Monte Lussari looks like a postcard come to life, and makes a perfect alpine day trip!
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Continuing my series of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia trips, today we’re talking Monte Lussari! Monte Lussari (full name Monte Santo di Lussari) sits above Tarvisio, so it’s an easy one to combine with time spent there. Like Tarvisio, this tiny town has both Austrian and Slovenian influences in the food, drink, and architecture.
To reach Monte Lussari, take the cable car. Technically I think you can drive in warmer months, but the cable car provides unparalleled views on the 15-minute ride up. Plus, it has a series of small cars rather than fewer larger, meaning you don’t feel like sardines stuffed in. As of February 2021, the price for a return ticket is 14€, which is reasonable.
I wouldn’t recommend hiking or snowshoeing up unless you are a beast. It would take hours and frankly looks so difficult that it wouldn’t be fun. Plus, the views on the cable car are unreal. Better to save your hiking for the top!
Monte Lussari partially a skiing destination – the town sits at the peak, so you’ll see plenty of both downhill and cross country skiers here. Most jump on the ski route right next to the cable car exit, but there are a few who make their way through the town on skis!
As soon as you step off, you’ll realize you’ve probably seen a photo of the town before – it doesn’t get more idyllic than this spot. It’s still beautiful in summer, but the effect is so perfect in snow! Every building has about two feet of snow on the roof, creating this quaint fairytale town feeling.
The flip side of that is that the paths through town aren’t for the faint of heart. Steep even in summer, in winter they’re covered in inches of snow that can get icy. It adds to the fun, but this is an area to still wear your hiking boots.
Don’t miss turning right, away from the town, after exiting the cable car. The views are incredible everywhere, but this spot tends to be less noticed by others. If you want a quiet moment to soak it in, go here first.
Stop for lunch or a hot drink at Rifugio Alpino Monte Lussari. It’s near the top/far end of town, and has the best terrace views in town! I had to get my favorite, gluhwein (called vin brulé here), but they have a good selection of apertivi and drinks. I’d also recommend eating here, but if you want to sit inside, plan to make a reservation in advance.
Don’t skip visiting the church at the top of the hill. You may have to do a bit of climbing depending on how icy the paths do, but it’s worth it. The art inside is more typical of Slovenia than most of us associate with Italian. Peek inside the door for an explanation (in English, German, Italian, and Slovenian) of the founding of the town.
Walk all the way through the town to find cross-country skiing and hiking trails. If you like snowshoeing, you can do it up here. We didn’t try it here so I can’t tell you much, but we walked the first 20 minutes out and it was stunning! The snow-drenched trees glittering in the sun look like something out of a painting.
There are a few small hotels and rifiugios dotted around here if you want to stay overnight, but we opted to stay in Tarvisio and visit for the day.
Monte Lussari is just under two hours’ drive from Aviano Air Base, making it an option for day or weekend trips. We loved the alpine town and already have plans to visit in summer to soak up those alpine views again!
Want more trips in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia? Try Tarvisio, Venzone, Muggia, or Grotte Caglieron!