You know the Mona Lisa... you must know of it, for a chance. Have you ever noticed the background of this Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece? It depicts the chimney-like, otherworldly pinnacles of the Dolomites. These mountains are so majestic, and such an ideal holiday destination year round, given there are so many ways to access them, that you will not believe them to be real. No wonder they have been and continue to be an inspiration to many: rivers that meander through their valleys, picturesque villages, lakes that are sided by castles... the pinkish turning to purple hues of sunrises and sunsets on a holiday in the Dolomites will give your entire existence a rosier hue.
What was life like some 5000 years ago? The Dolomites can answer this question for you, in the Museo Archeologico dell'Alto Adige, Bolzano. The body of the iceman Otzi is to be found here, a most stunning discovery, a very well preserved one too. Trento is a most beautiful town that you can get to from a last minute holiday home in the Dolomites, and it has an architectural charm like you would not believe. It has a religious and historical importance combined, and the immense medieval palazzo in the Piazza del Duomo dominates the central part of the town. Take a cable car ride to Belvedere di Sardagna while here. In Brunico there is another 13th century bishop's castle, and the vineyard village of Caldaro offers some stunning views of castles in the mountains, and the Church of Santa Caterina here is also beautiful.
One of the most interesting aspects of a cultural holiday in the Dolomites? That would be the Ladin language and culture, that is mostly known for woodcarving and... for toy making. This culture is hidden in the mountain valleys here, but it is one that has been very well preserved. Also in matters of culture, check out the Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Rovereto or the Museo Archelogico dell’Alto Adige. Cortina d’Ampezzo is definitely a place to be when on holiday in the Dolomites, whether you are a skier or not. This was the vacation place for Audrey Hepburn and for Ernest Hemingway, it was portrayed in scenes from a James Bond movie, it is a place filled with culture and history in a most special way.
In the center of the Dolomites you find the Cristallo group where there is trekking, skiing and others similar activities, the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites is a fabulous reserve with glaciers, forests, waterfalls, even museums. The Brenta grouping of the Dolomites is found north of Trento, and it is a very popular destination for hiking. The Sass Pordoi pass offers some of the most stunning views in the mountains, by car. And many more... for you to discover on a holiday in the Dolomites.
After a day of skiing in winter or hiking in summer in the Dolomites, there is nothing like an afternoon of relaxing in a local spa. Saunas, massages, Turkish baths and pools and whirlpools, jacuzzis and beauty treatments, they are all more than welcome at any time, yet when you get to enjoy them in a beautiful mountainous scenery, their charm increases exponentially. Merano is well known as a wellness town, and relaxing in the Terme Merano thermal baths here is simply divine. Don't take our word for it, though, try it yourself!
A winter sports holiday in the Dolomites is a must, but you should know that besides the skiing and snowboarding and other winter fun activities in famous resorts such as Bormio, Canazei, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Madonna di Campiglio, Ortisei among the Val Gardena's resorts, there are lots of things to do in all seasons in these mountains. The Parco Naturale Adamello-Brenta hosts the famous walking trail, Via Bocchetta di Tuckett. It is not an easy route, so it is most recommended to experienced hikers and mountaineers. The Lake Garda is also sided by the Dolomites, thus from a holiday park in the Dolomites here you can get to a whole other range of activities such as water sports and sailing and so on. Paragliding and cycling in these mountains is also great, and the lakes that you find here are a most ideal addition to the landscape. Visiting the botanical gardens at Monte Faverghera and the Cansiglio is also amazing, as well as the Alpine Botanic Garden of the Viotte is.
Whether it is laying in the snow you opt for, or walking among breathtaking landscapes, a picnic by a lake or cycling on a family holiday in the Dolomites, you are up for a great time. Go sightseeing in towns such as the historical Bressanone, with its 10th century cathedral, or the Ortisei in the Val Gardena, which is the perfect location for settling down on your vacation and enjoying skiing and winter sports in winter, climbing and hiking in summer. The Cortina d'Amprezzo is completely surrounded by the mountains, offering spectacular views from any angle. The riding stables in Castelrotto and on the Alpe di Siusi may also be of interest to you.
Delectable treats are not at all a rarity in the Dolomites, some of them though are surely to be included on the “must try” list: game meat such as cervo (deer), stambecco (mountain goat), capriolo (roe buck) and others. Then there is also the polenta that is specific to the area and the Apfelstrudel. Visit one of the rifugios in the Dolomites, you will find here dishes cooked with traditional ingredients, like tortelli pasta stuffed with Speck ham paté, also pork shank in honey and black pepper and others. Add a glass of delicious local wine and you're all set.
Spending a holiday with a pet in the Dolomites is always fun, you are in the mountains after all. The vast meadows and forests are great for taking your dog out for a run, you can go hiking together from Selva Gardena to the Vallunga for example, or to the Selva Castle ruin, to Monte Pana and so on. A hike to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the three most photographed peaks in the Dolomites is simply amazing. The lakes in the Dolomites also provide an ideal scenery for spending time with Rover, there are pet friendly holiday homes you can rent here, and relax with your buddy among the breathtaking nature.Points of interest, a “must see” list in the Dolomites:
Spend a most beautiful holiday in the Dolomites in any season, allow the breathtaking views here, the rose colored hues of the sun embracing the high summits, the serenity of the snow covered peaks in winter, show you what life is really all about when you measure it against nature's greatness. Aren't you in the very least curious?
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