Livigno is a lovely town located in Italian Alps, 15km south from Swiss border. The town is positioned 1816 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains. Lago di Livigno (Livigno Lake) tops up the beautiful scenery from the north.
Livigno is a paradise for snowboarders, skiers, mountain bikers and shopaholics. The town enjoys a special tax status as a duty free area. Unfortunately for visitors, there is Customs checkpoint on the way back so it is advisable to check a duty free allowance before departure.
How to get there
You can get to Livigno from airports located in Zurich, Innsbruck, Milan or Bergamo. We flew to Bergamo from Dublin. If you travel from Bergamo then you can board a train, shuttle bus or rent a car. Public train / bus connection is the cheapest one but takes a lot of time. Shuttle bus from the airport to Livigno leaves daily at 2 pm and leaves Livigno at 7am on the way back. Unfortunately the hours might be inconvenient for many and the trip is quite expensive – €60 per person one way. We rented Opel Mokka car from Sicily by Car, with full insurance (5 days) at a cost of €100 plus €40 to refuel. The distance between Bergamo Airport and Livigno is about 200 km in total. Most of it is easy to drive until you reach Bormio town where a winding road starts to climb up the mountains for the remaining 35 km of the drive. It is still quite wide and well maintained road but you may need tire chains if snow prevails. Do not let your Sat Nav guide you through the shortest road of Passo Mortirolo in the winter time. This is a shortcut that goes through the high mountains with narrow roads, hairpin turns and can be quite dangerous to drive if opened at all. There are few parking areas in Livigno where you can leave your car and many hotels have their own parking spaces.
How to pick hotel
Livigno is not a typical small ski village. Public bus transport is well organized and also free of charge. The city center is a Via Plan where all shops, restaurants, bars and some hotels are located. You can easily find a map of Livigno on the internet. There are many hotels to suit every taste / wallet but make yourself familiar with a particular hotel location to avoid disappointment. If you travel with kids or you are a beginner skier / snowboarder, there is a fantastic place with many blue slopes near Via Ostaria, with great après ski area and kinder gardens. If you want to use the famous Carosello 3000 part of the mountain for most of your time, you should consider booking a hotel in Saroch area. If you want to use both parts of the mountains – Mottolino and Carosello 3000 – and you would like to be in the centre of après ski world, you should consider a hotel in the city centre – Centro area i.e. Via Bondi, Pienz, Tagllieda, Crosal, Plan, Ostaria. We booked Hotel Montanina located in the heart of Livigno – a walking distance from the Mottolino gondola and with bus stop only 200 m away for the hotel. The hotel is old and simple but we did not have any reservations about its cleanness or amenities. Its staff was very friendly and did their best to communicate with us in English. They made our stay as pleasant as possible. I also like that vintage décor in the hotel. The Montanina offers good continental breakfast but we did not try their restaurant for a dinner. Wi-Fi connection was very good. The hotel offers heated ski lockers but most of them can hold one snowboard only so ask for two standard or one big locker if available.
Dining in Livigno
There are plenty restaurants in Livigno but most of them belong to hotels and food is just okay. We had a dinner in Via Vai Hotel on Via Ostaria – food was decent but we would not come back again. Restaurants are not too expensive – more or less the same as in Ireland. If you only want to grab a quick lunch try Bar-Caffe il Dopolavoro on Via Pienz. For coffee with a cake try Café Margherita on Via Plan. If you want a proper dinner I would recommend you to try Paprika Restaurant on Via Plan. All in all, we have a different taste but dining choice in Livigno and its slopes is vast so you won’t be disappointed. There was one restaurant that stood out – Pasta House in Camanel Di Planon, on the Mottolino side of the mountains. Located on the upper floor of a mountain hut, the chalet restaurant offers absolutely delicious dishes and cozy interiors. Ground level is filled with DJ’s music. An outside Ferrari wine bar creates that real party vibe. That place has a real unique style and I would consider it being the best place in the whole of Livigno. Don’t miss it! You can get there even if you are not a skier – just use a Teola Pianoni Bassi lift. The chalet staff organizes evening dinner once a week and booking is required.
Slopes - Mottolino area
We all come to Livigno to have plenty of white fun on its slopes and I can promise, you will have a lot of it. This is the place for skiers / snowboarders of every level. You can find plenty of blue runs close to the village. Two main ski areas Mottolino and Carosello 3000 are located on the opposite sides of the valley and are not directly connected with each other. There are buses that connect all slopes but from my experience, I would recommend you using whole Mottolino ski slopes on one day and then switch to Carosello 3000 on another day. There is no point in wasting your time and traveling between them two on a single day. You can find snowparks, sprint tracks and off-piste on both ski areas. Livigno has free ride policy which supports off-piste skiing including avalanche warning board. It is hard to compare both areas because both have something special to offer. My hubby who covered vast majority of tracks on both sides praised Mottolino for off-piste rides and snowparks and Carosello 3000 for snowparks. In his opinion Mottolino was more interesting with curvy, narrow, very fast slopes with part of them going through a forest. Mottolino slopes are in general red with some black and many off-piste tracks. There is only one blue, very long slope that starts on top of the M.Della Neve (2785 m) and finishes at the bottom of the main Mottolino gondola but you can join the track also using other lifts. Be advised, there are few flat / uphill stretches on that blue run that require decent speed to avoid walking. The main gondola brings you to the M’eating Point Restaurant. From there you can join other slopes but don’t forget to ski down to Camanel di Planon for a tasty lunch. Kosmo Restaurant located at the bottom of the main gondola could be a great place for après ski party. Unfortunately Wi-Fi was slow in the whole area of Mottolino.
Slopes - Carosello 3000 area
Carosello 3000 area is more popular among skiers and snowboarders resulting in longer queues to the main gondola station. We had to wait for about 20 minutes to get to the main gondola – another point why we liked Mottolino – no queues at all. The gondola is an ancient make – very small, 6 people barely fit in, with only one space for a snowboard outside. You may have no other choice and try to force it inside – shame, my board barely fitted in. Someone with longer board may have a problem. Gondola slows down midway but if your intention is to go to the very top (2797 m) don’t disembark at this point because you will have to queue again and most cable cars are full at that level. Carosello 3000 offers good combination of chairlifts allowing you to move around the whole ski area. The runs are in general wide, long red and black with opportunities to try off-piste, speed tracks and snowparks. There is one, very long blue slope that starts from Vetta Blesaccia (2796m) and goes down to the Livigno ski village. Panoramic view on the highest point is simply amazing and you can enjoy it even if you are not a skier from Carosello 3000 dining area. You can also find here deck chairs to enjoy the sun.
The dining area is quite big with snack bar offering tasty oven baked pizza, self service restaurant and La Stuvetta Spaghetteria. Wi-Fi connection works really well here.
Few more photos
Livigno offers freeride excursions with helicopter trips that reach virgin slopes located away from standard tracks. You can also choose between snowshoeing, ski touring, fat biking, cross country skiing, aquagrande fitness and pool, snow karting nearby a frozen lake, shopping and dining – there is no time for boredom. We will definitely go back to Livigno one day.
For more descriptive overview of Livigno check out my GoPro video (my previous post).