The Dolomites are made up of 26 mountain ranges that stretch across three Northern Italian regions and five Italian provinces. Those three regions are Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige/Südtirol, and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In other words, this is an enormous alpine area.
When we planned our first trip to the Dolomites, the planning process was equal parts intimidating and bewildering. The biggest mistake we made was changing accommodations every night. It’s far better to choose two or three bases, where you can divide your time equally.
If you’re trying to figure out the best places to stay in the Dolomites in summer or early Fall, or where to base yourself for a hiking-themed holiday, we’re here to help. We’ve outlined our favorite Dolomites destinations and accommodations, based on five independent trips.
As you read this guide, you’ll notice multiple names for the same destination. Historically home to the Ladin people and previously part of Austria (prior to World War I), places in South Tyrol have three names: the Italian name, the German (Austrian) name, and the Ladin name. For example, the town of Ortisei in Val Gardena is also called St. Ulrich (German name) and Urtijëi (Ladin name).
Also, check out Best Hotels in the Dolomites for a round-up of our favorite hotels, ranging from affordable 3-star to luxurious 4-star superior hotels.
Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- Val Gardena, South Tyrol
- Alta Badia, South Tyrol
- Alta Pusteria, South Tyrol
- Val di Funes, South Tyrol
- Alpe di Siusi, South Tyrol
- San Martino di Castrozza, Trentino
- Cortina d’Ampezzo, Belluno
- Val d’Ega, South Tyrol
This post links to Dolomites accommodations that we love. If you book a hotel, we may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog!! – Sabrina and Kati
1. Val Gardena, South Tyrol
Val Gardena is a perfect base in the Dolomites for hiking and for those traveling without a car.
Where is Val Gardena
Val Gardena/Grödnertal is a valley in South Tyrol, stretching from Gardena Pass (Passo Gardena in Italian, Grödnerjoch in German) and Sella Pass to Valle Isarco/Eisacktal.
Why Stay in Val Gardena
Free Public Transit Card
When you stay in any hotel, guesthouse, or farm stay in Val Gardena, you’re given a free public transit card. This makes getting to various trailheads hassle-free. You don’t have to worry about finding and paying for parking. Also, you can use this free transit card to get to other destinations in South Tyrol, like Alta Badia and Bolzano/Bozen.
Accessible Day Hikes
There are a number of chairlifts and cable cars that connect the valley to various summits and plateaus in the Val Gardena Dolomites: Puez-Odle/Geisler Nature Park, the Resciesa/Rasciesa/Raschötz Plateau, Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, and the Sassolungo/Langkofel Group.
So, you can spend days exploring the most beautiful mountains surrounding Val Gardena, without having to suffer through long, grueling ascents. Val Gardena’s accessibility makes it a top destination for a hiking holiday in the Dolomites.
Here are several hikes with cableway ascents in Val Gardena:
- Seceda to Regensburger Hütte Circuit
- Resciesa to Malga Brogles and Seceda
- Col dala Pieres Summit
- Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana
Learn More: Best Day Hikes in Val Gardena
Long Summer Season
In most valleys and regions across the Italian Dolomites, the summer season ends by mid-late September. That means most restaurants, cableways, and hotels shut down and don’t re-open until the winter season commences.
Luckily, Val Gardena has a very long summer season. Many hotels, cableways, and alpine pasture huts stay open until mid or even late-October, thus stretching out the “summer season”. You can read about hiking in Val Gardena in September and October in the these posts:
Val Gardena Towns
There are three villages in Val Gardena/Grödnertal.
- Ortisei (St. Ulrich in German, Urtijëi in Ladin)
- Santa Cristina (Sankt Christina in Gröden in German, Santa Cristina Gherdëina in Ladin)
- Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein in German, Sëlva in Ladin)
We’ve stayed in all three. Each has a unique advantage. Below, I’m going to outline the differences between each village, so you can decide where in Val Gardena you want to stay.
Ortisei is perhaps the most convenient place to stay in Val Gardena. Directly from the town center, you can hop on the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableways to the Seceda ridgeline, the Resciesa funicular, and the Ortisei – Alpe di Siusi Gondola. So, without having to venture outside of town, you have access to tons of different trails.
Some of our favorite Ortisei hikes include:
- Resciesa to Malga Brogles and Seceda
- Seceda to Regensburger Hütte
- Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana and Santa Cristina
Ortisei also has the most vibrant town center with a number of restaurants, cafés, and wine bars. If you like having different restaurant options (and your hotel doesn’t offer half board), stay in Ortisei.
Read Next: How to Visit Ortisei, Val Gardena
Hotel Angelo Engel
4 star hotel in Ortisei
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, the wellness and sauna area, and our spacious room.
More Places to Stay in Ortisei
Santa Cristina is located between Ortisei and Selva di Val Gardena. Its central location makes it easy to explore the whole valley.
From the village center, or from the Praplan car park, you can walk to scenic alpine pasture huts like Baita Gamsblut and Baita Sëurasas.
You can also summit Monte Pic, which is one of the best hiking and photography spots in Val Gardena. From the peak, you’ll see panoramic views of the Odle/Geisler Group, Monte Stevia, the Cir Peaks, Selva di Val Gardena, the Sella Group, Cima della Vezzana (the highest peak in Pale di San Martino), Sassolungo/Langkofel, Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, and the Catinaccio/Rosengarten mountains.
Santa Cristina is also close to the Col Raiser Gondola valley station, which provides easy access to the Puez-Odle Nature Park. From the Col Raiser mountain station, you can hike to the Seceda Ridgeline, Regensburger Hütte, Fermeda Hütte, Col dala Pieres Summit, and more.
More hikes that end in Santa Cristina:
If you’re staying in Santa Cristina, we highly recommend opting for half board (breakfast and dinner included) at your hotel. The village of St. Christina is small, so there aren’t a ton of independent restaurants.
We’re team half board. When we spend the whole day hiking, the last thing we’re interested in is finding a place for dinner. We find it far more relaxing and enjoyable to head to the sauna post-hike and eat dinner at our hotel. Either we’re lazy, or we’ve mastered the art of simplicity.
4-star-superior hotel in Santa Cristina
Dorfhotel Beludei delivers an unparalleled all-around experience, starting with its food. The best food we ate in the Dolomites was here.
Beludei’s alpine-modern bedrooms are luxurious in terms of space, comfort, and light. Describing these bedrooms as spacious is like saying boiling hot water is warm. Our bedroom was bigger than two of my old San Francisco apartments combined. Size certainly isn’t everything, but please walk into your Dorfhotel Beludei suite and tell me if it’s not EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED.
Moving onwards. Another thing we really loved about our stay was the spa and wellness area. It encompasses an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor hot tub, a Finnish sauna and steam sauna, and an extensive relaxation area. As soon as you enter, you’re greeted with a tea bar replete with a tea selection, cold beverages, and cookies.
Bonus: Guests can join free guided hiking tours.
Selva di Val Gardena
Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein) sits between the Sassolungo and the Puez-Odle groups at the foot of the flat-topped Sella Massif, one of the most awe-inspiring mountains in the Dolomites. That’s a lot of mountains.
If hiking in Puez-Odle, Sella, Cir Peaks, Sassolungo is your top priority, make Selva your base. And here’s another secret, you can hike from Selva to Vallunga/Langental, which is a hidden gem in Val Gardena.
Also, Selva is the closest town in Val Gardena to Gardena Pass (the gateway to Alta Badia) and Sella Pass (the gateway to Val di Fassa). So, if you’re planning on exploring the valleys of Badia and Fassa in addition to Val Gardena, you should stay in Selva.
3 star hotel in Selva di Val Gardena
Occupying a peaceful spot high above the town center of Selva, Hotel Rodella flaunts mesmerizing views of Sella and Sassolungo/Langkofel.
The sunsets we experienced here were some of the best sunsets we’ve seen in the Dolomites. If you want to see Sella glow in shades of crimson and coral whilst sipping a glass of wine from your hotel patio, this is where you need to stay.
Hotel Rodella is also a quick walk to Col Raiser gondola. That’s the gondola that floats you up to Puez-Geisler Nature Park, giving you easy access to Regensburger Hütte, Seceda Ridgeline, Rifugio Stevia, Col dala Pieres and more.
2. Alta Badia, South Tyrol
Alta Badia is the ultimate base in the Dolomites in summer for hikers and epicureans.
Where is Alta Badia
Alta Badia is a mountain region and ski resort in the upper part of Val Badia/Hochabtei valley in South Tyrol. The region is nestled between the Fanes Group, Puez Group, Sella Group, Mount Sassongher, and the Cir peaks.
It’s easy to get to Alta Badia from neighboring Val Gardena (over the Gardena Pass), Val di Fassa (over the Sella Pass and Gardena Pass), and Cortina d’Ampezzo (over the Fazarego Pass).
Why Stay in Alta Badia
Alta Badia is perfection delivering one storybook scene after another. Harboring some of the most enchanting landscapes in the South Tyrolean Dolomites, Alta Badia is the place to go when you want to step into a fairy tale. We recommend these spellbinding destinations:
Hotels in Alta Badia are some of the finest hotels in all of Italy. If you stay in a luxury hotel in Alta Badia, you can generally expect gourmet food, extensive wellness facilities, and impressive alpine-chic interior design.
From a cuisine standpoint, Alta Badia is a standout destination. Hotel chefs explore the culinary intersections between Italian, Austrian, and Ladin cuisine, resulting in creative and delicious multi-course meals you can’t eat anywhere else. Several hotel restaurants even boast Michelin Stars, including Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa (St Hubertus restaurant), Hotel Ciasa Salares (La Siriola restaurant), and Hotel La Perla (La Stüa de Michil).
Another thing we love about Alta Badia luxury hotels are their integrated wellness and spa areas. Take a look at the saunas, swimming pools, and relaxation rooms of:
- Hotel Cristallo in La Villa
- Hotel Kolfuschgerhof in Colfosco
- Hotel Fanes in San Cassiano
- Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa in San Cassiano
Riveting Hiking Trails
From Alta Badia, hikers have access to fascinating plateaus, riveting peaks, and rolling meadows in the Puez Mountains, Sella Group, Fanes Group, and more. Here are some of our favorite Alta Badia hiking trails:
Learn More: Alta Badia Summer Guide
Alta Badia Villages
There are six alpine villages in Alta Badia.
- Colfosco (Kolfuschg in German, Calfosch in Ladin)
- Corvara (Kurfar in German, Corvara in Ladin)
- La Villa (Stern in German, La Ila in Ladin)
- Badia (Abtei in German, Badia in Ladin)
- San Cassiano (St. Kassian in German, San Ciascian in Ladin)
- La Valle (Wengen in German, La Val in Ladin)
Colfosco is located between Corvara and Passo Gardena/Grödnerjoch. It’s the highest village in Val Badia and the perfect base for anyone who wants to divide their time between Alta Badia and Val Gardena. During our stay in Colfosco, we hiked to Gran Cir, Sass da Ciampac, and Rifugio Puez.
We loved staying in Colfosco, because of the views of Sella and easy access to the Cir Group and the Sella Group.
There are some first-class hotels and accommodations in Colfosco including the 5-star Hotel Capella, the 4-star-superior Hotel Kolfuschgerhof, the luxurious Aparthotel Lüch de Costa, and the 3-star Hotel Jägerhof. There’s also a campground.
Corvara occupies a very central location in Val Badia, between La Villa and Colfosco. Planted at the foot of Sassongher peak, this scenic village offers many outdoor activities without feeling clogged, or packed.
If you stay here, you can hop on the Col Alto Gondola to Pralongià High Plateau and the Boé Gondola to the Sella Group. You can also walk to the villages of La Villa and Colfosco. A fantastic hike to do in Corvara is Pisciadu Peak. You can take the bus to Passo Gardena, hike up to Pisciadu and then descend all the way back to Corvara.
Hotel Col Alto
4 star hotel in Corvara
Hotel Col Alto boasts a massive spa and wellness complex, comprising five saunas, an indoor swimming pool, a whirlpool, foot baths, relaxation rooms with waterbeds, and heated lounge chairs. If it rains, you’ll be completely satisfied sauna hopping.
Col Alto spares nothing when it comes to bedding. The down pillows and comforters were as divine as sipping earl grey while watching Colin Firth’s lake scene in Pride and Prejudice.
Oh and one more thing. If buffets excite you, then Col Alto’s buffets will inflame you. Depending on the day of the week, one of the dinner courses is presented as a buffet. Sometimes it’s the appetizer-course and sometimes it’s the dessert course. Gorge yourself.
La Villa is the village between Corvara and Badia. With its very own castle (Castel Colz), La Villa’s beauty lies in its stillness and fairy tale landscapes. If you want to stay somewhere extremely peaceful, stay here.
Located between the Puez – Odle and Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Parks, great views and hiking trails abound. From the village, you can quickly access the Puez mountains with the Gardenaccia chairlift. Read about our hike from La Villa to Colfosco here.
You can also walk into Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park directly from La Villa. We did this point-to-point hike starting in Capanna Alpina and ending in La Villa.
Hotel Ciasa Soleil
4 star hotel in La VIlla
Hotel Ciasa Soleil is an intimate boutique hotel in La Villa befitting a special anniversary or a romantic getaway. Thoughtfully designed, Ciasa Soleil charms guests with its Fanes-facing dining room, indoor swimming pool and wellness area, and delicious half board offerings.
A huge benefit to staying here is being able to participate in a number of hotel-organized excursions. When you arrive, you’ll be handed a weekly program, outlining all the hiking and cultural excursions available to you, free of charge. You just need to sign up the night before by 5 pm to secure your place.
We loved that Hotel Ciasa Soleil makes each day special. Some days you’ll be given a welcome aperitif before dinner. Other days, you’ll be treated to a traditional Ladin dinner or an indulgent dessert buffet.
At the foot of the mighty Lavarela and Conturines peaks, lies the lovely alpine village of San Cassiano. Here, you’ll find some of the most luxurious hotels in Alta Badia, including Hotel Fanes, Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa, and Hotel Ciasa Salares.
One of our favorite Alta Badia walks begins in San Cassiano. From the village center, walk up the road to the Rü farmstead and follow the Path of the Larches trail to Rudifiera. You can extend this walk all the way to the La Crusc chapel. From the chapel, either return back to San Cassiano on the same trail or hike down to Badia via the Armentara Meadows. From Badia, you can take a regional bus back to San Cassiano.
San Cassiano is also a gateway to the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. From the Capanna Alpine trailhead, you can hike to Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella, two upscale mountain huts.
Camping Sass Dlacia
Campground and Guesthouse in San Cassiano
Camping Sass Dlacia is the highest campground in the Dolomites. Ringed by pine forest and set at the foot of Sass Dlacia, this stellar place to stay accommodates travelers who are camping, road-tripping, or trekking. You can stay in their rustic huts (Üties), apartments, or in your own tent, or van.
Located at the entrance to Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park, guests can hike to Rifugio Fanes, Rifugio Scotoni, Lavarella Peak, Conturines Peak, and Rifugio Lagazuoi.
And, when you want to take a break from active pursuits, you can relax in their Natura Wellness and sauna area and eat at the on-site pizzeria restaurant (highly recommended!).
The staff is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. They’ll help you with trail recommendations, gear rentals, public transit, Rifugio opening times, and more.
Passo delle Erbe
Passo delle Erbe is a high mountain pass above San Martin de Tor and Val Badia. It’s a bit out of the way, which makes this hidden gem even more enticing. You can drive to Passo delle Erbe from Val Badia, Val di Funes, and Bressanone.
We loved staying up here at Ütia de Börz. It’s blissfully quiet and remote. From the pass, you can embark on the popular circuit trail around Sass de Putia. You can also summit Sass de Putia and hike to Rifugio Genova.
Ütia de Börz
3 star hotel at Passo delle Erbe
Ütia de Börz is an upscale mountain refuge situated at the mountain pass Passo delle Erbe. Facing the majestic north-face of Sass de Putia/Peitlerkofel and the Odle di Eores/Aferer Geisler mountains, this scenic accommodation offers guests the feeling of being blissfully alone in the mountains, but with all of the comfort.
3. Alta Pusteria (Upper Puster Valley), South Tyrol
Alta Pusteria/Hochpustertal is the best place to stay for exploring the Braies/Prags Dolomites and the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites.
Where is the Upper Puster Valley
Puster Valley is a long valley in the Alps, stretching from Bressanone/Brixen in Italy all the way to Lienz in Austria.
The Upper Puster Valley (Alta Pusteria in Italian, Hochpustertal in German) refers to the easternmost part of the valley, and encompasses the villages of Villabassa/Niederdorf, Dobbiaco/Toblach, San Candido/Innichen, Braies/Prags, and Sesto/Sexten in South Tyrol.
This region is also known as the “Three Peaks” holiday region.
Why Stay in the Upper Puster Valley
Dazzling Mountains, Plateaus, and Lakes
Upper Puster Valley is the northern gateway to the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites and the Braies/Prags Dolomites. It’s the perfect base for anyone who wants to visit:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen Peaks.
- Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee Lake. Insider tip: you can hike to Hochalpenkopf from Lago di Braies.
- Prato Piazza/Plätzwiese High Plateau
- Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal Valley. We started this 3-day hut-to-hut hike to Tre Cime in Val Fiscalina.
- Prati di Croda Rossa/Rotwandwiesen Meadows
Learn More: Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide
Alta Pusteria/Hochpustertal and its side valley Sesto/Sexten are bounded by the Dolomites (to the south) and the Villgraten Mountains and Carnic Alps (to the north), which form the natural border between Italy (South Tyrol) and Austria (East Tyrol).
Not only do the Carnic Alps afford some of the most awe-inspiring views of the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites, they also boast some of the largest alpine pastures in the region. During your stay in Puster Valley, carve out time to:
- Hike along the Carnic High Trail from the Helmjet Cableway mountain station to Klammbachalm mountain pasture.
- Eat Lunch at Malga Nemes/Alpe Nemes
Upper Puster Valley Villages
- Villabassa (Niederdorf in German)
- Dobbiaco (Toblach in German)
- San Candido (Innichen in German)
- Braies (Prags in German)
- Sesto (Sexten in German)
San Candido is a historic village in Val Pusteria with a romantic and lively town center. The village sits at the base of the craggy Monte Baranci/Haunold mountain, one of the most attractive mountains in the Dolomites.
In the market area, cafés are always buzzing with guests, who elegantly drink Apéritifs throughout the day. Locals merrily greet each other with exuberant waves and friendly smiles. And, visitors weave in and out of shops, determined to find the perfect memento. If you want to buy local products (wine, cheese, speck, etc..), visit Tito Speck – Il Maso dello Speck (Address: Via Peter Paul Rainer, 1/A, 39038 San Candido BZ, Italy).
Notable landmarks include the St. Michael parish church, dating back to the 12th century, and the Innichen Monastery Church.
4 star superior hotel in San Candido
Naturhotel Leitlhof occupies a private and peaceful location overlooking the village of San Candido. Nestled against the forest line, this secret oasis looks like the residence of a magical forest sorceress.
Leitlhof easily enchants visitors with its Sexten mountain views, panoramic outdoor pool, crescent-shaped wellness area, and spacious bedrooms.
The wellness area comprises two pools, six saunas, multiple relaxation areas, and a cold plunge pool. On departure days, guests can use the wellness area all day.
Perhaps, the best part about staying here is the rich breakfast buffet and the gourmet dinner (half board is a must). The hotel kitchen sources their vegetables, herbs, and beef from local producers and their very own Mühlhof farm. Dinner is served in 5 courses, starting with a generous salad buffet. Everything we ate was exquisitely prepared and bursting with flavor.
More reasons to stay at Naturhotel Leitlhof:
- Sustainability. Naturhotel Leitlhof is GSTC certified and climate-neutral. It generates its own power and heat using a wood-fired heat and power plant (CHP) that is efficient, clean, and quiet.
- Marende. There’s a complimentary savory and sweet afternoon snack available in the lounge area daily.
- Free shuttle to nearby trailheads. You can get complimentary drop-offs and pick-ups at nearby trailheads.
4. Val di Funes, South Tyrol
Val di Funes is the best place to stay for a romantic getaway.
Where is Val di Funes
Val Di Funes/Vilnösstal is located in South Tyrol. The 24-km-long valley runs from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal Valley, just north of Chiusa/Klausen and south of Bressanone/Brixen, to the Odle/Geisler mountain range.
Why Stay in Val di Funes
Iconic Dolomites Scenery
What makes the Dolomites so captivating? For me, it’s the juxtaposition of rugged and polished beauty. It’s the continuous play between the wild and the tame. In Val di Funes, these scenic contrasts are epically pronounced.
The jagged, razor-sharp Odle peaks jut out of rolling green pastures. Tiny stone chapels are dwarfed by mammoth spires. And, intimidating sawtooth peaks form the background of cozy alpine pasture huts.
Charming Alpine Pasture Huts
Alpine Pasture Huts (Baita/Malga in Italian, Alm/Schwaige in German) are huts situated on alpine pastures, surrounded by grazing cows, horses, and sheep. These huts were constructed to provide shelter for the shepherds and herdsmen who managed the livestock during the summer pasture months.
Unlike a Rifugio (mountain shelter), Malgas usually don’t offer overnight lodging. However, they do serve warm food and sometimes fresh dairy (yogurt, cheese, and sour milk), which they produce on-site. These alpine pasture huts usually prepare their food using homemade products and local ingredients.
Quiet Hiking Trails
If you’re seeking quiet trails away from the masses, consider hiking the Oberer Herrensteig and the Günther Messner Steig. You can follow these paths all the way to Tullen, the highest summit in the Odle d’Eores/Aferer Geisler Group. This is one of our favorite hikes in Puez-Odle and very few people know about it.
Learn More: How to Visit Val di Funes
Val di Funes Villages
There are three villages in Val di Funes:
- Tiso (Teis in German)
- S. Pietro (St. Peter in German)
- Santa Maddalena (St. Magdalena in German)
Santa Maddalena is located in the upper part of Val di Funes at an elevation of 1339 meters. From the village, you’ll have easy access to the main attractions of the valley: the Santa Maddalena Church, the Santa Maddalena Panoramic Trail, Church of St. John of Nepomuk (Chiesetta di San Giovanni) in Ranui, and the Zannes/Zans trailhead in Puez-Odle Nature Park.
4 star hotel in Santa Maddalena
Hotel Tyrol is the finest accommodation in Santa Maddalena, spoiling guests with its perfect location, Odle/Geisler peak views, and delicious food (book half board).
From the hotel, you can walk to the Santa Maddalena Church in 10 minutes, the Santa Maddalena viewpoint in 20 minutes, and continue along the rewarding Panoramic Trail afterwards. You can also savor the mountain views directly from the hotel garden, or your bedroom balcony (make sure to book a room with a “Geisler Blick”).
Hotel Tyrol heartily invites guests to slow down and luxuriate in the hotel’s magical surroundings. Relax and read by the pool, soak in the whirlpool, drink an Apéritif on the terrace, and relish the seasonal food.
Guests receive a complimentary DolomitiMobil Card, which gives you a discount on parking (at the Zannes trailhead) and free use of regional transit.
More Places to Stay in Santa Maddalena
5. Alpe di Siusi, South Tyrol
Alpe di Siusi is the best place to experience sunrise and indulge in gourmet local Tirolean food.
Where is Alpe di Siusi
Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German, Mont Sëuc in Ladin) is the largest mountain pasture in Europe, covering a surface area of 56 square kilometers.
The rolling plateau stretches between the Sassolungo/Langkofel Group and the Sciliar/Schlerf massif, high above Val Gardena valley in South Tyrol.
Why Stay on Alpe di Siusi
Experiencing sunrise atop Alpe di Siusi is like stepping into a bewitching realm, where light and shadow perform an eternal dance for each other.
First, the long ridgeline of Sciliar burns like a red flame, reminding you of the pagan rituals that long transpired atop the Sciliar plateau. Then the sun rays drench the meadows in shades of gold. The light seems to sanctify everything in its direct path. And finally, the Sassolungo Group transforms slowly into a perfect violet silhouette.
If you visit Alpe di Siusi in early summer, sunrise is around 5:15 am. Staying on the plateau affords you the ability to experience sunrise with very little effort. The alternative is to drive to Compaccio/Compatsch in the dark (where you must park) and then to continue on foot towards Sassolungo.
We relished our early morning walk, knowing that after sunrise, we could walk back to our hotel, Hotel Steger-Dellai, and indulge in a rich breakfast buffet.
Alpe di Siusi harbors some of the most gourmet alpine pasture huts in the Dolomites.
With a few nights on the plateau, you can drink wine at Rauchhütte, eat the hay flower soup (Heublütensuppe) at Gostner Schwaige, taste Tiroelan and Ladin cuisine at Baita Sanon, and visit a dozen more huts scattered across the mountain pasture.
Learn More: How to Visit Alpe di Siusi
4 star hotel on Alpe di Siusi
Hotel Steger-Dellai is a traditional hotel on Alpe di Siusi, built by two legendary alpinists: Paula Wiesinger and Hans Steger.
Though still central, Hotel Steger-Dellai is quietly tucked away from busy Compaccio, where people flood in and out throughout the day.
From a hiking perspective, this hotel couldn’t be better positioned. It’s situated directly on the Hans and Paula Steger Trail, a family-friendly hike, which leads from Compaccio to Saltria.
It’s also a great starting place for the long and rewarding Rifugio Bolzano – Rifugio Alpe di Tires loop hike.
The best part about staying here is the cuisine (breakfast and dinner) and the professional dining staff. Expect the finest ingredients, sourced from local producers, and the most attentive dining staff in the Dolomites.
The hotel was last renovated in 2000. 20 years later, it feels like the hotel would need a facelift. All the essentials are there, but the aesthetics are dated.
6. San Martino di Castrozza, Trentino
San Martino di Castrozza is the best base for exploring Pale di San Martino, the largest mountain group of the Dolomites.
Where is San Martino di Castrozza
San Martino di Castrozza is an alpine resort town in the Primiero valley in the Italian province of Trentino. Located in a green basin and framed by the Pale di San Martino and the Lagorai mountain ranges, San Martino di Castrozza is one of the most visually spectacular towns in the Italian Dolomites.
The town is a mere 15-minute drive to Passo Rolle, a 35-minute drive to Val Venegia, and a 35-minute drive to Val Canali.
Why Stay in San Martino di Castrozza
Easy Access to Pale di San Martino
San Martino di Castrozza is a lively town, filled with shops, cafés, restaurants, hotels, and apartments, and surrounded by the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Nature Park. The park encompasses the Pale di San Martino (aka Pala Group), the forest of Paneveggio, and the Lagorai chain.
The main reason to stay in San Martino di Castrozza is to hike and climb in the Pale di San Martino, the largest mountain group in the Dolomites.
From the town center, you can hop on the Colverde Gondola followed by the Rosetta Cableway to get to Altopiano delle Pale di San Martino, a vast stone plateau in the heart of the Pala Group. From here, you can embark on thrilling hikes like the tour of Pala di San Martino and Cima della Vezzana.
Millions of years ago, the Pala Group was an atoll, a ring-shaped coral reef, in the Tethys Ocean (source). The jagged mountains you see today are these ancient coral reefs, which have been shaped by the elements over millennia.
In more poetic terms, the Pala Group looks like the summer residence of the Olympian gods. Each peak looks like a throne, or a mighty spear piercing the sky.
What to do in San Martino di Castrozza
- Hike to Baita Segantini and Monte Castellaz
- Hike around Pala di San Martino: Rifugio Rosetta to Rifugio Pradidali
- Summit Cima della Vezzana
- Hike to Rifugio Mulaz
- Visit Val Venegia and eat lunch at Malga Venegiota
- Visit Val Canali and eat lunch at Malga Canali
- Eat Pizza at Pizzeria Hotel Stalon
- Eat Dinner at Sass Maor
Where to Stay in San Martino di Castrozza
Budget | Residence Taufer is an affordable apartment-style accommodation, located 1 km from the center of San Martino di Castrozza. Apartments are clean and fully equipped, with all necessary appliances to make your stay here comfortable. The check-in/out is easy and uncomplicated. There’s a welcoming bar downstairs, where you can order espresso, drinks, and snacks throughout the day. And, the views of the Pala Group are sublime!
Midrange | Residence Langes is a top-rated apartment-hotel in the center of San Martino di Castrozza. Apartments are spacious, clean, and functional and have fully equipped kitchens. Guests love soaking in the outdoor whirlpool facing Pale di San Martino. There’s also a hotel bar on the ground floor.
Midrange | San Martino Mountain Residence is a new and modern aparthotel (8 apartments only) in a quiet area of San Martino di Castrozza (15-minute walk to the center). Apartments are thoughtfully designed and stocked with all necessary amenities. Guests have access to an outdoor whirlpool, Finnish sauna, hotel bar, sun terrace, and garden. Breakfast is available for 6 EUR per person if booked the day before.
7. Cortina d’ Ampezzo, Belluno
Cortina d’Ampezzo is the best place to stay in the Dolomites if you want a vibrant town atmosphere along with access to some of the most celebrated Dolomites attractions.
Where is Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a town and commune in the Veneto Region of Northern Italy. Cortina is located in the center of Ampezzo Valley, at the top of the Boite Valley, ringed by soaring Dolomites mountains: Tofane, Pomagagnon, Cristallo, Faloria, Sorapis, Croda da Lago, Cinque Torri, and more.
Why Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo
If you want to take a break from outdoor activities, Cortina will offer you diversion in terms of shopping and dining. However, the best hotels in Cortina aren’t located directly in the town center. Save yourself some time, and check out these Cortina accommodations:
Popular Hiking Destinations
From Cortina, you can reach the most popular hiking destinations in the Dolomites: Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cinque Torri, Lago di Sorapiss, Lago di Misurina, Rifugio Croda da Lago, Lago Fedèra, and Lago di Braies. Because these destinations are well-known, we recommend visiting early in the day, or off-season.
Fiori Dolomites Experience Hotel
3 star hotel in San Vito di Cadore
Fiori Dolomites Experience Hotel is a three-star hotel/aparthotel in the mountain village San Vito di Cadore in the Belluno Dolomites. Located a mere 11-km from Cortina d’Ampezzo, this village is an alternative base for exploring the many popular destinations around Cortina.
Fiori Dolomites Experience hotel is also a pastry shop. During breakfast, you’ll be able to savor their delicious homemade croissants, cakes, and Krapfen with various fillings. And in the afternoons, guests are given a complimentary snack featuring more of the hotel pâtisserie’s cakes and pastries.
8. Val d’Ega, South Tyrol
Val d’Ega (Eggental) is a great place to stay for via ferrata hikes and journeys into the Rosengarten/Catinaccio and Latemar mountains.
Where is Val d’Ega
Val d’Ega/Eggental is a valley in South Tyrol located between the Catinaccio and Latemar massifs. The valley branches off from Eisacktal at Bolzano and stretches all the way to Val di Fassa.
Why Stay in Val d’ Ega
A lot of people make a stop at Lake Carezza/Karersee on their Dolomites road trips. Emerald-colored Karersee is an extremely photogenic lake you’ve definitely seen pictures of. While this lake might be the initial draw, don’t let it be the last. Stay in Val d’Ega for a few nights to explore the beauty of the Latemar and Rosengarten/Catinaccio mountains.
Val d’ Ega Villages
There are 7 villages across Eggental.
- Nova Levante (Welschnofen in German, Nueva Ladina in Ladin)
- Carezza (Karersee in German)
- Nova Ponente (Deutschnofen in German)
- Collepietra (Steinegg in German)
- Sopra Ega (Obereggen in German)
- Monte San Pietro (Petersberg in German)
- Ega (Eggen in German)
Carezza is a tiny hamlet (blink and you’ll miss it) in Val d’Ega. We stayed at Sporthotel Alpenrose, which is located at the base of the Paolina chairlift, which connects the valley to the Rosengarten range. With the help of this cableway, you can conquer the Santner Via Ferrata and see the striking Vajolet Towers. You can also start this 3 Day Rosengarten hut to hut hike.
4 star hotel in Carezza
Sporthotel Alpenrose is a hotspot during ski season. In summer, the hotel mellows out and is a great base for hiking and via ferrata climbing.
Sporthotel Alpenrose is located directly at Paolina chairlift valley station. From the Paolina mountain station, you can hike to Kölner Hütte and then up to the Vajolet Towers. You can also hike to Rifugio Roda di Vaèl (Rotwandhütte) and do the Roda di Vaèl via ferrata.
And then after a day of hiking, you can relax in Sporthotel Alpenrose’s beautiful wellness area and savor a phenomenal 5-course dinner. I keep daydreaming about gazing at the Latemar peaks whilst lounging in the hotel’s indoor pool room.
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More Dolomites Travel Guides:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
When to Hike in the Dolomites:
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