Cortina d’Ampezzo is the perfect place for a fancy Dolomite weekend! Here’s what you need to know to plan your time in the playground of the Italian Alps.
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If you want some serious Dolomite action but still crave a city with plenty on offer, you have to know where to look. I tend to like places with plenty of hiking and beauty, but still a good amount of restaurants!
There are plenty of options: San Martino and Bolzano are great in Trentino, and the region of Valle d’Aosta is a great region for the western Alps. But if you’re looking in Veneto, Cortina d’Ampezzo is the number one option!
Cortina is a bougie ski town. It’s beautiful, it has plenty of great restaurant options, and it’s a major access point to great skiing, hiking, and whatever your mountain-loving heart desires. It feels a bit like a resort town but balanced with a European charm that makes it not feel too fancy for regular people like me.
It should be no surprise then that there’s plenty of ski culture here! It’s one of those ski towns that attracts the wealthy, but people are also walking around in their workout/hiking/ski gear. This is unusual in Italy, but given why people visit Cortina, makes sense
Name sound familiar? Cortina d’Ampezzo has two ways you may have heard of it. It hosted the 1956 Olympic Winter Games and was historically the first to offer live TV coverage. It’s also a popular mountain movie set location, including For Your Eyes Only and (according to IMDB) Spider-Man: Far From Home.
A note for planning: keep in mind that fall and spring are low tourism seasons in the mountains, so fewer restaurants are open. That doesn’t mean the town is dead, though, and you can have trouble getting a table year-round. I highly recommend calling ahead for dinner reservations, especially on weekends.
Il Vizietto di Cortina
This is my number one recommendation for Cortina! We absolutely loved everything we ate at Il Vizietto. It’s a modern take on a cozy restaurant, striking a great balance between fine dining and homestyle recipes. The tagliatelle della nonna was one of my top five pasta dishes ever! No kidding, it was incredibly good – a savory meaty ragu with red wine and wild game creating a sauce I couldn’t stop eating.
Ristorante Pizzeria Croda Cafe
This spot is clearly where the locals eat. The food is homestyle, no frills, and everything you want from a local Italian lunch spot. Our surprise favorite dish at Croda Cafe was a ravioli filled with beets in a poppyseed sauce – light and suprisingly sweet, but not so much that it felt like dessert.
Ristorante Al Camin
Like any fancy ski town, Cortina has its share of Michelin-starred restaurants. If you go to one, my suggestion is Ristorante Al Camin. The food is an elegant take on local ingredients, and both travelers and locals love this place.
If you need a good spot for a quick breakfast, head to Pasticceria Alverà! They have amazing pastries, great sandwiches, and divine chocolates. My only critism is that it was on the pricey side, but their price points fit Cortina, so not really their fault. If you’re planning a big hike, it’s a great spot to grab panini to go for a snack!
Shopping in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Because of its popularity, it’s on the expensive side for Italy. Designer boutiques featuring Fendi, Louboutin, and Dolce & Gabbana sit next to The North Face and Patagonia stores, so if shopping appeals, it’s a good destination.
There’s also several boutiques featuring local artisans, so be sure to do a little exploring in the smaller shops as well! I espeically liked Art House, which features gifts, toys, and extensive textile shops – perfect for high-quality souvenirs!
The main store in town is La Cooperativa de Cortina, also called Coop. Not to be confused the supermarket chain of the same name, it’s a massive store with a little bit of everything. Forget some outdoor gear? Try here. Want a Cortina-branded mug? Coop. It’s also the most conveniently-located grocery store in town, so odds are you’ll find yourself here at least once during the weekend.
Cortina d’Ampezzo Hotels
Because it’s a major jumping-off point for the Dolomites, there are some chain hotels up here if you’re trying to use points. But I encourage you to stay in a local hotel for that quintessential Italian mountain experience!
In Italy, the star rating system for hotels does tell you about the level of “fancy,” but not really indicative of the quality. Don’t turn your nose up at a two-star hotel, because they can be excellent! It’s as much about price point as well, so in an expensive area like Cortina, two was perfect for us.
We stayed at Hotel Oasi, which was a small hotel just across from the main pedestrian street. It was lovely and absolutely perfect for what we needed! It was dog friendly and had parking, perfect for a hiking weekend. The staff had excellent recommendations for hiking and exploring local spots, as well as knowing which restaurants were open when. The hosts gave us enough hiking suggestions to stay a week!
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Check back next week for my tips on getting outdoors in Cortina d’Ampezzo!