The mountain town of San Candido is the perfect base camp for a solo woman to conquer the imposing UNESCO Dolomites or the soft green valleys that lie at their feet. What better way is there to savor the beauty, the silence and the fragrance of all that surrounds you? What time to leave, when to stop, left or right? Only a map, the weather and yourself to decide.
I walk these mountains on my own and have never had a moment of angst or loneliness. I desire only to open my arms and embrace the spectacular scenery I encounter at every turn of the way.
Walking or hiking all year round
Choose a short, leisurely walk along the emerald green meadows to find a mountain lake, or a challenging trek to reach a towering peak amidst a lunar landscape. Every day and every path will lead to a breathless encounter. Strenuous climbs can be conquered by using the various cable cars or gondolas. Wherever you decide to walk make a point of stopping in one of the many mountain huts dotted along the way and enjoy the best local fare. Bring a book and lie in a meadow or beside a stream, or just look up at the never ending sky.
You are sure to meet other hikers along your way and may land up forming friendships that last for years. Don’t let the season discourage you. In Winter the paths are in perfect order, be it for walking or cross-country skiing. In Spring the valleys are filled with wild flowers and herbs, and in Autumn the golden and copper colours are stunning. In Summer you can hire a bike and pedal to your heart’s delight, or follow a stream and stop for some Kneipp therapy in crystal clear waters.
Your home away from home
Choose a family run, small boutique hotel and you will feel pampered to your every whim. Soon you will feel as part of your host family and they will feel honored to help make your stay as pleasant and interesting as possible. All buffet breakfast are filled with milk, butter, cheese, yogurts and jams from the nearby farms, and a variety of homemade breads and cakes. If you decide on a bed and breakfast option you can try a new restaurant every night, the choice is assorted and numerous. This area is known for having the most Michelin-starred restaurants so after a strenuous walk, maybe a prize is forthcoming.
Hop on a bus no matter the direction. You will not know which way to look. Get off if something attracts you and catch the next one as they run very often. Visit one of the larger towns if the silence of nature gets too much for you. This is a very historic area with no lack of museums so you can get your fill of knowledge between or while you are hiking.The train system is also very efficient. So to get here or to move around you definitely do not need a car.
Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana.