For this Alpine Italy & Slovenia Photo Tour, we have combined our favorite impressive alpine locations from our previous Dolomite and Slovenia Photo Tours into a single epic 8-day mountain photography extravaganza. For those of you who have participated in our Slovenia/Croatia and Dolomites photo tours in previous years, you know how stunningly beautiful these alpine areas are and how much we love them for their culture and impressive photogenic glory. Another big bonus of shooting in these locations is that they’re not over-touristed like other areas in Europe.
Although at times we will be as high as 9,000 feet up in the Alps with 360 views of mountain peaks and alpine valleys, this is NOT a hiking tour. We reach our amazing photo locations via ski lifts or we drive our vans up to the top. Some uphill walking is required but it is minimal and you will have time to walk at your own pace.
We begin this tour in the heart of the Dolomites and spend the first two nights in the tiny village of San Pietro in the Val di Funes. From here we have easy access to the iconic scenes of the Santa Magdalena and St. Johan churches with the breathtaking backdrop of the Odle/Geisler Massif. We will also drive to Val Gardena where the gondola ski lifts take us up to 9,000 feet and some of the best alpine vistas in the Dolomites.
Next, we head to the peaceful Alpe di Siusi. Our comfortable hotel is located on the highest alpine meadow in Europe and is dotted with a myriad of wildflowers and tiny wooden storage huts with the proud Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto mountains in the background. The plateau is a pedestrian-only area, so once we arrive at our hotel we park underground and spend our time roaming the mountain paths in search of stunning compositions.
We then head to the west to Cortina in the Italian Dolomites. From here we have access to the magnificent Tre Cime di Lavareda for a sunset photo shoot.
From Cortina, we head a bit to the very NE of Italy for a ski gondola ride up to a tiny bucolic hamlet on the top of Monte Lussari where we spend the night in a newly remolded alpine hotel. Jure, the owner, and innkeeper, plays the accordion for us after we have captured amazing images at sunset and at the blue hour. Polka dancing to Jure’s fun music has occurred.
And last, but certainly not least, we head to the SE into Slovenia for our last two nights of this tour to Lake Bled. This area is rich in photo ops, especially the gorgeous evening blue hour setups on Lake Bled and the beautiful Chapel of St. Primoz.
Hospitality is wonderful in this part of Europe. Hotels skillfully combine traditional architecture with modern conveniences and design. The food, wine, spirits, and desserts are to die for.
As you can probably tell, Magrit and I are very excited about this new Alpine Italy & Slovenia Photo Tour and hope that you will join us.
This is a sample itinerary that is subject to change depending on weather and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the itinerary are always made to provide the best possible experience for our clients.
June 1, 2023
Plan on spending this evening near Venice airport or in Venice proper. This will allow you to get some rest before the tour begins and also ensure that you arrive on time for the following day’s departure.
In your own interest, please do not fly to Venice on the day of our departure and allow yourself some time to get over jetlag.
June 2, 2023
Our group meets at the Best Western Titian Inn at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 9 am for the beginning of the Alpine Italy & Slovenia Photo tour.
We will depart for the Val di Funes and the village of San Pietro, our home base for the next 2 nights. This location will give us easy access to iconic photo opportunities in Santa Magdelena and the Seceda out of Val Gardena.
After the hotel check-in, we will meet as a group, get to know each other, check our equipment, and go over the agenda for the next 8 days.
Late afternoon photo session in nearby Santa Magdalena.
Early breakfast and then departure for Val Gardena. We will ride two ski-lift gondolas up to the top of the Seceda. From the mountain-top restaurant, we have about a 20-minute uphill walk to the photo location. Shooting and lunch before descending and off to explore the delightful small town of Brixen. Possible late afternoon photo session back at Santa Magdalena or a side trip over Passo Erbe to photograph the chapel of Santa Barbara in the village of Wengen.
June 4 & 5
Before breakfast and packing for our next location, we will do a morning photo session of the small chapel of St. Johann in Santa Magdalena. Not too early, leaving the hotel at 7 am and back by 8:30 am for breakfast.
En route to our next location, the Alpe di Siusi, we will stop in the delightful village of Castelrotto. Photography strolling and lunch before heading up to the hotel for the next two nights.
We will have two days to explore this wonderful area with our cameras. A sunrise shoot followed by a delightful alpine breakfast, perhaps a nap under your down comforter before heading out to explore the plateau. We will have a rustic delicious lunch with the opportunity to sample local food products at a high-mountain Refugio. The morning sunrises(always keeping our fingers crossed for mist and fog) and the evening “alpenglow” are amazing up here. Magrit and I have found this to be one of the most serene and beautiful regions of all we have ever visited and photographed.
Today we make our way to the east, over a couple of mountain passes to Cortina. En route, we will stop at Passo Falzarego and ride the gondola up to Refugio Lagauzoui for some amazing photo opportunities and a delicious-rustic mountain lunch on the deck of the refugio. And then back down to the vans for the drive to Cortina. Late afternoon and sunset photo session of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It is about a one-hour walk and a 400-foot elevation gain to this photo location.
10 am departure to the very NE section of Italy. Near the town of Tarvisio, we ride a ski gondola lift up to the wonderful mountaintop hamlet of Monte Lussari and a mountain refugio-hotel that is unlike any we have experienced. Newly remodeled during the pandemic, this place is one of our favorites to spend the night, anywhere, period! After dinner, our gracious inn-keeper, Jure, plays the accordion and sings traditional folk songs. Dancing is optional.
This mountain top location allows us the opportunity to photograph the evening and morning alpenglow and blue hour scenes of the village. We often get afternoon thunderstorms up here and if so, the pre-sunset photo ops can be stunning using a long lens directed towards the backlite gradated mountain ridges.
June 8 & 9
11 am departure for a roughly 1-hour drive north into Slovenia to the charming village of Bled on the shores of Lake Bled where we will spend the next two nights. This is one of our favorite places of all our travels . . . very tranquil and beautiful. The highest mountain in Slovenia, the mysterious snow-peaked Triglav, can be seen near our hotel.
We will have two evening blue hour sessions in the area and one full day to explore this magical location.
10 am departure for our journey back to the Venice airport with a stop at Predjama for a photo session and lunch.
What is included in The Alpine Italy & Slovenia Photo Tour?
8 nights lodging
Daily van transportation to photo locations
All entrance fees and tolls as well as ground transportation except for transport to and from the airport.
Jim’s & Magrit’s expertise in guiding and photographic instruction
Level of physical difficulty on our Alpine Italy & Slovenia Photo Tour: 3 out of 5
This photo tour involves walking for distances up to 1.7 miles. The walk to the Tre Cime photo location is 1.7 miles with a 400-foot elevation gain, which takes Magrit & me about 45 minutes. The walk from the top of the Seceda lift to the photo location is 0.25 miles with a 300-foot elevation gain, which takes us about 15 minutes. Of course, we are all at different levels of fitness. For us, these walks are quite easy and we realize for others they might be more of a challenge. We therefore always encourage our participants to go at their own pace and enjoy the experience. We will be there for you. Also, any of these walks are optional. There are plenty of other photo ops.
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Personal Items and Weather Conditions for our Alpine Italy & Slovenia Photo Tour
Temperature range for this time of year: 54 to 66º F
Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: 3 ”
Please pack light, as we will not have room in the van for more than one piece of luggage plus a camera bag for each of us. Your main luggage should be no larger than 26 inches. Magrit & I both travel for 4-5 months with 25-26 inch Travel Pro Max Lite luggage. Most airlines are now charging for more than one piece of checked baggage. Keep in mind that laundry service is usually available.
Two pairs of shoes: One sturdy pair for in the field where you can get wet and muddy. One pair for evenings.
Lightweight rain jacket and rain pants. You don’t have to go all out here, but if we have some wet weather and it is not raining too hard we can still go out and get some good photos. * I really suggest a rain jacket if nothing else. We have worn cut-open Hefty bags as skirts and they work great when we did not have rain pants. The rain gear will keep you dry when walking in tall, wet grass.
Small umbrella for rain and shade. I use an umbrella often to block the sun from hitting the front element of my lens. Black is the best.
Sweater or light jacket for a possible chill on early morning shoots. A light layer underneath a rain jacket can be surprisingly warm. Magrit and I both carry lightweight down vests and jackets. We also carry stocking caps and gloves as well as rain protection for our cameras.