Val di Funes, Italy, heritage site and viewpoints below the dolomites

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Visit Val di Funes

The Val di Funes is a scenic valley on the edge of the dolomites in north-east Italy, to the east of Brixen and north of Lake Garda. As reward for its extraordinary natural beauty, the dolomites are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Because of its relative isolation the area is quite quiet and there are limited facilities for visitors, although the Heritage Site listing and popularity of the views on social media has increased visitor numbers here in recent years.

Exploring the Val di Funes

The scenery is essentially rolling fields and meadows, forested hills behind, and the dolomite mountains ever present at the south-east end of the valley.

View towards the dolomites from west of Val di Funes

It is of course possible to stay for a few days in the Val di Funes, and the valley is quite accessible from Lake Garda, so visitors to this lake can visit the Val di Funes as a day trip. We suggest you spend at least one night here in order to appreciate the scenery in the early evening and morning, and ideally spend a few days hiking, cycling and exploring.

The valley is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and best explored on foot - there are numerous hiking paths - or by bike. Mountain climbing is another popular activity. Local tourist information centres can provide lots of information about the best hikes and other activities.

In recent years the sport of mountain biking with e-bikes has become widely available, and e-bikes can be hired locally. There are e-bike charging points in the three main villages as well as various other places in Val di Funes.

Val di Funes viewpoints

There are two 'famous' viewpoints in the Val di Funes that appear in almost all literature about the region, are the most common photos of the site on Instagram, and are common destinations among those who are visiting, but it is not obvious how to find them when you get here!

Here we tell you how to access these two viewpoints along with their GPS coordinates. (Unfortunately it was cloudy when we visited, the photos are much better on a clear sunny evening!

Saint-Magdalena viewpoint

This is the view that you see in the photo at the top of this page. Go to the centre of the village of Saint-Magdalena. From here you can see a church raised on a hill overlooking the village. From the side of this church there are paths that go up the steep hill behind the village called Sunnenseitenweg and Panoramaweg.

Walk up the hill along these paths with the church and a few houses in the foreground and the dolomites behind. The further up the hill you walk, the better the photo!

GPS: 46.6439707,11.7182349

Ranui chapel viewpoint

A few kilometres south of Saint-Magdalena there is a small chapel at Ranui, as in the photo below. There is a parking area from where you can walk up to the chapel, or walk up the hill away from the chapel for a view with the mountains behind.

The field in front of the chapel is now surrounded by an electric fence (the farmer is protecting his meadow from hordes of Instagram enthusiasts!) and at the top of a steep bank, so taking a photo here is slightly challenging.

A second footpath goes from the track to the front of the chapel - even without the mountains behind it would be a charming little chapel.

GPS: 46.6394573,11.720516

Chapel at Ranui in the Val di Funes

Attractions nearby

Although it is the natural environment that attracts people to the region, you will also discover the three main villages in Val di Funes: Tiso (Teis) to the west, San Pietro (Saint-Peter) in the centre, and San Maddalena (Saint-Magdalena) to the east. Just to confuse visitors, everywhere in the area has two names: an Italian name and a German name.

None of the villages are very large but each has basic facilities and is pleasant to explore. There are also various small hamlets, and you will come across small churches and chapels elsewhere in the Val di Funes.

We stayed in Tiso: see our Tiso guide for information about this pretty little village.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Trentino-Alto Adige guide.

See also:

Map of Val di Funes and places to visit

Places to visit near Val di Funes

Tiso

Tiso

Tiso is a very traditional small village in the west of the Val di Funes

Tiso guide

Ortisei

Ortisei

Ortisei, a town in the Val Gardena, is a popular dolomite ski centre

Ortisei guide

Brixen

Brixen

The medieval centre of Brixen and its attractive setting make Brixen a popular base for exploring

Brixen guide

Canazei

Canazei

The popular ski resort of Canazei also makes a good base for exploring the dolomites in summer

Canazei guide

Bruneck

Bruneck

Bruneck is an attractive market town with an interesting medieval centre

Bruneck guide

Dolomites

Dolomites

The dolomite mountains of the southern Alps offer unequalled scenery and outdoor sporting opportunities

Dolomites guide