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.

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

Lake afternoon near Rifugio Malga Brogles is the ideal way to take in the grandeur of the Puez-Odle massif


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.

TOP / Santa Maddalena and the Obermesnerhof Farmstead make a beautiful photographic location.

BOTTOM / The Instagram famous San Giovanni cuts a scene under the Puez-Odle massif.


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.

The Panoramaweg and Sunnenseitenweg meander up and down the rolling hills of Val di Funes over an easy 2 hour walk.


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.

The view from Rifugio Malga Brogles is one of the best up-close panoramas of the Puez Odle massif


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

The Puez-Odle Nature Park is a protected habitat for various rare plants and an ideal spot for hiking and mountain biking.


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.

To save our map, click on the star the right of the title – this will download to: YOUR PLACES -> MAPS in Google. You’ll then have all our suggestions and perfect photo spots ready to go.

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 the reward less rewarding than some of the other trails we have loved.

So our recommendation, spend half a day in Val di Funes, then collect some of the other hikes that truly showcase the dramatic side of the Dolomites. Our list of the best walks in the Dolomites will be out shortly.

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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.

The hike from Rifugio Malga Brogles to Rifugio Malga Galtsch takes you directly under the Puez-Odle massif.


GETTING TO VAL DI FUNES

CAR / The Dolomites is a large area and can be accessed by a number of international airports depending upon which area you intend to visit. The Val di Funes is 1 hour 30-minute drive from Innsbruck, 2-hour 10-minute drive from Verona, and 3 hours 20 minutes from Venice. There are a number of free car parks in the Val di Funes. The larger one at Ranui costs €4 a day.

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 / Of course another option is to go over the mountains. In about 6 hours you can hike up from Val Gardena and drop down into the Val di Funes. To make it easier, take the Ortisei – Seceda cable car one way).

WHERE TO STAY FOR VISITING THE VAL DI FUNES

San Pietro is the largest village in the Val di Funes and has facilities which the others lack. The bus that runs up and down the valley stops on the main road a few minutes’ walk from the centre of town.

Check out all the latest prices of hotels in Funes, but beware things can get booked up surprisingly far in advance. If you are struggling and have a car then it is easy enough to make a day trip from Val Gardena where there are many hotel options.

CHECK PRICES

WHERE NEXT?

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

Next, have a read through all our hiking articles to find something to fuel your motivation for a trail-based holiday. They’re all on our ON THE TRAIL roam page.

If Italy is in your sights, head over to our ITALY for some reading you might find useful. In particular, our 7-day itinerary covering our favourite areas of the Dolomites might be a good place to start.

Suitcases and Sandcastles

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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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