Seceda and Val di Funes – photography spots in the Dolomites

You have seen it. I guess everyone has. Three pictures from the Dolomites appear in guidebooks, brochures and come back like a boomerang every autumn. White church on the backdrop of forest hills and sharp, rocky peaks. Bent tops like shark fins and vertical walls bathed in red sunset light. Every landscape photographer looked with envy for these scenic vies. Everyone googled and searched for it. And I also did so… until I found. And you know what? These three magical places lie quite close each other. And knowing it, how not to spend the day in the delightful Val di Funes bordered with magnificent peaks of the Odle massif! We start with the “top”: Start is on Seceda!

The Dolomites are the most picturesque mountains we’ve ever been to. Dense forests, green meadows, lakes and narrow peaks sticking above the clouds. Pastures ring in high tones, villages and towns blossom with colours.

Unlike the Swiss Alps, the mountains are full of drama and at the same time fragile. Comparing our Polish Tatra Mountains, well … they are just smaller and tighter. And less available. The Dolomites have it all: hundreds of trails. You can walk nearly in any direction, climb everywhere or just take a cable car. So for the beginning, we have chosen the easy way. Hurry on, we are leaving in 2 minutes.

The Dolomite adventure begins in Val Gardena from the ridge…



No, we do not want to climb this summit. Simply – the approach is not attractive, and several sources call it even boring. At least, such opinions prevail if you want to reach Secede from Urtijëi (Ortisei). So bearing in mind our tight schedule, we get there by a cable car (25 Euros up and down per person) to make the most of the day.

A few minutes. Intermediate station. A few more… and we are exactly a kilometre above the starting point. If it is not impressive. think about the view! Believe my, I am not surprised that the best masters of landscape photography picked this place above all others in the Dolomites.

So we are standing on the edge of a nearly vertical abyss, and we are literally facing the bent tops of Odle: Kleine Fermeda, Fermeda, Sas Mesdi, Sas Rigais and Furchetta. Like an ocean wave shaped and sculptured into a solid rock, just a second before a collapse.

As for pictures – the time is rather poor. At 16:30 there is no beautiful light, so the camera’s matrix must be satisfied just with “landshafts”. I do have some fun with telephoto and filters though. We continue to walk around for a moment looking for a place with the best view to sit and enjoy the moment. Ah, we are finally in the Dolomites!


If you are looking for a challenging uphill walk, try from the north. You can take the trail number 6 – it starts in Rifugio Brogles and finishes on the ridge shown in photos above. Unfortunately, we do not have time for this today. We are heading to Val di Funes.

Val di Funes i St. Maddalena

oraz Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui – the most popular church in Dolomites

Val di Funes lured us with its picturesque chapel standing alone on a wide meadow. Baroque line, white walls and exaggerated decorations from 1744 …. well – all come here to take pictures, not of a chapel, but rather its background on which it stands. The centuries-old building is simply a nice element of the foreground.

The location of this scenery lays in almost the end of the village St. Madalena. And here, on the spot, leaning on a wooden fence near the road (an electric fence, I warn), I meet two other photographers. Oh, this could be expected. Luckily, there is enough space for many tripods, so I can easily set up my gear to take a few pics. Especially now, when the sky and clouds give a fantastic opportunity.

Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui

If you plan to come here with a camera, I recommend the later part of the day, especially the sunset. Ath that time the Odle massif is painted by gold light and its shapes are perfectly visible. The church is beautifully lit as well.

Speaking of photos of St. Madalena, I can tell you to get to the north side of the valley. Best by car. The places from which you can take the best shots are marked on the map at the end. We choose this one located further – at SP163. There we wait for the sunset.

Odle o zachodzie

Yes, the view is beautiful . After 30 minutes the sun is gone. It is too dark to take more shots, and the temperature is falling rapidly… It’s time to look for a place to sleep. Ehm… a place for a tent.

Stars above our tent

We end the day with a pleasant surprise. Joana has found a spot. I fall in love with it, you will too. And actually, I do. In a small valley stands a tiny wooden hut with flowered windows. Small goats, calves and ducks are running around. The farm is run by a lovely, older couple. After a short conversation, we get a permission to set up our tent.

Cold, starry night, moonrise and cow bells… until dawn! We are in the Dolomites!

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