I have been frequenting Puster Valley, summer and winter, high and low season, for thirty years.
Yes, thirty, you read that right.
First, I fell in love with my husband, and then with the Alps, which he loves.
Val Pusteria and Cortina.
Over the years, I have realized that for me going to the mountains is like coming home.
The nature, the silence (the woods offer shelter from noise even in high season), the light, the food, and the people are authentic.
The beauty of the Dolomites leaves me dumbfounded. Its majesty is teaching and warning. For me, nature is not a luxury but a necessity.
I breathe, think, reconnect with myself, and I am happy.
My travel itinerary dedicated to the Puster valley.
Writing an itinerary dedicated to “my mountain” is not easy.
After so many years, there are still so many things I don’t know.
Therefore, before sharing my advice, I tell you to stop and eat wherever you want. You will hardly be disappointed with the quality of the food.
The walks I indicate are just a few among many possible ones.
These are just the non-final notes from a traveler in love.
Buon viaggio, Monica
HERE I share some notes I dedicated to Cortina out of season. When you can meet shepherds herding sheep, and the Dolomites are breathtakingly beautiful.
Some of the recipes I have shared on the blog tell how much I love what I call my mountain. The idea for strudel-flavored apple jam (HERE) came during a vacation in the Italian Tyrol. The perfect buckwheat cake recipe is a precious gift that a kind person shared with me (HERE, find the recipe). Finally, the pear flour I use to make pear and cocoa cake is one ingredient I discovered and purchased in South Tyrol from Horvat shop in Bruneck (HERE, find the recipe and some information about pear flour, a typical peasant product of the area).
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My travel notes about Puster Valley
Where to sleep.
Hotels, hotels, apartments, cottages, and room rentals: there is so much choice!
We have been going for decades to the Santer Family Hotel, one of the hotels in the Romantik Hotel chain. To choose your perfect solution, look HERE, on the site dedicated to the Puster Valley.
My favorite places and walks.
I recommend visiting the small villages of Dobbiaco, San Candido, Villabassa, Brunico.
Among my favorite walks is the tour of the lakes: Lake Dobbiaco, Braies (with the beginning of the high season, the visit is possible only by reservation. Inquire before you go), Anterselva.
Gandelle/Seiterhof: the former is the site, the latter a country farm where you ski the car to start walking).
Three Peaks Nature Park: the walk starts behind the must-see complex of the former Grand Hotel Dobbiaco, which now houses the Youth Hostel (where you can sleep), a B&B, a cultural center where they organize concerts, and the town’s only starred restaurant (Chris Oberhammer, 1 Michelin star).
Where to eat.
Wherever you are inspired!
In particular, if you pass along the road to Braies, stop at Egger Hof, Speckstube. The inn exists since 1616, is a farmhouse and the speck is truly artisanal (HERE).
In Toblach, I choose the Rifugio Ristorante la Genziana, it is located along the road leading to the Valla di San Silvestro. Fresh handmade mountain pasta and Grandma Teresa’s fritter (here called strauben). They are a fixture on every vacation. Grandma Teresa was the first woman in the Valley to get a license to make distilled spirits, which, to this day, they still make. If you want to buy schnapps, this is the place to go.
In the same direction, there is the Seiterhof farm. Exceptional quality meat and, above all, the best canederli in the Puster Valley. Some people book months in advance, even the locals go there to eat.
In downtown Toblach, you’ll find Eirisch Grill: hamburgers and hot dogs like you’ve never had in your whole life. That’s all I’m adding. But if you don’t go, you’re missing an opportunity.
In San Candido, stop and eat at Wiesthaler’s, near the cathedral. Soups and apple fritters are my favorite dishes.
If you go hiking in the Fiscalina Valley, try Rifugio Fondovalli.
For a sweet break in Toblach, enjoy the old-fashioned Konditorei Stern bakery. In Dobbiaco also, in the little square in front of the Town Hall, you’ll find the Birgit ice cream parlor: they make the authentic Pusterese strudel, with short pastry and not that puff pastry. And whipped cream, oh what is cream!
My super food tips.
In the Weissteiner butcher shop in Villabassa, I buy speck, own production. For me, it is one of the best in the Puster Valley.
In Brunico, a must stop in the Horvat grocery store, right in the center: pear flour, typical products and an old-fashioned atmosphere. Along the corso, there is the bakery H. Frisch, which I really like.
Again in Bruneck, don’t miss the Friday farmers’ market. Full groceries of the highest quality.
Feichter Bernhard Bakery of Toblach (Via Zipfanger 1) is one among the producers at the Bruneck farmers’ market. If you want to buy their bread and flours, I recommend both, reserve bread or wake up at dawn.
At the Barbierato pharmacy in Toblach you can buy Toblach liqueur and their arnica. Dr. Barbierato make many product with his own recipes. A worthwhile visit.
Finally, in Toblach, find the Tre Cime dairy for milk, yogurt, butter, and Toblach cheese. Instead, for würstel, smoked pork chops and mountain charcuterie, I go to Nocker, Dobbiaco new and convenient parking. Among other things, they make super sandwiches.