Traverse the Dolomites Year-round

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

Found in northeastern Italy, the Dolomite Mountains are a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. The magnificent mountain range stretches across 350,000 acres and is home to 18 impressive peaks. Near and within the jagged mountains are some of the world’s most amazing ski runs, picturesque hikes, sparkling lakes and enchanting, quaint villages. Many will find the area to be one-of-a-kind with its Italian, German, and Austrian influences resulting in its own language, delicacies and overall culture. Known for being a wonderful place to visit year-round, a trip to the Dolomites will be one to remember due to the plethora of experiences to be had. The perfect time to visit is entirely up to you!

Spring
Finally coming out of the cold winter, the trails will soon start to welcome tourists and the mountains will be ready for climbing! Partaking in a via ferrata (iron road) adventure is very popular amongst tourists visiting the Dolomites and will be ready in the spring season. Via ferratas are steel-cable climbs along the mountain face. There are an abundance of tour companies that have many services for those not wanting to venture an iron road alone.

Summer
The warm summer months are a busy time in the Dolomites with tourists embarking on countless outdoor activities to include — hiking, biking, cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, fishing and so much more! The perfect weather along with being prime vacation time for many makes the summer season in the Dolomites a popular one, so be prepared to share the trails, lakes, via ferratas and more with everyone else exploring this magnificent area.

Fall
Experience fall foliage like never before as the trees begin to feature a variety of vibrant colors next to the impressive mountain tops—a jaw-dropping scene to see for yourself. Visiting during this time of year calls for less crowded trails and more intimate time with the glorious mountains and their array of outdoor adventures. Countless festivals take place in the Dolomites but some of the best are in the fall and warmer months. From wine fests, cycling fests, music fests and more, travelers won’t be dissapointed with the memories to be made in the Dolomites! 

Winter
The Dolomites are most commonly known for being the perfect place for winter sports. Be sure to go snowboarding, skiing or bobsledding as those are amongst the top things to do during the winter season. The Dolomites offer a good amount of winter sports that are perfect for all experience levels. Whether you’re a pro or beginner, experiencing all the thrilling activities is a must!

Notable things to do in the Dolomites

A trip to the Dolomites is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but can be overwhelming with all the countless experiences to choose from. Depending on when you visit and your interests, implement as many of the remarkable things below during your trip.

  • There are too many trails to count, so take an easy day hike or complete a challenging hike over multiple days.
  • Ski down some beginner and kid-friendly runs: Alta Badia, Alpe di Siusi, Val di Fassa, and Alta Pusteria.
  • Ski down advanced runs: Pista Ciampac, Pista Bellunese, Pista Col Margherita, Pista Gran Risa, and Pista Saslong.
  • Conquer a via ferrata.
  • Make a stop at the various nature parks.
  • Opt to bike along a route instead of hike.
  • Stay or have a meal in the multiple rifugios (mountain huts) you’ll come across.
  • Climb the Dolomites’ highest peak, Marmolada, “Queen of the Dolomites.”
  • Visit the most picturesque lakes: Lago di Braies, Lake Limides, Lake San Pellegrino, Lake Carezza and Lake Resia to name a few.
  • Kayak and fish at the other countless lakes to be found.
  • Unwind in the thermal baths of Terme Merano.
  • Take the world’s longest aerial cableway from Siusi to Compaccio.
  • Explore the World War I tunnels and galleries.
  • Witness Reifenstein, a 15th-century castle.
  • Rent a car and see it all along the “Great Dolomite Road” from Venice to Bolzano.
  • Make a stop along the many small villages, churches, pastures and farms during your journey.
  • Befriend the lovely locals.

Planning tips

Now that you have a better idea of all the Dolomites has to offer throughout the year. Get to planning your adventure.

  • Nearest airports are located in Venice or Innsbruck.
  • A more scenic option is taking a road trip.
  • For a less crowded experience, visit in the late spring or early fall.
  • Book well in advance for hotels and resorts within the Dolomites.
  • There are many kid-friendly activity options.
  • Hire a travel guide if you’re a beginner or need equipment for any of the outdoor activities.
  • Research the trails and ski runs that best suit the experience levels of everyone on your trip.
  • While the rifugios are fun to experience, definitely plan to stay in resorts or hotels as well.
  • The area is very dog friendly.
  • Check out www.visitdolomites.com/en for more information.

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