Have you planned your ski holiday of the season already? If you are looking for the perfect destination to combine stunning scenery, a large ski area, relaxing après ski and amazing food, look no further than Madonna di Campiglio in the Brenta Dolomites.
Nestled at 1550 metres above sea level, the picturesque village of Madonna di Campiglio is surrounded by beauty: to the east are the rocky towers of the Dolomites, to the west are the glaciers of Adamello and Presanella, and all around is the Natural Park Adamello Brenta with its extraordinary wealth of alpine lakes, waterfalls and forests. The Dolomites are part of the Unesco World Natural Heritage and it’s easy to see why: the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
In ancient times the area was a crossing for traders and the only inhabitants of Campiglio were the monks in the monastery. It was only at the end of the 19th centruy that the town started to grow as Emperor Franz Joseph Österreicher chose it as the summer holiday destination for the Habsburg family. After World War II, Madonna di Campiglio begun developing ski facilities and hotels for the growing number of tourists coming to the town in winter.
Today Campiglio Dolomiti di Brenta is one of the largest ski areas in Italy, with 150km of interlinking ski slopes. Madonna di Campiglio is linked with the nearby resorts of Folgarida Marilleva and Pinzolo by ‘skis on’ slope connections and an ultra-modern, high speed, lift system. Skiers can choose from 100 tracks, from wide gentle blue runs to thrilling black runs, 5 snow parks and the famous 3-Tre World Cup run.
I was in Campiglio in December as a guest of the tourism board and Activity Breaks. There wasn’t a lot of snow to cover the Dolomites, but the mild weather conditions didn’t affect us as many slopes were already open (95% of the tracks has snowmaking machines).
I stayed at 4-star Hotel Miramonti, which is located in the town centre of Campiglio and only a few minutes walk to the Pradalago cable car. It was a fantastic location as I could be in town in a few minutes or up on the slopes in about twenty.
I loved skiing in Pradalago in the morning and watching the sunrise from behind the Brenta Dolomites.
The blue slope at Pradalago was nice and easy, perfect to warm up for a few hours before taking a break to drink bombardino. This is a popular hot drink in ski resorts in Italy and it’s made by mixing 1/2 Advocaat or eggnog and 1/2 Brandy, topped with whipped cream. It’s delicious and I became addicted to it.
Although I wouldn’t recommend drinking a boozy drink while skiing, so maybe stick to cappuccino in the morning! ;) I liked the coffee and view at the trendy Chalet Fiat, a mountain lodge restaurant at 2,104m on Monte Spinale (it can be reached by cable car from the town).
Lunch time on the slopes in Campiglio is when you get to taste the excellent dishes from the region of Trentino Alto Adige. I loved these traditional Spätzle dish (a kind of soft egg dumplings) and the Gnocchi with spinach and cheese at Rifugio Boch.
Rifugio Boch is in Passo Grostè , connected to Pradalago and Monte Spinale by gondola and ski lifts.
Passo Grostè is at 2504 metres above sea level and is the starting point for many great runs. There are also three mountain lodges for your rest breaks, one snowpark and snowboard school.
I loved skiing at Grostè; there are blue and red tracks going all the way down to Madonna di Campiglio, so it’s a great place to do the last run of the day.
My ski break in Campiglio made me realise how much I love skiing and the mountains. I finally feel confident being on the skies, thanks to a 2-hour class with a local ski instructor who corrected all my posture mistakes (we booked the class with the Ski School at the Hotel Miramonti). I still get scared of going too fast, but I enjoy the feeling of being outdoors with the sun shining and breathing the fresh mountain air.
On the last morning of our holiday we decided to tackle a more challenging red run in Cinque Laghi. This slope can be reached by cable car from Campiglio town centre and offers spectacular views at the top.
Coming down on the ski track was not as easy as going up…it was considerably steeper and scarier than any other tracks I had done before, but of course I loved it.
Cinque Laghi was also the starting point of the beautiful trekking excursion we did on the last day with an Alpine Guide. If you are visiting the Dolomites in autumn, this is the scenery you can expect to see.
After a day of skiing or trekking there is nothing better than relaxing in the sauna before having a lovely dinner at the hotel or in one of the many restaurants of Madonna di Campiglio. The town is tiny, but charming and full of cafes, wine bars and clubs.
There are also three Michelin-starred restaurants in Madonna di Campiglio: the Stube Hermitage, Il Gallo Cedrone and Dolomieu.
We had dinner at the restaurant of Hotel Miramonti every evening, because the food and service were so good we didn’t want to go anywhere else. The hotel chefs – with the help of consulting Chef Alfredo Peloni – focus on creating new menus every day, offering both traditional local dishes and international ones.
The best part of skiing all day is that you can eat extra calories without feeling guilty. I could never skip the dessert: I loved the fresh yoghurt mousse with raspberry sauce and of course the tiramisu.
At the end of my 4-day ski break I didn’t want to leave. I had a lovely time in Madonna di Campiglio and really enjoyed skiing in Italy for the first time.
The Dolomites are easy to reach from London : we flew to Verona Airport, then hired a car and drove for 2h30′ to Madonna di Campiglio. The cost of the flight and car hire was just £100 per person. If you don’t want to drive, you can take the Flyski shuttle from Verona or Milan airports to Campiglio (the bus runs every day until the beginning of April). Activity Breaks offer ski packages in Madonna di Campiglio starting from €849, including 7 nights half board accommodation (breakfast and dinner), 6 days ski pass and ski / book hire.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Activity Breaks to review the resort of Madonna di Campiglio and Hotel Miramonti. All opinions are my own.