The Ultimate 6 Days in The Dolomites Road Trip
The Italian Dolomites are one of the most beautiful places in Italy and the most stunning mountain destination in the world. The Dolomites are always worth visiting because every season gives a unique experience. The Dolomites are home to magical places such as the Tre Cime di Lavaredo towers, endless alpine meadows, picturesque alpine lakes and jagged mountain peaks. A Dolomites road trip is the best way to discover the most beautiful places in the region.
- The Ultimate 6 Days in The Dolomites Road Trip
- How to Get to the Dolomites
- When to Visit the Dolomites
- How Many Days Do You Need for the Dolomites
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites
- Getting Around the Italian Dolomites
- Day 1 – Arrival in the Dolomites
- Day 2 – Lago di Carezza, Seceda, Alpe di Siusi
- Day 3 – Visit Val di Funes
- Day 4 – Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike
- Day 5 – Lago di Braies, Passo Giau Cinque Torri loop hike
- Day 6 – Leave the Dolomites
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How to Get to the Dolomites
There are several ways to get to the Dolomites, depending on where you are coming from and where you want to start your Dolomites road trip.
If you arrive from a nearby country, it is best to drive your car to the Dolomites. Because it is easiest to explore the Dolomites by car, it is more comfortable and saves on rental costs. If you are traveling on a budget, you can get to the Dolomites by bus, within Europe the Flixbus is very popular.
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The best starting points for exploring the Dolomites are Bolzano or Trento, which you can easily reach by train. If you arrive from Italy, you can check train timetables and buy tickets on the Trenitalia or Omio.
It is not possible to reach the Dolomites directly by plane, as there is no airport nearby. But you can fly to one of the big cities and then take public transport or a rental car to Trento or Bolzano. There are many major airports within a short drive, but the most popular airports for access to northern Italy are Milan and Venice. You can rent a car at any airport.
Read more → 10 Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
Driving distance between Bolzano and other cities:
• Milan Malpensa Airport – Bolzano: 4-5 hours
• Venice Marco Polo Airport – Bolzano 2-3 hours
• Austria Inssbruck airport – Bolzano 2-3 hours
• Switzerland Zurich airport – Bolzano 5-6 hours
• Germany Munich airport – Bolzano 3-4 hours
When to Visit the Dolomites
Visiting the Dolomites is beautiful in all seasons.
• Autumn is a popular time for photographers when the landscape is in fantastic colors.
• Spring and summer are the best times to visit the Dolomites. As all hiking trails are accessible, mountain huts are open, and buses run regularly during the peak season. It’s good to know that the Dolomites might be in bad weather in summer, so bring warm clothes, hiking boots, and a raincoat.
• A winter visit to the Dolomites can be magical. But most hiking trails are probably not accessible due to snow, mountain huts are closed, and public transport is limited during the low season.
The best time to visit the Dolomites is from the end of May to mid-October, but the weather varies every year. July and August are usually the busiest months for visitors, so avoid this period if you can.
Here are → 20 Photos To Inspire You To Visit Dolomites
How Many Days Do You Need for the Dolomites
The Dolomites are a beautiful destination with breathtaking sights and fantastic hiking trails. So we recommend that you plan no less than 5 days in the Dolomites. This period allows enough time to visit must-see attractions such as the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Alpe di Siusi and Lago di Braies.
If you are a travel enthusiast and want to cover as many hiking trails as possible, you can spend 1-2 weeks in the Dolomites. You can personalize this itinerary to make it shorter or longer and add other amazing sights. It’s worth adding 1 extra day if you need to change your itinerary due to bad weather.
Where to Stay in the Dolomites
The Dolomites are located in the north of Italy, in South Tyrol. Since the Dolomites are a bilingual region, so most towns and attractions have both Italian and German names.
The best places to start exploring the Dolomites are Ortisei and Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is ideal to stay 2-3 days in Ortisei, from where you can visit Lago di Carezza, Val di Funes, Alpe di Siusi and Seceda. After that, choose accommodation in Cortina d’ Ampezzo, from where you can visit the eastern Dolomites such as Lago di Braies, Passo Giau, and Tre Cime di Lavaraedo.
Alternatively, you can stay in another location and make day trips from there on your Dolomites road trip. First, choose your hikes and sights. Then find your base town and decide how much time you want to spend traveling and how much your budget is.
Read more → 6 Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
Getting Around the Italian Dolomites
The best way to get around the Dolomites is by car. Arrive in the Dolomites in your car, or rent a car at the airport. We suggest you check out a few car rental companies and find the best price options.
Public transport is limited in the Dolomites, especially in the shoulder season. In high season the buses run frequently but take too long to get from one place to another.
It’s good to know that Italian drivers drive fast and can be a little aggressive when driving in traffic. There are many speed cameras in towns, so stick to the speed limit. The roads are in good condition and safe to drive on. In Italy, there are toll roads, known as Autostrade, where you pay a toll based on the distance traveled, which you can pay in cash or by card.
Day 1 – Arrival in the Dolomites
On the first day of your Dolomites itinerary, arrive in northern Italy. Book the accommodation of your choice, which will be your base for exploring the region over the next few days. Depending on how long it takes you to reach the Dolomites on the first day, you may want to visit a short distance away or walk around the area around your accommodation.
Read more → 10 Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
We traveled from Austria to Bolzano in our car the journey time was 4 hours. We arrived in the afternoon at Camping Al Plan, where we stayed in the Dolomites. The campsite is located between the village of San Vigilio di Marebbe. We took our camping site, walked around the area, and then visited the Passo delle Erbe, a 30-minute drive away.
Day 2 – Lago di Carezza, Seceda, Alpe di Siusi
Lago di Carezza
Start your morning at one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, Lago di Carezza. From our accommodation, it took us 1.5 hours to drive to the Karersee car park, from where we took a few minutes to reach the lake via a tunnel.
Parking is free for the first 15 minutes, €1 for 1 hour, €2 for 1-2 hours, €4 for 2-6 hours, €8 for 6-12 hours, and €20 for 12-24 hours.
Parking with a camper is €10 for 2 hours, €20 for 2-12 hours, and €30 for 12-24 hours. Once you arrive at the lake, visit the wooden lookout, where you can learn more about the history of the lake and take some beautiful photos from here.
Swimming in the water is prohibited, and to protect Lake Carezza is surrounded by a wooden fence. But don’t worry, you can still take some beautiful photos or take a refreshing morning hike around the lake, which takes 20-30 minutes.
Lago di Carezza is worth a visit at any time of day, but we recommend arriving early in the morning and enjoying the stunning scenery. After taking enough photos with the Karersee, it is time to continue the second day of the Dolomites road trip and take a wonderful hike.
Seceda is a beautiful mountain in the Puez-Odle Nature Park. Travel to Ortisei, which is a 1-hour drive from the lake.
You can park right next to the cable car station ist cost €8/day or €1.50/hour.
From Ortisei, the easiest and quickest way to get to Seceda is to take the Ortisei-Furnes gondola and then the Furnes-Seceda cable car. Once you arrive at the top, you can reach the panoramic viewpoint of Seceda in 10 minutes from the cable car station. From the Seceda peak, you can see the nearby Dolomites and the Austrian mountains.
The hike takes 2-3 hours, depending on how long you want to stay and which trail to follow.
Read the full post here → Seceda Ridgeline Hike in the Dolomites
Alpe di Siusi
After the easy hike on the ridgeline of the Seceda mountain, it’s time to finish your second day at the beautiful Alpe di Siusi. The Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm is one of Europe’s largest, high alpine meadows, offering stunning views of nearby mountain peaks, especially at sunrise or sunset.
For us, the weather did not allow us to watch the sunset. But we did get to see a marvelous rainbow.
The road to the Alpe di Siusi is closed to traffic between 9 AM and 5 PM, so be sure to arrive before 9 AM or after 5 PM. Do not use the mountain road during this period or you will have to pay a high fine. A permit can be available if you spend the night in one of the hotels in the Alpe di Siusi area.
Drive to Compatsch and leave your car in car park P2, parking costs €19. You will then reach the famous viewpoint in about 1 hour. The hike is easy, mostly flat, and the views along the way are spectacular, after which you can spend as much time as you like here.
Another option is to take a cable car from Ortisei to Alpe di Siusi.
For adults, a one-way ticket costs €15.60, or a return ticket is €21.90. Children up to the age of 7 can use the cable car for free. For children is a one-way ticket cost €10.90 or €15.30 return.
The cable cars run between 8.30 AM and 6 PM but are not ideal for sunrise or sunset.
Day 3 – Visit Val di Funes
On day three of the Dolomites road trip, start the morning with a visit to two beautiful churches, then take a wonderful hike in the Puez-Odle Nature Park. The Val di Funes/Villnöß is a magnificent valley, one of the most photographed places in the Dolomites, made famous for the incredible scenery of the Odle/Geisler mountains.
Near the village of Santa Maddalena is the church of St Johann in Ranui, which you can visit for €4. Children under 14 years are free.
Parking is available near the church for €4 per day, from 5 AM to 10 PM. If you don’t want to visit the inside of the church, there is a lookout that allows you to view the church and offers fantastic photo opportunities, so it’s worth a quick stop.
Santa Maddalena church: Only residents can drive up the road to the church, but you can park in the city center for just €4/day and walk up the road for about 20-30 minutes. You can see the stunning views from the panoramic path of the church of Santa Maddalena. Unfortunately, the weather at the Santa Maddalena church was not the best (as you can see in the photo above), but it was beautiful nonetheless. After the two churches, we drove to the parking lot of the Zanser Alm, 10 minutes away, from where we started the Adolf Munkel Trail.
The Adolf Munkel trail is one of the best day hikes in the Dolomites, which is very simple and easy for anyone to complete. At the end of the trek, enjoy the breathtaking scenery at the Geisler Alm hut. The hike is 9 km long and takes 3 hours. In the high season, especially on weekends, the parking lots fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to arrive early.
Read the full post here → Adolf Munkel Trail in a Half Day
Day 4 – Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike
On the fourth day, visit the most iconic attraction of the Dolomites, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo peaks. It took us 1.5 hours from our accommodation to reach the car park of the Rifugio Auronzo. If you stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the journey time is only 40 minutes or from Misurina 20 minutes. The starting and ending point of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is Rifugio Auronzo. The Rifugio Auronzo road is usually available from late May to mid-October.
It is a private road and costs 30 € / car, but the price includes parking.
This is a moderately easy hike, accessible to almost everyone. The entire loop is around 10 km, and the hike takes about 3-4 hours.
Read the full post here → Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike in the Dolomites
Cadini di Misurina
The Cadini di Misurina is one of the lesser-known places in the Dolomites, starting from Rifugio Auronzo, same as the Tre Cime Di Lavaredo.
We recommend doing both hikes on the same day, because of the toll for the private road. If you want to avoid the crowds on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hiking trail, start your day at the “Towers of Mordor”.
From the car park, head south and follow the road to the right from the Rifugio Auronzo, from where you can see the impressive peaks of the Cadini di Misurina. Follow the signposts for hiking trail 117 along a rocky path that leads up a hill that ends at Rifugio Col de Varda
Actually, you don’t have to go all the way to Rifugio Col de Varda. You can reach the famous viewpoint in just 40-50 minutes and 2 km.
Please go to the lookout point at your own risk, and if the weather is not good or the roads are slippery, please do not start the trail! The hike is not recommended for those who are afraid of heights! The return hike is much easier, taking about 30 minutes.
Day 5 – Lago di Braies, Passo Giau Cinque Torri loop hike
Lago di Braies
The fifth day of the Dolomites road trip is relaxing after yesterday’s hike. The Lago di Braies is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites and is magical in all seasons. Its popularity makes it incredibly crowded, so time your visit early in the morning.
The best time to visit is from June to October, especially at sunrise. It was a wonderful experience to see the lake in the morning lights and enjoy the beautiful view without tourists.
Although Lake Braies is worth a quick visit, you should spend more time here.
Take a hike around the alpine lake, which is easy 4 km long and takes about 1 hour.
If you want to rent a boat, we recommend visiting in the summer months. A boat rental costs €19 for 30 minutes and €29 for 60 minutes. Once you have spent enough time at Lago di Braies, continue your Dolomites road trip to Passo Giau, a 1-hour drive away.
Passo Giau Cinque Torri loop Hike
Passo Giau is a magnificent pass in the Dolomites that you should not miss.
At Passo Giau, you can easily park for free on the roadside. From here, you can follow the hiking trail up the steps to the viewpoint, which offers fantastic photo opportunities. You can spend a quick stop here or start the Passo Giau Cinque Torri loop hike.
The trek is 10 km long and takes about 3-4 hours.
Read the full post here → Passo Giau Cinque Torri loop hike
Day 6 – Leave the Dolomites
On the last day of your Dolomites itinerary, it’s time to leave. Depending on how much time you have to travel home, you can use the morning hours to visit to see some of the sights.
We spent 6 days in the Dolomites, which gave us plenty of time to explore the Italian Dolomites on our first visit, even if the weather was not perfect every day. When visiting the Dolomites, be flexible and start your itinerary with the most important places. Because the next day’s views might be bad, or the weather might not allow you to hike. You can easily explore the Dolomites and visit some of the most beautiful places.
However, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email.