Ultimate Dolomites Travel Guide: Where to Sleep, Hike & Experience!
Ultimate Dolomites Travel Guide: Where to Sleep, Hike & Experience!

Ultimate Dolomites Travel Guide: Where to Sleep, Hike & Experience!

It has been far too long since we’ve created a Travel Guide! The wait is worth it though because we’ve created an AMAZING Dolomites Travel Guide! From what we saw and experienced, you really can’t go wrong because everything is breathtakingly beautiful! However, if you’re like us, you want to make the most out of your time. We spent a lot of time researching the most picturesque places to visit prior to our trip, and it was absolutely worth it because we LOVED everything we did! We’ve done the work for you with this travel guide and we hope you enjoy! Let us know if the comments below if you ended up visiting the Dolomites! 🙂

4 DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1: Tre Cime di Lavaredo + Exploring Auronzo & Riding the FunBob 

  • (if you have an extra day we recommend visiting Lago di Sorapiss for Day 2)
  • Stay the night at Cortina D’Ampezzo

Day 2: Lago Di Braies + Sassolungo/Langkofe 

  • Stay the night at Ortisei, Italy 

Day 3: Seceda + Alpe di Suise

  • Stay the night at Ortisei, Italy 

Day 4: Val di Funes & Adolf Munkel Trail 

*This itinerary does not account for the day you will arrive/leave

Seen above is the shortened version itinerary. We stayed 2 nights in Cortina D’Ampezzo and 2 nights in Ortisei. We would recommend the same if you follow our travel guide because of the proximity to the main sights. We drove from our home in Germany and it was about 7 hours. We decided that we would start with Tre Cime di Lavaredo because it was the furthest away from our house. We wanted to make the long drive there while we had the most energy and keep the shorter drive for the way home. We also arrived on a Wednesday and hoped that Tre Cime was less crowded during a weekday than a weekend. Depending on where you are coming from, and what day, you could choose to do the itinerary backwards. 

DAY 1: Tre Cime di Lavaredo + Exploring Auronzo & Riding the FunBob 

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Get here as early as you are willing! We left our hotel around 6am and there were already quite a people at the parking area! Not to worry though if you want to sleep in a bit because the parking area is quite large so an hour or later shouldn’t be a problem when parking. However, be aware that parking is limited at Rifugio Auronzo so it’s best to get here earlier than later. If you arrive in the afternoon, you will likely have to wait in line at the toll station for up to one hour. As one car exists, another car is allowed to enter.

Parking: https://goo.gl/maps/8q7qccDm2KTaqN8aA

  • Experience the beauty of Tre Cime di Lavaredo by driving directly to Rifugio Auronzo via a toll road. Shortly after Lago d’Antorno, you’ll arrive at the toll station. Private cars must pay a 30 EUR mountain toll and a 45 EUR toll for campervans (at the time of writing this). 
  • The staff responsible for collecting the toll fee is present at the toll station from 6 am until 8 pm. If you pass the toll station before 6 am (when the toll operator isn’t present), you can pick up your ticket by pressing the clearly visible button and pay the toll upon your return. After paying the toll fee at the toll station, you’ll continue driving 3.4 km all the way to Rifugio Auronzo. Note: there is no additional parking fee for day visits.

Starting at Rifugio Auronzo, you can either hike in the direction of Rifugio Lavaredo on Trail no. 101 (right), or towards Langealm on Trail no. 105 (left). We hiked in the direction of Rifugio Lavaredo first (as most people do). We were blown away with the views as soon as we started on the trailhead. As you’ll see in our YouTube video, Risa started tearing up seeing the clouds in between the tall mountain peaks. Follow the trail until you arrive near the small church called Cappella degli Alpini. Along this trail you will see a spot in the fence where another trail diverts off the path. It crosses through a pasture where cows typically graze at and continues down to a statue. Follow the trail all the way to end to see our favorite view of the entire area. You literally are standing right along the edge facing an incredible mountain range. It’s breathtaking and words really don’t do it justice. 

After that, we followed the rest of the Rifugio Auronzo Circuit hike shown below! The entire hike is incredible and we know you’ll fall in love with the area like we did!

  • Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo
  • Type of Hike: Circuit 
  • Distance: 9.7 km
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 430 meters ascending/descending 
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Trails: 105, 102, 101
  • Route: Rifugio Auronzo – Rifugio Lavaredo – Forcella Lavaredo/Paternsattel – Rifugio Locatelli/Drei Zinnen HĂĽtte –  Langalm – Forcella del Col del Medo –  Rifugio Auronzo

Auronzo + Funbob

After the hike, you’re going to need to eat so make a stop for that. Afterwards, we recommend going down to the cute town of Auronzo and riding the FunBob. It’s one of the longest in the world and the views are stunning. We enjoyed the ride up and spent time at the park with Willa before starting our decent down the mountain. We love how Willa was able to join in on the fun!

Next we crossed the street and had a nice little walk exploring the streets of Auronzo while eating gelato. 🙂 After taking in the beautiful views from the lake nearby we got in our car, drove to our hotel, had some dinner and called it a day! 

*If you were really in a time crunch & have a lot of energy, you could fit in a hike to Lago di Sorapiss. It’s about 30 minutes from Rifugio Auronzo/Tre Creme di Lavaredo. We recommend this for another day, but it is right along the route down from Tre Creme di Lavaredo so it could save you drive time if you wanted to. 

Lago di Sorapiss

Drive to Passo Tre Croci to begin the hike to Lago di Sorapiss. The lake takes its name from the mountain Sorapiss. Framed by larch trees, we’ve heard Lago di Sorapiss is one of the most arresting places you’ll see in the Dolomites (we wish we had time to visit it-next time). Apart from the mountain backdrop, the most spectacular feature of the lake is its unique milky-turquoise color. The water’s milky quality is due to the suspended powdered rock & based on pictures, it looks incredible! The hike takes roughly 1.5 – 2 hours, one-way.  You’ll take Trail no. 215 towards Rifugio Vandelli, which is a mountain hut near the lake. The first half of the trail is flat, but the second-half is steep. There are ropes and stairs that will aid you in your ascent. Due to its popularity, we’ve heard the trail gets really busy so be prepared for crowds if you go during the middle of the day. 

DAY 2: Lago Di Braies + Sassolungo/Langkofe 

Lago di Braies

The iconic Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee is an alpine lake in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. More specifically, Lago di Braies is located in Braies Valley (Valle di Braies in Italian, Pragser Tal in German), a side valley of Upper Puster Valley in South Tyrol. Braies Lake lies at the foot of the north face of Croda del Becco, a towering mountain (2,810m), which creates the jaw-dropping, picture-perfect backdrop of Lago di Braies. There’s a reason it’s called the Pearl of the Dolomites. And like any declared “pearls,” Lago di Braies is not a secret. 

Because of its’ popularity, our second morning started off similar to our first – EARLY! We recommend you do the same if you’re looking to drive there yourselves and experience minimal crowds at Lago Di Braies. From our hotel to the lake it was about a 45 minutes drive. Even if you choose to arrive early, please know that you will not be alone. There will be plenty of other people whether you arrive at 5 am or 5 pm.

Driving access to the lake is restricted during peak hours: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. So, if you plan to drive here yourself then you have to arrive and leave before 9:30 am or after 4:30 pm. During peak hours, Pragser Tal valley can only be reached by public transportation, on foot, by bicycle, or on presentation of a parking space reservation or a valid transit permit. 

Sassolungo/Langkofe Mountain Peaks

After exploring the beautiful lake and area, you will hop back into your car and make the approximate two hour drive to our next area. Sassolungo, also commonly known as Langkofel or Saslonch, means “long peak” / “long stone” / “long rock” in three languages and soars to a height of more than 10,000 feet (3,181 m). It is the highest mountain of the Langkofel Group in the Dolomites in South Tyrol, Italy. It stands over the Ladin community of Val Gardena — impossible to miss roaring over the tree tops when driving through the valley.

We parked along the road near the Sassolungo cable car found here: https://goo.gl/maps/wxvXTbfX9pA4Zk1LA The cable car station is near the Passo Sella parking lot with a giant “Sassolungo” sign on its roof.

We decided to hike from here to Emilio-Comici-Hütte. The views, again, were out of this world! If you are hiking Sassolungo during the summer, consider hopping the cable car scaling the Sassolungo wind gap, which is sandwiched between the peaks of Mt. Sassolungo and Fünffingerspitze. At the top, you can take an eagle eye seat at the Rifugio Toni Demetz (same cable car as linked above). 

Also big tip: ff you plan to use multiple lifts while in Val Gardena, save yourself money by purchasing the Gardena Card.

Since you have some driving to get here, you really only have about a half day to explore this specific area. However, if you want a full day adventure consider hiking the Sassolungo Circuit. We’ve heard the best views happen by heading clockwise around the mountain. Take Trail No. 527 to Trail No. 525, which connects with Trail No. 526A to Trail No. 526. 

From here head to your hotel in Ortisei. It’s a 30 minute drive from the parking area to the town. Relax and enjoy the night! 

Day 3: Seceda + Alpe di Suise

Seceda

This day is all about experiencing the striking Odle/Geisler Peaks from the Seceda ridgeline – that view you’ve probably been dreaming about since you decided to travel to the Dolomites. Seceda was probably our favorite mountain range; Tanner loved it so much he and Willa went up twice to explore some more!

The best part about staying in Ortisei is the proximity to the cable cars you will go on today! After waking up, get ready and walk to the Seceda Cable Car. It is 35 EUR/person. The cable car starts operating at 8:30 am. (If you’re not staying directly in town, you can also park in the paid parking garage located directly at the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Cable Car valley station. Parking costs 0.50 EUR/hour.) The cable car is the easiest and fastest way to see Seceda. You’ll take the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cable car from Ortisei directly up to the Seceda mountain station. At the summit station, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Seceda lookout point. From the ridgeline, you can do a lovely circuit hike to Regensburger Hütte. If you wanted to hike up to Seceda, that is also an option. We arrived there soon after it opened at 8:30 am and purchased our tickets, but you can purchase them in advance if wanted: https://www.seceda.it/en/tickets#regdl=biglietto-andata-e-ritorno-ortisei-seceda 

Alpe di Suise

After exploring Seceda, make the short walk over to the centre of Ortisei to the Alpe di Siusi Cable Car (about a 10 minute walk from the Seceda Cable Car). In just a few minutes, the ropeway will take you to the Alpe di Siusi mountain plateau, the sunniest part of the Dolomites. The Alpe di Siusi is the largest high alpine pasture and one of the most famous ski and excursion areas of Europe with its 52 km² mountain surrounded alpine pastures. The Alpe di Siusi is well-known all over the world for its colorful flowers in the summer and its glittering blanket of snow in the winter. This expansive plateau is a great place for casual walking and spectacular views of the Sassolungo/Langkofel Group and the Catinaccio/Rosengarten Mountains. 

Just like Lago di Braies, driving up to Alpe di Siusi is restricted during the day so you have to take the Ortisei – Alpe di Siusi cable car, but again, if your accommodation is in Ortisei, the location is only a short walking distance. Once you’ve arrived on the top of Alpe di Siusi, there are many trails leading across the plateau. We started exploring by foot with no specific place in mind. We didn’t go far as Willa wanted to walk herself so we took it slow and enjoyed! If you’re looking for highly rated hiking trails here a popular ones we researched and would recommend:

  • Compaccio to Rifugio Alpe di Tires Hike
  • Hans and Paula Steger trail 

The Hans and Paula Steger Trail is one of the projects of the foundation, which is intended to show hikers the beauty of the Alpe di Siusi. It is an easy hiking trail leading from Compaccio to Saltria without any difficult sections or steep ascents. Starting from the church in Compaccio, follow the trail no. 30, which crosses the asphalted road Compaccio-Saltria before the Hotel Steger-Dellai and leads through a forest up to a small hill with a spectacular view of Mt Sassolungo and Mt Sasso Piatto. After a short section on the asphalted road, the trail leads across lush alpine meadows until Saltria. Alternatively, you can extend the tour following the trails 12A, 12 and 9.

This 4.5 km long trail can be gone in a bit more than one hour (one way). If you don’t want to hike back, just take the bus from Saltria to Compaccio. The Hans and Paula Steger Trail offers spectacular views of the beautiful landscape of the Alpe di Siusi, its flora and fauna, and of the surrounding Dolomites. It is this unique nature that Hans Steger and Paula Wiesinger wanted to protect. 

End at hotel to relax! 

Day 4: Val di Funes & the Adolf Munkel Trail

Val di Funes/Vilnöss

Our last destination takes you one hour away from Ortisei. Val di Funes is one of many beautiful valleys in South Tyrol area stretching 24-km-long. On your drive to the Adolf Munkel Trail make sure to stop and take the views in. 

Adolf Munkel Trail

To get here, drive to the head of the valley to Zannes/Zans car park, a popular trailhead in Val di Funes. The parking fee is 6 EUR per day, 3 EUR for half-a-day (arriving after 1 pm), or 2 EUR for DolomitiMobil cardholders. From here, you can embark on many different hikes to scenic alpine pastures and mountain huts in Puez-Odle Nature Park.

Starting at Zannes/Zans, this gratifying circuit trail strings together some of the loveliest alpine pastures in Puez-Odle Nature Park, including: Gschnagenhardt Alm, Geisleralm, and Dusleralm.  This hike is all about savoring the journey. So, go slowly, eat tons of South Tyrolean food, drink beer (or your favorite drink), and enjoy the view. The whole loop is about 9.2 km and takes 3.5 hours to complete. 

Additional Suggestions:

Foods to enjoy on your trip: Schlutzkrapfen, Knodeltris, Sudtiroler Speck, Kaminwurz, Schuttelbrot, Almdudler

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