The Italian Dolomites is the most spectacular alpine destination in the world. There’s no question. After seven visits, we’re still not satiated. Visiting the Dolomites is like stepping into a high fantasy novel. The scenery is mesmerizing. The cuisine is heartwarming. And, the hiking trails are spectacular and highly accessible. There are many ways to experience the Dolomites, but a road trip is certainly the best introduction.
The route outlined below is our itinerary from our first trip to the Dolomites, with some modifications for improvement. It will take you to the Dolomites’ most celebrated places, including Val di Funes (Villnöß), Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm), Puez-Odle Nature Park (Naturpark Puez-Geisler), Val Gardena (Grödnertal), Seceda, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Lago di Sorapis, Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen), Cadini di Misurina, and Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee).
We’ve summarized each day of our Dolomites road trip, with links to more in-depth blog posts. We promise that you’ll fall head over heels in love with this mountainous region and plot your return immediately.
Our Dolomites road trip is a bit unconventional because we integrated this fantastic 3-day Tre Cime di Lavaredo trek into our itinerary. This trek is the perfect intro to hut to hut hiking in the Dolomites. If however, you don’t want to do that, you can easily modify our itinerary, so that you’re staying in the valleys instead. We’ve outlined alternative options for each day.
At the very end of this guide, we’ve included a few ideas on how to extend this Dolomites itinerary to 10 days, 12 days, and 2 weeks as well as a Venice-Dolomites itinerary map.
We’ve visited the Dolomites many times. For the latest adventures, check out our Dolomites Blog Archive.
For help on figuring out where to base yourself in the Dolomites, read Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer.
Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Day 1: Val di Funes
- Day 2: Alpe di Siusi
- Day 3: Seceda
- Day 4: Great Dolomites Road, Sella Pass, Pordoi Pass, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Lago di Sorapis, Sesto
- Day 5: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek (Day 1) / Sexten Dolomites Hike (Alternative Day 1)
- Day 6: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek (Day 2) / Ampezzo Dolomites Hike (Alternative Day 2)
- Day 7: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek (Day 3), Lago di Braies & Prato Piazza
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Dolomites Road Trip Map
The driving route is highlighted in blue. Each destination in the Dolomites is marked in a different color. For example, red signifies places and trails in Val di Funes. Yellow markers signify places in Val Gardena.
What Languages are Spoken in the Dolomites?
The Dolomites are located in 5 different provinces (within 3 regions) in Northeastern Italy. One province, South Tyrol (Südtirol in German; Alto Adige in Italian), was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to World War I. German continues to be the primary language spoken in this province. When traveling and hiking through South Tyrol, every street, advertisement, nature park, mountain hut, etc… is written in both German and Italian.
Another language that you may encounter is Ladin, a romance language spoken in the provinces of South Tyrol, Trentino, and Belluno, by the Ladin people, who are the oldest inhabitants of the region. In Val Badia and other valleys, you’ll see signage and names (e.g. towns, mountain huts) in three languages: Ladin, German, and Italian.
When to Road Trip in the Dolomites
We’ve explained the best time to visit the Dolomites in our Dolomites Travel Guide.
We recommend doing this specific road trip in July, or September. August is very busy and very expensive. Early October is still promising, but you wouldn’t be able to do this 3-Day Tre Cime Trek, because the rifugios (mountain huts) close by late September.
- Best Time to Visit the Dolomites
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
- Hiking in the Dolomites in October
How to get to the Dolomites
If you’re flying internationally, look for flights to these international airports.
- Munich International Airport, Germany
- Malpensa Airport, Milan, Italy
- Marco Polo International Airport, Venice, Italy
If you’re flying more regionally, also look for flights to these airports:
- Valerio Catullo Airport, Verona, Italy
- Innsbruck Airport, Austria
From the airport, rent a car and drive several hours to Val di Funes/Villnöß. Here are the approximate driving times it takes to get from each respective airport to the heart of the Dolomites (according to Google Maps). You’ll probably want to add some buffer time, because… mountains.
- Munich to Val di Funes: 3 Hours
- Milan to Val di Funes: 4 Hours
- Venice to Val di Funes: 3 Hours
- Verona to Val di Funes: 2 Hours
- Innsbruck to Val di Funes: 1:15 hours
Driving in the Dolomites
Driving in the Dolomites is riveting. Serpentine roads cut across mountain passes delivering nonstop memorable views. Generally, roads are in great condition and by no means perilous.
Though Italy has a reputation for aggressive driving, we didn’t get that impression in the Dolomites.
The only thing to be aware of is congestion. During peak summer months, some roads get really busy, especially the main road through Val Gardena. If you’re weary of traffic and backing up (to let buses pass), start your drive a bit earlier.
In July and August, there are also a lot of cyclists and motorbikes on the road (especially around mountain passes). That might be the hardest and most frustrating part about driving in the Dolomites.
Autostrade (Toll Roads)
There are toll roads across Italy called Autostrade. When you enter a toll road, marked by a toll gate, a machine will dispense a paper ticket (like in a parking garage), which marks where you entered the Autostrade. When the toll road ends, or when you exit the toll road, you’ll drive through a second toll gate. Here, you’ll pay your toll, which is calculated by your Autostrada usage.
You can pay in cash, or by credit card. To be safe, always have extra cash for tolls.
In the Dolomites, we didn’t pay any tolls other than the road to Rifugio Auronzo.
However, if you’re starting your Dolomites road trip in Verona, Venice, or Milan, you will likely drive on an Autostrade.
International Driver’s License
An International Driving Permit (also called an International Driver’s License) is required for non-EU drivers. When driving in Italy, you need to carry both your International Driving Permit and your overseas driver’s license. More info here for US-Americans.
Day 1: Val di Funes and the Adolf Munkel Trail
Your Dolomites road trip begins with a drive to Val di Funes/Vilnöss, a 24-km-long valley in South Tyrol, stretching from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal Valley to the Odle/Geisler mountain range. There’s no need to rush to get here because the best time to visit Val di Funes is in the late afternoon when the toothy Odle/Geisler peaks are illuminated by the sun.
When you enter the valley, continue towards the village of S. Maddalena/St. Magdalena, which is the best place to stay in the valley. We recommend checking into your accommodation first. As an overnight guest (of Hotel Fines and Hotel Tyrol Dolomites) you get a free DolomitiMobil Discount Card, which gives you free use of public transit and a parking discount at the Zannes and Ranui parking lots.
Learn More: How to Visit Val di Funes
Drive to Zannes Car Park
After checking in, drive to the head of the valley to Zannes/Zans car park, a popular trailhead in Val di Funes. The parking fee is 6 EUR per day, 3 EUR for half a day (arriving after 1 pm), or 2 EUR for DolomitiMobil cardholders.
From here, you can embark on many different hikes to scenic alpine pastures and mountain huts in Puez-Odle Nature Park.
Hike the Adolf Munkel Trail
The Adolf Munkel Trail (Via delle Odle) is a hiking path at the foot of the Geisler/Odle Peaks. Starting at Zannes/Zans, this gratifying circuit trail strings together some of the loveliest alpine pastures in Puez-Odle Nature Park, including Gschnagenhardt Alm, Geisleralm, and Dusleralm.
This hike is all about savoring the journey. So, go slowly, eat tons of South Tyrolean food, drink beer (or your favorite drink), and enjoy the view. The whole loop is about 9.2 km and takes 3:30 hours to complete.
Learn More: Adolf Munkel Trail Guide
Hike the Rifugio Genova Circuit Trail
If you’re spending more time in the valley, we also recommend hiking from Zannes/Zans to Rifugio Genova/Schlüterhütte via Furcella de Furcia/Kreuzjoch.
Learn More: Rifugio Genova Circuit Trail
More Things to Do in Val di Funes
Stay in Santa Maddalena
The best place to stay for this hike and any other hike starting in Val di Funes is the village of Santa Maddalena. Here are three central options for every budget:
Budget | Fallerhof is an active farm and a great-value apartment-style accommodation with stunning views of the Geisler Group. It’s a short walk to the Santa Maddalena Church (5 minutes) and the famous Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui (15 minutes). It’s also an 11-minute drive (or 1.5-hour walk) to the Zannes/Zans trailhead. Breakfast is available upon request.
Midrange | Hotel Fines is a welcoming, 3-star hotel in Santa Maddalena, owned by a young and enthusiastic team. Guests love the rich breakfast buffet, central location, and hotel restaurant. Definitely book half board (breakfast and dinner) here. The DolomitiMobil Card is free for all guests.
Luxury | Hotel Tyrol Dolomites is a family-run hotel in Santa Maddalena. This is the best place to stay when you want to combine outdoor exploration with wellness and relaxation. Their wellness area encompasses a Finnish sauna, steam bath, outdoor pool, whirlpool, and a garden with sun loungers and parasols. However, the main reason to stay here is their South Tyrolean cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients. The DolomitiMobil Card is free for all guests. Tip: book half board and book a room with a Dolomites view (“Geisler Blick”).
Day 2: Alpe di Siusi and Val Gardena
Drive to Ortisei in Val Gardena
Your Dolomites road trip continues to Ortisei/St. Ulrich/Urtijëi, a village in Val Gardena/Gröderntal. The drive takes about 40 minutes.
If you’re staying directly in Ortisei (e.g. Hotel Angelo Engel), head to your accommodation first to park, check-in, and get your complimentary Val Gardena Mobil Card, which gives you free transit in South Tyrol. From the village, you can walk to the Ortisei – Alpe di Siusi cable car valley station.
If you’re not staying directly in town, you can also park in the paid parking garage located directly at the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Cable Car valley station. Parking costs 0.50 EUR/hour.
Related: Ortisei, Val Gardena Travel Guide
Walk across Alpe di Siusi
Today, you’re going to explore Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, the largest high alpine pasture in Europe. Measuring 56 km², this expansive plateau is a great place for casual walking and spectacular views of the Sassolungo/Langkofel Group and the Catinaccio/Rosengarten Mountains.
Because driving up to Alpe di Siusi is restricted during the day, you have to take the Ortisei – Alpe di Siusi cable car up to the plateau.
There are many trails leading across the plateau. After ascending via the ropeway, we decided to do a point-to-point hike to Saltria and then to Monte Pana, before descending to Santa Cristina, another village in Val Gardena. From Santa Cristina, we took a bus (free with the Val Gardena Mobil Card), back to Ortisei.
If you want to hike a circuit instead, you can follow the Hans-und-Paula-Steger Weg from Saltria to Compaccio, another settlement on Alpe di Siusi. From Compaccio, it’s 6.5 km of easy walking back to the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola mountain station.
Check out our Alpe di Siusi Travel Guide for a map and details on where to eat.
Eat Dinner in Ortisei
We had dinner at Vinoteque La Cercia, a charming wine bar with live music.
Address: Via Rezia 30, 39046 Ortisei, Italy.
Stay in Ortisei, Val Gardena
Budget | B&B Lavi Ortisei val Gardena is a clean and comfortable bed and breakfast managed by a very friendly host. The B&B is situated outside of the town center, though within walking distance (~15 minutes).
B&B – Top Choice | Casa al Sole (3 nights minimum) is a newly renovated bed and breakfast in the center of Ortisei, only a short walk from the Seceda cableway and the Resciesa funicular. Highlights of staying here include the modern minimal interiors, comfortable bedrooms, warm hospitality, and delicious and plentiful breakfast. At Casa al Sole, Alexandra and Manuel host with great care and enthusiasm, and are always available to offer advice and help make dinner reservations.
Midrange | Chalet Hotel Hartmann – Adults Only is an excellent hotel featuring tastefully furnished interiors, a delicious breakfast buffet, a complimentary afternoon snack, and a spa area (bio-sauna, steam bath and solarium). This is an ideal accommodation for couples and anyone traveling without children. It’s a 20-minute walk (1 km) to reach the heart of Ortisei.
Luxury | Hotel Angelo is situated directly in the village center of Ortisei, walking distance to the Resciesa funicular, Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableway, and the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola (Mont Sëuc Ropeway). We loved the central location, the courteous staff, the wellness and sauna area, and our spacious room.
Luxury | Perched high above Ortisei, the newly-renovated La Cort My Dollhouse – Adults Only hotel offers 26 stylish rooms, a rooftop spa and pool, and fabulous views of Val Gardena. La Cort is a great choice for travelers who want more flexibility during their visit (no rigid eating times, etc..). Breakfast (7:30 am – 11 am) and Linner (4 pm – 7 pm) are included in the rate. If you stay here, you will have to drive 7 minutes into Ortisei to access the cableways (the only disadvantage).
Day 3: Seceda and Puez-Odle Nature Park
Hike the Seceda Ridgeline
Day 3 of your Dolomites itinerary is all about experiencing the striking Odle/Geisler Peaks from the Seceda ridgeline – that view you’ve probably been dreaming about since you decided to travel to the Dolomites. There are several approaches to the Seceda Ridgeline. The first two options require cableway ascents/descents. The third option does not.
Option 1: The Ortisei – Furnes – Seceda Cableways
This is the easiest and fastest way to see Seceda. You’ll take the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cable car from Ortisei directly up to the Seceda mountain station. At the summit station, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Seceda lookout point. From the ridgeline, you can do a lovely circuit hike to Regensburger Hütte.
Learn More: Seceda to Regensburger Hütte Trail Guide
Option 2: Resciesa Plateau to Seceda
In this option, you’ll approach Seceda via the Resciesa plateau. First, take the Resciesa Funicular up to Resciesa plateau and then hike to Malga Brogles. From here, it’s a steep ascent to the Seceda ridge via the Panascharte.
Update: A reader informed us recently (September 1, 2020) that the trail from Brogles to Seceda is closed due to rockfall. Contact the Seceda mountain station directly for trail updates. The Panascharte path will be closed throughout 2021. You can still hike this trail via the Mittagscharte (what we did).
Learn More: Resciesca to Malga Brogles to Seceda Trail Guide
Option 3: Hike to Seceda without a cableway
If you’re visiting off-season (e.g. late October), when the cableways aren’t operating, you can also hike from the valley. Starting at the Cristauta/Praplan Parking Lot above Santa Cristina, you can hike up to Seceda. We recommend descending via Monte Pic on your way back down.
Learn More: Monte Pic and Seceda Trail Guide
More Hikes in Val Gardena
If you’re extending your stay in Val Gardena, also check out our Puez-Odle Nature Park guide and these trails:
Stay in Ortisei, Val Gardena
Day 4: Sella and Pordoi Passes, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Lago di Sorapis
Drive to Cortina d’Ampezzo
On day 4 of your Dolomites road trip, you’ll depart Val Gardena and drive to the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo in Ampezzo Valley, Belluno.
There are two main routes to Cortina d’Ampezzo:
- Via the Sella, Pordoi, and Fazarego mountain passes (2:00 – 2:30 hours)
- Via Gardena Pass, Alta Badia and the Valparola and Fazarego mountain passes (1:40 – 2:10 hours)
Both routes are stunning. In the first option, you’ll drive a longer distance on the Great Dolomites Road (Grande Strada della Dolomiti), a dramatic route that connects Bolzano with Cortina d’Ampezzo (110 km).
If you’re looking to expand this 7 Day Dolomites itinerary, we recommend heading to Alta Badia first. Spend at least 2 nights in Alta Badia (in Corvara, La Villa, or San Cassiano), before continuing your journey to Cortina via Passo di Valparola and Passo di Falzarego.
Hike to Lago di Sorapis
Lake Sorapis is a glacial lake in the Sorapiss Group in the province of Belluno.
Set in a natural natural amphitheater and ringed by forest and rock, Lago di Sorapis enchants with its milky-turquoise hue and imposing mountain backdrop.
The easiest way to get to Lake Sorapis is from the Passo Tre Croci mountain pass, located about halfway between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Lake Misurina. It’s a 15-minute drive from Cortina to the pass.
From Passo Tre Croci, follow trail 215 in the direction of Rifugio Vandelli. Trail 215 is initially wide and level. After about an hour, the trail becomes increasingly steep and narrow. There are some exposed sections, secured with cables.
Shortly before arriving at the lake, you can detour to the Rifugio Vandelli mountain hut.
Most hikers will return to Passo Tre Croci along the same route. However, there’s an exciting alternative route via the Forcella Marcuoira saddle. This route is best undertaken by experienced alpine hikers, who are confident in steep rocky terrain.
Learn More: Lago di Sorapis Trail Guide
Stay in Sesto or in Cortina d’Ampezzo
If you’re planning on doing this Tre Cime di Lavaredo 3 Day Trek, continue driving to Sesto/Sexten.
If you’re not planning on doing the hut-to-hut hike, stay tonight in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Budget | B&B Nonna Pina is a cozy bed and breakfast in Padola (25-minute-drive to Sesto) set in a traditional South Tyrolean house. With warm wooden interiors, this fantastic guesthouse offers traditional decor and comfort for a very good price.
Midrange | Hotel Kreuzberg Monte Croce is a fabulous hotel located only a quick drive (12 minutes) from the Parkplatz Fischleinboden Hütte trailhead. Here, you’ll be treated to delicious South Tyrolean food and rejuvenating spa facilities.
Luxury | Hotel Dolomitenhof & Chalet Alte Post is located directly at the Fischleinbodenhütte trailhead in Tre Cime Nature Park. The views of Fischleintal Valley and the Sexten Dolomites are spectacular. Guests love the breakfast terrace, wellness facilities, restaurant, and of course the location.
Cortina d’Ampezzo Accommodations
Note: the best accommodations in Cortina d’Ampezzo are located outside the town center.
Budget | Jaegerhaus Agriturismo is a highly-recommended farm stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The farm is located 2 km north of the town center in a dreamy location, facing Punta della Croce and Croda del Pomagagnon. Expect a delicious breakfast buffet. You can also eat dinner in their restaurant, which features ingredients sourced directly from their farm. Rooms are clean, cozy and designed in an alpine-rustic style.
Budget | La Locanda del Cantoniere – Ciasa Vervei is a delightful alpine hotel, restaurant, and bar, set in a peaceful location, 7.5 km from the center of Cortina. The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner. Guests love the spacious bedrooms, breakfast buffet, and solitude.
Midrange | Camina Suite & Spa is a modern and stylish accommodation, managed by a caring and kind staff. Highlights of staying here are the bright, spacious suites, lovely furnishings and design accents, balcony views, and air conditioning. The breakfast is outstanding. Don’t miss out on their spa facilities.
Luxury | Hotel de Len is a sparkling new luxury hotel in the heart of Cortina. Fresh-faced interiors blend alpine design, modern lines, and natural and sustainable materials. The hotel restaurant, open 12 pm – 10 pm, showcases mountain products and local Ampezzo flavors in unique and exciting ways. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Rooftop spa access is an extra charge.
Luxury | Dolomiti Lodge Alverà is a splurge-worthy hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, featuring an on-site spa and pool, on-site restaurant, and plush suites. Guests rave about the hotel’s mountain views, breakfast, wellness facilities, and design.
Day 5: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek Stage 1
Val Fiscalina to Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Today, you’ll begin this 3-day hut-to-hut hike in Tre Cime Nature Park, starting in Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal in Sesto/Sexten. You can park directly at the trailhead at Parkplatz Fischleinbodenhütte (8 EUR per day). You’ll pay for parking when you return to your car.
Stage 1 of this Tre Cime trek begins with a steady ascent to Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte. It takes about 3:30 hours to reach the hut via Trail 102. Directly facing the north side of the iconic Three Peaks (Tre Cime/Drei Zinnen), Dreizinnenhütte is arguably the most perfectly positioned mountain hut in the Dolomites. And luckily for all hungry visitors, the hut has a restaurant serving South Tyrolean cuisine.
Learn More: Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites
Stay in Dreizinnenhütte, or Rifugio Lavaredo
Tonight, you can stay in Dreizinnenhütte. Or, you can continue on Trail 101 to Rifugio Lavaredo, or even Rifugio Auronzo.
The location of the Rifugio Lavaredo is absolutely spectacular and definitely rivals that of Locatelli. The jagged, purple Cadini di Misurina mountains form the backdrop of the hut. We stayed in a 6-bed dormitory-style room, which was clean and comfortable. However, in comparison to the other mountain huts, the food was subpar.
IMPORTANT: Make reservations for mountain huts in advance. You should be making reservations several months ahead, depending on when you’re planning on staying.
Alternative Day 5 Dolomites Itinerary
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail & the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
For those who opted out of the 3-day trek, you can still experience the beauty of Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen, Three Peaks) by driving directly to Rifugio Auronzo via the Auronzo – Tre Cime di Lavaredo toll road.
- Toll Road Seasonal Opening Times: Late May/Early June – Late October/Early November, depending on weather conditions.
- Toll Road Operating Times: The operating times change throughout the season. Email [email protected] for current times.
- Payment: Cash or Credit Card
- Cost: 30 EUR for cars, 20 EUR for motorcycles, 45 EUR for campervans/caravans
- Parking: There are 700 parking spaces next to Rifugio Auronzo. The toll gate closes when the parking lot reaches full capacity.
From Rifugio Auronzo, you can circuit the famous three peaks along the well-trodden Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail. After completing the circuit, we recommend detouring to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint (30 minutes one-way).
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a more challenging hike in the Sexten Dolomites, consider the Sentiero Bonacossa Trail. This hiking trail traverses the Cadini di Misurina mountain group. We hiked the northern route, starting at Rifugio Auronzo. You can also start the hike at Lago d’Antorno (and skip the expensive toll road).
After the hike, stop at Malga Rin Bianco for a delicious lunch, or dinner
- Address: Via Monte Piana, 35, 32041 Misurina BL, Italy.
- Open: Friday – Wednesday 12 – 3 pm / 7:30 – 9:30 pm.
- Make reservations for dinner.
Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Stay another night in Cortina d’Ampezzo: Jaegerhaus Agriturismo (budget), La Locanda del Cantoniere – Ciasa Vervei (budget), Camina Suite and Spa (midrange), Hotel de Len (luxury), or Dolomiti Lodge Alverà (luxury).
Day 6: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Stage 2
Tre Cime di Lavaredo to Büllelejochhütte
Continue the circuit trail around Tre Cime di Lavaredo to Rifugio Auronzo. From Rifugio Auronzo, Trail no. 105 begins at the end of the parking lot. The trail continues to the saddle Forcella del Col de Mezo and to the mountain hut Langalm.
Langalm is a wonderful spot to grab a mid-morning snack (their cakes are always delicious).
From Langalm, continue to Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte. We recommend eating lunch here, before starting the ascent to Rifugio Pian di Cengia/Büllelejochhütte.
Stay in Büllelejochhütte
Büllelejochhütte is a place where dreams come true. Remotely situated, surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery, and gracing the clouds, Büllelejochhütte is the most charming mountain hut we experienced. The staff was beyond kind and friendly. And, the hearty food was divine.
Alternative Day 6 Dolomites Itinerary
Hike in the Ampezzo Dolomites
Today, we recommend exploring the Ampezzo Dolomites. Here are our favorite hikes near Cortina d’Ampezzo:
- Tofana di Rozes Circuit Trail – This thrilling and not very well-known loop trail starts at Rifugio Dibona, at the foot of the north face of the Tofane Group.
- Croda da Lago Circuit Trail – This trail loops around Croda da Lago, passing Lago Federa and Rifugio Croda da Lago along the way.
- Passo Giau to Monte Mondeval – This easy lollipop-circuit hike starts at the Giau mountain pass and ascends to the Mondeval, a high alpine plateau bounded by the vertical walls of Lastoni di Formin, Croda da Lago, and Monte Mondeval.
Stay near Lago di Braies
After exploring another trail in the Ampezzo Dolomites, continue your Dolomites road trip to Alta Pusteria/Pustertal and the Braies/Prags Dolomites. Check out these places to stay: Garni Bergblick (Budget), Hotel Erika (midrange), Hotel Turmchalet (midrange), or Silentium Dolomites Chalet (luxury).
Day 7: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Stage 3
Descend to Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal
After breakfast, start your descent to Fischleintal via Trail 101 and later Trail 103. After an hour, the trail winds around the Rifugio E. Comici/Zsigmondy Hütte, a lovely mountain hut surrounded by bell-wearing donkeys. From this mountain hut, it takes about 1:30 hours to get to Talschlusshütte. The trail eventually intersects 102 (the trail you took on the way up). From the fork, hike the familiar flat trail back to Talschlusshütte and Parkplatz Fischleinbodenhütte.
Visit Lago di Braies
The iconic Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee is an alpine lake in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. More specifically, Lago di Braies is located in Braies Valley (Valle di Braies in Italian, Pragser Tal in German), a side valley of Upper Puster Valley (Alta Pusteria, Hochpustertal) in South Tyrol.
Braies Lake lies at the foot of the north face of Croda del Becco (Seekofel in German, Sass dla Porta in Ladin), a towering massif (2,810m), which creates the jaw-dropping, picture-perfect backdrop of Lago di Braies. There’s a reason it’s called the Pearl of the Dolomites. And like any declared “pearls,” Lago di Braies is not a secret.
To enjoy your visit, it’s important to set expectations. You won’t be alone. There will be tons of other people, whether you arrive at 5 am or 5 pm.
Visit Lago di Braies by all means, but then continue exploring the nearby peaks and valleys of the Prags Dolomites. From Lake Brais, you can hike to Lake Hochalpensee (2254 m) and Hochalpenkopf (2542 m). You can also tackle the demanding summit hikes to Seekofel (2810 m), Herrnstein (2447 m), and Grosser Rosskopf (2559 m).
Must-do Hike in the Prags Dolomites: Lago di Braies to Hochalpenkopf
Driving to Lake di Braies
There are no access restrictions before July 10th, or after September 10th. For information on parking and pricing, read our Lago di Braies guide.
If you’re visiting Lago di Braies between July 10th and September 10th, you can only drive to the lake before 9:30 am or after 4 pm (Summer 2021).
Driving access to the lake is restricted during peak hours: “Pragser Tal valley can only be reached between 9.30 AM and 4.00 PM by public transportation, on foot, by bicycle, or on presentation of a parking space reservation or a valid transit permit” (source).
If you’re visiting Lago di Braies during peak hours during the high season, pre-book your parking. We recommend booking Parking Area P1 because it’s closer to the lake (no shuttle necessary). Here are the two parking areas you can pre-book near Lago di Braies:
- PARKING AREA P1 (8:00 – 18:00). This car park is located only 800 meters from the lake. It costs 15 EUR to reserve a parking space here. You can walk to the lake from the parking lot.
- PARKING AREA SÄGE / SEGHERIA (8:00 – 16:00). This car park is located 5.5 km from Lago di Braies. It costs 9 EUR to park here. There are shuttles that run approximately every 30 minutes (between 9:30 am and 4 pm except during lunch) to the lake from this parking lot. Shuttle tickets cost 5 EUR per person one-way. You do not need to pre-book the shuttle ticket.
Learn More: How to Visit Lago di Braies
Stay in Braies Valley
Budget | Garni Bergblick is a darling guesthouse in Braies/Prags Valley, located a mere 5.6 km (8-min drive) from Lago di Braies, 6.2 km (9 min drive) from Ponticello, and 11.3 km (18 min drive) from Prato Piazza. Set in an idyllic meadow surrounded by trees, Garni Bergblick is the perfect base for exploring the Braies/Prags Dolomites. Breakfast is included in the rate.
Budget-Midrange | Berggasthaus Agritur Moserhof is a traditional and cozy farm stay, perched high above Braies/Prags Valley. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rate. From Moserhof, it’s a 5-minute drive down to the valley and a 11-minute drive to Lago di Braies.
Midrange | Farmhouse Hanslerhof is a mountain guesthouse and farm overlooking Braies/Prags Valley and surrounded by meadows. Guests love the charming stone pine rooms, homemade breakfasts (included the room rate), and quiet location. From Hanslerhof, it’s an 8 minute drive to Lago di Braies.
Midrange | Hotel Erika is a 3-star hotel situated at the entrance of Valle di Braies. Guests have access to a lovely 400m² wellness area containing a Finnish Sauna (90 °C), steam bath (42-45° C), bio sauna (60 °C), infrared lounge, jacuzzi, and relaxation rooms. Rooms are clean and comfortably furnished in a Tyrolean-alpine style. A rich and varied breakfast buffet and a 5-course dinner are included in the room rate (half board). From Hotel Erika, it’s a 10-minute drive to Lago di Braies and a 20-minute drive to Prato Piazza.
Midrange | Hotel Turmchalet (3 nights minimum) is a family-run 3-star-superior hotel in Valle di Briaes, praised for their superior service and friendliness. The hotel was recently renovated, resulting in tastefully-designed, alpine-modern bedrooms and a standout facade. Guests describe the cuisine as delicious, sensational and outstanding. Breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate (half board). And, there’s also a wellness area.
Or, Stay in Puster Valley
Luxury | Hotel Christof is a new and stylish hotel in the village of Monguelfo/Welsberg in Val Pusteria. Stay here for the striking fresh-faced architecture, modern 600 m² wellness area, and excellent cuisine (you can book breakfast-only or half board). This modern hotel is a splash of cheerful color and laid-back fun on the South Tyrolean hospitality scene. From the hotel, it’s a 13-minute drive to Lago di Braies.
Luxury | Silentium Dolomites Chalet Since 1600 is tucked away on the edge of a forest, 2-km from the town center of Monguelfo/Welsberg. It’s a 15-minute drive from Silentium Chalet to Lago di Braies. Guests love the kind hospitality, picturesque location, and excellent breakfasts (included) and dinners (optional).
How to Extend this Dolomites Itinerary
10 Day Dolomites Road Trip
You could easily extend this Dolomites route by adding another day to Val di Funes, staying in Alta Badia, and adding another day in Alta Pusteria (Braies Valley/Puster Valley/Sexten Valley). Alta Badia is the alpine resort region surrounding the upper Val Badia valley in South Tyrol. During your stay in Alta Badia, we recommend hiking the Armentara Meadows (easy day hike), Cima Pisciadu (challenging day hike), Sass da Ciampac (moderate day hike), Gran Cir (easy via ferrata), Rifugio Fanes (moderately-difficult day hike).
- 2 Nights in Val di Funes
- 2 Nights in Val Gardena
- 2 Nights in Alta Badia
- 2 Nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- 1 Nights in Alta Pusteria
- 2 Nights in San Martino di Castrozza
- 2 Nights in Val di Funes
- 2 Nights in Val Gardena or Alta Badia
- 3 Nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo
12 Day Dolomites Road Trip
Many Dolomites accommodations require a minimum stay of 3-4 nights. So in this Dolomites road trip, you can visit Val di Funes as a day trip from Val Gardena and you can visit Lago di Braies as a day trip from Cortina d’Ampezzo.
With extra time, we highly recommend visiting San Martino di Castrozza in Trentino, the best base for hiking in the Pale di San Martino Dolomites (aka Pala Group). This destination is sadly almost always overlooked. And, it’s quite possibly the most impressive mountain range in the Dolomites. Check out Baita Segantini (easy day hike), Val Venegia to Rifugio Mulaz (moderately difficult hike), and the Pala di San Martino Circuit (difficult day hike).
- 2 Nights in San Martino di Castrozza
- 3 Nights in Val Gardena
- 3 Nights in Alta Badia
- 3 Nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo
2 Week Dolomites Road Trip
In this 2 week Dolomites itinerary, you have ample time to explore all the top destinations in the Dolomites. Like the 12-day variation, we highly suggest integrating a few days in San Martino di Castrozza to hike in the Pala Group and several days in Alta Badia to explore the Sella Group, Cir Mountains, Puez Dolomites, and Fanes Group.
- 2 Nights in San Martino di Castrozza
- [Optional: Add a night in Carezza, Val d’Ega, to hike to the Vajolet Towers]
- 2 Nights in Val di Funes*
- 2 Nights in Val Gardena*
- 2 Nights in Alta Badia
- 3 Nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- 2 Nights in Alta Pusteria
*You can also base yourself 3-4 nights in Val Gardena and visit Val di Funes as a day trip.
- 3 Nights in San Martino di Castrozza
- 3 Nights in Val Gardena
- 3 Nights in Alta Badia
- 4 Nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo*
* From Cortina, you can visit the Northern Braies/Prags Dolomites (Lago di Braies and Prato Piazza) as well as the Northern Sexten Dolomites (Val Fiscalina) as day trips.
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Plan your trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
- 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
Where to Stay in the Dolomites: