Blog Italy The Dolomites

Adventurous Things to Do in the Dolomites

The rationale to go to the Dolomites might be summed up in one sentence: it’s the ultimate alpine playground for outside fanatics. Jack and I just lately spent 3 weeks in the Dolomites and we liked it a lot! It was certainly one of the greatest journeys we’ve ever taken collectively. The whole area is only one breath-taking panorama after one other.

As far as an alpine playground goes, the Dolomites can also be a highly accessible one. Excessive above the alpine meadows and picturesque villages are pale spires and rockwalls, easily explored thanks to a network of well-signed climbing trails and cable automobiles. Inside this community you’ll additionally discover alpine huts (refuges or refugio) the place lunch, drinks, and accommodations may be had.

You possibly can spend days on the market with just a daypack, climbing from one hut to another, without having to return to civilization.

The Dolomites is the ultimate alpine playground

Hiking Vallesinella Waterfall in the Dolomiti Brenta

Climbing Vallesinella Waterfall in the Dolomiti Brenta. More info here

Canyoning Val di Ledro

Canyoning Val di Ledro – credit: Go to Trentino

Adventure Activities in the Dolomites.

What can’t you do in the Dolomites? For outside lovers, infinite prospects for adventures exist. Listed here are some of our favorite adventure activities in the Dolomites:

Downhill Mountain Biking

Downhill mountain biking in the Dolomites is loopy enjoyable. A mixture of gondola and ski raise ferried us and our bikes up the mountain, and then all we had to do is point the bikes downward… and off we go.

I started on what the bike rental guy stated was “suitable for kids” and I anticipated something as thrilling as a stroll round a lake. But oh boy, I was mistaken. So fallacious.

There have been banked turns, roots, drops (little ones, but nonetheless) on steep, slender tracks. I felt like I used to be always just shy of utterly dropping out of control. I had an enormous grin plastered on my face whilst I was screaming after every profitable turn and rise maneuvered. What a rush!

(They put youngsters on this path?!!)

In Andalo, Dolomiti Paganella offered me with a rental bike and a raise move first time round, however I had a lot enjoyable I went again for the second time alone dime.

Mountain biking in the towns of Andalo, Dolomiti Paganella.

Mountain biking in the cities of Andalo, Dolomiti Paganella

Mountaineering for Days

The Dolomites presents anything from brief hikes suitable for anyone to multi-day treks. Cable automobiles and ski lifts simply transport hikers to trailheads shut to the peaks – skipping the drudgery of gaining elevation (I do like to earn my peaks, however while in Rome…) Clearly signed trails and a network of alpine huts make the Dolomites really a trekker’s paradise.

Jack and I took every probability we obtained to discover the trails throughout our Three weeks there. We beloved the trails at Seceda, Val di Gardena, Sella Cross, Val di Fassa, and more! I’ll be sharing some of our favourite straightforward hikes in the Dolomites (coming quickly!).

Hiking near Tres Cime de Lavaredo, with Misurina Peaks on the background.

Climbing near Tres Cime de Lavaredo

By way of Ferrata

My love for by way of ferratas has been properly documented, and I used to be so excited to be in the Dolomites.

There are tons of of by way of ferrata routes of varying difficulties in the Dolomites region. The Dolomites is in any case the birthplace of by way of ferratas! The “iron road” happened throughout WW1 as a method for troops to get throughout these formidable mountains.

You will in fact want safety gear: helmet, gloves, a harness, a by way of ferrata package, and footwear with thick soles. Guided by way of ferratas could be organized at any sport middle, but in the event you’ve received some experience, you possibly can merely lease the essential gear and go at them yourself. Tourist info centers can give you the crucial maps.

Ferrata Bocchette Centrali and Campanil Basso in the background

Ferrata Bocchette Centrali and Campanil Basso in the background – credit score: Visit Trentino

For those who’re visiting the Dolomites and have the head for heights, I extremely advocate doing a by way of ferrata!

Listed here are a few of the by way of ferratas we looked at:

  • By way of Ferrata Tridentina to Pisciadu begins at the bottom of the valley near Colfosco, and goes up next to a waterfall to Refugio Pisciadu. It’s considered one of the most popular by way of ferratas in Alta Badia region.
  • By way of Ferrata delle Aquile is situated on Cima Roda della Paganella in Trentino. It supplies extraordinary view throughout the Adige Valley and the Brenta Dolomites. You’ll want to take a cable automotive to the path head.
  • By way of Ferrata Cesco Tomaselli, starts at the prime of Lagazuoi Mountain that can be reached by a cable automotive. Probably the most troublesome stretch includes an overhanging traverse.

Hanging bridge via ferrata delle Aquile

Via ferrata delle Aquile, Dolomiti Brenta

By way of ferrata delle Aquile, Dolomiti Brenta – credit: Visit Trentino

Beautiful Sceneries for Roadtrip Lovers

In the event you love roadtrips, you must undoubtedly visit the Dolomites.

The Dolomites is understood for its exhilarating drives via the mountain passes, with its many sharp curves and switchbacks. No marvel we frequently discovered ourselves sharing the street with numerous cyclists, motorcyclists, and sports automotive aficianados. These street lovers flock to the Dolomites for the thrill of driving its roads, and of course – the beautiful surroundings.

Earlier than my visit, I’ve seen photographs of the Dolomites. However after seeing the real thing… those photographs don’t do justice.

Some of the beautiful mountain passes of the Dolomites we drove by means of are: Passo Sella, Passo Giau, and Passo Gardena.

Sunset at Passo Gardena in the Dolomites

Passo Gardena

Learning about WW1

Considered one of the frontlines between Italy and Austria throughout WW1 is situated in the Dolomites. In Lagazuoi and Cinque Torri, for instance, you possibly can explore the remains of tunnels, bunkers, and trenches – created by both Italian and Austrian troops in their attempt to achieve management of the summit and the move. The entire space has been became an open-air museum.

So many individuals have lost their lives in the most lovely settings. It was a sobering thought.

Lagazuoi in the Dolomites, Jill looking down towards the pass.

Lagazuoi, the frontline during WW1.

Lagazuoi, the frontline during WW1.

Rock Climbing

In the event you’re a rock climber, the Dolomites presents countless prospects at any grade and size. I imply, simply take a look at all of those peaks and spires. There’s a cause why Adam Ondra, certainly one of the world’s most well-known rock climber, makes his summer time residence in the region.

Jack and I solely had time to climb 2 towers: one among the Sella Towers and Cima Grande (considered one of the Tres Cime de Lavaredo). Our private opinion (based mostly on very restricted expertise): do it for the view, not a lot for the excellent rock, and be actually good at route discovering and runouts. I had my eyes on climbing Campanile Basso in Dolomite Brenta – it’s corresponding to a hanging formation – unfortunately I didn’t have good weather nor time *sad face*.

Climbing the Sella Tower

Climbing the Sella Tower

Jill in front of Tres Cime de Lavaredo.

Tres Cime de Lavaredo. We climbed the center tower. No pics from the climb because it ended up being type of a shitshow. Oh properly…


I went paragliding at Molveno with I Fly Tandem Molveno and liked it a lot! It was solely my second time paragliding, but I do know it gained’t be my final.

The view of Molveno Lake was spectacular. My guide occurred to be a paragliding world champion so I felt very protected. Particularly when he began doing tips on the air. I don’t keep in mind the final time I screamed-slash-laughed in such a hysterical manner. What. A. Rush!

My legs high above Lake Molveno during paragliding in the Dolomites

Paragliding over Lake Molveno

Paragliding over Lake Molveno

Eating Scrumptious Mountain Food

Ok, this is not adventurous BUT it’s unattainable to speak about the Dolomites with out mentioning the food. A few of the greatest ones we had didn’t come from some fancy restaurants, but in alpine huts high up in the mountains. Reachable only after a hike or taking a cable automotive.

Typical mountain food in the Dolomites

Typical mountain meals in the Dolomites

The desserts at Rifugio La Roda

The desserts at Rifugio La Roda

The food in the Dolomites may be described as stick-to-your-bones. Some of local specialties we ate embrace canederli (savory dumplings with bread crumb, served in broth), polenta with wild mushroom, apple strudel, and naturally tons and tons of pizza and pasta.

This being Italy, I didn’t have any dangerous meal. Nevertheless, a few meals stood out as being just so a lot better than the rest:

  • Rifugio La Roda. One among the greatest meals I had in the Dolomites. With an expansive view of Dolomiti di Brenta, take pleasure in the polenta soup, the tagliatelle, and make sure to save room for desserts (essential!). Every little thing was created from scratch, utilizing components grown regionally.
  • Rifugio Casinei. A 30 minute stroll from the automotive park of Valesinella, this rifugio is a perfect cease when exploring Dolomiti di Brenta. The gregarious house owners and the delicious selfmade native specialties are the causes that even locals would make the journey to eat right here.
  • Pizzeria Ristorante El Bronsin in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Superbly prepared pasta and pizza, and fairly priced too particularly for Cortina. Our group went there twice for dinner and we liked every little thing we ordered!

When to Go to:The Dolomites is Not Just A Summer time Vacation spot

Summer time (June – October) is right for top altitude exploration though depending on snowfall, you may nonetheless encounter some snow patches early in the summer time. Refuges (alpine huts) begin operating from late June by means of late September. August is the busiest season identical to anyplace in Europe which is why you’ll never find me anyplace in Europe in August.

Fall (September – October) provides crisp weather, solitude, and higher probability for clear, cloudless skies as well as wildlife encounter. Nevertheless, in the direction of the end of October most lodging and eating places may be closed for the season.

Winter is all about snow sports activities: cross nation snowboarding, downhill skiing, and dog sledding. I might LOVE to come again in winter.

On the way to Rifugio Brentei, Dolomiti Brenta. Hiking the Dolomites in early summer means snow encounter is more than a possibility.

On the means to Rifugio Brentei, Dolomiti Brenta. Mountaineering the Dolomites in early summer time means snow encounter is more than a risk.

Getting Around the Dolomites

Local transport is superb. Combination of trains and buses means getting a automotive is elective. Many trailheads are accessible by public transport. Maintain in mind that every province runs its personal bus network, which could lead on to confusion as overseas visitors won’t know the place the boundaries are (or even which province they’re at present in). Remember that some buses don’t go into full swing till high season kicks in. So all the time verify newest the schedule.

The primary bus corporations in the Dolomites are:
SAD (Alto Adige or South Tyrol)
Trentino Transporti (Trentinto Province)
Dolomiti Bus (Veneto)

Trenitalia (for trains).

Notice: South Tyrol is known as Südtirol in German and Alto Adige in Italian. I discussed this here because it took me a long time to figure this out.

Having stated that, renting a automotive makes it simpler to see more of the Dolomites. Jack and I rented a automotive from Europcar in Trento because with all of our climbing gear, it was simply simpler. Plus having our own transport allowed us to get to trailheads early before the crowds.

Exploring the Cities of Dolomites

Dolomite doesn’t just supply pure magnificence. All all through the Dolomites may be discovered thriving cities that provide cultural expertise, food and wine tours, and historic monuments in lovely settings. Plus, a couple of castles to explore here and there.

The towns in the Dolomites supply more than just respites from the weather. A city like Trento has enough points of interest to hold anyone busy for 2-Three days. It has nice museums, a historic citadel, and a colourful, oh-so-pretty previous town. I do know that if I’m touring with my mother and father, they might recognize taking a break from all the outside actions in greater cities such Trento.

The town of Trento.

The city of Trento.

Where to Keep in the Dolomites

Despite the fact that the Dolomites is compact, it may possibly take some time to go from one city to the different because of its geography: mountain ranges, valleys, and rivers that get in the method of straight-line travel.

For those who’re staying in the Dolomites for awhile (lucky you!), I like to recommend staying in totally different areas all through your keep. When exploring Dolomiti Brenta: Madonna di Campiglio makes the most sense. Tres Cime de Lavaredo, arguably the Dolomites’ most well-known landmark, might be easily visited from Cortina d’Ampezzo. While the city of Ortisei is close to Seceda Mountains and Passo Gardena.

The town of Cortina d'Ampezzo

The town of Cortina d’Ampezzo

What We Did

Jack and I divided our time in the Dolomites between 3 towns: Trento (Trentino Province), Colfosco (Alta Badia Province, close to Selva Cross/Paso di Selva), and Cortina d’Ampezzo (Veneto Province).

The place to stay in Trento: I recommend staying in one among the many reasonably priced flats in the previous a part of Trento. Lagom Flats is considered one of such. This Three bedroom condominium is simply $110/night time for 2 individuals. Whereas Vetro is a luxury B&B – $95/night time for double occupancy.

Where to stay in Colfosco: We stayed in Residence Mirabelle. It’s a family-run garni that includes breakfast. The rooms are giant and trendy. $90/night time.

The place to Keep in Cortina d’Ampezzo, we shared a 3 bed room condo, Villa Casanova, with another couple. Considered one of the extra reasonably priced flats in this expensive resort town. Slightly outdated furnishing, however we beloved its location. It’s inside strolling distance of the major road.

The place to Stay in Madonna di Campiglio (where I stayed earlier than Jack arrived), I recommend Chalet del Sogno – large, snug bed, a sauna, and 5 star service.

Dolomites Essentials

What to Pack

– Nicely broken-in mountaineering footwear
– Daypack (large enough for snack/drink for a day, along with additional layers). I all the time take at the very least one packable daypack with me on my trips. It packs to nothing and it’s so useful. One thing like this.
– Hat
– Solar glasses
– Sunscreen (mineral-based is the greatest)
– Pack layers, together with rain-proof layers. Even in the middle of the summer time.

Ideas for Visiting the Dolomites

  • Fuel stations typically won’t take American credit cards. It appears to be hit and miss. So ensure to all the time carry Euros.
  • Watch out for shoulder season. Most towns shut down from October-December and March-April, meaning restaurants and accommodations will probably be onerous to discover during this time.
  • Having Web while happening roadtrips could be very helpful. You will get native SIM card, but since I have Google Fi, I get cellular date on my telephone in over 170 nations (attempt it out: use this code for $20 credit score).

Getting to the Dolomites

Milan or Venice are in all probability going to be the greatest cities to begin your adventures in the Dolomites. From Milan or Venice, you possibly can take a practice to Trento (switch in Verona). Trento is on the southern edge of the Dolomites. From Trento, you’ll be able to take a practice or bus to different cities in the Dolomites region. Or do what we did and lease a automotive from Trento. It’s additionally potential to lease a automotive in Venice.

The Dolomites is at the border between Italy and Austria. It’s a few 6 hr drive from Vienna.

A few of the activities here have been hosted by Visit Trentino: mountain biking, paragliding, my keep at Chalet del Sogno, as well as some meals. The remaining was at my own expense.