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Are you planning a trip to the Italian Dolomites and wondering where exactly to go and what to see? In this guide, we cover some of the best places and things to do in the Dolomites that are worth visiting even if you’re traveling from the rest of the world. We also share tips and advice based on our experiences to help you plan your bucket list trip and enjoy the best of the Dolomites. find out!
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The Italian Dolomites have some of the most beautiful mountains you can imagine. Beautiful scenic roads and stunning mountain passes, thousands of kilometers of hiking trails, stunning mountain lakes and countless charming towns and villages…
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However, with so many scenic spots in the Dolomites, it can be overwhelming to know where to go and what to see. Especially if it’s your first visit and you want to see the best in a limited time…
We had the same question before our first trip to the region – what are the most beautiful places in the Italian Dolomites that should not be missed? And since we were traveling with children, we had to make sure that these places were relatively easy to visit.
We have been to the Dolomites several times and spent about three weeks exploring the area. So far we haven’t seen a place we didn’t like… But in this guide, I’m just sharing our favourites, the best things to do in the Italian Dolomites – the most important Dolomites bucket list.
A tip. To help you plan your trip, we’ve also created a map showing all the best places in the Dolomites mentioned in this article. You can save this map to your phone and use it when you travel.
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How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the image for more information on each location. Click the arrow in the upper right corner for the indicator. Click the star next to the map title to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view maps stored on your smartphone or computer, open Google Maps, click Menu and go to “Your Places”/”Maps”.
Good to know: Most of the places on this list are very easy to visit and only a few require climbing. Other than that, all the trips mentioned here are easy and we have done them all with our three kids.
Please note that this is a summer guide, from May to June to September to October! If you visit the Dolomites in winter, you can still see some of these beautiful places, but it’s a very different experience and you’ll need to do more research to see what’s open and how to get there.
A note on place names: Three different languages were spoken in the Dolomites: Italian, German and Latin (Ancient Roman). Therefore, many places in the region have different names. In this article, we use the names that are most familiar to international travelers. In addition, we also add other names so that you know, for example. Lago di Braies is the same place as Pragser Wildsee and Tre Cime is the same as Drei Zinnen etc.
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Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Aka Drei Zinnen) are three famous peaks, a unique symbol of the Dolomites. If there is one place in the Dolomites that everyone must see, it has to be Tre Cime!
Hiking the Tre Cime Trail in Lavaredo is the best way to enjoy the area’s spectacular views. However, if the 10 km circle around the base of these three peaks is too difficult for you, you can go to the first part of the route, Forcella Lavaredo.
The hike to Forcella Lavaredo is easy at first, it’s a short walk to the viewpoint and only takes 20-30 minutes each way. It offers great views from the start and the short hike is rewarded with good side views to the summit of Tre Cime.
The view from Rifugio Lavaredo is extraordinary. The property is only a 15 minute walk from the car park and even if you don’t go around Tre Cime, you can still enjoy the amazing views.
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Another must-see in the Dolomites is Lago di Braies (aka Pragser Wildsee). It is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Italy, maybe even in Europe.
Located at the bottom of the Prags Valley, Breeze Lake is surrounded by high mountains that complement the views of the place. In the summer you can rent a boat and enjoy a beautiful view of the water. If you want, you can also take a short easy hike or even take a dip in the icy water of this glacier-fed lake.
Surprisingly, access to Lago di Breeze is easy and you don’t have to go far from your car to enjoy the best views. But this is also the reason why it has become the most popular destination in the Dolomites, attracting many locals and tourists.
Tip: The nearby Lago di Dubiaco is also very beautiful, but little known to tourists and mostly visited by locals. Check it out if you’re looking for the lesser known hidden gems of the Dolomites – they’re easy to get to and only take a few minutes.
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In summer, you can rent a boat on Lago di Braies – a great way to enjoy the surroundings!
In summer and winter. Val Gardena is home to three main towns – Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei – which are a base for exploring the surrounding mountains. This area is very popular for skiing in winter. But even in summer there is a lot to see and do in Val Gardena!
It’s not easy to name just one or two shows in Val Gardena, because the whole area is absolutely amazing. One of the best things to do when visiting in the summer is to take one of the cable cars up into the mountains and hike. But even if you’re not hiking, you can find a seat at a restaurant overlooking the mountains and just enjoy some extraordinary views.
Some of Val Gardena’s most beautiful landscapes can be found in Sisa (see also the photo at the top of this article – the photo with the beautiful donkey). The best way to visit is to take the Ortisei-Fernès-Cecida cable car from Ortisei and then hike (easy) towards Santa Cristina. Or you can enjoy the area by exploring the short trails at the top of the hill and then taking the cable car to the village.
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We also loved the views of the Dintercepies – Jimmy Hut area, accessible by cable car from Selva village or Alta Badia. If you’re looking for an extended stay in the area, check out Rifugio Puez. It’s very long, but the view is worth it.
Another very famous place is Alpe di Siusi (aka Caesar Alm), the highest alpine mountain in Europe. There are some easy hiking trails and the area is also popular with families.
View of the Dolomites in Val Gardena – This photo was taken during the hike between Jimmy Hut and Forcella Seer
Val de Funes (Vilno) is a mountain valley famous for its most famous postcard view of the Dolomites – the small church of St. Peter. Against the impressive background of the inhabitants of Magdalena Puez-Odle.
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If you want to take the same photo as all these famous ones, this view is easy to access (also shown on our map above). You can get there by car or on foot from St. from Peters village. Magdalena. However, the road here is very narrow and you cannot park at the viewpoint, so it is easier to leave the car in the village and walk there.
Another highlight of the Vilnius Valley is the amazing mountains and perfect mountain huts of the Poz Odel Nature Park. The most beautiful mountain huts with the most beautiful views are Geisler Alm and there are many more.
Geisler Alm is a short distance from all the car parks in the area. However, we recommend taking a slightly longer route by hiking the Adolf Minkel Trail. It’s an easy round trip that takes about 3 hours in total and the views are amazing! You can read all about this trip in our Dolomites hiking guide.
Sourapus Lake is another amazing mountain lake and definitely deserves a mention in the list of best places to visit.