The Dolomites are a seasonal destination. The summer season starts in early/mid June and stretches until mid September, or even late October. The winter season starts in late December and continues until the end of March, or early April (usually around Easter).
Spring in the Dolomites is an awkward time between the winter and summer holiday seasons. Most hotels, restaurants, and mountain huts are not open in May. And, similarly, most cableways and seasonal buses are not operating in May.
We do not recommend visiting the Dolomites in May, because the conditions are not predictable and tourist infrastructure is almost completely shut down.
So, you’re probably asking, why the heck are we writing about traveling to the Dolomites in May. The truth is we’ve received hundreds of emails and messages inquiring about where to go and what to do in the Dolomites in May.
In an effort to help everyone out who is heading to the Dolomites in late Spring, we’ve decided to write this guide. We’ve summarized where to stay and what to see and do.
May is not entirely hopeless, but if possible, aim for the end of the month. Opt for valley trails and plateau hikes. And, rent a car!!!
Important | The photos used in this post were not taken in May. They were taken in June, July, September, and October.
Dolomites in May: Essential Tips for Spring Travel
- Where to Stay: Val Gardena and Alta Pusteria
- Places to Visit: Alpe di Siusi, Val di Funes, Vallunga Valley, Armentara Meadows, Lago di Braies, and Val Fiscalina
- Where to Eat: Because your dining options will be limited, either book a hotel with half board (breakfast and dinner included), or stay in an apartment with a well-equipped kitchen.
- Trail Conditions: Reach out to local tourist offices for info on trail conditions before starting any hikes.
- What to Bring: Microspikes and hiking poles
- Car Rental Booking Platform: Discovercars.com
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May in the Dolomites Map
All of the accommodations in this map are open in May, though some don’t open their doors until mid-month. Some accommodations have a minimum stay requirement, which is quite common in this region.
Dolomites Weather in May
The average temperature in May is 15.3 °C (59°F).
There will likely be snow in the mountains, especially on northern-facing slopes.
Rain is quite common throughout the month.
To get an idea of what the current conditions are in the Dolomites, check out a few of these webcams:
- Val Gardena Webcams / Seceda Webcam
- Alpe di Siusi Webcams
- Alta Badia Webcams
- Cortina d’Ampezzo Webcams
- San Martino di Castrozza Webcams
- Sesto/Sexten Webcams
Where to Stay in the Dolomites in May
We recommend staying in Val Gardena and Alta Pusteria in South Tyrol.
Val Gardena is a 30-km-long valley in South Tyrol, stretching between Valle Isarco/Eisacktal valley at Ponte Gardena (Waidbruck in German, Pruca in Ladin) and Passo Sella and Passo Gardena.
The main villages in Val Gardena are Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva.
Val Gardena is bounded by the Puez-Odle Group, Sassolungo Group, Sella Group, Resciesa Alp, and Alpe di Siusi.
While staying in Val Gardena, we recommend exploring Alpe di Siusi, Seceda, Val di Funes, and Vallunga Valley.
Some Val Gardena cableways even start operating in late May.
Val Gardena Accommodations Open in May
Ortisei | Residence Prapoz (aparthotel), Boutique Hotel Planlim (luxury), Hotel Angelo Engel (luxury), Adler Dolomiti Spa & Sport Resort (luxury), or Hotel Niblea (luxury)
Santa Cristina | Dorfhotel Beludei (boutique luxury). Read our Dorfhotel Beludei hotel review.
Selva | Garni Morene (budget-midrange guesthouse), Hotel Rodella (luxury), and Linder Cycling Hotel (luxury)
Learn More: Val Gardena Hotels
Alta Pusteria (Hochpustertal in German) is a region in South Tyrol, which encompasses Dobbiaco/Toblach, San Candido/Innichen, and the side valleys of Braies/Prags and Sesto/Sexten.
Alta Pusteria is an ideal place to stay for exploring the Northern Sesto/Sexten and Northern Braies/Prags Dolomites.
In May, you can walk the circuit trail around Lago di Braies. You can also walk through Val Fiscalina valley.
At the end of the month, it may be possible to walk to Monte Specie atop Prato Piazza.
Alta Pusteria Accommodations
Braies/Prags Valley | Berggasthaus Agritur Moserhof (budget), Garni Bergblick (Budget), or Farmhouse Hanslerhof (midrange)
Dobbiaco/Toblach | B&B Hotel Heidi (budget), Hotel Rosengarten (midrange-luxury), Hotel Laurin (midrange-luxury), or Romantik Hotel Santer (luxury)
San Candido/Innichen | Boutique & Gourmet Hotel Orso Grigio (luxury), Residence Kugler (apartments), Residence Silvia (budget), or ATTO Suites – Appartements (luxury apartments)
Sesto/Sexten | B&B Grüne Laterne (budget), Hotel Schoenblick (midrange), Residence Königswarte (apartments), Aparthotel Gamz (luxury aparthotel), Hotel Alpenblick (luxury), or Hotel Monika (5-star luxury)
Places to Visit in the Dolomites in May
Alpe di Siusi
There are two cableways which connect the valley to Alpe di Siusi plateau. These gondolas start operating in late May.
- Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Gondola: Open starting May 19, 2023, 8:30 am – 5 pm
- Siusi-Alpe di Siusi Gondola: Open starting May 26, 2023, 8 am – 6 pm
If you’re visiting earlier in the month, you can still visit Alpe di Siusi by driving up to Compaccio/Compatsch, the largest settlement on Alpe di Siusi plateau.
During the off-seasons (e.g. mid-April – mid-May), when the Alpe di Siusi cableways aren’t operating, you can drive up to Compaccio/Compatsch at any time.
When the cableways are operating, the road to Compaccio/Compatsch is closed to private traffic between 9 am and 5 pm.
Park at the paid P2 car park. During the off-season, the P2 car park is 10 EUR (when the cableways aren’t operating) and 24 EUR (when the cableways are operating).
P2 Car Park Location | Google Maps
From Compaccio/Compatsch atop Alpe di Siusi, you can wander across the plateau. The Hans and Paula Steger trail is a good option for May.
You can also hike the Hans and Paula Trail down to Saltria, ascend trail 9 to Malga Schgaguler Schwaige (direction: Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola station), and then return to Compaccio/Compatsch along trail 6B and 12a.
Tip | The all-inclusive Sensoria Dolomites hotel in Siusi is open starting in mid-May.
Learn More: How to Visit Alpe di Siusi
The Seceda Cableways starts operating on May 27, 2023.
If you’re visiting at the very end of May, check out our Seceda – Rifugio Firenze circuit trail, which starts at the Seceda cableway mountain station.
If you want to visit Seceda earlier in the month, you can hike to Seceda from the Cristauta – Praplan car park above Santa Cristina.
Praplan Car Park Location | Google Maps
Follow this Monte Pic and Seceda trail guide. If there is a lot of snow, you may want to hike down following the ascent route, skipping the Monte Pic summit. Ask the local tourist office about trail conditions before starting this hike.
Vallunga (Langental in German, La Val in Ladin) is an impressive alpine valley in Puez-Odle Nature Park flanked by sheer mountain faces.
Vallunga, “long valley,” is perfect for leisurely walking and hiking with small children.
It’s possible to walk the entire length of Vallunga, which is about 4.5 km long. The elevation difference between the lower part of the valley and the upper part of the valley is 260 meters.
In spring, there’s a seasonal lake in the valley called Lech de Ciampedel.
The Vallunga valley trail starts at the Vallunga car park in Selva di Val Gardena.
If conditions are favorable at the end of the month, it may be possible to hike the Vallunga – Val de Chedul circuit trail.
Vallunga Car Park Location | Google Maps
Val di Funes
Val di Funes (Villnösstal in German) is a valley in South Tyrol, which runs from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal valley to the Odle/Geisler massif.
With its rolling pastures, perfect farmsteads, and jagged spires, Val di Funes is oozing with storybook charm.
In May, you can hike the Santa Maddalena Panoramic Trail and possibly the Adolf Munkel Trail.
Even if you don’t want to hike, it’s worth driving to Val di Funes to see the Church of St. Magdalena and the Church of St. John.
You can also extend your stay in Val di Funes, by overnighting in Galreidhof (budget apartments), Fallerhof (budget apartments), or Hotel Fines (midrange hotel with half board option).
Armentara Meadows are located on a plateau above Badia in Alta Badia at the edge of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.
When we visited Armentara Meadows, we took the La Crusc/Santa Croce chairlift from Badia to the Chiesa di Santa Croce church and hiked down to Badia via the Armentara meadows. In May, this chairlift will not be operating.
If you want to see this beautiful destination, you’ll have to hike from Val Badia, starting in Badia.
If you’re interested in stay in Alta Badia in May, these accommodations are open:
Colfosco | Crëp Sella (midrange) and Kolfuschgerhof Mountain Resort (luxury)
San Cassiano | Bio Lüch Ruances (budget)
La Villa | Ciasa Agreiter (budget), Boutique Hotel Dolomit (midrange), Sportony Mountain Lodges (midrange), and Hotel La Majun (luxury)
Badia | Hotel Melodia del Bosco
Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) is embedded in the Braies/Prags Dolomites in Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.
In May, you can drive up Valle de Braies/Pragser Tal, a side valley of Val Pusteria/Pustertal, to Lago di Braies. There are several car parks close to the lakeshore.
The Lago di Braies circuit trail is 3.6 km long and takes 1 hour to complete.
Val Fiscalina (Fischleintal) is a side valley of Sesto Valley in Alta Pusteria. It’s a dream destination for casual walking in the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites.
In May, you can walk from the town of Sesto/Sexten all the way to Rifugio Fondovalle/Talschlusshütte, a refuge which stands at the head of the valley.
This easy 12.2 km circuit trail from Sesto to Val Fiscalina takes 3:15 hours.
Learn More: How to Visit Val Fiscalina
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Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials
Use our Dolomites Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip to Northern Italy.
When to Hike in the Dolomites
The best time to hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can extend until late October.
The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip itinerary for trip inspiration.
We recommend using the Discovercars.com 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.
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 three guides to help you decide where to stay:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer: best villages and towns in South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites: best boutique and luxury hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide: farm stays, mountain huts, wellness hotels, aparthotels
- Best Val Gardena Hotels: best accommodations in Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva
We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.
- Base 1: Val Gardena
- Base 2: Val di Funes
- Base 3: Alta Badia
- Base 4: Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Base 5: Alta Pusteria
- Base 6: San Martino di Castrozza
What to See & Do
During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.
Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.
In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Lago di Sorapis, Lago Federa, Cadini di Misurina, and Baita Segantini.
Dolomites Packing List
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Reusable Water Bottle: Ion Leakproof 32 oz Water Bottle
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Tamron 17-70mm 2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
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. For day hiking, check out 25+ Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.
For region-specific hiking trails, check out:
- Best Hikes in Val Gardena
- Best Hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Best Hikes in Alta Badia
- Puez-Odle Nature Park
Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites