A Complete Guide To Visiting Orrido Di Ponte Alto Gorge, Trentino

A Complete Guide To Visiting Orrido Di Ponte Alto Gorge, Trentino

Orrido di Ponte Alto is a very narrow canyon with two scenic waterfalls that dive right into it, located at a very short distance from the center of Trento, in the lovely region of Trentino, in Northern Italy. If you happen to visit Trentino in the summer, you should make it a point to go.

Still undecided on where to spend your summer holidays? Check out my post Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer.”

In this post, I will share some background information on Orrido di Ponte Alto and share some useful tips to plan your visit and make the most of your time there.

Ponte Alto

The canyon of Ponte Alto, carved by the Fersina river

Some Background Information About Orrido Di Ponte Alto Gorge

Trentino is packed with beautiful waterfalls. I had visited the one over Rio Ragaiolo, where there also is a suspended bridge, in the winter – you can read more about it on my post A Winter Guide To Val Di Sole.” However, Orrido di Ponte Alto is more than just a waterfall.

The canyon of Orrido di Ponte Alto has been carved by the waters of the Fersina stream over the course of thousands of years. Fersina is a river that springs from Erdemolo lake, an Alpine lake located at 2600 meters above sea level in the Mocheni Valley, and a tributary to Adige river.

Fersina heads to the valley where Trento is located, from an area located at around 1800 meters above sea level and it does so in a very short distance – thus gaining a lot of force in its descent and thus posing a great threat to Trento as it caused frequent flooding, submerging the city, damaging the houses and the agricultural land around it.

It was in the 1500s that the local population started attempting to control the flow of the water, building two different dams which were intended to slow down the river and hold at least part of the debris it carried to the valley.

Throughout the centuries, several works have been done to control the river.

The first dam on Fersina was built in 1537 upon orders of Bernardo Clesio. This was entirely made of wood and just 20 meters high – in today’s term, it may be considered quite rudimentary, but back in the day when it was built it was a truly revolutionary work. The dam was meant to stop all the material carried by the Fersina river to the valley, and prevent it from causing damages.

This dam worked for a period of 6 years, but after a period of heavy rain the damn was destroyed and all the material it held was flushed down to the city of Trento, causing enormous damage.

The dam was then built again – higher and stronger. However, once again it was destroyed after a few years, once again leaving Trento unprotected.

The fight between the city of Trento and the Fersina river continued throughout the centuries. More consolidation works were undertaken even during the Habsburg Empire – leading to the latest version of the dam which dates back to 1850 and which is entirely built of stone.

The dam caused the creation of two beautiful 40 meters high waterfalls, which jump directly from red rock cliffs and create gorgeous sound and light effects.

With all this information, it’s easy to see how Orrido di Ponte Alto is a place of striking natural beauty as well as of historical importance. 

Orrido di Ponte Alto

A nice, easy day trip from Trento suitable for the whole family

Visiting Orrido Di Ponte Alto Gorge

Orrido di Ponte Alto is very close to Trento. It’s an easy and quick day trip out of the city, so it would be a pity to miss it when in town. It’s an easy place to visit, suitable even to families with children (though keep in mind that the trail isn’t suitable for strollers). There isn’t an actual trail – it mostly is steps. The site has been closed from the 1980s until 2017, when major renovation work made it once again safe to visit.

What to expect when visiting Orrido di Ponte Alto Gorge

As soon as you arrive at Orrido di Ponte Alto, you’ll spot a flight of stairs going down. This go deep into the gorge carved by the mighty Fersina river. But before going down, you’ll be meeting a guide that will give you plenty of information about the dams, their historical importance, and which will lead you safely around the site.

The first part of the visit of Orrido di Ponte Alto consists of an in depth explanation about river and the dams built to slow down its course. After that, you will head to a first panoramic point, which overlooks the first waterfall that flows right under the beautiful bridge, right by the first dam known as Controserra Madruzza. It’s a really beautiful sight, especially when after heavy rains the waterfall is flowing in all its power.

From there, you’ll go back on the trail and then continue walking down, along the river and towards the second dam. That’s when you’ll be able to fully appreciate how the river has carved the rock, giving it interesting shapes and beautiful colorings.

Finally, you’ll get to the best part of the visit, close to the oldest dam, and you will be able to go all the way above the river and admire the second waterfall from above, and the river as it impetuously goes through the narrow gorge.

But this is not the last stop. Indeed, the guide will open a small door from where you’ll head to a narrow, spiral staircase that takes you to a small balcony from where you’ll be able to observe the waterfall from behind. It’s not really easy to explain what I mean. You will be basically standing behind the waterfall, admiring water as it goes down, listening to its deafening sound.

That’s the ending point of the visit, from where you will walk back up to the entrance following the same trail.

Orrido di Ponte Alto entrance

The entrance is right by this restaurant, on its side

Practical Information To Plan Your Visit To Orrido Di Ponte Alto Gorge

How To Get To Orrido Di Ponte Alto

Orrido di Ponte Alto is located at just 4 km from Trento. The best way to get there is by bus. You can take bus n. 9 from Piazza Dante (right by the train station) and get off at Cognola Scuole. It will take about 20 minutes. From there, it is another 10 minutes walk until you get to what looks like a restaurant (see picture above).

You can also get there by car, in which case you’ll have to park at Cognola sports complex in Via Ponte Alto.

Guided tours of Orrido di Ponte Alto Gorge

For security reasons, you’ll only be allowed to visit Orrido di Ponte Alto on a guided tour. There is no need to book in advance. Guided tours leave every hour between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM every Saturday and Sunday from March to November, and between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM from December to February.

Groups of maximum 22 people are allowed at once. If you are visiting during high season, I recommend heading to the starting point a bit before the tour is supposed to start to make sure you have a spot, or else you may have to wait for a full hour for the next tour.

For group tours and tours during other days of the week, bookings are required.

The visit lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on the group and its speed.

Tickets

You can visit Orrido di Ponte Alto for free if you have a Trentino Guest Card. Otherwise, admission costs are €5 euro for adults, and €3 euro for children between 6 and 12 years of age. It’s free for children under 6 years of age.

Recommendations upon visiting

Make sure to be dressed appropriately. You won’t really need hiking boots, but as there are lots of stairs and the water sprays everywhere, it may be slippery in places, so a pair of actual walking shoes are better than flip flops or sandals. Once you get all the way down the gorge, it gets quite chilly (especially once you go down the spiral staircase to see the waterfall from behind). You may want to carry a rain proof jacket or a poncho to cover up and keep you dry then.

As in most other places in Trentino, dogs are welcome at Orrido di Ponte Alto. But keep in mind that they may be uncomfortable with the noise and the metal trail. I saw no dogs when I visited.

If you are looking for a great itinerary for Trentino, make sure to read my post “A Great Itinerary For A Summer Week In Trentino.”

Are you planning to hike during your time in Trentino? Make sure to read my post Three Short But Rewarding Hikes In The Dolomites Of Trentino.” If you are visiting in the winter, you may want to check out my post 10 Perfectly Good Reasons To Ski In Val Di Sole.”

Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Tourism Board of Trentino, Trentino Marketing and Traverse Events during my last trip to Trentino, and wish to thank them for putting together an incredible itinerary and for welcoming me ever so kindly. Needless to say, all the views expressed in this post remain my own.

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Find out everything you need to know about Orrido di Ponte Alto, Trentino - via @clautavani

A Great Itinerary For A Summer Week In Trentino

A Great Itinerary For A Summer Week In Trentino

A week in Trentino is definitely not enough to uncover all the beauty of this region of Northern Italy. I have been there multiple times, both in the summer and in the winter, and I am hardly done with it. Each time I visit a different place, a different valley, and marvel at the incredible landscapes.

Trentino is a place of gorgeous mountains, home of the Dolomites. It’s a place of charming cities and gorgeous small villages. It’s a land of lakes. It’s a region where you’ll be able to challenge yourself with all sorts of adventure sports and then relax completely at some of the best spas in the country.

In Trentino, you will find delicious food, fabulous wines, excellent liquors. Locals will welcome you and your loved ones (including your pet!) with a smile on their face.

If you are planning a trip to Trentino, you should restrict yourself to just a couple of valleys and explore those in depth, rather than trying to cover too much in one go. Trentino deserves slow travel! I can assure you that you will love it so much that you will end up wanting to go there again and again – much like what happened to me.

In this post, I have put together an itinerary for a week in Trentino. If you are pressed for time, you could probably do it in less time – but you may have to skip a place or two. The itinerary starts in Trento, the main city of Trentino, and ends in Primiero Valley, one of the most scenic ones of the region.

For each stop, you will find a set of places to visit and things to do as well as recommendations on where to stay and eat. At the end of the post, you will also get practical tips on how to organize your trip to Trentino.

Continue reading to discover your itinerary for a week in Trentino.

Are you still not convinced that Trentino is the place for you? Head over to my post Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer.”

week in Trentino

A view of Trento from Sardogna – photo courtesy of The Crowded Planet

A Day By Day Itinerary For A Summer Week In Trentino

Days 1 and 2 – Trento

If you are planning to spend a week in Trentino, Trento should be your starting point. The main city in Trentino, Trento is often overlooked by people who visit the region as they usually head straight to the beautiful mountains or the scenic lakes. I say they are missing out and I wholeheartedly recommend spending at least a couple of days in the city to enjoy all that it has to offer!

Trento is a great combination of interesting sights and excellent museums; relaxed atmosphere and fantastic dining opportunities – not to mention, it’s a very good starting point to explore the rest of the region.

The following is a selection of the things to see and do in Trento. Check out The Crowded Planet’s post “18 Unmissable Things To Do In Trento” for even more inspiration.

If you want to make the most of the city, you can even join a guided tour. Book it here.

Unmissable sights in Trento

Duomo

If you visit Trento, you simply can’t skip the Duomo. San Virgilio Cathedral’s construction was started in 1212. This is a Romanesque-style church located in the heart of the city, in a very airy square where locals and tourists alike love hanging out.

The Cathedral is very famous for having been the place where the decrees of the Council of Trento were issued between 1545 and 1563, in response to the Protestant Reformation.

Castello del Buonconsiglio

Probably the most famous place to visit in Trento, Castello del Buonconsiglio is located in the heart of the city. It used to be the residence of the local royal family between the 13th and the 18th century. It now hosts a variety of exhibits.

Things to do in Trentino

The lovely Duomo Square in Trento

MART – Modern Art Museum

If you are a lover of modern art, MART is the place to go. It’s actually located in Rovereto, an easy 15 minutes train ride from Trento Piazza Duomo station. MART is a huge museum that combines a very beautiful, state of the art structure, and an incredible exhibit of modern and contemporary art of both Italian and foreign artists.

Cable Car to Sardagna

For breathtaking views of Trento, make sure to ride the cable car to Sardagna. The ride lasts only a few minutes and once at the top (at around 600 meters above sea level) you’ll have beautiful views of Trento and the surrounding mountains.

TIP: Riding the cable car is free if you have the Trentino Guest Card (more about it below).

TIP: For an even better experience, go to Sardogna for sunset!

On a clear day, take the cable car and climb up to Sardogna for a full view of Trento and the Bondone mountain up close.

Orrido di Ponte Alto 

For an easy trip outside of Trento that requires minimum effort, head to Orrido di Ponte Alto, where you’ll be able to admire a canyon that over the course of time has been carved by the strong waters of the Fersina River, an estuary to the Adige River.

The Fersina River used to run fiercely and regularly flooded the city, causing much damage to it, so already in the 16th century dams were placed to it in the area of Orrido di Ponte Alto, creating two very scenic waterfalls.

Practical Information: Orrido di Ponte Alto can be visited on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. You can get there from the center of Trento in about 20 minutes by bus. Once at the site, you will have to join a very interesting guided tour (which lasts about one hour). Admission is free for Trentino Guest Card holders.

Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Visiting Orrido Di Ponte Alto Gorge, Trentino.”

week in Trentino

Panificio Moderno is a nice spot for aperitivo

Where to stay and eat in Trento

Trento has some excellent accommodation options, as well as a bunch of fabulous restaurants, so you won’t have troubles finding something that is within your budget and that suits your taste. The places I mention below are all places that I have tried, tested and approved.

Best places to stay in Trento

Hotel America is located in the heart of Trento and features beautiful, comfortable rooms. The buffet breakfast is excellent. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

NH Trento is a modern hotel run in an eco-friendly manner. Rooms are spacious, comfortable and spotless. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

TrentoApartment is perfect if you’d rather have the possibility of self catering. It’s modern, clean and close to all the main attractions. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Best places to eat in Trento

Pizzeria da Albert is a great pizzeria located a bit outside the center of town. Pizza is prepared using top quality ingredients. The dough is crispy, fragrant and at the same time melts in your mouth. Service is super friendly and prices are fair.

Oblò Comfort Food a good place where to get a burger, a sandwich or a gourmet salad. They have vegetarian and vegan options.

Al Duomo nice restaurant and pizzeria located right by the main square. They offer a variety of traditional and gourmet pizzas. There are some excellent starters too.

Porteghet lovely spot for a quick lunch. There is a daily menu that changes seasonally, and lots of salad options. Prices are mode than fair; service quick and friendly.

Antico Pozzo fabulous restaurant hidden in a very narrow alley; it serves dishes of the local tradition cooked with a modern twist. Make sure to try the risotto.

Gelateria Cherry is the newest and easily the best gelateria in Trento. The selection of flavors isn’t the biggest, but you’ll surely get the best quality gelato. The vegan chocolate flavor is mouthwatering.

Panificio Moderno is a lovely coffee shop in an airy square, perfect for aperitivo. You can select from a variety of drinks, though I recommend trying Hugo, the local version of a Spritz.

Levico Lake

A relaxing morning on Levico Lake

Days 3 and 4 – Valsugana

Valsugana is a perfect addition to this itinerary for a week in Trentino. This very scenic valley is within very easy reach from Trento (it’s just a 30 minutes drive) but offers a completely different vibe. The main attractions in Valsugana are the two lakes – Caldonazzo and Levico – where you will be able to enjoy the beautiful beaches, swim in the clear waters, and practice all sorts of water sports.

This beautiful valley is also a great place for biking, hiking and nature walks; and if you feel the need to relax you will also find a few good spas.

It will take more than just 2 days to enjoy all that Valsugana has to offer, so I have selected just a handful of the things to see and do in Valsugana.

What to see and do in Valsugana

Enjoy the lakes

As I have already mentioned, there are two beautiful lakes in Valsugana and if you are visiting in the summer, you will be able to enjoy them at their best. Both of them are fantastic places for water sports and you can easily rent a sailing boat to go around the lake, or a kayak to visit all the hidden corners. You can also SUP your way around it.

Though both lakes are pristine and they have gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, I prefer Levico Lake for it has very clear waters and several beaches – some right by the village and that actually get quite crowded (though never overwhelming), others a bit more hidden. Levico is also accessible to dogs – so it’s a perfect place if you are traveling with your furriends.

In Levico, I also recommend going on a walk around the lake. The trail is very easy to follow and you will be able to spot several swings from where people love to jump directly into the water.

Go to a castle

There are more castles in Trentino than I can possibly mention, and you should make it a point to add at least one to your itinerary for a week in Trentino. A few of them are scattered around Valsugana and are open to the public. Pergine and Ivano can both be visited and from there you will get splendid views of the valley. Castel Selva is located in Selva di Levico, a small fraction of Levico Terme and can reached by foot via a tral that starts in the village.

views from Cantina Romanese

Cantina Romanese has a lovely family history – and fantastic wines!

Visit a winery

Trentino produces some excellent wines, and it would be a pity not to try a few of them. If you are in Levico Terme, make sure to visit Cantina Romanese, a tiny vineyard that makes fantastic wines and that has a very interesting story.

Enjoy your wine as Giorgio, one of the young owners, tells you the beautiful history of his family and how they came about making wine. As you sip a glass of Gabriella, their signature one, you will also discover the history behind the label of the bottle – let me not unveil it here and ruin the surprise effect.

BONUS: From the winery you will be able to take in the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the lakes.

Where to stay and eat in Valsugana

I recommend looking for accommodation in Levico Terme, one of the nicest villages in Valsugana where you will find plenty of good hotels and restaurants, and from where you can have very easy access to the lake. Below is a selection of the places I have tried, tested and recommend.

Best places to stay in Levico

Hotel Al Sorriso is a nice hotel right by the lake in Levico Terme. Rooms are very spacious and have a beautiful view. There is a pool, an excellent breakfast buffet, a bar and great common area. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Best places to eat in Levico

Ristorante Riviera is a nice restaurant with a huge terrace right by Levico Lake. The menu selection is huge – just as the portions. Food is good, service friendly although a bit slow.

Ristorante Boivin is one of the best restaurants in Levico. It serves dishes of the local tradition with a modern twist, in a beautiful setting. The owner / chef / manager is worth chatting to – he may seem brusque at first, but he turns out to be a very friendly man. Try the canederli, one of the local specialties, and the fish.

La Taverna is a beautiful restaurant by the lake where you will be able to taste some of the best food in Trentino, accompanied by an incredible wine selection. You may want to enquire about the food and Trentodoc (the regional version of sparkling wine) pairing.

Fabbrica di Pedavena is an easygoing pub and pizzeria that serves all sorts of food – from pizza to burgers, from steak to schnitzel. Beware of the huge portions!

week in Trentino

There is no shortage of gorgeous views in Primiero Valley

Days 5, 6 and 7 – Primiero Valley

Despite having been to Trentino many times, I had yet to visit Primiero Valley. During my last trip to the region I finally managed to make it there and was so wowed by it that I decided to add it to this itinerary for a week in Trentino.

Driving from Levico Terme to Fiera di Primiero, where I recommend basing yourself to explore the valley, should take you little over one hour. Once there, you will have no shortage of places to visit and things to do: in Primiero Valley you will find a wealth of gorgeous small towns and mountain villages; beautiful mountain lakes; hiking trails galore and – as anywhere else in Trentino – fabulous food.

Mine is a small selection of the things to see and do in Primiero Valley in 3 days. If you decide to spend longer in the area, rest assured you won’t have time to be bored!

What to see and do in Primiero Valley

Hike

There is little doubt that one of the reasons why you should visit Trentino in the summer is hiking. The trails in this part of Italy are simply stunning! Primiero Valley is an excellent stating point for some of the nicest hikes in the Dolomites – you will find short, easy trails for excellent views and a few more challenging ones.

Among the trails I recommend there’s the one that goes from Passo Rolle to Baita Segantini. It’s an easy hike of no more than 3 hours (including stops for photos) that will take you to a viewpoint where you will be able to admire the gorgeous peak of Cimon della Pala.

Another hike is the one that goes from Lago Calaita to San Martino di Castrozza. It’s a moderate hike during which you will be afforded spectacular views of the Pale di San Martino.

For a more in depth description of these and other hikes and for more information about hiking in Trentino, read my post Five Short But Rewarding Hikes In The Dolomites Of Trentino.”

Welsperg Lake Trentino

No words needed!

Enjoy the gorgeous views

There is no shortage of beautiful views in Primiero Valley, but if you are a photography geek you may want to head to Welsperg Lake. It’s a very short drive from Fiera di Primiero, and you will be rewarded with the precious reflection of the mountains in the waters of the lake.

TIP: Make sure to walk around the lake, as the views and the reflection aren’t that obvious from the side of the parking lot where you have to get off!

Explore a lovely village

There are many pretty villages in Trentino. Mezzano di Primiero, also known as Mezzano Romantica can be easily reached on a short walk from Fiera di Primiero, and it a great place to spend an hour or two wandering the narrow streets.

The village it known as one of the most beautiful in Italy, and for a good reason: it’s incredibly well kept, and at one with nature. You will find wooden statues and colorful wooden piles so well organized that they became real works of art. They are scattered around the village, so you will have to hunt for them while at the same time admire the lovely houses built in the traditional local style.

I will be soon be writing a more detailed guide to visiting Mezzano Romantica.

Try local beer

I have already mentioned that wines in the region of Trentino are fabulous, but beer lovers won’t be disappointed either. Located in Mezzano there is Bionoc – a small, local brewery that makes excellent craft beers. You can go on a beer tasting tour with the friendly owners and their sweet dog, and once you sit down for dinner you can enjoy more beer.

Where to stay and eat in Fiera di Primiero

Primiero Valley has some excellent accommodation and eating options. The places I recommend are those where I have eaten, slept and that I have truly enjoyed.

Best places to stay in Fiera di Primiero

Hotel Isolabella is in the center of Fiera di Primiero. This nice hotel has comfortable, modern music themed rooms with gorgeous mountain views. There is a panoramic elevator that brings guests to their floor, a bar that serves excellent cocktails and an on site restaurant with a set daily menu. Breakfast is very good. There also is a spa – perfect to relax after a day of hiking in the Dolomites. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Best places to eat in or near Primiero Valley

Il Caminetto, in Fiera di Primiero, is an easygoing pizzeria where pizza are prepared using strictly local ingredients. They have a great selection that goes from the most classic margherita pizza to the most gourmet ones. They even have vegan options.

Rifugio Caltena is a beautiful mountain hut in Caltene, from where you will enjoy gorgeous mountain views. Several hiking and walking trails depart from the area where the rifugio is located. There, you will find some of the best food in the area, with delicious dishes of local pasta and polenta.

Malga Rolle is a great place to try local produce – they make their own cheese! This restaurants with gorgeous mountain views serves ridiculously large portions of local specialties. Service is fast and friendly.

food in Trentino

Trying local food is a must when in Trentino

Practical Tips To Plan Your Week In Trentino

Best time to visit Trentino

Any time is a good time to visit Trentino. I have been there in the summer, and loved it, and I have also been there in the winter time, when it is a fantastic destination for winter sports. Having said so, this itinerary contains activities such as hiking or SUP that are best enjoyed in the summer, so if you plan to follow this route make sure to visit between June and September.

If you are planning to visit Trentino in the winter, make sure to read my posts A Winter Guide To Val Di Sole” and 10 Perfectly Good Reasons To Ski In Val Di Sole.”

How to get to Trentino

There are no airports in Trentino, but thanks to the great web of rail and bus transport it is still very easy to reach. You will have to fly to Verona, then take the bus to the main train station in town and once there take one of the many trains headed north (Trento or Bolzano). The overall trip from the airport to Trento should take you around 2 hours. You can check the train timetable and train fares for all of Italy and buy train tickets here.

How to move around Trentino

Buses work well in Trentino and connect the main towns to the smallest villages. However, you only have limited time and would like to hit the trails or the lakes, I wholeheartedly recommend renting a car so that you can save time moving from one place to the other. Besides, Trentino is a region that calls for road trips! You can check the prices of car rental here.

Trentino views

More incredible views in Trentino

What to pack for a summer trip to Trentino

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:

Other useful information

Make sure to get hold of a Trentino Guest Card for your time in the region – you are entitled to it if you spend at least two days in the region and can pick it up at your hotel. Trentino Guest Card gives you access to all local public transportation – including trains – and provides free or discounted entrance to museums, castles, parks and other attractions. For more information, click here.

You may be happy to know that pets are generally welcome in most hotels, restaurants and attractions or trails in Trentino.

As for any other trip, make sure you get a travel insurance when visiting Trentino. Get yours here.

Check out my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”

For more readings about Trentino, you can check one of these books:

Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Tourism Board of Trentino, Trentino Marketing and Traverse Events during my last trip to Trentino, and wish to thank them for putting together an incredible itinerary and for welcoming me ever so kindly. Needless to say, all the views expressed in this post remain my own.

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Discover how to spend a fabulous week in Trentino - via @clautavani

13 Road Trip Essentials For The Perfect Summer Road Trip

13 Road Trip Essentials For The Perfect Summer Road Trip

Having the right road trip essentials is the first step to having a good time when traveling.

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 are some epic road trips on the East coast of the USA. And in Italy, driving around in search of the best beaches in Sardinia is the ultimate pastime!

While short road trips hardly require a road trip check list, longer ones need more careful planning.

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 the road trip essentials you will need to take with you.

So, before pulling out of the driveway, make sure to have everything you need!

road trip check list

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 things for a road trip.

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 renting 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 essentials 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 things you need for a road trip. I made sure to get it when I went on a road trip around Trentino.

Road trip packing list

Nobody wants to find themselves in the middle of the desert with no cash – that’s one of the road trip essentials

Spare cash

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. I recommend taking some spare cash on your road trip. 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.

road trip essentials

An app to establish the route and warn about traffic jams is one of the road trip necessities

Waze

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 the best apps 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 things to bring along during a road trip is actually a paper map. I have travelled to places 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.

road trip checklist

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.

road trip essentials

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 things you need to know before embarking on a road trip is how 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, it may be a good idea 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 (though it has happened to me!). 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. Make sure to carry a tank of gasoline, to be on the safe side.

road trip packing list

Don’t be left in the middle of nowhere with no gasoline – carry a tank, it is one of the road trip essentials!

Your 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 you 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 you’ll get sick of it in a hurry if you don’t have some auxiliary tunes to resort to when passing through a musical desert. Make sure to bring a playlist of your 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 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.

Miscellaneous stuff

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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A Winter Guide To Val Di Sole

A Winter Guide To Val Di Sole

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.

Val di Sole

The fabulous slopes of Val di Sole

Everything You Need To Know For A Winter Trip To Val Di Sole

The fabulous slopes 

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 

How to reach the slopes

By car

The easiest way to move around Val di Sole is by car. You can easily rent one here.

By bus

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).

By train

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.

Ski-pass

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.

Val di Sole

Monclassico is one of the nicest villages in Val di Sole

The lovely villages 

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)?

Val di Sole

The stunning view of the suspended bridge, not far from Val di Sole

The winter wonderland landscape 

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 Five Short But Rewarding Hikes In The Dolomites Of Trentino.”

Val di Sole

A cooking class at Agritur Solasna, in Val di Sole, turned out to be a great experience. We learned to make apple pie!

Food 

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 

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.

val di Sole

The winter atmosphere in Val di Sole is fabulous

Christmas 

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 

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 there

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 

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.

Val di Sole

Agritur Solasna is one of the nicest places to stay and eat in Val di Sole

The best places to stay and eat 

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.

Other information

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.

Make sure to read my other posts on Trentino:

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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Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer

Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer

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.

places to visit in Northern Italy

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.

things to do in Trentino

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.

visit Trentino

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.

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.

visit Trentino

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.

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.

visit Trentino

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.

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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.

things to do in 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.

You can now book a day at QC Terme online – just click here!

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.

things to do in Trentino

Next time I visit Trentino, I hope to stay in the gorgeous Val San Nicolò

Practical Information For Your Trip To Trentino

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.

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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:

Other useful information

Remember to always get a good travel insurance. You can find a good one here.

Make sure to read my other posts about Trentino:

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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