Bormio, the wellness mountain
Popular for its hot springs
and skiing, the Alpine playground of Bormio is nestled at the foot of the
Ortles-Cevedale mountain range and on the doorstep of the Stelvio National
Appropriately dubbed the ‘Magnificent Land’, mountains really are the essence of Bormio, which sprawls out across a natural amphitheatre, soaking up the sun’s rays in the heart of Alta Valtellina. It’s embraced on almost all sides by awe-inspiring peaks from the Rhaetian Alps, which offer the chance for enjoyment all year round.
Skiing takes centre-stage in winter, and the city has hosted iconic events like rounds of the World Cup and other international races on its pistes.
Without a carpet of snow on the mountains, Bormio’s 600 km-worth of trails set in the lush vegetation of the Stelvio National Park step into the role of protagonist – the higher you go, the more these open up into pastures, glaciers, and peaks. But it’s amongst the trees where you’ll encounter wildlife; the guttural roars of stags resounding through the forest each autumn are certainly memorable.
It is not just hiking that is excellent here. Whatever your sport, Bormio has it covered: there’s an extensive green oasis with 9 holes to satisfy golf lovers, while cyclists can test their legs on the mythical climbs of the Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo, where the Giro d’Italia’s chase for the pink jersey always heats up.
After all the exertion, there’s no better place to relax than in one of Bormio’s three spas: QC Terme Bagni Nuovi, QC Terme Bagni Vecchi, and Bormio Terme, fed by the nine thermal springs above the town, which were mentioned back in the Roman times by philosopher Pliny the Elder and scholar Cassiodorus.
When hunger strikes, you’ll be well rewarded by platefuls of pizzoccheri, sciatt, bresaola, polenta, various cheeses, and bisciöla. Pick a table somewhere in the old town and settle in – don’t forget to round off your meal with a glass of the local spirit Braulio.
You can’t leave Bormio without visiting its centre, walking around its little lanes and admiring the historic buildings, particularly the 17th-century Palazzo de Simoni that has been home to the Museo Civico since 1962. A town that’s rich in history and culture, Bormio makes a thing of celebrating its long-standing traditions, such as the Pasquali, a parade of carts laden with local artisan wares to welcome the Easter