Cortina in the Italian Dolomites is perhaps one of the most beautiful of all the ski resorts. Famed not just for its skiing but its ability to draw in the tourists who come to enjoy the scenery and the culture that this chic Italian resort enjoys.

The chic of this resort has no affectation though, everything about it welcomes every traveller making this resort popular amongst those that want to enjoy themselves without pretension.

Regarded as a resort that doesn’t take itself too seriously, although providing a draw to the exclusive set, Cortina also appeals to those looking for fun, the shopping is great and the nightlife is even better with every night being a party somewhere, not for the faint hearted this is a ski destination that implores you to enjoy yourself day and night.

Cortina is all about enjoying the beautiful scenery, the actual quality of skiing can be compromised by the erratic snowfall of the region, during winters of good snowfall there is plenty of good skiing but without it the number of available runs falls dramatically; there are snow making facilities on over 90% of the slopes however these are reliant on the weather being cold enough before they can produce the snow. There are 75 runs in total serviced by 24 chairlifts and 6 cable cars and although the ski area is spread out there are great local transport facilities to the slopes.

There are plenty of really good nursery slopes across the Socrepes area, these take advantage of the fast chair lift and are perfect for those just starting out, beginners will advance quickly and easily and soon find themselves able to enjoy the intermediate slopes. Although enjoying beautiful scenery  there are not vast numbers of intermediate runs, the most reliable snow can be found at the top of Tofana and the Cristallo area has a long (although fairly easy) red run. Sadly the region has little to offer the advanced skier with only 15% of the runs being classified as advanced and of these many have restricted opening at times of poor snowfall, the most reliable advanced skiing can be found on the red runs of Pomedes and Faloria.

The centre of Cortina is car free making it pleasant to stroll around, the shopping is excellent as are the cafés and bars, the Italian feel is all around and this resort is much more than just a ski resort – it also has beauty and charm in abundance. This is seen in the mountain restaurants which are often filled with the Italian elite and barely a skier in sight, the restaurants are all of a consistently high standard with some of the best establishments including the Michelin starred Tivoli to be found on the edge of town.

For something a little different there is snow polo played during the winter season, a planetarium to visit or even the possibility of a day trip into Venice.

Although it is possible to find self contained accommodation Cortina is a resort that is filled with hotels, these range from basic family run bed and breakfast establishments to luxurious five star hotels, your choice is only restricted by your budget and in this town there is no shame in the budget accommodation, everyone just wants to have a good time.

The Cristallo and the Miramonti Majestic may both be situated outside the town centre but are both top class hotels, with their luxurious facilities and their beautiful locations – the Majestic is particularly imposing and grand. The Montana on the other hand although very basic is ideally situated at the heart of the town and offers exceptional value with well maintained facilities.

The season in Cortina is quite lengthy finishing early to mid April, however the snow is not guaranteed across the season and can be unpredictable in its quality and depth.

For the serious skier this can be an issue as reliable snow is a must, but for those that want a little more from their holiday Cortina is filled with great things to see and do as an alternative to the skiing.

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