I was searching the web the other day and I honestly couldn't really find any good blog posts or recommendations on places to visit in the Dolomites. As I am getting plenty of DM's on my Instagram every single day about it, I thought I would share some of my favourite places here on my website. So without further ado, let's dive right in!
Lago di Braies
Okay, let's start with the classics. This one probably is THE classic of the classics. If you go to Paris you probably should visit the Eifel Tower, so if you go to the Dolomites you should visit the Lago di Braies! If this place is not familiar to you then you probably haven't been on Instagram for that long. The lake has a reputation as the "Lago di Insta" because of its fame on Instagram over the last few years. It is one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in the Dolomites and it is not hard to see why it is loved among many photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, thousands of people from all over visit this place every single day!
Most of the pictures you see online, including mine, are taken in the early morning hours. But even if you wake up early, don’t expect to be alone. You will be in good company of early bird photographers catching the first light and the perfect reflection on the water’s surface. From 10 AM to 5 PM (beginning of June until late September) you can rent a boat. The price for renting is 15,00 € for 1/2 hour and 25,00 € for 1 hour. It’s definitely worth the visit because the pictures don't do justice to this amazing place.
Alpe di Siusi
This is one of my favourite sunrise spots and the place where I took some of my favourite photos this past year. The Alpe di Siusi offers breath-taking views over the nearby Dolomite peaks of the Sasso Lungo. It has plenty of cute cabins, which all year round are a getaway for the locals of the villages close by. I love this place because you will never run out of angles and cabins to shoot. The best time to go obviously is in the morning. It can get busy during the day, as it is one of the favourite hiking destinations for most tourists visiting the area.
A very important thing you should know before you go, the road on Alpe di Siusi is not open for public, you need a permit to drive there and if you get caught without, you will have a 150€ fine. You can get permit if you are the owner of one of the cabins or are staying at one of the hotels nearby. However, to avoid the fine leave your car at the Kompatsch parking lot and walk for about 30-45 min to the spot. The hike is very easy and most of the time you will simply walk on a flat road. To have the best view, follow the road that will take you to the ADLER Lodge Alpe or the Malga Sanon. Also, make sure to get there early enough so you don’t miss the magical light hitting the peaks. If you are lucky, you can even get a low fog on the grass. These, with a perfect sunrise, are the best conditions you can get!
The plateau of Seceda is considered one of the most photogenic locations in the Dolomites. It is one of those places that, no matter how many times you visit, it will leave you speechless every single time. That is also why it is one of my favourite places, I have been here so many times and every time it feels different and new!
To reach this spot there are two possibilities. One is to hike for about 2 hours. The hike is pretty steep but worth it. You can leave your car at the start of the hike at Praplan Parking lot. The other option is to take the cable car from Ortisei. It is 15€ one way (30€ return) and the whole journey takes about 15-20 min to reach the top of Seceda. Once you arrive at the top station you only have to walk for 5-10 minutes to reach the view of the Geisler Peaks. The best time to shoot is sunrise. The opening hours for the cable car are from 09.30-16.30 (July, August & early September) and 8.30-17.30 in June & October. I would recommend taking the last cable car and camp on top to catch sunset and sunrise! Also it is worth visiting in winter because the Seceda actually is also a ski resort!
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
This probably is the most iconic place with the most remarkable peaks in the Alps!
To have access to the parking, you have to pay 30€ (per car) maybe more if you go with your camper (YES, you can camp at the parking lot). It definitely is worth the money as the hike is very easy and the views are incredible. It takes about 1,5-2 hours to hike to the Rifugio Locatelli to get the best view on the peaks. Since the front line between Italy and Austria during World War I ran through the Tre Cime peaks, there are a number of fortifications, trenches, tunnels, iron ladders, and commemorative plaques in the area. This place gets very busy during the day, so avoid the crowds and wake up early.
There is so much more to see and do than just the 3 peaks. There are countless hikes to do and mountains to climb, and many huts you can spend a night in or simply enjoy a treat! (I recommend Strudel or Kaiserschmarn!)
Near the parking lot, where you start the hike, you will probably notice some incredible peaks that you have maybe seen on IG or/and on my feed. When I uploaded my shot I got so many messages of people asking where these peaks are and I thought I would share it in this blog post. Basically the spot is only a 30-40 min walk from the car park (don't walk to the direction of the Locatelli rifugio). However, the spot is pretty easy to find so just open your eyes. You can't miss it if you keep walking into the direction of these remarkable peaks.
Lago di Sorapis
The colour of this lake is just out of this world. With some stunning views along the way it is one of the most popular hikes. The hike begins at the Passo Tre Croci, where you can also park your car then look out for the sign *215. You will walk for about 2 hours until you reach the lake. It can get a bit dodgy as the path is along an edge without fence. There is a rope to hold on to. However, make sure to go early in the morning or late in the evening, as it is one of those spots that get very, very crowded during the day!
Lago di Carezza
Another stunning lake in the Dolomites, this one has emerald green water. Most of the spots in the Dolomites are pretty close to each other this one seems to be a little bit out of the way. It definitely should be on your list though. It is known to be a sunrise spot, but is also a great sunset spot! Lake Carezza is fed by subterraneous springs from the Latemar Group and its water level is constantly changing. The highest level is achieved in spring, the lowest level in October. In winter, however, the “Fairytale Dolomite Lake” is frozen and covered by snow, which is very impressing.
There is no hiking to get to this spot and you can even park the car right next to it! To the lazy people out there, I heard you!
The Vajolet Towers
The Vajolet towers are six summits in the Dolomites in Val di Fassa, Italy. A very popular ferrata (Ferrata Santner) leads close to their base. This and their beauty attracts thousands of tourists each year, as well as a lot of serious climbers again making the Vaiolet towers the most climbed peaks in the Dolomites.
The Vajolet Towers can be reached from both sides of the Catinaccio / Rosengarten Group. The eastern side is the more convenient because you can hike or drive (by taxi) up the Vajolet Valley to Rifugio Gardeccia, which is the best starting point for any exploration of the group.
Passo Gardena & Passo Sella
These mountain passes are some of my favourites roads to drive in the Dolomites. They are very close to my hometown, Val Gardena. Fun fact, I actually practiced a lot for my driving license up there. I often take my car and go for a spontaneous sunset mission, as it is so convenient and only 20 min drive from my house. Both passes are connected and they are perfect for drone shots and road shots in general. On Passo Sella you can also hike to the Sella Towers, which is one of my favourite local secret spot.
On Passo Gardena there is the hike to the Cir. This one is for all the people who prefer some more adventure. This hike/climb is a little bit more difficult and can also be a bit dangerous if you are not experienced. It is about a 1-hour hike/climb. You can leave your car in the car park at the top of the pass. Head towards the "Jimmy Hütte" and follow the path on the left side. From the car park you can even see the cross on the top of the mountain. Every now and then you are able to see red/white marks, simply follow them. It is a stunning place for sunrise and sunset and offers a 360° view of the Dolomites
In my opinion, the best time to visit the Dolomites is in June/July as there are not many people around yet. August is the busiest. The best time for the fall colours is in September to October. You can go in early November if you want to catch the first snow. A lot of hotels in the Dolomites only operate during the summer season (June-early October) and the winter season (December- early April). If you are coming off season you will definitely find yourself with less people but you will also have a struggle to find accommodation and open restaurants. I hope this little blog post was helpful. Make sure to follow my adventures on Instagram @giuligartner! Enjoy the outdoors!