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Skiing holidays in Livigno

A great destination for the winter season (and all year round)

Livigno (pronounced Livin-yo) is the perfect place for your skiing holidays and for your winter getaway. It is located high up on the Italian Alps, about 6000 ft above sea level. Its slopes climb to almost 9000 ft, which means Livigno has usually plenty of natural snow, instead of artificial.

The village, small and quaint, is also an amazing shopping hub, with plenty of designer stores. Here, you can buy everything for cheaper, as Livigno is a duty free town. Adored by the young also for its nightlife, Livigno is perfect for both beginner and proficient skiers. It features easy slopes as well as harder routes. 

A typical home in Livigno
Sunny Livigno: the town is not beautiful only during the winter season (by Ghisolabella at wikimedia.org)

Discovering the town of Livigno

Born as a tiny farming community, Livigno is a town in the Lombardia province of Sondrio, in Valtellina, with a population of just above 6000. Located high up in the Dolomites, it is a lovely destination all year round. But especially during the winter season, when it is a heaven for skiers,  young snowboarders, and everyone up for a great holiday.

 At about 6000 ft of altitude (1816 mt), Livigno is one of the highest municipalities in Italy.

Being a duty-free zone

Livigno has been allowed to apply an old law (promulgated in 1910) thanks to which commercial entities do not need to apply VAT on their goods. The high town was difficult to reach due to its altitude. Until 1953, it remained entirely isolated from the rest of the world for the entire winter season. Even though this is no longer the case (today you can reach it through the Passo del Foscagno), the area has maintained this duty-free status, which helped increasing its popularity.

Livigno is a lively spot both during the winter season and during the summer: in the warmer months, people appreciate the coolness of its climate and the beauty of its landscape. In fact, it’s often compared to Tibet. However, when mentioning Livigno, visitors think of ski.

Skiing in Livigno

Skiing holidays in Livigno offer great activities for both beginners and intermediates, both boarders and skiers. The town has modern ski lifts and maintained ski trails. While retaining the traditional rustic character. 

The ski area is situated on the sun-drenched side of the Lombardia Raetian Alps, not far from the Swiss border. It is particularly popular with British skiers and snowboarders, many of whom return every year.

In Winter, there are traditional fairs like the Ghibinèt, a sort of “trick or treat” taking place on the 6th of January, or the Carnàl, the Carnival, a way to celebrate a typically Italian occasion differently, surrounded by the magic of snow.

In September, Livigno is home to the Torneo Internazionale di Scacchi (Livigno Chess Open), an international chess competition organized by the local chess association. It attracts dozens of participants from all over the world. If you’d like to challenge yourself, you may head to Livigno in July and join the Stralivigno, a competitive international half-marathon.

Livigno under the snow
Livigno is a great destination for a skiing holiday (by Marcin Sulikowski at wikimedia.org)

How to get there

The best airports to fly to are Zürich (3 hours away), Milan Bergamo (3 hours), Milan Linate (3 1/2 hours), Milan Malpensa (4 hours) or Munich (4 1/2 hours). If you decide to fly to Zürich, you can catch the “snow-train”, a charming way to begin your holidays: it rides through the Swiss and Italian Alps, and leaves you in Zernez, a village close to Livigno, where you can catch one of the many shuttle buses to Livigno itself.

If you, on the other hand, decide to fly to Milan, your best option is to catch a shuttle bus from the airport to Milan Centrale train station, then take the train to Prego, the closest train station on Italian soil to town. From here, you can again catch a shuttle bus.

Pizzoccheri are a typical dish of Valtellina, eaten with potatoes, butter and melted cheese, in a thick soup
Pizzoccheri are a typical dish of Valtellina, eaten with potatoes, butter and melted cheese, in a thick soup (by Nnaluci at wikimedia.org)

Shopping in Livigno

As mentioned, the town is a tax free haven, so it’s a perfect place to get some Italian wine or spirits on the cheap. As a very popular tourist destination, Livigno has some of the nicest stores, carrying amazing brands and loads of designers. If you want to get an idea of all that is available, you can check out the dedicated page on the Livigno website, where you will also get plenty of details on duty free allowance.

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