It’s absolutely possible to visit the Dolomites without a car.
The Dolomites are well connected by regional buses, making it relatively easy to travel between destinations during peak seasons.
However, because the Dolomites span across five Italian provinces (South Tyrol, Trentino, Belluno, Udine, and Pordenone), there are several different bus systems to navigate.
In our experience, it’s easiest to travel around South Tyrol (Val Gardena, Alta Badia, and Alta Pusteria) with public transit.
Thanks to the strong Austrian influence, South Tyrolean transit is reliable and punctual. The “journey planner” is also accessible to English speakers.
At the end of this guide, we’ve crafted a Dolomites itinerary for you based on one of our trips without a car.
Visiting the Dolomites Without a Car + Itinerary
- When to Visit the Dolomites without a Car: Mid/Late June – Mid/Late September, or Late December to Late March
- Best Places to Stay in the Dolomites without a Car: Val Gardena (Ortisei), Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alta Pusteria (San Candido), and Alta Badia (Corvara or La Villa)
- South Tyrol Public Transit: Südtirolmobil.info
- Belluno Public Transit: DolomitiBus
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When to Visit the Dolomites Without a Car
During peak holiday seasons, buses run more frequently.
Also, many bus lines in the Dolomites are seasonal, and thus only operate during peak seasons.
If you’re traveling without a car, only visit the Dolomites during peak seasons.
The summer peak season runs from mid/late June until mid/late September.
The winter peak season runs from late December until late March.
How to Get to the Dolomites Without a Car
Read How to Get to the Dolomites to find out how to travel to the Dolomites from the closest airports, train stations, and bus terminals.
The closest airports to the Dolomites:
- Bolzano Airport (BZO), Italy
- Innsbruck Airport (INN), Austria
- Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE), Italy
- Treviso Airport (TSF), Italy
- Verona Airport (VRN), Italy
- Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), Italy
- Munich Airport (MUC), Germany
Depending on which airport you arrive in, you can either take a train, bus, or private transfer to your base in the Dolomites.
We recommend starting your Dolomites trip in either Val Gardena, or Cortina d’Ampezzo.
How to Get to Val Gardena Without a Car
The first step is to get to Bolzano/Bozen, a city in South Tyrol, which borders the Dolomites. Once you arrive in Bolzano/Bozen, you can hop on a direct SAD Bus to Val Gardena (50 minutes).
You can travel by train to Bolzano/Bozen from Munich, Innsbruck, Venice, Verona, Milan, Bologna, and Florence. Book your train tickets here.
You can travel to Bolzano with a Flixbus from Munich, Innsbruck, Milan, Bergamo, Bologna, and Verona, and other cities.
Venice Airport to Val Gardena
From the Venice Airport, there are three main ways to get to Val Gardena.
Options 1: Private Transfer with AltoAdigeBus
How to Get to Cortina d’Ampezzo Without a Car
How to Get to Alta Badia Without a Car
In summer (mid-June – mid-October), you can reach Alta Badia by bus from Val Gardena.
Bus Line 473 connects Val Gardena with Val Badia (Colfosco and Corvara) with a transfer in Seilbahn Plan de Gralba/Funivia Plan de Gralba. 2023 Bus 473 timetable.
It’s also possible to travel from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Alta Badia.
How to Get to Alta Pusteria Without a Car
If you’re traveling from Austria, or Slovenia, to the Dolomites, you can take a train(s) to San Candido/Innichen and Dobbiaco/Toblach.
From Cortina d’Ampezzo, there are direct buses to Dobbiaco/Toblach.
From Bolzano/Bozen, you can get to Alta Pusteria by train in 2 hours. Often, you must change trains in Bahnhof Franzensfeste.
Use the Südtirolmobil journey planner to plan your transit journey to Alta Pusteria.
Getting around the Dolomites Without a Car
When traveling around Val Gardena and anywhere in South Tyrol, use Südtirolmobil.info to find bus connections.
You can also pick up a book of timetables from any tourist office in South Tyrol.
When traveling around Cortina d’Ampezzo and in Belluno, use the DolomitiBus website to find bus connections.
Where to Stay in the Dolomites Without a Car
The best places to stay in the Dolomites without a car are Ortisei in Val Gardena, Corvara and La Villa in Alta Badia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and San Candido in Alta Pusteria.
Val Gardena is the best base in the Dolomites if you’re traveling without a car.
Bus transit is free and unrestricted for all Val Gardena overnight guests, who are staying in accommodations that are members of the Tourist Association. That’s most accommodations in Val Gardena except some apartments and AirBnBs.
When you check-in, your accommodation will give you a free 7-day Val Gardena Mobil Card. With this transit card, you can travel across Val Gardena and to anywhere else in South Tyrol using SAD (South Tyrolean transport association) transit.
There are three main villages in Val Gardena: Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva. While you can stay anywhere in the valley, Ortisei is probably the most convenient base. Check out our guide Ortisei Travel Guide.
Use local buses to reach other destinations in Val Gardena as well as Passo Gardena, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi, and Alta Badia.
Stay in Ortisei
Midrange | Casa al Sole 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.
Midrange | Hotel Grones is a top-rated, family-run hotel, which excels in its friendly atmosphere, excellent local and Mediterranean cuisine, traditional, yet lovely rooms. The hotel spa area comprises a swimming pool, hot tub, Finnish sauna, bio sauna, and steam bath.
Luxury | Hotel Gardena Grödnerhof is a 5-star hotel in the heart of Ortisei, home to the Michelin star Ann Stuben gourmet restaurant. This wellness hotel offers unparalleled spa facilities, flawless service, guided hikes and mountain bike tours, and a weekly fitness program. Guests are treated to a welcome cocktail, generous breakfast buffet, and afternoon cakes and snacks (3 – 5 pm).
Luxury | Adler Spa Resort Dolomiti is a stunning property surrounded by private grounds, advantageously located in the pedestrian zone of Ortisei. This 5-star hotel offers outstanding service, first-rate spa complex, beautiful rooms, and an on-site restaurant (half board available). 3-7 nights minimum stay.
Luxury | Hotel Angelo Engel is situated directly in the town 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, and the wellness and spa area.
Alta Badia is the alpine resort surrounding Val Badia in South Tyrol, wedged between the Sella Group, Puez-Odle Nature Park, and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.
The main villages in Alta Badia are Colfosco, Corvara, San Cassiano, La Villa, and Badia.
This Dolomites region is extremely well-connected with SAD buses. When we visited Alta Badia without a car, we stayed in Corvara and La Villa. We took buses to trailheads and then hiked back to our hotel:
- Capanna Alpina – Rifugio Fanes – La Villa
- La Villa – Rifugio Puez – Corvara
- Passo Gardena – Cima Pisciadu – Corvara
- Armentara Meadows
Stay in Corvara
Midrange | Ciasa De Munt Lifestyle Living strikes just the right balance between urban and the outdoors, with its clean aesthetic, modern elegant lines and location. Guests have access to top-notch wellness facilities, storage lockers, and a washing machine. A fresh breakfast buffet featuring homemade cakes, cold cuts, and eggs is laid out each morning.
Where we stayed – Luxury | Hotel Col Alto is a centrally located hotel in Corvara with a huge spa. The staff is extremely helpful and accommodating, the rooms are very comfortable, and the breakfast buffet is outstanding.
Luxury | Hotel Marmolada is a superb 4-star hotel in Corvara which delivers an all-around excellent experience: facilities, breakfast, and spa. Half board is available. When booking, pay attention to room categories: many rooms are newly renovated, but not all.
Stay in La Villa
Budget-Midrange | Pensione Camoscio is a well-run charming hotel with cozy, Tyrolean-style rooms, excellent breakfasts and dinners, and a peaceful setting. Great value for money.
Budget | Ciasa Agreiter in La Villa is a pet-friendly property with beautiful, well-equipped apartments with stunning mountain views.
Where we stayed – Luxury | Hotel Ciasa Soleil is a beautifully-designed boutique hotel in La Villa. We loved the atmosphere, views, outdoor whirlpool and indoor pool. The hotel restaurant concocts creative dishes inspired by Ladin, Tirolean and Italian cuisine. The hotel is located just steps away from a bus stop.
Luxury | Hotel La Majun in La Villa exudes luxury in the shape of gourmet Ladin cuisine (half board available), modern rooms, and an elegant atmosphere.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is an alpine town blessed with a dramatic setting in Ampezzo Valley in the province of Belluno.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is ringed by the Croda da Lago chain, Sorapis Group, Cristallo Group, and Tofane Group.
DolomitiBuses connect Cortina d’Ampezzo with various trailheads, mountain passes, cableways, and nearby attractions like Lake Misurina and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
The DolomitiBus lines are synced with Google Maps.
Read Next: Cortina d’Ampezzo Hiking Guide
Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo’s Town Center
We recommend staying in the town center, so you’re walking distance to restaurants, bars, shops, and the main bus station.
Budget | Hotel Meuble Oasi is a guesthouse set in the town center of Cortina d’Ampezzo, walking distance to the pedestrian zone and bus station. Book this 2-star hotel for the unbeatable price, location, and spotless rooms.
Midrange | Ambra Cortina Luxury&Fashion Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel with 24 thematic rooms and a bar in the very center of Cortina.
Top Choice – Luxury | HOTEL de LËN is a fresh-faced luxury hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo’s town center. Interiors blend natural and sustainable materials with fine furnishings to create a relaxing, yet refined atmosphere. The hotel restaurant showcases local Ampezzo flavors in unique and exciting ways. We loved the charming, enthusiastic staff, the rooftop spa (1 complimentary hour), and communal areas (living room, cocktail bar, and restaurant). Breakfast is included in the room rate. Read our Hotel de Len review.
Luxury | Grand Hotel Savoia Cortina d’Ampezzo, A Radisson Collection Hotel is a top-rated, 5-star hotel in the center of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Although housed in a historic building, the entire interior has been renovated. Rooms are delightfully modern. Stay here for the superb on-site restaurant, impeccable staff and concierge, top-notch facilities (spa, indoor pool, bar, and lobby area).
Alta Pusteria (Hochpustertal in German, Upper Puster Valley in English) is the Dolomites region in South Tyrol which comprises Dobbiaco/Toblach, San Candido/Innichen, Braies/Prags, and Sesto/Sexten.
Alta Pusteria Buses
If you’re visiting Alta Pusteria between July 10th and September 10th, you must book popular bus lines in advance: Bus 444 to Rifugio Auronzo and Bus 442 to Lake Braies.
Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee
Bus Line 442 connects Dobbiaco/Toblach and Villabassa/Niederdorf to Lake Braies.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen
Val Fiscalina / Fischleintal
Bus Line 446 connects San Candido/Innichen with Sesto/Sexten and Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal.
Stay in San Candido
We recommend staying in San Candio in Alta Pusteria. It’s the loveliest town in the area and it’s well-connected to Sesto/Sexten and Dobbiaco/Toblach.
Budget | Residence Silvia offers clean and functional apartments in San Candido.
Midrange Apartments | Residence Kugler offers new, fully-equipped apartments in San Candido.
Adults-Only Luxury | Post Hotel – Tradition & Lifestyle Adults Only is located in the center of San Candido, close to the pedestrian zone. This chic boutique hotel offers a spa, rooftop terrace, and on-site restaurant and bar. Half board is available.
Luxury Apartments | ATTO Suites & Cuisine is a new luxury aparthotel in San Candido, furnished with the highest quality local materials. These gorgeous, minimalist apartments teeter stylistically between Alpine and Nordic. An excellent breakfast is included (with gluten-free options). Other included services: shuttle service to the Leitlhof spa, and bicycle storage room.
Luxury | Boutique & Gourmet Hotel Orso Grigio is a 4-star hotel in San Candido’s lively pedestrian center. Excellent breakfast, gourmet dinners (on-site restaurant, half board available).
Where we stayed – Luxury | Naturhotel Leitlhof is a 4-star-superior, climate-neutral wellness hotel with a 2000 m² spa set above San Candido. This hotel provides a free shuttle pick-up from the San Candido train station. Additionally, the free shuttle service takes guests into the town center of San Candido, the skiing areas of Monte Elmo and Monte Baranci (Haunold), and the entrance to Val Campo di Dentro/Innerfeldtal. Read our Naturhotel Leitlhof: Hotel Review.
Dolomites Itinerary Without a Car
We designed this itinerary specifically for those traveling without a car. This route is straightforward and uncomplicated, because it only employs the South Tyrolean transit system. Use this journey planner and list of timetables to figure out how to travel between destinations.
If you only have 3-4 days in the Dolomites, stay in Ortisei, Val Gardena. If you have 5-7 days, add on a few days to Alta Badia. And, if you have more than 7 days, tack on 2-4 days to Alta Pusteria.
Get to Bolzano
Read How to Get to the Dolomites to find out how to get to Bolzano from Venice, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Innsbruck, and Munich.
How to Get from Bolzano to Ortisei: From Bozen Busbahnhof, take Bus 350 in the direction of Gröden to St. Ulrich, Antoniusplatz, the most central bus stop in Ortisei.
Gröden is the German name for Val Gardena.
This transit journey takes 1 hour and costs 5.50 EUR.
Directly from the village center, you can ascend to the nearby mountains and plateaus with cableways to hike the Seceda to Rifugio Firenze Circuit Hike (easy), the Resciesa to Seceda Hike (difficult), the Alpe di Siusi meadows circuit (easy), or the Alpe di Siusi – Monte Pana walk (easy).
With more time in Val Gardena, we recommend checking out the Vallunga Valley and Val de Chedul hike (moderately difficult), the Piz Duleda peak hike (difficult), and Col dala Pieres peak hike (difficult).
Learn more: Best Hikes around Val Gardena
How to Get from Oritsei to Corvara: From Ortisei, take Bus 352 in the direction of Plan de Gralba to Seilbahn Plan de Gralba and then Bus 473 in the direction of Grödnerjoch – Gaderatal to Corvara, Busbahnhof.
This journey takes 1:25 – 1:55 hrs and costs 7.50 EUR (or free with the Val Gardena Mobil Card).
Grödnerjoch is the German name for Passo Gardena, the mountain pass, which links Val Gardena with Val Badia. And, Gadertal is the German name for Val Badia.
Important: Bus 473 only operates in high season. In 2023, this bus will operate from June 17 to September 22, 2023.
Stay 2-4 nights in Corvara, or La Villa. You can also stay in Colfosco, Badia, or San Cassiano. All these villages are well-connected.
One of the most enchanting places in Alta Badia is Armentara Meadows, a rolling plateau above the village of Badia.
Adventurous hikers should prioritize the summit hike to Cima Pisciadu, starting at Passo Gardena.
How to Get from Corvara to San Candido: From Corvara, take Bus 460 to Bruneck, Bahnhof Bruneck (Bruneck Train Station). At the Bruneck train station, take a regional train in the direction of Sillian to Bahnhof Innichen (San Candido).
This transit journey takes 1:53 hrs and costs 11 EUR.
Stay 2-4 nights in San Candido. You can also stay in Dobbiaco, or Sesto.
Use your time here to explore the Northern Sexten Dolomites and the Northern Braies Dolomites.
- Walk Val Fiscalina
- Val Campo di Dentro to Rifugio Locatelli (Torre dei Scarperi Circuit Trail)
- Visit Lago di Braies
- Hike from Lago di Braies to Hochalpenkopf
- Visit Prato Piazza and hike to Monte Specie and the Gaisl High Trail
How to Get from San Candido to Bolzano: From San Candido, take a regional train in the direction of Franzenfeste to Bahnhof Franzenfeste. Here you will change trains to a Meran-bound or Bologna Centrale-bound train to Bahnhof Bozen.
This train journey takes 2:09 hours and costs 17.50 EUR.
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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.
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 di Val Gardena
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 Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, and Lago di Sorapis.
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
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 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
- Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide
- Puez-Odle Nature Park
Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites