San Martino di Castrozza is an alpine resort town in Primiero Valley in Trentino, Northern Italy. Cradled by the Pale di San Martino Group and the Lagorai mountain range, San Martino di Castrozza is one of the best bases for exploring the Dolomites in summer. From its advantageous location, visitors can hike in the heart of the Pala Group and into Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, starting directly in town, or at Passo Rolle, Val Venegia, or Val Canali.
Stay in San Martino di Castrozza for a few days, and you’ll get to experience staggering sunsets, charming Malgas (alpine pasture huts), and some of the best day hikes and via ferrata climbs in the Dolomites.
In this San Martino di Castrozza summer guide, we’re sharing our favorite things to do in this unforgettable corner of Trentino. You’ll find everything mapped out in an interactive map at the end of this post.
Things to Do in San Martino di Castrozza in Summer
- Watch the Sunset at Baita Segantini
- Traverse the moonscapes of Altopiano delle Pale di San Martino
- Summit Cima della Vezzana
- Amble through Val Venegia
- Hike to Rifugio Mulaz
- Dine in San Martino di Castrozza
- Visit Val Canali
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1. Watch the Sunset at Baita Segantini
Baita Segantini is an alpine pasture hut accessible from Passo Rolle, a mountain pass located 9-km north of San Martino di Castrozza.
Sunset at Baita Segantini is an unforgettable experience. On clear days, you’ll see the highest peaks of the Pale di San Martino range light up in shades of yellow and coral, burning like flames. The fiery tones transform into shades of rose and violet, slowly cooling off. And, before you know it, the sun sinks below the horizon, and it looks like someone blew out the candles.
We recommend combining the loop hike to Monte Castellaz with sunset at Baita Segantini. The whole hike takes about 3 – 3:30 hours.
Learn More: Baita Segantini Hike
2. Traverse the Moonscapes of Altopiano delle Pale di San Martino
The Altopiano delle Pale di San Martino is the central high plateau of the Pala Group, measuring 10 kms long and 5 kms wide. It’s accessible by cable car (Colverde Gondola + Rosetta Cableway) directly from the town center of San Martino di Castrozza.
When you exit the Rosetta mountain station (2700 m), it feels like you’ve landed on the moon. A sea of white rolling rockscapes stretches out before you. Some people describe this barren landscape as a stone desert.
Millions of years ago, the Pale di San Martino Group used to be an atoll, a ring-shaped coral reef, in the Tethys Ocean (source). At that time, the Altopiano was the inner lagoon of the atoll, encircled by an enormous coral reef. The mountains you see today are these ancient coral reefs, which have been weathered and shaped by the elements over millennia.
Hike to Rosetta Peak
If your time is limited, you can ascend to Rosetta Peak (2743 m) in 20-30 minutes. From the summit, you’ll be rewarded with striking views of the Pale peaks, San Martino di Castrozza, Primiero Valley, the Lagorai Range, the Latemar range, and the Catinaccio/Rosengarten mountains.
After conquering Cima della Rosetta, head to Rifugio Rosetta for a bite to eat. The Rosetta mountain hut is located on the plateau, about 10 minutes from the Rosetta mountain station.
Circuit Pala di San Martino
If you’re looking for a full day hiking adventure, consider circuiting Pala di San Martino (2987 m), a prominent mountain in the central Pala Group. The loop trail starts at Rifugio Rosetta and heads to Rifugio Pradidali via Passo di Ball. From the Pradidali hut, the hike continues to Passo Pradidali Basso.
The path is exposed, at times, and involves a lengthy secured passage. Though no special equipment is needed, you should have a head for heights and experience hiking in karst terrain and scree.
Learn More: Rifugio Rosetta to Rifugio Pradidali Circuit
3. Summit Cima della Vezzana (3,192 m)
Cima della Vezzana (3192 m) is the highest peak in the Pala Group. The hike to the Vezzana summit is a grueling endeavor replete with secured passages, steep snowfields, and crumbling terrain. In other words, it’s a beast.
Starting in San Martino di Castrozza, take the Colverde gondola, followed by the Rosetta cableway, to the Pale di San Martino central plateau. Descend 10 minutes to Rifugio Rosetta and then follow trail 716 to the peak. It’s a 6-hour out-and-back hike.
Only hike to Cima della Vezzana on clear days.
Learn more: Hiking to Cima della Vezzana
4. Amble through Val Venegia
Val Venegia is a gorgeous alpine valley, flanked by the northern chain of the Pala Group. Filled with romantic scenes of grazing cows, alpine pastures, and forest, this scenic destination will make your heart weep.
There are two ways to get to Val Venegia. You can hike to Val Venegia from Passo Rolle via Baita Segantini. Or, you can drive to the entrance of the valley, which is located between Passo Rolle and Passo Valles on SP81 – a 35-minute drive from San Martino di Castrozza.
We’ve explained everything you need to know about parking and parking fees in Val Venegia in this post.
Val Venegia is a great place to visit if you’re traveling with children, or you simply want a low-key day full of easy walking. Saunter through the valley and eat lunch at Malga Venegia and/or Malga Venegiota. These two alpine pasture huts serve regional dishes and fresh dairy.
5. Hike to Rifugio Mulaz
Rifugio Mulaz is a mountain hut in the Pale di San Martino mountains, accessible from Val Venegia. A wonderful 12.6 km circuit hike begins at Malga Venegia and takes 6:30 hours.
Initially, you’ll steadily ascend from Malga Venegiota (1824 m) to Passo Mulaz (2619 m). From the mountain pass, descend to Rifugio Mulaz for lunch. The loop continues to Passo dei Fochet and Passo di Venegiota.
Before completing the circuit to Malga Venegiota, you’ll cross rolling meadows dotted with solitary stone pine and larch trees. This was one of the most memorable stretches of trail we’ve experienced in the Dolomites.
Learn More: Val Venegia to Rifugio Mulaz Circuit Hike
6. Dine in San Martino di Castrozza
San Martino di Castrozza boasts some atmospheric and delicious restaurants, pizzerias, and taverns, where you can explore the flavors of Trentino. Here are a few places we recommend:
Pizzeria Ristorante Sass Maor
This was our favorite restaurant in San Martino di Castrozza. Always humming with hungry patrons, Sass Maor is a great place to eat dinner if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere. Skip the pizza here and save it for Hotel Stalon. Instead, order their pasta and main dishes.
Address: Via Passo Rolle, 30, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy
Pizzeria Hotel Stalon
Hidden in Hotel Stalon, you’ll find an excellent pizzeria. Compared to Sass Maor, this hotel restaurant feels a bit sedate. But, if you’re craving a bit more peace and quiet, than this hidden gem won’t’ disappoint.
Address: Via Pezgaiart, 21, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy
Ristorante La Stube
Furnished in a classic alpine style, the small Ristorante La Stube feels intimate and cozy. The food is quite delicious, but the portions are small (for the price). We also thought the menu was a bit limited. They do have an excellent wine list, with lots of options by the glass.
Address: Via Val di Roda, 2, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy
A few things to remember when dining in Trentino:
- Make reservations.
- There’s usually a Coperto (cover charge) added to the bill.
- Restaurants usually open at 7 pm, at the earliest.
7. Visit Val Canali
Val Canali is a stunning alpine valley in Trentino, which serves as the southern gateway to the Pale di San Martino Dolomites. Guarded by the ruins of Castel Pietra castle, Val Canali delights immediately. Venture here for at least half a day, and you can experience the magic of the Malga Canali alpine pasture, Laghetto Welsperg lake, Torrente Canali stream, and of course the spires of the Pala Group. It takes about 30-40 minutes to drive from San Martino di Castrozza to Val Canali.
Laghetto Welsperg is a small man-made lake directly off the main valley road. There’s a place to eat at the lake called Bar Le Guane. A flat walking path circuits the lake. Walk to the southern-end to see the majestic Cimerlo, Sass Maor, and Cima Canali peaks reflected in the Welsperg waters.
Location: GPS: 46.192697, 11.866494
Parking: You can park at Bar Le Guane, or across the street.
A “malga” is a hut on an alpine pasture. These huts were created to provide shelter for shepherds and herdsmen who tended their livestock during the summer months. Usually, a malga consists of a house structure and a stable for their animals, surrounded by grazing pastures.
If you’ve hiked in other areas of the Alps, you may be familiar with these terms: “Schwaige” (South Tyrol, Italian Alps), “Alm” (Austrian Alps, Bavarian Alps), “Alpe” (Vorarlberg, Austrian Alps), “Planina” (Slovenian Alps), and “Cabane” (Swiss Alps).
Some alpine pasture huts still process the milk produced on their alpine pasture into cheese, butter, and yogurt, on-site. Many of these huts are open to the public. So, while you’re out walking, or hiking, you can take a break at a Malga, to eat lunch and sample fresh dairy products.
While you’re visiting Val Canali, we highly recommend eating lunch at Malga Canali. It’s a popular destination, so reservations, especially on weekends and holidays, are recommended. Tel.: +39 0368 7413582.
Open: Easter until mid-October.
Parking: Park your car at the Malga Canali Parking lot (We parked here: GPS: 46°13′11.06″N 11°53′09.08″E). From there, it’s only a 5-10 minutes walk to the Malga.
Rifugio Treviso (1629 m)
Rifugio Treviso is a popular mountain hut overlooking the inner Val Canali.
From Malga Canali, it’s a straightforward 1-hour hike to reach Rifugio Treviso. Simply cross the Malga Canali alpine pasture and head down to a gravel road and trail number 707.
After a few minutes, you’ll reach an intersection. Turn right and cross the riverbed “Torrente Canali” via a bridge and continue through the forest.
At the intersection with trail number 711A, stay right on trail 707 and follow the hairpin ascending turns up to Rifugio Treviso (1629 m).
Open: Rifugio Treviso is usually open daily from late June until late September and on the weekends in May, June and October.
San Martino di Castrozza, Italy, Map
When to Visit San Martino di Castrozza in Summer
We recommend visiting San Martino di Castrozza between early July and mid-late September. If possible, avoid August.
We visited in early September, and the weather was stable (only 1 day of rain), the sunsets were glorious, and the trails weren’t crowded.
The summer season more or less shuts down by end of September. Many accommodations and hotels start closing by mid-month.
San Martino di Castrozza Hotels and Apartments
The best base for this hike and many others in Pale di San Martino is San Martino di Castrozza. The Col Verde gondola valley station is located directly in town. We recommend staying in an apartment-hotel (aparthotel) so that you can be the most flexible with your hiking times and trip planning. Here are three options:
Budget | Residence Taufer is an affordable apartment-style accommodation, located 1 km from the center of San Martino di Castrozza. Apartments are clean and fully equipped, with all necessary appliances to make your stay here comfortable. The check-in/out is easy and uncomplicated. There’s a welcoming bar downstairs, where you can order espresso, drinks, and snacks throughout the day. And, the views of the Pala Group are sublime!
Mid-Range | Residence Langes is a top-rated apartment-hotel in the center of San Martino di Castrozza. Apartments are spacious, clean, and functional and have fully equipped kitchens. Guests love soaking in the outdoor whirlpool facing Pale di San Martino. There’s also a hotel bar on the ground floor.
Mid-Range | San Martino Mountain Residence is a new and modern aparthotel (8 apartments only) in a quiet area of San Martino di Castrozza (a 15-minute walk to the center). Apartments are thoughtfully designed and stocked with all necessary amenities. Guests have access to an outdoor whirlpool, Finnish sauna, hotel bar, sun terrace, and garden. Breakfast is available for 6 EUR per person if booked the day before.
San Martino di Castrozza Dolomiti Summer Card
If you’re planning on staying in San Martino di Castrozza for 3 or more days, consider buying a Dolomiti Summer Card.
The card includes the use of various cableways and chairlifts. However, not all of these cableways operate the whole summer. So, this Dolomiti Summer Card is best employed during the high season.
You can purchase the card at any of the chairlift, or cableway valley stations. See pricing here.
Below, we’ve summarized the cableways that are included in the Dolomiti Summer Card. The dates will fluctuate depending on the snow conditions. Please consult this page, or contact the San Martino di Castrozza tourist office for up-to-date information on operating times.
Colverde Gondola and Rosetta Cableway
The Colverde and Rosetta cableways connect the town center of San Martino di Castrozza to Pale di San Martino Altopiano, a vast stone plateau reaching an elevation of 2700 meters. From the Rosetta mountain station, hikers have access to a plethora of day hikes and via ferrata climbing routes.
- Open: late June until late September. If weather conditions are favorable, these cableways will stay open until mid-October (Fridays – Sundays only).
- Colverde Operating Times: 8:10 am – 4:45 pm
- Rosetta Operating Times: 8:20 – 13:00 | 13:40 – 17:40 pm
- Day Hikes: Rifugio Rosetta to Rifugio Pradidali Circuit and Cima della Vezzana Summit
- Parking: valley station
- Address: Via Passo Rolle, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy
Tognola Cable Car
The Tognola Cable Car valley station is located on Via Passo Rolle, 1 kilometer south of the San Martino di Castrozza town center. The Tognola cable car connects the Primiero valley to Rifugio Tognola on the Tognola Alpe in the Lagorai mountain range. From the mountain station, you can enjoy impressive views of the Central Pale di San Martino range from the Tognola panoramic terrace and viewpoint.
- Open: Early July until late September. If weather conditions are favorable, these cableways will stay open until mid-October (Fridays – Sundays only)
- Operating Times: 8:30 am – 4:45 pm
- Day Hikes: Malga Tognola, Ecological Path, Panzer trail, Cima Tognazza to Siror (return to Tognola valley station by bus)
- Free Parking: valley station
- Address: Via Passo Rolle, 21, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy
Colbricon Express Cable Car
The Colbricon Express gondola connects San Martino di Castrozza with Pian delle Cartucce. From the town center, it’s a 13-minute walk to the valley station, or a 3-minute drive.
- Open: Early July until Early September
- Operating Times: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
- Free Parking: valley station
- Address: Via Laghetto, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy
The Paradiso chairlift is located just west of Passo Rolle. Visitors generally park along Strada Statale 50 near Malga Rolle. The Paradiso chairlift delivers you to the Tognazza ridge in the Lagorai range. From Tognazza, hikers continue to Forcella Cavallazza, Cima Cavallazza, and Laghi di Colbricon lakes.
- Open: Late July until Late August
- Operating Times: 9:00 am to 12:55 pm | 2:00 pm to 5:15 pm
- Day Hikes: Cima Cavallazza and Laghi di Colbricon
- Free Parking: Park at Malga Rolle
- Address: 38054 Siror, Trentino, Italy
The Castellazzo Chairlift is accessible by foot from Passo Rolle. There’s no compelling reason to take this chairlift, unless you wanted to quickly visit Baita Segantini and trim off the 200 meter ascent.
- Open: mid-July until Late August
- Operating Times: Unknown
- Day Hikes: Baita Segantini, Val Venegia
- Free Parking: Park at the Passo Rolle parking lot.
- Address: near Strada Per La Baita Segantini, 38030 Siror TN, Italy
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Plan Your Trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Unforgettable Things to Do in the Dolomites
Learn more about Hiking in the Dolomites:
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
- Hiking in the Dolomites in October
Our Favorite Destinations in the Italian Dolomites: