The Dolomites are made up of 15 different massifs and stretch across three Italian regions and five Italian provinces. Those three regions are Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige (Trentino – 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. My confusion only increased when trying to grasp the names of certain places in South Tyrol (Südtirol, Alto Adige). 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.
So, 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. Here’s what we know based on three independent trips.
Read Next: Dolomites Travel Guide
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Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- Val Gardena, South Tyrol
- Alta Badia, South Tyrol
- Cortina d’Ampezzo, Veneto
- Val d’Ega, South Tyrol
1. Val Gardena
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 / Grödnerjoch) and Sella Pass (Passo Sella) to Valle Isarco (Eisacktal).
Why Stay in Val Gardena
#1 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).
#2 Highly Accessible Day Hikes. There are a number of chairlifts and cable cars from the valley to various summits and plateaus in the Val Gardena Dolomites: Puez-Odle (Puez-Geisler) Nature Park, Seiser Alm (Alpe di Siusi), Langkofel (Sassolungo) 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.
Where to Stay in Val Gardena
There are three villages in Val Gardena you can base yourself in.
- Ortisei (St. Ulrich)
- Santa Cristina (St. Christina)
- Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein)
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 Gondola (and cable car) to the Seceda ridgeline, the Resciesa funicular, and the Ortisei – Alpe di Siusi Ropeway. So, without having to venture very far, you have access to tons of different trails.
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.
Budget | Appartmenthotel Residence Elvis is a fully-equipped apartment 1 km from Ortisei, which you can book for one night.
Mid-Range | Chalet Hotel Hartmann (Adults Only) is an excellent hotel featuring cozy alpine interiors, a delicious breakfast buffet (included in the rate), and a spa area (bio-sauna, a Turkish bath, and a solarium).
Luxury | Charmehotel Uhrerhof – Deur (2-Nights Minimum) occupies a peaceful location high above the valley. It’s a 10-minute drive from the hotel to the town center of Ortisei, but the pay off is a respite and incredible mountain views. Breakfast and dinner included.
Santa Cristina is located between Ortisei and Selva di Val Gardena. Its central location makes it easy to explore the whole valley. Located close to the Col Raiser gondola, guests have easy access to Puez-Odle Nature Park. Some of our favorite hikes begin, or end at the Col Raiser mountain station, including the Col dala Pieres summit and the Resciesa – Seceda – Col Raiser hike.
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.
Stay in Santa Cristina at Dorfhotel Beludei
For comfort, wellness, and visionary cuisine
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 (Langkofel) 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.
Stay in Selva di Val Gardena at Hotel Rodella
For location, views, and coziness
Occupying a peaceful spot high above the center of “Selva,” Hotel Rodella flaunts mesmerizing views of Sella and Langkofel. The sunsets we experienced here were the best sunsets we saw in the Dolomites. If you want to see Sella glow shades of crimson and coral whilst sipping on 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 to Puez-Geisler Nature Park, giving you easy access to Regensburger Hütte, Seceda Ridgeline, Rifugio Stevia, Col dala Pieres and more.
2. Alta Badia
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 in South Tyrol nestled between the Fanes Group, Sella Group, Mount Sassongher, and the Cir peaks.
Why Stay in Alta Badia
If Val Gardena is a four-star hotel, then Alta Badia is a five-star hotel. Alta Badia is perfection delivering one storybook scene after another (e.g. Armentara Meadows). Harboring some of the most enchanting landscapes in the Dolomites, Alta Badia is the place to go when you want to get off that Instagram photo circuit (you know what I’m talking about it. If you don’t, even better.).
Hotels in Alta Badia are some of the finest hotels in all of Italy. Truly! So, if you’re looking for a trip that combines beautiful hikes with luxurious accommodation and gourmet food, look for accommodation in Alta Badia.
Alta Badia’s villages are connected by various buses and walking paths. So, in addition to all the mountain trails at your disposal, you can also walk along the valley floor to other villages.
Read Next: Alta Badia Summer Guide
Where to Stay in Alta Badia
Alta Badia is made up of 6 alpine villages. We recommend basing yourself in Corvara, or La Villa.
- La Villa
- San Cassiano
- La Val
Corvara occupies a pretty central location in Val Badia, between La Villa and Colfosco. Situated at the foot of Sassongher peak, this particularly scenic village manages to offer tons of 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.
Stay in Corvara at Hotel Col Alto
For epic buffets and wellness facilities
This dream hotel boasts the most extensive in-hotel spa and wellness center in Alta Badia. We’re talking five saunas, an indoor swimming pool, a whirlpool, foot baths, and relaxation rooms with waterbeds and heated lounge chairs. This will be your happy place, after a long day of hiking. I’ll even confess that Kati and I cut one of our hikes short (don’t tell anyone) so that we could hurry back to Hotel Col Alto and strip down to our birthday suits and sauna hop.
Furthermore, Col Alto spares nothing when it comes to bedding. The pillows and comforters were as divine as sipping earl grey tea and eating after eight mints while watching Colin Firth’s lake scene in Pride and Prejudice (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch the 1995 Adaptation right now). As soon as Kati and I settle down, we’re calling up Col Alto and requesting their bedding procurement info. Dead serious.
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 courses of dinner 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 Puez – Odle and Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Parks, great views and hiking trails abound.
From the village, you can quickly access Puez – Odle (Puez – Geisler) Nature Park by taking the Gardenaccia chairlift up. 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.
Stay in La Villa at Hotel Ciasa Soleil
For design, cuisine and sunset views
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.
3. Val d’Ega
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 (Rosengarten) 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. With Latemar as a backdrop, emerald-colored Karersee is an extremely photogenic lake you’ve definitely seen pictures of. While this lake might be the initial draw, it’s nothing compared to the beauty you’ll find in the Rosengarten (Catinaccio) mountains. These mountains hold some of the most picture-perfect mountain huts and pinnacles I’ve ever seen.
Where to Stay in Val d’Ega
There are 7 villages across Eggental.
- Nova Levante (Welschnofen)
- Carezza (Karersee)
- Nova Ponente
- Monte San Pietro
Nova Levante or Carezza
Both Nova Levante and Carezza have chairlifts that connect the valley to the Rosengarten (Catinaccio) mountains. Nova Levante is a larger town with way more options in terms of accommodation and food. Carezza is a tiny hamlet, close to Lake Carezza, with great access to the Rosengarten mountains.
If you’re getting into Via Ferrata hiking, then there are some great routes you can try if you base yourself in Carezza or Nova Levante. For example, we hiked the Santner via ferrata, while staying in Carezza. We also did this 3 Day Rosengarten hut to hut hike, which starts (or ends) in Carezza.
Stay in Carezza at Sporthotel Alpenrose
For trail accessibility, mountain views, and delicious food
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.
4. Cortina d’Ampezzo
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 regions.
Where is Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a town and commune in the Veneto Region.
Why Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo
The town of Cortina is posh and upscale. If you want to take a break from outdoor activities, Cortina will offer you diversion in terms of shopping and dining.
However, when you want to explore, you’re perfectly positioned for excursions to:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) – Three peaks region
- Cinque Torri – If you’re interested in World War I history, make this region a priority.
- Lake Sorapis
- Lake Misurina
- Croda da Lago
- Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee)
Where to Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Mid-Range | Camina Suite and Spa is a newly renovated hotel with a lovely spa area, excellent breakfast, and comfortable alpine-modern rooms. Free parking included.
Luxury | Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is a five-star luxury hotel in Cortina that spoils guests with its mountain views, wellness center, 3 in-house restaurants, superb breakfast, and professional and attentive staff.
I hope we helped you narrow down where you want to stay in the Dolomites. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below.
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