Are you planning to visit the Dolomites this year? In this Travel Guide you will find the best places to visit in the Dolomites and useful travel tips! Additionally I added a map with the exact location of all mentioned places in this Dolomites Travel Guide at the end of this post.
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My Dolomites Travel Guide: The best places to visit
When is the best time to visit the Dolomites?
This question depends on your personal preferences and what exactly you want to experience during your visit. In this Travel Guide I mainly focus on hikes and places in the Dolomites which are great for the warmer months.
Spring and summer in the Dolomites begins quite a bit later than in other parts of South Europe. Even in May and the beginning of June some trails are still closed due to snow. Mid June the spring arrives in the mountains of the Dolomites and creates deep green meadows with colorful wild flowers.
Instead the sunny days last until mid autumn: We once been to the Dolomites in the middle of October and had the perfect mid 20 degrees Celsius hiking weather with perfect sunshine all day long.
To avoid the busy summer holidays in Europe – which are between July and August – the best months to visit the Dolomites are September until the end of October. But again: The Dolomites are definitely worth a visit throughout the whole year!
How many days are ideal to visit the best places in the Dolomites?
Many of the best places in the Dolomites can only be reached during hikes and I would definitely plan enough time to really soak in the mountain magic of this place: That’s why five to seven days are ideal to explore the Dolomites – even ten when you want to have more time to relax and/or hike.
How to get around in the Dolomites?
To stay flexible during your Dolomites trip I can’t recommend a car high enough! Of course there are trains and busses available as well – but a car will make traveling through the Dolomites a lot easier and saves you tons of time as well.
We drove with our own car from Germany to Italy but if your home destination is further away you can easily fly to one of the nearby airports in Austria (Innsbruck) or Italy (Venice, Verona, Trieste or Treviso) and make this as your start and end point of your road trip to the most beautiful places in the Dolomites.
Which languages are spoken in the Dolomites?
Even though the Dolomites are located in the Northern part of Italy, it often feels like you’re either in Austria or Switzerland. The cities, lakes and other places in the Dolomites all have a German and an Italian name. In fact the majority of the locals speak German in the country side while you’ll hear more Italian in the big cities and the further you get South.
If you don’t speak German or Italian – never mind: Like in most European places, the majority of the people working in the tourism sector are speaking at least a bit of English. Especially the young generation will help you out in English as well while it might get a bit difficult to communicate with older people living in the country side.
Packing list for the Dolomites:
- a reusable water bottle – the water in the mountains of the Dolomites is fresh and drinkable straight from the tap or at sources you’ll find during hikes. Simply fill up a reusable bottle at your hotel or in restaurants instead of buying bottled water.
→ This is my favorite reusable bottle – light and beautiful!
- layers of clothes – even though you’re traveling to the Dolomites during the peak of summertime, the temperatures can vary a lot in the valley and at mountain peaks. That’s why packing thin jackets and/or sweaters to layer are a must!
→ I always find the cutest light jackets and sweaters HERE!
- sun blocker – the UV radiation in the mountains is quite high and at the top of the mountains you’ll often experience a sunny clear weather. Save your face, neck, arms and shoulders with a good SPF.
- back pack – this might sound obvious but is really important! A backpack is an essential kit for your dolomites adventures to pack all the mentioned items above plus snacks for your hikes 🙂
→ This is the back pack I always have with me – on all our travels!
The best places to visit in the Dolomites
Lago di Carezza / Karersee
Even though this lake was much smaller than I always imagined it, the Lago di Carezza definitely belongs to the best places to visit in the Dolomites! It is a turquoise colored lake which perfectly reflects the peaks of the Latemar mountain range behind it. The size of the lake drastically varies throughout the year since Lago di Carezza is glacier fed – just like most mountain lakes in the Dolomites. After the winter season, when the glaciers start to melt, the water level is rising which then again reduces during the warm summer and autumn months. That’s why Lago di Carezza has bees very small during our visit mid October.
Accessing the lake is super easy: Park your car just across the street and walk the easy trail around the lake. The best spots to photograph the lake with the famous reflection are either from the wooden platform at the beginning of the trail or if you follow the path a few steps to the left.
Alpe di Siusi / Seiser Alm – the best place to visit in the Dolomites
One of the first pictures you’ll have in mind when hearing about the Dolomites is probably the iconic view at the Alpe di Siusi. With a size of more than 56 km² it is the largest expand of high alpine meadowland in Europe and without any doubt one of the most beautiful places in the Dolomites.
How to get to Alpe di Siusi?
Reaching the Alpe di Siusi definitely needs some planning cause it’s not possible to drive up by car at any time. Here are the most common ways to reach Alpe di Siusi:
- by car: A winding road leads up to a parking lot (cost: 18,- EUR per day in cash) at the small village Compatsch at the Alpe di Siusi. It is a gated road and closed between 9am and 5pm. So you either have to drive up before 9am or after 5pm – which might be too late if you want to experience the full beauty of the area.
- by cable car: There are tow gondolas which lead up to the Alpe die Siusi:
1) From Ortisei / St. Ulrich: between 8.30am – 5pm (until 6pm from mid June – mid September ) for 20,90 EUR (two ways / per adult)
2) From Siusi / Seis: between 8am – 6pm (until 7pm from mid June – mid September ) for 19 EUR (two ways / per adult)
But note that all cable cars are only opened from mid May until the beginning of November.
- the easiest way: To be fully flexible during your visit I can highly recommend to book a hotel for one night at the Alpe di Siusi! This way you will get a special permit from your hotel to drive up to the Alpe during any time of the day (only on your check-in day), park your car at your hotel and don’t have to worry about reaching the last cable car going down while shooting the sunset. The next day you can drive back down during any time of the day.
What are the most photogenic spots at Alpe di Siusi?
While the whole area looks like out of a picture book, there are two spots which are especially photogenic:
- Overlooking the two mountain peaks Langkofel (Sasso Lungo) and Plattkofel (Sasso Piatto) from the soft meadow hills.
- The swings at the little alpine restaurant Malga Sanon.
You can find the exact coordinates for both spots in my map at the end of this post!
My personal second favorite place in the Dolomites – after the Alpe di Siusi – is the Seceda peak. 2,500 m above sea level this surreal scene seams to be from another world…
There are different ways to reach the top: either during a hike from the Col Raiser cable car station or if you’re not in the mood or don’t have the time for a three hours hike, you can simply take the two cable cars which lead from Ortisei / St. Ulrich up to the summit.
The cable car is open during the summer season and winter season as well, but the exact opening hours and prices change seasonally so definitely check out the current details on this website (click either “summer nature” or “ski area” in the menu to find the summer & winter details)
From the cable car station at the top, follow the path along the little restaurant and the summit cross, further to the left to find the most beautiful view point and photo opportunity at Seceda. But be careful – there are no barriers at this spot and the drop is pretty high!
Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee – the most famous place in the Dolomites
The most famous and photographed mountain lake in the Dolomites area is the Lago di Braies. It can easily be reached by car and you’ll find several parking lots just a few steps away from the lake.
During the day you can rent boats to float on the crystal clear water which beautifully reflects the surrounding mountain peaks. Especially the boat deck is a beloved setting for photographers from all over the world during sunrise. The boat renting service only opens at 9.30am but before that the deck will be not accessible. So you either have to wait for the opening to take your photos – when the place will most likely be crowded already – or book a private slot with the company to take photos during sunrise just by yourself! Of course the company knows that their deck is a famous photo location so they charge more than a 100 EUR for this time slot!
If that’s too much for you to pay for just one iconic photo – never mind: There are countless other photo locations at the lake. Especially in the early morning, when the mountain peaks get lit up by the sun. Make sure to plan time for a little hike which leads one time around the lake and offers many beautiful perspectives and sights. The whole round tour will take you around 1 – 1,5 hrs.
Tip: If you want to arrive super early at Lago die Braies and don’t want to start your drive in the middle of the night, you can stay in the hotel which is located directly at the lake: → Find & book it here!
Other places you need to visit in the Dolomites:
The last time we’ve been to the Dolomites we had our senior dog lady with us and had to skip a few amazing hikes and views which would be too tough for her. Other places are easier to reach but we just didn’t had the time for them unfortunately.
Here is a list of incredible places in the Dolomites which we want to visit the next time and that you should put to your itinerary as well:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen: Probably the most famous and remarkable mountain peaks in the Dolomites. Plan at least half a day for this beautiful place in the Dolomites since there are many hikes to do, views to enjoy and hundreds of photo opportunities. Arrive early to park your car at “Parkplatz zu den Drei Zinnen” (30,- EUR per car) – already at 9 am you will most likely have to wait in line in front of the parking lot.
- Lago di Dobbiaco – a beautiful lake, close to the Tre Cime National Park. It is a cute place to take photos or for a pic nic in the summertime.
- Vajolet Towers – three concentrated mountain peaks which are a breathtaking sight. They are lesser known and crowded than the famous Tre Cime and can be reached via a hike which is a bit more intense. But the views are definitely worth it!
- Rifugio Odle / Geisler Alm – a beautiful place which can be reached on a picturesque loop trail called “Adolf Munkel Trail”. You’ll have spectacular views throughout the hike and can enjoy some great local food at the Geisler Alm restaurant during a break.
- Val di Funes – A picture perfect valley in the Dolomites. Especially the little village Santa Maddalena offers countless photography opportunities.
- Lago di Sorapis – The bluest mountain lake in the Dolomites which can only be reached via a 12km hike. For this reason Lago di Sorapis is less crowded than the easy accessible lakes like Lago di Braies.
Tre Cime Lavaredo
Lago di Sorapis
The best place to stay in the Dolomites
If you want to spoil yourself a bit after days of hiking and exploring I can’t recommend you the incredible Forestis Dolomites high enough! We visited this hotel 2020, shortly after the opening and were absolutely blown away by the architecture, the pools, the views, the food, … everything about this hotel has been outstanding. The Forestis is the ideal hotel to relax in the Dolomites during any time of the year!
I hope this list with my favorite places to visit in the Dolomites will help you to plan your own trip or inspired you to book a trip this summer! The Dolomites are my favorite mountain region in Europe which you simply have to put to your bucket list! We come back every year and always get amazed by its beauty.