Verona is surrounded by mountains. If you go along Corso Porta Nuova to Piazza Bra on a beautiful, clear, winter’s day, you can see the snowy peaks of the Carega Mountains sticking up in the distance. From the Lungadige Attiraglio (a road running parallel to the Adige River), you get a clear view to the West. Looking in that direction, you can see Monte Baldo which is over 2,000 m high.
Imagine yourself on the summit. From there, you would have an equally amazing view back towards the city. If you have the desire and inspiration to really climb the mountains around Verona and breath the clear invigorating air there, your effort will be repaid by the views you get over the plain below.
To actually get to the mountains around the city, you can start out from the Graziani mountain refuge. From there, you walk along a gently rising path for an hour. This will take you to the Chiesa sulla vetta dell’Altissimo refuge where you can admire the view down over all of Lake Garda. At the Bocca di Selva refuge, also located in the Lessini Mountains, some have even managed to photograph Mount Monviso which is 330 km away!
Going up into the mountains is a way of getting back in touch with nature, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city and breathing some fresh air. Doing it requires only a pair of good walking shoes and some will.
The mountains around Verona are welcoming even for those who tend to be a bit lazy. Most of the mountain refuges in the Lessini range are easily accessible by car, such as the Dosso Alto a Conca dei Parpari refuge. You are guaranteed to find young people there on Sundays eating traditional mountain fare and listening to good live music.
There is a cable car with spectacular views that allows you to easily reach the summit of Monte Baldo. You can take this from Malcesine, one of the prettiest villages among those overlooking Lake Garda. The cable car operates all year round. Making the trip up from the shore of Lake Garda to the mountain summit 2,000 m above is a breathtaking experience.
Obviously, you go to the mountains in the winter above all for the snow. This year, however, there has been little snowfall in the mountains around Verona. Traditional winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing have not been possible and have had to be postponed until next year.
Fortunately, Verona is also in an excellent position for reaching the ski resorts of Trentino-Alto Adige. These ski areas are among the best in Italy if not all of Europe.
Folgaria, certainly the best known of these resorts, is not more than an hour away by automobile. The slopes there are especially adapt for the non-expert skier and you would need more than a day to cover them all. It’s worth staying in Folgaria overnight in either one of the hotels right on the slopes or in the town which has many restaurants and locales.
My favorite destination for a day long ski trip, however, is the Polsa-San Valentino ski area. This is located on the Brentonico plateau of Monte Baldo in Trentino. It’s not a particularly luxurious place but it has a good variety of slopes of medium to low difficulty. It also has the advantage of having very low-priced ski passes and never being too crowded even on weekends.
The ski areas in the Dolomites are in a completely different category. They are a real paradise for skiers and snowboarders. From Verona, you can get to Obereggen in two hours. This ski resort is famous for its imposing slopes on Latemar Mountain. There is also the Carezza ski area which has sunny slopes on Catinaccio Mountain.
Heading north towards Alta Badia and Val Gardena, you enter the ‘Dolomiti Super Ski Area.’ This area has 1,200 km (!) of slopes and represents the largest ski complex in the world. I’m not a great skier, but for me skiing 3,300 meters down on the Marmolada Glacier or on the famous, long, ‘black slope’ of the Plan de Corones were among the most exciting experiences of my life.