Livigno is the envy of many resorts when it comes to food and drink, with a vibrant apres ski scene and a wealth of restaurants, all of which are more competitively priced than restaurants elsewhere in The Alps due to the tax free status afforded to the resort. This remote mountain community is composed of 4 inter-connected villages, giving mile upon mile of streets that are lined with great eateries and fun watering holes. As the crow flies it is only a few miles to the exclusive Swiss resorts of Klosters and St Moritz, but Livigno is a stark contrast to these with its emphasis on good old fashioned apres ski in an unpretentious and inexpensive environment. Expense is of course relative, and there’s no such thing as a cheap ski holiday, so don’t go there expecting to pay the same for a beer as you would in Romania!
It may not be well known as one of the biggest party resorts in the Alps Livigno actually has the highest number of bars of any ski resort in the world, with almost 140 in total, streets ahead of Vail in second place with 111! The resort doesn’t feel like it has a high concentration of bars though as they are spread out along the valley, and it is worth noting that getting from one end of Livigno to the other is definitely a taxi job after the shuttle buses stop at around 7pm. As in most resorts apres ski starts at around 5pm with nice bars at the foot of all the main ski areas, but most bars don’t tend to liven up until later, probably reflecting the fact that the Italians love their food and tend to save their energy for dinner. Be sure to try the local speciality drink ‘Bombardino’, made from equal parts of advocaat, black coffee and whisky, to warm up after a cold day on the slopes. There are no shortage of late opening venues if you still have the energy to party until dawn!
Restaurants both on and off the slopes are generally very traditional and make use of local recipes that have been passed down through generations. There are over 60 restaurants in resort and it’s difficult to find a truly bad one, but the fact that they are strung out along the valley can limit your choice to the ones closest to your accommodation if you are to avoid paying taxi fares. Whilst there are a few upmarket places to eat, often connected to the big hotels, the majority of restaurants offer big portions and low prices free from the shackles of VAT that hamper restaurateurs in other resorts. For a true local culinary experience don’t forget to wash your meal down with a few glasses of local full-bodied Valtellina or Grumello wine.