After several visits to the Dolomites, we’ve put together our favourite places to visit including picturesque locations, the most beautiful villages and dramatic mountains.

By: Paul | Last Updated: 17 May 2024 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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We visit the Alps regularly and after several weeks in Switzerland this year, we came away with the conclusion that the Italian Dolomites is our number 1 hiking destination.

The spiky peaks are unlike anywhere else. Likewise, the lush alpine meadows, high mountain passes and cable cars will leave you speechless.

We’ve explored and written a lot about the Dolomites and we had a hard time curating this list to just 20 amazing places. But we think it’s the best the Dolomites has to offer.

sassolungo dolomites
SASSOLUNGO HIKE

MAP | PLACES TO VISIT IN THE DOLOMITES

The Dolomites are the eastern section of the northern Italian Alps, a mountain region made up of glaciers, lakes, forests, and mountains. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers an area of around 140,000 hectares. For details on how to get there, read our first-timer’s guide to the Dolomites.

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.  


1. VAL DI FUNES

Val di Funes is a beautiful valley in Val Gardena which has become famous for a charming church nestled amongst rolling green meadows under jagged spires of rock.

But, there’s so much more to do, and it was one of our favourite places in the Dolomites.

We hiked the Panoramaweg and Sunnseitenweg trails, which are two beautiful walks that start from the village of Santa Maddalena. They are both easy hikes with great views of the valley.

We also loved the more challenging Adolf Munkel Trail which cuts under the jagged spires of the Puez-Odle group.

All the details are on our complete guide to visiting Val di Funes.

2. ALPE DI SIUSI

Alpe di Siusi is Europe’s largest alpine meadow, surrounded by towering peaks and soaring pinnacles. It’s one of the most spectacular destinations in the Dolomites.

The sweeping panoramic views make it a great place to hike in summer. One of the best trails is the Monte Pana hike which is almost all downhill.

Our highlight at Alpe di Siusi was lunch in the Rifugios. Click the below heading to see our favourites.

ALPE DI SIUSI RIFUGIOS
  • Gostner Schwaige for traditional Dolomites dishes with refined twists
  • Rauchhütte serves alpine food including their famous venison ragu and locally sourced steak, accompanied by a serious wine list.
  • Gostner Schwaige provides a gourmet dining experience at 3,000 feet with locally sourced food from the alpine meadows. Don’t miss the Heublütensuppe – a soup made from hay, flowers, and herb, served in bread.

Access by private vehicle is limited, so the best way to get to the meadow is via the cable car in Ortisei. We hired e-bikes from Bamby Bike Rental which is a great way to see a lot more of the meadow while saving your legs.

3. SECEDA & THE PUEZ-ODLE GROUP

The Seceda summit would have to be one of our favourite viewpoints anywhere in the world. It’s also very accessible via the cable car from Ortisei (the Furnes-Seceda Cable Car) which is only 100 metres from the viewpoint. So, there is hardly any walking to get to this incredible Dolomites location.

We had a great day out by going up via the Furnes-Seceda Cable Car to the viewpoint, strolling downhill to have lunch at Baita Troier Hutte, and then walking down to Col Raiser to get the cable car to Santa Cristina.

There’s a bus between Santa Cristina and Oritisei to get back to where you started.

4. SASSOLUNGO

The Sassolungo Circuit is one of our favourite places in the Dolomites. It’s a stunning mountain range with 3 towering peaks, dramatically positioned rifugios and views of sweeping meadows.

You can see it on a full-day hike, which is one of our favourites in the area. We have all the details on our hiking the Sassolungo circuit guide.

If you’re not up for the whole hike you can get the cable car from Selva or Santa Cristina to Campioni, which is the starting point for the hike. There’s a restaurant here where you can take in the views without doing the hike.

The views from Col Rodella are also amazing. Take the cable car from just outside Canazei, then the short walk to the top of Col Rodella.

5. LAGO DI CAREZZA

Lago di Carezza is a beautiful alpine lake whose emerald waters perfectly reflect the spiky Latemar mountains behind. The sunlight gracing its gentle waters have earned it the nickname “Lake of the Rainbow.”

The lake is fed by underground springs so the water level rises and falls with the seasons. The best time to visit is in early spring when the snow has melted, and the lake starts to rise.

Lago di Carezza is 26 kilometres southeast of Bolzano (about a 40-minute drive) on the Great Dolomite Road. There’s a large visitor centre with toilets and plenty of parking on site.

Tall trees in front of the reflective Lago di Carezza with rocky mountains behind clouds
LAGO DI CAREZZA, ITALIAN DOLOMITES

6. GREAT DOLOMITE ROAD

The final section of the Great Dolomite Road opened in 1909, connecting towns in the Dolomites previously inaccessible thanks to the high mountains. The route runs from Bolzano to Cortina, collecting all the major Dolomites peaks in 110 kilometres of driving.

Here is a quick itinerary for the Great Dolomite Road featuring some of our favourite highlights:

  • Lago di Carezza – Beautiful Alpine Lake.
  • Val di Fassa – Valley with striking alpine meadows.
  • Passo Pordoi – One of the four passes on the Great Dolomites Road with 28 hairpin bends.
  • Passo Falzarego – For the cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi, used during WW1.
  • Cortina d’Ampezzo – Read more in our Cortina guide.

7. SASS PORDOI

The Sass Pordoi Cable Car whisks you up to a 2,950-metre-high rocky wilderness in just a couple of minutes. It leaves from the top of the Passo Pordoi and the views are as good as anywhere in the Dolomites.

The Sella Massif is like a massive sheer-sided boulder and the three peaks of Sassolungo lie just across the valley.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can hike across the rocky desolation of Piz Boe, but it’s a great destination to just soak up the views with minimal effort.

8. VAJOLET TOWERS

The Vajolet Towers are 6 dramatic peaks in the Catinaccio group and possibly the most photographed peaks in the Dolomites.

It’s a popular destination for a very serious Via Ferrata (Ferrata Santner) as well as rock climbing for people with far more ability than us.

But, if you’d like to experience a unique side of the Dolomites, there’s a medium-length, but fairly challenging hike to the base of the towers.

The hike starts from Malga Frommer Alm.

9. BRENTA DOLOMITES

The Brenta Dolomites is a remote area in the Western Dolomites with vertical walls and rocky summits. The best way to see the area is a hike down to the town of Madonna di Campiglio.

We took the Grostè Gondola Lift, then walked southwest via path 316 to Rifiguio Tuckett. From here we walked down to Rifugio Brentei on path 328, then took a steep descent down to Rifugio Vallisnella. There is a bus from Rifugio Vallisnella to Madonna di Campiglio every 20 or 30 minutes.

The Brenta Dolomites is a stunning landscape as you can see from the photos below. We highly recommend making the trip out here if you have the time.

GROSTÈ GONDOLA TO MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO HIKE (CLICK TO OPEN)

How far – 18 kilometres | How long – 6 hours | How hard – 200 metres of ascent; 1,300 metres of descent.

10. VAL GENOVA

Val Genova is a narrow, forested valley sometimes called the valley of waterfalls thanks to the multitude of waterfalls hidden among the trees.

Two of the best waterfalls are Cascate Nardis and Cascate Di Laris and they are easily reached via a short walk from the parking lot.

The whole valley is a gentle and peaceful place, which feels a world away from the rugged mountain scenery surrounding it.  

There is parking at Ponte Verde in Lower Val Genova which is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm.

11. MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO

The town of Madonna di Campiglio is a wonderful year-round destination in the Dolomites.

In summer it has hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and paragliding, while in winter it’s a lively ski resort.

There is an extensive network of well-groomed slopes and modern ski lifts, so it’s good for beginners through to experienced skiers. It also has a great après-ski scene with vibrant nightlife, local restaurants, and elegant dining options.

Nestled beneath the Brenta Dolomites, Madonna di Campiglio has a cosy atmosphere with chalet-style architecture and charming streets lined with boutiques.

madonna di campiglio italian dolomites

12. TRENTO

Trento is a charming, picturesque city in the Trentino-Alto Adige region with beautiful streets adorned with medieval and Renaissance-era buildings.

It’s a wonderful place to visit in the Italian Dolomites and adds great variety to the dramatic mountain scenery.

Click the below title for a few ideas for what to do in Trento.

WHAT TO DO IN TRENTO
  • Piazza Duomo: A vibrant square surrounded by historic buildings and charming cafes.
  • Castello del Buonconsiglio and Gardens: A medieval castle consisting of several buildings, each reflecting different historical periods.
  • Museo delle Scienze (MUSE): An innovative and interactive museum that explores various scientific and natural topics.
  • Palazzo delle Albere: A unique Renaissance-style palace with contemporary art exhibitions.
  • Sardagna Cable Car: Take the cable car to Sardagna for breathtaking views.

13. TRENTINO VALLEY

The Trento Valley is a beautiful wine-growing area where production is mostly done by small family-owned wineries. The chilly alpine climate is excellent for cultivating cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir.

Most wine is sold locally with minimal exports so visiting the local vineyards while in the Dolomites is a great thing to do.

Here are a few we recommend:

Ferrari Trentino // The opulent 16th-century villa at Ferrari Trentino is stunning. Lunch and wine tasting can be booked ranging from €85 to €265.

Cantina Tramin // Set in a stunning location, Cantina Tramin is a celebration of art, design, architecture, and wine. Guided tours with wine tasting can be booked starting from €17.

Cantina Rotari // Cantina Rotari maximise the unique mountain climate of Trentino to produce sparkling wines from Chardonnay and Pinot grapes.

Alois Lageder Paradeis // This family-run winery uses classical grape varieties to produce wines in harmony with the natural elements of the area. We had lunch here and it was top-notch.

14. CORTINA D’AMPEZZO

Cortina d’Ampezzo is the central hub of the Eastern Dolomites. It’s a beautiful village framed by mountains with high-end accommodation, up-market shopping, and top-quality restaurants.

During the summer season, there are a host of wonderful things to do from Cortina, some of which involve hiking, while others are easy-to-get-to scenic viewpoints.

Read more in our guide to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

15. TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

Possibly the finest hike in the entire Italian Dolomites, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop offers stunning views of the three distinctive rocky peaks rising above a sea of barren rock.

Numerous rifugios on the route provide wonderful breaks with stunning views and hearty Italian cooking. The trail is easy to follow with several scenic rest stops along the way.

All the details are on our guide to hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

16. CADINI DI MISURINA

The Cadini di Misurina viewpoint offers some of the best views of the spiky mountain peaks that make the Dolomites so distinctive.

There is a short hike to the viewpoint from the Rifugio Auronzo car park, which is where the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike mentioned above starts.

From the car park, take trail 117 towards Rifugio Col de Varda and walk about 1.5 kilometres to reach the viewpoint. There is a narrow trail on a grassy outcrop with dramatic views of the surrounding mountains.

views of cadini di misurina dolomites

17. LAGO DI BRAIES

Lago di Braies is a picture-perfect lake and one of the most recognisable images of the Italian Dolomites. The vibrant turquoise lake is surrounded by blonde-shingle beaches and backed by sheer rocky cliffs.

There are great photo opportunities from the shore but the best way to see it is via one of the wooden-paneled row boats.

All the details including how to visit are in our guide to visiting Lago di Braies.

18. PRATO PIAZZA

Prato Piazza is a wild alpine pasture set in the hills above Lago di Braies.

You can only drive to the top of Prato Piazza early in the morning (before they close the road) or if you are staying in the hotel at the top, Hotel Gaisl.

Otherwise, you can park at the large car park at the bottom and get the shuttle bus. More information is on our guide to Lago di Braies.

We stayed the night at the hotel and were treated to a magical sunrise over the mountains and meadows dotted with wooden huts. If you have the time, we highly recommend it.

19. LAGAZUOI

The Lagazuoi Cable Car climbs to Rifugio Lagazoui (2,753m) at the top of Falzarego Pass. Set on the side of the mountain, this “castle of rock” is peppered with spires and turrets, and offers a very dramatic view of the Dolomites.

Lagazoui was the front line between the Italian and Austrian forces during World War I and you can still see some of the remnants of war today. There are fortified trenches, gun turrets and bunkers.

Numerous excellent hikes start from the Rifugio. Check the latest cable car opening times and prices on the official Lagazuoi website.

20. LAGO DI SORAPIS

Lago di Sorapis is a stunning high alpine lake on a secluded ledge surrounded by the rugged slopes of Mount Sorapis (3,200 m).

The lake is reached via a moderately challenging hike which includes forested trails, narrow ledges, and breathtaking views overlooking Tre Cime.

During the summer months, there’s a wonderful return route that heads over a dramatic high pass. All the details, including how to get there, are in our guide to hiking to Lago di Sorapis.  

MORE DOLOMITES GUIDES

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