The Booking.com links in this post are affiliate links.
In the summer of 2020, in the hazy relief of lifting covid restrictions, I took the opportunity to escape to the Italian mountains for a week of hiking and relaxation. It was quite out the way, being at the base of the Alps, and we didn’t fancy splitting a transfer between only two of us – especially as it was out of ski season! So getting there was something of a challenge, but we managed it. We flew into Milan Bergamo airport, caught a Flixbus from Milan to Verona, then a train to Mezzocorona. At that point I’m sure we’d found a local train that would serve as that last leg of our journey online, but standing there on a lonely platform in the middle of nowhere – with no trains – we made the decision to call a taxi. But at that point we’d done 90% of our 200 mile journey, and were pretty exhausted.
The return journey was only slightly less complicated. We caught the bus from the town to Trento train station, where we travelled to Verona and left our bags in the station to walk around the city for a few hours. Then it was another Flixbus back to Milan, a quick overnight next to the airport, and a flight home the next day.
We stayed in Hotel Europa (affiliate link – click here for more information) in the town of Madonna di Campiglio, which is currently sold out on Booking.com at least until this summer. Travelling in August – and during a pandemic – definitely had it’s perks as I’ll bet that we paid much less than usual, and certainly enjoyed a much less busy town. But, being a skiing area, there’s no shortage of hotels. We had a very nice time there, the room was lovely, and the staff were super friendly and helpful.
Use the map tool below to find your perfect Madonna hotel!
We spent most of the week hiking. The hotel had plenty of information for us, and the tourist information centre was just a short walk away with even more. We picked up maps of the local hikes from them and went for it.
It was usually a short walk from our hotel to one of the lifts, or to the start of the hike itself, so it cost us only a few Euro each day. Once in the mountains, the routes were really easy to follow, with colour coded difficulty levels and clear markers in the ground. Our first hike brought us out onto a beautiful glassy lake surrounded by mountains, where we perched on a rock to eat lunch. On the other hand, our last one threw heavy rain at us and we were forced to hide out in a malga we found.
Exploring the town was also really fun. We seemed to be the only foreign tourists, but everyone was friendly. There was definitely a lot of domestic tourism – everyone from couples, to families with kids, to dog walkers, to big group trips. We saw plenty of people wherever we were, so it was a really nice atmosphere. The town has plenty of lovely shops, from alpine clothing to wine and cheese, so that’s a nice way to spend an afternoon, and there’s also a fishing lake behind one of the main rows of shops, which has really beautiful views.
The weather was mostly mild and dry, apart from one thunderstorm on an evening at the beginning of the trip, and a heavy downpour towards the end. But because it wasn’t too cold, it really didn’t ruin the week. In fact, it was quite cosy to watch the lightning flash from our hotel room, and hear it rolling over the hills.
The hotel provided a buffet-style breakfast, which we made full use of every day, scarfing down bread and cheese and ham and fruit and pastries and fresh juice and a coffee or three. Then we’d walk down to the supermarket at the bottom end of town and buy bread, cheese and chorizo for lunch. Finding somewhere to sit with a lovely view and making our own sandwiches was a nice break in our days. That said, that one day we had heavy rain we ducked into a restaurant near the base of the mountain for a burger and a beer instead!
A short walk from our hotel was a restaurant called Le Roi, which we must have eaten from at least three times. They did the most amazing takeaway pizzas, which were perfect on those days when we were tired and just needed something quickly that we could eat in the room – maybe in front of Netflix! But they also did scrummy pasta dishes and had a lovely atmosphere in the restaurant. We fully embraced the whole first and second course tradition, so there was plenty of food to go around. The highlights have to be a platter of grilled cheeses, and a dish of three meat and veggie balls in a restaurant called Antico Focolare (I think).
I hardly dare to say it, but I don’t remember exactly what we did in Verona. I think we just spent our time sightseeing and relaxing in what was a much warmed climate than we’d been used to for the rest of the trip! It was really useful that we were able to leave our bags in the station for not too much money, and walk around freely.
[…] there was easier by far than my 100+ mile bus and train trek in Italy, although still not the most straightforward (I won’t compain though – I find cross […]