Italy – Day 4

Hey Guys!

This post continues our time in Italy.

Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here & Day 3 here

Our plan for today was to drive 1.5 hrs to Val Gardena and take the gondola to Seceda.

I woke up early to try and catch the sunrise.

I love my sleep but when I’m on vacation, I want to get up early and get going!

A picture from our balcony….the mountain peaks were lit up by the sun…so beautiful!

After watching the sun rise, we headed downstairs for breakfast.

The hotel provided a wide variety of food options for breakfast.

The continental breakfast that you get in the US doesn’t even come close to what you get at hotels in Italy!

The food was so fresh and delicious!

They provided coffee, all kinds of juices, cereals, pastries, fruit, eggs, cheese, meats, etc!

After breakfast, we headed to Val Gardena.

A picture of our hotel, the Hotel Villa Blu.

We had to drive over the Falzarego Pass to get to Val Gardena.

I can’t put into words just how incredible this drive is!

The road is very curvy so you have to drive slow.

Tip: This drive has at least 7 cameras that monitor your speed and if you are caught speeding, you can receive tickets in the mail months after you arrive back home!

The snow covered mountains were just breathtaking!

The Dolomite mountains are considered one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world and I can see why!

Around every twist and turn, the mountain range became even more majestic!

As usual, I found myself taking way too many pictures!

After about an hour of driving, we arrived to a small mountain village called La Villa.

We decided to stop and get gas while we had the chance.

Tip: Whatever you do, familiarize yourself on how to pump gas in Italy before your trip! Read here and watch a video here!

Since we found pumping gas to be confusing, we had the attendant pump the gas for us!

After getting gas, we continued our drive.

And I continued my non stop photo shoot!

You will go through a few villages on the drive to Val Gardena..

I wished we had had more time to stop at some of them!

Driving through Alta Badia

We saw so many bikers!!

Tip: If you are an avid biker, you will be in paradise in the Dolomites! Read here about the top 20 rides in the Dolomites.

Driving through Corvara

We couldn’t get over how green it was here!

A gondola going across the road…I think this was the ski lift in Colfosco.

Read more here about the lifts/gondolas in this area & here for 10 things to do in this area

More views along the way

I loved that our vehicle had a sun roof! If you visit in the summer, I would definitely rent a convertible!

The roads were so curvy….if you are prone to motion sickness, I would take something before making this drive!

This area was called Selva di Val Gardena. It is hugely popular for skiing as this is the highest village in the Dolomites Val Gardena.

Arriving to the Gardena Pass

There are so many beautiful scenic passes that you can drive in the Dolomites!

Views along this pass

Again, the road is very curvy but it’s a 2 lane, paved road with guardrails and it’s very well maintained.

As we got closer to our final destination, the skies cleared up and we ended up having beautiful weather!!

We spotted someone paragliding.

The location of this picture showed we were still in Selva

This area is approximately 15 mins from the Seceda cable car.

We passed this huge wooden head sculpture….this area is known for it’s woodworking.

After approx. 1.5 hrs of driving, we finally arrived to the Seceda cable car.

You can either park in the garage or park in the outside parking lot…there is a fee to park.

We parked outside because we couldn’t figure out how to even get into the garage! The garage holds 250 vehicles and costs 8 euros.

When you go inside and purchase tickets for the cable car to Seceda, you need to let them know you want a round trip ticket to Seceda.

The cost is 35 euros per person for adults.

To reach Seceda, you must board two different gondolas.

Tip: Make sure to keep your ticket because you will need it to exit each car going up and coming back down.

Tip: To purchase ski lift tickets, click here

On the first cable car

Tip: Seceda cable car usually operates from the end of May until late-October/early November

You can also hike or bike up to Seceda! No thank you!!

The views on the way up were awesome!

On the second cable car to Seceda

I was so terrified that I couldn’t look until we were almost at the top!

You are dangling by a cable car that is 8k ft high!

As you exit the cable car, you will walk out of the building and be instantly in awe by the views!

This is one of the most popular hikes in this area and I can see why!

Click here for the 5 most scenic hikes in this area and here for the 7 best hikes in the Dolomites

After taking a few hundred pictures, we headed to the Seceda Lookout Point.

The walk takes approx. 10 mins on a wide, gravel path.

The walk is uphill and I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath.

Tip: If you do any hikes up here, please make sure you have plenty of water, a raincoat and a few snacks.

We couldn’t resist making snowballs along the way!

Once you reach the lookout, there’s a cross and a circular board indicating the most prominent visible peaks in the Italian and Austrian Alps.

Views from the lookout

From here, if you continue along the trail for approx. 40 mins, you will arrive to Pieralongia.

Pieralongia is an impressive rock needle that is situated near a hut that serves food called, Malga Pieralongia Alm. The pinnacle has a total height of 180 feet.

Read all about the hike to Pieralongia here & See the hours for the Pieralongia hut (restaurant) here

Tip: 40 mins past the hut, there’s another restaurant called Rifugio Firenze – Read reviews here

We decided to walk a little further past the lookout for better views of the mountain range.

I regret that we didn’t hike any further as the views were breathtaking but my hubby’s foot was bothering him so we decided not to go too far.

I highly recommend you get here early so you will have time to get in some hiking.

Tip: The weather was calling for rain every day that we were going to be in the Dolomites but thankfully it never rained …so, don’t let that deter you but do pack a rain jacket.

The views here are incredible!

If you zoom in on this picture, you can see people standing along the ridge line.

After admiring the views for a while, we decided to walk back to the restaurant, Steakhouse La Tambra, and have lunch.

The restaurant has outdoor seating but since it was so cold, we opted for the indoor seating.

See reviews here

We had no idea what to order….the menu was limited and the food was super expensive!

We finally settled on the Polenta con formaggio fuso which was cornmeal cooked with butter and topped with alp cheese and mushrooms on the side.

We had no idea what polenta was so we didn’t know what we would end up with but the waitress said it was a traditional Italian dish so we decided to give it a try!

It ended up being delicious!!

After lunch, we headed back outside to take a few more pictures before taking the cable car back down.

A picture of the restaurant and cable car station.

A few last pics at the top

After approx two hours, we headed back down the mountain.

A shot of the first cable car going down

Boarding the cable car…. I bet it held at least 30 people!

Watch a video of the cable car here

On the cable car waiting to head down the mountain

Heading down the mountain from Seceda.

After exiting the cable car, you will walk a very short distance and board a gondola.

Heading down the mountain from Ortisei.

After just a few minutes, we were back at the Val Gardena cable station.

Walking back to our car from the cable station.

Click here for 1-10 day itineraries for the Dolomites

After leaving here, we decided to head back to Cortina.

Views along the way back

We passed an exotic car tour during our drive

We also spotted this cute little church so we just had to stop!

Views from the church

Continuing our drive on the Gardena Pass

We passed this restaurant and was going to come back and eat there for dinner but we never made it back.

After arriving back to Cortina, we headed back to our hotel to rest for a while.

After getting rested up, we decided to drive into town and visit the nearby church called Basilica Minore dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo.

Arriving into town

Heading towards the church

The church was built between 1769 and 1775.

Pictures of the inside of the church

After spending a few minutes admiring the church and town, we headed back to the hotel to have dinner.

We decided to order room service since we were tired.

We, once again, ordered the caprese for an appetizer and for our main course, I ordered the seafood pasta and the hubby ordered the baked pork shank with potatoes.

And once again, the food was delicious!!

After dinner, we decided to order dessert.

We ordered cappucinos and tiramusi…so good!!

After dinner and dessert, we spent a little time on our balcony before calling it a night.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for Day 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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