A chic Alpine resort since the days of the Habsburg empire and known as ‘the pearl of the Dolomites’, Madonna di Campiglio is a wonderful place to base yourself for a walking holiday in the Dolomites.
With its majestic mountain scenery, excellent food and wine and high standard of accommodation, the village, one of the most famous ski resorts in Italy, is also a fantastic place to visit in the summer. Though the summer season here is short, lasting from late June to early September, there is a lot to see and do here, especially for sports and nature lovers, including hiking, mountain biking and a number of adrenaline-fuelled watersports like rafting and canyoning on the nearby river Noce.
In the heart of the Adamello Brenta Natural Park, in the Brenta Dolomites - a UNESCO world heritage site, the area offers a wealth of fantastic hiking trails for all levels, from a leisurely two-hour circuit of the village, all the way to challenging hikes and via ferrata routes. Here are some of our favourites; spectacular waterfalls, cosy mountain huts and jaw-dropping scenery await.
Vallesinella waterfalls, photo by Foto Bisti
This is a beautiful and relatively easy loop starting and ending in Madonna di Campiglio where you can explore three spectacular waterfalls up close. Take the ‘sentiero dell’ orso’ (the bear path) from near the Spinale gondola station through the forest, stopping occasionally to admire breathtaking panoramas of the Brenta Dolomites, which at some points seem so close you could almost touch them. Continue on until you reach the Alpine meadow where the Malga Vallesinella di sopra, where the highest waterfall is and follow the path down past the waterfalls until you reach the ‘sentiero dell’ arciduca’ which will take you back to Madonna di Campiglio.
4-5 hours; 12 km
Lago delle Malghette, photo by Foto Bisti
Lago delle Malghette
Starting from the Malga Zeledria (an Alpine hut used in the summer months), head along a wide, flat path through the pine forest where you reach the Genziana plain. From here an ascent of around 30 minutes leads you to the beautiful Lago delle Malghette, then if you wish you can continue on up over the Alpine meadows to the Rifugio Viviani at Pradalago which offers spectacular views over the northern Brenta Dolomites. Head back to the Malga Zeledria along the same path. This is a varied hike taking in all sorts of mountain scenery, from woodland to Alpine pastures and lakes.
4-5 hours including Rifugio Viviani; approx 9-10 km
Val di Tovel
From the top of the Groste cable car, this is an easy-medium difficulty hike which is almost all downhill, but one that offers unparalled views of the valley and its varied landscape, from the Groste pass down you can see the different types of vegetation that grow at different altitudes. The path takes you to the beautiful Lake Tovel which is famous as it used to turn red in the summer due to alghe blooms. Return by bus.
4 hours; approx 8 km
Nardis waterfall, Val Genova photo by Foto Bisti
One not to miss. Also known as the ‘valley of waterfalls’ this pristine 17km long valley runs between the Adamello and Presanella glaciers. Rich in water there are numerous waterfalls along the course of the river Sarca that flows through it, including the impressive Nardis waterfall. The ‘sentiero delle cascate’ (waterfall path) is an easy trail that winds its way through the entire length of the valley from the village of Carisolo to the Rifugio Bedole, though some go only as far as the Nardis which is towards the beginning of the trail.
There is a bus service in the summer that runs from near the Nardis waterfall at the Ponte Verde car park to the rifugio and back again, so if you are keen to explore the entire length of the valley you can walk it one way and get the bus back, or vice versa.
5-6 hours one way, 17km
All the above hikes are of easy-medium difficulty and can be done independently (taking the appropriate precautions) and are also available as day excursions with the local Alpine Guides.
Our guided walking holiday in Madonna di Campiglio includes up to 3 guided hikes as well as an optional introduction to rock climbing and a barbecue lunch at a charming ‘baita’ (mountain hut) in Val Genova.
If you have any recommendations on these or other hikes around Madonna di Campiglio let us know in the comments!
All photos courtesy of the Madonna di Campiglio tourist board. Main photo by Carlo Baroni