When traveling to northern Italy, the first thing that comes to mind for many tourists is visiting the lakes, and obviously Venice or Milan, for the fame they have created. But if you are a nature lover, especially you love mountain landscapes, those that take your breath away, you have to visit the Dolomites. A group of mountains in northern Italy, named like this because they are essentially made of a sedimentary rock called the Dolomite.

These Italian mountains are quite particular, they have wide valleys, and isolated massifs that seem cut from a gash, with steep slopes that give the specificity to this landscape, and generate incredible views. Actually, this natural monument It is also a Unesco heritage.

This area of ​​Italy has a great German influence, due to its proximity to Austria. And in fact, this language is spoken as a second language.

1. How to arrive at the Dolomites in northern Italy?

 You can reach Venice Airport, or Verona Airport. From either airport, they will have to rent a car and drive for a couple of hours.

 It is probably more interesting to get to the Venice airport, because it has more air traffic, and you will surely find more interesting offers.

 Examples of prices (As of November 2020):

  • Paris => Venezia: from € 75 round trip
  •  Madrid => Venice: from € 120 round trip

2. Where to stay at the Dolomites?

Cortina d’Ampezzo is an ideal point to establish a base for visiting the area. It is a ski resort in the heart of the Dolomites; It is famous for its slopes and for attracting the Italian jet-set in winter. It is very pretty, and almost an open-air mall, with a large number of boutiques where you can find the best of Italian fashion, although not necessarily for all budgets.  

The price of accommodation is not excessive, but it is not cheap either, it is an area known for being onerous, although I always say that prices are relative. In the Dolomites as in all the rest of Italy you will find these two options to stay:

HOTELS: Currently, for November of this year, hotel rooms start at € 100 for 2 people. Prices can easily double in peak ski season.  

AGRITURISMOS: I have already talked about them in other articles about Italy, and many times I consider them the best choice to stay in Italy. If you search well, you can find spectacular and better places than many hotels. To see the list of agriturismos available in the area and the corresponding prices, you can visit the page Agriturismos.it

3. What to do in each season in the mountains of Northern Italy?

Not everything is snow and skiing in these mountains, in summer there are countless activities, and even many slopes have been re-promoted to offer something to do during the summer season. Here are some of the things you can do in SUMMER or SPRING:

  • GOLF: if you are a lover of this sport, there cannot be a better setting to practice it than Golf of Cortina. Also not far away are the Alta Badia Golf Club (in Alto Adige, near Bolzano).
  • VTT, TREKKING, AND ALPINISM: Guided excursions can be included in the price to discover the landscapes of the Dolomites. You do not necessarily have to carry everything, because it is possible to rent the equipment if you want to do mountain biking or mountaineering. If you use the AllTrails application you will be able to see all the trekking circuits available with their level of difficulty.
  • RAFTING, CANOEING, KAYAKING: There are tons of companies offering rafting and kayaking activities on the dolomites. There is a lot of choices, depending on what you want to do, from the calmest (sailing on a flat lake) to the most adventurous (good rafting on some rapids).

 You always have to verify the opening of each type of activity, because it is subject to a specific calendar.

 And well, the obvious thing that can be done in WINTER:

  • SKIING: This place is famous for its slopes, so skiing is an obvious activity.
  • WINTER TREKKING: it is possible to visit various points in the area, without having to hike with snowshoes.

I think this place is ideal to visit between September and November, in the middle of AUTUMN, because the colors are special, and also the prices are quite correct; because the true winter high season has not yet begun.

4. What to visit?

  •  Messner Mountain Corones Museum (MMM)

 Museum dedicated to the mountain, and to make an ode to it they placed it at 2275m high. Built with a rather unique architectural design, the building allows you to enjoy spectacular views that cover the 4 cardinal points.

Entry currently costs € 10. Adult and € 4 / children. It is open all year.     

  •  Braies lake

 If you want a postcard landscape, you have to go to this place. I think it is one of the places that I have seen the most in photos on Instagram. That is because this lake offers a particular combination between the natural mirror caused by the calm waters of the lake and the vision of majestic mountains in the background that are reflected in this mirror.    

  •  Dobbiaco Lake

 Visible both in summer and winter, because it has less tendency to freeze. It has that classic turquoise blue color of high mountain lakes.  

  •  Natural Park of the 3 Summits of Lavaredo

One of the most famous hiking trails in the Dolomites, because it is a relatively easy hike and offers extraordinary views. The park bears that name because 3 peaks can be seen from anywhere on the trail.

Depending on how far you want to go, it can take up to 6 hours for the entire route. But they can complete certain less demanding routes in 1 or 2h30.   

To see more in detail where to start this hiking route, you can consult this page. https://masrutasymenosrutinas.com/tres-cimas-de-lavaredo/

To reach to the starting point you can go in ways:

  • With the Dolomiti Bus: here is the link to see the schedules and prices
  • By car: you must pay a kind of entrance, which costs about € 30. It is worth it to save energy. They can also drive up just to visit the refuge and eat, if they are not so sporty as hiking.     
  •  Walking: but you must already have a 2-hour walk to the starting point.

There are so many other places to see and enjoy in the Dolomites area, it is difficult to cover them in a single trip. Therefore, it is convenient to plan in advance what you want to do based on the time available and foresee variations depending on the climate you find.   

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