Val di Funes has become an Instagram favourite. But there is more to do than rush in, grab those iconic photos and rush out again. Here is how best to spend your time in this beautiful valley.


The quaint churches of Val di Funes nestled in rolling green meadows under the jagged spires of the Puez-Odle massif are a remarkable scene. These images have become a regular favourite on Instagram. What used to be a very quiet valley in the northern reaches of the Dolomites, has become a regular stop on many itineraries.

Most travellers pop here for just a few minutes, grab a couple of photos of the famous churches and disappear. Others allow a few hours to try and capture the best of the valley – cute villages set amongst idyllic meadows. While others book a hotel and settle back for a few days of exploring.

Whether you’re an in and out kind of traveller, a slow traveller or something in between, here are our recommendations for how to spend your time in Val di Funes. To collect this stunning spot over a week soaking up beautiful vistas, read our 7-day Dolomites Itinerary.

Please note / This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something following a link on this page, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our blog. / Paul & Mark.

HOW BEST TO SPEND YOUR TIME IN VAL DI FUNES


5 MINUTES / Grab that Instagram shot of San Giovanni Church and get out

1 HOUR / Get the Instagram shot + equally magnificent Santa Maddalena

3 TO 4 HOURS / Get both photos + hike the beautiful Panoramaweg and Sunseitenweg

24 HOURS / All the above + hike up to the Puez-Odle Massif

LONGER / Embrace the beauty of Val di Funes

5 MINUTES IN VAL DI FUNES / THE INSTAGRAM SHOT OF SAN GIOVANNI CHURCH IN RANUI

If you only have 5 minutes, then you probably already know what you’re doing in Val di Funes. San Giovanni Church in Ranui graces the feed of many Instagram accounts.

This white stone church commissioned in 1744, contains an onion dome with a star bearing a nod to the martyrdom of John. Various artworks inside the church tell the story of his life. It’s an attractive building, but its fame is due to its location. Nestled in a sweeping green meadow it’s backed by the magnificent soaring spires of the Puez-Odle massif. It’s a picture-perfect scene.

There are two great spots to take photos. One is by a fence that has been erected on the edge of the field to stop reckless visitors encroaching on the private property in front of the church. The second is a minute walk up a nearby road. You can find both locations marked on the map at the end of this article.

1 HOUR IN VAL DI FUNES / SAN GIOVANNI AND THE EQUALLY MAGNIFICENT SANTA MADDALENA

Although San Giovanni just about steals the show, the church of Santa Maddalena is not far behind. A more traditional light grey stone church with pointed spire, it sits a little further from the jagged Puez-Odle peaks. According to local legend, this is the spot where a mirage of Santa Maddalena was washed up by the Fopal River.

Legends aside, the church and the Obermesnerhof Farmstead make a beautiful photographic ensemble. It offers a magnificent contrast of genteel rural countryside beneath and inhospitable and desolate mountain landscape.

The church is only a 15-minute walk away from the San Giovanni. The best photos of the Santa Maddalena are taken from the rolling hills that sit just northwest of it. You can find the location marked on the map later in this article.

3 TO 4 HOURS IN VAL DI FUNES / BOTH CHURCHS AND HIKE THE PANORAMAWEG AND SUNSEITENWEG

The valley has more to offer than a couple of quick photos. Although an Instagram favourite, this part of the Dolomites has remained relatively untouched by tourism. The rolling green meadows, covered with flowers in spring, are dotted with rural farmsteads where you can watch local farmers tending to rows of perfectly cut hay.

If you have around 4 hours in Val di Funes, two paths provide a unique way to see the valley. Panoramaweg and Sunnenseitenweg meander up and down the rolling hills of the valley. They both capture the best of the idyllic rural nature of the area. Allow your senses to be filled with the intoxicating aroma of freshly cut grass; the sway of wild alpine flowers; and the sights of traditional farmers working in the fields. There’s a lot more to Val di Funes than a few Instagram shots. So indulge yourself in taking a slow amble around.

To make the most of your time here, head west on Panoramaweg (the higher of the two paths) from the starting point marked on our map. Continue on to the village of San Pietro. Grab a coffee on the terrace of Albergo Kabis Gasthof Café. Then return on Sunnenseitenweg. The entire walk is about 7km and if you take a break for a lazy drink should take around 3 hours.

If you want to shorten the walk, you can skip San Pietro, or return by the bus which runs hourly up and down the valley.

24 HOURS IN VAL DI FUNES / HIKE UP TO THE PUEZ-ODLE MASSIF

Allowing 24 hours in Val di Funes will provide iconic Instagram churches and serene meadow vistas. However, you’ll also have enough time to a hike up to the base of the Puez-Odle massif. Appearing like a jagged saw above the beautiful Val di Funes, this rocky wonderland is an excellent half day hike. It’s also a great way to experience the diversity of the area.

Starting from the village of Ranui, path 28 starts out simple enough. Quickly it turns into a strenuous climb up to Rifugio Malga Brogles. From here, a carpet of yellow flowers frame the rocky views of the Puez-Odle massif. The rifugio still houses a working dairy farm and is a beautiful spot to sit and admire the views.

From Rifugio Malgo Brogles, the path crosses just under the jagged spires of the massif and provides an up close and personal experience of this dramatic mountain scene. Along gravel tracks, eroded earth and the occasional small river, the path arrives at the next rifugio, Malga Galtsch. This is a perfect spot to enjoy lunch or a beer, before starting the walk back to Ranui. There’s no need to worry about overindulging at lunch because it’s downhill the rest of the way.

So if you have 24 hours in Val di Funes, spend the late afternoon visiting the churches and wandering the Panoramaweg and Sunnenseitenweg. The next day head, up to the Puez-Odle Massif. It’s a great way to experience the staggering amount of scenic variety this area contains.

LONGER / EXPLORE THE WHOLE VALLEY IN DETAIL

If you have more than 24 hours, then you have time to stay a little longer at those sunset vistas. You can also appreciate the area in more detail and discover more things to do. Not only are there many more hiking trails to explore there are also some great activities to keep you entertained. Here are our suggestions.

MINERAL MUSEUM IN TEIS / Understand the unique mineral geography of the South Tyrol area at the Teis Mineral Museum. As a result of volcanic activities more than 290 million years ago the area is blessed with a huge amount of alpine minerals, many of which are on display at the museum. / Hours: 10:00-12:00 & 14:00-16:00 Tue-Fri (Apr 14-Nov 3); 14:00 – 17:00 Sat & Sun | Cost: €5 | Location: Via Teiser 12, Funes

THE PUEZ-ODLE NATURE PARK / The nature park is a protected habitat for animals including eagles, chamois, deer and marmots as well as many rare plants that grow in the rocky soil. Information about hiking paths, mountain biking and other recreational activities can be obtained from the Funes Nature Park House. / Visitors Centre: 9:00-12:30 & 14:30-18:00 May 2-Oct 31 & Dec 27-Mar 31 | Location: Trebich 1, St. Magdalena

HIGH ROPES ADVENTURE PARK / If swinging through the treetops – Tarzan style – in the shadow of the Puez-Odle peaks sounds like fun, you’d be right. The park has a number of different courses with suspension bridges, balance beams and zip wires. / Hours: 9:00-18:00 Jun-Sep | Cost: €20 (adults), €55 (family) | Location: Bergerweg, 44 St. Maddalena.

E-BIKE EXCURSIONS / Takes some of the steepest bike tracks in the area with minimal effort and zero emissions by hiring an e-bike. Mountain bike tours operate every Tuesday from May to October and are a great way to see a lot of stunning scenery in a short space of time. / Info: info@plosebike.com

VAL DI FUNES MAP & GUIDES

If the plan is to do a bit of walking in Val di Funes (and why wouldn’t it be), then the excellent Shorter Walks in the Dolomites is a cheap and effective way to have a number of fantastic hikes at your disposal.

Our map below contains all the sights listed in this guide. To save the map, click on the star the right of the title. This will save the map to Your Places in Google Maps. Alternatively, click on the box on the right of the title bar which will open the map in Google Maps.

HOW LONG DO WE RECOMMEND?

It’s possible to spend as little as a few minutes or as much as a few days exploring the area. But if you are on a short trip to the Dolomites and you want to see as much as possible, then we suggest coming to Val di Funes for 3 to 4 hours.

The Panoramaweg and Sunnenseitenweg are unique and showcase the best of the area. A beautiful valley lined with idyllic farms and picturesque villages. Strolling along these paths, high above the valley, show off a different side of the Dolomites. A side that is often overlooked in favour of its more dramatic landscapes.

And, in terms of dramatic landscapes, the hike up to the base of the Puez-Odle massif is good. But it’s not good enough to make it on the list as one of our favourite walks. The hike up is difficult and is less rewarding than some of the other trails we have loved.

So our recommendation, spend half a day in Val di Funes, then try one of our 6 best hikes in the Dolomites.

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WHEN TO VISIT THE VAL DI FUNES?

The Val Di Funes looks best in late June / early July when flowers cover the meadows, the hay is being cut and the snow has melted. This means most of the hiking paths will be open up to the base of the massif. However, up to early July the upper crevasses will still contain some un-melted snow. In our opinion, this gives the area that lovely alpine feel.

Late July and August also have fine conditions but the Dolomites can be busy during the summer school holiday months. September or early October is better for crowds. Additionally, the air will start to get that autumnal crispness and the foliage will be moving from colourful flowers to muted golden tones.

Whenever you visit, try to photo the churches and walk the Panoramaweg and Sunnseitenweg in the late afternoon. At this time, the churches will be basking in soft sunlight and the massif will not yet be covered in shadow.

GETTING TO VAL DI FUNES

The Dolomites is a large area and can be accessed by a number of international airports depending upon which area you intend to visit: Innsbruck to the north, Verona to the southwest and Venice to the southeast.

CHECK FLIGHTS

HIRING A CAR

If you are hiring a car then the closest airport is Innsbruck in Austria (1 hour 30-minute drive), but Verona is only a little further at 2-hour 10-minutes and has the added benefit of being in the same country, which can help if you have an accident or need a visa. The main route into Val di Funes is via the A22 and then SP141. There are plenty of of free car parks in Santa Maddalena and a large one in Ranui which costs €4 a day.

CHECK CAR RENTAL

GETTING AROUND WITHOUT A CAR

While we’d probably recommend a car for Val di Funes, there are a few options to see the valley without your own wheels. Here’s what you need to know about public transport in the area.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT / To reach Val di Funes by public transport it is best to fly to Verona and take the train to Bressanone/Brixen (2 hours) and change onto the 340 bus which runs up the Val di Funes terminating at Ranui. The 340 departs hourly (between about 8:30 and 19:30) and stops regularly. The 339 bus also shuttles up and down the valley. This provides access to an attractive pass and the hiking base of Zannes. Unfortunately, there are only 3 or 4 a day. You can find the timetables here.

There are no regular direct buses connecting Val di Funes with other valleys in the Dolomites. To travel to Val Gardena, just one valley to the south, you need to change buses at Bressanone/Brixen. But if you want to make the journey on Wednesday you are in luck. Val di Funes has just begun to run a once weekly hikers bus during hiking season. It departs Ranui at 9:00, stops at various point along the Val di Funes including Val Gardena. The bus terminates in Ortisei at 10:10. Currently, it only runs one way (€12) and you need to make a reservation (+39 0472 840 180).

HUMAN POWER / Another option to get to Val di Funes is to hike over the mountains from the popular resort of Ortisei. In about 6 hours you can hike up from Ortisei and drop down into the Val di Funes. To shorten the journey, take the Ortisei – Seceda cable car one way).

WHERE TO STAY IN VAL DI FUNES

There are a number of options for staying in the Val di Funes. Santa Maddalena, a small village in the most picturesque part of the valley, is where to stay if you want to get away from it all and have those magnificent views from your balcony.

San Pietro, on the other hand, does not have the same great views, but is the largest village in the valley and has facilities (shop, restaurants) which the others lack. A bus running up and down the valley connects the villages making it easy to get between them, even if you don’t have a car.

Book well in advance and beware, a number of hotels/apartments have a minimum stay requirement. Here are a few recommendations from us.

UNLIKELY BUDGET  / FALLERHOF

Finding budget accommodation in Val di Funes is not easy. But these tiny bedrooms or apartments allow you to stay right in the centre of Santa Maddalena for a very reasonable price. Check current prices FALLERHOF

PERFECT APARTMENTS / HAUS PUEZ

These apartments are ideally located a very short walk to the cafes and restaurants of San Pietro. Each has a balcony with fine mountain views, but you need to be staying for at least a few days in order to book. Check current prices HAUS PUEZ

STUNNING VIEWS / PROIHOF

This hotel has simple wooden furnished Alpine decorated rooms, but the real draw is the location. Set amidst rolling fields in the most picturesque part of the valley, everywhere you look the views are sensational. 2 night minimum. Check current prices PROIHOF

WHERE NEXT?

Firstly, if you found this article helpful, head over to Instagram and give us a follow.

Secondly, the Dolomites is one of our favourite mountain destinations. It’s a great place for a 7 day road trip with some truly magnificent day hikes. Here’s some more of our writing on this stunning part of Italy.

OUR TOP HIKES IN THE DOLOMITES

HIKING TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

BEST ALPINE DESTINATIONS FOR HIKING

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below – we will always reply. To stay up to date with our travels, follow us on social and signup to our NEWSLETTER.

Val di Funes has become and Instagram favourite, but should you come for a few minutes or much longer? Here’s how best to spend your time. / Val di Funes Dolomites / Italian Alps

Val di Funes has become and Instagram favourite, but should you come for a few minutes or much longer? Here’s how best to spend your time. / Val di Funes Dolomites / Italian Alps

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