Sitting among the dramatic, UNESCO-protected Dolomite mountains is Drei Zinnen (also known as Three Peaks Dolomites). It’s made up of a handful of small, family-friendly villages like San Candido and Sesto, with high-quality hotels and easy access to the slopes. On the Italian side of the Italian-Austrian border, Drei Zinnen blends together the language, food and traditions from both countries.
Ski area: Drei Zinnen, 110km
Resort height: 1,310-1,175m
Snow range: 1,310-2,200m
Km of easy slopes: 45km
Km of intermediate slopes: 53km
Km of difficult slopes: 12km
What’s the skiing like in Drei Zinnen?
The ski area is split into smaller areas across five mountains, all easily accessed from the villages of Sesto, San Candido, Dobbiaco, Villabassa and Braies. An improver and intermediate playground, over half of the piste is made up of well-groomed blue and red runs – while the gentle slopes are well suited to families and beginners. Seasoned skiers can even take on Italy’s steepest black slope, the Holzriese, with its nail-biting 72% gradient.
Haunold Baranci ski area
Take the lifts from San Candido up to this small ski area, full of easy options for kids and beginners making their first few turns. At the top, you’ll bump into a family of giant snowmen and, if you’re lucky, spot the only wild herd of reindeer in the Alps. If you fancy heading up the hill after dark, the ski area also opens for night skiing twice a week.
Giro delle Cime circuit
Ideal for intermediate skiers, this 34km ski circuit takes you up, down, across and around all five mountains. Like its famous cousin, the Sella Ronda in the Dolomiti Superski area, you can ski it in either direction and take in the incredible scenery as you go. Can you complete both loops?
Things to do in Drei Zinnen
The wild reindeer are the stars of the show in Drei Zinnen, roaming around the Croda Rossa-Rotwand mountain – the closest mountain to Sesto village. And they’re certainly not shy. Head there at feeding time and you can help yourself to a mix of Icelandic moss and cereal to tempt them over – they may even stick around long enough for a selfie.
With top-quality hotel spas, you can take your pick and switch between warming up in saunas and soaking in pools. Some even have outdoor pools where you can swim surrounded by fabulous views of the snowy Dolomites.
Eating out in Drei Zinnen
Meat, meat and more meat is the name of the game at this San Candido spot. The farmhouse-like restaurant, decked out in wood panelling, is well known for its generous cured meat plates and homemade sausages and bacon.
This intimate Michelin-starred restaurant in Dobbiaco has just five tables. The menu is simple yet exquisite, with dishes like porcini risotto and chanterelle tart all made from local ingredients. If you’re struggling to just pick one, opt for the surprise tasting menu for the chance to try a bit of everything.
Après in Drei Zinnen
Based in Sesto, this authentic wine bar is perfect for after-dinner drinks. It has the look of an Austrian stube, with wooden walls and low ceilings, and has a cosy and relaxed feel. Park yourself at one of the tables under the arches and get a round in – it’s open until 1am, so you don’t have to head to bed too early.
This trendy bar is located in San Candido’s Hotel Post. Order from a selection of fruity cocktails, dry wines or crisp beers and settle down in their comfortable lounge area to catch up on the day’s events.
Where to stay in Drei Zinnen
Bad Moos, Sesto
Head straight out onto the slopes from this high-quality ski-in, ski-out hotel. The décor is a mix of rustic and sleek, and each of the dining rooms has a different design, from the gothic room to the panoramic restaurant. And there’s a heavenly spa to dip into before dinner – complete with four saunas and a sulphur plunge pool.
Villa Stefania, San Candido
The family-run Villa Stefania is located in the centre of the village, just a few minutes’ walk from the lifts. Charm and character are at the heart of the hotel, and each room is individually decorated. When you want some downtime, head to the wellness area for a swim in the indoor pool or some shut-eye on the relaxation terrace.
Secure your spot on the slopes in Drei Zinnen to see a different side of the Dolomites.