleva is artificially illuminated so you can continue skiing after dark.
Monclassico is one of the nicest villages in Val di Sole
The lovely villages of Val di Sole
Scattered around Val di Sole there are several small villages, each of them worth visiting. The main one is Malè (not to be confused with the one in the Maldives!). This counts around 2200 inhabitants. It located at 740 meters above sea level and here you can find the interesting Civil Museum of Solandra, and a local parish church which dates back to the 16th century.
Another important village of Val di Sole is Dimaro, which is located at 766 meters above sea level, at the foothills of the Brenta Dolomites and at the entrance of Val di Meledrio, on the way to Folgarida and Madonna di Campiglio.
Dimaro is a lovely place to visit. For as small as it is, there are some beautiful historical buildings. The most prominent one is the 15h century church of Saint Lawrence, which has some gorgeous frescoes inside. More importantly so, Dimaro is an excellent starting point to explore the rest of Val di Sole and enjoy all that this part of Trentino has to offer.
Another lovely village in Val di Sole is Ossana, which used to be the political, administrative and clerical center of the higher Val di Sole. The village, which is really tiny, is dominated by the beautiful San Michele castle, built in 1191, which is a pleasant place to visit and from which there are beautiful views of the rest of the village and the valley where it is set.
One of the most interesting places to visit in Val di Sole is Monclassico, known as the village of artistic sundials. Other than the ancient sundials built throughout history, there now are 50 sundials that have been created between 2002 and 2012 by local and international artists.
Free guided tours of Monclassico are available but have to be booked at least a day in advance. A guided tour is a great way to get to know more about the history and culture of Val di Sole. Other than providing information on the region, the guide generally shows visitors how to read the time on sundials, something which isn’t nearly as straightforward as one would imagine. For example, did you know that other than the classic sundials, known as French, which simply indicate the time, there are others that indicate how many hours have passed since sunset (Italian kind) or since sunrise (Babylonian kind)?
The stunning view of the suspended bridge, not far from Val di Sole
The winter wonderland landscape of Val di Sole
Winter in Val di Sole means enjoying a fairytale landscape, especially when everything is covered in snow. One of the nicest places in Val di Sole is the area of Passo Stelvio and Val di Rabbi. Here, there are a multitude of hiking and walking trails which make it a fantastic place for nature lovers.
The area is a popular place thanks to a 100 meters long suspended bridge from where there are incredible views of the Rio Ragaiolo waterfall. The bridge can be crossed throughout the year. It is a fairly popular place in the summer, and there often are lines to go across. The good news is that there hardly are any visitors in the winter months, so chances are that you’ll have the place all to yourself.
The views of the frozen waterfalls surrounded by the forest covered in snow is simply breathtaking. It’s a real winter wonderland!
The bridge can be reached on an easy hike that departs from the parking lot of Terme di Rabbi. Follow the river and the trail that goes by Malga Fratte, and before the bridge go up the steep, zig zag trail. It shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes to get all the way to the bridge.
TIP: Although this is an easy walk, hiking boots are recommended. The trail is steep in parts, and especially with snow, it does get slippery.
Another incredible scenic place in Val di Sole is Lago dei Caprioli (Roes Lake), in Fazzon. An easy walk around the lake offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains, and the reflection of their image on the clear waters of the lake makes it special. Hiking lovers will be happy to know that there are several good hiking trails in the area.
For more hikes in the Dolomites of Trentino, read my post “Three Short But Rewarding Hikes In The Dolomites Of Trentino.”
A cooking class at Agritur Solasna, in Val di Sole, turned out to be a great experience. We learned to make apple pie!
Food in Val di Sole
Eating the delicious food is one of the reasons to visit Trentino (for more reasons to visit Trentino, check out my post “Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer“), and sure enough the food in Val di Sole doesn’t disappoint.
Much like the rest of the region, Val di Sole makes it a point to use local products to prepare fantastic dishes that at the same time reflect local traditions and constant culinary innovation. There are many fantastic restaurants and mountain huts in the region where you can try the local specialties. Many of them also rent out rooms – continue reading to discover the best places to stay and eat in the region.
Val di Sole is a land of high quality apples and cured meats such as speck and carne salada – the latter often served in the form of carpaccio, with rocket and Trentingrana, the local Grana cheese. Mushrooms of any kind are used to prepare fantastic pasta dishes, which are served with local wines such as Lagrain. Polenta is often used to accompany meat and cheese dishes.
Among the dishes you have to try in Val di Sole, there are the famous canederli – a sort of dumplings made with stale bread, speck, luganega sausage and casolet cheese, mixed with eggs, chives and milk. They are guaranteed to give you an energy boost to get on the slopes!
If you want to uncover some of the secrets of local cuisine, make sure to take a cooking class. The best place to do so is the lovely Agritur Solasna. This is located in the tiny San Giacomo di Caldes, in a traditional mountain house that dates back to the 13th century from where there are stunning views of Val di Sole below. Here, you can join a cooking class run by the lovely Nicoletta, who will help you prepare canederli and apple pie. At the end of the class, you will be invited to sit in the cozy restaurant and eat what you have cooked, as well as some other local specialties.
Relaxing in Val di Sole
There are two beautiful spas in Val di Sole: one is in Rabbi and the other one in Pejo. The latter is open throughout the year. Other than these, there is a multitude of wellness centers, usually associated with hotels, where you can enjoy a jacuzzi, a hamam or a sauna.
The most unique wellness center in Val di Sole is that of Rifugio Orso Bruno, located at 2200 meters above sea level in the ski area of Folgarida Marilleva. There, you can relax in a jacuzzi and at the same time enjoy the most incredible view of the peaks of Cevedale to the north, and of the Brenta massif to the south. Needless to say, the view is absolutely marvelous at sunset. It’s the ultimate place relax after a day on the slopes.
TIP: The wellness center of Rifugio Orso Bruno is only available to guests spending the night at the rifugio. If you love the idea of waking up directly on the slopes and relaxing right after skiing, this may well be the best place to stay in Val di Sole. Remember that the prices include breakfast and dinner, as well as access to the wellness center and a ski-pass.
The winter atmosphere in Val di Sole is fabulous
Christmas in Val di Sole
One simply can’t talk about winter without mentioning Christmas. Needless to say, the Christmas atmosphere in Val di Sole is magical, with beautiful markets and exhibits.
The best place to experience Christmas in Val di Sole is Ossana, where a Christmas market takes place every year with booths scattered around the village and even inside San Michele castle.
Adding to this there is the yearly exhibit that, between the end of November and mid January, shows around 1000 nativity scenes of varying style and size, which can be seen in various courts and squares in the historical center of Ossana, as well as in the castle. The Presepe Grande Guerra, inside the castle, recollects an episode that took place in World War I. The Presepe Monte Giner was built in memory of the victims of a plane accident on Monte Giner, which occurred right around Christmas time in 1956. The Venezuelan exhibit celebrates the culture of one of the most diverse countries in the world.
Planning your trip to Val di Sole
When to visit Val di Sole
Any time is good to visit Val di Sole, but a winter trip there is guaranteed to satisfy your quest for noise and cozy atmosphere. The first snow usually falls in November, and that’s when the slopes start receiving artificial snow. If you want to see snow in the valley too, make sure to plan your visit from mid-December onwards.
How to get to Val di Sole
The closest airports to Val di Sole are those of Verona, Treviso and Venice, which are all well connected to the rest of Europe with both regular and budget flights. Public transportation may require several changes and take a long time, so you may be better off hiring a private transfer or renting a car, which also makes it easier to move around once in the region. Here you can get a quote for a car rental.
You can also reach Val di Sole by train from Trento.
How to move around Val di Sole
If you don’t want to rent a car, you can move around Val di Sole by bus. Other than the regular bus service that connects the various villages of the valley, you can also rely on the ski-bus which connects the villages to the main ski stations. Keep in mind that the ski-bus runs during the day only, when the slopes and the cable cars are open. You can find the ski-bus timetable here.
Agritur Solasna is one of the nicest places to stay and eat in Val di Sole
The best places to stay and eat in Val di Sole
There’s no shortages of excellent accommodation options and restaurants in Val di Sole. This is just a selection:
- Albergo Dimaro, in Dimaro, is perfect for families. Rooms are comfortable and clean, and there also is a wellness center. The hotel also serves dinner. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Rifugio Orso Bruno is at 2200 meters above sea level, right on the slopes of Folgarida Marilleva ski area. Guests can enjoy the onsite restaurant and the wellness center with views of the mountains. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Rifugio Solander is right on the slopes of the Folgarida Marilleva ski area. The restaurants serves delicious food (make sure to have the cake selection!) and the rooms are cozy and comfortable. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Agritur Solasna, in San Giacomo di Caldes, is a beautiful historical home with cozy rooms and a fantastic restaurant serving food prepared using strictly local ingredients – most of them coming directly from the farm.
- Rifugio Albasini, in Folgarida is located at 1800 meters above sea level and you can directly access the slopes from there. The on site restaurants serves delicious local food.
- Rifugio Spolverino serves excellent pizza baked using local ingredients, as well as traditional local dishes. The environment is cozy and informal, and the views of the Brenta mountains from the terrace are simply spectacular.
- Il Maniero is a fantastic restaurant in Ossana that serves delicious local dishes prepared with local ingredients. Pasta dishes are prepared using home made fresh pasta. The “straccetti” – thin stripes of beef with porcini mushroom and truffle oil are mouthwatering.
What to pack for a winter trip to Val di Sole
Winter is cold in Val di Sole, with temperatures regularly going well below zero even during the day. Whether you are planning to ski or not, there are a few items that you need to pack in your suitcase.
The websites of Trentino and Val di Sole Tourism boards have a wealth of information on places to visit, activities, transportation, hotels, restaurants and anything else you may need to plan your visit.
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of Trentino and Val di Sole Tourism Boards during my trip to Val di Sole, and wish to thank them for the incredible experience. Needless to say, all the views expressed in this post are my own and without any bias.
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I love road trips, and for each and every one I take I make sure to be prepared with all the road trip essentials. I have taken road trips anywhere in the world. The most fun one was with with my sister: we rented a car in Mexico and drove from San Cristobal to Cancun and all around Yucatan.
Summer is the best time of year to hit the road. This is as much a part of summer as backyard BBQs and days spent at the beach; a tradition for many in the USA and Canada, and beyond. There’s some epic road trips on the East coast of the USA. Driving around in search of the best beaches in Sardinia is the ultimate pastime where I live! Short road trips hardly require a road trip check list.
However, preparing for a longer road trip is easier said than done. I know from experience that there is always something I may forget, but I now typically write down a road trip packing list, so that I can check it in order to make sure I have everything I need. Feel free to use it as a cheat sheet for all any road trip necessities. I guarantee that all road trips will be a memorable one.
So, before pulling out of the driveway, make sure to have all the road trip essentials that I mention!
Speaking of road trip essentials – how about a car?
13 Road Trip Essentials For The Perfect Summer Road Trip
A valid driver’s license
Sounds obvious, right? Well it is not. My sister has recently been to Crete with her husband. She was meant to rent a car, except when she pulled out her license she realized it had expired more than a year ago. In fact, she had been driving her car around Sardinia on an expired license for a long time! Good thing her husband could drive the car, but the minute she got home she had to go to renew her license. Having a valid license is one of the most basic road trip essentials.
Rental car insurance
Number one in the list of road trip essentials would have to be a car, right? While most people who go on road trips own their own cars, there is a rising number of city dwellers who have given up on them up to make a go at living an automobile-free life. They are able to get 99% of tasks done on foot, by bicycle, or by using public transportation. I do own a car at home, but as I live on an island and I have to fly everywhere, I typically end up rending a car whenever I travel outside of Sardinia. Indeed, there is still that 1% of activities that requires a car – in this instance, it’s tough to go on a road trip without one.
To fill this gap in their lives, people who do not own a car hit up a local rental car agency and hire a sedan, or whatever vehicle meets their needs. However, many tragically choose to forego rental car insurance in a bid to save money. Wrong! If there is one item that has to be on top of the road trip check list, that has to be a rental car insurance.
All it takes is one fender bender to turn a fun holiday into a financial nightmare, so it is definitely better to pay this cost up front to avoid shelling out a lot later. It is the most basic of road trip necessities, really.
Rather than go with the package offered by the rental car provider, I recommend going with a third-party company like Bonzah. These firms are often able to offer much better rates, and provide great help in getting the best deal possible for those of us who have to work hard to earn money. So remember: a rental car insurance is one of the most important road trip essentials.
Sure enough, one of the road trip essentials I wanted with me during my last road trip in Trentino was rental car insurance.
Nobody wants to find themselves in the middle of the desert with no cash – that’s one of the road trip essentials
I admit I regularly forget taking cash out. I live in a city, and most of the time I pay with my bank card – it is just so easy. But there are occasions where cards are not accepted, where there are no ATMs available, and where simple old cash is needed for whatever reason. One of the road trip essentials I recommend having, thus, is some spare cash. Because one never knows.
A cooler filled with drinks and snacks
Some road trips may be short in distance, but most involve at least one day spent exclusively on the highway. On days where miles need to be made up, having a cooler packed to the brim with drinks and snacks is definitely one of the road trip essentials, as it will help keep stops to a minimum. It certainly helped me out when I had to drive for 24 hours all the way from San Pedro de Atacama to Santiago, in Chile.
Besides, a cooler has to be in any road trip packing list as it will also keep a happy vibe going inside the car, as thirst and hunger pangs will be kept at bay by the supplies at hand whenever the distances between convenience stores are too long. Just be sure to buy plenty of ice beforehand, and keep refreshing it as it melts.
An app to establish the route and warn about traffic jams is one of the road trip necessities
There are a lot of mobile apps which have made road trips much easier these days – for starters, Google Maps comes to mind. As a driver, however, few apps are more useful these days than Waze. This really is one of the road trip essentials for a smooth trip!
There are a variety of features that will make life easier for drivers – it alerts them to the presence of cheap gas, speed traps, traffic jams and accidents, and other obstacles that will slow the trip to a grinding halt. It is one of my go to road trip essentials any time I plan a day out of a major city!
Another thing I love about Waze is that it alerts me when I am going above the speed limit – I admit to having a bit of a lead foot. Doing this will prevent me from falling victim to that laser trap I never see coming. Easy to see while this is one of the most basic road trip necessities.
A paper map
I know, I have just talked about all the wonderful apps that help me get around while on a road trip. But one of the most basic road trip essentials is actually a paper map. I have travelled to placed where there is no phone signal, and trust me: having an actual map I could pull out to understand where I should go helped out a lot!
A tablet filled with movies and games
I do not have children that I should keep entertained, but all my cousins do and I occasionally go on short road trips with them. Sure enough, kids get bored quickly. This leads to restlessness which can make the journey a difficult one. One of the top road trip essentials, then, is a tablet that is loaded with movies and games. It helps leaving any concern about the kids being bored at home.
With their favorite cartoons and mobile games available to keep them occupied at any time, if the scenery gets dull or the license plate game stops being an entertaining diversion, including a tablet in the road trip packing list will provide essential help for those long drives.
Shall we include stunning views among road trip essentials?
An emergency kit
It’s not a pleasant subject to think about, but stuff can go wrong on the road. From minor incidents involving a scraped knee after an unfortunate tumble in the parking lot of a roadside restaurant, to the times when I may witness a motor vehicle accident where life-threatening injuries occur as it happened to me when I was in Cape Town, it is vitally important to have an emergency kit at the ready. This definitely is one of the road trip essentials.
A good emergency kit should contain the following: bandages (both Band-Aids for minor cuts and the ones used for dressing serious wounds), hydrogen peroxide, an emergency blanket, road flares, a flashlight, candles, and matches. Note this is a partial list. Typically, as I put together my kit, I may find I’ll need other supplies and include them as well. Having a road trip check list helps me out in this sense.
A daypack has to be included in the list of road trip essentials
A day pack
Whenever I go on a road trip, whether short or long, I carry a small day pack with me and put in it what I consider some road trip essentials for the day – stuff such as lip balm, sunscreen, a sweater (it may get cold at night!) and my sunglasses.
A spare tire/jack
BANGphttphttphtt – this is a sound all drivers dread, as it means they now have a flat tire. It happened to me a few times, when driving around in Israel and other places. Try as I might, there’s no way I can see a shard of glass or a nail on the surface of the road driving at full speed, so it’s important to be prepared to deal with an affected tire as soon as it is compromised. There are a few items that have to go on the list of road trip essentials, then.
Many motorists have a jack and a donut tire in the back of their car, but the majority would have no idea how to exchange their flat for the one in their trunk if they were put in that position. One of the basic road trip necessities is being able to change a flat tire, so make sure to learn how to do this before hitting the road.
If the time of departure is approaching soon, one of the good road trip essentials ideas is to sign up for roadside assistance through an organization like the American Automobile Association. I have realized before that attempting to learn by myself on the side of the road can put me at risk for serious injury.
And some spare gasoline
When it comes to Europe, cities are so close one to the other that it really is impossible to get out of gas. But places like North America or Southern Africa are not quite the same, and even though one may fill up right before leaving, it is not uncommon to get stuck on the side of the road on an empty tank. One of the ultimate road trip essentials, then, is gasoline: carry a tank, to be on the safe side.
Don’t be left in the middle of nowhere with no gasoline – carry a tank, it is one of the road trip essentials!
My favorite tunes
Music is one of the basic road trip necessities. Hitting the open road in search of uncharted territory is a big part of the allure of road trips, but let’s be real here – the further I may get from the big city, the faster music on local radio stations gets, well, interesting.
Try and drive on the Israeli highway on Shabbat, and the music is nothing short of horrible. The same goes for the popular music played in the Andes of Peru. It may be endearing in an odd way at first, but then I get sick of it in a hurry if I don’t have some auxiliary tunes to resort to when passing through a musical desert. Among my road trip essentials, then, there is a playlist of my favorite tunes.
I typically create a playlist suited to the trip on which I am going, upload it to my iPhone, and I’ll be ready to roll. I always make sure to have the right cables (which by the way, are also basic road trip essentials!) to plug into my car stereo (that is, if it doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity), and I’ll have the perfect go-to when local radio starts to stink up the joint.
Other things that I include in my road trip packing list are things such a roll of toilet paper, which is really handy in case I need to make a bush stop (also take hand sanitizer!); a plastic bag I can use for trash (I would never ever want to leave my trash behind!); and bug spray (I hate it when a fly gets in my car and does not want to get out!).
What are your favorite road trip essentials that you would add to this list?
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I was only 10 the first time my parents decided to visit Trentino for our summer holidays. I don’t have detailed memories of the places we visited (my mother refreshed my memory and told me we visited Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa), but I do remember that we kept being wowed by the incredible scenery and we had a great time. It’s there that I was introduced to the incredible world of hiking, which is now one of my favorite things to do.
Without the shadow of a doubt, Trentino is one of the nicest places to visit in Northern Italy. It’s a lovely region, located between the Southern Alps and easily reached from Venice or Verona. Its main feature is the Dolomites, a fabulous, unique mountain range which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and which it shares with Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Trentino is a land of mountains and lakes; of gorgeous valleys where nature rules (I am still drooling over my pictures of Val di Fassa). Adding to this already fantastic mix there are great food, welcoming people and a few touches of affordable luxury that make it an excellent destination for families, adventure travelers and, needless to say, solo travelers like myself.
My parents would take me to visit Trentino in the summer, as a child
That’s why my parents kept wanting to visit Trentino. We spent a few summers there, and one summer in Chamonix, France, until I turned 18 and decided that cool kids would not travel with their parents but would rather stay home alone in Sardinia during the summer.
After that, I didn’t really visit Trentino until a few weeks ago, when I finally decided it was time to go again and made my way to visit Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa to participate in Suoni delle Dolomiti, one of the best summer music festivals in Italy.
I am so glad I did! I know Trentino is a very popular destination in the winter time, when snow covers the mountains and it’s possible to ski; but I encourage everyone who loves walking and hiking to visit Trentino in the summer.
Yes: Trentino is a great place to spend summer holidays in Italy. In this post, I highlight 10 reasons to visit Trentino in the summer.
Those who visit Trentino get to see the Dolomites: need I say more?
Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer
It’s home to the Dolomites
I could have just said mountains, but the Dolomites are not “just mountains.” They are unique, mighty and won’t stop surprising visitors, their vertical walls springing up and diving into the sky at every turn. If most people who visit Trentino will be happy enough to admire the peaks of the Dolomites, those who like adventure sports will want to put their hands on them, quite literally.
Adventure lovers will be happy to know that one of the nicest things to do in Trentino, that is best enjoyed during the summer, is rock climbing: the Dolomites provide plenty of opportunities for that.
Hiking in Val di Fassa is one of the unmissable things to do in Trentino
There’s some fantastic hiking trails
To me, mountains is sinonymous with hiking. One of the top reasons to visit Trentino in the summer is to enjoy the multitude of hiking trails in the Dolomites. I have done 3 short hikes in the space of 4 days, in the Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa areas, and all felt very rewarding with incredible views and unique cultural experiences.
Read more about my hikes in the Dolomites.
I also love multi-day treks (hiking Poon Hill, in Nepal, has been one of my favorite experiences to date), and there’s an abundance of those in Trentino. While I was entertaining myself with the gorgeous views of Val San Nicolò, my friend Margherita challenged herself with a 3-days hike in the Brenta Dolomites. I am pretty sure that the next time I visit Trentino in the summer I will head straight there to hike!
It’s also home to Suoni delle Dolomiti
One of the biggest reasons that prompted me to visit Trentino in the summer is Suoni delle Dolomiti, a music festivals where concerts of various music genres are held in the open, free for everyone to attend. Some of the best classic and jazz musicians are invited. I love jazz so I planned my trip around the jazz concerts.
I went to see Yamanaka Electric Female Trio in Val di Fiemme, and it was a fantastic experience: people of all ages sat on the grass as the band played, pine trees at their back. The concert lasted 90 minutes, which went by in a zip. I was also scheduled to attend a sunrise concert, but when I woke up at 4:30 am to get ready to go it was pouring and I learned that the concert had been rescheduled.
Needless to say, Suoni delle Dolomiti is only one of the many events that those who visit Trentino in the summer can enjoy.
A violin carved into a tree trunk: Suoni delle Dolomiti is just one of the many musical expressions of Trentino
Music is everywhere – literally
I don’t mean to say that, wherever one goes in Trentino, music blasts loudly. In fact, it is peaceful and quiet (unless an event such as Suoni delle Dolomiti is on!). But there’s always a musical theme. Music lovers may already know that Antonio Stradivari, the famous Italian liutist who lived between the 17th and the 18th century, got the spruce wood he used to build his violins in Val di Fiemme.
Those who visit Trentino should not miss the chance to visit the Bosco Che Suona (“music forest”) where the best quality spruce trees that are used to build violins and any other string instruments can be found. Each year, musicians that play at Suoni delle Dolomiti are invited to pick their own tree. Other than the great cultural and musical value found in the forest, this is a great place for a walk or a hike!
But there’s more. Located in Tesero, in Val di Fiemme, there’s Ciresa. This is a factory that works the local spruce to produce soundboards for pianos, as well as violins and any other string instrument. In recent years, Ciresa has patented natural loudspeakers: these are beautiful looking wooden boards that reverberate the sounds at an incredibly high quality level, and on top of it look like works of art. Visiting Ciresa is one of the nicest things to do in Trentino.
Castello di Fiemme is one of the lovely villages those who visit Trentino will be able to enjoy
The villages are just too pretty
There’s no going wrong for those who visit Trentino: all villages are simply beautiful. I was lucky to have a car when I went, so I could drive around and explore. The only issue I had was that I kept stopping for pictures, so it took me forever to go from one place to the other!
Cavalese is one of the largest villages in Val di Fiemme. It’s a pleasant place to walk around, and there’s an interesting history museum where it is possible to learn more about the history of the valley, as well as a contemporary art gallery. It’s a great place to stop for a late afternoon drink or a good gelato, or – even better – a slice of strudel. After all, eating is one of the nicest things to do in Trentino.
Castello di Fiemme is a lovely small village, also in Val di Fiemme. It’s a very quiet place, with narrow cobbled street and a beautiful church that can be seen from a distance, driving down to the village. It’s the kind of place where life goes by slowly, and night brings silence and peace – and it’s a great base from where to visit Trentino.
Val di Fassa also has some gorgeous villages, and those who visit Trentino should not miss an opportunity to explore them. Canazei, Vigo di Fassa, Pozza di Fassa are all nice, but my favorite is Moena, where the majority of the people actually speak Ladin (one of Italy’s 12 minority languages). The first testimony of the village dates back to 1164, which means that it’s probably much older. As I am a lover of narrow alleys, I loved walking around the Quartiere Turco (Turkish Quarters), named after a legendary Ottoman lone soldier who ended up there and decided to settle.
Not just on a rainy day! Those who visit Trentino will enjoy some lovely art galleries. This one is in Cavalese
There’s some very interesting museums
I get it, most people who visit Trentino in the summer are interested in hiking. The chances of rain during the summer in Trentino are high at night, but slim during the day. But what if it actually rains? Worry not! Trentino is one of the top places to visit in Northern Italy even for history, culture and art lovers. I truly enjoyed visiting the Palace of the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme, in Cavalese, where I could admire some great paintings by local artists and, most importantly, learn about the history of the region.
The Palace of the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme is open every day except for Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 18:30. Guided tours are offered, and I recommend taking one and it includes a visit to the underground jails, where prisoners have carved some truly interesting lines and drawings on the walls. Learning about its history is one of the nicest things to do in Trentino.
Cavalese is also home to a great Contemporary Art Museum, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 15:30 to 19:30. It hosts some very interesting pieces by contemporary local artists, and it’s recently gone all the way to acquire its own permanent exhibit. There’s also an art room for children, to get them drawing and painting and overall just closer to art and culture – so a fun place to spend a couple of hours for anybody who visit Trentino.
One of the nicest things to do in Trentino is enjoying the food
The food is delicious
Those who visit Trentino never go hungry. I can’t comment on the cheese as I am (sadly) lactose intolerant, but cold cuts such as carne salada (salted, cured beef) and speck (an incredibly tasty cured kind of ham) are fabulous, especially if accompanied by rye bread, which is a local specialty too. Polenta accompanies many a dish, first and foremost the delicious slow roasted pork shank.
Let me not get started with desserts! Just the thought of apple strudel is enough to make me want to pack my bags again. For sure, one of the greatest things to do in Trentino, especially after a long day of hiking, is eating all the mouthwatering food. Rifugi are typically good places to have a taste of the local specialties at very convenient prices.
And so are the drinks
I love wine – or else I wouldn’t have spent 4 days wine tasting in Stellenbosch! Trentino produces some great wines. Local grape varieties include Nosiola, Marzemino and Teroldego, but there’s also Chardonnay and Trentodoc, a local sparkling wine. If eating is one of the nicest things to do in Trentino, those who visit Trentino will have to agree that accompanying a fantastic meal with a just as fantastic wine is a must.
Trentino also has some excellent breweries. And let me not forget about grappa. I visited Distilleria Marzadro, right outside Rovereto, and truly enjoyed learning about the history of the distillery and about the way grappa is made. Grappa originally was poor people’s alcohol, made with the skins, pulp, seeds and stems that are left over when pressing the grapes for making wine. Nowadays, it is a much more sophisticated drink. Trying grappa is a must for those who visit Trentino.
QC Terme is a great place to get some pampering, and a must for those who visit Trentino
It’s a great place to get pampered
Is there anything better than getting pampered after having hiked for one day or more? I don’t think there is! That’s why those who visit Trentino can enjoy QC Terme, a fantastic spa in Pozza di Fassa.
I spent a whole day at QC Terme, at first thinking that my active self would get bored after a couple of hours of doing nothing. I guess I was wrong, because I ended up staying the entire day (I also enjoyed lunch and a light delicious dinner there), moving from one treatment pool to another, from a sauna to a relax room, napping, chilling and enjoying the incredible views of the mountains.
The atmosphere is super chilled
One of the things that make me fall in love with a place is the atmosphere. That’s why I love Tel Aviv, and why I would go back to Cape Town any time. Trentino is the kind of place where I felt I could relax completely. The vibe is very friendly, welcoming: people who visit Trentino all share a love for nature, adventure sports and good food; locals are friendly, genuine and generous – the kind of people that I can’t help but warm up to.
I am sure that these are more than enough reasons to visit Trentino in the summer, and for those who decide to do so, here’s some logistics information to organize a trip there.
Next time I visit Trentino, I hope to stay in the gorgeous Val San Nicolò
Where to stay and eat in Trentino
Those who visit Trentino will be happy to know that there’s an excellent range of accommodation options, as well as some fantastic restaurants. I have selected a couple of hotels in Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa that also serve dinner – though I recommend eating out for the best food!
As eating is one of the best things to do in Trentino, I recommend going to the following restaurants to enjoy food at its best:
- Miola di Predazzo, in Predazzo, Val di Fiemme, offers some of the best traditional food in the area. I had a delicious salad with walnuts and local apples, a selection of local cold cuts which included “carne salada” (salted cured beef) and pork shank.
- Baita Paradiso, in Val di Fassa Passo San Pellegrino can be reached from the ski-lift (Seggiovia Costabella) or after a short hike, has the best beef fillet cooked in a bread shell along with onions and pine needles; as well as the best polenta in the area (not to mention an incredible selection of wines.
How to get to Trentino
There are no international airports in Trentino. Those who visit Trentino are better off flying to Verona, which is roughly a 2 hours drive from Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa, and then rent a car to go all the way there, or get a bus to one of the many beautiful villages in the region. Other airports would be Bergamo Orio Al Serio, a budget airlines hub, or Venezia Marco Polo, which is better connected internationally.
Dressing appropriately is one of the things to do in Trentino
What to pack when visiting Trentino in the summer
Those who visit Trentino in the summer should make sure to carry comfortable clothes that allow layering up, as it may be quite warm in the middle of the day, but chilly in the morning and early evenings and night. Here’s what I recommend packing:
- A pair of hiking boots, best if water proof and with good ankle support. Also pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
- Hiking pants, best if water repellent. My favorite pants for hiking are the Kuhl Kliffside Convertible and I find the Kuhl Skulpt Skinny to be easy to dress up if I wear a nice top.
- Plenty of cotton shirts. I love Kuhl Kyra and Nora Tank. I find Alva to be the top pick on colder days.
- A sweater (I love Kuhl Lea Pullover). I also recommend taking a wind and rain proof jacket. My favorite is Kuhl W’S Airstorm Rain Jacket.
- A small backpack for the hikes. I recommend the 20 liter Osprey Daylite Plus.
- A flask – tap water in Trentino is really good and it’s better to drink that than keep buying bottled water and cause unnecessary waste.
- Sunglasses to protect from the sun and the wind, and a hat.
- Sun screen with a high protection factor, since the sun can be really strong when at an altitude.
- A swimsuit for those moments at the spa.
- An umbrella, as it may well rain.
- A good camera and lens to capture the magnificent views. I have a Nikon D3300 and a 70-300 mm wide lens. I also travel with my iPhone 6S Plus, which takes some pretty sweet shots.
Would you ever visit Trentino in the summer? What would you like to do there?
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of Visit Trentino during my trip, and I wish to thank them for showing me their incredible region. Needless to say, the views expressed in this post are my own.
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