In northeast Italy, jagged pinnacles of rock soar into the sky, mountain huts and cabins dot the green, rolling hills, cable cars whisk hikers and skiers to the highest mountain peaks, and hiking trails connect small hamlets and towns.
For many visitors, ourselves included, this region is the highlight of a trip to Italy. The beautiful landscapes, the charming towns, and the long list of incredible hiking trails create a magical travel destination.
In this guide, learn what there is to do in the Dolomites, get advice on where to stay and where to eat, and learn how to plan your perfect itinerary.
Top Experiences in the Dolomites
Go hiking. One of the best ways to experience the Dolomites is from a hiking trail. We cover the best hikes in the Dolomites later in this guide.
Ride the Cable Car to Cima Tofana. From the mountain station, you have 360° views of the Dolomites. In our opinion, it’s even better than the more popular Marmolada.
Marmolada. Ride the cable car to the top of Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites.
Drive the Mountain Passes. There is a long list of scenic mountain passes to drive in the Dolomites. Our favorites are Passo Pordoi, the Sella Pass, Passo Giau, and the Sella Pass.
Visit the Lovely Lakes. There are a handful of beautiful lakes you can visit, including Lago di Braies, Lago Federa, Lago di Misurina, and Lago di Carezza.
Seceda. Ride the cable car to Seceda for one of the most iconic views in the Dolomites.
Dine in a Rifugio. To hike to mountain hut, have a meal, all while gazing out across some the most magnificent landscapes in Europe, is a must-have experience in the Dolomites.
Ride the Cable Car to Lagazuoi. From Falzarego Pass, ride the cable car to Lagazuoi, enjoy the view, and you can even hike back down to the pass.
Visit Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm). This is the highest alpine meadow in Europe and a great place to go hiking and mountain biking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Visit Val di Funes. Val di Funes is one of the most picturesque areas of the Dolomites. From these green rolling hills, you get a jaw-dropping view of the Odle/Geisler Group and Santa Maddalena Church.
Go skiing. In the winter months, the Dolomites are a fantastic place in Europe to go skiing.
Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Seceda. Seceda is a famous viewpoint in the Dolomites and it’s just a short hike to get here, since a cable car whisks you high into the mountains, eliminating what would be a massive climb.
Cinque Torri. The Cinque Torri is one of the most recognizable rock formations in the Dolomites. It’s also a very short hike and perfect for all ages and ability levels.
Cinque Torri + Rifugios Averau and Nuvolau. Hike the Cinque Torri and add on rifugios Averau and Nuvolau for one of the best all-around hiking experiences in the Dolomites.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Puez-Odle Altopiano. 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.
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.
Adolf Munkel Weg. 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 Hiking Guides
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: Trail Stats, Map & Photos
How to Hike the Puez-Odle Altopiano Trail in the Dolomites
Lagazuoi to Passo Falzarego: Hiking the Frontline Trail
How to Hike to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint (Map, Photos & Helpful Tips)
How to Hike the Cinque Torri (Map, Photos & Best Viewpoints)
How to Hike to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau
Croda da Lago Circuit Hike (+ Lago Federa & Forcella Ambrizzola)
How to Hike the Adolf Munkel Weg to Geisler Alm
Piz Boè Hiking Guide: Map, Hiking Stats, Trail Guide & Photos
More Places to Go in the Dolomites
Best Way to Visit Seceda (with Little to No Hiking)
Tofana-Cortina Cable Car to Cima Tofana & Tofana di Mezzo
Best Way to Visit Lago di Braies (HELPFUL Tips & Photos)
Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) in Summer: Things to Do, Photos & Tips
Ultimate Guide to Marmolada | Photos, Tips & Is It Worth It?
How to Plan a Trip to the Dolomites
How Many Days Do You Need in the Dolomites?
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, spend as much time here as you can. I recommend five days at a minimum. So far, we spent 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.
Best Time to Visit the Dolomites
If you are planning a trip to the Dolomites to go hiking, June through September is the best time to visit the Dolomites.
In May and even into early June in some years, snow can linger on the trails. The earliest I recommend planning a hiking trip is early June. You can still visit the Dolomites in May, but you might be limited in what hikes you can do.
In October, once the snow begins to fall, the trails close. It varies from year to year, but the hiking trails are typically closed by the end of October into very early November. If the snows come early, this could happen by mid-October.
If skiing is your thing, visit the Dolomites from December through March, although some ski resorts will open sooner than this or close later than this.
Where to Stay in the Dolomites
If you look at the Dolomites on a map, it doesn’t look all that big. But the narrow winding roads and multiple mountain passes make it slow going when driving through the Dolomites.
If you have three or more days in the Dolomites, consider staying in two different places, one in the eastern Dolomites and one in the western Dolomites. This will save you some time since you will have shorter drives to the hiking trails and viewpoints.
If you just have a few days and want one hotel, pick out what you want to do, and then choose the location closest to those activities.
To make things easy, you could book a hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo and spend a few days here. Some of our favorite things to do in the Dolomites are near here, including Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cinque Torri, the Croda da Lago Circuit, and Lago di Braies.
In our guide on where to stay in the Dolomites, get recommendations on the best places to stay in the Dolomites, based on location, budget, and travel style.