This summer we set off to the Dolomites in Italy. I was really stressed out before the beginning of our holiday as this year I organised it and I was aware of the fact that the journey would be challenging even for my Dad, who is an experienced and careful driver. I shared the back seats with Arktis, which managed the long way very well.
We stayed in a beautiful hotel called ICARO – I knew immediately it’s the one I’m looking for when I saw it advertised on the list of best hotels in Alpe di Siusi (Europe’s largest high alpine pasture). Just when we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist, Marco, who became our guide and adviser for the following 10 days. Generally, the staff working there was kind and always willing to help. Arktis was, I would say, pleasantly surprised when she found out that two black and white cats live there and tried her best to make friends, though she wasn’t successful😄
We had a quite big suite with stunning views – we could see almost all the nearby mountains (Sella group, Langkofel, Platkofel, Tierser Alpl and the most popular Schlern of course), so I could take as many photos as I wanted without moving from my suite, haha😄 The nights when I could admire stars shining bright on the sky from my window are totally indescribable.
Beside the great location I must mention the delicious food🍴 I’m a food lover, I particularly fancy Italian cuisine, and the 5 course dinner menu was impressive (small portions, so you could try different meals – my favourite were various crème soups, baked camembert, lasagne and meat canelloni).
During our 10-day stay we experienced many breathtaking adventures. It would be impossible to recount everything, what I would like to, but here are the places which are definitely worth visiting!
HIKING IN ALPE DI SIUSI
Hotel Panorama became for us a significant point from which most of our adventures began. There I had Kaiserschmarrn, sweet omelette served with powdered sugar and marmalade, for the first time in my life. Yum!
From Panorama we walked in the direction of Schlern and then of Tierser Alpl. Spectacular views during the entire trip granted. On our way we got by hotel Goldknopf, which is near Almrosenhütte. The name comes from alpenrosen – rhododendrons growing all around which have neon pink blossoms. I couldn’t believe my own eyes because there are thousands of them!
One day we went further than usual and achieved Zallinger. We returned through Saltria but I must say it was really challenging – 6 hours in motion!
Puflatsch – approximate length of hiking (from Icaro through Compatsch): 4 h
In 2013 I thought I’ll fall on the ground and never stand up again. Exhausted and moaning, these words would describe me perfectly. This year I knew I have to change my attitude and try my best. And? It worked! No tears and endless complaints. The views are unforgettable but don’t risk and wait for a sunny weather otherwise all the effort you make is worthless. If you approach Puflatsch from the other side (through Marinzen), you’ll see a huge moraine, but the path will be steeper and quite narrow.
Last year we visited Ortisei by car (20 min) but it’s much easier by a cable car (10 min) or you can also go on foot (2,5 h). The path is quite demanding and in some parts we had to be careful and keep Arktis on the leash because it was steep. Streets of Ortisei consist of admirable houses (my favourite is Cavallino Bianco).
BOLZANO – approximate length of driving: 30 min
In some way a fairly odd city. And it’s not only me who thinks so. Probably, it’s caused by the fact there’s lot of different people.
If you’re a woman who fancies shopping, you’re in the right place. You will find loads of shops there, including Italian brands such as Benetton, Original Marines, Intimissimi or Tezenis.
Before we got back into our car again, we had a lunch in a luxurious café Citta on the square. Next to it is an original Sacher shop!😋
LAGO DI GARDA (Torbole, Malcesine, Peschiera del Garda, Sirmione)
approximate length of driving: 1h
Even though Lake Garda was not situated near our location, we decided to spend a day there. On the shore are many picturesque towns – we focused on Torbole, Malcesine, Peschiera del Garda and Sirmione.
Both towns are situated on the northern site of the lake. In my opinion, the landscape of the northern part of Lake Garda is definitely more interesting than the southern because of the large mountains. Furthermore, it’s also less crowded and we were totally enchanted by wild beaches, where you could spend a pleasant day even with a dog without being disturbed by other tourists. The water had only 20°C but this fact dind’t make Arktis reject swimming😄
Peschiera del Garda&Sirmione
The vegetation in all towns is beautiful – colourful oleanders and hydrangeas grow anywhere you turn your eyes to🌺 These two towns offer splendid floral attractions – a maginificent alley of huge oleanders in Peschiera and an old house covered with bougainvillea in Sirmione.
Big castle, many shops and cafés, where you can get a big ice cream (give a go a coconut flavoured ice cream – it’s delish!)… Yes, this is what you can enjoy in Sirmione, which looks as lovely in reality as in advertisements. I wish I could be there in the evening as every city seems to be more romantic and mysterious by night.
LAGO DI FIE – approximate length of driving: 25 min
Yes, the Lake of Fie is incomparably smaller than the largest Italian Lake Garda but smaller doen’t mean less charming. There is a lot of various trails which can satisfy both families with children (you can stay just at the lake and enjoy the water or not far is a traditional Italian restaurant, where you can enjoy your meal while listening to live folk music) and determined hikers as you can achieve Schlern from there. We wanted to try our power but we weren’t sure if we would manage a 4 hour journey with just one chalet on the way, however we went in this direction. We stopped near a stunning waterfall. I almost slipped on a wet stone, fortunately my Dad’s hand appeared in the right moment. We were so close to Schlern, which attracted my attention for the rest of our stay… I’m afraid next time I won’t be able to resist its calling.
I think I can say that these days belong to the best days in my entire life. Relax, a lot of funny situations and laughter, many interesting and friendly people, pleasant atmosphere and stunning countryside… What else I could dream of?
To portray my enthusiasm of Dolomites more precisely: I’m half Polish, half Czech but my heart belongs to the wild nature of Dolomites. This is the place where I want to live because there I feel at home.
If you managed to read this super long post to this point, you probably noticed that I added a lot of photos. I’d love to add more, especially the ones which I took with my camera but I know it wouldn’t be wise and my post would become messy. What do you think of creating an extra post just with photos? Would you be interested in seeing them?
I’m also working on a video from Italy. It’s the first video which I make (the first which requires a lot of editing) and I’ve never imagined it can be so difficult and time consuming…. hopefully it will be finished on weekend.