‘Little Tibet’ as Livigno is affectionately known locally due to its remoteness, is worth the long transfer time. Located on the Italian side of the border between Italy and Switzerland, the resort has only 3 entry points, and as such was frequently inaccessible during the winter months until around 50-60 years ago. It was consequently awarded duty-free status, and still maintains it today – meaning that tourists can enjoy VAT free prices on electronic goods, clothing, alcohol, cigarettes and cosmetics. Those who drive to the resort can fill up their car at prices that are almost half that of the rest of Italy.
The town has grown into a successful Alpine resort, with a wealth of activities on offer and a lively social scene, yet if you look closely you can still detect some of its original character in the stone churches and farmhouses scattered around the valley.
The resort offers two separate ski areas on opposite sides of the valley that are not linked, Carosello 3000 and Mottolino, with a total of 115km of slopes between them. Though there are regular ski buses that circle the resort making it easy to get from one side to the other, most people choose a side for the day and stay there. The town stretches along the valley from north to south at around 1800m above sea level, while the highest point is at 2900m, meaning the resort is very snow sure, usually opening in late November, and staying open until early May.
Beginners have a number of nursery slopes to practise on near to the town, while intermediates have a wealth of wide blue and red slopes to cruise down. For those who like challenging black runs there are some, though as with many Italian resorts, most of them are challenging reds. The Mottolino snowpark is one of top 3 in Europe, and the best in Italy.
There are so many things to do besides skiing in Livigno, including an excellent 30 km long cross-country trail, fat bike tours, snow shoeing, the Aquagranda swimming pool and spa complex, snowmobiling, quad biking, ice cars, husky dog sledding, paragliding, ice climbing and more! Shopping is another popular pastime in Livigno as due to the aforementioned duty-free status there are a number of shops lining the streets of the resort.
Livigno village centre, photo by Roby Trab
Eating and drinking
Livigno is a lively resort, offering many options for eating and drinking on and off the slopes.
Restaurants on the slopes range from huge self-service places to a la carte restaurants like La Stüvetta at Carosello 3000, which offers both a spaghetteria, and a gourmet restaurant.
Après ski / Aperitivo
Unusually for an Italian resort, après ski in Livigno is a lively affair, with the bars close to the end of the ski slopes doing a roaring trade. Popular places include Stalet at the Carosello 3000 gondola station, and Kosmo on the Mottolino side.
If you are not eating at your accommodation, you have a number of restaurants and pizzerias to choose from in Livigno, here are some suggestions:
Al Peršéf restaurant at Hotel Sporting for a gourmet treat
Il Focolare in the centre close to the slopes is a good option for both lunch and dinner.
Birrificio Livigno for steak, chicken and pizza, where they produce their own craft beer, the highest in Europe!
Why not? for gourmet burgers
La Tresenda, an upmarket agriturismo offering traditional local dishes (not central, get a taxi)
Camanel de Planon is a good option for a mountain meal, you can reach it by snow cat.
The nightlife in Livigno is good fun, try the Bivio or Miky’s pub both in the centre of Livigno, or Daphne’s pub towards San Rocco. All offer drinking and dancing until the early hours.
The nearest airport is Innsbruck 180 km away (around 3 hours by car) is Milan Bergamo 200 km away (3 h 40 mins by car). If you come from Innsbruck check the opening times of the Munt La Schera tunnel, especially if you are arriving/leaving at the weekend when there is alternating traffic.
If you don’t want to drive check out the Livigno Express transfer service from the Milan airports and Innsbruck.