Tucked under the southwestern haunch of the mighty Piz Boe table mountain in the heart of the western Dolomites, Arabba is one of those ski resorts that really tugs at the heartstrings. It oozes classic charm, with timber-built Italian chalets rubbing shoulders with elegant South Tyrolean cottages between the winding roads, a few bijou wine bars and fire-warmed taverns thrown in for good measure.
When it comes to skiing, there’s plenty on the menu. Arabba is one of several resorts that form the colossal Dolomiti Superski region. More importantly, it’s directly linked to the uber-famous Sella Ronda ski circuit. This 40-kilometre romp can be done either clockwise or anticlockwise to take in four separate alpine valleys spread across Veneto and the South Tyrol. On top of that, there’s a direct lift link from the town centre to the Marmolada glacier, which boasts some of the highest and most snow-sure skiing in Italy at a whopping 3,343 metres up.
Luxury ski chalets are key to making the most of all that Arabba and the Dolomites region have to offer. They offer the height of privacy but also good links to the cosy pubs and restaurants of the town centre, along with frills like indoor spa facilities and roaring log fires.
Of course, Arabba is a different beast in the summer months. Come after the snowmelt to see the Dolomites blaze into life. From May onwards, the region is a symphony of lush pine woods and verdant highland plateaus. There’s excellent hiking for both beginners – on the flat Alpe di Siusi meadows – and seasoned trekkers – on the hardcore via ferrata routes. There are legendary cycling circuits that take in the whole Piz Boe and reach out to the neighbouring valleys of Cortina and others.
And there’s history plenty of history here, too. The mountains here are carved out with a series of First World War trenches, which once formed the highest-altitude frontlines in Europe. Going back even further, there are local museums that chronicle the epochs of geological history that took the Dolomites from the seabed to soaring peaks over more than 255 million years.
With so much on offer all year round, a luxury chalet holiday in Arabba, Italy, will be one to remember, regardless of which season you choose to visit.
- The historic trenches and views of the Marmolada Glacier
- Beautiful Alpe di Siusi, one of Europe's largest alpine meadows
- The pretty towns and villages of the Val Gardena
- Explore over 1200 km of piste with the Superski pass
- Ski the mighty Sella Ronda route
- Go hiking in the heart of the Italian Dolomites