Saint Ulrich Ortisei

Saint Ulrich Ortisei (Ortisei in Italian, Urtijëi in Ladin) is the largest and most lively village in Val Gardena, a valley in the South Tyrol region of Italy. Surrounded by scenic mountains and meadows, Ortisei is a popular destination for both summer and winter holidays. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or relaxing moments, Ortisei has something for everyone. In this blog post, I will share with you some of the best things to do, see, and eat in Ortisei, as well as some practical tips on how to get there and where to stay.

How to Get to Ortisei

Ortisei is easily accessible by public transportation or by car. The nearest airport is Bolzano, which is about 40 km away. From there, you can take a bus or a taxi to Ortisei. Alternatively, you can fly to Innsbruck in Austria, which is about 120 km away, or Verona in Italy, which is about 190 km away. From these airports, you can take a train or a bus to Bressanone or Ponte Gardena, and then change to a local bus to Ortisei. You can also rent a car and drive to Ortisei, but be aware that parking can be limited and expensive in the village. If you are staying in a hotel or an apartment that is a member of the Tourist Association, you will receive a free bus pass that allows you to use the public transportation in the valley and beyond.

Where to Stay in Ortisei

Ortisei offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly B&Bs and apartments, to mid-range hotels and chalets, to luxury resorts and spas. Depending on your preferences and budget, you can choose a place that suits your needs and tastes. Here are some of the best places to stay in Ortisei:

  • B&B Lavi Ortisei val Gardena: This cozy and family-run B&B is located in a quiet area, about 10 minutes walk from the center of Ortisei. It offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, balconies, and mountain views. You can enjoy a delicious breakfast with homemade cakes and jams, as well as free Wi-Fi and parking.
  • Garni Hotel Mirabel: This charming and elegant hotel is situated in a panoramic position, overlooking the village and the mountains. It features spacious and modern rooms with balconies, satellite TV, and minibars. You can relax in the wellness area, which includes a sauna, a steam bath, and a hot tub. You can also enjoy a rich breakfast buffet, a bar, and a garden.
  • Casa al Sole: This stylish and cozy apartment is located in the heart of Ortisei, close to the shops, restaurants, and cable cars. It can accommodate up to 4 people, and it has a fully equipped kitchen, a living room with a sofa bed, a bedroom with a double bed, and a bathroom with a shower. You can also enjoy a balcony with a view, free Wi-Fi, and a ski storage room.
  • Chalet Hotel Hartmann: This traditional and romantic hotel is located in a quiet and sunny spot, about 15 minutes walk from the center of Ortisei. It offers cozy and rustic rooms with wooden furniture, balconies, and mountain views. You can enjoy a hearty breakfast with local products, a lounge with a fireplace, and a garden with a sun terrace. You can also use the wellness facilities of the nearby Hotel Adler, which include a pool, a sauna, and a spa.
  • Hotel Gardena Grödnerhof: This luxurious and elegant hotel is located in the center of Ortisei, close to the shops, restaurants, and cable cars. It offers spacious and sophisticated rooms with balconies, satellite TV, and minibars. You can enjoy a gourmet restaurant, a bar, and a wine cellar. You can also indulge in the wellness area, which includes a pool, a sauna, a steam bath, a gym, and a beauty center.
  • La Cort My Dollhouse – Adults Only: This unique and exclusive hotel is located in a secluded and peaceful location, about 20 minutes drive from Ortisei. It offers only 4 rooms, each with a different theme and style, such as the Alpine Room, the Romantic Room, the Oriental Room, and the African Room. You can enjoy a private balcony, a fireplace, a jacuzzi, and a sauna. You can also enjoy a delicious breakfast with organic and homemade products, a lounge with a library, and a garden with a pond.

What to Do and See in Ortisei

Ortisei is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore the stunning landscapes of the Dolomites, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by hiking, biking, skiing, or snowshoeing. You can also discover the rich culture and history of the valley, which is home to the Ladin people, a distinct ethnic group with their own language and traditions. Here are some of the best things to do and see in Ortisei:

  • Take a cable car to the Alpe di Siusi Plateau: The Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German) is the largest high-altitude meadow in Europe, and one of the most beautiful places in the Dolomites. You can take a cable car from Ortisei to reach the plateau, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, such as the Sassolungo (Langkofel), the Sassopiatto (Plattkofel), and the Sciliar (Schlern). You can enjoy hiking, biking, or skiing on the plateau, depending on the season. You can also visit some of the charming villages and huts on the plateau, such as Compaccio (Compatsch), Saltria (Saltria), and Zallinger (Zallinger).
  • Hike to the Seceda Ridgeline: The Seceda Ridgeline is one of the most iconic and dramatic sights in the Dolomites, with its jagged peaks and sheer cliffs. You can hike to the ridgeline from Ortisei, by taking a cable car to Furnes (Furnes), and then another cable car to Seceda (Seceda). From there, you can follow a well-marked trail that leads you along the ridgeline, offering stunning views of the Val Gardena, the Alpe di Siusi, and the Odle Group (Geislergruppe). The hike is about 10 km long, and takes about 4 hours. You can also extend your hike by descending to the picturesque village of Santa Magdalena (St. Magdalena), or by taking a detour to the Puez-Odle Nature Park (Naturpark Puez-Geisler).
  • Visit the Resciesa Plateau: The Resciesa (Raschötz) Plateau is another scenic spot in the Dolomites, which offers panoramic views of the Val Gardena, the Alpe di Siusi, and the Sella Group (Sellagruppe). You can visit the plateau from Ortisei, by taking a funicular from the center of the village. The funicular takes you to the Resciesa Hut (Raschötzhütte), where you can enjoy a snack or a drink. From there, you can hike to the Resciesa Cross (Raschötzkreuz), which is a wooden cross on a hilltop, or to the Brogles Hut (Brogleshütte), which is a cozy mountain hut. You can also rent a sled and slide down the funicular track, which is a fun and thrilling activity for all ages.
  • Shop for Woodcrafts in Ortisei: Ortisei is famous for its woodcarving tradition, which dates back to centuries. You can find many shops and workshops in the village, where you can admire and buy various woodcrafts, such as sculptures, figurines, toys, and nativity scenes. Some of the most renowned woodcarvers in Ortisei are the Dolfi family, the Demetz family, and the Senoner family. You can also visit the Museum Gherdëina (Museum Gröden), which displays a collection of woodcarvings, as well as exhibits on the geology, history, and culture of the valley. You can also see some of the larger sculptures around town, such as the Luis Trenker Monument, the Antonius Monument, and the Ladinia Monument.
  • Enjoy the Gastronomy of Ortisei: Ortisei is a great place to taste the delicious cuisine of the South Tyrol, which is a fusion of Italian, Austrian, and Ladin influences. You can find many restaurants, cafes, and bars in the village, where you can enjoy dishes such as speck (smoked ham), knödel (dumplings), schlutzkrapfen (ravioli), kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancake), strudel (pastry), and apfelküchle (apple fritters). You can also try some