Julie Italy 26 Comments

The Dolomites is by far our favorite place to visit in the Dolomites. On our first visit to Italy, we spent four memorable days driving incredibly winding roads, up and down through mountainous territory, enjoying some of Italy’s best views. Our first hike, the Lagazuoi Tunnels, really showed us just how beautiful this area is.

First Impression of the Dolomites

This part of the country is almost more Austrian than Italian. German is just as widely spoken as Italian, and we heard hardly any English while we were here. My knowledge of German and Italian is miniscule, as I only know the necessities, such as counting to ten and asking for a glass of wine. Still, we were able to get by.

The towns looked like they were plucked out of Bavaria, with quaint hotels decorated with masses of petunias and other colorful flowers, ski chalets, and the occasional biergarten. We saw chair lifts and gondolas everywhere, used for skiing in the winter, but were now taking vacationers like ourselves to the mountaintops for some of the highest views over Italy.

The hiking was the best we have had yet; challenging, not overly crowded, with rewarding vistas. At the end of the day we would return to Selva di Cadore, our home base, and enjoy pizza, pasta, and wine. This is our kind of paradise.

Selva di Cadore

Our Home Base: Selva di Cadore

To get to the Dolomites, we rented a car in Venice, driving almost two hours north to the town of Selva di Cadore. 

Selva di Cadore is a quiet, small town located in the mountains, about a half hour away from Cortina D’Ampezzo. It is a somewhat central location for reaching most of the hiking trails in the Dolomites. Plus, we were located away from the main touristy towns; it was wonderful getting away from the masses of tourists in Italy in July.

In Selva di Cadore we stayed at Hotel Garni Ongaro. We stayed in the quadruple room which had bunk beds for Tyler and Kara and a queen-sized bed for Tim and I. The rooms are basic but clean and breakfast each morning was very good. We loved staying in this small town, a nice break from the bigger cities we just visited in Italy.

Selva di Cadore Dolomites

Hiking the Lagazuoi Tunnels

Today we did our shortest of three hikes, since it was already 2 pm once we got started. A half hour north of Selva di Cadore is the Falzarego Pass and the Lagazuoi Tunnels.  The roads here are insane! I don’t think there is a straight section of road in the Dolomites more than 100 meters long, and some mountain climbs would entail driving 36 hairpin turns. We know this because there were signs counting them down during these climbs.

We parked in a car park on a mountaintop, and just when we thought we couldn’t go any higher, there was a cable car to take us to 2800 meters of altitude, to the top of a mountain peak. The cable car went so high that we couldn’t even see the top…it was covered in clouds.

Lagazuoi Cable Car

Lagazuoi Cable Car


Passo Falzarego

Lagazuoi Cable Car

It was a very smooth, very fast ride to the top. We emerged from the cable car into much cooler weather. The four of us were wearing shorts, T-shirts, and rain jackets, which was not enough clothing. If you plan on doing this hike, make sure you are prepared for the cooler temperatures on the mountain top. 

The cable car runs every 15 minutes starting at 9 am. The last uphill run is at 4:40 pm. Tickets cost €15 one-way all year except for August. In August, tickets cost €17 one way. Get updated hours and pricing here.

Cable Car View

In Silhouette

On the Hiking Trail

After photos with an incredible backdrop, we set off down the mountain. This area of Italy was the site of many World War I battles. We could see tunnels and bunkers carved out of the mountains, remnants from the war.

On this hike we were planning on hiking 1 km down one of these tunnels. In order to do this good footwear and flashlights are a must. We came prepared, but could never find the tunnel!!  

Hiking Dolomites Kids

What an incredible view! | Lagazuoi Tunnels hike


Happy to be in Italy

Julie Rivenbark


In a way, we were glad we missed the tunnel. By hiking through a dark tunnel we would have missed some of the best views.

Lagazuoi Tunnel Hike

Earth Trekkers Kids

Dolomites Hike

View of the Dolomites from the trail | Lagazuoi Tunnels hike

Halfway down the mountain we found the bottom entrance to the tunnel. We walked through the tunnel part of the way. It was dark, chilly, and slippery. Those flashlights are a must!!

Lagazuoi Tunnel


We finished our last descent, ending our first hike in the Dolomites. The scenery is amazing here. We are really looking forward to a much longer hike tomorrow.

Hiking Dolomites

Lagazuoi Tunnels Hiking Stats

Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 650 meters (mostly downhill; a cable car takes you to the highest point)
Length of time: 3 to 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Map: You can purchase a map of this hike at the tourist offices, souvenir shops, and outdoor suppliers in the Dolomites. For this hike, you need the Tabacco #3 or #7. Purchasing the map is not necessary. The hiking trail is well marked and easy to follow. You can also reference the book Shorter Walks in the Dolomites, which we mention below.
When to go: This hike is best during the summer months.
Bring: Hiking shoes, water, snacks or lunch, a jacket and long pants (it is chilly at the higher elevations), and of course, your camera.

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, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

For More Information on Hiking in the Dolomites

Looking for more hikes in the Dolomites? We also hiked the spectular Puez-Odle Altopiano (one of our favorite hikes of all time) and The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop, an easy hike around giant pinnacles of stone, one of the iconic views of the Dolomites.

The book Shorter Walks in the Dolomites by Gillian Price was a huge asset to us planning our time in the Dolomites. This book covers 50 one-day hikes in the Dolomites, complete with maps, directions, photographs, and wonderful descriptions of the hikes. If you are considering hiking the Dolomites, we highly recommend this book.

More Information about Italy

Planning a trip to Italy? Read all of our articles in our Italy Travel Guide.

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Dolomites Hiking Lagazuoi Tunnels


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Comments 26

  1. Avatar for Jessica Huffman
    Jessica Huffman

    Hello! Do you know what number hike this is in the “shorter walks” book?
    Love looking at and reading about all your travels!

    1. Avatar for Jessica Huffman
  2. Avatar for timothy alan heath
    timothy alan heath

    Hello, thank you for the information about this hike. I was curious, how expensive was the cable cars you used?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      It’s been several years so I don’t remember the prices. But you could look it up online. I just remember that it seemed rather expensive. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Ellen O Clancy
    Ellen O Clancy

    Hi – Our family would like to do this hike on our upcoming trip this month. My kids are both 13 and are experienced hikers. However, I am slightly afraid of heights. I am not concerned aa out the tunnel part of the hike, but have read there are a few very exposed areas, and a suspension bridge. What advice can you give?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Ellen. When we did this hike a few years ago there was not a suspension bridge. I also do not recall any exposure on this hike. The pictures that you see of Tim and I near the edge of the cliff are at a photo viewpoint and can be skipped. The trail just switchbacks down the mountain and never really approaches any drop offs. We ended up not walking through the tunnel, which worked out, since we really, really enjoyed the mountain views. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Jesseka

    Hi, I’ve seen you’ve used cable cars a bit for the 3 hikes you did – I’m just wondering if you know where to find when the cable cars are running (I’ve read that they may be closed ??end of October/november). So keen to hike the Dolomites!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      You could Google search each cable car to see to what you find. I just did it for the one for the Lagazuoi Tunnels and here is the link. It looks like it operates until October 20. So, you might be out of luck for your time frame. You will also need to keep an eye on the weather. In the winter, snow can close some of the roads. You won’t be there in winter but an early snowstorm could affect your plans too. Good luck! Cheers, Julie

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