Bormio, Italy is a great choice for a winter holiday in the snow! This Italian mountain town is also a personal favorite. It’s a wonderful setting for a summer trip to explore the green mountains and trekking opportunities. However, this village really sparkles in the snow.
Bormio is located in the region of Lombardy by the Stelvio National Park and Stelvio Pass. It is also known for the spa treatments available and its thermal spring waters.
Getting to know Bormio
Bormio is a town located in the Province of Sondrio in the Lombardy region of the Alps in northern Italy.
The town is located north of Verona, between Bolzano and the Swiss border. It’s quite renown for its single summit-to-base run. It has an impressive 5682 foot vertical drop, which is the biggest in Italy.
Bormio is a little bit off the beaten path. There are no highways that are nearby the village. The nearest train line stops about an hour drive away from Bormio. Getting here is more logistically challenging then arriving at the Val Gardena, for example. This has many advantages! There are very few crowds in Bormio, which makes the ski resort’s tree lined slopes more enjoyable.
Bormio was the site of the 2005 Alpine World Championships. As such, it has world-class facilities, including high-speed chairlifts and new snow machines if needed.
By the standards of Italian resort towns, Bormio is quite affordable. The historic town center is charming and full of different accommodations for every type of traveler. In addition to the relaxing thermal baths, the location between Venice and Switzerland has made it a popular tourist destination for centuries. It is also a short, hour drive from sister resort Livigno. They also honor lift tickets from Bormio. It’s also an easy day trip to explore or ski the famous resort of St. Moritz.
Winter sports in the area
Bormio Ski, in the heart of Alta Valtellina, is the perfect destination for families and skiers coming to the mountains in the winter. There are a variety of slopes for all levels and tastes. Some lifts reach over 3,000 meters of altitude!
The resort has been on the scene of the Alpine Ski World Cup since 1985. The main slope, the Stelvio, annually hosts the World Cup downhill and in 2026 it will be the official venue of the Winter Olympics.
Bormio is a great choice for intermediate skiers. The vast majority of slopes are beautifully wide and moderate. It’s also a top-of-mind choice for someone who appreciates on-mountain dining. Expert skiers also have several choice black slopes to try. The men’s downhill slope is particularly fun, it starts off incredibly steep and then transitions into a red slope.
Snow is pretty much guaranteed in Bormio in the winter months as the town is quite high (9,875 feet). Those who love a terrain park will love Bormio’s superpipe or slopestyle course. There’s also a separate, progressive beginner slope to teach newer skiers on the beautiful slopes of the area.
For those who want a little less adventure…
For those who want to relax more than ski, there are tons of options. There are three different spa centers here: Terme di Bormio in Bormio itself, Bagni Vecchi (“Old Baths”, established in Roman times) and Bagni Nuovi (“New Baths”, established in the 19th century).
There are also many walks in the surrounding Alto Valtellina area. Here you can find glaciers deep in the mountains, small, scenic lakes, and waterfalls (if it’s not too cold that they are frozen!).
Not too far from Bormio is another magical experience in the mountains. The Bernina Express train is one of the most scenic in the world. It starts its route from the nearby town of Tirano. Then, it passes next to the Basilica della Madonna di Tirano. The basilica is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Lombardy. The ride continues until the panoramic point of Alp Grüm, with its stunning view of Valposchiavo. After crossing the White Lake, the train reaches the Bernina pass. Here, you can see the breathtaking Morteratsch glacier and the mountain range of Pizzo Bernina. This is the the only peak that reaches 4,000 m in the Central Alps. Finally, the iconic red train begins its descent towards the town of St. Moritz. It’s spectacular day just outside of Bormio!
The cuisine and culture of Bormio
The cuisine of Bormio, like all Italian areas, is proudly regional. The flavors are hearty and the dishes authentic. Most of the dishes are driven by local produce and tradition. One of the most famous dishes is pizzoccheri pasta. The area is famous for different types of flour, whole and ancient grains like buckwheat. Pizzoccheri with buckwheat flour and Alpine cheese is one of the special treats of Bormio!
Another dish to try is bresaola, a delicious type of air-dried beef from Alpine cows. There are also excellent wines made in this area. The restaurants range from traditional inns and to fancier restaurants. One we can highly recommend is our favorite, La Genzianella, a 5-minute walk and family run alpine chic accommodation and restaurant. Many of the high-altitude Alpine lodges offer great views, as well. Bormio, perhaps more so than other Italian ski resorts, is known for its après-ski aperitivo, where people gather after a day on the slopes to drink and snack before dinner.
Folklore and tradition
The Valtellina also has some special traditions that still follow ancient customs and folklore.
Valtellina has fortunately kept many of its traditions of its agricultural and rural heritage. A winter event held every January is the Gabinat dell’Epifania. Local kids and tourists alike try to say the magic word “Gabinat” to win local treats and small presents.
Also in January are the L’è fora geneiron and in early February, L’è fora l’Ors de la Tana. These two local festivals are also geared towards children. However, they are fun for everyone.
The L’è fòra Geneiron is an ancient tradition of Bormio. As the winter was the most unproductive period historically for mountain people, this is a festival to celebrate the end of the winter. The children of Bormio, disguised in clothes and objects from the peasant past, go around the streets of the historic center of the town. They sound cowbells, whistles and tin cans with the aim of awakening spring. Along the way, they enter local shops where they receive sweets and candies.
On February 2, L’è fora l’Ors de la Tana, you do everything you can to get friends and relatives out of their homes. The “bear leaves the den” festival uses this to simulate a bear leaving the shelter for the first time after the long winter. Once out, the “victim” will be greeted with cheering L’è fòra l’ors de la tana – the bear comes out of the den!
Winter wanderlust in the mountains
We hope that this provided some travel inspiration for a dream Italian winter vacation. Please check out our website or contact us directly for other ideas in Bormio and also our other destinations.
As always, its our mission and promise to make your travel dreams come true!