Julie Italy 2 Comments

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.

And even if you aren’t visiting with kids, this hike is well worth the time. The views of the nearby mountains are jaw-dropping. And you have the option to add on Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau, to turn the experience into one epic day in the Dolomites.

What is the Cinque Torri?

The Cinque Torri is a rock formation in the Dolomites. At first glance, it appears that there are five main pillars, which is how this rock formation got its name (in Italian, cinque is five). But once you get closer, you see that there are many more smaller pillars and towers in this rock formation.

Each of the main towers has a name. The largest and most prominent tower is named Torre Grande. The remaining towers are named Torre Seconda, Torre Latina, Quarta Torre, and Quinta Inglese. Torre Grande and Torre Seconda each have numerous rock climbing routes.

More than 100 years ago, during World War I, this area was the site of conflict between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarians. Bunkers and trenches were built amidst the Cinque Torri towers, and after the war, once the area was abandoned, these formations remained. More recently, the trenches and bunkers were restored and the Cinque Torri is now a WWI open air museum (the Museum of the Great War).

Cinque Torri Hike

Cinque Torri

How to Visit the Cinque Torri

To visit the Cinque Torri, you will have to do at least a little bit of hiking. Exactly how much you do depends on what kind of experience you want to have.

Based off of our experience, the best way to visit the Cinque Torri is to ride the cable car to Rifugio Scoiattoli and hike the circuit loop around the rock formation. Along the way, you can read the informational signs, explore the trenches and bunkers, and of course, enjoy the 360° views of the amazing mountains that surround the Cinque Torri.

After hiking around the Cinque Torri, you have the option to add on Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau. We did this add on and it was absolutely spectacular. It’s a moderately difficult hike but I recommend it for people who want to hike higher in the mountains, have lunch at a mountain hut, and get a very unique view of the Cinque Torri. Since there is a lot involved with this hike, we cover it in a separate guide.

How Do You Get to the Cinque Torri

To get to the Cinque Torri, you will first need to ride the chairlift to Rifugio Scoiattoli.

Drive to and park at Baita Bai de Dones, which is located on SR48, about 25 minutes west of Cortina d’Ampezzo and an 8 minute drive east of the Falzarego Pass.

There is a very large parking lot here but it can fill up by late morning, especially on the weekends in the summer months.

When we did this in July 2022, we paid €20 per person for a round trip ticket on the chairlift. In the summer, the chairlift runs from 9 am to 5 pm. The chairlift operates from June through September. Get updated hours and pricing here.

OPTIONAL HIKE TO RIFUGIO SCOIATTOLI. Instead of riding the chairlift, you have the option to hike up the trail that runs underneath of the chairlift. For most of this hike, you will be in the trees without much of a view. It takes about an hour and is moderately strenuous. I recommend skipping this hike. Instead, after you visit the Cinque Torri, hike to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau…the views are outstanding and much more worthwhile than the hiking trail under the chairlift.

Trail under Chairlift

The trail under the chairlift.

 Averau

The view of Averau from the chairlift.

 

Chairlift View

And later in the day, this is the view on the chairlift ride back down to the parking area.

Cinque Torri Hiking Stats

Hiking distances will vary based on which route you choose (covered in the next section). These are our hiking stats, which includes hiking through the Cinque Torri, which is shorter than walking the perimeter around the entire cluster of towers. 

Distance: 1.9 km (1.2 mile) loop
Difficulty: Easy
Total Ascent: 130 meters (430 feet)
Highest Elevation (Trailhead): 2,265 meters (7,430 feet)
Lowest Elevation: 2,175 meters (7,135 feet)
Length of Time: 1 hour
When: June through September

Cinque Torri Elevation Profile

Cinque Torri Elevation Profile

Additional Information & Helpful Tips

Best Time of Day to Visit the Cinque Torri: Morning if you want fewer crowds; afternoon for better lighting and photography

Toilet: At the lower chairlift station and at Rifugio Scoiattoli

Food: At the lower chairlift station and at Rifugio Scoiattoli. We didn’t eat at Rifugio Scoiattoli but it sure did smell good!

Cost: Free (other than the chairlift)

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.

Cinque Torri Hiking Map

Below is a photo of the map at the trailhead. As you can see, there are several ways to hike around the Cinque Torri. And there are trails that aren’t even shown on this map (we hiked through the Cinque Torri on an official trail, but it is not indicated on the trail map below).

Map Cinque Torri Hike

Map of the Cinque Torri and WWI walking trails (from the sign at the Cinque Torri trailhead). Most of the WWI sites are located to the west and north of the Cinque Torri. You have the option to hike the full perimeter around the Cinque Torri or you can hike through the Cinque Torri, like we did, which is lots of fun and you get great views the entire hike. NOTE: This map does not show all of the trails that circle in and around the Cinque Torri.

 

Map Cinque Torri Hike

Map of our hiking route (the green line). I marked a great viewpoint along trail (what I am calling the Tofana di Rozes viewpoint) and a photo spot that is great for a family photo.

Basically, a maze of trails weaves their way in and around the Cinque Torri. You will explore these based off of what looks interesting to you as you go. As long as you keep moving in a clockwise direction, eventually you will end up back at Rifugio Scoiattoli.

With all that being said, below I’ll share with you our route, just so you have some idea of what to expect.

How to Hike the Cinque Torri

Step-By-Step Trail Guide

Trailhead to Cinque Torri

This hike is a loop. You can do it in either direction, but we liked going clockwise. In this direction, you hike through the WWI exhibits first, and then circle through/around the Cinque Torri.

The trail starts next to Rifugio Scoiattoli. Look for the wide, gravel trail that heads towards the Cinque Torri.

Cinque Torri Trailhead

Cinque Torri trailhead

Walk down this trail, stay to the left to go to the WWI exhibits, and it takes just a minute or two to reach the first one. As you head through the WWI exhibits, there will periodically be maps of the WWI area plus additional informational signs. It is a maze of hiking trails, trenches, bunkers, look out towers, and buildings used for storage and artillery.

Cinque Torri Museum Sign

As you hike through the World War I exhibits, there will be signs like this one marking important sites.

You can stop and read every sign or simply move through the area, picking the route that interests you the most. We honestly thought the maps were a little hard to follow, but we liked visiting the bunkers and walking through the narrow trenches.

The views looking out towards Tofana and Falzarego are awesome too (and one of the best reasons to do this hike).

Here are photos from the trail.

Cinque Torri Hike Photo

Exhibit

Artillery bunker

 

5Torri Trail

Short Dolomite Hike

War Museum Trail Cinque Torri

There will be some steep downhill sections, sometimes with stairs and others as a gravelly trail.

 Museum of the Great War Dolomites

A view of the rocky outcroppings and a hiking sign along the trail.

 

Cinque Torri Trench Viewpoint

One of our favorite parts of the hike was walking out to viewpoint (the Tofana di Rozes viewpoint on our map earlier in this guide) beyond the trenches. From here, you have a great view of Tofana di Rozes, Falzarego, and back to the Cinque Torri.

 Cinque Torri

View looking back at the Cinque Torri and the WWI trenches from the Tofana di Rozes viewpoint.

 

Cinque Torri Trench

WWI trench

 

Dolomites Bunker

WWI bunker

 

Tofana di Rozes

Tofana di Rozes from the bunker

Hiking through the Cinque Torri

Just past the long trench and the artillery observation post (labeled AB on the main map at the trailhead), we took route #2 (the blue route) into the Cinque Torri.

Into the Cinque Torri

Hiking the blue route into the Cinque Torri.

The trail continues into the Cinque Torri, even though it is no longer indicated on the main trail map. But there are trail signs here labeling it as “Giro delle Torre.” We followed this trail through the Cinque Torri, out the “backside,” and continued clockwise around the rock formation.

Here are photos from along this route. Note, it’s mostly downhill until you get in view of Rifugio 5 Torri.

In the Cinque Torri

As you hike through the Cinque Torri, you will hike through this “tunnel” in between the towers.

 

Dolomites Hike Cinque Torri

Exiting the opposite side of the Cinque Torri.

 

Other Side of the Cinque Torri

Looking back at the Cinque Torri. On the large tower to the left, if you look closely, you can see several rock climbers.

Once in view of Rifugio 5 Torri, we continued on Giro delle Torre towards the chairlift and Rifugio Scoiattoli. This is the most strenuous part of the hike, as it is mostly uphill here.

Rifugio 5 Torri

View of Rifugio 5 Torri from the trail.

 

Up the Hill

Hiking uphill towards Rifugio Scoiattoli. This is the toughest part of the hike.

 

Rifugio Nuvolau Rifugio Averau

As you approach the top of the hill, Rifugio Scoiattoli comes into view again, along with Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau, two mountain huts that are well worth adding onto the Cinque Torri hike.

Once you get past the Cinque Torri, look for a path leading up to a viewpoint…a great place for a family photo.

Family Photo Spot

Then, complete the hike by walking back to Rifugio Scoiattoli.

From here, you can have a snack or a meal, ride the chairlift back to your car, or continue on to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau (highly recommended!). If you are curious about what you could see if you keep going, here are a few photos.

Rifugio Scoiattoli

Rifugio Scoiattoli

 

Averau Passo Chairs

Lounge chairs near Rifugio Scoiattoli

 Rifugio Averau

Rifugio Averau (from the trail to Rifugio Nuvolau)

 

Best View of the Dolomites

View from Rifugio Nuvolau

 

View from Rifugio Nuvolau

Another view from Rifugio Nuvolau (of the Cinque Torri and Tofana di Rozes)

What to Bring on the Cinque Torri Hike

Walking shoes or hiking shoes. A good pair of walking shoes is sufficient for this hike. However, if you plan to add on Rifugio Averau or Rifugio Nuvolau, then you should wear hiking shoes, since it is a much longer hike over uneven terrain.

Water. I recommend bringing a liter of water per person. It’s not a long hike, but it can be warm in the summer, and it might be nice to have some cool water to drink during the hike.

Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses. Most of the trail is fully exposed to the sun.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Cinque Torri hike worth it?

If you are looking for a short, easy hike with breathtaking views, then yes, the Cinque Torri hike is worth it. We loved this hike from start to finish, with the quick, scenic ride on the chairlift (it’s even better going back down at the end of the hike), exploring the trenches, and hiking through the Cinque Torri.

When is the best time to hike the Cinque Torri?

We started the Cinque Torri hike just after 9 am. We caught one of the first chairlifts of the day, so we were one of the first people hiking here. In the morning, the west side of the Cinque Torri (the side you see from the chairlift and trailhead) is shaded in the morning, so it’s not a great time for photographing it from this side. But crowds were low at 9 am, which made exploring the WWI sites more enjoyable. If you want the best conditions for photography, plan on visiting the Cinque Torri in the afternoon (but you’ll have a lot of people in your photos).

What should I do after hiking the Cinque Torri?

Continue up to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau for even better views of the Dolomites. You could have lunch at one of these mountain huts as well. Less than 10 minutes away from the bottom station of the chairlift is the Lagazuoi cable car. From the top station, more BIG views of the Dolomites awaits and you can hike the short, easy trail from Lagazuoi to the Falzarego Pass back to your car. Or go for a scenic drive, driving over Falzarego Pass and/or Giau Pass.

Passo Giau

Passo Giau


If you have any questions about the Cinque Torri hike, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

DOLOMITES: 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.

DOLOMITES: For more great hikes in the Dolomites, check out our hiking guides for the Lago di Braies, Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau, the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint, and the Adolf Munkel Weg to Geisler Alm. In our article Best Hikes in the Dolomites, we cover 15 epic trails in the Dolomites.

MILAN & LAKE COMO: Learn how to visit Milan on a day trip or while traveling between the Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice. Lake Como and Bellagio are two more beautiful places in Italy that are great day trip destinations.

LAKE GARDA: Learn what there is to see and do in Sirmione in our article Best Things to Do in Sirmione. We also have information on how to visit Riva del Garda.

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.

CINQUE TERRE: One of the best experiences in the Cinque Terre is to hike between all five towns. If you are traveling on a budget, get our money saving tips for the Cinque Terre.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe and the 20 Best Hikes in Europe. You can also get more travel ideas in our 10 Days in Europe itinerary guide, which has 10 great itineraries for your next trip to Europe.

 

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide.

 

Cinque Torri Hike Dolomites Italy

 

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Comments 2

  1. Avatar for Sarah
    Sarah

    Looks incredibly beautiful! As always, thanks for the super detailed and very helpful information! I rely on y’all’s website for tons of information when traveling. Any chance y’all will be putting out a Dolomites itinerary/information page with best places to stay, transportation, etc?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Sarah. Thanks for writing in. Yes, we have plans to publish all of that at some point. I’m hoping to have it out there by the end of this year. Tim and I have another big Italy trip coming up this fall, so that will delay how much I’ll be able to get out in the upcoming weeks, but I’ll do my best! Cheers, Julie

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