These are our favourite day hikes in the Dolomites, suitable for different levels of experience. We have included detailed instructions, a map and tips for getting to and from the trailhead.

By - Mark | Last Updated - 17 Jun 2024 | Go to - Comments & Questions

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After several visits, the beautiful landscapes of the Italian Dolomites never cease to amaze us.

They stand apart from other mountain ranges primarily due to their dramatic limestone peaks. Crags that soar out of rolling green meadows where the change from rural idyll to inhospitable mountain is swift and stunning.

Paul and I have done plenty of hiking in the Dolomites but this guide covers our top 9 hikes. Some are little more than a gentle stroll; others will leave you panting at the top of a rocky peak.

We have included detailed instructions plus where to stay in the area and tips for your first time visiting. We have also listed our other Dolomites guides at the end to help plan your trip.

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All these fantastic day hikes in the Dolomites are spread over a fairly wide area. Use our map below to help determine when to do which walk. Alternatively, read our Dolomites itinerary for some suggestions on how to spend a week in the area.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


  • Start Rifugio Auronzo
  • Distance10.3 kilometre round trip
  • Time3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Elevation+/- 400 metres
  • DifficultyEasy-Medium

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is possibly the finest hike in the Dolomites. Circling the three soaring spires of Tre Cime, this easy walk on simple to follow paths, has breathtaking views the entire way.

Spiky peaks, reflective lakes, and well-positioned rifugios. If you only do one hiking trail in the Dolomites, make it this one.


The trail begins at Rifugio Auronzo. Take path 101 past Rifugio Lavaredo and over Forcella Lavaredo, before descending down to Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte).

Leave the rifugio on path 102 taking care to quickly turn left on path 105. It descends down a small canyon before rising up the other side and passing directly under the three Tre Cime peaks. Stay on path 105 as it rises to Forcella la Col di Mezzo, where it turns left and heads back to Rifugio Auronzo.

More detailed instructions and a downloadable map is available on our Tre Cime guide.


The trail begins at Rifugio Auronzo, which has a large car park behind a toll booth. The charge is €30 per day (€45 for campervans). It’s is a 40-minute drive from either Cortina d’Ampezzo or Dobbiaco. For public transport, the 444 shuttle bus from Dobbiaco takes 45 minutes.


There are 5 rifugios along the hiking route. All have restaurants or cafes and toilets, so there’s no need to take supplies with you.


  • Start Passo Tre Croci Car Park
  • Distance13-kilometre round trip
  • Time4 hours, 45 minutes
  • Elevation+/- 725 metres
  • DifficultyMedium (summit return)

Lago di Sorapis is a glistening turquoise lake backed by the craggy buttresses of the 3,200 mountain which shares its name. While many of the lakes in the Dolomites are packed with people, this one requires a decent hike. You may have it all to yourself.

The hiking trail winds through shady forests and over rocky ledges as views stretch off to jagged craggy peaks. The crisp mountain air, crunchy alpine foliage and crystal clear lake reflections make this Dolomites hike well worth conquering.


From Passo Tre Croci, follow path 215 which takes just over an hour to get to the lake. You can either return the way you came, making it an easy 2 hour 30 minute walk or head back over the summit. To return via the summit, head back on path 215. After 10 minutes, turn left on path 216 to climb the steep path up 400 metres.

At the top, there’s a short tricky section with a handrail as you cross over a small basin. Stay on 216 as it passes through Forcella Marcoira and then drops steeply down the other side. Turn right on path 213 which takes you back to the Passo Tre Croci. More detailed instructions and a downloadable map is available on our Lago di Sorapis guide.


The trail begins at Passo Tre Croci which is a 15 minute drive from Cortina D’Ampezzo. Car parking is free and available all along the side of the road. For public transport take a 20-minute ride on the 030 bus from Cortina.


Rifugio Alfonso Vandelli sits just below Lago di Sorapis. It serves simple food and drinks during summer. It opens later in the year than many other rifugios, so check ahead.


  • Start Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Distance3.5-kilometre round trip
  • Time1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Elevation+/- 50 metres
  • DifficultyEasy

Lago di Braies is the most Instagram friendly of the Dolomites’ lakes. Emerald water shimmers against dramatic cliffs in the background, with romantic wooden boats lining the shore.

This very easy Dolomites hike circumnavigates the lake passing a quaint chapel nestled among towering pine trees and a few shingle beaches. It’s a beautiful but popular spot so arrive early in the morning, just as the sun starts to rise over the peaks for a quieter visit.  


The path around the lake takes just over an hour. It alternates between running along the edge of the water and diverting into the woods. You can’t go wrong. For more great ideas in the area, read our guide to Lago di Braies.


There are 3 car parks at Lago di Braies but they can fill up quickly. Arrive early or come in the late afternoon. For public transport, the 442 bus runs to Lago di Braies from Dobbiaco via Vallabass (Niederdorf) train station, but only during summer months (mid-June to mid-Sep)


There are toilets at the car parks and Hotel Lago di Braies, which also has a restaurant and bar overlooking the lake. We’d recommend taking your own picnic as it can be a bit touristy.  


  • Start Santa Maddalena
  • Distance7-kilometre round trip
  • Time2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Elevation+/- 250 metres
  • DifficultyEasy

Val di Funes is a stunningly picturesque valley and another Instagram favourite. The highlight is two attractive churches, surrounded by fields of hay, backed by the soaring spires of the Odle-Geisler peaks.

The best views are captured on this easy Dolomites hike along the Panoramaweg and Sunnseitenweg trails. The two paths traverse the edge of the Funes valley as undulating meadows unfurl below them.

Higher up, fields lined with colourful alpine flowers frame the two churches and their towering backdrop, forming one of the best sights in the Dolomites


Start in the town of Santa Maddalena and follow the roads up to Santa Maddalena church. From the church take the path north-west rising up the rolling hills for great views. Follow signs for the Panoramaweg as it contours the valley and drops to meet another path. Turn right heading into San Pietro.

On the way back from San Pietro take the lower Sunnseitenweg back to Santa Maddalena. More detailed instructions and a downloadable map is available on our Val di Funes guide.


The trail begins in Santa Maddalena where there are several small parking spots. For public transport, the 330 bus runs roughly hourly up and down the Funes Valley from Bressanone (Brixen) train station to Santa Maddalena.


There are supermarkets in Santa Maddelena to make up a picnic lunch, and several cafes in San Pietro – the Albergo Kabis Gasthof Café has good coffee and great people watching.


  • Start Ranui
  • Distance16.5-kilometre round trip
  • Time5 hours
  • Elevation+/- 1000 metres
  • Difficulty Medium

While the Val di Funes hike admires the peaks of Odle-Geisler from afar, this hike gets up close and personal with the jagged teeth and countless soaring spires. So close you’ll be straining your neck to see them. It’s one of our favourite hikes in the Dolomites and it’s an excellent day out in the mountains.

Leave the Instagram-famous church to explore a dramatic section of the Dolomites through high-alpine farms and wooded trails up to the base of the towering rock faces.


Start in Ranui and take path 28 following a road which becomes a track as it ascends steeply through a forest. After just over an hour the trees thin and the peaks appear. Turn right on path 35 (this is the Adolf Munkel Weg) to Rufugio Magla Brogles and great views.

From the rifugio backtrack the way you came, but ignore path 28, and stay on path 35 as it traverses under the peaks. After an hour of navigating scree and boulders under the spires, turn left on path 36 following signs down to Magla Glatsch and then Rifugio Zanes. At Zanes turn left on path 33, back along the valley floor to Ranui.

More detailed instructions and a downloadable map is available on our Val di Funes guide.


The trail starts at Ranui where there is a car park costing €4 a day. For public transport, hop on the 330 bus which runs from Bressanone (Brixen) train station to Ranui (final stop).


There are two excellent rifugios on this hike. Rifugio Malga Brogles has a fairly short opening season (July to September). Malga Glatsch is open from May to October in a lovely setting. There are no shops in Ranui, but there is a small supermarket in Santa Maddalena.


  • Start Top of Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cable car
  • Distance5 kilometres
  • Time2 hours
  • Elevation100 metres ascent, 450 metres descent
  • DifficultyEasy

The views from the summit of Seceda are extraordinary and possibly the finest in the Dolomites. From the ridge, a jagged line of soaring spires appear like the teeth of a mangled saw. Clouds regularly loiter below the top, creating a moody atmosphere.

The joy of this easy walk is that it hardly takes any effort. From the top of the dramatic ridge, it descends past several rifugios each with spectacular views.


Take the cable car from Ortisei past Furnes up to Seceda. From here ascend to the Seceda viewpoint overlooking the Odle-Geisler peaks. Now it’s all downhill. Descend following path 1 past Troier Hut to Rifugio Firenze (Regensburger Hut). At the rifugio, turn right on path 2 and then shortly afterwards, left on path 5 to reach Col Raiser.

From Col Raiser take the cable car into St. Christina from where the 350/352 bus regularly runs back to Ortisei. The walk takes around 2 hours and is an easy way to get incredible scenery.


The trail begins at the top of the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cable car. There is undercover parking at the Ortisei cable car station. For public transport, the 350 bus runs regularly along the Val Gardena valley floor, connecting Ortisei and Wolkenstein with Besaanone (Brixen) or Bolzano.


This popular area has plenty of facilities. Ristorante Seceda is at the top of the Furnes-Seceda cable car. About a third of the way down, the excellent Troier Hut is open throughout the summer and winter season. Regensburger (Rifugio Fierenze) is near the end of the walk and opens from June to October.

seceda ridgeline walk, dolomites hiking


  • Start Passo Sella car park
  • Distance17.6 kilometres round trip (including optional ascent to Rifugio Vincenza)
  • Time6 hours
  • Elevation+/- 1000 metres
  • DifficultyMedium-Hard

The Sassolungo circuit is a 6-hour hike with 1,000 metres of ascent and descent. It’s a long, tiring day but one of the most rewarding hiking routes in the Dolomites. The trail clings to the boundary between meadows and rocky peaks. On one side, the sheer-sided faces that make up the massif tower above the path. On the other, grassy meadows, alpine flowers and winding trails, roll-off towards other mountains. 

Views of the soaring spires of the Puez-Odle massif, the massive rocky lump of Sella and the craggy buttresses of the Catinaccio as well as perfectly positioned rifugios make for a great Dolomites hike.


Start at Passo Sella and head south for a few minutes before turning right on path 557 (Frederich August Weg). Follow the 557 trail past Rifugio Frederich August and Rifugio Sandro Pertini to Rifugio Sasso Piatto. From here head north-west downhill on path 9 for a short distance before turning right on path 527.

Continue on 527 (deciding if you want to take the optional ascent up path 525 to Rifugio Vicenza) until you meet path 526 which takes you past Rifugio Comici before dropping back to Passo Sella. 

More detailed instructions and a downloadable map is available on our detailed Sassolungo guide.


The trail begins at the Passo Sella car park, which is a 20-minute drive from Selva’ 30 minutes from Canazei; or 40 minutes from Ortisei. The car park costs €5 and fills up quickly, so get there early.

For public transport, the 471 bus runs from Ortisei and Selva in Val Gardena over Passo Sella (stopping at the car park) and then onto Canazei. It runs around every 20 to 30 minutes but only in the summer months.


One of the best things about the Sassolungo hike is the excellent rifugios along the walk. Rifugio Friedrich August is one of our favourites in the Dolomites with sweeping views and excellent food.

The most dramatic, however, is the optional detour up to Rifugio Vicenza, high up amongst a barren wasteland of rock.


  • Start Rifugio Ciampedie
  • Distance12.5-kilometre round trip
  • Time5 hours
  • Elevation+/- 1275 metres
  • DifficultyMedium-Hard

The Vajolet Towers are six summits that rise out of the rock-strewn basin of the Catinaccio group. Thin and sinuous rocky spires, it is difficult to imagine some of them are still standing. But standing they are, and exploring this barren wasteland of rock and stone makes for an excellent, if somewhat challenging, Dolomites excursion.

But with the variety of easy stroll through pine forests to a rocky slog up a zig-zagging mountain trail, the hike up to the base of the Vajolet Towers is a very memorable day out in the Dolomites.


Start at Rifugio Ciampedie cable car station (2000 metres) and follow path 540 making easy progress to Rifugio Gardeccia. The trail now steepens and climbs reaching two spectacularly positioned rifugios, Paul Preuss and Vajolet.

From here, it’s a heart-thumping scramble up a steep 400 metres incline to Rifugio Re Alberto. Although it’s tough the ascent is tucked away quickly and steel cables assist in the harder sections. Nevertheless, the rifugio comes as a welcome relief among the barren rocky plateau. A further gradual 100-metre climb brings you to Rifugio Passo Santner and its wide-ranging panoramic views to the west.  

Having savoured your achievement, head back the way you came.


Park in Vigo di Fassa at the base of the Vigo – Ciampedie cable car. Take the cable car up to Rifugio Ciampedie to begin the walk. For public transport, the 101 bus runs up and down Val di Fassa between Canazei and Trento.


There are plenty of facilities around the Ciampedie cable car station including cafes, shops & toilets. Directly under the climb up to the towers, Rifugio Paul Preuss and Rifugio Vajolet are great places to fuel up.


  • Start Grostè Gondola Lift
  • Distance – 18-kilometre round trip
  • Time6 hours
  • Elevation200 metres ascent, 1300 metres descent
  • DifficultyMedium

Few head out to the Brenta Dolomites and we think that’s a mistake. Its rocky canyons, towering needles and massive blocks of stone are home to some of the best Via Ferrata in Europe. But you don’t need to be clipped onto the iron road, trails weaving in and out of these natural wonders allow hikers up here too.

This Dolomites hiking route is our favourite in the region. While long, it is not as hard as it may look. A cable car takes care of most of the height and an optional bus trip can lop 3 kilometres off the trail. So grab your favourite hiking backpack and head into this rocky wonderland.


Start at Passo del Grostè (Rifugio Stoppani), the final stop on the Grostè Gondola lift. From the cable car follow trail 316 as it winds around a rocky canyon, darting in and out of needle-shaped peaks. After 1 hour and 30 minutes, it arrives at Rifugio Tuckett, one of the best-located huts in the Dolomites.

From Rifugio Tuckett take path 328 (Sentiero del Fridolin) and then turn left on path 318 travelling deep into an amphitheatre of towering peaks. Right in the centre of this wonderland of rock sits Rifugio Brentei – another excellent place to stop.

Head back on path 318 to Rifugio Casinei, then take path 317 to Rifugio Vallisnella. Here you have a choice. Follow the route through the pine forest back to Madonna di Campiglio or get a bus and save yourself the final hour walk.

More details are on Day 7 of our 1-week Dolomites itinerary.


The trail begins at Passo del Grostè, which is at the top of the Grostè Gondola lift. Park at the Cabinovia Grostè cable car station just outside Madonna di Campiglio (€3.50 per day).

For public transport, it’s a short bus ride from Madonna di Campiglio on either the B642 or B201.


There are plenty of bakeries and supermarkets in Madonna di Campiglio. But the rifugios serve food and drink, with the spaghetti at Rifugio Tuckett, and the beer at Rifugio Brentei both excellent. The rifugios are open for the summer season only: June to September.


There is one hike that has been recommended to us by the great and the good that is not on this list. Unfortunately, every time we’ve been in the Dolomites, driving rain or late-lingering snow has scuppered our plans to hike Puez-Odle Altopiano.  

If you give it a go then let us know what it’s like in the comments below.


For us, a great hike requires a bit of leg-work, interesting changing views and the opportunity to see things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. However, there are just too many great sights in the Dolomites that are well worth seeing, even though they’re not at the end of what we would consider a really great hike.


The vistas over Alpe di Siusi in the early morning or late afternoon are stunning. Large alpine meadows, carpeted with wildflowers, provide a lush foreground to the imposing Seceda mountain ridge.

But the meadow is large and you can be hiking for many hours without the scenery changing much. In our opinion, Alpe di Siusi is best explored on two wheels rather than two legs. Hire an e-bike from Ortisei and spend the day collecting much more of the area than you could on a hike.


The Sella massif is a massive block of rock and the views from the top are excellent. On a clear day, you can spend hours identifying the various Dolomites peaks that surround the summit.

Unfortunately, it is high and difficult to construct a circular day-hike that gets to the top with changing views. It’s better to take the cable car up to Sass Pordoi and enjoy the views from there. 

dolomites hiking 28


The Dolomites hiking season runs from June to September.

The best time to visit is the first few weeks of July. Flowers carpet the upper meadows, and the snow should have cleared from the higher trails. Early September is also excellent, as summer crowds die down but the weather remains fine.

Early in summer, snow can hang around on the higher ground, making some of the paths impassable. Cold weather and snow can return as early as October.

The cable cars close at the end of the ski season and while some of the larger ones reopen in late May, many others don’t return to service until mid-June. Most of the rifugios – such a great part of hiking in the Dolomites – also shut after winter. Some don’t reopen until mid to late June.

Avoid August if possible as the school holidays bring large crowds.


Many people are tempted to hike in the Dolomites in May. It’s between the winter and summer season and a good time of year to get outdoors before the summer rush. However, most of the cable cars in the Dolomites will still be closed in May and many of the higher hikes in our list will be covered in snow.

So many of the Dolomites hikes we have suggested will not be possible in May, however, snow-shoeing is a great option for a mid-season excursion to the mountains.

Rifugio Tuckett, Brenta Dolomites


Our favourite hikes in the Dolomites are spread across a large area. However, it’s possible to choose a location that will allow you to access several of these walks fairly easily.


Val Gardena is rightly one of the most popular destinations for hiking in the Dolomites. From its two main towns, Selva (Wolkenstein) and Ortisei (St. Ulrich), cable cars rise into the mountains connecting a myriad of hiking trails.

Stay around Val Gardena for Val di Funes Panoramweg (4), the Adolf Munkel Trail (5) and Seceda (6).

For more details on the area read our guide to Val Gardena.

seceda ridge val gardena


The two main centres in the northern section of the Dolomites are the towns of Cortina d’Ampezzo and Dobbiaco. Cortina is more picturesque and better if you have a car, but Dobbiaco has more comprehensive public transport options.

Stay around Cortina or Dobiacco for Tre Cime di Lavaredo (1), Lago di Sorapis (2), and Lago di Braies (3).

For more information on the area, read our guide to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

guide to cortina in the italian dolomites


Val di Funes is an idyllic valley with very few services. While it can be reached on a day trip from Val Gardena by bus, it can also make a good base if you want to get away from it all for a few days.

Stay around Val di Funes for Val di Funes Panoramaweg (4) and the Adolf Munkel Trail (5).

  • Fallerhof is a great budget property in the centre of the village
  • Haus Puez has comfortable self-catering apartments with stunning views just outside the village of San Pietro
  • Proihof is an alpine gem 5-minutes drive from Funes.

Read our guide to Val di Funes for more information about the area.

Val di funes hike in the Dolomites


1 – Two of the walks mentioned here require cable cars and fees can quickly add up. Some hotels offer discounted passes and other multi-day passes are available from the cable car station. Check to see if they will save you money.

2 – All the routes are well marked, but make sure you have a good idea where you are going. Ideally, take a physical map or download the maps from our more detailed posts onto your smartphone. MAPS: Cortina map Vajolet Towers / Val Gardena / Brenta

3 – All these walks have at least a rifugio or café on route but if you are at either end of the season check they are open. Even if they are, carry plenty of energy replenishing snacks and a water filter bottle. If you’re doing a longer hike we highly recommend a hydration bag like this one.

4 – To collect shots of those turquoise lakes, we highly recommend investing in good quality ND Filters, they’ll really make your images pop. To use the filters, you’ll need a decent tripod, the Ultralight SIrui is the best we’ve come across.


The harder hikes require hiking boots (we use something like these) or at least sturdy walking shoes. Trainers are fine for the easy hike. Hiking poles can also help to bypass some of the strain from your legs to your arms.

Always take a waterproof and some warm clothes. Every 1,000 metres you rise the temperature drops about 5 degrees and if the clouds come over and the wind picks up it can get cold quickly.

Similarly, clouds can clear quickly. Even if it looks overcast before you set off, the sun could be shining in no time. So pack a hat and/or sunscreen.


We have a detailed guide about visiting the Dolomites for the first time, which includes information on how to get there and around, when to go and what to do in the main areas.

You can also read our guide to the best places to visit in the Dolomites for more ideas.


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- Paul & Mark.