Italy’s luxurious ski resort of Cortina in the heart of the Italian Alps is a beautiful alpine town attracting thousands of visitors to its beautiful Dolomites. It’s Austrian influence is seen in rows of mismatched chalets and an abundance of greenery that dots every corner.
Known for hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina is a popular ski town yet this isn’t all that makes it a popular destination. High-end designers make up the cobbled shopping area, centered round a tall fairy tale church tower. And of course the food! Italian food in itself is unmissable, but Cortina’s authentic mountain flavors make for some high quality, Michelin recommended restaurants to tick off any foodie’s list.
You could spend over a week in Cortina, going between the high slopes and divine restaurants but for a short but sweet trip, three days is recommended.
When to visit: As Cortina is predominately a ski town, most hotels open for peak season which starts in January and runs until the end of April. However, to save on costs, the slopes are open from November with some hotels such as the Hotel Ambra Cortina open all year round.
Getting there: Cortina is a 2-hour drive from Venice and therefore is a great town to visit if you can hire a car to drive around North Italy. If you are using public transport, you can catch a bus from either airport in Venice to Cortina which runs a few times a day for approximately $30. The best way to look for options is to use Rome2Rio.com
Getting around: If you want to explore the surrounding areas and less touristy mountains, it is recommended that you hire a car. However, taxis are of course available.
Cortina is known for its 120km of peaks and slopes, so obviously, a highlight of visiting the town is to ski or board down the mountains. You can hire all the equipment you need from the resort which is in walking distance from the town.
At the top of the cable ride, you’ll be surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes to be enjoyed from the winding slopes or mountain café serving thick Italian hot chocolate and refreshing beers to sip in outdoor loungers under the strong winter sun.
The best thing about Cortina is that there is so much more than just ski slopes. The town is filled with luxury shops and boutiques from quality fashions to glittering jewels. For the keen shopper make sure to head to the town in the morning or late evening as the Italians close up shop between 12-4pm for an extended lunch.
The center point of the town is marked by the striking Basilica Minore dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo, Cortina’s church and tower. Built in the late 18th century, it is a beautiful, intricately decorated building adorned with marble.
Surrounding the town is, of course, miles upon miles of stunning natural landscapes. Feast your eyes upon structured mountains and snowy peaks before the sun sets casting dramatic shadows across the fairy tale town. If you hire a car for your trip, make sure to drive out to beautiful sights such as Lago di Sorapiss.
The last key highlight of Cortina is, of course, the memory of the 1956 Winter Olympics. Memorabilia can be seen at the ski chalets while the original jumps are a short drive from the town.
Where to Eat:
The food of Cortina is traditional Italian cuisine with an authentic mountain influence. Expect less vegetarian options and more hunters’ meat including deer and rabbit. The town is full of excellent pizzerias and taverns in addition to a few highly rated restaurants.
Al Camin is a family run establishment a short drive up the mountain. A Michelin recommended restaurant; it serves exquisitely presented food which is as tasty as it looks. Make sure to have the famous soup of the day to start before tasting some of their homemade pasta.
Cortina’s favorite seafood restaurant and tapas bar is a cozy spot tucked away from the main street. Expect fresh flavors and creative dishes served on modern black slates. If you’re lucky, the chef will cook you up a few small tasters before you get tucked into raw tuna, wrapped sea bass and more. A perfect choice if you’re feeling a little full from all the Italian carbs!
Where to Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Best Budget Hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – Hotel Montana
Hotel Montana’s indoor pool offers views of the Brenta Dolomites. Located in Vason at an altitude of 1650 m, this modern hotel is a 2-minute walk from the ski lifts. Garage parking is free, and you can drive to Trento in 40 minutes by car. The hotel is located along the SP85 road, just 50 meters from the bus stop to/from Trento Train Station, which is 20 km away. The suggested address for GPS navigators is Località Vason, Trento. Molveno can be reached in 1 hour.
At this 4-star hotel, you have access to the wellness center, which includes a range of saunas, and a Turkish bath. The relaxation area has panoramic views. There are two hydromassage areas in the pool.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – Boutique Hotel Villa Blu
Set in a large spruce forest a 2-minute drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Boutique Hotel Villa Blu offers Alpine-style rooms with satellite flat-screen TV and a DVD player. It features a large park and panoramic views of the Ampezzo Dolomites from its rooftop terrace.
Rooms at the Villa Blu are all en suite with carpeted floors and wooden furniture. Most rooms have a balcony, while others have a terrace with mountain views. The private bathroom includes a hairdryer and free toiletries. A traditional à-la-carte restaurant and a snack bar are available on site. Local food, both sweet and savory, is served daily in the buffet breakfast. Eggs and fresh orange juice can be requested too.
Best Luxury Hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – Ambra Hotel Cortina
Located in the center of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Hotel Ambra offers Alpine-style rooms with free Wi-Fi and paneled walls. It features a snack bar, terrace with tables and chairs, and free on-site parking. The property is located 150 m from the Faloria ski slopes, and a ski bus stops in front of the hotel. Coaches link Cortina to Venice Marco Polo Airport, a 2-hour drive away.
En suite rooms at the Ambra have satellite flat-screen TV and a minibar, while some rooms have a balcony. The private bathroom comes equipped with free toiletries and a hairdryer.
A hot and cold breakfast buffet is served daily with sweet and savory items. Gluten-free products are available on request. Click here for review.
You can explore Cortina in 3 days depending on whether or not you’d like to ski. Any additional days are recommended spent on the slopes or venturing out to surrounding scenery.
Arrive in Venice and transfer to Cortina
Explore the town and the Basilica Minore dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo
Dine at Al Camin Cortina
Spend the day on the slopes
Dine at Il Vizietto Di Cortina
Drive around the surrounding sights or enjoy a morning ski
Transfer back to Venice airport
Check if you need a visa here.
About the Writer
Hi, I’m Eppie, a London lifestyle and travel blogger who shares adventures and stories from around the city and globe. I’m also a self-confessed foodie and can’t resist ordering the most bizarre cocktail on the menu!