Ortisei (St. Ulrich in German, Urtijëi in Ladin) is a village in Val Gardena in South Tyrol, Italy. With its advantageous location and charming pedestrian center, Ortisei is one of the most popular destinations in the Dolomites for a summer or winter holiday.
The village is surrounded by scenic high plateaus and iconic mountains, which are all easily accessible due to the network of cableways.
Here are the top reasons why you should stay in Ortisei:
- You don’t need a car.
- It’s easy to reach the Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm Meadows, the Seceda Ridgeline, and the Resciesa/Raschötz Plateau.
- It’s the largest and liveliest village in Val Gardena.
- There are lovely boutique shops.
- The summer season is very long, beginning in early June and ending in mid-October.
- Bus transit is free for all Ortisei overnight guests, who are staying in accommodations that are members of the Tourist Association. That’s most accommodations in Ortisei excluding some apartments and all AirBnBs.
In this guide to visiting Ortisei, we’re outlining when to visit, what to see and do, where to stay, and suggested day trips.
How to Visit Ortisei, Val Gardena
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When to Visit Ortisei, Val Gardena
Ortisei is first and foremost a ski resort town. The ski season begins around mid-December and ends in early-April. Visitors come to Ortisei in winter to ski in the Val Gardena – Alpe di Siusi ski area.
The Val Gardena ski resort is also part of the Dolomiti Superski, a network of 12 ski areas in the Dolomites, which when combined, form the largest ski resort in the world. You can access all 12 ski areas using a single Dolomitik Superski ski pass.
If you’re visiting Ortisei during the holidays, make sure to drop by the Christmas markets.
- Nadel Urtijëi – the Christmas village in Ortisei, open from late November until the first week of January.
- Magic Town – the Christmas market for children in Santa Cristina/Dosses Park, open from mid-December until late December.
- Mountain Christmas – the Christmas market in Selva di Val Gardena, open from early December until the first week of January.
Depending on snow conditions, the Ortisei summer season kicks off sometime between early and mid-June and doesn’t end until mid, or even late October. Most cableways will operate at least until mid-October.
We visited Ortisei in August, September, and October. We think September and October are the best months to visit Ortisei because it’s less crowded and most facilities are still operating. Learn more about hiking in Ortisei in Fall:
Ortisei, Italy Map
Wonderful Things to do in Ortisei, Italy
- Seceda Ridgeline
- Alpe di Siusi Meadows
- Resciesa Plateau
- San Giacomo’s Chapel
- Luis Trenker Promenade
1. Seceda Ridgeline
Seceda is a mountain in the Odle/Geisler Group. The summit of Seceda (2518 meters) is a popular destination in the Dolomites because of its sensational vantage of the jagged Fermeda Peaks. Atop Seceda, these peaks look like daggers, piercing the sky. It’s one of the most thrilling places to visit in Ortisei.
When to Visit Seceda
For Hiking: typically early June until mid-October.
For Skiiing: typically early December until early April.
How to Get to Seceda
Head to the Seceda cableway valley station in Ortisei (Address: Via Val d’Anna 2, I-39046 Ortisei in Val Gardena, South Tyrol, Italy).
If you’re in the village center, take the La Curta pedestrian walkway and tunnel to the valley station. We’ve described this short-cut in our Seceda hiking guide.
Take the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableways to the summit station of Seceda (2500 m).
From the mountain station, it’s a mere 10-minute walk to the summit panorama point.
For continuously impressive views, follow the Seceda ridgeline and walk across the Seceda meadows to the Furcella de Pana/Panascharte notch.
Seceda Hiking Trails
The gorgeous Seceda Alp is also a great place to start hikes in Puez-Odle Nature Park. We recommend hiking to the mountain hut Pieralongia and Rifugio Firenze/Regensburger Hütte. This circuit hike takes 3:00 – 3:30 hours and is 8.9 km long.
Learn More: Seceda to Regensburger Hütte Circuit Trail
2. Alpe di Siusi Meadows
Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German, Mont Sëuc in Ladin) is the largest high alpine pasture in Europe. It’s a place that romances visitors with its perfect green (or snow-covered) pastures, idyllic hay huts, and striking mountains. Visiting Alpe di Siusi is usually a priority for most first time visitors to the Dolomites, who are determined to see the spellbinding beauty of Sassolungo, Sasso Piatto, and the Sciliar massif jutting out of a sea of rolling meadows.
In summer, Alpe di Siusi is brimming with hikers and mountain-bikers. In winter, the plateau is a popular downhill skiing/snowboarding as well as cross-country skiing destination with 80 km of cross-country tracks.
From Ortisei, reaching the plateau is effortless, requiring only a single gondola ride.
When to Visit Alpe di Siusi
In summer, the Mont Sëuc Gondola is usually operating from late May until late October. Depending on the year, the gondola may be operating until early November. Check this page for opening times and prices.
In winter, the gondola is part of the Val Gardena ski resort and is usually operating from early December until early April, along with the other cableways in the region.
How to Get to Alpe di Siusi
Head to the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Ropeway (aka Mont Sëuc Gondola) valley station. If you’re in the Ortisei village center, you can walk to the valley station via a pedestrian bridge (2 minutes). If you’re arriving by car, there’s a paid parking garage at the valley station, with a capacity of 240 parking spaces.
Take the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola up to Mont Sëuc. When you disembark the gondola, head left, and descend along trail 9 (a road) in the direction of Saltria. After about 10 minutes, you’ll arrive at the Schgaguler Schwaige alpine pasture hut/restaurant.
From here, you can continue towards Saltria along trail 9 (50 minutes), or walk to Compaccio/Compatsch, the largest settlement on Alpe di Siusi.
We walked along trail 9 to Saltria and eventually to Monte Pana high plateau. It’s an easy walk, filled with marvelous views of Sassolungo, the Catinaccio/Rosengarten, and Val Gardena.
Learn More: How to Visit Alpe di Siusi
Alpe di Siusi Hiking Trails
- Mont Sëuc Gondola to Monte Pana.
- This resource page summarizes 20 Alpe di Siusi hiking trails: Alpe di Siusi hiking ideas.
Note: While staying in Ortisei, it makes the most sense to access the plateau via the Mont Sëuc Gondola. However, there’s also another gondola (Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway) that connects the village of Siusi allo Sciliar/Seis am Schlern to Compaccio/Compatsch, the largest settlement on Alpe di Siusi. Siusi/Seis is a 20-minute drive from Ortisei.
We used this gondola when we hiked to Tierser Alpl, one of our favorite mountain huts in the Catinaccio/Rosengarten Dolomites.
3. Resciesa Plateau
Resciesa/Raschötz is a high plateau characterized by wide meadows and pockets of stone pine and larch forest. Rising above Val Gardena to the south and Val di Funes to the north, the Resciesa Alp grants visitors far-reaching views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Like Alpe di Siusi, Resciesa is a great place for unhurried walking and hiking with children.
In winter, Resciesa is famous for its tobogganing slope.
How to Get to Resciesa
Locate the Resciesa Funicular valley station in Ortisei. Address: Funicolare Rasciesa Str. Resciesa, 14, 39046 Ortisei BZ.
Take this funicular up to the plateau. It’s that easy.
When to Visit Resciesa
Time your visit to Resciesa with the operating times of the funicular, which you can find here.
Resciesa Hiking Trails
We love Resciesa, because it’s a great place to start hikes to Val di Funes, Seceda, and Val d’Anna. Here are a few ideas. All trails are marked in the interactive Ortisei map.
Resciesa Plateau Circuit
If you’re seeking a low-impact, easy hike atop Resciesa Alp, exit the funicular and follow signs to Raschötzhütte along trail 35A (30 minutes). Follow a stone pathway for five minutes and then at the intersection turn left. You’ll see Sella, Sassolungo, Catinaccio, Sciliar, the Eisacktal valley, as well as the Italian and Austrian Alps in the distance.
When you reach the Raschötz hut, continue for another 10 minutes to the Dlieja dl Crist chapel. From the chapel, follow signs to Mont Dedora (20 minutes) along trail 10. It’s an easy ascent to the crucifix marked mountain.
From here, continue on trail 10 in the direction of Locia da Fitz/Flitzer Scharte. Following the ridge of the plateau, continue onto trail 31. Trail 10 cuts directly across the plateau to Raschötzhütte.
To complete the loop, you can follow 31 until you reach the intersection with trail 35. If your hike was sufficient, you can head back to the funicular mountain station.
If you want to keep walking, follow trail 35 for as long as you want, towards the ever-present Odle Peaks. It’s a gorgeous trail that leads to Passo di Brogles/Brogles Sattel.
Resciesa to Malga Brogles and Seceda
One of the best hikes in Ortisei is hiking across the Resciesa plateau to Malga Brogles. From this mountain pasture hut, you can ascend to Seceda via the Panascharte (faster), or Mittagscharte (longer).
Update 2021: The trail from Malga Brogles to Panascharte is still closed, due to a rockfall and will not be open this year (2021). If you want to do this hike, you have to ascend to Seceda via the Mittagscharte.
Learn More: Resciesa to Seceda Day Hike
Resciesa to Val d’Anna
Another hike you can do is follow trail 35 to Malga Brogles (like the hike above). Instead of tackling the difficult ascent to Seceda, you can follow trail 5, which starts at the Passo di Brogles/Brogles Sattel just above Malga Brogles, and hike down to the Furnes cableway middle station. From here, either continue hiking down the valley all the way to Ortisei or take the cableway back down.
From Furnes, we continued to Balest and to the S. Giacomo/St. Jacob church. This hike was a tad too long, especially because we first circuited the plateau, before heading to the Brogles saddle. But, it’s also an option.
4. San Giacomo’s Church
St. Jacob’s Church in English, Chiesa di San Giacomo in Italian, Dlieja da Sacun in Ladin
The Church of San Giacomo is located in a small clearing surrounded by forest, just above the hamlet of San Giacomo, east of Ortisei. It’s the oldest church in Val Gardena, possibly dating back to 1181. Facing Sassolungo, this stone chapel encircled by a wall is a lovely place for a picnic or a short-walk from Ortisei.
Here’s a description of the hike from Ortisei to St. Jacob’s Church. Note: the hike involves a 423 meter ascent and takes 2:10 hours roundtrip.
Alternatively, you can take the bus, or drive to the hamlet of San Giacomo and then walk to the church (15 minutes).
If you want to visit the interior, you can do so on a guided tour between July and mid-September.
5. Luis Trenker Promenade
Luis Trenker Promenade is a pedestrian walkway in Ortisei named after the famous local actor, director and mountaineer Luis Trenker.
It’s a nice place to walk and enjoy the views of the valley.
You can walk along the promenade in the direction of Santa Cristina, and then hike up to St. Jacob’s Church.
Ortisei Hotels & Apartments
Ortisei Spa Hotels
- Adler Spa Resort Dolomiti
- Alpin Garden Luxury Maison & Spa – Adults Only
- Hotel Gardena Grödnerhof
- Alpenhotel Rainell
- Charmehotel Uhrerhof – Deur
- Hotel Angelo Engel
- Luxury: Mountain Apartments Gran Tubla
- Midrange: Residence Cesa Sassela
- Midrange: Residence Prapoz
- Budget: Apartmenthotel Residence Elvis
Ortisei Midrange Hotels
Oritsei Budget Accommodation
Ortisei Day Trips
During your stay in Ortisei, you may want to venture to nearby villages and valleys for different views and more hiking trails. Here’s what we recommend.
- Head to Santa Cristina, another village in Val Gardena, and hike to Monte Pic.
- Head to Selva in Val Gardena, another village in Val Gardena, and hike to Col dala Pieres.
- Head to Passo Gardena and hike to Cima Pisciadu.
- Head to Badia in Alta Badia, and walk across the Armentara Meadows.
- Head to San Cassiano in Alta Badia and hike to Rifugio Fanes.
- Head to Val di Funes and hike to Rifugio Genova or along the Adolf Munkel Trail.
Val Gardena Mobil Card
Guests staying in accommodations who are members of the Val Gardena Tourist Offices receive a 7-day Val Gardena Mobil Card for free. This card gives you free access to all buses (except for the Val Gardena Night Bus, Saltria-Monte Pana Bus, and the Saltria – Castelrotto Bus). You can use this card to get around Val Gardena and to other destinations in South Tyrol.
For more information on routes and timetables, visit www.sad.it.
Visiting Ortisei Responsibly
During your time in Val Gardena and Puez-Odle Nature Park, please respect the environment and adhere to the following rules:
- Always stay on marked trails and paths. This helps prevent damage to the meadows and alpine pastures.
- Do not pick protected flower species.
- Respect the habitat of animals. Do not make any unnecessary noise.
- Do not light fires.
- Do not litter. Take your garbage with you and dispose of it responsibly.
- Keep your distance from the herds and don’t touch, or approach grazing animals.
- Keep your dog on a leash and pick-up/dispose of your dog’s waste responsibly.
- Do not wild camp.
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Plan your trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Dolomites Blog Posts (Archive)
Find out where to stay in the Dolomites:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide: Farms, Mountain Huts, Apartments
Favorite places in the Dolomites: