Cortina d’Ampezzo lies in the heart of the stunning Dolomite mountains. It’s not only a famous winter sports location but also a very stylish Italian ski resort. Yes, they did let us in!
Although stylish and fashionable it is far from being pretentious. It is relaxed, charming and wonderfully Italian.
It was the venue for the 1956 Winter Olympics and still hosts world cup events. Don’t be put off if you are a non skier, there is plenty to enjoy.
The centre of Cortina is relatively small, compact and charming. As mentioned , it is stylish yet understated so if you are an oligarch and want to flash your cash, this isn’t really a place for you.
The main shopping street through the centre of town is the pedestrianised Corso Italia. It is dominated by the bell tower which is beautifully lit up at night. Along the Corso Italia, designer clothes shop and jewellers sit next to traditional little local shops and cafes.
As in the rest of Italy, most shops are closed from around 12.30 to 3.30 but then stay open until about 8pm at night.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is ringed by the imposing Dolomite mountain range. The surrounding cliffs and mountains emmit a stunning pink colour as the sun rises and sets.
Whether you are a skier or not you must take a trip on the Faloria cable car. It leaves from the town and transports you 2134 metres up to the Faloria ski area. Non skiers can enjoy the views as you sun yourself on the deck of the Rifugio Faloria. Enjoy the spectacular views of Cortina and the valley below while sipping coffee or preferably something stronger to warm you up.
A bit of film trivia – the Sylvester Stallone film ‘Cliffhanger’ was filmed here as well as the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’.
Exploring The Dolomites
Having a rental car gave us the opportunity to drive out of town and explore the magnificent surroundings, although not really recommended in snowy conditions. We drove to the pretty frozen lake of Lago di Misurina and then up towards the Nature Park of Tre Cime. This is a protected natural wilderness, there are none of the ski resorts or luxury hotels here. However it is a mecca for expert climbers who want to experience the rugged landscape and vertical rock faces.
Getting To Cortina
We flew to Venice, Marco Polo airport and then rented a car to get to Cortina. Venice to Cortina is about a 2 hours drive and well sign posted (we did it OK without a SatNav – and no arguments!). The first part of the journey is quite an easy motorway drive (Toll – €7.50) before you get to the twisty mountain roads.
There is the CortinaExpress bus service that takes you from the airport to Cortina but it’s not very frequent, only once or twice a day.
Treviso airport is also another option however this is a Ryanair destination and we still try to avoid Ryanair whenever we can.
During our visit to Cortina d’Ampezzo we stayed at the very stylish boutique hotel, Hotel Ambra Cortina – you can see our video here.
Can you recommend any ski resorts that are also good fun for the non skier?