Wondering what are the best things to do in Cortina d ‘ Ampezzo?
Cortina d’Ampezzo – located in the Italian Dolomites in the spectacular Ampezzo Valley in Northern Italy, is not only one of the best places to visit in Italy, but one of the world’s most popular mountain destinations.
Cortina is a truly beautiful town surrounded by breathtaking mountains and there is so much to do – whether you’re visiting the lively town in winter for the skiing, snow and vibrant Christmas atmosphere, or in the summer for the spectacular hiking trails, views and relaxing in the sun.
Read on to know what are the best things to do in Cortina d ‘ Ampezzo, as well as the best times to visit!
When To Visit Cortina d’Ampezzo
Summer and winter are peak season in Cortina d’Ampezzo and both seasons get extremely busy (the number of tourists during the peak seasons can be up to 10 times the amount of residents in Cortina!).
The especially busy periods are from December 8th – January 6th, the whole of July and August, weekends leading up to Easter, as well as Carnival week/Mardi Gras.
Make sure to book accommodation and restaurant reservations in advance! Hotel Cortina is a really great place to stay.
During the busy periods Cortina d’Ampezzo is bursting with life and energy and there are many events going on such as concerts.
Whichever season you visit, the outdoors are the main draw to Cortina d’Ampezzo!
How To Get To Cortina d’Ampezzo
The nearest airport to Cortina is in Venice – less than a 2 hour drive away (150km).
Whilst driving is the easiest way to get from Venice to The Dolomites and Cortina, finding a parking space in Cortina can be difficult if you’re visiting during the peak seasons, so you may want to consider taking the train or bus to get here.
If you need a car, make sure your accommodation has a parking space.
Cortina is very compact and easy to get around by foot.
Take care when driving in the winter as the roads are often covered in snow so traffic is slow, plus you’ll need to make sure you have winter tires!
What to do in Cortina d ‘ Ampezzo In Winter
Cortina d’Ampezzo makes for a truly magical place to visit in winter, with skiing and winter sports, Christmas shopping, the mountains covered in snow and the vibrant Christmas atmosphere.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is Italys most fashionable and glamorous skiing resort town, as well as being one of the most stylish ski resorts in the world!
You can find some of the best skiing in the Alps here at Cortina – where there are over 120km of slopes for all different levels. If you want a change from skiing you can try snowboarding, snowshoeing and even tobogganing!
Despite being very well known for skiing, probably half of the visitors who come to Cortina in the winter don’t ski, so don’t worry!
If you aren’t a fan of winter sports, it’s still worth getting the ski-lift up to see the snowy mountains and the views from the top – they are absolutely incredible! There are even some restaurants at the top where you can relax and enjoy your day!
At Christmastime, Cortina’s main pedestrianised street – Corso Italia, that is adorned with beautiful Christmas decorations and Christmas lights!
Plus you can find lots of wine bars and cafes on Corso Italia where you can get a hot chocolate, mulled wine or the winter drink Bombardino to warm up!
December is an exciting month to visit Cortina as it hosts the Cortina Fashion Week, and New Years Eve is a big celebration in Cortina!
If you are here for New Years Eve join the crowds at Piazza Angelo Dibona (also known as Piazza Venezia or La Conchiglia) to watch the midnight fireworks!
What to do in Cortina d ‘ Ampezzo In Summer
Cortina has some of the best day hikes in The Dolomites, and you’ll find a variety of hikes with different levels of difficulty from easy to challenging, all showcasing spectacular views.
If you fancy an easy hike, do the hike from Cortina to Lake Pianozes. Other easy walks include the walk to the Old Railway and the Pian de ra Spines walk.
The hike to Sorapis Lake is longer, but the views are mesmerising and the lake is an incredibly stunning turquoise colour.
You can also find some via ferrata in Cortina if you fancy the challenge! Via Ferrata are basically narrow trails where a metal cable is drilled into the mountain. You will wear a hip harness, helmet and carabiner to attach to the cable.
Some via ferrata are very challenging and you should hire a guide, but an easier one that you can do yourself is the hike to Fanes Waterfalls.
If hiking isn’t your thing but you still want to enjoy stunning views, take the cablecar to the top of Tofana Mountain.
To relax afterwards, head to Corso Italia where you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes and wine bars with terraces for you to relax and enjoy the views with an Aperol spritz!
Corso Italia also has several Michelin starred restaurants, as well as some discos if you want to party afterwards!
What to do in Cortina d ‘ Ampezzo in Spring/Autumn
The autumn months of October and November, and the spring months of April and May are typically considered the low season at Cortina d’Ampezzo. During this period some shops, restaurants and hotels will be closed.
However this shouldn’t really affect your trip, you can still do a lot of the hikes and the plus side is there will be significantly less people around so you feel like you get Cortina all to yourself!
WHAT TO DO IN CORTINA D ‘ AMPEZZO
Whatever season you visit Cortina in, make sure to visit:
- Corso Italia and enjoy the boutique stores and restaurants here
- visit the mountains – either on the chair lift in the winter or hiking in the summer.
- visit Lake Pianozes and Lago d’Ajal (both easy to get to on foot from Cortina)
- enjoy the outdoor – whether that means doing winter sports or grabbing a bicycle in the summer and cycling through the valleys to Dobbiaco or Calalzo.
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!