We only spent 4 days in the Dolomites, Italy but it was enough to get a good feeling for the region. This is indeed a biking, hiking and paragliding paradise.
How to get there
From Switzerland we suggest Klosters - Merano - Bolzano. In ideal conditions this takes 6 hours.
When to go
September/October seems ideal
Car We recommend using a car even though the region is very well connected by public transports.
Money (EUR & credit card) The region is very expensive.
Contact Contact a local club, for informations we suggest the Val Gardena based Parapendio Club Gherdeina firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to stay
As basecamp we suggest either Sankt Ulrich or Canazei.
Attention: These options are located 1h apart, separated by a mountain pass so you should make the decision beforehand.
Sankt Ulrich is great for the fly area Seceda. Canazei/Campitello is great for Col Rodella & the Sella wall.
People: Attention in autumn. There is not a lot of general tourism but a lot of paragliding & hanggliding pilots, sometimes very inexperienced. This makes for some very dangerous flying. But on land, everybody is very friendly!
Food: It is absolutely amazing that the mountain pass really seems to separate cultures. This can not only be seen in the language but also in the cuisine. We suggest to have both worlds and just enjoy any of the great restaurants south and north. As a concrete suggestion: We had an amazing dinner at Mini’s in Campitello
Climate: Typical european. Spring & Summer might be too violent thermically speaking. So our general suggestion is to target September/October. It’s also the season with very little other tourism than Paragliding.
Meteo: Typical european. Pay special attention to north over-pressure which can be very dangerous. Seceda weather station Seceda webcam
Through friends we got the suggestion to contact the local Parapendio Club Gherdeina email@example.com . We can absolutely suggest them. Very friendly, openhearted and supportive!
Col Rodella The bulk of the pilots are concentrated on this site. The take-off & landings are numerous and situated very closely to the cablecars.
I personally think this is a very dangerous area to fly. Particularly because of the hundreds of daily pilots with very mixed experience levels crammed on a relatively small area around the take-offs. Additionally there can be dust devils or worse conditions by the exposure of this site near the mountain pass from north and the south oriented thermal hill. From firsthand experience I can tell, the conditions can change in seconds. We suggest to be extra cautious at the take-off between 11am and 3pm. The start and first few thermal encounters can be violent. Be ready for that and do not fiddle with your harness right after taking off. Get away from the ridge, first. We have seen 5-6m/s instant lifts and a common collapses. Keep respect distance from topology as well as other pilots.
As of 2018, the cablecar costs 12EUR & Parking is free.
Seceda Albeit more expensive than the Col Rodella cablecar, Seceda is a much less frequented area which makes it more relaxed to fly in. A - at times gusty - west- and a large/nice south take-off present themselves on the top. Here the wind usually blows from west, so plan your route accordingly. For changing to the more eastern ridge, have at least 2700m before crossing.
As of 2018, the cablecar costs 24EUR & Parking costs additional 1.5EUR per hour, max 8EUR.
A wonderful area for XC or just scenic flights. But a lot of attention is required towards the powerful thermals, overregional weather flows and the numerous other pilots.
View when crossed eastwards after a start from Seceda Same from the top Langkofel as seem from Col Rodella northwards Col Rodella take-off peak in center - Sella wall back east