Just a few final notes on picture-perfect Cortina in case you’re thinking of planning a trip there (you should).
We stayed at the Hotel Corona, which is a 10-minute walk from the pedestrianized center of Cortina. Our group booked the hotel through a travel agent, who definitely exaggerated its virtues. Jon and I paid £200 a night for half-board, meaning breakfast and dinner were included. On the plus side, there’s a ski bus stop right in front of the hotel, and the owner/manager is super helpful and speaks perfect English, as did a waitress in the hotel restaurant who we came to enjoy speaking with. On the down side, the rooms were pretty spare (we were put in an Annex to the hotel) and we didn’t value having a hotel-provided dinner, though out of laziness and a sense that it would be a waste of money otherwise, we ate in the hotel most nights. The meals provided weren’t bad, but they weren’t memorable, either.
If I were choosing a hotel based solely on location (and knowing nothing else about these hotels), I thought the Hotel Cortina and the Hotel de la Poste were ideally situated, smack in the middle of Cortina’s pedestrianized Corso Italia.
Jon and I are unambitious skiers, so we prioritized finding (1) long, scenic, easy trails (of which there are plenty in Cortina) and (2) delicious lunches (of which there are plenty in Cortina). The views in all directions were gorgeous; the snow was powdery; and the sun shone bright on most days of our trip. We lucked out tremendously. And the private instructor who helped refresh our skills encouraged us to ski the easy slopes around the Olimpia lift (just west of the main Socrepes lift), and he was, of course, dead right. The slopes were beautiful and empty despite the high-season crowds on the surrounding slopes (though not even those slopes felt particularly crowded).
Ski passes for all the Cortina lifts/mountains are sold at an office near the bus station just north of the town center (near the Faloria gondola) and in high season cost about 45 euros a day, decreasing in daily cost as you increase the number of days on your ski pass.
The two nights we ate dinner in “downtown” Cortina were pretty eh experiences, and one was an expensive enough mistake that I figure I’ll put future diners on warning:
Leone & Anna came highly recommended by a friend of a friend. And on TripAdvisor, it was rated the best restaurant out of 24 in Cortina. Because the place is Sardinian, I thought the food would be a nice change from the heavier Northern Italian fare we’d been eating the previous nights, so I booked it.
Our group of seven took a taxi there (it’s about an 8-euro ride from the center of Cortina), and when we sat down, there were plates of antipasti already laid out on the table. Initially, I thought it was just a generous offering covered by coperto, but not only were the antipasti not free, but also servers kept appearing with more, and we didn’t know how to say “no.” Most of the antipasti tasted fine, but the total bill for antipasti alone came to 70 euros, which annoyed me. I would’ve preferred ordering what we liked from the menu, rather than having the burden of having to turn un-asked-for food away. It all seemed a bit tricky by the resto. Although I enjoyed my spaghetti alla bottarga, prices were well in the 20+ euros range for main courses. Overall, not happy with the experience, especially for 69 euros a person for antipasti, a main course, and three cheap bottles of wine.
Apes-Ski in Cortina
In terms of apres-ski, when the lifts shut down at 4:30 pm, skiers would stick around at nearby rifugios for a beer, but even those rifugios shut down soon afterwards (and the ski bus back into Cortina center became very infrequent).
Back in Cortina center, we dropped by a few bars (some of which came highly recommended) , but most of the spaces were small and therefore quickly grew packed.
Places that we tried for apres-ski:
Cristallino Disco Bar: While this place had a lot of attitude on Saturday night (in a bad way), in reality it was just a waiting area for those who wanted to head over to VIP Club once it opened at 11:30. On other evenings, though, if you ignored the ever-turning, slightly-depressing disco ball, the place had a nice, relaxed apres-ski feel. A surprise winner for a weeknight drink.
Enoteca Brio Duino: A small enoteca, so get there early to snag a booth. The charcuterie and cheeses made for great snacking, as did the range of local wines on offer. About ten minutes after we sat down at a booth, the place became extremely crowded with a mix of people dressed in sporty ski togs and elegant outfits (the older Italian ladies dressed in their furs were so retro I couldn’t help smiling).
The bar at Hotel de la Poste: We dropped by on Saturday evening and discovered it was (1) pretty dead and (2) populated exclusively by the 50-and-over crowd. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but just not our age demographic.
LP 26: Bigger than most places in Cortina and recognizable by the hams hanging in the windows. Not especially chic or lively despite the tables being full, but at least they serve beer and there are customers in theirs 20s and 30s there.
VIP Club at Hotel Europa: this was supposed to be *the* place to be on Saturday night, opening at 11:30 pm. So we showed up at around midnight and discovered the act of the evening was country music-sounding. Not what we were expecting.
Cortina was a great destination for skiing, and based on our lunches, it was a superior place for eating. Dinners in town weren’t half as impressive as the food offered on the slopes, and apres-ski was pretty quiet, but even so, I’d go back in a hearbeat.
If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also enjoy reading about Baita Pie’ Tofana, a rifugio serving top-notch food in Cortina.