I love to go back to places I’ve already visited. I know, there are so many new destinations to be discovered, but the feeling of going back to a place I liked and then exploring it in a different moment or season is something that excites me. This is exactly what happened with Alpe Cimbra, a mountain region in Trentino, Northern Italy. Rob and I visited Alpe Cimbra in summer and heard so many good stories about Folgaria Lavarone Ski Area that the only thing I could do was to book a trip for the winter season.
We chose to travel to Alpe Cimbra Ski Area in February. Usually, it’s one of the best months to hit the slopes and enjoy the snow. Well, not this year, climate change is real and the snow wasn’t as abundant as it should be. But, anyways, we had a blast. We spent 4 days in Alpe Cimbra, but I recommend staying at least a week. We had to keep a tight schedule with early mornings and busy days to be able to discover the best things to do there. So if you want to follow our tips and recommendations in a more flexible and relaxing way, book your stay from 5 to 7 days.
Before we jump on our list of things to do in Alpe Cimbra in winter, let me explain how this guide is divided. First, we’re gonna talk about where to stay in Alpe Cimbra as you need a comfy bed after enjoying the winter activities. Second, and most importantly, is the list of awesome activities like skiing in Folgaria and Lavarone (the two main ski towns in Alpe Cimbra), hiking, tasting local food and more. The third part is about how to travel to Alpe Cimbra and get around.
Are you ready to start dreaming and planning your best mountain holiday in Italy? Keep reading, I’m sure you will fall in love with Alpe Cimbra.
Best places to stay in Alpe Cimbra in winter
Our home in Alpe Cimbra was the Hotel Vittoria, and we can recommend it for any traveler that wants a comfy, spotless room in a friendly hotel. The property has a great location, right in the town of Folgaria, close to shops, restaurants and the ski bus stops around the corner. Hotel Vittoria is a 3-star family hotel in Folgaria that offers activities for kids and a wellness center for adults.
We stayed at the Comfort Double room with a balcony, a spacious room with a lovely view. When you book your stay at Hotel Vittoria you have access to a special place to keep your ski equipment, information, and help to book activities and delicious food. The half-board option includes a breakfast buffet with eggs, fruits, cereals, and freshly baked brioches, and dinner with a different 3-course menu every day. Yummy!
The town also offers budget accommodation and private apartments. Not to mention that Folgaria is only one of the towns in Alpe Cimbra, so you can also book your hotel in Lavarone or in other small villages. Finding the right accommodation for your ski holiday can be overwhelming, we know. So, instead of panicking, read our guide to where to stay in Alpe Cimbra and I’m sure you will find the perfect place to stay.
10 best winter activities at Alpe Cimbra Ski Area
1st – Skiing and Snowboarding in Folgaria Lavarone Ski Area
As it’s a winter holiday guide, we must start with snowboarding and skiing in Alpe Cimbra. The ski resort is called Folgaria Lavarone Ski Area and it offers 104 km of pistes, over 40 lifts (from t-bars to chair lifts) and 18 bars/restaurants to keep you going. And don’t worry, we’re gonna talk about where to eat in Alpe Cimbra soon, but now let’s focus on skiing.
We are snowboarders, and no shame to say that I’m in the learning process. From this perspective, I can tell you that Folgaria Lavarone Ski Area offers pistes for all kinds of levels for skiing and snowboarding, from beginners to pros. So your skills or your preference don’t matter, just travel to Alpe Cimbra that fun is guaranteed.
The Folgaria Lavarone Ski Area can be divided into two small areas: Folgaria Ski Area with 74 Km of pistes, and Lavarone Ski Area with 30 Km of pistes. They are not connected, so my suggestion is to spend one day in each, and then go back to the one you liked the most. That’s just what we did. On our first day we went to the ski center Lavarone where I had two hours of snowboarding lessons. The other day we went to Fondo Grande, a piste located in the Folgaria ski resort. Don’t forget to grab the Folgaria Lavarone ski map at Alpe Cimbra Tourist Information Center or at your hotel reception so you can explore all the pistes in Folgaria and Lavarone.
Regardless of which area you choose, here are some information you must know before enjoying skiing in Alpe Cimbra:
- Do you need to rent ski equipment? Look for the ski rental shops near the main chairlift stations in Folgaria and Lavarone ski areas. On the first day, we rented our snowboards, boots, and helmets at the shop by the Tablat lift in Lavarone. On the other day, we got them at the shop in Fondo Grande, near the restaurants and lifts. It was super easy and fast, in less than 20 minutes we were ready to go.
- Do you need skiing or snowboarding lessons? There are many ski schools in the Folgaria and Lavarone ski areas; most of them are located near the main chairlifts at Bertoldi, Fondo Grande, and Passo Coe pistes. If you have any doubt about how to choose or book your skiing lessons, ask at your hotel reception and I’m sure they will help you. I did my snowboarding lesson with Andrea from Lavarone Ski School – Bertoldi, and I super recommend him!
- How to buy the Folgaria Lavarone Ski pass? You can choose the Lavarone or Folgaria ski pass that suits better the duration of your stay and what type of winter sport you’ll practice. You can choose from a day ski pass, a 4-hour ski pass, morning or afternoon ski pass, or even multi-day ski pass. The last one is the best option for travelers that are going to ski for more than 2 days and want to explore both Folgaria and Lavarone pistes. The price for the ski passes also varies according to the season, or if it’s during Christmas and New Year’s, or if it’s low season. Keep in mind that entrances for children are free depending on their age, and senior skiers have discounts. Click here and use the Alpe Cimbra ski pass calculator to find the perfect pass and discover how much it will cost.
- Snowpark: if you like adrenaline and fun, go to the Mazinga Snowpark in Fondo Piccolo – Folgaria Ski Area.
Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!
2nd – Cross Country Skiing in Passo Coe, Folgaria Ski Area
Are you one of those who love cross country skiing? Or maybe you are up for a new winter sport? Then Alpe Cimbra is your winter destination as it’s a great place to learn, practice, and enjoy cross country skiing (also called Nordic Ski, or Sci di Fondo in Italian). We did a two-hour lesson with the incredible instructor Lucia from Scie di Passione school and we just loved it. It’s not only about practicing a new sport (which is tiring and very demanding) but being surrounded by nature and doing an activity at your own pace and limits.
We completed a 5km route at the Passo Coe Cross Country Ski Area. Nature there is stunning, the piste is very technical, and skiers were kind to us, two beginners falling a couple of times and stopping for photos every kilometer.
Alpe Cimbra Ski Area has 80 Km of slopes for cross country ski, they are divided into two locations:
- Passo Coe is at 1.600 meters above sea level and offers 40 km of pistes from all levels of difficulty. They also have a school and rental shop near the Cross Country Skiing Center, where you can buy the ski pass for a day or for the season.
- Millegrobbe is located 1.400 meters above sea level and offers over 50 km of pistes. Millegrobbe cross country ski center is unique because it’s in a hotel/spa/restaurant, so you can have everything in one place. We’ve been to Malga Millegrobbe Nordic Resort during summer and it was amazing, I bet in winter it is even better.
Now, We’re done with skiing and snowboarding. Now let’s talk about other activities at Alpe Cimbra Ski Area that are fun and suitable for skiers and non-skiers. We know that a lot of people love to travel to the mountains even if they don’t like skiing, so I’m happy to tell you that at Folgaria Lavarone Ski Area you will have plenty of things to do.
3rd – Fat bike in Passo Coe – Folgaria Ski Area
Be ready for stunning views, a lot of fun and adrenaline. Cycling in the snow is incredible, especially if you have an assisted fat bike. Never heard of it? So let me explain. It’s a mountain bike with big and thick tires made for cycling on snow or sand, and it has an electrical engine that helps you cycling, covering more distance with less effort. Cool, isn’t it?!
Our snow fat bike adventure started at Passo Coe in Folgaria ski resort where we met Silvano, an excellent guide who took us for a great ride with even greater stories. There are many trials in Passo Coe, we did a light one as I got badly hurt while snowboarding the day before.
We passed by an artificial lake and by the Military Base Tuono, did a little off-road in the woods, and we felt only once. It was great fun, and I recommend the snow fat bike to anyone who likes to be outdoors. When booking your tour, tell Silvano how your cycling skills are and he can tailor the best ride for you.
After the fat bike tour, go recharge your batteries at Eghel Pause, a restaurant located by the Passo Coe Cross Country Ski Center. My recommendation is to get a plate of polenta with mushroom, a glass of wine and sit outside. Nothing beats the feeling of the sun on your face, good food in your tummy, the views and a strong espresso to keep you going.
4th – Ice Skating on Lavarone Lake
I have never ice skated before, and this was one of the winter activities in Alpe Cimbra that I was really excited to try. But as I said before, the weather this year was a bit weird, and Lake Lavarone wasn’t frozen enough for ice skating. We visited the lake during summer and the place was gorgeous, the perfect setting for outdoor ice skating. But, well, one more reason to go back to Alpe Cimbra next winter, right? If you are a big fan of ice skating, you can do it indoors. Folgaria has an indoor ice rink open for children and adults who want to have fun along twists and turns.
5th – Snowcat ride and dinner at Stella d’Italia
This was a dream come true! After a long day of snowboarding, Rob and I had a special dinner date at the Rifugio Stella d’Italia. We met our ride at Fondo Grande lift station, a Snowcat turned into a bus that was ready to take 20 people and us up to the mountain. It was our first time in a snowcat and we got front seats, a privileged view of the pitch-black slopes and starry sky.
The snowcat took us to Rifugio Stella d’Italia, a lovely restaurant and guesthouse on the top of the mountain. The place is beautiful, and the views of the valley and the sky are unforgettable. Inside, there was a fireplace waiting for us, and the cozy winter atmosphere was perfect for our romantic dinner. The food was gorgeous, and the portions were huge, we skipped the starters and jumped to the mains. I had steak and potatoes with homemade sauce, and Rob ordered polenta with mushroom sauce, fried cheese and sausage. Of course, we paired it with local wine, followed by dessert and coffee. You can check the menu and how to book this experience here.
6th – Hiking to the top of Monte Maggio
I like to say that we saved the best for last. Before leaving Alpe Cimbra, we went for a morning hike to Monte Maggio, and it was the best way to end our winter holiday. Monte Maggio is one of the most important peaks in Alpe Cimbra. The summit used to mark the border between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On the top of Monte Maggio, at 1853 meters above sea level, there is an iron cross in memory of the Italian soldiers who died fighting there.
But what really caught our attention was the beauty of the place. From the moment we started our trail all the way to the top, we were surrounded by stunning nature and breathtaking views. The trail is easy and well marked, the only problem was the melting snow and the ice paths, as they were very slippery. Depending on the weather you might need some snowshoes, but we were wearing regular hiking boots and it was fine.
We walked 9 km in 2h20m, all the way from the car park by the lake in Passo Coe to the top of Monte Maggio and back. When we arrived at the summit, I wished we could spend hours there, but we needed to go back so we could catch our train back home. If you have more time, don’t forget to take some tea or a wine bottle and a picnic towel with you. The top of Monte Maggio is the perfect place to sit, relax, and enjoy life.
After the hike, go for lunch or a snack at Osteria Coe. Grab your food and sit outside for a privileged view of the slopes.
We are done with snow sports at Alpe Cimbra, but we still have three more awesome things to do there that we wanna share with you. And the good news is that all of them are suitable for skiers, non-skiers and people who love good food.
7th – Dining experience at Stua del John in Folgaria
Be ready for an explosion of flavors, ingredients cooked to perfection, and presentation that makes you doubt whether you should eat it or just contemplate the beauty of the dishes. The first thing you need to know is that you must book a table at Stua del John in advance. Then, be ready for a beautiful and tasty menu. We had a 4-course dinner paired with fantastic wine that fulfilled our bellies and souls. Together with the restaurant, there is a bar that is an excellent option for an aperitivo and a bakery. FYI, the best beef tartare I have ever had and Rob’s favorite chocolate cake is from Stua del John.
8th – Lunch at Rifugio Baita del Neff at Lavarone Ski Area
We got there snowboarding, but if you are a fan of good food and views, you can drive up to Baita del Neff for a yummy lunch. This cozy restaurant sits on Monte Virgo Maria beside the cable car and has one of the best views in the area.
To celebrate our first day snowboarding, we ordered a white wine from the Trentino region to go along with my Padella Rustica (hot pan with potato wedges, covered with ham and a sunny side egg) and Rob’s polenta with mushrooms, salami and pickled cabbage. By now, you probably noticed that Rob loves polenta. Well, Alpe Cimbra’s polenta is delicious and as being half Italian, I believe he was going back to his roots.
Before leaving Baita del Neff, don’t forget to try the Grappa di mirtillo, a spirit made by the restaurant owner with blueberries he picked in the mountains during summer.
9th – Cheese tasting at Maso Engher in Folgaria
Soft, hard, aged, seasoned… It doesn’t matter what type of cheese you like: at Maso Engher you can try them all and take home the ones you like best. The family business started 13 years ago, and today they produce an average of 50 kg of cheese per day. The production goes to local restaurants and shops, and to the homes of travelers that go out of the beaten path to try delicious local food.
10th – Late Lunch at Rifugio Baita Tonda
Our list of amazing things to do in Alpe Cimbra in winter ends with delicious food and the best spot to watch the sunset. Get the cable Fondo Grande-Martinella, when arriving at the top, follow the signs to Rifugio Baita Tonda, a must-visit place in Folgaria. If you have enough time, order your lunch, grab a seat outside and enjoy your food. Then order a dessert, a coffee, and wait for the sun to set. It will be some kind of a stunning moment.
Apart from the awe-inspiring views, you’ll find traditional dishes on the menu, like pizza, pasta, snacks and more. You can choose from the food on the buffet or order a la carte. This time Rob went for tuna pizza and beer, and I got the Padella Rustica paired with white wine again.
If I had to summarize our winter holiday in Alpe Cimbra in three words, they would be: delicious, stunning and fun. And the great thing is that when I look back at our summer adventure there, I have no choice but to use these same words to describe that trip. The only difference is how nature changed, and I can’t tell you if I like summer or winter better. Both are incredibly beautiful and offer different activities, views and feelings. But one thing I know for sure, we might travel to Alpe Cimbra again, maybe next autumn to see the foliage.
Now that we covered what to do in Alpe Cimbra in winter, it’s time for some practical information.
How to get to Alpe Cimbra and around
To travel to Alpe Cimbra you might need to combine different modes of transportation and/or rent a car. If you come from another country, you will probably need to fly to Northern Italy. The airports near Alpe Cimbra are Valerio Catullo Airport in Verona, Marco Polo Airport in Venice, Bolzano Airport, and Bergamo Airport, Linate Airport and Malpensa Airport in Milan.
From the airport, you can rent a car (check the best rental in Italy here) or get a train/ bus to Alpe Cimbra. From the airports you can get a train to Rovereto and then a bus to Folgaria or Lavarone. Another option is to ask your hotel for pick-up service, depending on how many people you are traveling with, or if you have ski equipment with you, a pick-up service or a car rental might be the best option.
When in Alpe Cimbra you can get around using public transportation and taxis. Alpe Cimbra ski resorts are connected by a ski bus that is free for ski pass holders. You can also get to Lavarone and other villages in the region by bus. You will find the bus timetables at Alpe Cimbra Tourist Information Center.
Did we miss any detail? If you need more information about Alpe Cimbra Ski Area, things to do and where to stay, drop us a message on the comments below.
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Thanks Alpe Cimbra Tourism for organizing this trip.