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After years spent skiing on the Slovakian Chopok, we decided to try other European ski resorts. In 2022, we went to the Austrian Bad Gastein, and the following year, we landed in Livigno. Is winter in Livigno a good choice? In our opinion, it’s ideal, and you’ll find out why below.

Climate change is becoming increasingly noticeable every year, especially for winter sports enthusiasts. Snow and good skiing conditions outside of glaciers are increasingly becoming a game of chance. Therefore, winter in Livigno is a really great idea to consider if you’re looking for better snow conditions. Livigno is located at an altitude of 1816m, and the highest upper station of the cable car is almost 2800m. As a result, there is not as much shortage of snow as in the lower parts of the Alps, but unfortunately, there was only 60cm in January, which is not much (although enough).

Livigno is located a bit “at the end of the world,” by Lake Livigno and right on the border with Switzerland. The village itself stretches narrowly along the wide valley surrounded by high peaks. Due to the high altitude of the village and the open nature of the valley, you don’t have to leave Livigno to enjoy breathtaking views! It was precisely the mountain surroundings and these views that made Livigno so appealing to us. Winter in Livigno is a great idea, not only for ski enthusiasts!

winter in livigno

Ski resorts in Livigno – Winter in Livigno

Livigno is located in a valley, with ski resorts situated on both sides. You can use all of them with one ski pass, which can be purchased at the ticket offices or online and collected on site, with a refundable deposit of 5 euros for the card. On one side is the Mottolino resort, and on the other side are Carosello3000 and Valandrea, which are connected by slopes.

We must admit that the preparation of the slopes in all Livigno resorts deserves a strong A+. Two weeks before our arrival, there was no fresh snowfall, yet the condition of the trails remained at the highest level, with only small patches of ice appearing on windy afternoons, which we expected much earlier.

Mottolino has the most modern and newest lower resort, but unfortunately the chairlift from there is not among the best, and you have to stand (yes, no sits) – it is not the most comfortable option to get to the top. After taking the gondola to the higher parts, you can use the chairlifts to get around. We spent half a day on Mottolino, some of the trails were closed due to the wind and we didn’t test them all, but it was still our least favorite resort among all. Due to its mountain location, there is the least amount of sunlight there during the day compared to other resorts. Mottolino has a professional snowpark.

Valandrea is the resort where we started every day because of the location of our equipment rental. In our opinion, it is the best place for beginners among all the resorts, as the slopes are the gentlest there (but for advanced skiers there is also a great black trail).

Carosello3000 is our favorite place in Livigno due to the large number of more difficult trails. Our favorite is the black trail near the Tea Borsch tavern, marked as a trail “for experts” due to the extremely steep section at the very end. An additional advantage of Carosello is that the gondola goes all the way to the top of the mountain, so when chairlifts are closed due to windy conditions, you can still ski from the top.

winter in livigno
winter in livigno

Free skipass – Winter in Livigno

It’s worth knowing that at the beginning and end of the season, you can get a free ski pass if you book a few nights at a hotel there. More information about the rules you need to meet to qualify for a free ski pass can be found here.

Car parking in Livigno – Winter in Livigno

The largest parking lot we saw is the one under Mottolino, but according to the ski resort’s website, there are more parking lots in Livigno. However, they are not very large as they did not catch our eye at all. For this reason, we recommend leaving the car at the hotel and getting around on foot or by ski buses. Parking lots at the ski slopes are free.

Getting around Livigno – Winter in Livigno

The best option is ski buses, which run until 8 pm. We have four lines to choose from: yellow (gialla), green (verde), red (rossa), and blue (blu). The routes are very similar, all lines go around the town – yellow and green in one direction, blue and red in the other. You can find more information about them here.

Equipment rental – Winter in Livigno

There is certainly no shortage of equipment rental shops in Livigno. We recommend La Grolla rental shop for their quality and preparedness of their equipment. For 5 days, we paid 60 euros for a snowboard and boots, and 100 euros for skis, boots, and poles (advanced version).

winter in livigno

How to get to Livigno? – Winter in Livigno

Of course, driving a car is the simplest option, but make sure that the hotel you are renting has free parking available. There are two options for getting there in winter – through the Foscagno pass, which connects Livigno with Bormio, or from Zermez in Switzerland through the Munt la Schera tunnel. Option two is quite expensive, with prices ranging from 20 to 35CHF for a car depending on the day and whether we purchase the ticket online. Option three is only available in the summer and is the road leading through the Forcola pass.

Taking a bus is probably the easiest option if you plan to fly to Italy. You can reach Livigno in about 5 hours for 55 euros by taking the Livigno Express bus from Bergamo, Milan Malpensa, or Milan Linate airports. It is also possible to travel by a combination of trains and buses, which took us about 7 hours, and there are several options. Despite the complications, we recommend this option because of the WONDERFUL views along the way.

Our transfer looked exactly like this: Bergamo Orio al Serio (bus) -> Milan Centrale (train) -> Colico (train) -> Chiavenna (bus) -> St. Moritz (train) -> Samedan (train) -> Zernez (bus) -> Livigno

We recommend looking at websites like Rome to Rio, Google Maps or Omio, as well as Trenitalia, to find out more about transport options.

winter in livigno

Who is it for? – Winter in Livigno

The slopes in Livigno are very diverse. There are plenty of flat slopes for beginners at the bottom, but even more advanced skiers should not complain about the lack of black runs (there is a trail on Carosello called the “expert trail”). From our observations (we went in late January/early February), it seems to be more of a family place than for party-seeking students. Nothing particularly crazy was happening on the slopes themselves, but those looking for evening entertainment can head to one of the two clubs we mention below. Not only skiing enthusiasts but also sports enthusiasts in general will find several excellent options in Livigno beyond the slopes.

Other winter activities – Winter in Livigno

If you don’t ski, there’s really no need to worry, as there’s always plenty to do in Livigno during winter!

Cross-country skiing – Livigno has over 30 kilometers of amazing cross-country skiing trails in the valley, suitable for both beginners (Aneta tried it for the first time) and advanced skiers. Renting skis, poles, and boots costs 15 euros per day, while access to the trails costs 7 euros.

Ski tours – If you’re not into cross-country skiing, you can go on ski tours! There are plenty of routes and rental shops to choose from.

Winter walks – Both uphill and on flat terrain. There’s a bike-walking path along the river, and the views are beautiful!

Fat bikes – These are electric bikes with winter tires that allow you to ride in the snow. We paid 25 euros for four hours.

Ice skating – There’s also an ice rink in Livigno, so it’s worth checking the opening hours. The entrance fee is 7 euros.

Snowmobiles and snow quad tours – Many places organize such activities for groups, including children.

Paragliding – A slightly more extreme activity, but the view of the winter Alps from above must be amazing!

winter in livigno
winter in livigno

Duty-free shopping – Winter in Livigno

Due to its location somewhat at the end of the world, Livigno is a duty-free zone. Until 1952, there was no direct connection to the village from Italy, and only way was travelling through Switzerland. Everything changed when the Foscagno Pass road was opened, connecting Livigno to Bormio. However, the duty-free zone remained, and in Livigno, you can buy cheaper alcohol, cigarettes, perfumes, and luxury goods.

Aquapark in Livigno – Winter in Livigno

The Aquagrande aquapark is located just outside the town, near the lake. We didn’t visit the aquapark itself because a swimming cap is required, and it costs 3 euros on site. We were mainly interested in the wellness area, which includes two dry saunas and a Turkish bath, an outdoor jacuzzi, two indoor pools, and relaxation areas. The entrance fee is 37 euros. Synthetic swimwear is not allowed (you can buy a bio version on site).

The Alpen Village hotel also has a great relaxation area and outdoor pool, but we don’t know if there’s any possibility of entry from the outside.

If you’re a fan of thermal baths, buses run from Livigno to Bormio, where you’ll find two places – Bormio Terme Spa and QC Terme Bagni di Bormio.

winter in livigno
winter in livigno

Apres-ski – Winter in Livigno

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much happening on the slopes, despite the presence of a few DJs (but no one took the bait). We assume this is due to Livigno’s family-friendly nature. Therefore, you won’t find much entertainment on the slopes (there are few bars and restaurants on the slopes, mainly due to the proximity of the village), but this doesn’t mean that there’s no entertainment in Livigno. You can go for a night out at Miky’s Disco Club (we recommend it!), a small club with a relaxed atmosphere and “local” vibe, or the slightly more luxurious Bivio Club.

What to eat in Livigno? – Winter in Livigno

We wouldn’t be ourselves if we didn’t try some local delicacies. We definitely didn’t manage to try everything that northern Lombardy (Sondrio province) has to offer, but we can recommend a few things!

Pizzochieri – when we first read the description of this dish, it didn’t really appeal to us, but we had it a few times before going to Livigno. It turns out to be great and literally every restaurant make it slightly different! Pizzochieri is pasta made from buckwheat flour, which is popular in northern Italy, with potatoes, cabbage, an indecent amount of butter and melting cheese.

Sciatt – small, deep-fried “dumplings” made from buckwheat flour with beer and cheese. We also saw options with bresaola and ham inside. A great snack with beer!

Polenta and taragna polenta – northern Italy is famous for polenta. Polenta is a porridge made from boiled coarsely ground corn, often with added butter and cheese. It is a filling side dish, and often a meal itself, as polenta is also served as a dish on its own with sauce or stew. Taragna polenta is a variation characteristic of the north, differing from the classic version with the addition of buckwheat flour.

Bitto – DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese produced in the alpine valley of Valtellina. It is only produced in the summer, from cow’s milk, with the addition of 10-20% goat’s milk, which allows the cheese to be aged for up to 10 years. Interestingly, only the cheesemaker knows how long a particular batch can be aged. Bitto is somewhat reminiscent of Emmentaler cheese and works well with pizzochieri (although recipes don’t mention it, we tried it because we had no other cheese and it turned out delicious!).

Bombardino – a drink that was created in 1972 in the Mottolino mountain shelter in Livigno, and is now known and served throughout the Alps (and beyond). It is a warm drink made from eggnog, brandy (or rum), topped with cream. The original version supposedly also contains cinnamon, and sometime variations – coffee. You can buy Bombardino in a bottle in literally every shop in Livigno.

Bresaola – air-dried, salted beef, aged for 2-3 months until it acquires a dark, red color. Bresaola can also be made from horse meat (horse meat is eaten in northern Italy, especially around Verona), pork or deer meat. Bresaola has an excellent, delicate flavor that goes well with mushrooms (you can often find a dish called bresaola e porcini), as well as with rocket and tomatoes – carpaccio with bresaola is often served this way. It also tastes great on pizza and will be loved by anyone who is not a fan of pork ham like prosciutto or intensely flavored salami.

Manfrigole – buckwheat crepes stuffed with local Casera cheese and Bresaola ham. The pancakes are rolled up, then cut into smaller pieces and baked in the form of ‘snails’ with butter. An exquisite choice! Currently, this is our favorite dish from this region.

Zuppa di orzo – a vegetable soup with pearl barley, somewhat like the Polish krupnik. Although it doesn’t originate from the Lombardy region, but from Trentino – South Tyrol, it is served in practically every eatery in Livigno and is a great, warming option for winter days!

winter in livigno
winter in livigno

Where to eat in Livigno? – Winter in Livigno

Bar de Ghet – the most iconic and authentic place on the Livigno map, immediately standing out among luxury shops and restaurants with its retro look and a line forming in front of its doors. Tables are almost always occupied (except during opening hours and after 9 pm), but customers waiting for a table can enjoy a free aperitivo. Aperol-style aperitifs, prosecco, a few other drinks, and ice are displayed on the bar. Although the menu does not include many very local options, the food is really great – we enjoyed both the pasta, pizza, and other dishes very much! An additional advantage, beside atmosphere of a family tavern and excellent service, are low prices.

Tea Borch – found by accident on the first day on the slope, where we ate practically every day (a bit by choice, a bit by chance). Not the worst prices for food on the slope, and very tasty pasta! We tried practically all the pasta options from the menu, and we enjoyed all of them very much, but it’s worth paying attention to the portions – some dishes (like carbonara or pasta al pomodoro) are gigantic, while others (like tortellini) are rather small. An additional advantage is the great view! Unfortunately, this restaurant is located on a black slope, just before the expert section, so we would not recommend it to beginners.

La Grolla – quite tasty pizza and gigantic ice cream desserts. We also managed to try sciatt there, which are small fried balls that we mentioned above.

Ristorante Bar La Baita – delicious steaks and meat in general! We ate a beef steak in gorgonzola sauce (which surprisingly did not dominate the taste of the dish) and venison there. Prices are slightly higher, but still not staggering (we paid around 20 euros for a dish with beef), so it’s worth going there if you feel like eating meat!

Cervo – one of the most recommended (also by locals) and best pubs in Livigno. Usually, a reservation is required, but luckily we managed to get in without one! We tried manfrigole there, which is a local dish consisting of buckwheat pancakes stuffed with Casera cheese and Bresaola ham. The pancakes are rolled up, then cut into smaller pieces and baked in the form of ‘snails’ with butter. It doesn’t sound like much, but it tastes great! The second dish we tried there was pasta with a porcini mushroom sauce – equally exquisite!

Bar Centro Sci Fondo – a simple, typical Italian bar located along the cross-country ski track. You can meet locals there who drop by for a quick coffee at the bar. The prices are affordable, they have quite good sandwiches and tasty pearl barley soup. The desserts are also good, and we recommend trying their brioche with pistachios. Bar Centro is the best place for an aperitivo between 12-14 on a sunny day due to its great location in a sunny spot!

Al Mond Vei – a somewhat more expensive pub where we were tempted to try the pizza. The beautiful, cozy, mountain interior adds charm to this place.

Birrificio 1816 – if you are looking for local craft beers, you’ve come to the right place! Unfortunately, the prices can be staggering, but in Italy, beer is usually more expensive than a glass of wine. We didn’t try the food, although it looked tempting! Their beers can be tasted in many places in Livigno, and you can buy them bottled in stores.

CĂ noa – great appetizers (deer carpaccio and lard), brilliant steaks from tagliata (steak in pieces) to a huge T-bone, orzo soup, and manfrigole are dishes we can easily recommend. You’ll find many other interesting options and a lot of local delicacies there.

Alibi Cafe’ – a great place for an afternoon aperitivo, unfortunately, the sun quickly hides behind the buildings, and the Alibi Cafe terrace empties.

Musta pizza & kebab – probably the cheapest pizza in Livigno, the ingredients are not super high quality, but overall the pizza is tasty. We recommend takeout, as the place itself is not particularly charming.

Fresco – Bistrot e Pizza – a restaurant with an exceptional price-quality ratio, exceptional because the prices, for Livigno, are not exorbitantly high, and the service is on the level of fine dining. Both the appetizers and main courses were really great, but we’re not sure if we recommend the desserts – their descriptions sounded definitely better than they tasted.

Enoteca VINOeCO. – a great selection of wines, both for purchase and to drink on the spot. The number of wines you can taste by the glass is huge, and it’s hard to make a decision! When ordering wine, you’ll get free snacks, and there’s also a menu with snacks that you can order.

Ristorante Pizzeria San Giovanni – quite tasty pizza, which they serve throughout the opening hours of the pub. Other dishes can only be ordered at specific times, and we just happened to be there during siesta time.

Latteria di Livigno – a latteria is nothing else but a creamery! Latteria di Livigno collects milk from local producers and creates real wonders. In their shop (as well as throughout Livigno), you can buy their delicious yogurts and cheeses. On site, you can taste exquisite ice creams – we especially recommend the pistachio and coffee flavors. And if you’re more hungry, step into their restaurant, where they serve piadinas, sandwiches, salads, and boards of their cheeses. Everything is really high quality and delicious!

winter in livigno
winter in livigno
winter in livigno
winter in livigno
winter in livigno
winter in livigno