Enjoy Hiking In The Dolomites

Region in Italy

We think that hiking in the Dolomites is one of the ultimate bucket list activities for adventure travelers. With towering gray peaks, shimmering mountain lakes with crystal clear water, and lush meadows clad in long grass and wildflowers, the Dolomites is an exceptional hiking destination. This beautiful part of the Italian Alps is a natural wonder, with rocky pinnacles, colossal towers and epic ridges, all just waiting to be explored by keen hikers.

Hikers have been coming to the Dolomites for centuries, to enjoy its magnificent mountains, friendly villages, and wonderful lakes. As a result, it’s one of the best spots in Europe for hiking, with excellent transport infrastructure, plenty of places to stay, and lots of things for visitors to see and do. It’s possible to spend your entire trip on the trail, hiking from hut to hut and taking advantage of the beautiful mountain rifugios that dot the landscape.

The Italian mountain culture in this fabulous region is also another great reason to go hiking in the Dolomites. The Dolomites lies at the intersection of the Italian and Austrian Alps, and this region has long been a cultural and economic crossroads. You’ll find a uniquely blended Alpine culture, with distinctive art, handicrafts, language and cuisine. A Dolomites hiking trip is also an opportunity to step inside another culture, to meet local residents and find out about the region’s fascinating history.

What are you waiting for? We’ve put together a complete guide to hiking the Dolomites to help you plan your trip. It’s time to get out on the trail and explore everything this wild, rich place has to offer.

10 Greatest Hikes in the Italian Dolomites

Hiking in the Dolomites is a pure delight, with trails to suit all tastes and fitness levels. Hiking here doesn’t require expert equipment or long years of hiking experience, and it’s a fantastic place for walkers of all levels to test their hiking chops! Looking for a place to build your fitness in some truly glorious scenery? The Dolomites is the place for you. With plenty of beginner trails and cable cars to make those ascents a little easier, this is an excellent way to gain some hiking experience or introduce little ones to their first major hiking trip. It’s also an excellent place for novice to try their hand at some more challenging trails, featuring steep ascents and descent and cables. However, if you’re an experienced hiker looking for something strenuous and spectacular, this region has some truly wonderful long hikes in the heart of the Italian wilderness. Trekking in the Dolomites can be addictive – the sheer variety of trails on offer will keep you coming back here again and again… and again!

  1. Lago di Carezza Hike: This easy route is a great introduction to hiking in the Dolomites, with spectacular scenery along the way. The route begins with a steep section but then levels out, passing through forest and alongside a river before emerging at the dazzlingly beautiful Lago di Carezza. It’s not a strenuous walk, but is still one of our favorite Italian Dolomites hiking spots.
  2. Lagazuoi to Passo Falzarego Hike: This wonderful short hike from Rifugio Lagazuoi to Passo Falzarego is a fun afternoon out for the whole family! Take the gondola up to the top to enjoy the marvelous views, and a hearty lunch or snack at the rifugio. At the top there’s a fun ridge walk, World War I tunnels to explore, and a lovely route down the valley. There are also plenty of easier options if you’re travelling with small children, making this an excellent family-friendly Dolomites hike.
  3. Alpe di Sennes Hike: This circular route is an excellent option for a day hike in the Dolomites, with plenty of shorter options if your time is limited. You’ll pass through an extraordinary variety of scenery, including forests filled with the sound of birdsong, green open meadows, tranquil lakes and stunning mountain paths. There are plenty of lovely rifugios where you can stop to take a break, and enjoy all of the stunning rewards of trekking in the Dolomites!
  4. Sassopiatto and Sassolungo Hike: Looking for a challenging hike in some truly spectacular scenery? Look no further than this fantastic circular route that passes around Sassopiatto and Sassolungo. It’s a long hike with some steep elevation gain, but the vista across the Sassolungo massif and Marmolada is ample reward for your efforts.
  5. Lago di Sorapiss Hike: The stunning blue color of the Lago di Sorapiss is your reward on this fantastic hike in the Dolomites. The trail winds through lush forests with mountain views along the way, before arriving at a series of cables with a steep drop to your left. Although these are not difficult to navigate, those with a fear of heights should be aware! The stunning turquoise lake at the top is a wonderful place to sit and contemplate the beauty of nature before you make the descent.
  6. Viel del Pan Marmolada Hike: This historic route follows in the footsteps of medieval flour merchants, who would transport their wares from one valley to another. Beginning at Bellavista, this stunning hike is relatively easy (provided you take the cable car up to the top at the beginning) and is a wonderful way to see some of the best scenery the Dolomites have to offer.
  7. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: The Tre Cime range is one of the most popular regions for hiking in the Dolomites, with epic views and some excellent refugios along the way. This moderate hike is a manageable challenge for most walkers, and you’ll enjoy some truly magnificent views. If you’re planning an Italian Dolomites hiking trip, make sure to put this route on the list!
  8. Lago di Braies Hike: This pleasant walk around the beautiful Lago di Braies is one of the best easy Dolomites hiking trails. The trail passes in the shadow of the imposing peaks that surround the lake, following an undulating path that skirts the waterfront. If you’re travelling with children, stick to the right hand side of the lake, where the path is more level and suitable for families with strollers.
  9. Seceda/Puez Odle Hike: The Puez Odle National Park is one of the best places for hiking in the Dolomites, with fabulous mountain views, stunning meadows and picturesque mountain huts along the way. This moderate hike is perfect for a sunny afternoon out in the region, with plenty of things to see and quintessential Dolomites views.
  10. Nuvolau Hike: This relatively challenging hike offers stunning views as you circumnavigate the towering peak of Nuvolau. One of the best aspects of this trail is the chance to see incredible rock formations characteristic of this unique region, with immense gray rocks rising up from the lush, green meadows. There are some steep ascents and descents, but it’s not hard to see why this wonderful hike regularly features on the itinerary for Dolomites hiking tours.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In The Dolomites?

It’s possible to embark on an Italian Dolomites hiking trip at all times of the year, and these stunning mountains are equally beautiful at the peak of summer and the heart of winter! From November to March the Dolomites is one of Italy’s premier winter sports destinations, offering skiing, snowboarding and even snowshoeing. Covered in a layer of glittering snow, these peaks are at their most dramatic and splendid during the winter months.

However, if you’re looking for fabulous hiking opportunities, you’ll need to wait for the snows to clear so you can access the higher trails. In summer the mountains are cool and green, offering perfect conditions for hiking as it never gets too hot. You’ll also have the chance to admire beautiful wildflower meadows and enjoy gloriously sunny, clear days. The downside, however, is that during this time the Dolomites are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, so you’re likely to be sharing the trails with plenty of other hikers, and the rifugios may be booked up. To avoid the crowds, plan to go hiking in the Dolomites in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.

Other Outdoor Activities In The Dolomites

In addition to hiking, there are plenty of other outdoor activities in the Dolomites! It’s one of the best places in Italy for rock climbing, and attracts climbers of all levels during the summer months. It’s also an excellent place for road and mountain biking, with an abundance of wonderful trails through some of the most remarkable scenery in the country. If you’re looking for even more thrills, it’s also possible to go rafting on some of the region’s wildest rivers. Finally, the winter snows bring plenty of opportunities for downhill skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, meaning that there’s something here for adventure lovers at any time of the year!

How To Plan A Trip To The Dolomites

Are you ready to embark on an Italian Dolomites hiking adventure? We’ve got everything you’ll need to get started, with our complete guide to planning a trip to the Dolomites. Whether you’re looking for tips on the top 10 hikes, amazing Dolomites adventure tours, information about accommodation and places to eat, or advice on getting there and away, we’ve got it covered! All you need to do is grab your gear and get started – happy hiking!

Frequently-Asked-Questions About The Dolomites

Where are the Dolomites?

The Dolomites are located in the eastern part of the North Italian Alps, although you’ll never hear locals refer to them as part of the Alps! They cover the Italian provinces of South Tyrol, Belluno and Trentino, close to the border with Austria.

Which city is closest to the Dolomites?

The town of Belluno, just over an hour by car from Venice, is considered to be the ‘gateway to the Dolomites’, and is the major settlement in the eastern Dolomites region. To the northwest, the South Tyrolean town of Bolzano is another major settlement, offering easy access to the other side of the Dolomites.

What to wear when hiking in the Dolomites?

Weather in the Dolomites, like most mountainous regions, can be very unpredictable, and it’s best to pack accordingly. Make sure to bring lightweight, durable clothing that will keep you warm and dry but that won’t weigh you down too much. Layers are essential, and will ensure that you are prepared for any sudden changes in weather and temperature. Most importantly, for hiking Dolomites trails, make sure you bring sturdy, well-worn hiking boots or some other sort of comfortable, supportive footwear.

Do you need a car in the Dolomites?

The Dolomites have an excellent tourist infrastructure with a good local public transport network, so if you’d rather go car-free, it’s certainly possible to travel around easily. Bus services connect all of the local buses and are specifically geared towards servicing hikers, so it’s unlikely that you’ll miss out on your favorite route or region. There are also cable cars throughout the region that will take you to some of the most popular hiking trails and viewing points. However, if you’re traveling in low season when the bus services are reduced, or if you want to get off the beaten track and explore some more unusual destinations, it may be worth hiring a car in Belluno or Bolzano.

How are hiking trails marked in the Dolomites?

The Dolomites are known for their stunning hiking trails, and like other parts of the Italian Alps, trails are usually well signposted and marked. You’ll find wooden signposts at major junctions, with destinations, the distance (in time), the current location and altitude. The characteristic red and white design can be found painted on rocks and trees along the trail. Summits are marked with cairns (ometti in Italian).

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Best Hikes in Dolomites

Open details for Lago di Sorapis

Lago di Sorapis

Moderate
13.5 km
325 m
3.5-4.5h

We love the hike to Lago di Sorapis (Lake Sorapis). This beautiful hike takes in all the scenery one expects when walking in the Dolomites, but the reward is entirely unique. The colour of Lago Sorapis is a stunning baby blue. There are some cables along this trail, which can be tough to traverse if you have a fear of heights.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Lago di Carezza

Lago di Carezza

Easy
3.5 km
280 m
1.5-2h

The Lago di Carezza hike (also known as Karersee) should be on everybody’s bucket list for the Dolomites. The beautiful colours of the lake, the forest, and the mountains that surround it, make the walk feel utterly magical.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Viel del Pan Marmolada

Viel del Pan Marmolada

Easy
9.4 km
175 m
2-3h

The Viel del Pan hike treks over a historic path used by the flour and bread merchants to get from one valley to another. Linking Passo Fedaia with Passo Pordoi, this walk has amazing Dolomite landscapes, especially of Marmolada! This is one of the most accessible ways to see big mountain views in the Dolomites.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

Moderate
10.2 km
380 m
3-4h

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit (also known as the Drei Zinnen) is a must-do trail for hikers in the Dolomites. Tre Cime is one of the best-known massifs in the Dolomites, and this walk gives stunning and varied views. Along the way, you will pass by Rifugio Auronzo, Rifugio Lavaredo and Rifugio Locatelli. You’ll enjoy great views and great food!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Sassopiatto and Sassolungo

Sassopiatto and Sassolungo

Hard
16.4 km
700 m
5-7h

The circumnavigation around Sassopiato and Sassolungo is a great hike in the Dolomites. If you can handle a longer walk in order to experience stunning natural beauty, this hike is suited for you! This giant massif stands alone, giving you unimpeded, 360° views. It’s remarkable.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Lago di Braies Hike

Lago di Braies Hike

Very Easy
5.0 km
50 m
1-1.5h

The hike to this stunning Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee in German) is one of the best hikes in the Dolomites. It is one of the most beautiful lakes on earth! This pleasant walk around the lake gives a variety of wonderful views. You really can’t miss out on this unforgettable hike.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Alpe di Sennes

Alpe di Sennes

Hard
17.1 km
735 m
5-7h

Walking the Alpe di Sennes is a wonderful circuit that takes you through a variety of different, stunning landscapes. Taking in three rifugios (Rifugio Senes, Rifugio Fodara Vedla and Rifugio Biella), there are lots of ways to shorten this walk, so it’s a great hike for adventurous beginners.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Seceda / Puez Odle

Seceda / Puez Odle

Moderate
12.4 km
446 m
3.5-5h

Walking in the Puez Odle Natural Park is stunning. This hike takes you above Santa Cristina Val Gardena and Ortisei. You will love the stunning Dolomite vistas, the little mountain huts and cabins sprinkled among the peaks and meadows make this walk a quintessential Dolomite trail.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Nuvolau

Nuvolau

Hard
13.5 km
720 m
4.5-6h

A hike around the Nuvolau peak gives you views of some of the most beautiful mountains and rock formations in the world. This walk shows off some of the best views in the dolomites, and a stay at Rifugio Nuvolau is a wonderful experience.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Lagazuoi to Passo Falzarego

Lagazuoi to Passo Falzarego

Easy
5.0 km
215 m
1.5-2h

Hiking from Rifugio Lagazuoi and back down to Passo Falzarego is a wonderful hike. Everyone can find something to love about this hike. There’s mountain-top views, a gondola ride, historical ruins, a Rifugio with some of the best strudel in the entire world, and the option to take a fun trek down a mountain to test your hiking chops. It’s got lots of options for every skill level.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.

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Open details for The Ultimate Guide to the Italian Dolomites

The Ultimate Guide to the Italian Dolomites

By Richard Campbell
March 6th, 2018
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