No trip to the Italian Dolomites is complete without visiting Val di Funes/Villnösstal. This beloved alpine valley is full of delightful contrasts and unbelievable allure. It’s from this vantage point that the Odle/Geisler peaks seem to have been shaped with a vengeance, destined to forever stab the sky.
Below these roaring peaks, elegant farmsteads, scenic churches, and alpine pastures beg to be photographed. Here, nature and civilization complement each other perfectly, creating a visual duet between tamed pastoral charm and unbridled beauty.
Visitors flock to Val di Funes to capture photographs of the Church of St. John of Nepomuk (St. Johann Kirche/Chiesetta di San Giovanni) in Ranui and the Santa Maddalena Church. However, if you stay a little longer, you’ll discover some fabulous hikes in Puez-Odle/Geisler Nature Park and some of the loveliest alpine pastures in South Tyrol. Keep reading to find out how to get here, what to do, and where to stay.
Visiting Val di Funes: Essential Tips
- Best Seasons to Visit: Summer and Early Fall
- Best Time of Day to Visit: Late Afternoon until Sunset
- How to Get to Val di Funes: Car, Bus, or on Foot
- Must-Do Activities: Hiking the Adolf Munkel Trail and eating lunch in an alpine pasture hut (Alm/Malga)
- Our Favorite Hike: Tullen Summit
- Must-See Attractions: St. Magdalena/Santa Maddalena Church and St. Johann/San Giovanni Church in Ranui
- Best Place to Stay: Fallerhof (Budget), Hotel Fines (Midrange), or Hotel Tyrol (Luxury)
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Val di Funes, Dolomites, Italy Map
Where is Val di Funes
Val Di Funes/Vilnösstal is located in South Tyrol in Northern Italy. The 24-km-long valley runs from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal Valley, just north of Chiusa/Klausen and south of Bressanone/Brixen, to the Odle/Geisler mountain range. Val di Funes enompasses the villages of Tiso/Teis, S. Pietro/St. Peter and S. Maddalena/St. Magdalena.
When to Visit Val di Funes, Italy
Summer Season: Early June until mid-October
The Val di Funes summer season kicks off as early as late May, depending on the snow conditions. And, it continues until the middle of October. Given the valley’s popularity, we recommend visiting Vilnösstal at the beginning, or end of the hiking season. Avoid August if at all possible.
If you’re visiting Val di Funes in summer, you should also consider the pasture season (roughly late June until mid-September), when all the animals (cows, donkeys, horses, etc…) are grazing around the huts. If you’re visiting in mid-September, try not to miss the Almabtrieb, when the animals return to the valley in a celebratory cattle drive. We recommend contacting the tourist board directly to find out the exact dates for this event: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn More: Hiking in the Dolomites in October
Winter Season: Late December until Mid-March
The Val di Funes Alpine Pastures are also a winter destination, boasting well-tended winter hiking trails (snowshoeing) and groomed toboggan runs. Several huts, including Kaserill Alm, open up their doors during the holidays (Christmas and Carnival) and on the weekends throughout the winter season.
Val di Funes Hiking Trails
Val di Funes harbors many fabulous hikes ranging from virtually unknown to extremely popular. Most hikes begin at the Zannes/Zans trailhead, which serves as a gateway to the Puez-Odle Nature Park.
Adolf Munkel Trail
The Adolf Munkel Trail (Via delle Odle / Sentiero delle Odle) is a hiking path at the foot of the Geisler/Odle Peaks. There are several ways to hike this trail, with the most popular variation starting in Zannes/Zans. The highlight of this Val di Funes hike is the views of the Odle/Geisler Group from Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm and Rifugio Odle/Geisler Alm. From these alpine pasture huts, the contrast between the velvet-like green meadows and the jagged limestone peaks is sublime.
Learn More: Adolf Munkel Trail Hiking Guide
Rifugio Genova Circuit Hike
Rifugio Genova/Schlütterhütte is a mountain hut in Val di Funes dating back to 1898. If you’re eager to explore Val di Funes’ lesser-known alpine pastures and trails, this loop trail is an absolute must. You’ll be treated to thrilling viewpoints of the Odle/Geisler Group, Puez Peaks, Mount Fanes, Val Badia, Sass de Putia/Peitlerkofel, and Odle di Eores/Aferer Geisler.
Learn More: Rifugio Genova Circuit Day Hike
Resciesa to Malga Brogles
If you’re based in Val Gardena/Grödnertal, you can skip the drive to Val di Funes, and hike there instead. A really fun approach to Val di Funes is from the Resciesa Plateau. From Ortisei/St. Ulrich, take the Resciesa funicular up to the plateau.
From the top station, you’ll cross Resciesa and slowly descend to Malga Brogles, one of the alpine pasture huts in Val di Funes/Vilnöss Valley. From here, you can ascend to Seceda via the Furcela Pana/Pana Scharte, or hike along the Adolf Munkel Trail and then return to Val Gardena via Furcela de Mesdi/Mittagsscharte.
Learn More: Resciesa and Malga Brogles Day Hike
Santa Maddalena Sunnseitnweg and Panoramaweg
The Panoramaweg (Panorama Trail) and Sunnseitnweg (Sunny-side Trail) are two pathways in Val di Funes, which when linked together creates a lovely circuit hike. The trail starts in Santa Maddalena village and ascends to Santa Maddalena Church (10 minutes).
From the historic stone church, you’ll hike along roads and across meadows and forests. Throughout the circuit, you’ll have fantastic views of the Santa Maddalena Church and Village as well as the Valley and Odle Peaks.
Trail Guide: Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail
Tullen (2653 m) is the highest summit in the Odle d’Eores/Aferer Geisler Group. The best way to ascend to Tullen is from the Zannes/Zans car park. You’ll follow trail 25 and later the fantastic Oberer Herrensteig (“Upper Men’s Trail”) and eventually the Günther Messner Steig to Tullen peak.
WE LOVED THIS TRAIL! It offers peace and quiet along an interesting trail, which delivers unforgettable views of the Odle Peaks, bizarre Odle d’Eores pinnacles, and Sass de Putia.
Read Next: Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
Vilnöss Valley Alpine Pasture Huts
During your visit to Val di Funes, we suggest carving out ample time to eat a traditional South Tyrolean lunch in an alpine pasture hut (“Alm” in German, “Malga” in Italian). We always eat Schlutzkrapfen (similar to ravioli) and Knödel (dumplings).
The Vilnöss Alpine Pastures delight with their scenic locations, heartwarming food, and hospitality. Most huts are open from late May until mid-October. However, these times will vary each year, depending on the snow conditions. You can learn more about alpine transhumance and alpine pasture huts in our guide to visiting the Alps in Summer.
Here’s an overview of all the Val di Funes alpine pasture huts:
Location: Zanser Schwaige is located very close to the Zannes Car Park, just past the Sass Rigais Pension. No hiking required.
Summer Opening Times: Beginning of May until the end of October.
Winter Opening Times: Christmas until mid-March (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays after the first week of January).
Location: Zanser Alm is a single apartment (capacity 6-8 people) that can be rented out in summer. It’s located very close to the Zannes car park.
Summer Opening Times: Beginning of May until the end of September/beginning of October.
Winter Opening Times: Closed
Location: Geisleralm (Rifugio Odle) is located just outside Puez-Odle Nature Park. From the Zannes Car Park, hike along trail 6 and 35, or trail 36 (via Dusler Alm) to get to Geisler Alm.
Summer Opening Times: Late May until early November.
Winter Opening Times: Late December until mid-March.
Recommended Hike: Adolf Munkel Trail
Insider Tip: There’s a 6-km-long sled track, starting at Geisleralm and ending in Ranui in Vilnöss valley. You can rent slays directly at the hut.
Location: Gschnagenhardt Alm (Malga Casnago) is located a few meters from the Puez-Odle Nature Park boundary at an elevation of 2006 meters. Starting at the Zannes Car Park, hike along trail 6 and 35, or trail 36 (via Dusler Alm) to get to this Alm.
Summer Opening Times: End of May until the end of October.
Winter Opening Times: Closed
Recommended Hike: Adolf Munkel Trail
Insider Tip: Visit Gschnagenhardt Alm in the late afternoon for the best light and enjoy their outdoor lounge chairs.
Location: Gampen Alm is accessible by foot from the Zannes parking lot in 1:15 hours. You can hike here via trail 6 followed by trail 35, or via trail 33.
Summer Opening Times: End of May until beginning of November.
Winter Opening Times: Late December until mid-March (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays after the first week of January)
Recommended Hike: Rifugio Genova and Gampen Alm Circuit Hike
Insider Tip: You can overnight in Gampenalm. Here’s the booking request form.
Location: Glatsch Alm is located in Puez-Odle Nature Park. Starting at Zanser Alm, hike along trail 36 for 35 minutes to get to Glatsch Alm.
Summer Opening Times: Mid-May until mid-October, Wednesdays through Sundays.
Winter Opening Times: Closed
Insider Tip: Glatsch Alm is also a guesthouse with private and dormitory rooms. Half board available.
Location: Kaserill Alm is a 45-minute walk along trail 33 and 32 from the Zannes Car Park.
Summer Opening Times: Early June until mid-October.
Winter Opening Times: Late December through the first week of January, Fasching (Carnival) week, and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, until mid-March.
Fun Fact: Kaserill Alm produces their own cheese and dairy products in their on-site dairy.
Location: Brogles Alm (Malga Brogles) is located along the Adolf Munkel Trail in Puez-Odle Nature Park. You can hike here from the Ranui car park along trail 28 (shortest way), or from the Zannes/Zans trailhead.
Summer Opening Times: Mid-June until Mid-October.
Winter Opening Times: Closed
Recommended Hike: Resciesa to Rifugio Brogles
The Famous Churches of Val di Funes
Santa Maddalena Church
St. Magdalena/Santa Maddalena Church is located above the village of Santa Maddalena at an elevation of 1394 meters. This historic stone church dates back to the 14th century. However, its location has been a place of pagan worship and sacrifice since prehistoric times.
The church is only accessible by foot. Either park in the village, or at your hotel in Santa Maddalena.
After parking, head in the direction of Hotel Tyrol along the Kirchweg (“church path”) street. Hotel Tyrol has a striking, alpine modern facade – it’s easy to spot. Continue uphill to the Fallerhof Farm. As you ascend, the church is already visible ahead.
At Fallerhof Farm, turn left (trail 26/Kirchweg), passing in front of a large modern barn, home to dairy cows, and an enclosure of birds (chickens, ducks, and turkeys).
After a few meters, the trail veers right and uphill. This pathway leads directly to the Santa Maddalena Church. The church is open and free to enter.
After visiting the church, we recommend hiking to the famous viewpoint and following the Panoramaweg trail. Read our St. Maddalena Panorama Trail Guide for a trail description and map.
San Giovanni Church in Ranui
The St. John Church in Ranui is a small chapel set amidst a sea of meadows. With its copper-domed bell tower and frescoed facade, the tiny church of Ranui is instantly recognizable.
Due to disrespectful trespassing and bad behavior (e.g. trampling meadows/flying drones illegally), St. John is no longer freely accessible. The church and surrounding meadows are enclosed by a large fence. There is a viewing platform along the St. Johann/San Giovanni road (marked on the map), where you can take a photo.
If you want to visit the chapel, head up the road to the Ranuihof Farm. There is a gated entry point, where you have to purchase a ticket in order to enter.
Val di Funes Hotels and Apartments
We recommend staying in Santa Maddalena, a small village in Val di Funes, which provides easy access to all the main destinations in the valley.
Budget | Fallerhof is an active farm and a great-value apartment-style accommodation with stunning views of the Geisler Group. It’s a short walk to the Santa Maddalena Church (5 minutes) and the famous Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui (15 minutes). Breakfast is available upon request.
Midrange | Hotel Fines is a welcoming, 3-star hotel in Santa Maddalena, owned by a young and enthusiastic team. Guests love the rich breakfast buffet, central location, and hotel restaurant. Definitely book half board (breakfast and dinner) here. The DolomitiMobil Card is free for all guests.
Luxury | Hotel Tyrol Dolomites Slow Living is a 4-star hotel in Santa Maddalena in Val di Funes. Directly facing the Odle/Geisler Group, guests can enjoy the mountains from the hotel pool, garden lounge area, and bedroom balconies. If you stay here, make sure to book a room with a Dolomites view (“Geisler Blick”).
We loved the hotel’s location. From Hotel Tyrol, it’s a short walk to Santa Maddalena Church (10 minutes) and the Panorama Trail (20 minutes). It’s also a short walk to Ranui (Church of St. John) and a short drive to the Zannes/Zans Car Park.
After spending a long day hiking in the mountains, we were always excited to return to Hotel Tyrol for a delicious South Tyrolean dinner. Here, dishes are prepared using local and seasonal ingredients. Dinner begins with a salad buffet, followed by three courses. The dining staff is attentive and friendly, making the whole dining experience highly enjoyable.
Other things we loved:
- The breakfast buffet is delicious and nutritious.
- The outdoor whirlpool occupies a peaceful location, facing the valley.
- Bathrobes and a pool bag are provided.
- The DolomitiMobil Card is included in your stay. This gives you discounts on parking fees at Zannes/Zans and free transit on buses in South Tyrol.
Related: Best Hotels in the Dolomites
How to Get to Val di Funes
– car, bus, foot –
Driving to Val di Funes
Val di Funes is a short drive away from Bolzano/Bozen (45 minutes) Ortisei/St. Ulrich (40-50 minutes), and Bressanone/Brixen (25 Minutes).
From Bolzano, the fastest approach is via the Autostrada A22. The motorway toll fee for this section is 1.60 EUR (for a car in 2020).
From Ortisei, you can drive to Val di Funes via the SS242d, avoiding toll fees. And from Brixen, you can also avoid the Autostrada, by driving along Via Statale 12 (SS12).
Parking in Val di Funes
There are several paid car parks in Val di Funes, including the Zannes Car Park, Ranui Car Park, Ranui Turning Point Car Park, and the Putzen Car Park. There’s also a small parking lot in Santa Maddalena, which is free. Here’s an overview of the parking fees (cash only):
- Zannes Car Park: 8 EUR per day, 3 EUR for half-a-day (arriving after 1 pm), 2 EUR for Valley Guests with DolomitiMobil Card, 12 EUR for Camper Vans and Buses (day only)
- Ranui Car Park: 4 EUR per day, 2 EUR for Valley Guests with DolomitiMobil Card, 10 EUR for Camper Vans and Buses.
- Ranui Turning Point Car Park: 2 EUR for 2 hours on weekdays, 4 EUR per day on Sundays and holidays.
- Putzen Car Park: 4 EUR per day, 2 EUR for Valley Guests with DolomitiMobil Card, 10-20 EUR for Camper Vans and Buses. Free in winter.
Note: Camping/Car Camping is strictly prohibited in all of these car parks.
Public Transit to Val di Funes
Use the journey planner on the Suedtirolmobil website to find the best transit connections to Val di Funes.
Bolzano to Val di Funes
Take a train from Bolzano/Bozen Train Station to Bressanone/Brixen (30 min). In Bressanone/Brixen Train Station, hop on bus 330 to St. Magdalena (Bus stop: Vergin) in Val di Funes (30 minutes).
Total Transit Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Cost: 7.50 EUR
Val Gardena to Val di Funes
In Ortisei/St. Ulrich (bus stop: Piazza S. Antonio), get on bus 350 (direction: Bressanone/Brixen). In Klamm, change to bus 330 (direction: Bressanone/Brixen) to St. Magdalena in Val di Funes (Bus stop: Vergin).
Total Transit Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: 6 EUR
Bressanone to Val di Funes
Take bus 330 from the Train Station in Bressanone to St. Magdalena in Val di Funes (Bus stop: Vergin).
Total Transit Time: 0.5 hours
Cost: 3.50 EUR
Walking to Val di Funes from Val Gardena
Another option for visiting Val di Funes is to arrive on foot. If you’re staying in Val Gardena, we recommend heading to Ortisei and taking the Resciesa funicular up to the Resciesa Plateau. From here, it’s an easy walk (mostly descending) to Malga Brogles, an alpine pasture hut in Val di Funes.
Learn More: Resciesa to Malga Brogles
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More Information for Your Trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
Where to Go in the Dolomites: