Follow us on Instagram @moonhoneytravelers for hiking and travel inspiration!

Essential Guide to Ortisei, Val Gardena, Italy: Best Base in the Dolomites for First Time Visitors

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. 

It’s the largest and liveliest village in Val Gardena, boasting a wide array of hotels, bars, shops, and restaurants.

The village is surrounded by scenic high plateaus and iconic mountains, which are all easily accessible due to the network of cableways. It’s easy to reach the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) Meadows, the Seceda Ridgeline, and the Resciesa (Raschötz) Plateau

One of the most compelling reasons to stay in Ortisei is that you don’t need a car. 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. 

Compared to other destinations in the Dolomites, Ortisei’s summer season is very long. It begins as early as end of May and ends as late as early November. So, if you’re visiting the Dolomites during shoulder season, Oritisei is a great base.

In this guide to visiting Ortisei, you’ll find out when to visit, what to see and do, where to stay, and suggested day trips.

Ortisei Town Center, Val Gardena, Dolomites

Ortisei, Italy Map

When to Visit Ortisei, Val Gardena

Ortisei, Val Gardena

Winter Season

Ortisei Christmas Market, DOLOMITES Val Gardena – Gröden Marketing
© Gröden Marketing

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 in December during the holidays, make sure to drop by the Christmas markets.

Nadel Urtijëi is the Christmas village in Ortisei, open from late November until the first week of January.

Magic Town is the Christmas market for children in Santa Cristina/Dosses Park, open from mid-December until late December.

Mountain Christmas is the Christmas market in Selva di Val Gardena, open from early December until the first week of January.

Summer Season

Ortisei in September, Val Gardena, Dolomites

Depending on snow conditions, the Ortisei summer season kicks off sometime between late May and early June and doesn’t end until late, or end of October. Most cableways will operate at least until mid/late October. Some will even stay open until early November.  

We’ve 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:

Learn More: Best Time to Visit the Dolomites

5 Wonderful Things to Do in Ortisei, Italy

1. Seceda Ridgeline 

Seceda Ridge Hike, Dolomites, Ortisei, Val Gardena, Italy

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 point 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

Hikers can visit Seceda by cableway between late May/early June and late October/early November.

Skiers can ski on the Seceda Alp between mid/late December and end of March/early April.

How to Get to Seceda

Seceda, Ortisei, Val Gardena, Dolomites

Head to the Seceda cableway valley station in Ortisei.

Address | Via Val d’Anna 2, I-39046 Ortisei in Val Gardena, South Tyrol, Italy | Google Maps

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 up to the summit station of Seceda (2500 m).

From the Seceda mountain station, it’s a mere 10-minute walk to the summit lookout 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 Pieralongia alpine pasture 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 Sunrise, Dolomites

Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German, Mont Sëuc in Ladin) is the largest high alpine pasture in Europe.

The expansive meadowscape of Seiser Alm 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/early November. Check 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. 

Ascend to Alpe di Siusi with the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola.

When you disembark the gondola, head left, and descend along trail 9 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 recommend following this Alpe di Siusi Meadows Circuit Trail, which combines our favorite paths on the plateau and leads to some wonderful alpine pasture huts.

Another option is to hike all the way to Monte Pana and Santa Cristina.

Learn More: How to Visit Alpe di Siusi

Alpe di Siusi Hiking Trails 

While staying in Ortisei, it makes the most sense to access the Seiser Alm plateau via the Mont Sëuc Gondola.

However, there are a number of interesting Alpe di Siusi hikes which start in Compaccio/Compatsch, accessible by bus or cableway from the village of Siusi allo Sciliar/Seis am Schlern.

It’s a 20-minute drive from Ortisei to the Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway valley station in Siusi/Seis.

From Compaccio/Compatsch, you can hike to Rifugio Alpe di Tires, a lovely refuge planted on the Passo Alpe di Tires/Tierser Alpljoch mountain pass, between the Sciliar/Schlern Group and the Rosengarten/Catinaccio Group.

We highly recommend hiking this Rifugio Bolzano to Rifugio Alpe di Tires Circuit, a grand loop trail which ascends to the Sciliar plateau and then leads to Rifugio Alpe di Tires and then over the Forcella Denti di Terrarossa/Rosszahn scharte saddle back to Alpe di Siuis.

3. Resciesa Plateau 

Resciesa Plateau, Ortisei, Val Gardena, Dolomites

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 

Difficulty: Easy

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

Difficulty: Difficult 

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 Mittagscharte saddle.

Note: In the past, it was possible to ascend to Seceda via the Panascharte saddle. However, the Panascharte trail is still closed due to a rockfall.

Learn More: Resciesa to Seceda Day Hike 

Resciesa to Val d’Anna 

Difficulty: Moderate

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

San Giacomo Church, Ortisei, Val Gardena, Dolomites

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, Ortisei, Val Gardena, Dolomites

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 Accommodations

Hotel Angelo Engel, Ortisei, Dolomites
Hotel Angelo Engel

Ortisei Bed & Breakfasts

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). 

Budget | Pra Palmer The Green B&B is a 3-star hotel with raving reviews in Ortisei. 3-4 nights minimum stay. 

Budget | Hotel Garni Walter is a traditional alpine guesthouse located on a steep slope near the Alpe di Siusi gondola valley station. Rooms are spotless and comfortable. The only downside is that the WIFI signal is poor. Breakfast is included. 

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 15-minute walk to reach the town center.

Ortisei Town Center Hotels

Ortisei, Val Gardena, Dolomites

Midrange | Hotel Grones is a top-rated, family-run hotel which excels in its friendly atmosphere, excellent local and Mediterranean cuisine, traditional, yet lovely rooms. The hotel spa area comprises a swimming pool, hot tub, Finnish sauna, bio sauna, and steam bath. 

Midrange-Luxury | The recently renovated Boutique Hotel Planlim sparkles with its fresh alpine design and new wellness area. This hotel is located in a quiet area of Ortisei, only a short walk away from the village center. The Sky Spa encompasses a panoramic rooftop deck with whirlpool, a steam sauna, Finnish sauna, a Kneipp course, and relaxation room. Guests also have access to a garden pool from June until mid-October. 

Luxury | Hotel Angelo Engel is situated directly in the town center of Ortisei, walking distance to the Resciesa funicular, Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableway, and the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola (Mont Sëuc Ropeway). We loved the central location, the courteous staff, and the wellness and spa area.

Luxury | Hotel Gardena Grödnerhof is a 5-star hotel in the heart of Ortisei, home to the Michelin star Ann Stuben gourmet restaurant. This wellness hotel offers unparalleled spa facilities, flawless service, guided hikes and mountain bike tours and a weekly fitness program. Guests are treated to a welcome cocktail, generous breakfast buffet, and afternoon cakes and snacks (3 – 5 pm). The extensive wellness area comprises a fitness area, indoor pool, outdoor whirlpool, Finnish sauna, steam bath, bio sauna, ladies-only spa, cold water pool, infrared beds, sauna lounge, floating beds, and warm water beds.

Luxury | Adler Spa Resort Dolomiti is a stunning property surrounded by private grounds, advantageously located in the pedestrian zone of Ortisei. This 5-star hotel offers outstanding service, first-rate spa complex, beautiful rooms, and an on-site restaurant (half board available). 3-7 nights minimum stay.

More Hotels: Hotel Garni Snaltnerhof (midrange) and Alpin Garden Luxury Maison & Spa – Adults Only (luxury)

Mountainside Hotels Above Ortisei

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.

Ortisei Apartments

Luxury Apartments | Gran Tubla offers two-bedroom apartments with fully-equipped kitchens and sweeping views of Val Gardena. Guests also have access to a heated indoor-outdoor pool, sauna, and garden. Breakfast can be delivered to your room upon request.

More apartments: Residence Cesa Sassela (midrange), Residence Prapoz (midrange), and Apartmenthotel Residence Elvis (budget)

Ortisei Day Trips

Sass da Ciampac Hike, Cir Group, Dolomites

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.

1. Head to Santa Cristina and hike to Monte Pic

2. Go to Selva and hike up Val de Chedul and Vallunga.

3. Ascend to Puez-Odle Nature Park via the Col Raiser Gondola and hike to the summit of Col dala Pieres, or Piz Duleda.

4. Head to Passo Gardena and hike to Cima Pisciadu, Gran Cir, or Sass da Ciampac.

5. Head to Badia in Alta Badia, and walk across the Armentara Meadows

6. Head to San Cassiano in Alta Badia and hike to Rifugio Fanes

7. Visit Val di Funes and hike the Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail, the Adolf Munkel Trail, or hike to Tullen Summit, or Rifugio Genova.

8. Take the Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway from Siusi allo Sciliar to the Alpe di Siusi and hike the Rifugio Bolzano – Rifugio Alpe di Tires Circuit 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

Visiting Ortisei Responsibly

Ortisei Town, Val Gardena, Dolomites, Italy

1. During your time in Val Gardena and Puez-Odle Nature Park, please respect the environment and adhere to the following rules:

2. Always stay on marked trails and paths. This helps prevent damage to the meadows and alpine pastures.

3. Do not pick protected flower species.

4. Respect the habitat of animals. Do not make any unnecessary noise.

5. Do not light fires.

6. Do not litter. Take your garbage with you and dispose of it responsibly.

7. Keep your distance from the herds and don’t touch, or approach grazing animals.

8. Keep your dog on a leash and pick-up/dispose of your dog’s waste responsibly.

9. Do not wild camp.

More Val Gardena Travel and Hiking Guides

Travel Guides:

Hiking Trails:

Via Ferratas:

Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Dolomites Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip to Northern Italy.

When to Hike in the Dolomites

Winter Season. For skiing and winter activities, the best time to visit is between mid/late December and March. Read Dolomites in December.

Summer and Fall Seasons. The best time to road trip and hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can easily continue until late October. Read Best Time to Visit the Dolomites, Dolomites in September, and Dolomites in October.

Spring Season. Most accommodations in the Dolomites shut down in spring, between the main winter and summer seasons. Spring is too unstable and risky for hiking, due to snow conditions. Learn more: Dolomites in May.

How to Get to the Dolomites

Read How to Get to the Dolomites to find out how to travel to the Dolomites from the closest airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

If you’re traveling without a car, also check out How to Visit the Dolomites Without a Car

Car Rental

The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our itineraries for trip inspiration:

We recommend using the 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.

Check car rental rates here

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:

We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.

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, and Lago di Sorapis.

Dolomites Packing List

Hiking Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear

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 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: Day Walks in the Dolomites

Recommended Via Ferrata Guidebook: Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1: 75 routes-North, Central and East Ranges.

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

4 thoughts on “Essential Guide to Ortisei, Val Gardena, Italy: Best Base in the Dolomites for First Time Visitors”

  1. Your posts are so helpful – thank you! My partner and I are planning 6 days in the Dolomites, with a few big day hikes and maybe one overnight at a hut. Ideally, we could stay in two regions to see more of the Dolomites. We could rent a car but would be happier without. Where would you recommend we stay?

    • Hi Rita,
      This year, the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableways start operating May 27, 2023. If you’re visiting before May 27th, you can hike to Seceda by following this Monte Pic hike.


Leave a Comment