The Dolomites are one of the most popular places in Europe for travelers who love nature and mountain activities. The Dolomites are part of the Alps and consist of 18 peaks with the highest peak being Marmolada at 3,343 meters. In August 2009 the mountain range was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it has some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes with steep cliffs and deep green valleys. The Dolomite Alps stretch across northern Italy, through the provinces of South Tyrol, Belluno and Trento. This magical place is a famous winter destination as thousands of snow lovers from all over the world come to enjoy luxurious winter holidays in the ski resorts of Cortina, Arabba – Marmolada, San Pellegrino and Civetta.
When summer comes and the snow melts, a new life awakens in the Dolomites. In summer, guests can enjoy wonderful activities such as hiking, cycling and mountaineering in a beautiful setting of contrasts, with lush flowering valleys, fairytale lakes and towering sharp gray cliffs. Undoubtedly the Dolomites are the jewel of northeastern Italy that will enchant you any time you are there, either climbing the peaks or gazing at the landscape through a traditional village.
What To See...
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Tre Cime di Lavaredo, these beautiful peaks of the Dolomites, are located in the heart of the homonymous Natural Park, surrounded by a unique landscape. You can discover their beauty up close by hiking and cycling tours during the summer months, or skiing on the 200-kilometer panoramic slopes in the heart of the Dolomites. All paths lead to the three peaks! In fact, there are many possibilities to reach these impressive rocks. The shortest and easiest route is the one that starts from the Auronzo shelter. In this shelter there is a large parking space, where you can leave your car or motorcycle and from there you will enjoy an easy hike of 6 km. An alternative but really impressive hike starts from the Fischleintal valley in Sexten, which is a bit more demanding in terms of your endurance, as the distance is long, about 23 km, and includes quite a climb.
The attractive small town of Sexten (Sesto) in Italy is located in the province of Bolzano on the border with Austria, in the beautiful quiet countryside. Alpine climbers and hikers love Sexten, as it is home to the most important part of the Dolomites, the Three Peaks (Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Drei Zinnen) which create a unique landscape around the village.
Lago di Braies
Pragser Wildsee or Lago di Braies, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a fairytale natural lake in the Prags Valley, much loved by locals and tourists from all over the world. It is one of the largest and deepest lakes you will find in the Dolomites, where you can enjoy wonderful walks, cycling or romantic boating in the emerald waters of Lake Braies. This magnificent Alpine lake is located at an altitude of 1469 meters above sea level with a maximum depth of 36 meters. For those who are interested swimming in the clear waters of the lake, must be quite courageous as whenever you visit the lake, winter or summer, its waters are quite cold with a recorded maximum surface temperature of 14 degrees. In winter the surface of the lake is usually covered by ice and snow where in combination with the wonderful landscape, it offers to visitors unique images and senses.
The majestic Lake Misurina is located 1756 meters above sea level in a beautiful natural landscape, in the heart of the Dolomites. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as very close to the lake, there are several famous peaks such as Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cadini, Sorapiss and Cristallo. The perimeter of the lake is 2.6 km long, while the maximum depth is 5 meters. Around the lake you will find several hotels that will offer you luxurious accommodation that will relax and calm you. The area is considered an oasis of fresh healthy air, as it is famous all over the world for its special microclimate. Lake Misurina is the ideal base for excursions and activities of all kinds, from skiing to some of the many snow slopes you will find in winter, relaxing walks in the meadows and pine forests to the most demanding high-altitude hikes.
The community of Villnöß is located in South Tyrol, northern Italy, where beautiful little traditional villages are waiting to be discovered. In the Villnöss valley at the heart of the Dolomites you will find peace and relaxation in a wonderful natural landscape with green meadows, dense forests, rustic mountain huts, impressive mountain peaks and wonderful villages. In this beautiful area, there is the picturesque village of Funes, which is one of the most famous places around there, as it has managed to keep the traditional characteristics of the settlement. The imposing Geisler peaks not only shape the landscape, but make Funes an ideal destination for hikers and climbers. A walk is enough to relax from the routine of the city, admiring the most enchanting natural landscape you will ever see in Europe.
Ortisei is a wonderful village that you will discover many beauties and you will surely fall in love. The village is famous for its artistically decorated and carved wooden sculptures, which have been created by the skilled hands of wood carving families for several generations now. The traditionally decorated buildings, such as hotels and residences give a unique character to the village that makes it stand out as the most beautiful village in the area. In the center of Ortisei you will enjoy wonderful walks as the pedestrian area connects the church of Saint Ulrich with the church of Antonius and is described as the most beautiful shopping street of the Dolomites. The village of Ortisei is a great choice for the extra reason that you have access to the Alpe di Siusi by cable car, as the main station is right next to you.
Alpe di Siusi
The most beautiful and largest alpine meadow of the Dolomites, located in the province of South Tyrol, Italy, and is an important tourist attraction, especially for skiing and hiking. The beauty of Seiser Alm or Alpe di Siusi is stunning and the best way to experience the ultimate in nature is with activities such as cycling, hiking or even skiing and snowboarding on the snowy slopes in winter. The place is suitable for family holidays because it combines organized activities and ski lessons for children, but also nearby excursions to the surrounding villages such as Kastelruth, Völs am Schlern and Tiers am Rosengarten. The summer scenery in the Alpe di Siusi looks like pictures of descriptions of Paradise on earth. Fluffy green hills with scattered small clusters of embracing trees, huge grassy meadows, combined with the legendary view of the Dolomites, excites nature lovers and photographers from all over the world to be there. You can reach it by car or bus to the cable car starting point which will take you to the largest plateau in Europe, the Alpe di Siusi. The cost of a single return ticket starts at 18 euros and is adjusted depending on the use, family members and various packages of offers for those who stay for holidays there.
The small picturesque village of Castelrotto or Kastelruth, is the most famous destination in the Dolomites. Castelrotto consists of the main town, as well as 11 other villages, which are distributed throughout the area. The village has many wonderful places and one of them is the church of St. Peter and Paul, with the imposing bell tower, of which the inhabitants of Castelrotto are so proud. The various altitude levels included in the municipality make Castelrotto a holiday destination for every season of the year. In winter it turned into a ski resort and is an ideal destination for lovers of the snowy landscape. Whether you are going to explore by sled or hiking, the area has an excellent network of trails that will please all active visitors.
The town of Cortina d’Ampezzo is located in the Veneto region of northern Italy, in an alpine valley surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Dolomite Alps. The beauty of the Ampezzo Valley attracts visitors from all over the world at any time of the year, and is the ultimate destination especially for winter holidays. Like many other places in northern Italy, Cortina d’Ampezzo is famous for its ski slopes, as it is an excellent winter resort for snow activities. The area is truly magical and ideal in all seasons to enjoy hiking and cycling in the Dolomites Natural Park which is rich in lakes and rivers. In the city center you will enjoy beautiful walks as well as shopping. Traditional or modern accommodation will offer you unique moments of relaxation in this beautiful city that will surely be unforgettable.
Selva di val Gardena
The small town of Selva di val Gardena is located in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano which is a popular tourist destination for summer and winter. Geographically the city is located at the end of the Val Gardena valley at an altitude of 1,563 m just below the Sella mountain range, in a beautiful location, surrounded by stunning nature and the unique mountain ranges of the Dolomite Alps. You will find countless hotels, cottages, traditional restaurants and ski schools, which especially in winter will help you improve your skills in the sport. Winter sports enthusiasts benefit from the central location because Selva is part of the Sella Ronda, the ski slope around Mount Sella. The most active vacationers can explore the Dolomites by hiking or mountain biking, as you will find wonderful trails leading to the mountains through forests and meadows. The busy center has many shops, bars and restaurants. Here you can take a nice walk for shopping and then relax with a refreshing aperitif or aromatic coffee and enjoy the panorama of the Dolomites. Selva di Gardena is a true highlight of every season.
When you are in Giau Pass you will find that it is one of the most impressive mountain passes in Europe. Giau Pass is located at an altitude of 2,236 meters in the center of a huge mountain meadow and connects the Livinallongo valley with Cortina d’Ampezzo. The incomparable beauty of the scenery will really captivate you. The best time we suggest you to be there is summer, when the snow has melted and the huge green meadows with winding roads are revealed to compose the beautiful landscape. Choose Giau Pass to experience unique hikes, with a variety of trails, available depending on the desired level of difficulty. The surrounding mountain landscape offers magnificent views, from the flora to the wildlife and the wonderful peaks of the Dolomites. You will definitely not get disappointed! It is a popular destination for cyclists, motorcyclists and skiers, as the Giau Pass, along with other crossings in the area, is ideal for winter sports.
In our opinion, it’s probably the most romantic village we have ever visited. The peaks of the Odle Mountains and the church of Santa Maddalena are the symbols of the Val di Funes valley. The village of Santa Maddalena is located at the back of the valley at 1,339 m and has about 370 inhabitants. At the foot of Ruefen, rises the church of Santa Maddalena where, along with the peaks of the Odle Mountains in the background, is one of the most popular photographs of the Dolomites. Just a few kilometers from Santa Maddalena, there is the Zannes mountain meadow, which is a starting point for many hikes and mountaineering. It is definitely a great place to discover the flora and wildlife of the Dolomites, but also to enjoy various activities with the family, all seasons. Surrounded by the beautiful mountain landscape of the Dolomites with its enchanting peaks, the old Ranui Hof is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauties of life in one of the most beautiful valleys of South Tyrol, the Val di Funes. Alpine meadows and forests surrounding the shelter, will make your vacation an unforgettable experience in harmony with Nature.
The northern part of Italy, borders with 4 beautiful countries, France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. From the Dolomites region the closest excursions worth doing are in Slovenia and Austria. Take advantage of the fact that you are so close to these wonderful countries, with nearest the country of Austria where from some parts of Italy, you can be there in less than 1 hour. More specifically we recommend Innsbruck, a city in western Austria and capital of the federal state of Tyrol, which is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the whole country. The city is in a great location and very close to the famous Brenner Pass, which is one of the most important roads in Europe for travelers. Innsbruck is about half an hour away from the border with Italy and Germany and is considered the best destination to start your exploration of the magical world of the Alps!
An alternative choice is Slovenia and especially Ljubljana, where you will be there in about 2 and a half hours from the Italian border. Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and is located in the central part of the country. It is one of the largest cities in Slovenia and is famous for its liveliness and greenery. Both residents and visitors from all over the world enjoy this city which is so friendly to them. It has everything that other major European capitals have, such as large parks for relaxation, a wide variety of shops in the city center, luxury hotels, restaurants and cafes.
What To Eat
In the Dolomites you will enjoy wonderful tasty experiences, with a rich variety of traditional dishes that will be unforgettable. In addition to the classic Italian food that is already famous for its flavor, we will suggest you some local dishes that we loved and you should definitely try if you are in the area. Tris di Canederli are three balls of bread with a different mix of ingredients that are usually served as soup or without broth over pasta or risotto. The flavors you will usually encounter are with bacon, spinach, and depending on the region you will find creative variations of the traditional recipe in combination with local products.
Casunziei is about wonderful handmade ravioli with spinach or meat sprinkled with savory parmesan. Another dish we always choose is the Gnocchi potato or pumpkin, served with smoked traditional cheese and bacon.
For sweet treats, you should try Apfelstrudel and Kaiserschmarrn. Apfelstrudel is a traditional apple pie that is usually served hot with whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Kaiserschmarrn is ideal for breakfast or lunch after hiking. It really is the most delicious delicacy we have tasted in our travels for so many years. Kaiserschmarrn is a fluffy caramelized pancake made of flour, eggs, sugar, salt and milk, baked in butter. It is usually accompanied by apple puree or some other fruit jam, raisins, walnuts or almonds and powdered sugar.
How to move
The Dolomites are located in the northeastern part of the country so it is easy to set as a starting point one of the nearest major cities in Italy such as Venice, Verona, Bolzano or via Austria from Innsbruck, Salzburg and Lienz. So you can plan your flight or arrival in general, by other means such as train and bus to one of the above cities, and from there rent a car to start the most beautiful road trip in Europe. The flexibility and comfort that the car offers you is incomparable by any other means for such a trip.
Where to stay
In the Dolomites you will find a wide variety of excellent accommodations that you really will not know which one to choose. For your stay you can select between luxury hotels that several of them provide extra services, such as spa, thermal baths and ski lessons or traditional apartments and alpine huts in the countryside, fully equipped for the daily needs of the whole family. The cost of accommodation in the Dolomites is high due to the large number of tourists in winter and summer. Regarding the cost of accommodation, an average price ranges from 50 to 250 euros per night, without this meaning that you will not find cheaper or more expensive depending on the season and the facilities of the accommodation. You can make your bookings via Booking.com
Dolomites Through Our Eyes...
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