The “Great Dolomite Alps Panoramic Road”, originally built in the fifties as main access road for the olympic games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, connects Bolzano with the winter sports arena in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The road runs from the West across the Passo di Costalunga, also known as Karepass, through the village Pozza in the Fassa valley, Canazei, across the Passo Pordoi, also known as Pordoi Joch, through the village Arabba to Andráz, where it enters the pass road uphill to the Passo di Falzárego.
The road winds up from Andráz through the Val di Limides valley, enframed by the Col di Lana mountain (2.462m) on the left hand side and the Monte Averau mountain (2.648m) on the right hand side. Endless curves and serpentines form a fantastic pass road uphill through evergreen forests. When you have made that trip uphill, you will reach a junction just on top of the pass road, where you can ride left across the Passo di Valparola, where you reach its summit already after 1ml, or you continue straight down to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
This location was a terrible battle field in the Dolomite war and is still a well known war memorial. Therefore you will find beside the hotel and a chapel also a souvenir shop that offers mostly books, knives, pictures and some more stuff that reminds you for the brave soldiers that have lost their lives up here. If you have time and we strongly recommed that you take that time, you should enter the cable car station and take a trip up to the Kl.Lagazuoi (2.779m). The cable car has no post and just swings through free air up to the summit of that mountain.
The top of that cable car is one of the highest points in the Dolomite Alps you can reach without many hours of hiking and offers besides an outstanding panoramic view also insights into the Dolomite war. You will find hundreds of rosty war shell casings, military acessories and bunkers. The whole top of that mountain is just a giant free air war museum open for the public.That was the place where Austrians and Italians have lost more soldiers based on ice and snowstorms than killed by a shotgun.
We leave the summit towards East and follow the sign post Cortina d’Ampezzo. Immediately we dive again into light evergreen forests and cruise through very smooth curves downhill. Approximately 2mls down that road toward Cortina d’Ampezzo you will reach the divert that exits to the right uphill to the famous Passo di Giau and after aditional two curves you have reached the well known winter resort Cortina that is located on a nice plateau valley, where you can spot already at the town entry the old wooden ski jump out of the fifties.
The major content of the evergreen woods are larches, which are no evergreens but form in October time frame an unbelievable colored master piece of Indian summer. Especially in October the sky is deep blue and the flora is multicolor. Great time to ride to Cortina. Theroad surface of the Passo di Falzarego is all time know as good since this road has to carry the complete main traffic from Bolzano up to Corina d’Ampezzo.