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Written by Savi, 37 Comments

Most people think of cities like Venice, Rome and Milan or countryside getaways in Tuscany whenever holidays in Italy come up. But the Dolomites are one of THE most beautiful corners of Italy. In fact this is a UNESCO Heritage Site by virtue of being an area of outstanding natural beauty. We highly recommend visiting this corner of Italy  – here is everything you need to know about planning this beautiful road trip in Dolomites

Hut in the Dolomites region of italy
The panoramas that await you 🙂

Nearest Airport for Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are a 3-4.5 hour drive from most major hubs like Venice, Milan, and Florence. You can fly into an airport that is most convenient for you and rent a car from that airport. We flew into Florence and rented a car from the airport itself. if you’re flying from Europe, then there are plenty of flights to all these cities. If you’re flying from India, the best option might be to fly to Milan.

Renting a car for Dolomites, Italy

It is easy to rent a car from most major airports in Italy. We compare prices here and then go with the most feasible and reasonable option. Tip – Make sure you examine the car for any scratches and inform the car rental before you start driving as inspections can be quite strict in Europe when you drop the car off.

road trip in Dolomites Italy
HIGHLY recommend renting a car to enjoy these beautiful drives

Best Time to Visit Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are gorgeous all year round but they are especially beautiful during peak summer. This means late May-August is the best time to plan a road trip in Dolomites

 

Where to Stay In Dolomites, Italy

There are endless options for stays in Dolomites. However, no matter what hotel you choose, make sure it has a good view. For that will elevate your stay in Dolomites manifold. Here are a few options

  • Forestis Dolomites is one of the most luxurious and scenic hotels in the world – perfect for a honeymoon or special ocassion
  • Rosapetra Spa Resort is a luxurious boutique hotel with great views
  • If you’re on a budget, try to look for a scenic apartment such as Töniglerhof Apt Abendrot or Casa Nobili .These are amazing options if you’re planning to spend most of your time driving around or hiking!
girl at a plateau in Dolomites Italy
Sigh!

11 Must dos In Dolomites

It is easy to spend weeks hiking and driving in Dolomites. Literally every corner is breathtaking and gorgeous. However here are a few things you absolutely MUST DO on your road trip in Dolomites, Italy. You can select the ones that suit you best from this list below:

1. Lago di Braie

This famous lake is truly as gorgeous as you’ve heard! However it tends to get really crowded as the day goes by, so make sure you arrive early. It has a beautiful mist cover early morning which lends it a magical touch

2. Three Peaks Viewpoint

It is hard to pick favourites because the views on any road trip of Dolomites are so stunning, but if I could, this is the one I would pick. The Three Peaks viewpoint is absolutely gorgeous and it is easy to reach if you’re driving. Drive to Auronzo Hut and you will see this amazing view

3. Lake Misurina

The turquoise blue waters of the largest Alpine lake in Dolomites will leave you spellbound! Period!

4. Cadini Di Misurina & Tre Cime Hikes

If you enjoy hiking, then this is one hike you must undertake!  You can get to the Cadini viewpoint in approximately 40 minutes from the Rifugio Auronzo parking. Another day long hike that starts at Rifugio Auronzo is the Tre Cime Circuit Hike – this is a moderate hike and it’s quite popular, so you’ll definitely have company along the way. Expect incredible views – this place is a photographer’s haven.

5. Val Di Funes

Whether you enjoy hiking or ogling at incredible views, Val Di Funes will have you wrapped around its little finger. This valley is home to some of the most instagrammable panoramas in the world. Make sure you drive to San Giovanni Church in Ranui and Santa Maddalena Church and village for some of the best views of the Italian Alps.

For the hikers, there are some great trails including the iconic Adolf Munkel hike – this trail goes along the  Geiser/Odle mountain range in Val Di Funes and you can expect breathtaking views along the way. Two more hiking trails in this area provide a peek into rural Italian countryside -Panoramaweg and Sunnseitenweg. These trails are much quieter than the ones around Three Peaks, so make sure you carry snacks, water, and first-aid supplies with you at all times.

6. Sass Di Putia

What can I say? The views in the Dolomites keep topping each other! Sass Di Putia is another one of the those stunning places that seem almost unreal. You can drive up to a view point and in case you’re in the mood for a hike, the Sass Di Putia Circuit Trail can be completed easily in a day

7. Passo Giau/ Giau Pass

This curvy road should definitely be on the list for all you road trip enthusiasts

8. Paso Gardena/Gardena Pass

Speaking of love for road trips, Gardena Pass at 2121m above sea level, is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Italy. Make sure you drive through it on your road trip in Dolomites

9. Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi

The largest Alpine Plateau in Italy, the views here will remind you of Switzerland. If you’re not driving, you can also take the bus to this spot. This is a major hub for hikes in the summer time and skiing during winter time.

10 Torri Del Vajolet/Vajolet Towers

One of the most recognizable spots of the Dolomites, Torri Del Vajolet in South Tyrol is not as crowded as the Tre Cime Circuit Hike. But that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. This is a must visit for photography and nature lovers!

11. Sass Pordoi

Perfect lunar landscapes in Val Garden, Sass Pordoi is a plateau-like formation. You can take the cable-car from Passo Pordoi Ridge. If you’re after snowy views, even in summer, this is a good place to find them.

sunrise at Lago Di Braies in Dolomites Italy
Lago Di Braies – all sorts of wonderful (but gets crowded as the day goes on so go EARLY)
hiking viewpoint of 3 peaks at Santa Maddalena village in Dolomites
The viewpoint at Santa Maddalena – FAVOURITE!
small church of Ranui in Dolomites surrounded by clouds
San Giovanni Church in Ranui
Hope this inspired you to visit one of the prettiest areas of Italy and plan a road trip in Dolomites, Italy. IF you have any questions, leave them below, and we will definitely answer them soon 🙂

37 thoughts on “11 Must Dos in Dolomites, Italy – plan the perfect road trip in Dolomites

    1. Hey you can take public transport (buses) to a most of the major spots. However it is definitely handy to have a car if you would like to go to all the places mentioned above 🙂

    2. It’s definitely possible. I visited the Dolomites with the sole intention of hiking the Alta via uno . I flew into Venice and bused up to the mountains. Perfectly doable.

    3. Hey good morning.
      Thanks for your lovely itinerary and places to visit in Dolomites. We are landing in Rome in 1st July July and would be spending 4 days in Dolomites. Can you advise what is the best way to get from Rome. Do you get vegetarian food options in Dolomites and is it easy to rent a car in trento etc ?

      1. Hi – there are lots of vegetarian food options – no problem. You can also get a variety of salads, fruits, sandwiches, vegetarian pastas, and pizzas from super markets as well

  1. Hi, is it good to travel to Dolomites with kids or Switzerland is a better choice?

    Also is driving too difficult for a new driver?

    1. Hey Switzerland is a better choice if your kids are too young to walk/hike. You should be comfortable driving if you’ve driven a fair bit in your home country 🙂

  2. Hi guys, thanks for the recommendations. We normally just blindly follow your suggestions and have always had a great time so thanks a lot!

    In terms of driving around the Dolomites, would
    you advise renting/purchasing a GPS for the rental car or is it safe to rely on mobile networks and apps?

    Thanks,
    Gaurav

    1. Hey Gaurav – thanks a ton. You can rely on mobile networks no problem – It’s best to purchase a temporary SIM upon landing. Data is cheap and this option is more cost effective than renting a GPS

  3. Hello,
    Lovely curation of your travel itinerary, definitely helps in planning a travel.
    I have read your both roadtrip blogs of Italy & Switzerland
    We are group of 3 planning to travel in Mid August from Switzerland to Italy.
    What would you recommend doing, a road trip? Or plan both countries individually?
    And which places to do, we don’t want to go too deep into Italy as it’s gonna be really crowded and hot.

    1. Road trip will be great, just make sure you inform the rental company. One way drop off fees might apply but will definitely be more convenient. As for places, lots of suggestions here on the website, so you can pick and choose. Will definitely suggest Dolomites and Tuscany (avoiding the bigger cities)

  4. Hi guys. We are planning an Italy trip and want to include the Dolomites, especially St.Maddelena after your recommendation. However, we are a little apprehensive about driving as it is a left-hand drive in the mountains and this is our first time in Europe. What would be your suggestion?

    1. Hello – roads here are quite comfortable! However if it’s your very first time renting in Europe, then would suggest spending a few days in the plains first 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences! My son and I have 1 full day and two 1/2 days on either end to spend in the Dolomite’s. We will stay in a hotel ( or something) 2 nights. He enjoys hiking and myself not so much. I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful lakes. We will have a car and are driving from Florence. How much of your “must see” can we pack into that time frame? Also could he sneak in a great hike while I shop or something? Also suggestions on where to stay. We will be there the 1st week of October. 2023. Thank you for any feedback you may have. Sincerely Rosalie.

    1. Hey there – we’ve suggested a few hotels in the “Where To Stay” section. You can easily do the top 3-5 things on this list, which are some of the best. To be honest, shopping opportunities aren’t the best in the Dolomites – it’s mostly nature and hikes, but yes there are cafes at beautiful spots where you can relax while your son goes on a hike 🙂

  6. Hello, we would be visiting Italy in 3rd week of August and would be staying at Milan. Can we do a one-day road trip from Milan to Dolomites and back? Which places in Dolomites can we visit in one day?

    1. Hey wouldn’t recommend driving to Dolomites just for a day as you won’t be able to see and do much 🙂

    1. Hey Sneha – the bigger cities are cold but great but do beware than many Italian sea-side towns (such as Positano) are completely dead during winter time. Cafes and restaurants are all closed 🙂

  7. Hello There,
    Thanks for the details. Can you please confirm if IDP is required for Car hire or normal India driving license(English) will work?

    1. Hello – we went in August. September is quite green too but as it starts ending, leaves start changing colour in time for Autumn 🙂

  8. Loved the pictures! How many days did you guys spend in the dolomites?
    And did you’ll return back via the same path or took the round trip back to Florence/Milan?

  9. Hey is it advisable to travel to dolomites with a 5 year old? Are the road curvy ? My son has a history of motion sickness

  10. Hi, thank you for this great information!
    How many days would yopu suggest if we were to cover all of this?
    Also, do you need any vignette or sticker on the car while driving here from Salzburg?

    1. Hello

      No vignette was needed for Italy (as of 2021), but best to check if things have changed. You do need a vignette for Austria, so do get that one from a fuel station in Salzburg

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