What to do in Cortina d'Ampezzo in summer

An article about the places to see and the things to do, in summer, in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Quick index (Click to expand) Introduction Overview of the summer season An excursion or a hike Relax on the shores of a lake Ex-Railway Walk Walk from the center to "Campo" Cable car ride Minigolf Having lunch in a lodge An e-bike ride Cortina Adrenalin Center The road train of the dolomites County festivals A walk in Corso Italia Party Conclusion

Introduction:

Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most beautiful and prestigious mountain resorts in the world, immersed in a unique landscape. In summer it is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers, and offers many breathtaking panoramas to those who cross its mountains: there is a reason if it's known as the Queen of the Dolomites. In this article we'll try to show you the best activities to spend your vacations in Cortina d'Ampezzo in the summer time, in our opinion.

...the hot weather is generally much more tolerable than in the plain...

Summer in Cortina offers generally mild temperatures with a relatively dry climate, that's why it's often chosen as a destination for those who are seeking a breath from the scorching temperatures of the cities. Some days can be torrid even in the mountains, but the hot weather is generally much more tolerable than in cities or at the sea.
One of the peculiarity of the Ampezzo summers are the heat storms: it's not uncommon to have a wonderful climate in the morning and in the after lunch, but when the afternoon arrives the heat accumulated during the day creates an unexpected rainstorm. Usually the rains do not last long, it's strong and short, but it is definitely a thing that you have to consider when you are planning a walk or any other activity in the mountains.

A view of Cortina d'Ampezzo in Summer
Summer panorama of Cortina.
The Tofana in summer, mountain symbol of Cortina d'Ampezzo
The majestic "Tofane" in summer.
The Pomagagnon seen from the powder road of Cortina
Pomagagnon rises above Cortina.

Before proceeding, consider that what we'll describe the activities that we personally consider most enjoyable and relaxing, the ones we would do with a friend who has never seen Cortina if he came to visit us in the summer. We are not athletes, nor professional climbers. These are tips suited for a family, a not too trained person or anyone looking for peace and relaxation.

If you are looking for stronger emotions, ask to the Alpine Guides...

If you are a trained athlete or you are looking for stronger emotions or greater challenges, we recommend you to seek for the professionists: the mountain guides. In Cortina, as in every mountain town, there are specialists with the passion and the skills to safely escort you on excursions or climbs that will satisfy even the most demanding hikers. Here you can find their website. If you prefer to physically go there, the Alpine Guides office is located in Corso Italia 69/ASmall map icon.

To conclude this intro, we have a request: if you think that we forgot to write something, which is very likely, do not hesitate to contact us: new ideas or suggestions are welcome and useful.

Overview of the summer season:

The summer season in Cortina, from a tourist point of view, is relatively short: it generally begins in July and ends around mid-September. Even if May and June are wonderful months, for several reasons the town is not very crowded. In those two months the sea has a greater attraction, also for the residents, who generally go on vacation in May, or in the first weeks of June.
For this reason remember that, in the first part of the summer, some activities or shelters may still be closed. The same goes for the second half of September, after the schools opening. Anyway you also have to consider that, if you really love the peace and quiet of the mountains, less crowded periods are the ideal months for hiking.

...temperatures are sometimes cooler than you might expect...

A very important thing to know when coming to Cortina is to always bring a waterproof jacket in your suitcase, because, in the mountains, it could rain at any time. It's also always a good idea to have some long sleeved clothes in your luggage, because it's not uncommon that, after a rain or in the evening, temperatures turn out to be cooler than you might expect, even if we are in summer. If the weather is not the best, remember to read the articole on what to do in Cortina when it rains.
If you are interested in better understanding the dynamics of tourism in Cortina, do not forget to read our article on seasonality and touristic flow in Cortina, month by month.

The movida of Cortina in high season
Cortina in (almost) peak season.
The calm of the off-season in Cortina d'Ampezzo
The relaxing calm of the off-season.
Tourists crowd Corso Italia in Cortina d'Ampezzo
Quiet day in Corso Italia.
Continues after the AD...

An excursion or a hike:

Could it be a great vacation in the mountains without a little bit of fatigue? One of the best things about summer in Cortina, in fact, are the excursions. The mountains, whenever it's possible, should be lived in first person, breathing clean air, taking pictures and earning, with a little bit of sweat, the lunch in the refuge or the sandwich.

There are many excursions in Cortina, that's why we created a specific section, where we have collected the best trekking routes. You have to have a little more patience for the translation of the hicking section, it will be available soon.

Panorama of Mondeval during an excursion on the Giau Pass in Cortina
Mondeval, Passo Giau, Cortina.
I riflessi sul lago di Limo, nei pressi del rifugio Sennes, vicino a Cortina
Riflessi sul lago di Limo, rifugio Fanes.
Una salita in mezzo ai pini mughi a Cortina d'Ampezzo
Salita fra i i pini mughi a Cortina.

Relax on the shores of a lake:

In Cortina and its surroundings there are several lakes, the ideal locations if you want to go sunbathing, have a drink or take a walk or a picnic. Always remember that, if there are tables, chairs or deckchairs, they are of the business activity of the lake. If you want to go on a picnic or to relax in the green, but you don't want to sit on the grass, always bring with you a chair, a blanket or a mattress. Dolomite lakes range in size from small to medium, with a few exceptions. Let's see the most significant ones, with a brief description. This is not a complete list, but we'll mention only those that have a bar or a restaurant because, nestled in the mountains, there are dozens of them.

If you decide to spend a day by the lake and you want to take advantage of the bar or restaurant, always remember to check first the actual opening and availability.

Lake Sorapis in all its turquoise splendor
Lake Sorapis and its turquoise color.
A closer shot of Sorapis Lake
A closer look to Lake Sorapis.
Pianozes restaurant overlooks Pianozes lake
Pianozes restaurant reflects on the water.

Ex-Railway Walk:

The old railway that connected Cortina to Calazo and Dobbiaco was dismantled in 1964, but from its ashes was born a beautiful walk, shared with a bike path, which allows you to walk for thirty kilometers north and south, without ever encountering a steep climb or a prohibitive descent. Since the former railroad crosses Cortina in all its length, it is one of the most frequented walks in the town, both by cyclists and pedestrians.
The route of the ex-railroad is part of the Munich-Venice bike path which, thanks to its 560km and the context in which it is inserted, is considered one of the most beautiful bike paths in the world.

Google Maps places it here, slightly north of the stationSmall map icon In any case, you won't struggle to find it because there are dozens of entrances all over the town.

Walking south direction along the ex-railway, you'll find the panoramic area of Peziè and, in about 40 minutes, you'll reach the village of Zuel, where a glimpse of the Olympic Ski Jump ItalySmall map icon vestiges of the 1956 Olympics. If you want to continue, the road proceeds slightly downhill, alongside the state highway, until you cross Acquabona, and then it advance into the wood. Continuing on, you'll you'll reach San Vito di Cadore, about 12 kilometers from Cortina (in this case, you can choose to return with a bus).

Walking north direction along the ex-railway, it is possible to see many amazing views of Tofana and Pomagagnon, until you reach the wood, then Fiames. Continuing for about 15 kilometers you arrive up to Ospitale, where there is a restaurant with the same name, and even further you can reach Dobbiaco. If you see a fountain (along the route from Fiames to Zuel there are three) you can freely drink some water, it is perfectly drinkable, but drink really slow: it is rather cold.

The bridge of the former Cortina railway near the Faloria cable car
The bridge of the ex-railway of Cortina.
Tofana and the former railway walk in Cortina d'Ampezzo
The tofane as seen from the walk.
The former railway also passes next to the departure point of the Faloria cable car
You also pass by the cable car.

Walk from the center to "Campo":

Another nice walk that you can do in Cortina is that of the Former Powder Room also known as "via del Convent"o. Starting from the center, you have to go down to the Revis gym, then, keeping to the right, you'll reach the large parking lot of "Via del Parco"Small map icon where a wooden table will indicate the beginning of the walk.

The name of the road is given by an old gunpowder magazine that is located at the beginning of the walkSmall map icon which is now in disuse. The gunpowder magazine was built in 1859 to store gunpowder that was used to make explode the stones during the construction of tunnels and civil works and was restored in 2009. If you decide to visit it, you'll have to go through a street that looks private, passing by the yard of a veterinarian, so you might find some dogs barking. At the moment the state is not the best, when I went to visit it last time not even the smell was very pleasant. The fact that it is very out of sight makes it a possible area of "humans and animals droppings", I don't know if I should suggest you to go and see it, in photos it is certainly more pleasant, but it could be ineresting. For sure it's something that few people know.

The walk starts downhill, then crosses a bridge over the Boite river, after which begins a tough but short climb. At that point you'll be on a beautiful panoramic point, surrounded by meadows usually not very frequented and well cared for. Continuing along the road you'll reach the town of Campo di Sopra, where you can see the chapel of San CandidoSmall map icon built in the first half of the eighteenth century as a vote against the fires, which several times have destroyed this location.

In about 20 minutes, from Campo, it is also possible to reach the Lake PianozesSmall map icon a small lake very suggestive with service of refreshment in the periods of high season. The restaurant is of a very high level: excellent quality food with proportionate prices. If you prefer a less demanding stop, on the opposite side of the lake there is a kiosk that offers ice cream, toast and drinks, but it is open only in high season. If you want to return by the same route, you just have to retrace your steps, but if you reach the village of Zuel, you can go back along the railway, which we mentioned above.

Walkway of the former powder magazine, view of Pomagagnon and Cortina d'Ampezzo
view of Pomagagnon and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Walkway of the former powder magazine, view of Faloria and Cristallo mountains
The Tofane and the vast meadows.
The powder magazine of Cortina d'Ampezzo immediately after the restoration of 2009
The Former gunpowder that gives the street its name.
Continues after the AD...

A cable car ride:

Seeing the panorama from above is priceless, which is why we suggest you to find some time to take at least one cable car ride during your stay in Cortina. If you're not a big walker, it's the fastest way to climb a mountain, giving you the chance to experience the thrill of high altitude with minimal effort. Once you have reached the top you can also consume something on the Alpine refuge, and have a drink while observing the breathtaking view and taking some souvenir photos. The most accessible cable car is the "Funivia Faloria"Small map icon (2,120 meters above sea level), just a short walk from Cortina train station. The cost of the ride is approximately 20€.
. Right at the arrival of the cable car you can find the Faloria refuge, where you can refresh yourself with a drink or a full meal, or if you are interested, spend the night.

As an alternative to Mount Faloria it's also possible to climb the Tofane (3,244 meters above sea level) using the "Funivia Freccia nel cielo"Small map icon which, however, is not suitable for everyone. Going to 3,000 meters, in fact, could cause a minority of people some dizziness, for the reduced oxygen and vertigo. If you want, you can stop half way up, at Col Drusciè (1,778 meters above sea level), where you can find the restaurant with the same name and the Masi Wine Bar. The price of the ride is about 30€.

The cableway to the Tofana, in summer, sometimes is open to see the sunrise, that I strongly recommend, even at the cost of waking up very early.

A couple of tips before going up the mountain: always bring a jacket, check very well the closing time of the cable car and do not arrive late. If you are afraid of heights, you might feel a little dizzy, but the railings are high, so you are in no danger. Needless to say, if possible choose a clear, sunny day.

Sunrise from Mount Tofana
The Sunrise from the Tofana.
The cabin of the Faloria cable car in Cortina before the ascent
The Faloria cable car.
Panorama from the top of Mount Faloria in Cortina
Panorama from the top of Faloria.

Minigolf:

If you have a free afternoon and you want to spend a couple of quiet hours, you can consider playing a nice game of minigolf. Not everyone knows that, on the road leading to the ice stadium (via del Castello), there is a minigolf course with 18 holesSmall map icon that is also very well maintained. Rental of clubs can be done directly at the little wooden house overlooking Via del Castello, where you'll also be provided with scoreboards and balls.

In addition to the minigolf course there is also a bar, where you can refresh yourself before, during, or after the game. The bar, during the summer, is a meeting point for many young locals, as it offers very competitive prices. Don't be surprised if it appears much busier than the small size might suggest.

Now that you are at the minigolf, you should pay a visit to the nearby Olympic Ice StadiumSmall map icon where you can also see the Olympic brazier of the 1956 Olympics in Cortina. The brazier sits on the top of a wooden platform decorated with the five Olympic circles and is clearly visible from the parking lot outside.

Some players of the minigolf of Cortina d'Ampezzo
Some players of the minigolf Helvetia.
The exterior of the ice stadium of Cortina
The exterior of the ice stadium.
An overview of the miniature golf courses in Cortina
The Minigolf holes.

Having lunch in a lodge:

When we usually think of a lunch in a mountain lodge we imagine a side activity of the mountain trip, but I assure you that in Cortina d'Ampezzo eating in a lodge (in most cases) is like eating at a restaurant, with the an interesting menu and the possibility to relax on the solarium terraces with an astonishing view. The mountain lodges can be reached with long walks, but in some cases you can take a chairlift, or take their jeep, or reach them directly by car, walking only the last few steps.

Since the topic is very wide, here you can read a specific article we written about all you need to know about eating at Cortina's mountain lodges, or you can simply read a couple of tips beneath:

Many of these itineraries will be treated also in the page dedicated to the Cortina trips, that I suggest you to read as soon as it will be published.

Of course those listed are not the only refuges in the area, but they are the most accessible and the most touristy. If you want to go to lunch in a mountain lodge don't forget to wear mountain shoes, call to check if they are actually open and make a reservation (not always possible, but it doesn't cost anything to ask). If you don't want to have problems with parking, we suggest you to leave early in the morning.

Photograph of a lunch at the Scoiattoli refuge in Cortina
Luch at Scoiattoli lodge.
PICTURE NOT YET TAKEN, UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Picture not yet shooted.
Photo of a lunch in one of the refuges of the Tre Cime district
The exterior of a mountain lodge.
Continues after the AD...

An e-bike ride:

In this last period there is a trend, the pedal assisted bicycles, that allow to ride, without too much training, prohibitive climbs and long distances. Many people tend to forget that it's a sport even if easier, so it's necessary to have a little bit of fitness and a minimum of balance. In the center of Cortina there are several rentals of electric bikes, I would recommend 2&2 Cortina, but there are other equally professional facilities. Always call ahead to book the bike, as there is really a high demand during good weather days.

Before you leave, let me give you a couple of tips as i?ve found myself in a bit of troubles the first time I used one:

If you want to become familiar with the bike, certainly a good start is the path of the ex-railway (which we mentioned above) both in the direction of Dobbiaco and San Vito. Other routes to do by bike will be treated in the future, on a specific page that we'll write soon.

Ebike resting on a bale of hay with Mount Faloria in the background.
E-bike with the Faloria in the background.
Ebike handlebars on dirt road
White road by electric bike.
An electric mountain bike leaning against a pole
Electric mountain bike in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Cortina Adrenalin Center:

The Cortina Adventure Park is called Cortina Adrenalin Center (here's their website). The name should already let you know that the experience is pretty adrenaline-pumping. You can find the Adventure Park in Locality RoncoSmall map icon near the Bob Bar.

The Adrenalin Park consists of 14 courses on which you can test yourself and face obstacles that include Tibetan bridges, cables, nets, pulleys, suspension crossings and jumps into the void. It is a very fun experience where you'll spend an adrenalinic half day, always in total safety.

Because of the nature of the park, you must always follow the safety instructions given by the control staff, always precise and professional. There are two types of tracks, the mini track, suitable for younger children and whose height from the ground varies from 2.5 to 7.5 meters and the adults track, where the height varies from 2.5 to 16 meters.

The road train of the dolomites:

The Dolomites road Train of the company City Red Bus is a different shuttle service. It is, in fact, a cute red rubber train, active in the months of July and August, which allows you to visit Cortina through four scenic routes. It is active even in case of rain.
This could be a nice activity to be done with children, but also for adults which allows you to visit the Ice Stadium, "Campo di Sotto", "Pierosà" or "Cadin". The departure is from Cortina Station or from Corso Italia, in front of the "Cooperativa". The cost of the ticket varies from 3€ to 6€. For more information you can ask to the info pointPiccola icona mappa near the Comun Vecio, close to the bell tower.

Panning of the little train, summer activity in Cortina d'Ampezzo
Panning of the road train.
Passage of the red train in via del Castello, Cortina
The rubber wheeled train in Via del Castello.
The dolomite train in via delle Guide
The red train in "Via delle Guide" street.

County festivals:

The country festivals are one of the unmissable events of the summer in Cortina. On the first Sunday of July, in Corso Italia, the town festival is celebrated, where a running race called La Corsa dei Sestieri is also held. Cortina is historically divided into six districts, called "sestieri". Among the members of the different "sestieri" there is a historic sporting rivalry, which however turns into beers and jokes at the kiosk once the different competitions come to an end. In addition to running, there are also rope pulling and stump cutting challenges.

After the festival, every weekend, one of the six districts organizes a country festival in which there are dancing, food and fun. This is an event far from the elegance and luxury that are often associated with Cortina, but if you like beer, music and country festivals, this is definitely the place for you. The country festivals open with the "Azon", on the second Sunday of July, then continue with the one of "Cadin", "Cortina", "Chiave", "Alverà" and they end with "Zuel", which always falls on 13 and 14 August. If you want to learn more about this topic, I invite you to read this in-depth article on the County festivals of Cortina

The rural festival of mid-August in Zuel, hamlet of Cortina
The feast of Zuel during the day.
The cooking of the chickens during one of the rural festivals of cortina
chickens roasting on the spit.
People dancing during a country party in Cortina d'Ampezzo
In the evening people are dancing with live music.
Continues after the AD...

A walk in Corso Italia:

For those who visit Cortina for the first time, it's a must to take at least one walk and some shopping in Corso Italia, the beating heart of Cortina and the meeting point for guests and residents. In addition to the most fashionable boutiques and trendy places, Corso Italia has many public buildings of historical interest, so we invite you to read our in-depth article on what to see in Corso Italia.

Anyway remember to give at least a look to the Cooperativa of CortinaSmall map icon, to go to see the Basilica of CortinaSmall map icon and to go for a walk in the stores of the center. If after all this shopping you are a bit tired, the ideal is to drink or eat something in one of the many bars in the center. If you need to know more about the best restaurants where to eat in Cortina, we invite you to read this page we have written on this topic.

In Corso is not uncommon to meet some italian famous people, especially in high season, where vip watching is an activity practiced by many people (always trying not to be not to be rude, please). If you see any curious little streets, do not hesitate to explore them. Considering the small size of the centre and using the bell tower as a reference, it is practically impossible to get lost. Cortina is also a very quiet place, it is extremely unlikely that you'll have any kind of problem wandering around.

Night photo of Corso Italia and the bell tower of Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Night photo of Corso Italia and the bell tower.
Corso Italia in Cortina seen from the side of the Cooperative
Half-deserted Corso Italia in Cortina.
El Comun Vecio di Cortina ed il Corso Italia visti dal lato dell'hotel Posta
The old town hall and the bell tower of Cortina.

Party:

The mountain is a place for vacation, and vacation is also fun. Returned from the excursion don't let the tiredness have the upper hand: there is an efficient natural remedy that alleviates all ills, it's called Aperitif. The long days and the hot weather bring happiness and leave you a little thirsty. Some doctors recommend a typical aperitif, called spritz Aperol, however there are alternatives: the classic Prosecco or the Americano, but I'm sure that each of you knows your ideal remedy.

What if the weather forecast for tomorrow isn't the best? Well, if there's no early wake-up call, you can go bed a little later.

There is no shortage of clubs in Cortina, both along the center and in the middle of nature. If you want to party, you'll have a lot of options. Only one suggestion: avoid drinking too much if you are at high altitude. Among mountain people it is well known that a rapid descent of altitude usually raises the tipsiness. Of course, remember to drink responsibly: if you have to drive, call a cab. If youwant more infos, you can read our page about everything you need to know for party in Cortina.

Conclusion:

The original idea for this article was to write down everything we thought was interesting, regardless of the period of the year. To avoid making the page too long, however, we decided to divide it into several parts. Here we have described what to do in Cortina in summer, but do not forget to read also what do in Cortina in winter and what to do in the sorroundings of Cortina, where we describe the activities for which it's necessary to have a means of transport, be it a car or a bus.

Hoping you liked the page on things to in summer in Cortina d'Ampezzo, before saying goodbye, we would suggest you to read all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.

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