In August, we spent 8 days hiking throughout the Dolomites in northeastern Italy. We fell head over heals in love with this mountainous region that offers sweeping alpine views along with culinary delights. We’ve summarized our itinerary for each day, with links to more in-depth blog posts. We’ve also included tips for improving our itinerary. Overall, this itinerary is fast-paced. We do recommend slowing down, and adding more time in each location. For more information on where to stay, what to eat and what to experience, read our Dolomites Travel Guide.
We spent the majority of our trip in the province of South Tyrol, which is a german-speaking region. As you travel through South Tyrol, you’ll notice that all towns, parks, and mountain huts have a German name and an Italian name. Throughout this itinerary, we will use both names to avoid any confusion.
Dolomites Itinerary Summary
- Day 1: Adolf Munkel Trail, Seiser Alm, Naturpark Schlern – Rosengarten
- Day 2: Naturpark Schlern – Rosengarten, Seiser Alm
- Day 3: Val Gardena, Seceda
- Day 4: Lago di Sorapiss
- Day 5: Tre Cime Natural Park (Naturpark Drei Zinnen)
- Day 6: Tre Cime Natural Park
- Day 7: Tre Cime Natural Park
- Day 8: Pragser Wildsee
Day 1: Adolf Munkel Trail, Seiser Alm & Naturpark Schlern – Rosengarten
We started our first day in the Dolomites in Villnöß (Val di Funes). In the morning, we hiked the Adolf Munkel Trail. This is an easy 8.8 km hike along the foot of the Geisler (Odle) Peaks. One of the highlights of this trail was arriving at the mountain hut Gschnagenhardt Alm (Malga Casnago), located on a high alpine pasture. Surrounded by cows, horses, and donkeys, we enjoyed a delicious South Tyrolean meal.
After the hike, we drove one hour from Zanser Alm to Am Schlern (Siusi Allo Sciliar) to start our second hike of the day. We took the Alpe di Siusi Aerial Cableway to Seiser Alm (Alpe di Siusi), a high mountain plateau dotted with wooden huts. After hiking across Seiser Alm and over the Rosszähne mountain ridge, we arrived at our accommodation for the night: Tierser Alpl Schutzhaus. This mountain hut is located in Naturpark Schlern – Rosengarten (Sciliar – Catinaccio Natural Park). Staying the night at Tierser Alpl was an outstanding experience. The location is remote, the cuisine is superb, and the mountain hut is both modern and cozy.
- Hiking the Adolf Munkel Trail in the Dolomites – trail map and trail directions
- Hiking to Tierser Alpl Schutzhaus in the Rosengarten Dolomites – trail map, trail directions, and info about the hut
How to Improve Day 1: Squeezing in two hikes into one day was stressful. We recommend breaking this up into two days. Tierser Alpl is such a special place. You don’t want to feel rushed in getting here. Also, you might want to consider staying two nights in Tierser Alpl.
Day 2: Naturpark Schlern – Rosengarten, Seiser Alm & St. Ulrich
After breakfast at Tierser Alpl, we started our descent to Seiser Alm. On our way down, we stopped for lunch at Alpenhotel Panorma Restaurant. Their Schlutzkrapfe was delicious. In the afternoon, we returned to our car and drove to the town St. Ulrich (Ortisei) in Val Gardena (Grödnertal). The town has a lively center, with lovely shops, restaurants and hotels. We had dinner at Vinoteque La Cercia, a charming wine bar with live music. Address: Via Rezia 30, 39046 Ortisei, Italy. After a few glasses of wine, we went to our Pension in St. Ulrich (Ortisei). We stayed the night at Hotel Pradell, but unfortunately don’t recommend it.
Day 3: Val Gardena & Seceda
We started today by taking the Aerial Cableway from St. Ulrich (Ortisei) to the mountain summit Seceda, elevation 2,518 meters. At the mountain summit, there’s a magnificent view of the dagger-like Fermeda peaks and Gran Odla. From Seceda, we hiked to Regensburger Hütte for lunch. This accessible loop hike was tremendously rewarding.
Further Reading: Hiking from Seceda to Regensburger Hütte in Val Gardena – trail map and trail directions
After descending to St. Ulrich (Ortisei), we drove to our accommodation in Wolkenstein (Sëlva), a charming town in Val Gardena. Unfortunately, we couldn’t explore too much due to a thunder and lightening storm. We had dinner at a popular pizzeria above a hockey stadium, which is actually not as weird as it sounds. Address: Ristorante Pizzeria Pranives, Strada Nives 17, 39048, Selva di Val Gardena, Italy.
We stayed in the Rotern Hahn (Red Rooster) Farm Soleiga. Roter Hahn is a trademark given to farmhouses in South Tyrol that provide quality holiday accommodations. We highly recommend Soleiga and Roter Hahn accommodations. From the farmhouse, we had unsurpassable views of the mountains.
How to Improve Day 3: Stay two nights in the same place in Val Gardena.
Day 4: Sella Pass, Lago di Sorapiss
Today, we drove from Val Gardena (Grödnertal) to the town Sexten. We took the mountain passes Sella and Pordoi on our way to our first stop, Cortina d’Ampezzo. The mountain passes were a reminder of the vastness of the Dolomites. Throughout the drive, there were many opportunities to get out, get on a cableway, and hike. And, we would have loved to have hiked somewhere spontaneously, but we were determined to see the glacial lake Lago di Sorapiss.
We stopped in Cortina d’Ampezzo, a town in the Veneto region, for coffee. Cortina is very posh town (think Valentino and other designer stores), known for its ski resort. It definitely has a different vibe than the smaller farm villages we had stayed in.
After coffee, we drove to Passo Tre Croci to begin our hike to Lago di Sorapiss. The lake takes its name from the mountain Sorapiss. Framed by trees, Lago di Sorapiss is one of the most stunning places you’ll see in the Dolomites. Apart from the mountain backdrop, the most spectacular feature of the lake is its unique turquoise color. The water also has a milky quality due to suspended powdered rock. You might think you’re looking at an enchantress’ pool filled with magic potion.
The hike takes 1.5 – 2 hours, one-way. You’ll take Trail no. 215 towards Rifugio Vandelli, which is a mountain hut closely located to the lake. The first-half of the trail is flat, but the second-half is steep. There are ropes and stairs that will aid you in your ascent. We saw people of all ages on this trail.
After the hike, we stopped at Lake Misurina, before driving to our accommodation in Sexten. We stayed at another Red Rooster Farm here.
How to Improve Day 4: Slow down. There were so many beautiful places to stop and explore on the drive. You could make Cortina your final stop today. Also, don’t hike to Lago di Sorpaiss during the weekend. We did, and the trail was packed.
Day 5: Tre Cime Natural Park (Naturpark Drei Zinnen)
Today, we began our three-day hike in Naturpark Drei Zinnen (Tre Cime Natural Park) from Fischleintal in Sexten. After parking our car in the Parkplatz Fischleintal (5 EUR per day), we started our ascent to Dreizinnenhütte.
The hike takes about 3.5 hours along Trail no. 102. Directly facing the north-side of the iconic Three Peaks, Dreizinnenhütte is arguably the most perfectly positioned mountain hut in the Dolomites. And luckily for all hungry visitors, the hut has a restaurant serving South Tyrolian cuisine. After a delicious lunch here, we made our way along Trail no. 101 to Rifugio Lavaredo, our end destination. The location of the hut is absolutely spectacular. Jagged purple mountains form the backdrop of the hut. We stayed in a 6-bed dormitory-style room, which was clean and comfortable. However in comparison to the other mountain huts we stayed in, the food was subpar.
Further Reading: Tre Cime Natural Park Travel Guide
How to Improve Day 5: Stay in Dreizinnenhütte instead of Rifugio Lavaredo. Make a reservation several months in advance to secure a room.
Day 6: Tre Cime Natural Park (Naturpark Drei Zinnen)
Today, we finished the loop trail around the Three Peaks and hiked to the mountain hut Büllelejochhütte. For those who want to experience Tre Cime di Lavaredo as a day trip, you can drive all the way to the mountain hut Auronzo, which is located on the south side of the Three Peaks in the Veneto region.
From Rifugio Auronzo, Trail no. 105 begins at the end of the parking lot. The trail continues to the saddle Forcella del Col de Mezo and to the mountain hut Langealm. The last part of the hike to Dreizinnenhütte is on Trail no. 102. After another great lunch at Dreizinnenhütte, we started our journey on Trail no. 101 to our final destination: Büllelejochhütte (Rifugio Pian di Cengia).
Büllelejochhütte is a place where dreams come true. Remotely situated, surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery, and gracing the clouds, Büllelejochhütte is the most charming mountain hut we experienced. The staff was beyond kind and friendly. And, the food was divine in an earthy-hearty type of way.
Further Reading: Tre Cime Natural Park Travel Guide
Day 7: Tre Cime Natural Park (Naturpark Drei Zinnen)
After breakfast, we started our descent to Fischleintal via Trail no. 101 and later no. 103. After an hour, the trail winds around the mountain hut Zsigmondy Hütte (Rifugio E. Comici), where we stopped to say hello to several bell-wearing donkeys. From this mountain hut, it takes about 1.5 hours to get to Talschlusshütte. The trail eventually intersects 102 (which we took on the way up). From the fork, we hiked the familiar flat trail back to Talschlusshütte and Fischleintal Parkplatz.
We stayed the night in Hotel Brückele, which we can recommend.
Day 8: Pragser Wildsee (Lago di Braies)
We spent our last day at Pragser Wildsee (Lago di Braies). This beautiful lake is called the Pearl of the Dolomites. We hiked around the lake, which took one hour. You can also enjoy the lake by renting a rowboat.
How to Improve Day 8: We arrived at 9:00 a.m., which we thought was early enough to beat the crowds. We recommend coming as early as 7 a.m. to enjoy the serenity of the lake without the foot traffic.
Continue Reading about the Dolomites
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