Ortisei (German: Sankt Ulrich, Italian: Ortisei, Ladin: Urtijëi) is a picturesque town which is the main town within the Val Gardena valley within South Tyrol. Ortisei is the largest of the three municipalities in Val Gardena. Nestled in the Alps, Ortisei is a popular destination for skiing and hiking, and its economy is driven by tourism. It is also somewhat famous for its wood carvings - a cottage industry that has survived in the area from ancient times.
From 1860 to 1914 Ortisei experienced rapid economic growth due to the opening of a major road connecting Val Gardena to the main railroad; as a result the local woodcarving industry flourished. International tourism developed through the discovery of the Dolomites as a tourist destination by English visitors and then by others from other parts of Austria-Hungary and the German Empire. In 1935, the first cable car in the Val Gardena areas was established here (to the Seiser Alm). In 1970, the Alpine World Ski Championship was hosted in this area.
The center of town is at the valley floor and extends north to the foothills of Mount Raschötz (Italian: Rasciesa). The Gardena river (German: Grödner Bach, Italian: Rio Gardena), which is a tributary of the Eisack river, runs east-west towards the southern side of the town.
Buses operated by SAD run from Bolzano, Brixen, Klausen, and Ponte Gardena. Information in English is available here. During the day bus 170 will get you into town from Bolzano, but in the evenings, the same bus route gets truncated and ends in Kastelruth.
Take the train to Ponte Gardena/Waidbruck, then take bus line 350 to Ortisei. The bus leaves from right outside the train station.
- Walk. The town is easily walkable, and there are marked footpaths to neighboring towns.
- A funicular is available to the top of Raschötz Mountain. €13 one-way, €18 round-trip.
- A cable car [dead link] runs from Ortisei to the nearby alpine meadow - Seiser Alm. The mountaintop has a restaurant, hiking trails in the summer, and skiing in the winter.
- Museum Val Gardena (Museum Gherdëina), Cësa di Ladins, Via Rezia 83, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €7.
- Art 52, Str. Sacun. Daily, 9AM–10PM. Exhibition of local sculptures. Free.
Several historic churches are in and around Ortisei:
- St. Jacob's Church (St. Jakob Kirche, Chiesa S. Giacomo, Dlieja da Sacun). The oldest church in Val Gardena (first documented in 1283), reachable only by a steep trail through the woods.
- Parish Church of St. Ulrich (Pfarrkirche St. Ulrich in Gröden, Chiesa Parrocchiale di Ortisei).
- St. Antonius Church (St.-Antonius-Kirche, Chiesetta di S. Antonio).
- St. Anne’s Chapel (St.-Anna-Kirche, Cappella di S. Anna).
- Parish Church of St. Cristina (Pfarrkirche von St. Christina, Chiesa Parrocchiale di S. Cristina).
- Skiing and Snowboarding. The area supports winter sports in a major way. There are 79 ski lifts with 175 kilometers of slopes, including the Sella Pass and the Gardena Pass. The Dolmiti Superski and the Sella Ronda ski circuits are in the area.
- Hiking. The trails surrounding Ortisei are well marked. For a scenic 1-2 hour hike, take the cable car up and walk back down to the town.
- Take in the views: Ortisei looks like a village out of a fairy tale. Especially on a clear day, it's well worth taking time to admire the scenery. The Seiser Alm can be reached directly from Ortisei by the Seiser Alm cable car.
Many restaurants, bars and cafes can be found along the Strada Rezia, which is a major street in town. The Val Gardena area tourism website also has links to many restaurants in the area.
- 1 Hotel Angelo Engel, Via Petlin n. 35, I-39046 Ortisei (Valgardena), Dolomites, Italy (Center), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Family-run hotel in the centre of Ortisei, featuring a large private garden with an indoor and outdoor pool (both heated all year round), saunas, gym and a spa and beauty farm. The extensive outdoor activity program includes daily guided hikes and mountain bike tours in summer and, in winter, ski guiding and guided snowshoe hikes.