Hikers’ paradise: walking holidays in Dolomites Val Gardena

The beauty of the Dolomites is beguiling. The minute you set eyes on the towering peaks, the stretch of the Alps that looms over north-eastern Italy, you’ll want to get up close to them. Thankfully the mountain range has some of the finest and most accessible alpine walking routes in Europe.

The Dolomites Val Gardena region in the southeast of South Tyrol is the place to seek out some of the Dolomites’ most dramatic scenery. The valley is criss-crossed with a network of natural hiking trails, so be sure to pack good walking shoes.

Early summer is prime hiking time here – the cool, clean air is perfumed with wildflower scent. Take your pick from the marked paths that unspool through lush meadows and thick forests, wind along old railway paths and into tiny hamlets. Or track upwards into the dramatic multi-coloured limestone hills.

A fantastic place to start is the Puez-Odle Nature Park in the northeast of Val Gardena and part of the Dolomites’ Unesco World Heritage Site. It has a range of hiking terrain including lovely meadows and woodlands. It’s also a popular spot for Nordic walking. Wherever, you roam keep a watch out for the wildlife: golden eagles, chamois, European roe deers and alpine marmots all live in the park.

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