Wild and rugged, with jagged peaks, dense pine forests and remote mountain hamlets, the Three Peaks region of the South Tyrol lies in the heart of the Dolomites in northern Italy. While the scenery is distinctively Alpine, with the guarantee of snow from December until April, the region basks in a Mediterranean climate with about 300 days of sunshine — ideal conditions in which to explore the great outdoors.
Ski its slopes in winter or explore the numerous trails in summer on foot or by bike, with opportunities to relax in spas, enjoy gourmet cuisine and cultural events whatever the season.
The region of the Three Peaks Dolomites is well known for its high-quality, regional products like ham and cheese, organic meat and honey and jams. It’s also home to famous chefs including Markus Holzer, whose menu at Jora Mountain Dining in San Candido/Innichen includes traditional South Tyrolean dishes alongside unusual creations such as dumplings (or ravioli) filled with mushrooms.
A natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s easy to work up an appetite with about 8,000 miles of signposted hiking routes. Choose from easy strolls through gently undulating pastures and forests to more challenging mountain treks to nearly 10,000ft, with stops to rest and refuel at cosy huts (rifugio) and restaurants.
The Sesto Dolomites hosts some of the hardest and most spectacular stages of the Giro d’Italia and guided tours can lead hardcore visitors up five mountains, with a climb of 1,150ft. Those who prefer mountain biking through nature can feel the burn on the Giro Bike Tour — which includes over five mountains and an altitude difference of 4,500m (1000m on bike), joined by an experienced bike guide and with stunning views and nature at its best.
Visitors who prefer an easier pace can rent an e-bike at the village of Dobbiaco/Toblach then cycle along the Val di Landro valley/Höhlensteintal to Lake Dobbiaco/Toblacher See and for the Kneipp-spa in Villabassa/Niederdorf or to San Candido/Innichen for a spot of city sightseeing.
Alternatively, at Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort, which can be found at the entrance of the Val Fiscalina valley, weary travellers can experience a variety of regenerative treatments that use the region’s natural mineral- and sulphur-rich springs.
Four activities for the family
1 Experience summer tobogganing and tubing at the foot of the impressive Baranci mountain range in San Candido. The top can easily be reached by a chairlift. Nearby, kids can also explore the treehouses of Dwarf Village via a network of ladders and rope bridges.
2 Stroll the mile-long circular trail at nature park Olperl on Monte Elmo to pet animals and experience panoramic views of the Alta Val Pusteria valley.
3 Take a dip in Lake Dobbiaco with views of the Landro Valley, or explore the water by pedalo boats to spot rare migratory birds
4 Hike the high-altitude mountain plateau Prato Piazza/Plätzwiese near Braies for breathtaking views along the easy walk to Monte Specie/Strudelkopf at 7,570ft.
Gourmet Festival, Hochpustertal/Alta Pusteria October 2019 (date TBC)
Founded by the Michelin-starred chef Chris Oberhammer, of Restaurant Tilia, who brings together a range of talented guest chefs from across the borders.
Gustav Mahler Music Weeks, Dobbiaco, 13-27 July 2019
A sophisticated concert programme celebrating the great composer Gustav Mahler, in the heart of the Dolomites, where he used to spend his holidays.
The Alta Pusteria International Choir Festival, 19-23 June 2019
A five-day festival with indoor and outdoor concerts on lake shores and in medieval castles and in all the Alpine huts of Alta Pusteria.
Südtirol Dolomiti Superbike: 13 July 2019
This is the most legendary bike race in the Dolomites, with roughly 4,500 pro and amateur mountain bikers attending.