Hiking in Dolomites

The Dolomites (Dolomiti in Itailan, Dolomiten in German) are a mountain range in north-eastern Italy and have some of the most spectacular hiking in Italy (and perhaps the world).

The Dolomites are mostly in the Trentino-South Tyrol region; see that page for more information on where to stay, eat, etc. (Part of the Dolomites are in Belluno province in Veneto.)


Mountainous areas in Italy (especially the Dolomites, although you'll find them in places like the Gran Sasso) are dotted with rifugi ("refuges") which offer beds and food, thus allowing you to "backpack" across the mountains with just a day pack (since you don't have to schlep a sleeping bag, tent, or food). Generally speaking, it's a good idea to bring a lightweight "sleep sack" though. These outposts also make good lunch stops for day-hikers.

Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm

    • Europe's largest high-alpine meadow, the Alpe di Siusi (Italian name, in German it's Seiser Alm) has some of the best hiking in the Dolomites—especially if you want family-friendly hikes (although there are plenty of strenuous hikes leading up from the meadow, too). Some of the meadow hikes can even be done with a stroller (we saw quite a few strollers at the Panorama lift in 2014).
      • Alpe di Siusi is in the Scilar-Catinaccio (Italian)/Schlern-Rosengarten (German) park
      • This is where Rick Steves advises his readers to go (video here)
    • How to get there:
      • Park your car in the town of Siusi (Seis) and take the gondola up to Compaccio/Compatsch; from there there are additional gondolas and buses that can take you to trailheads
        • Alternatively Ortisei (Urtijëi/Sankt Ulrich) has a lift that leads to the Alpe di Siusi (see below for more info—if you stay in Ortisei you can also take lifts up the Odle moutains!)
          • near the top of the Ortisei cable railway/lift is Ristorante Mont Seuc, which has good Google/TripAdvisor reviews
          • Malga Contrin - another rifugio near the Northeast (Ortisei) side of Alpe di Siusi; we thought the food was ho-hum but the views are spectacular, and they had a lot of toys for kids to play with
          • Malga Schgaguler Schwaige - seems to get pretty good reviews online
        • You can also take buses from other towns like Castelrotto (Rick Steves' favorite town in this area); see Trentino-South Tyrol page for more
      • some people recommend the Hans & Paula Steger Trail which leads through the high alpine meadow
      • We especially liked going up the gondola to Joch/Giogo "Panorama", where hike number 2 leads through alpine meadows to the switchbacks of Rosszäne/Denti di Terrarossa, from which you can either come back down the same way or continue along the mountain ridge before descending agin
    • Various rifugios (mostly called "malga") dot the park, and are a good spot to grab food
    • See the Trentino-South Tyrol page for more information on where to stay, eat, etc, in the area
    • The park website has information on hikes, including a map of the major hiking routes
Friendly Cow in the Dolomites
View of Alpe di Siusi from Panorama Hike

Alpe di Siusi from Panaroma Hike

Geisler/Odle Mountain Range

    • some of the most spectacular, photogenic scenery you'll see in Italy (or anywhere!)Ortisei (Urtijëi/Sankt Ulrich) has a cable car that lead up to Seceda Plateau, where you have a gorgeous view of the Fermeda cliffs in the background --> see the South Tyrol page for more about Ortisei
      • ***Baita Sofie - a wonderful rifugio near the top of the Seceda lift; great food, beautiful views, and a playground for kids nearby, also rec'd Petit Futé and this site
      • from the Seceda Plateau you can go on a very easy there-and-back hike along the cliffs
      • this blogpost has nice photos and describes the hiking as very easy (many folks take the meadow path down to the Col Rasier lift, and then bus back to Ortisei)
      • Ortisei also has a lift that leads to the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi...also the Resciesa funicular leads to a section of the Geisler/Odle a bit to the west of Seceda (where you can walk to Rifugio Malga Brogles)
      • Forcella Pana is a particularly steep but popular route that connects Rifugio Malga Brogles to Seceda
      • the Gardena Card Map has a nice overview of the area
      • Val Gardena's Map shows the rifugios
    • ...you can also reach the range using a lift at Col Raiser (part of S. Cristina, a bit further east of Ortisei in the Val Gardena/Gröden)

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Val di Fassa

    • The Panorama Trek is a series of hikes from rifugio to rifugio that rings the Val di Fassa
    • Unfortunately (at least as of 2016) the Val di Fassa hiking map was not available online (at least not at readable resolution) but you can pick it up at tourist offices in the region

Other great Dolomite hiking ideas/inspirational photos on Mountain Hiking Holidays

Strada della 52 Gallerie

[check out this cool photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gianfrancogoria/461203278/sizes/l/ of Seceda, near Rifugio Troier ]

Odle Mountain Range viewed from Seceda
      • Odle Mountain Range seen from Seceda - photo by Luigi Alesi