The Dolomites are a beautiful mountain range in Northern Italy. High up in the mountains, life is a little slower than what most of us are used to in our daily lives. In addition to the breathtaking nature, this laid-back atmosphere is what makes a holiday in the Dolomites so rewarding. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned hiker or if you are just looking for an escape from the stressful city life, the Dolomites offer outdoor adventures for every difficulty level. In this post, we compiled a list of the best hikes in the Dolomites. In addition, our detailed Dolomites itinerary will tell you where to go and where to stay in the Dolomites.
Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Our selected Dolomites walking routes are grouped into three categories: easy, medium and hard. The easy day hikes can be done by families as well as people with fear of heights. The treks in the medium category may have some exposed parts or be somewhat physically challenging. The Dolomite treks in the hard category are for experiences hikers but do not require any climbing equipment. All the treks can be done with normal hiking boots.
Easy day hikes in the Dolomites
Lago di Carezza
Difficulty: Easy Start/End: Nova Levante | Distance: 9 km | Duration: 3 hours | Ascent/Descent: 510 m/510 m
Lago di Carezza or Karersee is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the Dolomites and it should definitely be on your Dolomites itinerary. The lake is accessible by car so depending on how much time you have, you could also decide to skip the hiking part and just drive straight to Lake Carezza.
The hiking trail that leads to Lake Carezza starts from the civil defense centre in Nova Levante (Welschnofen) and takes around 1.5 hours per direction. Just follow the easy trail number 10A through the beautiful and thick forests until the beautiful blue and green lake appears on the horizon. Once you are there, follow the path around the lake for around 15 minutes. The beauty of the lake completely changes with the mountains in the background. There are also facilities and restaurants onsite if the hike has made you hungry.
If the hike to Lake Carezza was already enough for you, you can take the hourly bus back to Nova Levante. Alternatively, you can drive straight to the lake and start some of the many hiking trails that start from there.
You should also not miss Lake Braies, another great mountain lake in Alto Adige.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Difficulty: Easy Start/End: Rifugio Auronzo | Distance: 9.1 km | Duration: 3.5 hours | Ascent/Descent: 470 m/470 m
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most famous mountain ranges in the Dolomites. The easiest trail that leads to the impressive peaks starts from Rifugio Auronzo. Admission to the Parco Naturale Tre Cime is €30 per car. From the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo. Follow the trail to Rifugio Lavaredo for around 20 minutes. From here on, follow the 101 trail to Rifugio Locatelli and the three peaks.
The trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in the Dolomites and gets crowded during the summer months. Make sure to get to Rifugio Auronzo early in the morning to get a parking spot and to beat the crowds. If you want to escape the masses, you could take the 104 hiking trail from Rifugio Lavaredo that also leads to Rifugio Locatelli and adds an additional 2 hours to the hike.
After you have admired the beautiful peaks (and after you’ve had some incredible Tyrolean lunch), take trail 105 back to the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo.
Puflatsch Panorama Hike
Difficulty: Easy Start/End: Puflatsch Chairlift in Kompatsch | Distance: 8.1 km | Duration: 3 hours | Ascent/Descent: 330 m/330 m
The Alpe di Siusi is Europe’s largest high alpine pasture and offers some incredible views over the Dolomites. Since it is accessible with a chairlift, you can enjoy some incredible views without too much effort. The Puflatsch chairlift will take you from the town of Kompatsch to an elevation of 2,119 m. Close to the mountain station is the viewpoint Engelsrast. From here, you can see up to 53 three thousand meter peaks – depending on the weather conditions.
Continue your hike towards the Fillner Kreuz and enjoy some incredible views of the Sella Mountain and several others of the most famous mountains in the Dolomites. Afterwards, you will reach Puflatsch, the highest point of the trail at 2,174 m before continuing to the Goller Kreuz, Arnika Hut and finally the Puflatsch Hut at 1,971 m before heading back down to Kompatsch.
Medium difficulty day hikes in the Dolomites
Lago di Sorapiss
Difficulty: Medium Start/End: Misurina Passo Tre Croci | Distance: 13.5 km | Duration: 4-5 hours | Ascent/Descent: 330 m/330 m
Together with Lake Carezza, Lake Sorapiss is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites. The intriguing milky blue water of the lake reflects the impressive surrounding mountain peaks. But nearly as beautiful as the lake itself is the hike to get there.
Take the SR48 road from Cortina d’Ampezzo towards Passo Tre Croci. After a couple of minutes’ drive, you will see a sign for Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti D’Ampezzo. Right after that, you will see a parking lot where you will leave your car for the next hours (Google: Misurina Passo Tre Croci). Since the trail gets crowded with hikers, try to get there early in the morning to find a parking space and enjoy nature to its fullest.
From the car park, follow the signage towards Lago di Sorapiss. After around 4 km on the trail, there are several sets of cables to hold onto. While the trail itself is wide and easy, it is exposed to the left and the drop-off is rather high. People with fear of heights or families with with young children may have problems on the path. Once you’ve cleared the cables around 30 minutes later, you can continue straight on to enjoy the breathtaking views of Lago di Sorapiss.
Col Raiser Circuit
Difficulty: Medium Start/End: Col Raiser Gondola Mountain Station | Distance: 6.4 km | Duration: 3 hours | Ascent/Descent: 350 m/350 m
The Val Gardena is one of the best areas for hiking in the Dolomites. The mountain pasture of the Col Raiser offers incredible views over the Seceda Mountain and the Odle Peaks. The hike starts at the mountain station of the Col Raiser gondola ropeway towards Firenze Hut. This first part of the hike offers incredible views over the Sassolungo Mountain. From theFirenze Hut, the hike follows the trail along the Fermeda Towers to the Pieralongia Hut. From here, the trail leads on to Rifugio Troier and then back to the Col Raiser ropeway.
Difficult day hikes in the Dolomites
Difficulty: Hard Start/End: Passo di Costalunga | Distance: 11.2 km | Duration: 5-6 hours | Ascent/Descent: 1050 m/1050 m
If you aren’t afraid of heights and are looking for a challenging hike in the Dolomites, you should head up the peak of Latemar Mountain. The panorama from the top of the westernmost mountain of the Dolomites is simply breathtaking.
Park your car at Passo di Costalunga at an elevation of 1,745 m and follow trail number 17 towards Latemarscharte / Forcella Piccola del Latemar. The first part of the hike is easy but it soon gets steeper. As soon as you reach the Latemarscharte at 2,526 m, the panoramic view over the Dolomites opens up.
The hike up to the peak takes another hour. The last part is not as physically challenging as the first part but it is exposed to the left side. If you are afraid of heights or not a frequent hiker, I wouldn’t recommend hiking up to the peak.
Piz Boè from Sass Pordoi
Difficulty: Hard Start/End: Passo Pordoi | Distance: 6.9 km | Duration: 4 hours | Ascent/Descent: 380 m / 1040
At 3,152 m asl, Mount Piz Boé is the highest mountain of the Sella Group. Hiking to the peak of Piz Boé is one of the most beautiful day hikes in the Dolomites.
The Passo Pordoi cable car takes us from Passo Pordoi at 2,240 m to Sass Pordoi (2,947 m). From the cable car station, an easy path leads to the Pordoi mountain pass and the Rifugio Rifugio Forcella Pordoi.
From here on, the trail becomes steeper are it moves closer to the peak of Piz Boé. The trail 638 is partially secured with cables and only seasoned hikers should venture up to the top of the mountain. However, no special equipment is needed and if you’ve done a fair bit of mountain hiking in the past, the way up to the peak will not be a huge challenge.
After enjoying the incredible views from the top, follow the trail 638 towards Rifugio Boé and then continue on trail 627 back to Passo Pordoi. The high elevation in the Dolomites may be a problem for some people who are not used to it. Read more about altitude sickness and how to avoid it here.
Best Dolomites Itinerary
The Dolomites are an impressive mountain range full of natural beauty. Luckily, you don’t even have to take several demanding day hikes to explore the real beauty of the Dolomites. If you are short on time, follow this Dolomites itinerary to experience the highlights of the Dolomites by car.
Start in Bolzano, the capital of the South Tyrol region and head to Lago di Carezza. You can park you car here for a couple of minutes and enjoy the incredibly beautiful mountain lake before driving on to Passo di Costalunga. From here you will have a beautiful view of the Catinaccio and Latemar mountains.
Next, drive through Vigo di Fassa towards Passo Pordoi. The road up the pass is steep but easily navigable with a normal car. At 2,239 m, the Pordoi Pass is the highest pass in the Dolomites with a paved road. From here, you may decide to make a stop and take the cable car up to Sass Pordoi or even hike to the peak of Piz Boé.
After Passo Pordoi, continue towards Arabba, Corvara and La Villa. At La Villa, take a right towards Passo Falzarego, another beautiful mountain pass. Your next stop should be Malga Ciapela, the departure point of the cable car that goes up the Marmolada Mountain. The Marmolada is the highest mountain in the Dolomites (3,343 m) and the only glacier in the region.
Afterwards, continue your journey back towards Vigo di Fassa – your Dolomite Circle itinerary is now completed. Overall, the scenic drive through the Dolomites takes around 3-4 hours so you will have plenty of time to go hiking at the beautiful places on the way.
If you have limited time to see the best of the Dolomites, you should check out some of these tours to explore the beautiful mountain region from nearby cities:
Where to stay in the Dolomites
If you just want to make a short trip to the Dolomites, you can easily stay in one of the larger cities near the Dolomites and visit the beautiful mountains for a day hike from there. The closest large cities to the Dolomites are Belluno, Venice, Trento and Bolzano. If you are traveling through Italy or from Italy towards Austria and Germany, the Dolomites are an ideal stop on your Italian itinerary on the way north. If you have plenty of time and if you really want to experience the relaxation of the mountains, you should opt to stay in one of the mountain villages of the Dolomites.
In the small towns, you can experience the mountain life in the Dolomites. During the summer months, many towns offer folkloric festivals and other things to do. High up in the mountains you will also be able to escape the summer heat and traffic chaos of the large cities.
Here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in the Dolomites:
The hotel is located in Nova Levante, the western part of the Dolomites close to Bolzano and Lake Carezza. Nova Levante is the ideal base to explore Lake Carezza, the Latemar and Catinaccio Mountains as well as extendes tours through the Dolomites. The newly renovated hotel offers incredible views over the mountains. Summer rates start at $130 – check the prices for your dates here
Canazei is located right in the heart of the Dolomites. From here, excursions to the Sella Group and the Catinaccio are just a short drive away. After your trekking in the Dolomites, you can unwind in the hotel’s spa and wellness area. Summer rates start at $110 – check the prices for your dates here
Val Gardena is another great place to stay in the Dolomites. The modern and clean budget hotel is located perfectly between the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sciliar-Catinaccio National Park and the Puez-Odle National Park – what better place could there be for a hiking holiday in the Dolomites? Summer rates start at $85 – check the prices for your dates here
These are the best hikes in the Dolomites for every difficulty level and the best places to stay
I hope you found the perfect hike for you. If you have any other recommendations about destinations or day hikes in the Dolomites that are missing on our list, let us know in the comment section. We would be happy to add it.
Have you done any trekking in the Dolomites before? Or in any other beautiful location on our planet? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comment section.
Are you planning a trip through Italy? Why not check out our post on how to organize a day trip from Florence to see the Leaning tower of Pisa? You can find the post here.
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