Explorers Connect

Corvara: The best resort in the Dolomites?

Trip ReportJames Hipkiss

Corvara, situated in the heart of the Alta Badia, is bursting with life during the summer months and for very good reason; not only is it surrounded by breathtaking mountain peaks, Corvara also provides accessibility to easier, moderate and high level paths which makes it one of the best places in the area for walking in the Dolomites.

The Alta Badia is renowned for its natural beauty and Corvara certainly delivers with the seemingly endless rim of peaks surrounding the town. The Fanes National Park stretches to Cortina in the east and provides outdoor enthusiasts with high level walks and stunning 360⁰ panoramas, whilst the Puez-Odle National Park, home to the dramatic Sassongher peak towering over Corvara, provides views as far as the Austrian Alps. Easier walks can be had alongside the Sella Massif whereby waterfalls can be discovered and children are able to enjoy the vast open wild flower meadows. Do not however feel that there is any missing out to be had chairlifts run continuously during the day so that the higher paths and picturesque rifugios can be reached with little demand on your legs. All grades of these fantastic walks are impressively way-marked by wooden posts, accompanied by estimated times to the next village; helping you plan your well earned apple strudel stop of the day.

The paths themselves are easily accessible from Corvara, with many of them a mere two-three minute walk from the centre. Of course the walks slightly further afield are just as easily accessed buses run frequently from the centre and the Tyroleans are proud of their reliability and promptness. Why not also venture to nearby towns such as La Villa and Badia (formerly Pedraces) for a true South-Tyrolean experience of a different kind. There is certainly plenty to keep individuals, couples and families alike entertained within the town itself. The long main road which stretches to the top of the hill brings light to the many tea rooms, restaurants and gelato hot spots in Corvara, offering many temptations even for those passing through. The outdoor climbing wall provides a place to practise before heading out onto the limestone rock and offers a great activity for the younger ones whilst parents can relax in the sun on the open grassland opposite.

An outdoor swimming lake is accessible for the day at a small cost but if you fancy something a bit wilder then hopping on the Boe lift next door will drop you near Lech de Boe, a beautiful secluded lake buried amongst high rising rock faces of the Sella Massif. During the evening, a popular bar named The Underground is worth a visit for their Italian style dishes and the ever popular Hugo thirst-quencher a must try in these parts. Every Thursday night Corvara can be enjoyed under sunset as the main road is transformed into a frenzy of live music, dancing and late-night shopping without the disruption of transport. Alternatively, get your skates on at the indoor Ice rink to grasp an idea of what its like here in the Dolomites during the winter season. The practical side to Corvara means that no unnecessary travelling to find the essentials has to be had. Kostner supermarket is around the corner if you run out of shampoo and the local pharmacy is at hand just in case that annoying hay fever decides to kick in. The information centre is up to date with local events and has some beautiful postcards on sale, dramatically impersonating the surrounding area.

Have I mentioned that Sport Kostner, a shop full of practical outdoor gear, work closely with Colletts and offer a 10% discount to all of their guests very handy if you find youve forgotten your walking socks! It would be a sin not to mention the accommodation in Corvara which is provided by Colletts Mountain Holidays. It may seem a difficult choice between the three properties on offer, but each hold their own charm and offer a unique chalet experience during your walking holiday in the Dolomites. Each chalet is residence to a local family who wish to welcome guests into their home, sharing their love and experience of the mountains. The Colletts team endeavour to impart their knowledge of the area so that all you have to do is enjoy whats on offer, whether thats organised walking, self-guided walking, Via Ferrata, World War One excursions or testing out your wildflower knowledge in the meadows.

The accommodation is evenly spread across Corvara which gives each chalet its own exclusive hold on the area. Chalet Angelo sits at the top of the hill, providing wonderful views over Corvara in its entirety and is a short walk away from 360⁰ panoramas on the Pralongia Plateau. For those who enjoy convenience, Chalet Verena sits near the heart of Corvara near to the river whereby shops and buses can be accessed within minutes. The stunning Sassongher peak towers over Chalet Bracun and is situated upon entrance to the town, a short walk from secluded picnic areas and has the added benefit of a spa and sauna. Self catering and a hotel experience are also on offer within the area, accommodating for all guests needs during their break away. As far as walking holidays in the Alps are concerned, the Dolomites is a faultless destination and Corvara holds dear to it all of the elements that make it a perfect place for walkers of every ability.

An adventurous day on the mountains, followed by a heart-warming Italian meal surrounded by like minded people will have you begging the question Why didnt I come here sooner? With so many things to see and do, and with an impossibility of squeezing it into one or two weeks, it is inevitable that Corvara will have you booking next years flights without hesitation.