If you’re looking for winter fun in northern Italy, a weekend in Tarvisio will hit all the high points!
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Spending a weekend in Tarvisio, Italy has to be one of my favorite winter getaways ever. Tarvisio hits that perfect balance of having plenty of nature, culture and fun while still being a small mountain town.
Tarvisio is a smallish town in northeast Italy, on the border of both Austria and Slovenia. Year-round, Tarvisio has a ton to offer if you like the outdoors. I’m already planning a trip back in the fall when the leaves are changing for some epic hiking!
Our weekend in Tarvisio in February was one for the books. It was one of those perfect trips where we did a lot of seeing the sights without feeling rushed, and still had plenty of downtime.
Since the snow sticks around well into the spring (this is the Alps, after all), it means winter sports are possible way longer than my southern soul expected. There’s also a professional sport college in town, so you know the skiing and snowboarding options are quality.
Laghi di Fusine
If you only do one hike while in Tarvisio, head to the Laghi di Fusine!
I cannot stress enough how stunning they are. It’s epic beauty everywhere you turn, and I couldn’t get enough. These photos don’t nearly do it justice.
Signs make it pretty easy to find them. Follow until you see a lake on your right to get to lago inferiore. This one has an easy walk along the shoreline and a restaurant to grab some lunch if you need a bite.
If you’re short on time, head straight for lago superiore. Lago superiore has much better views because it’s tucked right below the Alps. Here you can also walk along the shoreline for fairytale views. Again, this spot is beautiful year-round but has special magic when covered in snow.
There’s a trailhead on the other side of the parking lot for lago superiore worth exploring as well. Like most Alps trails, they crisscross through the mountains and woods for miles, so if you want a longer/more intense hike, try here. Heading along the trail will give that perfect stillness I always seek out when it snows in the woods.
Even if you’re not into long hikes, still go! You can experience much of the beauty without walking more than 10 minutes from the parking lots.
Sled Dog Mushing
Want to try your hand at an unconventional winter sport? Try mushing!!
There’s a sled dog school just out of town, and they offer lessons to try your hand at it.
Sled dog mushing is surprisingly athletic! I was out of breath at the end. This is mostly because you have to help the dogs whenever there’s an uphill. Don’t forget that they’re only 40ish lbs each, with three or four pulling you and the sled!
Usually they run a few sleds at a time, all following a snowmobile with a guide to help if you get into trouble. I’d compare the experience to waterskiing, because balance and understanding how to lean in the curves is important, and it’s super exhiliarating when you get the hang of it!
The dogs are all very friendly – the opposite of what I’d expected from professional working dogs, honestly – and love to be petted and loved on while they get set up.
The whole thing is kid-friendly too. They’ll allow kids who think they can handle it to go on their own, and young ones get to ride with one of the guides, meaning they probably have the best experience of all!
You need to reserve this a few weeks in advance, especially if you want a weekend slot. But Monica speaks English and does a great job leading the experience! Also, bring cash – they don’t take card out there.
Tarvisio hotel: Hotel Edelhof
For our weekend in Tarvisio, we stayed at Hotel Edelhof. It’s located on the west side of town, close enough to walk but nestled at the base of a mountain. There’s even a ski lift a few hundred feet from the front door!
The hotel has that rustic mountain charm but with all the amenities you want. The essentials you want after an intense day of hiking or skiing are just want you want: hot showers, good heat, and comfy beds.
The food at Hotel Edelhof is great too. The nightly rate includes an excellent breakfast. Since social distancing precautions take the normal buffet off the table, you order a series of small plates packed with whatever you want from their offerings. We loved every bite!
We also ate at their restaurant for dinner and really enjoyed it. The menu offers traditional dishes with a bit of elegance. The stinco d’agnello (lamb shank) was perfectly cooked, and I loved the traditional filled pasta known as cialcions.
Lunch in Tarvisio at Trattoria Miramonte
If you want a casual lunch spot that’s popular with locals, head to Trattoria Miramonte! It’s the kind of place that you don’t feel bad coming in wearing your hiking clothes, AKA perfect for when you’re ravenous after dog sledding or hiking.
For Tarvisio restaurants in general, it seems like the cuisine is largely Italian food with Slovenian influences (rather than Austrian). Not every place fits this, but generally, there’s more goulash than schnitzel on the menus.
Speaking of goulash, order it here! This was the best I’ve had, hands down. Served with polenta – very traditional for this part of Italy – it’s a hearty bowl of beef stew that warms you from the inside out. Logan had the steak and that was both excellent and MASSIVE, so come hungry!
After just two days here I can’t imagine why this town doesn’t get massive foreign tourist draws. Our weekend in Tarvisio was the perfect blend of fun and relaxing, all set in a gorgeous Alpine backdrop!
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