The soaring spires of rock, alpine meadows and turquoise lakes of the Dolomites are simply stunning. Here’s how you can capture all the best bits of this remarkable landscape on a 7-day road trip.


There are few places in the world more beautiful than the Italian Dolomites. Soaring spires of rock rise above swaying alpine meadows and turquoise lakes. Beautiful churches nestle in fields of freshly cut hay. Rifugios perched high in the mountains provide remarkable views in addition to the other two essentials on any decent hike: beer and food.

In fact, there are so many amazing iconic sights, great photo opportunities and excellent hiking/biking experiences that it can be hard to fit the highlights into a week.

So here are our suggestions for how to capture all the best bits in a whirlwind 7-day Dolomite itinerary. You will need a hire car (although we will highlight some good public transport alternatives at the end of the post), a sense of adventure and a willingness to do a bit of hiking. But if that all sounds like your cup of tea, then this 7-day Dolomite road trip itinerary might just be for you.

Most of these walks feature in our best hikes in the Dolomites, however, in order to construct a week in the mountains that allows time for some relaxation, they’re not all included.


Please note / This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something following a link on this page, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our blog. / Paul & Mark.

7-DAY DOLOMITE ITINERARY

DAY 1 / Driving the Great Dolomite Road and Passo Pardoi

DAY 2 / Circumnavigating iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo

DAY 3 / Capturing Instagram friendly Lago di Braies and Val di Funes

DAY 4 / Stunning scenery on Seceda and Alpe di Siusi

DAY 5 / Hiking the magnificent Sassolungo-Langkofel circuit

DAY 6 / Savouring Trento and its valley wineries

DAY 7 / Exploring the lesser visited Brenta Dolomites


WHY GO TO THE DOLOMITES?

Experiencing some of the most remarkable mountain scenery in the world

Hiking a myriad of excellent well-marked trails

Tucking into schnitzel and strudel in Austrian-inspired Italian rifugios

Exploring the vineyards and sampling local produce

Crafting memorable Instagram images of iconic alpine sunsets

Biking across meadows carpeted with wild alpine flowers

7-day Dolomite itinerary: A wonderland of soaring peaks, swaying meadows and turquoise lakes

START /

The Dolomites occupy a large chunk of northern Italy and there a few airports you could fly in to. Verona, Venice or Innsbruck airports are all two to three hours’ drive away from Cortina where this itinerary starts. Verona is a slightly better option for this road trip as it’s closest to Madonna di Campiglio where this itinerary finishes.

DAY 1 / DRIVING THE GREAT DOLOMITE ROAD AND PASSO PARDOI

On the first day, begin your Dolomite itinerary by taking the stunning Great Dolomite Road. The road begins just southeast of Bolzano and heads west across dramatic mountain scenery to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

From Bolzano take the SS241 towards Nova Levante where you’ll see magnificent views of the Catinaccio. Soon afterwards, hop out of the car and collect some photos of the shimmering turquoise waters of Lago di Carezza mirroring the spiky Latemar mountains. The road now crosses the Costalungo pass and drops into Val di Fassa. Turn left onto the SS48 to Canazei.

Just through Canazei, the road winds to Passo Pordoi. It takes 22 hairpin bends to reach the top of the pass. Here, take the cable car to the 2,950m Sass Pordoi viewing terrace. To the west there are sensational views of the massive limestone blocks of the Sella and Sassolungo massifs. To the east lies the barren moonscape of Piz Boe. The rifugio at the top is a great spot for lunch.

It’s another 33 hairpins to descend down into the valley that sits beneath Marmolada and its mighty glacier. The road follows the valley through Arabba and Andraz before heading north to Passo Falzarego. Here, another excellent cable car ascends to the 2,835m high Rifugio Lagazuoi. The views from here are also excellent. You can also explore the trenches and tunnels from the First World War.

Returning to the car head east to finish your drive in Cortina.


STAY
TRAVEL
HIGHLIGHT
Hotel Aquila, Cortina d’Ampezzo
4 hours 15 minutes from Verona airport to Cortina
Taking in the staggering views of vertiginous rock from Sass Pordoi

STAY

Hotel Aquila, Cortina d’Ampezzo

TRAVEL

4 hours 15 minutes from Verona airport to Cortina

HIGHLIGHT

Taking in the staggering views of vertiginous rock from Sass Pordoi

Stunning views of the Sella and Sassolungo massifs from Passo Pordoi. Early in the hiking season, the tops can still be dotted with snow.


DAY 2 / CIRCUMNAVIGATING ICONIC TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

Tre Cime di Lavaredo are three soaring pinnacles of rock that have become one of the most iconic images of the Dolomites. The most famous view is just north of Drezinnenhütte: a magnificent rifugio tucked into the rock and scree. The only way to get the view is to walk, and it’s one of the best in the Dolomites.

To start the hike, drive from Cortina to the trailhead at Rifugio Auronzo (45 minutes). But, on the way stop at Lago Misurina and Lago Antorno. Both are beautiful lakes with views up to Tre Cime & Cadini massifs.

The trail is just over 10km with 400m of ascent and descent and takes just under 3 hours and 30 minutes. You can find all the details and more information for this walk on our guide to hiking Tre Cime.

After the hike, return to Cortina via Lago di Landro for some late afternoon snaps. The lake is beautiful, the café across the road serves a mean coffee and there are also excellent views back to Tre Cime from the Zinnenblick car park.


STAY
TRAVEL
HIGHLIGHT
Hotel Aquila, Cortina d’Ampezzo
1 hour 40 minutes from Cortina to Rifugio Auronzo and back
Getting neck-cramp staring at the soaring spires of Tre Cime di Lavaredo

STAY

Hotel Aquila, Cortina d’Ampezzo

TRAVEL

1 hour 40 minutes from Cortina to Rifugio Auronzo and back

HIGHLIGHT

Getting neck-cramp staring at the soaring spires of Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Tre Cime di Lavaredo are three soaring pinnacles of rock that have become one of the most iconic images of the Dolomites. / FULL GUIDE: Hiking Tre Cime


DAY 3 / CAPTURING INSTAGRAM FRIENDLY LAGO DI BRAIES AND VAL DI FUNES

Lago di Braies and Val di Funes are two of the most beautiful destinations in the Dolomites and have rightly become favourite Instagram destinations. Tucked into the northern valleys they are only a short drive apart.

Begin the day by taking the 1-hour drive to Lago di Braies. The turquoise waters of this picture perfect lake sit beneath the dramatic craggy buttresses of Croda del Becco. It’s a remarkable sight and worth savouring from the shoreline. There is a 1-hour walk around the lake, or you can hire a boat.

Hop back in the car and explore more of the beauty of the Braies valley. Only a few kilometres from the hordes of people at the lake, it is strangely quiet. In particular, the huts and flower-filled meadows that surround the ruined hotel in Bagni di Braies Vecchia is worth the short detour.

Next head to Val di Funes. The churches of San Giovanni and Santa Maddalena backed by the jagged peaks of the Puez-Odle massif are a photographer’s dream. But don’t just take photos and run, take the time to amble along the Panoramaweg and Sunnenseitenweg paths that meander through the meadows. They are a magnificent walk in the fading light and a great end to day 3 of this Dolomite itinerary.


STAY
TRAVEL
HIGHLIGHT
Gastof Stern, Val di Funes
2 hours, 30 minutes Cortina to Val di Funes via Lago di Braies
Watching early evening rays light up beautiful churches and jagged peaks

STAY

Gastof Stern, Val di Funes

TRAVEL

2 hours, 30 minutes Cortina to Val di Funes via Lago di Braies

HIGHLIGHT

Watching early evening rays light up beautiful churches and jagged peaks

TOP / The turquoise waters of Lago di Braies attract tourists from far and wide.

BOTTOM / So too, the Instagram-friendly San Giovanni church in the Val di Funes. Read all our Val di Funes tips.


DAY 4 / STUNNING SCENERY ON SECEDA AND ALPE DI SIUSI

The Puez-Odle massif that forms the magnificent backdrop to the churches in Val di Funes doesn’t just look good from afar. Up close those spiky peaks appear like the teeth of a mangled saw. And there is no better place to stare over this dramatic mountain scenery than from the top of the Seceda cable car.

Drive to Ortisei from Val di Funes (40 minutes) and take the cable car to the Seceda ridgeline. After a short walk, the reward is a magnificent array of vertiginous alpine scenery. Explore the ridge, grab a coffee at one of the rifugios and when you have had your fill take the cable car back down.

In the afternoon head up to Alpe di Siusi. This 2,000m alpine meadow is set below dramatic peaks and makes for a memorable half-day. Many head up here to hike, but the rolling meadows are long and wide and walking will only allow you to see a fragment of the area. So it’s better to hire a bike. It’s even better to hire an e-bike. That way, without too much huffing and puffing, and with zero emissions, you can see all the highlights.

The Bamby bike rental at the bottom of the Alpe di Siusi lift in Ortisei rents a range of bikes for full day 8:30 to 18:00 or half day 12:30 to 18:00. Whatever time you go makes sure you cycle to Saltria. The views across the meadows and up to Sassolungo are remarkable. Take the path that twists through the valleys back to Ortesei. It takes just over an hour, and you barely have to touch the pedals.


STAY
TRAVEL
HIGHLIGHT
Residence Larciunei, Ortisei
40 minutes from Val di Funes to Ortisei
Cycling furiously past slow-moving hikers exploring a high alpine meadow

STAY

Residence Larciunei, Ortisei

TRAVEL

40 minutes from Val di Funes to Ortisei

HIGHLIGHT

Cycling furiously past slow-moving hikers exploring a high alpine meadow

TOP / The Puez-Odle ridge line from the Seceda cable car is one of those classic Dolomites views.

BOTTOM / An e-bike excursion in Alpe di Siusi is a great way to see more and save the leg work.


DAY 5 / HIKING THE MAGNIFICENT SASSOLUNGO-LANGKOFEL CIRCUIT

What makes the Dolomites so spectacular are the near vertical peaks that suddenly protrude like a knife through swaying green meadows. And nowhere is this dramatic contrast more emphatic than the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif. So today strap on your hiking boots and circumnavigate this beautiful limestone monolith.

It’s a 6 hour, 17.6km walk with 1,000m of ascent and descent. But if you are up for the challenge it is a truly memorable day hike.

Set off early, take your time and recharge whenever you want. You can find all the details on our Sassolungo hiking post.


STAY
TRAVEL
HIGHLIGHT
Residence Larciunei, Ortisei
1 hour from Ortisei to Passo Sella and back
Turning every corner and being confronted with another remarkable landscape

STAY

Residence Larciunei, Ortisei

TRAVEL

1 hour from Ortisei to Passo Sella and back

HIGHLIGHT

Turning every corner and being confronted with another remarkable landscape

The views across lush alpine meadows from the jagged peaks on the Sassalungo hike are well worth the 17-kilometre trek. / FULL GUIDE: Hiking Sassalungo


DAY 6 / SAVOURING TRENTO AND ITS VINE COVERED VALLEY

Trento is a beautiful town in a beautiful valley and a great place to wind down for a day. Hop in the car and take the scenic SP64 and LS24 through Siusi and Presule towards Bolzano before entering the Trentino valley.

The Trento valley itself is impressive. Fortresses peer over the steep-sided walls. Vineyards line the valley floor. Little villages with cute churches perch on ledges or hide in crevasses. It’s all rather quaint if you can forgive the four-lane A22 highway that runs through the middle.

Fortunately, the old main road (SS12) winds around the valley and is much more enjoyable. Take this road and pick a couple of villages to explore. Potter round the beautiful pastel coloured buildings, little gardens and churchyards. When it’s time for lunch head to Alois Lageder, a family vineyard run on biodynamic principles. It serves up a delicious take on modern Italian cooking in a beautiful sunny courtyard. Obviously, their selection of local wines is excellent.

In the afternoon head to Trento and explore this attractive town. The highlight is the Piazza Duomo backed by the Cattedrale di San Viglio (where the infamous Council of Trento was held). But the real joy is just strolling the laneways, staring at the architecture and stopping at the bars and cafes perched on pavements or hidden in backstreets.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Lainez Roomes & Suites, Trento
2 hours, 15 minutes from Ortisei to Trento using the SS12
Lazy lunch with local produce and fine wine in a tiny village

STAY

Lainez Roomes & Suites, Trento

DRIVING

2 hours, 15 minutes from Ortisei to Trento using the SS12

HIGHLIGHT

Lazy lunch with local produce and fine wine in a tiny village

The Trento valley is full of quaint buildings, little gardens and churchyards, all set in a dramatic location.


DAY 7 / EXPLORING THE LESSER VISITED BRENTA DOLOMITES

Not many head out west to the Brenta Dolomites. But there is one very good reason to do so: the remarkable walk that traverses under the peaks of the imposing massif. The hike begins from the top of the Grostè gondola lift, which rises from Madonna di Campiglio, a 1 hour and 30-minute drive from Trento.

From the 2,500 cable car station head southwest on path 316, weaving in and out of the towering peaks before arriving at Rifugio Tuckett (1 hour, 30 minutes), one of the best-located huts in the Dolomites. Take a well-earned break and peer into the soaring needles, where climbers cling to ropes and Via Ferrata enthusiasts dangle from steel cables.

There are two options now. Head down on path 317 back towards Madonna di Campiglio (3-hour walk) or take path 328 and continue contouring around the massif. This magnificent section traverses a rocky outcrop of large boulders before turning left on path 318 and heading deep into an amphitheatre of towering peaks. Right in the centre of this wonderland of rock sits Rifugio Brentei.

Return on path 318 and take the steep descent via Rifugio Casinei to Rifugio Vallisnella (5-hour walk). Here you can stop and take the bus (every 20/30 minutes) back into Madonna di Campiglio or just keep on going and finish the final 4.5km into Madonna on foot. Walking all the way takes around 6 hours. Whichever route you take it is a magnificent day in the mountains.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Hotel Alpina, Madonna di Campiglio
1 hour, 30 minutes Trento to Madonna
Grabbing a beer and staring at the climbers as they attempt to summit the high Dolomites

STAY

Hotel Alpina, Madonna di Campiglio

DRIVING

1 hour, 30 minutes Trento to Madonna

HIGHLIGHT

Grabbing a beer and staring at the climbers as they attempt to summit the high Dolomites

FINISH /

After spending the night at Madonna di Campiglio, fly home the next day. Verona is the closest airport from Madonna di Campiglio (around 2 hours, 20 minutes).

If you have time on the way to the airport, stop off at Val di Genova (valley of the waterfalls) and pay the small fee to drive up to Cascata di Lares. It’s a beautiful spot with a number of waterfalls hidden in the forested valley.

Hiking in the Brenta Dolomites leads through a remarkable walk that traverses under the peaks of the imposing massif. / MORE: Top hikes in the Dolomites.


ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO HELP PLAN YOUR OWN 7-DAY DOLOMITE ITINERARY

We believe that a little pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination, will help make your travels far more successful. Here’s some further information we think you might need to plan your own 7-day Dolomite itinerary.

GETTING TO THE DOLOMITES

The Dolomites is a large area and serviced by three international airports. Venice to the south, Verona to the southwest and Innsbruck to the north. For completing this itinerary Verona is the most convenient, but you can easily amend the itinerary to fly into either of the other two airports.

CHECK FLIGHTS

GETTING AROUND THE DOLOMITES

To pack everything we suggest into our 7-day Dolomite itinerary you will need to hire a car. All three airports have plenty of rental offerings but please be aware that if you hire in Innsbruck you will need to cross the border. Most car hire companies allow this with no extra fee. However, if you breakdown or have an accident you will need to liaise between the Austrian office and the Italian roadside services.

CHECK CAR RENTAL

GETTING AROUND WITHOUT A CAR

If you don’t want to hire a car and still only have 7 days then you will need to amend the itinerary to adjust for the train & bus routes.

Buses do cover most of the region but they don’t connect that well or run that often. Rather than try to pack everything in, skip the Brenta Dolomites and have a two-centre trip based around Val Gardena and Cortina, taking day trips from both.

Our 6 best hikes in the Dolomites article has some suggestions for this.

To take this map with you for your Dolomites road trip, click on the star next to the title to save to your maps in Google.


BEST TIME TO VISIT THE DOLOMITES

The hiking season in the Dolomites is relatively short. It is possible for snow to hang around on the higher ground well into summer, making some of the paths impassable. And the 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. The rifugios, which are such a great part of visiting the Dolomites, also shut after winter, with some not reopening till mid to late June.

So the best time to complete this Dolomite road trip is from mid-June to late September. Ideally visit in the first few weeks of July, when flowers carpet the upper meadows and the snow should have cleared from the higher trails. Otherwise, just try to avoid August when the school holidays bring large crowds.

Whenever you go, try to start your days early when the crowds are less and the skies clearer. Mid-afternoon showers are common and can be heavy.

COSTS OF OUR 7-DAY DOLOMITE ITINERARY

The total cost of our Dolomite road trip, for two people, excluding international flights was EUR €1,800. With July 2019 exchange rates of €1.12 to the British Pound; and US $1.12 to the Euro this equates to:

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
US $2.000
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
GBP £1,600
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
EUR €1,800

HOW WE SPEND

We don’t exactly slum it, but we don’t go very posh either. So most of our accommodation was in mid-market hotels and relatively reasonably priced for the alps. Our car hire was a fairly standard (and cheap) automatic. Most of our breakfasts were provided by hotels and lunch was generally in a mountain rifugio. As food is consistently good in Italy, we generally opted for a classic pizza or pasta for dinner. And limoncello. And beers.

BOOKING & TIPS FOR YOUR DOLOMITE ROAD TRIP

The Dolomites is a very easy place to travel to with excellent infrastructure and an extensive selection of accommodation options. As this is a hiking holiday with some exceptional photography opportunities, we’ve included some gear you might find useful.


ACCOMMODATION IN THE DOLOMITES

Accommodation in the Dolomites is relatively affordable compared to some other locations in the Alps, but places can get booked out early. As the best hiking season is fairly short, most people are looking for accommodation around the same time. So it’s a good idea to book early.

When picking accommodation, we are firmly in the location over everything else camp. All our choices are either smack-bang in the centre of town or nearby another activity that we wanted to get to quickly. Having said that, they all turned out to be good options with enough facilities to make them very comfortable, but not so many that we were paying for unnecessary luxury.

CHECK ACCOMMOODATION

CORTINA / Hotel Aquila

VAL DI FUNES / Gastof Stern

ORTISEI / Residence Larciunei

TRENTO / Lainez Roomes & Suites

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO / Hotel Alpina


CABLE CAR COSTS

The cable car costs can quickly add up. Family tickets are available which may save some money if you have kids. Some areas have summer passes which allow you to snare a discount if you’re staying in the one area for a while. On this itinerary, there was no pass available that made it worthwhile for the cable cars we needed to take.

Just a few kilometres from Lago di Braise, ubiquitous alpine huts provide photo opportunities among wild alpine flowers.


GEAR & EQUIPMENT

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, and 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 / 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.

4 / 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.

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

6 / 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.

7 / 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.

INSTAGRAM / ANYWHERE WE ROAM

We are Mark & Paul. Curious + Adventurous. Anywhere We Roam is the story of our travels – the world as seen through our eyes.⁣⁣⁣

If you found this article helpful and you’d like to see more of our photography, head over to Instagram and follow our journey.⁣⁣⁣

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OPENING TIMES AND DETAILS

Sass Pordoi Cable Car / 9:00 – 17:00 Late May to mid-October | Price: €19.50 return | Location: Passo Pordoi

Lagazuoi Cable Car / 9:00 – 17:00 Early June to mid-October | Price: €16 return | Location: Passo Falzarego

Seceda Cable Car / 8:30 – 17:30 mid-June to mid-October | Price: €24 one way, €32 return | Location: Ortisei, Val Gardena

Alpe di Siusi Cable Car / 8:00 – 18:00 late May to early-November | Price: €11.50 one way, €18 return | Location: Ortisei, Val Gardena

Bamby Cycle Hire / 8:30 – 18:00 | Range of bikes and prices for half-day and full day. Bike rental includes cost of taking the bike on the cable car | Location: Base of Alpe di Siusi Cable Car in Ortisei

Grosté Cable Car / 8:30 – 12:30 & 14:00 – 17:00 mid-June to late September | Price: €10.30 one way, €14.20 return | Location: Just north of Madonna di Campiglio on SS239

With impressive vistas and beautiful lush valleys, the Dolomites is our favourite hiking area.


GUIDEBOOKS & READING

The Shorter Walks in the Dolomites by Gillian Price contains 50 excellent day hikes, including the Tre Cime, Sassolungo and Brenta Dolomites hikes mentioned in this post. Each hike has detailed instructions and a map.

The Lonely Planet guidebook for Italy contains a chapter on Trentino & the Dolomites including helpful information about opening times, attractions and is generally good for restaurant recommendations.

Another great source for restaurants is Foursquare. Download the app before leaving.


WHERE NEXT?

If you’re looking for an area with outstanding hiking, it’s hard to go past the Dolomites. But for a taste of something different, here are some other areas where we’ve had a few quality days out on the trail.

HIKING THE VIÑALES VALLEY, CUBA

SIERRA DE GRAZALEMA NATIONAL PARK, SPAIN

ASKJA CALDERA, ICELAND

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below – we will always reply. But before you go any further why not follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER and sign up to our monthly NEWSLETTER.

The soaring spires of rock, alpine meadows and turquoise lakes of the Dolomites are simply stunning. Here is how you can capture all the best bits of this remarkable landscape on a 7 day itinerary / #dolomites #italianalps #hiking

The soaring spires of rock, alpine meadows and turquoise lakes of the Dolomites are simply stunning. Here is how you can capture all the best bits of this remarkable landscape on a 7 day itinerary / #dolomites #italianalps #hiking

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