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Best Things to Do in the Dolomites + Ultimate Bucket List

The Dolomites are a spectacular and massive mountain range in Northern Italy, famed for their vertical spires, burning sunsets, scenic Rifugios, serpentine roads, and charming alpine pastures.

While it’s impossible to see all of the Dolomites on a single trip, it is possible to experience the best that this region has to offer.

In this guide to the best things to do in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined what to do in the Dolomites when you want to plan a trip you’ll never forget. After introducing the top 10 quintessential experiences, we’ve shared a meticulously crafted Dolomites bucket list, unveiling 60 extraordinary things to do in the Dolomites.

From savoring the local cuisine and staying in wellness hotels to hut to hut hiking and via ferrata climbing, the Dolomites offers adventure, relaxation, and the best mountain vistas on this planet.

You may also want to check out our round-up of Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites.

For guidance on where to stay in this vast region in the Italian Alps, read Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer.

Alpe di Siuis, Dolomites, Italy

Dolomites Map

How to use this map | Click directly on the map markers to find out more information about specific destinations, hiking trails, lakes, mountain huts, peaks, accommodations, and more. Each color signifies a different Dolomites region.

1. Go on a Dolomites Road Trip 

Sass de Putia Circuit, Hiking in the Dolomites
Passo delle Erbe

You can visit the Dolomites without a car. However, renting a car will give you added flexibility.

With a car, you don’t have to plan your hikes around transit, or stay in the most central locations. Furthermore, you can visit the Dolomites during shoulder-seasons (early June, late September, October).

If you love photographing sunrise and sunset, then a car is also highly recommended. 

A highlight of any Dolomites road trip is driving over the high mountain passes, which link various valleys throughout the Dolomites.

Mountain passes also function as hiking trailheads. So, build in time to fully appreciate the beauty that each pass has to offer.

Dolomites Mountain Passes

The first time we drove through the Dolomites, we briefly stopped at the various mountain passes to see the views. I remember seeing trail signs and hikers at every pass and wondering desperately where they were all going. 

Luckily, you don’t have to wonder. Below, we’ve summarized what you can do from each mountain pass.

Passo Gardena (2136 m)

Grödnerjoch in German, Ju de Frara or Jëuf de Frea in Ladin

This is the mountain pass that connects Val Badia with Val Gardena in South Tyrol.

From Gardena Pass, you can hike to Cima Pisciadu in the Sella Group. You can also climb to the summit of Gran Cir and Sass da Ciampac in the Cir Group.

Passo Rolle (1989 m)

Passo Rolle connects the Fiemme and Primiero valleys, high above San Martino di Castrozza, Trentino.

From Passo Rolle, you can hike to Baita Segantini, an alpine pasture hut with magical views of the northern face of Pale di San Martino. You can also continue the hike all the way to Val Venegia. 

Passo delle Erbe (2006 m)

Würzjoch in German, Ju de Börz in Ladin

Passo delle Erbe is located high above Val Badia and Val di Funes. The lovely mountain refuge Ütia de Börz is situated directly at the pass.

Passo delle Erbe faces the mighty two-headed Sass de Putia/Peitlerkofel mountain. The circuit trail around Sass de Putia is a wonderful moderate hike. It’s also possible to hike to the summit of Sass de Putia. The final stretch to the summit is secured with cables.

Passo di Giau (2236 m)

Jou de Giau in Ladin

Passo Giau is located in the province of Belluno between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Selva di Cadore. It delivers a striking view of Ra Gusela in the Averau-Nuvolau Group.

From the pass, you can hike to the Mondeval Plateau Pasture and Lago delle Baste.

Passo Falzarego (2105 m)

Falzaregopass in German, Jou de Fauzare in Ladin

Falzarego Pass is high mountain pass in Belluno which connects the Ampezzo Valley with Val Badia.

The main attraction is the Lagazuoi Cable Car, which links the pass to Rifugio Lagazuoi and the start of the Lagazuoi Tunnels protected path.

Passo Sella (2218 m)

Sellajoch in German

Sella Pass connects Val Gardena in South Tyrol with Val di Fassa in Trentino. It’s set between the massive Sella Group and the Sassolungo/Langkofel Group.

Hikers venture here to start the circuit trail around Sassolungo.

From Passo Sella, you can ride the 2-person gondola to Rifugio Toni Demetz Hütte (2685 m) located on the Forcella del Sassolungo/Langkofelscharte saddle. From here, you can hike down to Rifugio Vicenza/Langkofelhütte. Keen via ferrata climbers can tackle the Oskar Schuster Klettersteig to the summit of Sasso Piatto/Plattkofel

Passo Pordoi (2239 m)

Passo Pordoi is located between the Sella Group and the Marmolada Group. The pass connects Canazei in Val di Fassa with Arabba in Livinallongo del Col di Lana.

Like Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi lies on the Great Dolomites Road. We recommend stopping here to hike the historic Viel del Pan hiking trail to Rifugio Viel dal Pan.

Dolomites Road Trip Routes: 5 Days – 2 Weeks

Passo Pordoi, Dolomites

During our first trip to the Dolomites, we stayed no more than one night in each location. It was way too rushed. We highly recommend spending a minimum of 2-4 nights in each Dolomites destination.

Read Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer for an overview of the best bases in the Dolomites.

5 Day Dolomites Road Trip 

With 4 nights in the Dolomites, we recommend splitting your time between Val Gardena and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Our 5 day Dolomites itinerary links together our favorite places in the Dolomites, including Seceda, Alpe di Siusi, Vallunga Valley, Passo Gardena, Armentara Meadows, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the Cadini di Misurina mountains, Lago di Braies, and Prato Piazza.

Stay 2 nights in Val Gardena and 2 nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo or Alta Pusteria.

7 Day Dolomites Road Trip 

If you’re planning a 7 day/6 night trip to the Dolomites, we recommend choosing two bases and splitting your time evenly.

In our 7 day Dolomites road trip, we integrated a short hut-to-hut hike.

10 Day Dolomites Road Trip

With 9 nights/10 days, choose three bases.

In our 10-14 day Dolomites itinerary, we recommend:

12 Day Dolomites Road Trip 

If you want to plan a 12 day Dolomites road trip, you could divide your time between 3-4 villages in the Dolomites.

2 Week Dolomites Road Trip

With 13 nights/14 days, we recommend this grand tour of the Dolomites, all summarized in our 10-14 day Dolomites itinerary:

Dolomites Car Rental

If you’re flying to the Dolomites, it’s best to rent a car directly from the airport. We’ve also rented cars from Bolzano/Bozen when traveling to the Dolomites by train.

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here

2. Climb a Via Ferrata Route

Via Ferrata Oskar Schuster Klettersteig, Sasso Piatto, Dolomites
Oskar Schuster Via Ferrata

A via ferrata (“iron path”) is a protected climbing route. These routes are secured with fixed cables, pegs, rungs, and ladders, allowing climbers to safely ascend and descend tricky passages. Climbing Via Ferratas (vie ferrate) is a popular pastime in the Italian Dolomites and an exciting alternative to hiking. 

We love via ferratas because these routes engage your whole body. You’ll be using your hands and arms, just as much as your legs and feet, to traverse mountain faces. 

While climbing via ferratas is a recreational activity today, the origins of these routes are far more somber. In the First World War, the Dolomites were a war zone. For years, the Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops battled against each other in these mountains. Both sides strived to gain control of mountain summits to establish site observation posts and field guns. 

Permanent lines and ladders were affixed to rock faces to help troops move quickly and safely at high altitudes. Thus began the tradition of via ferrata climbing as we know it. 

Via Ferrata routes vary in difficulty. Using the Schall grading scale, via ferratas are classified by letter:

  • A: Easy
  • B: Moderately Difficult
  • C: Difficult 
  • D: Very Difficult 
  • F: Extremely Difficult 

A good beginner’s via ferrata is the Gran Cir summit in Puez-Odle Nature Park (accessible from Passo Gardena) and the Santner Via Ferrata to the Vajolet Towers. We hiked the latter route on Stage 1 of our 3-Day Rosengarten Dolomites Trek.

For an intermediate via ferrata (Grade B/C), check out the Oskar Schuster klettersteig.

There are over 200 via ferrata routes in the Italian Dolomites. We recommend using guidebooks to learn more about specific routes: Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1: 75 routes-North, Central and East Ranges andVia Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 2: Southern Dolomites, Brenta and Lake Garda.

In addition to via ferrata routes, there are also a number of Sentiero Attrezzato trails. These “equipped paths” are secured with steel cables and other aids, but are usually less technical than a via ferrata. 

The Sentiero Bonacossa across the Cadini di Misurina range is one such Sentiero Attrezzato. The hike to Piz Duleda also entails scrambling up a short sentiero attrezzato.

Via Ferrata Equipment

With the exception of “very easy” via ferrata routes, it’s necessary to have a via ferrata set, which includes a helmet, climbing harness, and via ferrata lanyard. In addition, climbing gloves like these Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger Gloves are very helpful with grip.

Climbing Helmet

Women’s Climbing Helmet: Women’s Black Diamond Equipment Half Dome Helmet

Men’s Climbing Helmet: Men’s Black Diamond Equipment Half Dome Climbing Helmet

Climbing Harness

Women’s Climbing Harness: Petzl CORAX LT Women’s Harness

Women’s Climbing Harness: Black Diamond Women’s Momentum Harness

Men’s Climbing Harness: Black Diamond Mens Momentum Rock Climbing Harness

Men’s Climbing Harness: PETZL Corax Climbing Harness 

Via Ferrata Lanyard with Carabiners

Unisex Lanyard with Carabiners: PETZL Scorpio Vertigo via ferrata Lanyard

Unisex Lanyard with Carabiners: Salewa Ergo Core, Unisex Adult

3. Hike Hut to Hut across the Dolomites

Cadini di Misurina, Dolomites
3 Day Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek

Hiking hut to hut in the Dolomites has the potential to ruin you for hiking anywhere else. It’s sinfully luxurious. After a day of hiking, you can take a shower (in most huts), drink a glass of wine, and eat a multi-course meal. From espresso to mountaintop saunas, Rifugios in the Dolomites will delight and astonish you. 

Here are some tips for planning a hut-to-hut hiking trip in the Dolomites:

1. Make reservations for mountain huts (Rifugios) 3 – 6 months in advance. Depending on the popularity of the route, you may need to pay a deposit to secure your reservation.  All huts must be booked individually.

2. Rifugios are open from late June until late September. We recommend hiking hut-to-hut in July or September.

3. Communicate your diet restrictions to the Rifugios in advance. 

Hut to Hut Hiking Routes in the Dolomites 

La Rocheta, Alta Via 1 Hiking Trail, Dolomites
Alta Via 1

The most popular hut-to-hut hiking routes in the Dolomites are the alte vie high routes. The easiest and the most popular alta via route is the Alta Via 1, which starts in Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee and ends in La Pissa, near Belluno.

Learn more about this trail in our Alta Via 1 Trekking Guide.

If you’re interested in hiking the AV1 trail, but you don’t want to handle the logistics of booking huts, check out Alpenventures UNGUIDED Alta Via 1 self-guided hiking tours:

They also offer an exciting self-guided hut hike, which links Seceda to Tre Cime di Lavaredo: Best of the Dolomites Trek 9-day Standard.

You can follow an established route, or create your own hut-to-hut hiking itinerary, which is what we did when we wanted to hike a few days in the Sexten Dolomites, Tre Cime di Lavaredo 3 Day Trek, and the Rosengarten Dolomites, Rosengarten Dolomites 3 Day Trek.

Learn More: Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites

4. Stay the Night in a Rifugio

Büllelejochhütte (Rifugio Pian di Cengia), Trekking Tre Cime di Lavaredo - Hut to Hut

If hiking hut-to-hut seems a bit too long, or outside of your comfort zone, you can still overnight in a Rifugio (Hütte in German-speaking South Tyrol), without going on a lengthy multi-day hiking trip. 

The first mountain hut Kati and I ever stayed in was Tierser Alpl in the Rosengarten Dolomites. We did a simple 2-day hike, out-and-back. Staying one night in a Rifugio was an excellent introduction to overnight hiking and gave us the confidence to pursue longer hut-to-hut treks in the future. 

Wonderful Dolomites Rifugios to Stay in

Rifugio Alpe di Tires / Tierser Alpl

Location | Sciliar – Catinaccio Natural Park / Naturpark Schlern – Rosengarten, South Tyrol

Why Stay Here | Delicious South Tyrolean food, alpine modern design, and exquisite management. 

How to Get Here | You can hike to Tierser Alpl from Compaccio/Compatsch, the largest settlement on Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm.

Learn More | Hiking to Tierserl Alpl Schutzhaus in the Rosengarten Dolomites (direct route) or the scenic Compaccio – Rifugio Bolzano – Tierser Alpl route.

Rifugio Pian di Cengia / Büllelejochhütte

Location | Parco Naturale Tre Cime / Naturpark Drei Zinnen / Three Peaks Nature Park, South Tyrol

Why Stay Here | Büllelejochhütte is the smallest and highest mountain hut in the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. This memorable mountain hut enchants you with its cozy, intimate interior, friendly staff, and delicious half-board menu.

How to Get Here | You can hike here from Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal in Sesto/Sexten via Rifugio Comici (4 hours). You can also hike here from Rifugio Auronzo, accessible by car/bus, in 3 hours.

Learn More | Tre Cime di Lavaredo 3-Day Trek

Rifugio Fanes / Fanes Hütte

Location | Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park / Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park, South Tyrol

Why Stay Here | Fanes Hütte is a stately mountain hut that pampers guests with its food, extensive wine list, beautiful bedrooms, and hot showers. Well-seasoned hut-to-hut hikers may think this hut is too much like a hotel.

How to Get Here | This luxurious mountain hut is located along the Alta Via 1 Route, but you can also here from Capanna Alpina, in San Cassiano in Alta Badia.

Learn More | Rifugio Fanes Day Hike

5. Savor Traditional Italian, Tyrolean, and Ladin Cuisine

Malga Stolla Alm, Gaisl High Trail, Dolomites
Malga Stolla along the Gaisl High Trail

Like other destinations in the Alps, the outdoors and gastronomy are intrinsically linked. Hiking (or skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, walking, etc…) without dining in a mountainside hut would be like going to a baseball stadium and not eating a hot dog and garlic fries. It would be unthinkable. 

Contrary to what most believe, the food in the Dolomites isn’t homogenous. As you explore the many regions of the Dolomites, you’ll encounter Italian, Tyrolean (Austrian), and Ladin cuisine.

What to Eat in the Dolomites 

Brettljause. A snack board with Speck (dried ham), sausage, cheese, bread, and butter.

Knödel. Large breadcrumb dumplings made with either Speck (ham), Käse (cheese), or Spinat (spinach). Knödel is often served in a soup, or as a side dish. You can also order the Knödel-Trilogie (Tris di Canederli in Italian), which is three dumplings (ham, spinach, cheese), garnished with butter and parmesan.

Schlutzkrapfen (Mezzelune in Italian). Half-moon-shaped stuffed pasta, similar to ravioli. Traditionally, Schlutzkrapfen is filled with curd cheese and spinach. Our favorite type is stuffed with Eierschwammerl (chanterelle mushrooms). 

Südtiroler Naturjoghurt mit Preiselbeeren. Natural Yogurt with cranberries. 

Polenta. Boiled cornmeal. Polenta is commonly served with mushrooms, meaty stews, sausages, and fried cheese. 

Where to Eat in the Dolomites 

Mille-feuille with red turnip, goat cheese and mint, Locanda Degli Artisti Art Hotel
Locanda degli Artisti Art Hotel

For traditional cooking, we recommend eating in mountain huts and alpine pasture huts. For fine dining and innovative cooking, we recommend eating in 4-star/5-star hotels. Did you know that the Dolomites boasts the highest concentration of Michelin-starred chefs in Italy?

Hotel Restaurants 

Restaurant St. Hubertus is a 3 star Michelin restaurant in Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

La Stüa de Michil is a 1 star Michelin restaurant in Hotel La Perla in Corvara, Alta Badia

Dorfhotel Beludei is a boutique hotel in Santa Cristina, Val Gardena. You have to stay here to eat here. Chef de cuisine Dominic Pernstich concocts the most visionary meals inspired by the Ladin and Italian culinary traditions. Read our Dorfhotel Beludei hotel review.

Locanda degli Artisti Art Hotel is a boutique hotel in Canazei, Val di Fassa, with an on-site restaurant. This friendly and atmospheric art-themed hotel serves innovative Ladin cuisine. Read our Locanda degli Artisti Art Hotel Review.

Hotel de Len is a stellar 4-star hotel in the town center of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Their à la carte restaurant showcases the flavors of the Ampezzo Valley. Read our Hotel de Len Review.

Mountain Huts (Rifugio, Hütte, Schutzhaus)

Ütia de Börz is a mountain refuge/guesthouse at Passo delle Erbe, Alta Badia, specializing in Ladin and South Tyrolean Food. We stayed here three nights and were blown away by their half-board menu. Book your stay at Ütia de Börz.

Rifugio Alpe di Tires/Tierser Alpl Hütte is a South Tyrolean mountain hut between the Sciliar/Schlern Group and the Rosengarten/Catinaccio Group. The food is outstanding. You can hike here from Alpe di Siusi in 2:30-3:00 hours. However, we suggest venturing to this lovely refuge via Rifugio Bolzano and the Sciliar plateau.

Alpine Pasture Huts (Alm, Baita, Malga, Ütia) 

Ütia de Göma is situated on the Sass de Putia circuit trail. Their “Polenta mit geschmolzenem Käse, Pilzen und Bratwurst” (Polenta with melted cheese, mushrooms, and sausage) was bursting with flavor.

More recommendations below.

6. Experience Enrosadira

Enrosadira, Pale di San Martino, Dolomites
Pale di San Martino

Enrosadira comes from the Ladin term “rosadüra,” which means turning pink. This term refers to the natural phenomenon that occurs at sunrise and sunset when the peaks of the Dolomites light up in fiery shades of peach, rose, crimson, and violet. 

Geologists assert that the magnesium-rich calcium carbonate minerals, found in dolomite rock, are responsible for this spectacular alpenglow. 

The best time to see Enrosadira is in September and October when the skies are clear and the weather is generally stable. However, you can witness the phenomenon any time of year. 

Where to Watch the Sunset in the Dolomites

Baita Segantini is a lakeside mountain hut facing the Pale di San Martino peaks in Trentino. You can hike to this hut from Passo Rolle in 45 minutes.

Monte Pic is the mountain above Santa Cristina and Ortisei in Val Gardena, South Tyrol. The Monte Pic summit affords panoramic views of the Odle/Geiser Group, Sella Group, Sassolungo/Langkofel, and Catinaccio/Rosengarten Mountains.

Val di Funes is the valley stretching from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal Valley to the Odle/Geisler mountain range. We recommend watching the sunset along the Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail.

The Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint is located along the Sentiero Bonacossa Trail in the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. From this epic lookout, you can see both the Northern Cadini di Misurina mountains and the south wall of Tre Cime di Lavaredo light up in fiery tones of orange and crimson.

Monte Specie/Strudelkopf is a easy-to-reach summit in the Braies/Prags Dolomites. The hike to Monte Specie starts atop the Prato Piazza plateau.

Hotels with Epic Sunset Views

Hotel Rodella. When we stayed at Hotel Rodella, above Selva in Val Gardena, we didn’t have to hike anywhere in order to experience the Sella Group suffused in hues of rose and salmon. 

Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa, Alta Badia. From the dining room and the outdoor hot tub, you can see the Fanes Group fire up like a ship on fire.

Naturhotel Leitlhof in San Candido, Alta Pusteria (Three Peaks Region). There are heart-expanding sunrise and sunset views of the Sesto/Sexten Peaks from the dining room, outdoor terrace, outdoor pool, and bedroom balconies. Read our Naturhotel Leitlhof hotel review.

Where to Watch the Sunrise in the Dolomites

Lago Federa Sunrise, Dolomites
Lago Federa 

Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm is a largest alpine pasture in Europe. At sunrise, the Sciliar/Schlern massif lights up in shades of coral and red, while the Sassolungo/Langkofel group transforms into a violet silhouette. Given the location and driving restrictions on Alpe di Siusi, it’s best to stay directly on the plateau at Sporthotel Sonne. Follow this Alpe di Siusi Meadows Circuit Trail.

Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal is a side valley of Sesto/Sexten Valley in the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. We recommend going on a sunrise walk between Bad Moos and Hotel Dolomitenhof.

Gran Cir is a summit in the Cir Group in Puez-Odle Nature Park. It takes about 1:30 hours to hike to the peak from Passo Gardena, the mountain pass connecting Val Gardena and Val Badia.

Lago Federa is a mountain lake beneath the eastern wall of Croda da Lago in the Ampezzo Dolomites, southwest of Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee in Valle di Braies/Pragser Tal valley in Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.

7. Eat Lunch in a Malga

Malga Venegiota, Val Venegia, Pale di San Martino Dolomites
Malga Venegiota, Val Venegia

A Malga is a mountain hut, located on an alpine pasture. Depending on what region you’re in, a Malga may also be called a “Schwaige” or an “Alm” (German-speaking South Tyrol). 

Unlike a Rifugio (mountain shelter), Malgas usually don’t offer overnight lodging. However, if you visit during pasture season (usually late June until mid-September), you can savor fresh dairy (yogurt, cheese, and sour milk) and warm food during the day. These alpine pasture huts usually prepare their food using homemade products and local ingredients. 

In the summer months, alpine pastures are home to grazing cows, sheep, and goats. While these animals aren’t dangerous, it’s important to keep a safe distance from them, and refrain from petting, feeding, or otherwise disturbing them. Read more about alpine transhumance in Visiting the Alps in Summer.

Many hiking routes pass through alpine pastures, so you can enjoy a homemade meal during your hike. 

Our Favorite Malga Alpine Huts in the Dolomites

Gostner Schwaige and Rauchhütte on Alpe di Siusi. You can visit both huts along the Hans and Paula Steger Trail starting in Compaccio/Compatsch.

Malga Canali in Val Canali, Pale di San Martino. We wrote about visiting this Malga in our guide to San Martino di Castrozza.

Malga Venegiota di Tonadico in Val Venegia, Pale di San Martino. We ate in this Malga after hiking the Val Venegia and Rifugio Mulaz Hike.

Gschnagenhardt Alm in Val di Funes. You can hike to this mountain pasture hut along the Adolf Munkel Trail

Malga Brogles in Val di Funes. You can hike here from various trailheads in Val di Funes as well as the Resciesa plateau. We visited this Malga when we hiked this Resciesa to Seceda trail, starting in Ortisei, Val Gardena.

8. Hike around Colossal Dolomites Mountains

Geisler Peaks, Dolomites

You don’t have to summit peaks, or ascend 1000+ meters to experience the best vistas of the Dolomites. Some of the very best views are accessible by easy walking paths across rolling meadows and mountain plateaus. 

Because the Dolomites is a popular ski region, the ski infrastructure makes hiking even easier. Many cableways and gondolas operate in summer, delivering you to mountaintops and plateaus, thus cutting out lengthy ascents and descents. 

Easy Walks in the Dolomites 

Here are some excellent easy walks in the Dolomites. These hikes are not technical, but they still involve some elevation gain/loss.

Many of these trails are located at high elevations, so you may be short of breath. Take your time and drink plenty of water. 

  1. Armentara Meadows in Alta Badia
  2. Adolf Munkel Trail in Val di Funes
  3. Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail in Val di Funes
  4. Seceda to Regensburger Hütte in Val Gardena
  5. Baita Segantini and Monte Castellaz near San Martino di Castrozza
  6. Alpe di Siusi Meadows Circuit Trail in Alpe di Siusi
  7. Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana in Alpe di Siusi
  8. Hans and Paula Steger Trail in Alpe di Siusi
  9. Passo Giau to Monte Mondeval near Cortina d’Ampezzo
  10. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail near Alta Pusteria and Cortina d’Ampezzo
  11. Monte Specie Summit Hike starting at Prato Piazza in Alta Pusteria

Moderate Hikes in the Dolomites

These Dolomites hiking trails involve more significant elevation gain and loss. They also require sure-footedness and comfort navigating uneven limestone-dolomite terrain (karst, scree, loose rocks).

  1. Tofana di Rozes Circuit Trail near Cortina d’Ampezzo
  2. Croda da Lago Circuit Trail near Cortina d’Ampezzo
  3. Sass de Putia Circuit Trail near Val di Funes and Alta Badia
  4. Rifugio Genova Circuit Hike in Val di Funes
  5. Sass da Ciampac Summit Hike in Alta Badia
  6. Hochalpenkopf Peak Hike starting at Lake Braies, Alta Pusteria
  7. Tullen Peak Hike in Val di Funes
  8. Monte Pic in Val Gardena
  9. Gaisl High Trail in Alta Pusteria
  10. Sassolungo Circuit Trail between Val Gardena and Val di Fassa
  11. Vallunga Valley and Val de Chedul in Val Gardena
  12. Cinque Torri and Rifugio Nuvolau in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Difficult Hikes in the Dolomites

These challenging Dolomites hikes are technically demanding. Many of these trails involve some scrambling and hiking along secured passages. Hikers should be confident hiking in crumbling terrain and along airy ledges.

  1. Torre dei Scarperi Hike in Alta Pusteria
  2. Rifugio Stevia and Col dala Pieres Day Hike in Val Gardena
  3. Resciesa to Seceda in Val Gardena
  4. Sentiero Bonacossa Trail near Alta Pusteria and Cortina d’Ampezzo
  5. Pala di San Martino Circuit Trail: Rifugio Rosetta to Rifugio Pradidali near San Martino di Castrozza
  6. Cima della Vezzana Summit Hike near San Martino di Castrozza
  7. Val Venegia to Rifugio Mulaz Circuit Hike in San Martino di Castrozza
  8. Lake Pisciadù Day Hike in Alta Badia
  9. Piz Duleda in Val Gardena

Read Next: Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites

9. Photograph the Iconic Lakes of the Dolomites 

Lago di Coldai, Civetta, Italian Dolomites
Lago di Coldai

Undoubtedly, the most popular destinations in the Dolomites are the mountain lakes.

With the growing popularity of the region, many of these lakes are getting too crowded. In particular, Lake Braies, Lake Carezza, and Lake Sorapis are extremely busy.

It’s best to visit these popular Dolomites lakes off-season. 

Stunning Dolomites Lakes You Can Drive to

Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee in German) in Braies/Prags Valley, South Tyrol. Though Lago di Braies is a destination in and of itself, you can extend your visit by hiking from Lago di Braies to Hochalpenkopf. This secret hike affords incredible views of the Braies Dolomites.

Lago di Misurina in the Cadore region, Belluno, Veneto.

Lago di Dobbiaco (Toblacher See in German) in Alta Pusteria, South Tyrol.

Lago d’Antorno near Lago di Misurina in Belluno, Veneto. Insider tip: you can hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint from Lake Antorno.

Lago di Carezza (Karersee) in Val d’Ega/Eggental, South Tyrol. Lake Carezza is a small mountain lake in South Tyrol, which affords jaw-dropping views of the Latemar mountain group. Because it’s located on the side of the road, it feels like a busy bus stop. You can walk around the whole lake, but don’t expect to be alone.

Beautiful Dolomites Lakes You Can Hike to

Lago di Coldai is located at the foot of Mount Civetta near Rifugio Coldai in Belluno, Veneto.

Lago di Sorapis is located in the Sorapiss mountain group in Belluno, Veneto.

Lago Federa is located beneath the eastern wall of Croda da Lago in the Ampezzo Dolomites, near Cortina d’Ampezzo, Belluno, Veneto. We recommend hiking to Lake Federa along the Croda da Lago Circuit Trail.

Lago delle Baste is a tiny lake (more like a pond) atop the Mondeval Plateau. Though it’s really small, it serves as a pretty foreground for Monte Pelmo and Lastoni di Formin.

10. Stay in a Wellness Hotel

Naturhotel Leitlhof, San Candido, Val Pusteria, Dolomites
Naturhotel Leitlhof

The Dolomites is a region for outdoor adventures as much as it is a destination for epicureans.

In South Tyrol (Südtirol, Alto Adige), you’ll find a high concentration of extraordinary 4-star, 4-star-superior, and 5-star hotels, that impress guests with their gourmet multi-course meals, spa and wellness facilities, and overall design and comfort. 

Many hotels have a minimum stay requirement of 3 to 7 days, especially in high season.

Spa Facilities

At a minimum, many Dolomites hotels have a steam sauna, a Finnish sauna, and a relaxation room. Wellness hotels will often comprise 4-5 saunas, a whirlpool, 1-2 pools, and several relaxation rooms. Bathing slippers, robes, and a spa bag are almost always provided.

Additionally, many of these hotels offer alpine spa treatments. 

Why on earth would you want to spend time in a spa in the Dolomites?

The simple answer is the weather. Like everywhere else in the European Alps, the weather isn’t consistently stable. There will always be a rainy day, or a few. If you come to the Dolomites and you experience several days of rain (we certainly have), it can feel disappointing. However, if you stay in a wellness hotel, those sad rainy days become rejuvenating spa days.

If you’re a self-proclaimed bon vivant and relish a bit of luxury, check out these very special accommodations. 

Alta Pusteria Wellness Hotels

Naturhotel Leitlhof Pool and Wellness Area, Dolomites
Naturhotel Leitlhof

Alta Pusteria (Hochpustertal in German) is the Dolomites region which surrounds Upper Puster Valley in South Tyrol. It also comprises the side valleys of Braies/Prags, Sesto/Sexten, and Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal.

Hotel Monika – MY WELLBEING HOTEL DOLOMITES is a modern 5-star hotel in Sesto with life-affirming views of the Sesto Dolomites. The hotel spa dazzles with its sky infinity outdoor pool, indoor pool, five saunas, and relaxation zones. You can schedule massages and other treatments as well. Book half board to savor the full experience. 

Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort is a 4-star superior hotel, located at the entrance to Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal. Boasting a 2500 m2 wellness area and its own sulphur source, this Sexten wellness hotel offers guests the greatest gift of all: relaxation. The extensive sauna complex lures you in with its cavernous, candlelit sulphur grotto, cold sulphur plunge pool (6.1°C), Kneipp trail, and multiple saunas.

Naturhotel Leitlhof is a 4-star-superior, climate-neutral wellness hotel in San Candido. Situated at a slight elevation and bordered by forest, idyllic Naturhotel Leitlhof overlooks the village and the gorgeous Sexten mountains including Haunold/Rocca dei Baranci and Dreischusterspitze/Cima di Tre Scarperi. Sunsets and sunrises are glorious here. The 2000 m² wellness facilities and outdoor pool are stellar. And, the cuisine is second to none. This is one of the very best hotels in the Dolomites. Read our Naturhotel Leitlhof Hotel Review.

Alpe di Siusi, Castelrotto, and Siusi Wellness Hotels

Sporthotel Sonne, Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites
Sporthotel Sonne

Alpe di Siusi is the largest alpine pasture in Europe, located high above Val Gardena. The villages of Siusi allo Sciliar (Seis am Schlern) and Castelrotto (Kastelruth in German, Ciastel in Ladin) are located on a plateau beneath Alpe di Siusi and above Valle Isarco/Eisacktal valley.

Alpina Dolomites is a modern 5-star hotel located on Alpe di Siusi, designed with the philosophy: ‘Nature, our origin, is also a basic need, like the air we breathe.” Taking in the full sweep of the Sassolungo/Langkofel and Sciliar/Schlern mountains from its divine location, Alpina Dolomites boasts panoramic mountain views, a contemporary wellness area, and gourmet restaurant. The hotel design is inspired by nature and stitches together a neutral color palette with raw materials. The wellness area comprises a panoramic indoor-outdoor swimming pool, classic Finnish sauna, herbal sauna, saline steam bath, fitness room, and spa.

Paradiso Pure Living Vegetarian Hotel occupies a uniquely central location on Alpe di Siusi, ideal for hiking and skiing. Come here for the excellent, high-quality vegetarian cuisine (breakfast and dinner included in the rate) and idyllic setting. The hotel’s wellness area encompasses a zerobody floating experience, an indoor salt-water swimming pool, outdoor salt-water whirlpool, infrared sauna, Finnish sauna, steam bath, hay sauna, tea bar and relaxation area.

Sporthotel Sonne is the best place to stay on Alpe di Siusi if you’re eager to experience dreamy sunrises and burning sunsets. In addition to its perfect location, it’s a first-rate modern hotel with a striking wellness area (Sassolungo-facing infinity pool, saunas, relaxation rooms) and an innovative kitchen (breakfast, afternoon cakes, and 5-course dinner are included in the rate). 

 Sensoria Dolomites (formerly Ritterhof Hotel) is a newly renovated, all-inclusive hotel in Siusi, close to the Alpe di Siusi cableway. With its divinely-crafted interiors and harmonious architecture, Sensoria aims to create a place that nourishes the soul. 

More excellent hotels: Hotel Lamm in Castelrotto, Schgaguler Hotel in Castelrotto, and Hotel Rosa ECO Alpine Spa Resort on Alpe di Siusi

Alta Badia Wellness Hotels

Badia Hill, Alta Badia, Dolomites
Badia Hill

Alta Badia encompasses the South Tyrolean villages of Colfosco, Corvara, San Cassiano, La Villa, Badia, and La Val.

Badia Hill impresses with its contemporary, drool-worthy design and satisfies with its facilities, restaurant, and bar. This brand new hotel commands unimaginable views of Sasso Santa Croce from its gorgeous spa and infinity pool. Book this hotel if it’s available!! Read our Badia Hill Hotel Review.

Hotel Kolfuschgerhof is a 4-star hotel in Colfosco. This stand-out accommodation excels on every level, from its excellent wellness facilities and superb Dolomites views to its fine dining, featuring local and Italian cuisine. The hotel’s design is a winning combination of Tyrolean chalet-style and alpine-modern. Expect extraordinary service and the best spa views of your life.

Hotel Cristallo – Wellness Mountain Living enjoys an idyllic setting between La Villa and Corvara. This 4-star-superior hotel pampers guests with its heavenly wellness facilities, high-quality half board offering, and stylish rooms.

More excellent hotels in Alta Badia: Romantik Hotel Cappella in Colfosco, Hotel Fanes in San Cassiano, and Hotel Col Alto in Corvara.

San Vigilio Wellness Hotels

Excelsior Dolomites Life Resort Infinity Pool, Sky Spa, Italy
Excelsior Dolomites Life Resort

San Vigilio/St. Vigil is a mountain village in Val di Marebbe/Val de Mareo, which is a side valley of Val Badia. The upper part of Val Badia is branded Alta Badia (holiday region/ski area), whereas the lower part of Val Badia forms part of the Plan de Corones/Kronplatz holiday region.

San Vigilio/St. Vigil serves as the gateway to Val di Tamersc (Valle di Rudo in Italian, Rautal in German), which leads into the heart of Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.

Excelsior Dolomites Life Resort is a 4-star-superior, family-run hotel in San Vigilio. With its generous 3/4 board offering (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner are included in the room rate), family-friendly as well as adults-only spa, and the most picturesque infinity pool in the Dolomites, this luxury hotel is a great option for a summer, autumn, or winter holiday in the Italian Alps. Read our Excelsior Dolomites Life Resort Hotel Review.

Val Gardena Wellness Hotels

Dorfhotel Beludei, Santa Cristina Hotel, Val Gardena
Dorfhotel Beludei

Val Gardena encompasses the villages of Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena.

Hotel Niblea sits proudly above Ortisei in its own beautiful oasis. Here you can experience a slice of heaven in the hotel’s new wellness area (panoramic sauna, steam bath, infinity pool), which overlooks Val Gardena. Stay here for the gourmet regional food (book half board!), the unparalleled hospitality, the gorgeous facilities, and the comfort.

Hotel Granbaita Dolomites is an ode to alpine elegance. This 5-star luxury hotel in Selva pampers guests with its lavish rooms, extensive spa area (7 saunas, indoor-outdoor pool, fitness room, spa), and decadent tasting menus. Book half board.

Hotel Gardena Grödnerhof is a 5-star hotel in the heart of Ortisei, home to the Michelin star Ann Stuben gourmet restaurant. This wellness hotel offers unparalleled spa facilities, flawless service, guided hikes and mountain bike tours, and a weekly fitness program. Guests are treated to a welcome cocktail, generous breakfast buffet, and afternoon cakes and snacks.

More excellent hotels in Val Gardena: Dorfhotel Beludei in Santa Cristina, La Cort My Dollhouse – Adults Only above Ortisei, Linder Cycling Hotel in Selva, and Hotel Tyrol in Selva

Learn More: Best Val Gardena Hotels

Bressanone Luxury Hotels

My Arbor Plose Wellness Hotel - Tree hotel in South Tyrol, Italy
My Arbor – Plose Wellness Hotel

Forestis Dolomites is an adults-only hotel near Bressanone/Brixen. This striking retreat overlooking the Geisler Peaks redefines the meaning of a 5-star hotel. Stay here for the alpine modern aesthetics, spa, slow food restaurant, and utter peace and relaxation. This hotel is not only one of the best hotels in Italy, it is one of the best hotels in the world.

My Arbor – Plose Wellness Hotel is a 5-star hotel high above Bressanone/Brixen. Cloaked in woodland, this treehouse-like property offers an exceptional modern spa, superb cuisine (book half board), and spacious rooms. Read our My Arbor Hotel Review.

Dolomites Bucket List

Use this Dolomites bucket list to unlock what to see and do in the Dolomites, beyond the obvious and tired “instagram” photo route.

1. Trek the Alta Via 1 or Alta Via 2 across the Dolomites. 

2. Visit the Dolomites in October to see the golden larches. 

3. Hike the Val de Chedul – Vallunga Circuit Trail in Val Gardena. 

4. Climb the Oskar Schuster Via Ferrata (Grade B/C) to the summit of Sasso Piatto (Plattkofel). 

5. Watch the sunrise, or sunset from Monte Specie (Strudelkopf) at the edge of Prato Piazza (Plätzwiese) plateau.

6. Hike the stunning Tofana di Rozes circuit trail in the Ampezzo Dolomites. 

7. Drive across these Dolomites mountain passes: Passo Gardena, Passo Rolle, Passo delle Erbe, Passo di Giau, Passo Sella, and Passo Pordoi.

8. Hike the Pala di San Martino Circuit Trail from Rifugio Rosetta to Rifugio Pradidali, high above San Martino di Castrozza in Trentino. 

9. Photograph Santa Maddalena Church from the Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail in Val di Funes. 

10. Stay in a wellness hotel like Hotel Kolfuschgerhof with panoramic views of the Dolomites. 

11. Follow the Alpe di Siusi Meadows Trail across the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) plateau. 

12. Relish the breakfast buffet of Naturhotel Leitlhof in San Candido, Alta Pusteria.

13. Hike from the lonesome Gaisl High Trail from Prato Piazza (Plätzwiese) plateau to Ponticello (Brückele) in Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. 

14. Watch a traditional Almabtrieb in September. 

15. Stay in an adults-only luxury hotel like Forestis Dolomites, or La Cort My Dollhouse.

16. Listen to Alphornbläse on Alpe di Siusi. 

17. Eat Ladin mountain food in Baita Seurasas after hiking up to Monte Pic.

18. Summit Tullen Peak.

19. Swim in the infinity pool of Excelsior Dolomites Life Resort.

20. Order a Brettljause with South Tyrolean Speck in an Almhütte. 

21. Watch a Krampus Run in Dobbiaco (Toblach) and Sesto (Sexten) in December

22. Soak in the thermal waters of Bad Moos Spa Resort.

23. Hike hut-to-hut across the Rosengarten Dolomites

24. Eat lunch at El Brite de Larieto near Cortina d’Ampezzo. 

25. Hike through the Cadini di Misurina group along the secured Sentiero Bonacossa Trail.

27. Hike the Torre dei Scarperi hike in the Sexten Dolomites (secret hike to Tre Cime di Lavaredo). 

28. Amble across the Armentara Meadows in Alta Badia.

29. Hike from Passo Rolle to Monte Castellaz and Baita Segantini during golden hour. 

30. Stay in Hotel de Len in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

31. Hike from Val Venegia to Rifugio Mulaz in the Pale di San Martino Dolomites. 

32. Follow the Viel del Pan hiking trail from Passo Pordoi to Rifugio Viel dal Pan. 

33. Climb the Santner Via Ferrata to the Vajolet Towers. 

34. Summit Piz Duleda and Col dala Pieres in Puez-Odle Nature Park. 

35. Hike from Passo Gardena to Sass da Ciampac

36. Eat Schlutzkrapfen. 

37. Escape the crowds in Les Dolomites Mountain Lodges located in the secret valley of Lungiarü.

38. Hike the 3-day Tre Cime di Lavaredo trek starting in Val Fiscalina. 

39. Circuit the Sassolungo (Langkofel) Group and eat lunch at Rifugio Sasso Piatto (Plattkofelhütte) along the way. 

40. Hike from Val di Funes to Rifugio Genova (Schlüterhütte) via Kreuzjoch. 

41. Follow the AV1 from Passo Giau to Lago delle Baste on Mondeval Plateau. 

42. Hike the Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano circuit trail and eat lunch at Rifugio Alpe di Tires (Tierer Alpl). 

43. Watch Enrosadira from the roadside viewpoint of Kirche St. Johann in Ranui in Val di Funes. 

44. Cross the Gherdenacia Plateau.

45. Summit Gran Cir (Via Ferrata Grade A). 

46. Stay the night in a Rifugio. 

47. Scramble up to the summit of Cima Pisciadù in the Sella Group.  

48. Visit the Christmas Markets in San Candido, Dobbiaco, Brunico, Bressanone, and Chiusa.

49.  Hike to Lago di Sorapis

50. Watch the sunrise at Lago Federa in Autumn. 

51. Embrace the sauna culture of South Tyrol.

52. Walk around Lake Misurina. 

53. Hike to Rifugio Nuvolau and Cinque Torri via Lago di Limides. 

54. Hike the Kaiserjägersteig / Sentiero Kaiserjäger to Rifugio Lagazuoi. 

55. Marvel at the Odle/Geisler Peaks from Seceda.

56. Hike the Croda da Lago Circuit Trail

57. Savor comforting mountain food in Rifugio Fodara Vedla (Schutzhütte Fodara Vedla) along the Ra Stua – Sennes Plateau Circuit Trail, as described in our Cortina d’Ampezzo hiking guide.

58. Hike the Adolf Munkel Trail at the foot of the Odle/Geisler Peaks.

59. Visit a nearby castle like Runkelstein in South Tyrol. 

60. Enjoy the relaxing half board experience at Dorfhotel Beludei

Dolomites Hut to Hut Hike versus Dolomites Road Trip

Viel del Pan, Dolomites, Northern Italy

We’ve received a lot of emails from readers who are debating between a hut-to-hut hike and a road trip.

I really sympathize with you, because both are great ways to experience the Dolomites.

To help you decide, answer the following questions.

When are you planning your trip to the Dolomites?

The hut to hut hiking season begins in late June and ends in late September. If you’re planning on visiting the Dolomites in late September, or in October, most mountain huts will be closed. 

If you’re visiting the Dolomites off-season, we highly recommend renting a car. 

Are you comfortable sleeping in dormitory-style accommodation?

Some rifugios have private rooms available, but many only offer dormitory-style lodgings.

If you’re a light sleeper, some nights can be quite difficult.

Kati and I sometimes have pretty rough nights in rifugios (because of snoring/noise), but we somehow manage. 

Have you always wanted to go on a backpacking hiking trip, but you were intimidated by the gear needed?

If you love to hike, and love the idea of multi-day hiking, but it’s always felt intimidating, then you might want to go on a hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites.

You don’t need to pack heavy camping gear or food (just water and a few snacks). You also don’t have to worry about bears, or mosquitoes.

Without the burden of a heavy pack, you can fully enjoy the experience of walking long distances.

Here’s our hut-to-to-hut hiking packing list.

Do you love the simplicity of multi-day hiking?

When you hike hut to hut, you know exactly where you’re headed everyday. You don’t have to make daily decisions about where to go, where to hike, or where to eat. 

We love the simplicity of hut to hut hiking. Even when it’s physically demanding, it’s relaxing. There’s no constant debate about where to go next. 

Do you love watching the sunrise and sunset?

When you’re on a hut to hut hike, watching the sunrise and sunset is effortless. You just have to walk outside the Rifugio. 

Do you love wellness hotels and spas?

The Dolomites have an unbelievably high concentration of wellness hotels. If you think travel should be full of beautiful sights as much as pampering experiences, then opt for a road trip and stay in some of the best Dolomites Hotels.

Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Dolomites Travel Guide and Dolomites Blog Archive to plan an unforgettable trip to northeastern Italy.

When to Visit the Dolomites

Winter Season. For skiing and winter activities, the best time to visit is between mid/late December and March.

Summer and Fall Seasons. The best time to road trip and hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can easily continue until late October.

Spring Season. We don’t recommend visiting the Dolomites in early spring. Read: May in the Dolomites.

How to Get to the Dolomites

Read How to Get to the Dolomites to find out how to travel to the Dolomites from the closest airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

If you’re traveling without a car, also check out How to Visit the Dolomites Without a Car.

Best Places to Stay

Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created several guides to help you decide where to stay:

We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.

Dolomites Hiking Guides

Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. We’ve summarized our favorite hikes here: 40+ Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites.

For region-specific hiking trails, check out:

Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites

Best Things to Do in the Dolomites, Italy

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati

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