Discovering Val di Funes

A Well Kept Dolomites Secret

The Dolomites are a perennial favorite with Alpenwild hikers and the most renowned alpine region in Italy. They are easily recognized by their sheer rock faces and lush green pastures. They’re one of Italy’s most popular holiday destinations, both in summer and winter. This is thanks to their beauty, accessibility, and infrastructures that have been built in the main valleys. The valley has very well waymarked paths, varied itineraries, mountain huts, cable cars and ski resorts. There is really something for everybody here! But if you move away from the buzz of these valleys and search amongst the more remote corners of these mountains, you’ll discover a whole new world. A world in Val di Funes.   

Val di Funes

Val di Funes is one of these places, and a true gem. Located at the foot of one of the Dolomites’ most scenic mountain ranges, Odle (which could easily compete with the more famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo in terms of beauty), Val di Funes has remained a small haven in an area where over development has sometimes managed to ruin a very precious and fragile environment. It is part of the Puez-Odle Natural Park. This national park is a protected area that aims at preserving the local biodiversity. It is made up by half a dozen small hamlets. San Pietro is the biggest hamlet and the main center of the valley. Val di Funes is also home to the most famous Italian mountaineer, Reinhold Messner. He is the first person to climb all fourteen 8000-meter peaks. He was also the first to make a solo ascent of Mount Everest.

A Step Back to Nature

Val di Funes is not a ski resort. In fact, there’s no cable cars, ski slopes or big fancy hotels to be found here. If you want to go somewhere in Val di Funes, you have to walk. And this is not for everybody. Many travelers and tour operators avoid Val di Funes because of its lack of infrastructure.  Accommodations also maintain a lower profile compared to other places. The only place to stay in the valley is in small family run hotels. These hotels are more interested in keeping in line with traditions than offering luxury. For these reasons this valley is still quiet compared to others, such as its neighbor, Val Gardena.

Simply Simple

In the summer you’ll be able to discover remote paths at the foot of the majestic Odle group. In while in colder months, you’ll immerse yourself in a true winter wonderland. You can reach amazing huts on snowshoes and enjoying the best hot chocolate around. The easy access to nature and simplicity is precisely why Cal di Funes is chosen by those who decide to spend their vacation here. It is also this simplicity that makes Val di Funes so special. It’s simply mountains, paths, good food, and traditions. A perfect destination for all those people who like the mountains for what they are. 

Always Something to Do and See

There’s lots to do in Val di Funes. The lack of infrastructure is certainly not a disadvantage, but a plus. There are many hikes to do in the area. The Adolf Munkel trail, a 13km path at the foot of the Odle group is a classic. The summit of Monte Tullen or Sass de Putia are both challenging but very accessible climbs.  In winter, Col di Poma is a popular destination for snowshoers and ski mountaineers alike. The path between Malga Gampen and Malga Zannes becomes an amazing sledge track which is lots of fun for all ages.

Val di Funes and You

So if off-the-beaten-path serenity is a vacation prerequisite, and  where the beauty of the mountains and the local culture are the main attraction, then you’ve found it. Val di Funes is the place for you. Immerse yourself in nature, hiking, cycling, and relaxation, surrounded by the jaw-dropping scenery of the Dolomites.


Cecilia Mariani
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