The Dolomites, located in the magnificent Italian Alps, are a delight for people who enjoy being outside throughout the year. A trip to the Dolomites should be at the top of your priority list if you want a vacation that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another world.
In this picture-perfect part of the world, you won’t find yourself at a loss for things to do, thanks to the abundance of snow-covered peaks, breathtaking lakes, and rolling hills covered in woods and meadows. In the Dolomites, you can indulge your passion for the great outdoors or find a place to get away from it all and unwind, depending on what you’re searching for.
1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo
There is no better site to go hiking in the Dolomites than Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Along this well-travelled loop, you’ll see three of the Dolomites’ most recognizable peaks—the Tre Cime—and enjoy some of the range’s most breathtaking vistas. There are plenty of mountain cottages if you want to stay the night. It will take about four to five hours to cover the 10km track. Rifugio Auronzo, where the hike begins and ends, is accessible via public bus or private road. There are three more mountain cabins along the road where you may rest and enjoy a snack or drink.
2. Val Fiscalina
Beautiful Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal may be found in South Tyrol, an offshoot of Sesto/Sexten Valley. It’s a starting point for exploring the Three Peaks Nature Park and the northern Sexten Dolomites.
Hike the Val Fiscalina valley trail from Bad Moos to Rifugio Fondovalle/Talschlusshütte for a low-key adventure. Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte (2405 m) and Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen are both accessible from this valley refuge, as is the rest of the Valle Sasso Vecchio/Altensteintal valley. This moderate 3-day hut-to-hut hike began in such fashion.
3. Lago di Carrezza
You won’t be able to contain your admiration for Lago di Carezza, also known as the Karersee, a breathtaking mountain lake. Any time of year is lovely at the lake, but there’s something extraordinary about it when it’s frozen over in the winter. The mermaid of this lake is the object of a local legend about a sorcerer’s love. The sorcerer realized he would need help from a local witch to win over the mermaid. The sorcerer was to be masked as a jeweller’s salesman, and the rainbow was to be extended from the mountains to the lake. The sorcerer finished the rainbow but neglected to change into his disguise, and the mermaid saw him right away, running off into the ocean’s depths, never to be seen again. Angry, the sorcerer smashed the rainbow and threw the shards into the lake. Thus there are remnants of every shade of the rainbow there.
4. Santa Maddalena
Visit Santa Maddalena to escape the crowd and take in some of the Dolomites’ most breathtaking scenery. The Val di Funes is home to this quaint community, surrounded by beautiful views in the range. Among the incredible things to do in Santa Maddalena is to take a stroll and enjoy the scenery. If you’re in the mood for some exercise, go for a trek or a mountain bike ride. There are multiple cross-country ski tracks in the Santa Maddalena area, making it a popular wintertime activity.
5. Lago Federa
Located in the Ampezzo Dolomites, southwest of Cortina d’Ampezzo, is the beautiful alpine lake known as Lago Federa. An exquisite and solitary peak, Becco di Mezzodi may be seen rising out of the forest like a twisted carpet from the northern coast of Lake Federa. Among the best days walks in the Dolomites, the Croda da Lago Circuit Trail circles the lake. Read our Lake Federa travel guide to learn more about this unique body of water. Stay the night at Pocol, a hamlet above Cortina d’Ampezzo, or at the lakeside hut Rifugio Croda da Lago/Palmieri to see the sunrise over Lago Federa.
6. Lago di Braies
As one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, Lago di Braies attracts a large number of visitors every year. The clean water and picturesque mountains make it seem like you’ve entered a painting. Renting a boat and cruising around Lago di Braies at your own leisure is one of the nicest things to do there. If you’re feeling courageous, you may even go for a swim; the water may be frigid, but it’ll feel great on a scorching summer day. If you don’t feel like renting a boat, you can always go for a trek in the nearby mountains or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake’s shore. In the summer, parking lots fill up fast, so plan ahead if you plan to drive.
7. Cortina d’Ampezzo
Although Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most incredible places to stay in the Dolomites because of its convenient location, a day trip there is still worthwhile. Cortina d’Ampezzo has something for everyone, from world-class ski resorts to a stunning alpine environment to a lively après-ski culture. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, is a winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders worldwide, and a beautiful summer destination as well. Many outdoor activities, such as rafting, canyoning, and rock climbing, are available in the region.
8. Prato Piazza
The plateau of Prato Piazza, also known as Plätzwiese in German, is a high alpine meadow overlooking Valle di Braies/Pragser Tal and is located not far from Lago di Braies. The Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park plateau is located between Picco di Vallandro/Dürrenstein and Monte Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo/Hohe Gaisl. The best view from Prato Piazza is from the top of Monte Specie/Strudelkopf, a popular trek. Incredible panoramas of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cadini di Misurina, and the Cristallo Group can be seen from this easily accessible mountain.
9. Passo Gardena
The breathtaking mountain pass known as Passo Gardena, also known as Grodner Joch in German and Ju de Frara or Juf de Frea in Ladin, is the link between the valleys of Val Badia and Val Gardena. The Sella Group and the Cir Group are located on each side of it. Additionally, a thrilling trailhead may be found at Passo Gardena. It is possible to trek to the top of Sass da Ciampac, Gran Cir, and Cima Pisciadu from the Gardena pass. In addition to a hotel, Passo Gardena is home to several parking lots that require payment. The Jimmyhütte and Rifugio Jimmy are a 15-minute walk away if you are hungry.
10. Armentara Meadows
Below the Sasso di Santa Croce (Sas dla Crusc in Ladin; Heiligkreuzkofel in German) cliffs are the Armentara Meadows (Prà de Armentara; Armentarawiesen; Prati dell’Armentara). Easily accessible from Badia or La Villa in Val Badia, this beautiful area stretches across the western boundary of the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park at an altitude of around 1800 meters. This piece details the straightforward day trek to Armentara Meadows from Rifugio Santa Croce/La Crusc from Badia.