Julie Italy 48 Comments

The Dolomites are one of our favorite places in the world to go hiking. This area is truly a hiker’s paradise. Hike to the highest peaks, to picturesque alpine lakes, and to jaw-dropping viewpoints. In this guide, we list 15 of the best hikes in the Dolomites…15 wonderful adventures to add to your trip to this beautiful corner of Italy.

About this List

We have visited the Dolomites twice. Our first visit was in 2014, at the start of a one year trip around the world…and the start of this website. We spent 3 memorable days here, hiking just a few trails. We vowed to get back here again as soon as possible.

Well, it took us 8 years (other travel plans, COVID, etc. delayed our return) but it was well worth the wait. On our second visit (July 2022) we spent nine very busy days in the Dolomites.

From these two visits, we came up with this list of 15 day hikes. That’s a lot to choose from, especially if you only have a few days in the Dolomites.

At the end of this guide, we give recommendations for the best hikes in the Dolomites, whether you are looking for something quick and easy, something more challenging, hikes organized by region, or if you want to learn what our favorite hikes are.

Best Hikes in the Dolomites

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

Best Hikes in the Dolomites

This list starts with the shortest, easiest trails and ends with the longer, more challenging hikes. At the end of this section, we rank the hikes from our favorite to least favorite. You can skip to this list now.

Each of these hikes is a day hike, so they all can be completed in one day.

There are no via ferratas on this list so they can all be done without special equipment (other than hiking shoes, a backpack, some water, and a camera).

Several of the shorter hikes can be combined together to form full day adventures. I’ll let you know the best combinations with details on how to do them.

All hiking distances are round trip, unless noted otherwise.

WHEN TO GO HIKING IN THE DOLOMITES: The hiking season runs from June through September. During this time, the trails are clear of snow. By the middle part of October, the first snows can begin to fall, ending the hiking season.

1. Tofana di Mezzo

For one of the best views of the Dolomites from the shortest hiking trail, it’s hard to beat Tofana di Mezzo.
Cima Tofana

Distance: 0.3 km (0.2 miles)

Difficulty: Easy

Total Ascent: 55 meters (180 feet)

Time: 30 minutes

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

You may be scratching your head at this first “hike” on the list. Yes, it is super short. But this short trail scales the edge of cliff and then has a steep, slippery ascent to the mountain peak, so it’s not for everyone. To do this, you need to have a good head for heights.

This very short hike offers one of the best views of the Dolomites with the least amount of effort.

From Cima Tofana, the highest cable car station on the Freccia nel Cielo cableway, you get panoramic views over Cortina d’Ampezzo and the surrounding mountains.

From the viewing platform, climb the series of staircases to the the hiking trail, and then it is just a 5-minute walk along the trail to viewpoints over the Cima Tofana station and Cortina d’Ampezzo. There is a lot of exposure along this trail so if you have a fear of heights, this is a hike you might want to skip.

From the hiking trail, you have the option to rock scramble up the short but steep hill to Tofana di Mezzo, where spectacular 360° views of the Dolomites awaits.

Tofana di Mezzo
Tofana di Mezzo | Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Cortina d'Ampezzo
The view of Cortina d'Ampezzo from the Freccia nel Cielo cableway.

2. Seceda

Seceda is another stunning place to visit in the Dolomites and a short hike is all it takes to get to the famous viewpoint.
Famous Seceda Viewpoint

Distance: 1.3 km (0.8 miles) loop

Difficulty: Easy

Total Ascent: 110 meters (360 feet)

Time: 30 to 45 minutes

Location: Val Gardena

This is another hike where a cable car whisks you high into the mountains.

From the cable car station, you don’t even have to do any hiking to enjoy the view, but if you want to photograph the iconic shot of Seceda, it is a short but steep uphill hike to the viewpoint. From here, follow the trail down along the ridgeline towards the jagged peaks. Once you get to the trail junction, it is an easy but gorgeous walk back to the cable car station.

Seceda in the Summer
Seceda in July | Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Short Hikes in the Dolomites
From Seceda, you also have a great view of the Sella group and Val Gardena.

3. Cinque Torri

This short hike is and easy to do and you get a history lesson along the way.
Cinque Torri Hike

Distance: 1.9 km (1.2 mile) loop

Difficulty: Easy

Total Ascent: 130 meters (430 feet)

Time: 1 hour

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

The Cinque Torri is one of the most recognizable rock formations in the Dolomites. It is a popular hiking and rock climbing destination, but it is also an open-air war museum, with trenches and bunkers that remain from World War I.

Hiking around the Cinque Torri is one of the easiest and most beautiful hikes that we did in the Dolomites.

It’s a great hike for kids, since a chairlift zips you right up to the rock towers. And with its short distance, and bunkers and tunnels to explore, this is one of the best places to take kids hiking in the Dolomites. They can also learn a little bit of history in the process.

This hike can be combined with Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau for one epic day in the Dolomites.

Cinque Torri
A view of the Cinque Torri from the hiking trail | Best Hikes in the Dolomites

4. Cadini di Misurina

The main reason for doing this hike is to reach the viewpoint of the Cadini di Misurina but you also get a very unique view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Cadini di Misurina

Distance: 3.2 km (2 miles) 

Difficulty: Easy

Total Ascent: 210 meters (690 feet)

Time: 1 to 2 hours

Location: Near the Tre Cime Naturepark and Cortina d'Ampezzo

The hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint is one of our favorite short hikes in the Dolomites.

This is a gorgeous hike every step of the way, with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, a unique view of the “backside” of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and of course, an awesome view of the Cadini di Misurina.

If you are looking for a short, beautiful hike and want to escape the crowds, the Cadini di Misurina hike belongs on top of your Dolomites to-do list.

Cadini di MisurinaTre Cime di Lavaredo Photo
On the trail to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint, you also get a unique view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

5. Lago di Braies

Hike the loop around the shimmering, aquamarine Lago di Braies, an easy hike that is perfect for families and photographers.
Lago di Braies

Distance: 3.7 km (2.3 miles) loop 

Difficulty: Easy

Total Ascent: 100 meters (330 feet)

Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Location: Fanes-Sennes-Brais Nature Park, South Tyrol

Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) is one of the most popular places to visit in the Dolomites. This crystal-clear aquamarine lake, with its dramatic mountainous backdrop, easy walking trail, and rowboats, has long been attracting visitors.

One of the best things to do at Lago di Braies is to walk the hiking trail that loops around the lake. Along the hike, you get to see the lake from all angles.

Lago di BraiesLago di Braies Hike
Lago di Braies hiking trail | Best Hikes in the Dolomites

6. Lagazuoi to the Falzarego Pass

A cable car transports you up to Lagazuoi for another jaw-dropping view of the Dolomites. And from here, it’s a beautiful downhill walk to the Falzarego Pass.
Dolomites with Kids

Distance: 4 km (2.5 miles) 

Difficulty: Easy

Total Descent: 650 meters (2,100 feet)

Time: 3 hours

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

This hike starts with a cable car ride from the Falzarego Pass to the Lagazuoi, one of the many mountain peaks in the Dolomites. Right from the upper cable car station you have yet another phenomenal view of the Dolomites.

There are a bunch of trails that run through Lagazuoi. We hiked downhill, from the mountain peak back to our car at the Falzarego Pass. It’s a beautiful hike and from the trail you look out to Averau, Nuvolau, the Cinque Torri, Gran Diedro, and Croda da Lago.

Since this is a short, downhill hike, it’s great for kids (it’s the very first hike we did in the Dolomites).

Lagazuoi Dolomites ItalyLagazuoi View
View from the trail from Lagazuoi to Falzarego | Best Hikes in the Dolomites

7. Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau

If you want one of the best views of the Dolomites with a beer in your hand, or you simply want a meal with an unforgettable view, don’t miss this hike. It’s one of favorite experiences in the Dolomites.
Rifugo Nuvolau Dolomites

Distance: 4 km (2.5 miles) 

Difficulty: Easy

Total Ascent: 335 meters (1,100 feet)

Time: 1.5 to 2 hours + additional time at the rifugios

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

Rifugio Nuvalou sits on top Mount Nuvolau. At an elevation of 2,575 meters (8,500 feet), you have 360° views of the Dolomites. It is an incredible view, especially if you are lucky enough to be here when the skies are clear.

The views, having lunch on the outdoor terrace, with a view of one of the most beautiful places we have seen, was a truly memorable experience.

To get here, you will hike past Rifugio Averau, which serves some of the best pasta dishes in the Dolomites.

Rifugio Averau
Rifugio Averau | Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Dolomites Hikes
View from Rifugio Nuvolau | Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Dolomites Travel Guide

8. Piz Boè

Piz Boè is considered to be one of the easiest summits over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) in the Dolomites. From the peak, you have 360° views over the Dolomites that will take your breath away.
Piz Boe

Distance: 5.3 km (3.3 miles) 

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Ascent: 430 meters (1,410 feet)

Time: 2 to 4 hours

Location: Val Gardena

This hike starts at Passo Pordoi. From here, ride a cable car to Sass Pordoi and then it is a relatively short but strenuous hike to Piz Boè. Piz Boè is the highest peak in the Sella Group of the Italian Dolomites, and the panoramic views from this peak are breathtaking.
Piz Boe Summit
Piz Boè summit | Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Passo Pordoi
Pordoi Pass from the trail to Piz Boè

9. Cinque Torri + Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau

Combine two of the best hikes in the Dolomites into one epic hiking experience.
Rifugo Nuvolau Dolomites

Distance: 6 km (3.7 miles) 

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Total Ascent: 465 meters (1,530 feet)

Time: 2.5 to 3 hours + additional time at the rifugios

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

Even though you are combining two trails, the distance is still rather short and manageable for most people.

If you have one day in the Dolomites, this is a hike I highly recommend. The views are gorgeous every step of the way. Plus, you get the experience of visiting a rifugio, where the drinks and food are very good and you get one of the best views of the Dolomites.

Rifugio Averau
The view from Rifugio Nuvolau of the Cinque Torri and Tofana di Rozes.
Dolomites Photo Spot
Next to Rifugio Scoiattoli (on the trail between the Cinque Torri and Rifugio Averau), you can have a seat in one of these lounge chairs and enjoy the view.

10. Alpe di Siusi

Go on a walk through the highest alpine meadow in Europe and enjoy the view of the rifugios, cabins, and the mighty Sassolungo.
Alpe di Siusi

Distance: 6.8 km (4.2 miles) 

Difficulty: Easy

Total Descent: 260 meters (850 feet)

Time: 2 to 3 hours + additional time at the rifugios

Location: Alpe di Suisi

Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German) is the highest alpine meadow in Europe. Cabins, rifugios, and hotels dot the landscape. Hiking trails and biking trails run along the hillsides, connecting the small villages. And Sassolungo, with its jagged, rocky peaks, looms over the area.

There are lots of different ways to plan your time at Alpe di Siusi. We hiked from Compatsch to Saltria, which passes by several rifugios and offers beautiful views of Alpe di Siusi and Sassolungo from the hiking trail. Overall, this is an easy downhill hike. From the lowest point, Saltria, you can ride the bus back to Compatsch which eliminates a long, unnecessary climb.

Hikes in the Dolomites Alpe di Siusi
Hiking in Alpe di Siusi | Best Hikes in the Dolomites

11. Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The triple peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo are the symbol of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this hike, walk the loop around the peaks…it’s an essential hike in the Dolomites.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

Distance: 8.8 km (5.5 miles) loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Ascent: 425 meters (1,400 feet)

Time: 2.5 to 5 hours

Location: Near Cortina d'Ampezzo

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the best hikes in the Dolomites. Three massive rocky prominences rise up from the rolling scenery of the Dolomites and  during the summer months the land is carpeted with wildflowers.

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is done as a loop, so you get to circle around three enormous pillars of rock. The only way to see the iconic north faces is from this hiking trail.

There are numerous detours you can take from the Tre Cime di Lavaredo trail to alpine lakes and unique viewpoints of the area, and well worth it if you don’t mind going the extra distance.

Dolomites Hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo
View from the trail.
Chiesetta Alpina
Chiesetta Alpina | Best Hikes in the Dolomites

12. Adolf Munkel Weg to Geisler Alm

The Adolf Munkel Weg runs along the base of the Odle/Geisler mountain group in Val di Funes. On this walk, the views are very nice but having lunch at one of mountain huts is the highlight of the experience.
Dolomites Italy

Distance: 9.2 km (5.7 miles) loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Ascent: 440 meters (1,445 feet)

Time: 4 to 6 hours (this includes time at the mountain huts)

Location: Val di Funes

The Adolf Munkel Weg is a point-to-point hiking trail that runs along the Odle/Geisler mountain group. This hike is on the longer side (13 km) and since it is point-to-point, you will have to use public transportation or do some extra hiking to get back to the starting point.

We shortened the hike, turning it into a loop. The starting and ending point was from the same parking lot, we had awesome views of the Odle/Geisler mountains from Geisler Alm, plus we got to visit a few rifugios along the way.

Geisler AlmAdolf Munkel Weg
Adolf Munkel Weg | Best Hikes in the Dolomites

13. Lago di Sorapis

Lago di Sorapis attracts hundreds of hikers every day in the summer. It’s a beautiful lake but be prepared for big crowds. For the best experience, add on the trail to Forcella Marcuoira to venture high in the mountains and get a unique view of Lago di Sorapis.
Lago di Sorapis

Distance: 11.6 to 12.7 km (7.2 to 7.9 miles)

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Total Ascent: 460 meters (1,520 feet) to 775 meters (2,550 feet)

Time: 3 to 7 hours 

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

Lago di Sorapis (Lake Sorapis) is one of the most popular hikes to do in the Dolomites. The hiking trail to get to this aquamarine lake is located just a short drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The vast majority of people hike out-and-back to Lago di Sorapis on the main trail. What many people don’t know is that you can turn this hike into a loop (which is why there is a range of hiking stats listed above).

Doing it as a loop (Lago di Sorapis plus Forcella Marcuoira) doesn’t add much in the way of extra distance, but it does add a hefty amount of elevation gain. However, your reward is unique views of Lago di Sorapis and panoramic views of the Dolomites.

For those who want to hike a quieter trail and have more amazing views of the Dolomites, choose the loop option when hiking Lago di Sorapis.

Lago Sorapis PhotoDolomites Hike Lago Sorapis Loop
If you hike back to the trailhead via Forcella Marcuoira, you get a different view, like this one of Monte Cristallo.

14. Lago Federa & Croda da Lago Circuit

This hike loops around the Croda da Lago mountain group. On the way, you will visit the lovely Lago Federa and climb up to Forcella Ambrizzola and Forcella Rossa for more panoramic views of the Dolomites.
Lago Federa Dolomites Italy

Distance: 12.8 km (8 miles) loop

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Total Ascent: 900 meters (2,950 feet)

Time: 4.5 to 6 hours 

Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo

The Croda da Lago Circuit is one of the most underrated hikes that we did in the Dolomites.

With a beautiful walk through the woods, a visit to an alpine lake (Lago Federa), close up views of Croda da Lago, and panoramic views of the Dolomites, the scenery is constantly changing, making this one of the most interesting trails in the area.

During the summer months, the Dolomites is a busy place to visit. But not this trail. The Croda da Lago Circuit was one of the emptiest trails that we hiked in our 12 days in the Dolomites. So, if you are looking for a less crowded hike that is still BIG on views, this hike is for you.

Forcella Ambrizzola
View from Forcella Ambrizzola.
Croda da Lago Circuit
View from the Croda da Lago Circuit.

15. Puez-Odle Altopiano

This is the longest hike on this list but it is the most rewarding. The journey starts with a cable car ride and from here you hike the peaks of the Puez-Odle Altopiano, for ever changing views across the Dolomites.
Puez Odle Altopiano Hike

Distance: 17 km (10.6 miles) 

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Total Ascent: 850 meters (2,800 feet)

Time: 6 to 9 hours 

Location: Val Gardena

With jaw-dropping views of the Dolomites, fields of wildflowers, and some of the best alpine views in Italy, this is our favorite hike in the Dolomites.

The Puez-Odle hike is a 17 km point-to-point hike along some of the highest mountain peaks in the Dolomites. A chairlift at the beginning of the hike eliminates the first big climb. There are still some ups and downs, but overall, you head downhill for much of the hike.

Since you spend so much time in the higher peaks of the Dolomites, you are treated to panoramic views that will take your breath away.

Best Dolomites Hike PhotoPuez Odle Photo
One of many amazing views from the Puez-Odle Altopiano.

Map of the Best Hikes in the Dolomites

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Best Hikes in the Dolomites: Our Recommendations

All 15 Trails, Ranked from Favorite to Least Favorite

Here is our ranking of all 15 hikes on this list. This list starts with our favorite hike and ends with our least favorite. But even hike #15, even though it may be last on the list, is still a very good hike to do (that’s one of the things that makes the Dolomites so awesome!).

  • Puez Odle Altopiano
  • Cinque Torri + Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau
  • Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
  • Croda da Lago Circuit
  • Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau
  • Tofana di Mezzo
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo
  • Cinque Torri
  • Lago di Sorapis
  • Seceda
  • Lagazuoi to Falzarego Pass
  • Adolf Munkel Weg
  • Piz Boè
  • Lago di Braies
  • Alpe di Suisi

Best Short, Easy Hikes in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are packed with short, easy trails to choose from. On our hiking list, 10 trails come in less than 8 km (5 miles).

If you are looking for short, easy hikes in the Dolomites to do with kids, here are our recommendations:

  • Cinque Torri
  • Lago di Braies
  • Seceda
  • Lagazuoi to the Falzarego Pass
  • Rifugios Averau and Nuvolau

And if you simply want a short hike to a stunning viewpoint, we recommend:

  • Tofana di Mezzo
  • Cadini di Misurina
  • Rifugios Averau and Nuvolau
  • Piz Boè

Best Hikes in the Dolomites on Your First Visit

If you only have a few days, here are the best hikes in the Dolomites that let you experience it from several different angles:

  • Cinque Torri + Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau
  • Croda da Lago Circuit or Puez-Odle Altopiano
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo + Cadini di Misurina

Less Crowded Trails

If you want to leave the crowds behind, these trails were the “quietest” trails we hiked in the Dolomites:

  • Croda da Lago Circuit
  • Cadini di Misurina
  • Adolf Munkel Weg
  • Alpe di Siusi
  • Lago di Sorapis to Forcella Marcuoira to the trailhead

Hikes Near Cortina d’Ampezzo

If Cortina d’Ampezzo is your home base, here are the nearby trails:

  • Cinque Torri
  • Rifugios Averau and Nuvolau
  • Lagazuoi to Falzarego Pass
  • Croda da Lago Circuit + Lago Federa
  • Tofana di Mezzo
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo
  • Cadini di Misurina
  • Lago di Braies
  • Lago di Sorapis

Hikes in and around Val Gardena

Here are hikes located in and around Val Gardena:

  • Puez-Odle Altopiano
  • Seceda
  • Piz Boè
  • Alpe di Siusi
  • Adolf Munkel Weg
Italy Travel Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to go hiking in the Dolomites?

The best time to go hiking in the Dolomites is from June through September, when the trails are free of snow. Wildflowers carpet parts of the Dolomites in July and August. By the middle part of October, the first snows can begin to fall, ending the hiking season.

How many days do I need in the Dolomites?

As many as possible. If you simply want to drive through the Dolomites and visit a few highlights, two to three days is all you need. If you love hiking, really, spend as much time here as you can. I recommend five days at a minimum. So far, we have spend 12 very busy days in the Dolomites and still have more that we want to come back and do. So, if you have the time in your schedule, you could easily spend 7 to 10 days hiking in the Dolomites. To help you plan your time, take a look at our Dolomites Itinerary.

Do I need a car to get around the Dolomites?

A car is not absolutely necessary but it will give you more freedom and you will be able to get to some places where the public buses do not run. Pick up your rental car in Venice, Bolzano, Verona, or Milan and once finished in the Dolomites, return it and resume your trip through Italy by using the trains.

What do you do think are the best hikes in the Dolomites? Let us know in the comment section below, and feel free to write in if you have any questions about which ones you should do.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

ITALY TRAVEL GUIDE: To read all of our articles about Italy, check out our Italy Travel Guide.

DOLOMITES: For links to all of our articles about the Dolomites, take a look at our Dolomites Travel Guide. We cover important things to know before you go and travel tips in our article How to Plan a Trip to the Dolomites. And for ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in the Dolomites (with Little to No Hiking).

BEST OF ITALY: In our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 20 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy. 

VENICE: Learn more about what to do in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. To help you plan your time, we have a detailed one day Venice itinerary and a 2 day Venice itinerary.

VERONA: Verona is a beautiful city in northern Italy. Learn how to spend one perfect day in Verona.

ITALY ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for four different ways to spend 10 days in Italy. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Venice. For those with more time, check out our 14 day Italy itinerary, which covers the highlights of Italy.

MORE GREAT HIKES IN EUROPE: From thrilling trails in the Alps to easy walks along the coast, read our article 20 Best Hikes in Europe for some beautiful hiking trails to put on your travel wish list.

Best Dolomites Hikes Italy

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Best Hikes in Dolomites Italy

Comments 48

  1. Avatar for Chetti Smith
    Chetti Smith

    Thanks for the great information. I have been wanting to do hike hut to hut for many years. We only have about 4-5 hiking days. Could day hikes 6, 9 and 14 be joined to make a hut to hut hike? I’m having so much trouble figuring out all of this!
    I wanted to see Lagazoui, Passo Falzarego, Cinque Torri, Rif Nuvolau, Rif Averau, Scoiattoli and Passo Giau. Is this possible in 4-5 hiking?
    Thank you,

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Those are all relatively close to each other so I think you could link them together in a hut to hut route that could take 2 to 4 days, depending on how much mileage you put in each day. I am not familiar with the details on how to do this but you would have to look up the rifugios along the route you plan to take and make your reservations in advance. I do think it would be amazing to spend the night in Rifugio Nuvolau.
      You could take the cable car to Lagazoui, hike down to the Falzarego Pass, over to the Cinque Torri, and up to Averau and Nuvolau. To descend down to Passo Giau you might need special gear because I think that is a via ferrata route. Then you’ll need a trail map to get you over to Scoiattoli (but it’s not far to go from Passo Giau) and then hike to Lago Federa. I don’t know what all of that adds up to but it’s not much distance, just a lot of elevation gain.
      I hope this helps! Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Michele

    Hi Julie
    Thanks for sharing your incredible journeys with such comprehensive and practical information. Your life looks like a dream!
    We are early 60’s and planning to visit Switzerland (late Sept) and the Dolomites in early October (8th approx). I’m curious to know whether this is getting too late – will hiking, accommodation and alpine huts/restaurants still be open?
    Also curious to know how different the hikes and alpine views of Switzerland are from the Dolomites and how long you’d recommend in each. We are also travelling to Cinque Terra and Tuscany and possibly Puglia over 5 weeks.
    Your advice is so appreciated.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Michele. That trip sounds like a dream! From what I know, early October is not too late to visit the Dolomites, barring anything unusual like a very early season snowfall. The alpine views are similar in both locations, but there are enough differences that you won’t feel like you are looking at the same thing all of the time. The Dolomites are smaller mountains but very dramatic with the pillars and rocky peaks. The Swiss Alps are huge and characterized by deeper valleys and small mountain villages. I think 4 to 5 days in the Dolomites (up to a week) and 3 to 4 days in the Jungfrau region with 2 to 3 days in Zermatt would be very nice. The Cinque Terre needs 2 to 3 days. You could spend 7 days in Tuscany, but 4 would be my minimum here on a 5 week trip (2 for Florence and 2 for Tuscan hill towns). To make it worth going all the way to Puglia, plan on spending a minimum of one week here. You could be getting to Puglia in late October, and more towns will start closing down for tourism. We were here in early October and that had already started in some spots, so check hotel options before deciding on Puglia. I hope all this helps and let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Michele

        Hi Julie
        Thanks so much for your advice. It really helps to have suggested durations for the various locations.
        Given your comments on Puglia do you think we would be better off to go to Umbria or Sicily after our Dolomites stint. After going to Switzerland, Cinque Terra and Tuscany we are meeting friends in Venice, going to the Dolomites and then wanting another week long location before departing out of Rome. We need to do it in this order even though it might look a bit odd!
        We are undecided about Puglia.
        Any thoughts appreciated

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          We haven’t been to Sicily yet but I think you need at least a week there, so you should have just enough time. A week is a bit long for Umbria so if you have that much time, I’d pick Puglia over Umbria. In Puglia, you could visit Matera (not technically in Puglia but near it), Alberobello, and the nearby towns. You could look at our Southern Italy Itinerary for ideas on how to plan your time. Both Sicily and Puglia would be great. I guess I’m leaning towards Sicily because I haven’t been there yet and am hoping to go soon. 😊 Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Clay

    Hello, this looks very helpful. Quick question, I saw you said hiking season closes in October. I am planning to go to the Dolomites February 8th, are the trails closed or can I still hike them in the snow/winter time?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I don’t really know what the hiking status is in the winter. There are places around the world where you can still hike, but snowshoes or other gear are necessary (Rocky Mountain National Park is like this). It probably depends on how much snow is on the trails, which could be quite a bit in February. From our research (we’ve only been to the Dolomites in summer), the Dolomites becomes a big skiing destination in the winter, enough that the Olympics will be hosted here in a few years. From what I know, hiking probably won’t be possible in February. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Russ Larsen
    Russ Larsen

    Thanks for the detailed review and pics of hiking in the Dolomites. We would like to do most of these hikes on a trip there this summer in about 10 days and will rent a car. Would you be able to do them all as day trips from one home base? if not, how many days would you recommend at each location (presumably Western Dolomites and Eastern Dolomites) or would you move around even more than 2 locations?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Russ. I recommend staying in 2 locations since there is not one good central location. And since you have lots of time, it’s easy to break it up your visit to two areas. We have answers to all of your questions in our Dolomites Itinerary and Where to Stay in the Dolomites guide. Take a look at these and if you still have questions, please let me know. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Jennifer

    Hi Julie,

    I love your blog – I have used it as a resource all over the world! I am doing 10 days in the Dolomites in August and was curious if your family considered a hut-to-hut trek? And if so, is there a reason you opted for day hikes over the hut-to-hut experience? I am trying to decide the best way to navigate the area and debating on a hut-to-hut trek vs. having a home base and navigating the area by day. Appreciate your thoughts on this and why you chose one over the other?


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Jennifer. 10 days in the Dolomites sounds like a dream! We considered hut to hut hiking, however, immediately after our trip to the Dolomites we traveled to Chamonix, France and then did the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt, Switzerland, which is 13 to 14 days of hiking, sometimes staying in huts and sometimes staying in hotels, so we chose to do day hikes in the Dolomites instead. There are some great rifugios and hut to hut hiking routes in the Dolomites, and if you are up for that sort of thing, you have plenty of time to spend a few days doing this. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about this in the Dolomites, but the Alta Via 1 is popular and hiking a section of this would be worth looking into. On the flip side, there are enough day hikes to do in the Dolomites that you could do this instead and still have a very memorable experience. You can’t go wrong either way, it just depends on your preference and if you want that hut to hut experience. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Teresa

        Hi Julie,
        I love your blog and I found this post extremely insightful when planning my 4-5 days trip to Dolomites. I relation to Jennifer’s question, I was wondering if you have any recommendations on where is the best place to set the base in terms of location, price and type of acommodation (hotel, hostal, camping, …) to make the best of the day hikes you propose in your post.
        Many thanks in advance and again congrats for this useul post!

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Teresa. We have a guide as to Where to Stay in the Dolomites that should help answer your question. Cortina has the most options, followed by the Selva di Val Gardena area. On our first visit, we stayed in Selva di Cadore, which is centrally located, but only has a few options. Take a look at our post and then let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Guy

    Nice summary of the nicest hikes, indeed. We’ve done most of them too and I can confirm that all of them are brilliant, each in their way.
    I was surprised to see that the hike to the Antermoia Lake is not in the list. We’ve done this hike 2 years ago and the satisfaction that I got when reaching the wonderful lake in a moon landscape, after a tough hike, is incomparable to any other hike experience I had so far. We have a similar hike on the to-do list: Lake Pisciadù

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Thanks for those suggestions! We did not know about those hikes but are adding them to our to-do list for when we return to the Dolomites, which we will definitely do someday. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Drew Templeton
    Drew Templeton

    My wife and I are planning to some Dolomites exploring after spending time in Austria before continuing on into Switzerland and further north. I’m curious what your experience was like driving in this area vs other transportation. From what I can tell, driving seems like it would be the most efficient mode of transportation, but I also noticed when looking at routes in Google Maps that there were warnings about the potential of restricted usage & private roads. Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Having a car/SUV is the best way to get around the Dolomites. The other option are buses, but schedules are limited and then don’t always run on time, so you could use up a lot of valuable time relying on the buses. In our experience, Google Maps did a great job getting us where we needed to go (much better than other places in Europe, such as some Greek Islands and parts of Portugal) without sending us down restricted roads. Cheers, Julie

  8. Avatar for Taimor

    First, I’d like to thank you for your hard work and for the important information you’re sharing with us. We just returned from Switzerland after a 14-day trip, and it was amazing. I’d encourage every reader to carefully read what you’ve shared here, as it was very relevant and saved us a lot of time and money.

    After the amazing trip, our family has decided to join us for our next adventure. We are planning a summer trip during July to Northern Italy (Dolomites) and Austria. This time, we will have 6 families with 12 adults and 8 children. We’re thinking of spending 6 days in Italy and 6 days in Austria.

    Before we start planning, I would be thankful if you could share any recommendations you have.

    I appreciate any help you can provide.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Taimor. That’s very exciting that you are planning a big family trip in Europe! With 6 days in Italy, you could visit Venice for 2 days and 4 days in the Dolomites, or all 6 day in the Dolomites if you like hiking and outdoor landscapes. Our time in Austria has been limited to Salzburg, Hallstatt, Innsbruck, and Vienna, which all are amazing. There are also mountains to explore and cable cars to ride. But with 6 days, you could visit Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Hallstatt, which would be very nice and a nice contrast from the mountains and small towns of northern Italy. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Taimor

        Hello Julie,

        Thank you so much for your suggestions, I want ed to be a bit more specific about our plans to help better understand our preferences. In Italy, we are looking forward to visiting a few key destinations: the Dolomites, Lake Garda, Lake Como, Verona (possibly), and Milan (just for a culinary day). Given these places and activities, do you think that 6 days would be enough, or perhaps too much, to cover these experiences adequately?

        As for Austria, our main focus is on outdoor activities such as hiking, riding gondolas and cable cars, and enjoying breathtaking mountain vistas. We’re particularly drawn to the Austrian Alps because we had such a fantastic time exploring similar activities in Switzerland. Our Swiss adventure included visiting iconic places like the “Top of Europe”, Eiger trail First cliff walk, Panorama Trail, Glacier Canyon, Northface Trail, Allmendhubel, Brig thrill walk, Schilthorn and Piz Gloria, Sunnegga, Gornergrat, Matterhorn, and Interlaken. Our family is now looking for similar experiences during our trip to Austria.

        During our trip, we plan to rent cars and keep moving, allowing us to explore as many activities as possible and truly make the most of our time in these beautiful regions.

        Once again, thank you for your suggestions, and your insights will certainly help us make the most of our European adventure.

        Warm regards,

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Taimor. To visit all of the places you have listed for Italy, I recommend spending 7 to 8 days there. One day for Milan, one day for a day trip to Lake Como from Milan, one day to drive to and visit the southern part of Lake Garda, one day for northern Lake Garda (this is optional), one day for Verona, and three days for the Dolomites (although a full week in the Dolomites would not be too much time in my opinion). So far, our experiences in Austria have mostly been to the towns and cities (Hallstatt, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Vienna) which are all very nice. The cable cars that we did ride (the Nordkette cable car in Innsbruck and the Dachstein Krippenstein cable car near Hallstatt) where awesome. But you will have to do a little more research as to what to see and do in Austria. I think 5 to 7 days in the Austrian Alps would be very nice, and you could visit this after the Dolomites. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for melissa mcclung
    melissa mcclung

    Thank you for such wonderfully detailed and photographed locations!!! Wd you have a suggestion or two or three for the most beautiful hikes/or even spots to see the Dolomites via cable car, either is fine (for two healthy adults) in the Dolomites in April 10-15, 2024?
    Thanks so much!!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      April is the end of skiing season in the Dolomites, so you won’t get the same kind of views like we did, since everything will be snow covered (but that would be beautiful too!). In April you won’t be able to go hiking because of the snow on the trails (hiking season begins the end of May into early April). In April, riding the cable cars to Seceda and the Freccia nel Cielo cable car would be very nice. Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Guy

      I wouldn’t recommend to go there in April, honestly, unless you like hiking in the snow.
      I believe the best period to travel to the Dolomites for hiking, is June or September.
      May is feasable but still high chances of snow on the paths.
      In July and August this region is very crowded, esp. in August cuz most Italians take their holidays then.
      FYI: In Italy, school summer vacation starts around June 15. and takes till September 15.

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