As my family is from Italy, I have been wanting to visit the Italian Dolomites for years. Now, I can say whole heartedly that, even with years of anticipation and excitement, the area did not disappoint. In this blog post, I’ll share my top ten favourite spots I visited—but please know that this only scratches the surface.
In preparation for this trip, Mike Sugianto and I booked flights to Milan and used Auto Europe to book our rental car. They provide you different options with many rental car companies so you can find a vehicle (and price) that works best for you. I suggest checking out Auto Europe when planning for your own road trip! Once we arrived in Milan, we picked up our car and drove about three hours into the mountains. Another popular option is to fly into Venice and start your road trip from there. Now, let’s get to the adventure!
Seceda was easily one of my favourite spots on our road trip. There were breathtaking peaks, a lot of areas to explore and it was super accessible. All of this made it a great experience. We took the Ortisei-Furnes gondola up (which is in the town of Ortisei) and then the Furnes-Seceda cable car (which is part way up the mountain). I suggest taking the gondola up and staying for sunset, then walking down the trail back to Ortisei after. The hike should take you about two hours down. Don’t miss this spot when you go to the Dolomites!
LAGO DI BRAIES
Lago di Braies is breathtaking but is commonly nicknamed “Lago di Instagram” because it’s incredibly busy. All you need to do is drive to one of the many parking lots at the lake, pay for parking and walk a few minutes to the lake shore. It’s super easy to get to and beautiful, so in turn, thousands of people visit each week. With all of this said, I still recommend visiting it at least once because of how beautiful it is. Many people hang around the entrance of the lake, but there is much more to explore than just that. So, I suggest walking around the entire lake to enjoy its beauty.
There are many mountain passes in the Italian Dolomites and if you’re doing a road trip through the area you’re bound to drive through a few. One of them is Gardena Pass and the views from the top of the pass are incredible. Mike and I parked at the summit to explore the area. We were pleasantly surprised to see many hiking trails that took you closer to the surrounding mountain peaks. My suggestion? Bring snacks, have fun and explore the area!
ALPE DI SIUSI
This spot is absolutely magical and is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been to. The rolling hills, wild flowers and rustic cabins left us speechless. Alpe Di Siusi looks great in any season, but in the summer the grass is a vibrant green which I love. To get here, you’ll need to drive and park in Compaccio. From there, walk on the road towards Adler Lodge. You are only allowed to drive on this road if you are staying in one of the hotels in the area, but if you’re not, you’ll need to walk it. It only took about an hour to get to this spot in the photo so it’s not too far and is worth every step.
LAGO DI SORAPIS
Another favourite hike of mine was Lago di Sorapis. It only took us about 1-1.5 hours to hike to the lake but we didn’t even realize how long it was because the views were incredible the entire time. Once we got to the lake the views got even better—Mount Sorapis towered above us, vibrant, blue water in the lake and no crowds made this hike an incredible experience. This is a must-do when you’re in the Dolomites!
TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO
Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most-known areas of the dolomites. There are countless hiking trails you can explore and rifugios (mountain huts) you can stay in. You can easily spend a few days here. On our trip, we hiked to Rifugio Locatelli and took in the views of the three towering peaks there. I recommend hiking before sunrise as it was incredibly busy as the day went on. When I go back to Italy, I’m going to stay in some of the surrounding rifugios to explore more of Tre Cime.
VAL DI FUNES
Val di Funes is a beautiful area to explore if you want to experience a quintessential Italian town. We stopped by the Chiesetta di San Giovanni which is what most people go there to see and photograph. We also drove around the little back roads to find more spots to take in the views. That is what I recommend you do—just explore.
To get here, we parked at the Zanser Alm parking lot and hiked the Adolf Munkel Trail. It’s an easy loop trail which allowed us to see the Geisler/Odle Peaks up close and personal. If you like to hike and to get away from crowds, I suggest heading here. We only saw a handful of people and we visited in peak season!
This small lake is a little gem we happen to have passed by our way to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. We decided to stop by one morning to catch sunrise and it didn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for a great place to have lunch, shoot some photos or just hang out—this is it!
SATURNIA HOT SPRINGS
Okay, okay, okay, this magical spot isn’t technically in the Dolomites—it’s just outside of Tuscany. Depending on where you are in Northern Italy, Saturnia Hot Springs can be a 7-8 hour drive away. It is pretty incredible though and worth the trek. The silky, blue water is rich in minerals, which gives it the vibrant colour you see. The entire hot spring is huge so there is a lot of space for everyone to soak. That said, it can get very busy so my suggestion is stay in a nearby town and go at sunrise.
Well, there you have it! Ten amazingly, beautiful spots to visit in the Italian Dolomites. The two weeks I spent here were magical and completely worth my time, money and energy. I wholeheartedly recommend this area of the world to you. Big shoutout to Mike Sugianto for collaborating with me on all the photos in this blog (and the trip) and an another shoutout to Auto Europe for making renting a car an easy and simple process.