Val Gardena (Grödnertal) is a valley in South Tyrol in the Italian Dolomites, stretching from Gardena Pass (Passo Gardena / Grödnerjoch) and Sella Pass (Passo Sella) to Valle Isarco (Eisacktal).
From Val Gardena, you can easily access Puez-Odle Nature Park, the Sassolungo Group, the Sella Group, Resciesa Plateau, and the Alpe di Siusi meadows. With so many beloved hiking destinations at your doorstep, you can see why hiking in the Val Gardena mountains is like hiking in heaven. And, because Val Gardena is an established ski region, a network of cableways and gondolas makes hiking here even more accessible.
An added bonus of staying and hiking in Val Gardena is the free transit system for overnight guests. If you’re traveling in the Dolomites without a car, Val Gardena is a perfect place to base yourself for a few days.
Best Hiking Trails in Val Gardena
- Seceda Ridgeline to Rifugio Firenze – Easy-Moderate circuit trail starting in Ortisei.
- Resciesa to Rifugio Brogles and Seceda Ridgeline – Moderate circuit, or point-to-point hike starting in Ortisei.
- Rifugio Stevia and Col dala Pieres – Difficult circuit hike starting in Selva di Val Gardena.
- Lake Pisciadù and Pisciadù Peak Hike – Difficult loop, or point-to-point hike starting at Gardena Pass.
- Monte Pic Summit Hike – Moderately difficult circuit hike, starting at the Praplan car park, above Santa Cristina
- Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana – Easy hike starting at the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Ropeway mountain station and ending in Santa Cristina.
- Sassolungo Loop Trail – Moderate day hike starting at Sella Pass.
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Val Gardena Map
Val Gardena encompasses the towns Ortisei, Selva di Val Gardena, and Santa Cristina. Because this is a German-, Ladin-, and Italian-speaking region, each town, nature park, mountain hut, etc… has three names. So, Ortisei is also called St. Ulrich and Urtijëi. Selva di Val Gardena is also called Wolkenstein and Sëlva.
Recommended Trail Map: Tappeiner Val Gardena hiking map
1. Seceda Ridgeline to Rifugio Firenze (Regensburger Hütte)
- Starting Point: Ortisei
- Trailhead: Seceda cableway mountain station
- Distance: 8.9 km circuit
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
- Time Needed: 3 – 4 hours
The Seceda ridgeline is one of the most iconic places in the Dolomites. You’ve seen the photo a million times. And, yet it’s even more spectacular in person.
This Val Gardena hike begins at the Seceda mountain station, which is accessible by aerial cableways from the village of Ortisei.
From the Seceda summit, you’ll approach the dagger-like Odle peaks along a level path. The hike continues to the Pierlongia hut, marked by two twin spires. The hike then continues to Rifugio Firenze, which is a great place for lunch. From the mountain hut, you’ll circuit back to Seceda mountain station.
Learn More: Seceda to Rifugio Firenze Circuit Hike
2. Resciesa to Rifugio Brogles and Seceda Ridgeline
- Starting Point: Ortisei
- Trailhead: Resciesa Funicular mountain station
- Distance: 8.5 km point-to-point
- Difficulty: moderate/difficult
- Time Needed: 3 hours minimum
Update 2021: The trail from Malga Brogles to Seceda via Forcella Pana/Panascharte is closed due to a rockfall. You can still hike this route via Furcela De Mesdi/Mittagsscharte, but it’s longer and more difficult. For up-to-date information on trail conditions, please contact the Seceda cableway.
Did you know that the Seceda ridgeline can be approached in an entirely different way? This exciting Val Gardena hiking route starts in Ortisei with a funicular ascent to the Resciesa plateau.
You’ll hike across Resciesa and gently descend to Rifugio Brogles in Val di Funes. With wonderful views of the beloved Odle peaks, Malga Brogles is a great place for lunch or just a drink. From the hut, the trail ascends all the way to the Seceda ridgeline via the Forcella Pana/Panascharte notch.
From the Seceda ridge, you can descend to Ortisei via the Seceda-Funes-Ortisei cableways, or continue hiking to Col Raiser gondola mountain station and descend to Selva and Santa Cristina.
Learn More: Hiking from Resciesa to Seceda
3. Col dala Pieres
- Starting Point: Selva di Val Gardena
- Trailhead: Col Raiser mountain station
- Distance: 13.7 km circuit
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Time Needed: 6 – 7 hours
It’s impossible to choose a favorite Val Gardena hiking trail. But, if we really had to, it would be this hike to Col dala Pieres.
From the Col Raiser mountain station, follow the easy trail to Rifugio Firenze/Regensburger Hütte. From the Firenze hut, you’ll make your way to trail 17B and then tackle the somewhat challenging ascent to Forcella Piza (2489 m), the notch between Muntejela and Mont De Stevia. From Forcella Piza, the trail continues left to the Col dala Pieres summit.
Before heading to the summit, we recommend detouring right to Rifugio Stevia, for hearty South Tyrolean food and equally sumptuous views of Sassolungo, Sella, and Cir.
The ascent to Col dala Pieres isn’t a hard one. However, the descent over Forcella Forces de Sieles is a bit more challenging. Now, if you thought the hike was great so far, wait till you get here. Those Odle/Geisler peaks impress from this angle as well.
Learn More: Col dala Pieres Day Hike
4. Pisciadù Peak Hike
- Trailhead: Gardena Pass
- Distance: 8 – 12 km circuit or point-to-point
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Time Needed: 6 hours
This hike in the Sella Group begins in Gardena Pass/Passo Gardena/Grödner Joch, the mountain pass between Val Badia and Val Gardena.
From the pass, you’ll follow a delightful balcony trail to Val Setus, a steep sloping valley defined by crumbling rocks and scree. The ascent up Val Setus to Lake Pisciadù is steep and partially secured (no equipment necessary).
From Lake Pisciadù, you can extend your hike to the Cima Pisciadù summit, which is very demanding.
The trail continues to Val de Mezdi (steep descent) and ultimately back to Passo Gardena. This is a strenuous hike for experienced alpine hikers.
Learn More: Lake Pisciadù Day Hike
5. Monte Pic
- Trailhead: Cristauta/Praplan Parking Lot above Santa Cristina
- Distance: 13.9 km
- Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
- Time Needed: 6 hours
Monte Pic/Pitschberg (2363 m) is a mountain that rises above Santa Cristina and Ortisei. From its summit, the views of the surrounding mountains are sensational.
The fastest ascent route to Monte Pic is via the Baita Sëurasas alpine pastures. However, we decided to combine Monte Pic with the Seceda ridgeline, opting for a longer circuit route.
Starting at the Cristauta/Praplan Parking Lot, follow trail 4 to Baita Gamsblut and then steadily hike up the Seceda meadows. You’ll pass Rifugio Fermeda, Baita Daniel, Mastlé, and Baita Sofie, on your way to the Seceda lookout point. From Seceda, follow the ridge to Forcella Pana/Panascharte and then descend to Baita Troier. Continue the easy path to Cuca saddle.
From here, you’ll start ascending to Monte Pic (40 minutes). When you reach the summit, you’ll be amazed by the views of Sella and Sassolungo. You’ll even be able to spot Cima della Vezzana, the highest mountain in the Pala Group.
To complete the circuit, hike down the Monte Pic ridge to the serene Baita Sëurasas alpine pasture hut and then through the forest to the car park.
Learn More: Monte Pic Trail Guide
6. Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana
- Starting Point: Ortisei
- Trailhead: Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Ropeway (aka Mont Sëuc gondola) mountain station
- Destination: Santa Cristina
- Distance: 12.8 km point-to-point
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time Needed: 3:30 hours
This pleasant Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German, Mont Sëuc in Ladin) day hike begins with the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola ascent from the village of Ortisei to the Alpe di Siusi plateau.
You’ll hike across Europe’s largest mountain plateau to Saltria and then slowly descend to the Monte Pana plateau. This short Val Gardena hike ends in the village of Santa Cristina.
Learn More: Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana Trail Guide
7. Sassolungo Circuit
- Trailhead: Sella Pass
- Distance: 17.6 km circuit
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
- Time Needed: 6 hours
This popular day Val Gardena hike circuits the entire Sassolungo (Langkofel) group. Along the circuit, there are many cozy rifugios, affording hikers relaxing places to eat and drink.
From Sella pass (accessible by bus from Val Gardena), the hike continues in the direction of Rifugio Federico Augusto along a wide gravel road. We ate lunch at Rifugio Sasso Piatto/Plattkofelhütte, which marks the half-way point of the hike. Here, you’ll have an outstanding view of Alpe di Siusi, which is the largest alpine plateau in Europe. Until this point, the hike isn’t difficult.
From Plattkofehütte, the Sassolungo circuit continues to wrap around the mountain group. This half is more challenging than the first, as you ascend to Rifugio Vicenza/Langkofelhütte and ultimately to Rifugio Emilio Comici.
Tip: Avoid hiking here on the weekend. The trail gets very crowded.
More Hikes around Val Gardena
- Gran Cir
- Sass da Ciampac
- Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano – Rifugio Alpe di Tires
- Hans and Paula Steger Trail
- Adolf Munkel Trail
- Rifugio Genova Circuit Trail
- Tullen Summit Trail
When to Hike in Val Gardena, Dolomites
Early/Mid-June until Mid/Late-October.
Fortunately, Val Gardena’s summer season is very long. Many restaurants, cableways, and mountain huts stay open until mid-October. Though, some hotels and mountain huts will certainly close by late-September.
If you want to take advantage of the valley’s many gondolas and cableways, we recommend visiting Val Gardena before mid-October.
However, late October is a quiet and colorful time to visit Val Gardena, if you’re willing to put in the extra work (longer ascents and descents without the cableways).
We think Fall is the best time to visit Val Gardena. Read next:
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
- Hiking in the Dolomites in October
- Best Time to Visit the Dolomites for Hiking
Where to Stay in Val Gardena
You can stay in Ortisei, Selva, or Santa Cristina.
Val Gardena accommodations, which are members of the Val Gardena Tourist Association, give their guests free 7-day Val Gardena Mobil Cards. These cards give you free transit on regional buses across South Tyrol, which makes it easy to hop around the valley to different trailheads and also head to Alta Badia and even Bolzano.
We’ve stayed in all three towns. Ortisei is the largest village, with the highest concentration of hotels and restaurants. Ortisei is an ideal destination, if you’re traveling without a car. If you’re traveling with a car, I’d opt for Santa Cristina or Selva. These villages position you closer to lesser-known trails, Passo Gardena and Passo Sella.
Budget | Garni Le Chalet is a traditional guesthouse in Santa Cristina. Stay here for the cozy atmosphere and affordable room rate. Breakfast is included.
Budget | Smart Hotel Saslong is a no-frills hotel in Santa Cristina featuring modern, minimalist interiors decorated in local wood. Guests have access to a self-service bar, free parking (indoor and outdoor), and on-site restaurant serving local cuisine. This is a perfect place to stay if you’re traveling with friends. Book breakfast!
Midrange | Charme Hotel Uridl is a family-run hotel set in a mountain chalet dating back to the 17th century. Stay here for the cozy and quaint atmosphere and delicious breakfast buffets and dinners.
Luxury | Dorfhotel Beludei is located in Elysium, of that I’m certain. Sorry, for all the heaven references in this post, but it is the Dolomites after all.
When you do a lot of hiking in Val Gardena, then you really deserve three things: excellent food, rejuvenating wellness facilities, and a comfortable room. Dorfhotel Beludei delivers all those things and more.
#1 Excellent Food. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Dorfhotel Beludei serves the most visionary and delicious food in the valley. The resident chef concocts recipes that seem to canter off into the land of the bizarre and fantastic. Like composing a symphony, the chef orchestrates with colors, flavors, and textures. Whatever you eat here, you’ll never eat again: it simply cannot be replicated.
#2 Lavish Wellness Facilities. I’ll keep this short and less dramatic. Dorfhotel Beludei’s wellness center comprises a steam bath, Finnish sauna, indoor pool (with an imaginative mural), an outdoor hot tub, and a spacious relaxation room. So, basically, it’s amazing! Upon entering, you’ll see a bar with a lovely selection of teas and cookies.
#3 Comfortable Rooms. The rooms in Beludei are more than comfortable, they’re livable. I even asked the hotel manager if we could move in. I’m talking plush bedding, balcony views of Langkofel, and so much space that you can have your own interpretive dance performance.
If you stay at Dorfhotel Beludei, you can also join any scheduled guided hike for no extra charge. The weekly schedule is posted near the entrance.
Selva di Val Gardena
Budget | Family-run Hotel Garni Morene is a clean and comfortable guesthouse, set in an idyllic location outside the town center of Selva. Stay here for the unbeatable price, mountain views, and hospitality. Breakfast included.
Luxury | Linder Cycling Hotel stands out with its bold architecture, stylish urban accents, and laid-back atmosphere. Beyond the captivating design, Linder Cycling Hotel boasts excellent facilities, including a rooftop terrace, indoor pool, bar and the à la carte Luis Eatery restaurant.
Midrange – Luxury | Hotel Rodella occupies an idyllic location on a hill overlooking Selva di Val Gardena and surrounded by meadows. The hotel’s elevation affords unbeatable views of Val Gardena and the surrounding mountains. We experienced some of the most bewilderingly beautiful sunsets during our stay here. Hotel Rodella is also a convenient 10-minute walk to the Col Raiser Gondola valleys station, which makes Puez-Odle Nature Park destinations like Rifugio Firenze, Seceda, Col dala Pieres extremely accessible. Rooms are bright and comfortable. And, the newly-renovated wellness area is stunning.
5-star Luxury | Hotel Granbaita Dolomites is an ode to alpine elegance. This stately hotel pampers guests with its lavish rooms, extensive spa area (7 saunas, indoor-outdoor pool, fitness room, spa), and decadent tasting menus. Book half board.
Budget | B&B Lavi Ortisei val Gardena is a clean and comfortable bed and breakfast managed by a very friendly host. The B&B is situated outside of the town center, though within walking distance (~15 minutes).
Midrange | Casa al Sole is a newly renovated bed and breakfast in the center of Ortisei, only a short walk from the Seceda cableway and the Resciesa funicular. Highlights of staying here include the modern minimal interiors, comfortable bedrooms, warm hospitality, and delicious and plentiful breakfast. At Casa al Sole, Alexandra and Manuel host with great care and enthusiasm, and are always available to offer advice and help make dinner reservations.
Midrange | Chalet Hotel Hartmann is a charming adults-only hotel featuring tastefully furnished alpine interiors, a delicious breakfast buffet, a complimentary afternoon snack, and a spa area (bio-sauna, steam bath and solarium). This is an ideal accommodation for couples and anyone traveling without children. It’s a 20-minute walk to reach the town center.
Luxury | The 4-star family-run Hotel Angelo Engel occupies the best possible location in Ortisei (St. Ulrich/Urtijëi). Situated directly in the town center, it’s only a short way to reach Plaza Sant’ Antone, the main transit hub in Ortisei. Hotel Angelo Engel is also within walking distance to the Resciesa funicular, Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableway, and the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola (Mont Sëuc Ropeway). If you’re traveling to the Dolomites without a car, this is where you need to stay.
These hotels are located along Strada Pinei, between Ortisei and Castelrotto. Their lofty locations afford spectacular views of Val Gardena. However, these hotels are a good 3.5 km outside the town center. So, only consider these accommodations if you’re traveling with a car.
Luxury | Perched high above Ortisei, the young, fun, and newly-renovated La Cort My Dollhouse – Adults Only hotel offers 26 stylish rooms, a rooftop spa and pool, and fabulous views. La Cort is a great choice for travelers who want more flexibility during their visit (no rigid eating times, etc..). Breakfast (7:30 am – 11 am) and Linnerl (4 pm – 7 pm) – are included in the rate.
Luxury | The family-run Hotel Niblea sits proudly above Ortisei in its own beautiful oasis. Here you can experience a slice of heaven in the hotel’s new wellness area (panoramic sauna, steam bath, infinity pool), which overlooks Val Gardena. Stay here for the gourmet regional food (book half board!), the unparalleled hospitality, the gorgeous facilities, and the comfort.
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Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials
The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip itinerary for trip inspiration.
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.
Best Places to Stay
Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created three guides to help you decide where to stay:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer: best villages and towns in South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites: best boutique and luxury hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide: farm stays, mountain huts, wellness hotels, aparthotels
We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.
- Base 1: Val Gardena – Ortisei, Santa Cristina or Selva di Val Gardena
- Base 2: Val di Funes
- Base 3: Alta Badia
- Base 4: Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Base 5: Alta Pusteria – Dobbiaco, San Candido, Sesto, Braies, Val Fiscalina
- Base 6: San Martino di Castrozza
What to See & Do
During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.
Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.
In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, Prato Piazza, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Lago di Sorapis, Lago Federa, Baita Segantini, and the Adolf Munkel Trail to Geiserlalm, and Cadini di Misurina.
Dolomites Packing List
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Reusable Water Bottle: Ion Leakproof 32 oz Water Bottle
- Climbing Gloves: Black Diamond Half Finger Gloves
- Headlamp: Black Diamond Equipment Spot 350 Headlamp
- Microspikes (if visiting in June/October): CAMP USA Inc Chainsen Pro
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS ZEISS
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
Dolomites Hiking Guides
Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. For day hiking, check out 25+ Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.
For region-specific hiking trails, check out:
Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites