The Italian Dolomites are renowned for their breathtaking mountain scenery and charming towns. With so many beautiful places to explore, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go and what to see.
In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through some of the best places to visit in the Dolomites.
Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for stunning landscapes, these destinations will not disappoint.
So grab your hiking boots and get ready to discover the beauty of the Dolomites!
1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo: The Iconic Symbol of the Dolomites
One of the must-see places in the Dolomites is Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also known as Drei Zinnen. These three iconic mountain peaks are the unmistakable symbol of the Dolomites.
Hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo trail is the best way to immerse yourself in the jaw-dropping scenery of the area. The 10km loop around the base of the peaks offers incredible views at every turn.
If you prefer an easier hike, you can walk the first part of the trail to Forcella Lavaredo, which takes only 20-30 minutes. From there, you can enjoy a side view of the Tre Cime peaks.
2. Lago di Braies: The Jewel of the Dolomites
Lago di Braies, also known as Pragser Wildsee, is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Italy.
Nestled at the end of the Prags Valley, this picturesque lake is surrounded by towering mountain peaks, creating a picture-perfect setting. In the summer, you can rent a boat and admire the stunning views from the water.
If you’re up for a hike, there is also a short and easy loop trail around the lake. However, be prepared for crowds, as Lago di Braies is a popular destination among locals and tourists alike.
3. Val Gardena: A Paradise for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Val Gardena is one of the best-known regions in the Dolomites, offering a plethora of outdoor activities for visitors. This area is a paradise for hikers, with countless trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints and mountain peaks.
The three main towns in Val Gardena – Selva, Santa Cristina, and Ortisei – serve as excellent bases for exploring the surrounding mountains.
If you’re not into hiking, you can still enjoy the stunning scenery by taking one of the cable cars to the mountains and relishing the panoramic views from the comfort of a mountain restaurant.
4. Val di Funes: A Postcard-Perfect Valley
Val di Funes, also known as Villnoß, is a mountain valley famous for its iconic postcard view of the Dolomites. The small church of St. Magdalena against the backdrop of the Puez-Odle massif is a sight to behold.
To capture the same view as in those famous photographs, you can hike or drive to the viewpoint near St. Magdalena village.
The road is narrow, so it’s best to park in the village and walk up to the viewpoint. Another highlight of Val di Funes is the stunning mountains of the Puez-Odle Natural Park, which offer fantastic hiking opportunities.
5. Lago di Sorapis: A Hidden Gem in the Dolomites
Lago di Sorapis is a hidden gem in the Dolomites that offers a unique and breathtaking landscape. The glacial waters of the lake have a distinctive milky-blue color that looks almost surreal.
To reach Lago di Sorapis, you’ll need to hike the moderate 2-hour uphill trail that includes stairs, ladders, and narrow passages with metal chains for support.
Although the hike requires some effort, the reward is well worth it. The vibrant colors of the lake, combined with the surrounding mountains and wildflowers, create a scene straight out of a fairy tale.
6. Marmolada: The Queen of the Dolomites
Marmolada, also known as the Queen of the Dolomites, is the highest mountain in the region. Standing at an impressive 3,265 meters (10,712 feet), Marmolada offers panoramic views of the entire Dolomites region.
You can take a series of cable cars to reach the summit and enjoy the incredible 360° views.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Museum Marmolada Great War 3000m, a WWI fortress located at a staggering altitude of 3,000 meters. For the adventurous, there are also via ferratas and other activities available on Marmolada.
7. Passo Gardena: A Scenic Mountain Pass
Passo Gardena, also known as Grodner Joch, is a breathtaking mountain pass that offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks.
This pass is one of the most scenic drives in the Dolomites, with its winding roads and panoramic vistas. Driving through Passo Gardena is an experience in itself, and it provides quick access to Val Gardena and Lago di Braies.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a photography lover, this mountain pass is definitely worth a visit.
8. Passo Pordoi & Piz Boe: A Road with a View
Passo Pordoi is the highest road in the Dolomites, offering stunning views and a thrilling driving experience.
With its 28 hairpin bends, this road is not for the faint of heart. At the pass, you can enjoy the incredible views from Forcella Pordoi and hike to the nearby Piz Boe, one of the highest peaks in the Dolomites.
The hike to Piz Boe can be challenging, but the panoramic views from the summit are well worth the effort. Be sure to wear appropriate hiking gear and check the weather conditions before embarking on this adventure.
9. Passo Giau: A Scenic Mountain Pass
Passo Giau is another stunning mountain pass in the Dolomites that offers breathtaking scenery.
The road to Passo Giau features sharp hairpin turns, but the reward is the extraordinary landscapes that await you. One of the best views can be found at the main car park and bus stop at Passo di Giau.
From there, you can embark on various hikes, such as the hike to Falzarego Pass or Lago Federa. Even if you choose to walk only a small part of any trail, the scenery is truly amazing and worth the visit.
10. Cortina d’Ampezzo: A Mountain Resort with Charm
Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most popular mountain resorts in the Dolomites, known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant atmosphere.
With its picturesque town center and surrounding mountains, Cortina serves as an excellent base for exploring the region. The town offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses.
While in Cortina, be sure to take advantage of the cable cars that provide access to the surrounding mountains, such as Tondi di Faloria and Tofana di Mezzo.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Parco Avventura, an adventure park that offers fun and challenging activities for the whole family.
11. Cinque Torri: Where History Meets Natural Beauty
Cinque Torri, also known as the Five Towers, is a hidden gem in the Dolomites that offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty.
While the five towers themselves are a sight to behold, the real beauty lies in the surrounding landscapes. The views from Cinque Torri are absolutely amazing, with panoramic vistas that will leave you speechless.
In addition to the stunning scenery, you can explore the World War I trenches and bunkers that have been restored as an open-air museum. Cinque Torri is a place that truly captures the essence of the Dolomites.
12. Passo di Falzarego / Mt Lagazuoi / Forte Tre Sassi: History and Scenic Beauty
Falzarego Pass is a unique destination in the Dolomites that combines history and scenic beauty. Here, you can visit Forte Tre Sassi, a museum that provides insight into the Great War and the history of the Dolomites.
The museum is located next to the road between Falzarego Pass and Armentarola and is a fascinating place to learn about the region’s past.
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Another highlight of the area is the Lagazuoi tunnels, which can be reached by cable car from Passo di Falzarego. The panoramic views from Rifugio Lagazuoi are simply breathtaking and can be enjoyed by hikers and non-hikers alike.
13. Lago di Misurina: A Serene Mountain Lake
Lago di Misurina is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, offering a serene and picturesque setting.
Surrounded by majestic mountains, this lake provides stunning reflections on calm days. You can take a leisurely stroll around the lake or rent paddle boats to explore the tranquil waters.
There are also several hotels, restaurants, and a supermarket in the area, making it a convenient place to stay. Lago di Misurina is a perfect spot to relax and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Dolomites.
The Dolomites offer an abundance of natural beauty and cultural experiences that will leave you in awe.
From the iconic peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo to the picturesque shores of Lago di Braies, each destination in this guide showcases the unique charm and majesty of the Dolomites.
Whether you’re a hiker, a history buff, or simply seeking breathtaking landscapes, these best places to visit in the Dolomites have something for everyone.
So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning Dolomite Mountains.