Alta Badia: discovering South Tyrol’s hidden gem

Crammed with appeal to adventurous travellers, Alta Badia in South Tyrol is stepping into the limelight.

By Alta Badia
Published 19 Mar 2020, 11:48 GMT
Threading your way through the Dolomites in Alta Badia is one of cycling's biggest thrills.
Threading your way through the Dolomites in Alta Badia is one of cycling's biggest thrills.
Photograph by Alex Moling

South Tyrol, Italy's northernmost region, is a truly special destination nestled in the middle of the majestic Dolomites. Despite its well-earned renown as a famous winter sports destination, the province is also a mecca for hiking and biking, with 300 days of sun per year to entice visitors. It offers a unique combination of Mediterranean culture and cuisine alongside arresting Alpine landscapes, combining with aforementioned activities to offer a distillation of the good life.

Nowhere is the unique appeal of South Tyrol encapsulated more potently than in Alta Badia, a resort region stepping out of its ‘hidden gem’ status and taking up a central spot in traveller’s must-visit lists.  

For the cyclists

The best time for a cycling adventure in Alta Badia is between May and September, when the sun is blazing, the trails are lush with greenery and the rock formations glow in warm shades of red and yellow. Take advantage of experienced local guides or tackle the challenging climbs and dizzying descents on your own. Mountain bikers can experience the adrenaline rush that the Sellaronda circuit’s 60km of off-road trails have to offer, while the winding curves of the Maratona dles Dolomites circuit provide road cyclists with epic views of the peaks and valleys. Plan your trip around cycle events such as Dolomites Bike Day on 13 June, the Sellaronda Bike Day on 27 June or the Maratona dles Dolomites - Enel marathon on 5 July.

Hiking in the Dolomites in Alta Badia provides amazing views.
Photograph by Alex Moling

For the hikers

Alta Badia is home to a large number of nature reserves waiting to be explored on foot. Newcomers can walk leisurely through verdant pastures, while the more adventurous can head off on multi-day treks of nature parks such as Puez-Odles and Fanes-Senes-Braies. True hiking and climbing adepts can even pit their skills against the challenges of summit ascents and high-altitude expeditions high up in the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take advantage of the many mountain huts available in summer, where travellers will be able to enjoy unique views of the surrounding mountains and sample true Alpine hospitality alongside delicious traditional cuisine.

For the gourmets

Alta Badia is a prime food destination, generating some of the best Alpine produce in the world and fostering a thriving contemporary food culture. The region is home to four Michelin stars shared between two restaurants, along with traditional farmhouse inns and cosy mountain huts showcasing the region’s culinary offerings. The summer seasons’ marquee food highlight is Peaks of Gastronomy, a series of initiatives throughout the year combining a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle with delicious food. Events include ‘Dumpling Evening’, ‘Breakfast in the Mountains’ and ‘Delicacies in the Forest’, amongst many others. Another landmark on the Alta Badia culinary calendar is Saus dl Altonn (Flavours of Autumn) in September. Taking place in traditional mountain huts, the programme offers a number of three-course menus, each menu featuring one type of local produce as its main star.

Visitors will be able to sample traditional Ladin cuisine in Alta Badia.
Photograph by Alex Moling

How to get there

South Tyrol’s closest airports are Innsbruck to the north, Venice and Verona to the south. Flight connections are extensive and allow travellers to travel independently. South Tyrol is less than two hours by car from Verona and Innsbruck.

Additional airports in the area include: Munich, Treviso, Bergamo and Milan. South Tyrol’s airport is located in Bolzano/Bozen. Direct flights to Bolzano are currently not available.

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