With so many activities on offer during the summer months, it comes as no surprise that chalets, apartments and hotels alike are bursting at the seams during peak season here in the Italian Dolomites; But what about the low season? Despite a somewhat ‘sleepy’ atmosphere, the Alta Badia comes to life in June as the snow smelts and the South Tyrolean’s prepare to open their doors for another memorable season.
There are a few things that define the Dolomites during June which create a contrasting atmosphere to the rest of the summer months. Patches of snow remain high upon the peaks that glisten in the sunshine; the melting run-off keeps rivers flowing high, filling the natural lakes whilst providing deliciously chilled drinking water found in troughs along the walking paths. The snow capped peaks against the fresh bloom of wildflowers creates a photographer’s playground; add to the scene with vast protruding mountains, quaint wooden huts and a friendly Marmot and you have a recipe for endless photo opportunities.
It is safe to say that temperatures are still quite low during this time and that most people come away on holiday to enjoy hot days and warm evenings outside. It has to be said however, that these cooler temperatures make for perfect walking conditions, especially in the mountains. Whether venturing out on an easier, moderate or high level walk, ascent is non-avoidable whilst exploring the alpine world, and with ascent comes a rise in core temperature – that’s when you can be glad it isn’t reaching over 25⁰!
Imagine yourself immersed in the Dolomites Mountains; do you see vast open meadows, an endless rim of peaks, and quiet towns with hardly a soul in sight? Perfect! June sits outside the annual school holiday and as most people will wait for peak season to take a break, cheap flights and discounts are blindly slipping away. Collett’s offer a 10% discount for the first two weeks of June and offer a full programme of walks in low season for people who wish to join organised days at a time when the mountains are quiet. Self-driving is much more enjoyable at this time of year as the roads are practically empty and the freedom to go further afield opens up a variety of locations. Later openings of mountain huts encourages a memorable picnic out on the hills, something which can we particularly enjoyed amongst the flora and fauna without much disturbance from other walkers.
Local events kick off the summer season with exciting music festivals and cultural activities. Corvara host presentations and exhibitions about the mountains, whilst Badia promote sports events and focus highly on cycling in the run up to the Sellaronda on the 23rd June. The Sellaronda bike day, a 55km ride conquering 4 of the main passes, is free for all to take part starting anywhere on the course, for as long as you want (or can physically manage!) – A fantastic personal challenge for the avid cyclist out there. With one starting point in Corvara, it is possible to sit and observe those partaking whilst enjoying a gelato or a fresh Italian coffee. Let’s not forget to mention the Maratona dles Dolomites, a well-known cycling race which sees serious riders from all over the world take on the mountainous roads. This end of the month event brings with it a ‘pasta party’ and evening music entertainment, not something to be missed.
Arguably the main attraction for a June holiday in the Dolomites is the explosion of colour in the wildflower meadows. The mountains come alive with some of the best floral sites in Europe, with a possibility of seeing hundreds of rare species. A range of habitats including upland meadows and rocky outcrops home beautiful orchids and an impressive composition of mauves, pinks, yellows and reds; creating a botanical array which would come as a struggle to recreate in a typical garden back home. The alpine pastures are at their best during early/mid June and it is the perfect opportunity to head out with one of Collett’s flower walkers. Organised walks are on offer 5 days a week, free of charge – a perfect way to spend a day (or maybe even two!) seeking out the rare Lady’s slipper Orchid, increasing your flower knowledge and practising your photography skills in capturing such delicate subjects. With a perfectly positioned mountainous backdrop and quiet paths at this time of the year, you will practically have the enjoyment of the wildflower meadows all to yourself.
So, if you intend to self-drive during your holiday, wish to enjoy the vast array of mountain paths to yourself and are keen to experience some exquisite wildflowers unique to the area, then booking your holiday in June is a good a time as any.