Top 5 Things to Do in the Dolomites

top 5 things to do in the Dolomites

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Here is a list of the top 5 things to do in the Dolomites. There are so many more but if you are limited on time, here is a good place to start.

  1. Lakes
  2. Alpe di Siusi
  3. Hiking and Rifugios
  4. Cuisine
  5. Towns

Lakes

I am sure you have seen a number of impressive photos on Instagram of deep blue lakes and reflections that are off the chain. If you are wondering if these places really exist, I am here to tell you, yes, yes they are real.

These lakes are created from glacial runoff which contributes to the color and clarity. Each lake is unique and beautiful in its own way.

Some of the lakes that are extremely popular are the following:

Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee)

This is considered to be the most beautiful lake in the Dolomites. Go early! This lake is incredibly popular and gets very busy. No hiking is required for this site. Simply park and walk about 5 minutes towards the hotel and you will see the lake. If you have time, you can take the path that winds around the water and offers incredible views.

GPS location 46.69565247876172, 12.087215956069084

Lago di Braies Italy
Lago di Carezza Italy

Lago di Carezza

This lake is literally next to the road and can be easily accessed. If it is a nice day, a walk around the lake will take about 30 minutes. Check out the legend surrounding the lake’s colors.

GPS location 46.40941842153433, 11.575045598062573 

Lago di Misurina

This is a magnificent lake that offers perfect reflections depending on the time of day you arrive. I would suggest visiting in the evening or early in the morning when the water is calm, and you have perfect reflections.

GPS location 46.584072120711646, 12.255268293718819

Lago di Misurina Italy

Alpe di Siusi

Alpe di Siusi sunrise

This is the largest and highest, in altitude, alpine pasture in Europe. This area is nothing but rolling hills, cows with bells, quaint wooden huts, hiking paths, and stunning mountain peaks.

The best advice I can give you is to hike into the meadow to watch sunrise over the mountains and watch the fog dissipate as the light stretches into the valley. Best spot to do this is Belvedere dell’Alpe di Siusi.

GPS location 46.55279, 11.65625

Alpe di Siusi

Legend tells stories of mythological creatures that inhabit this area. Witches are also a big thing in this region. Women that used herbs to cure sicknesses were often regarded as witches. In the 16th century the Lord of the Prösels Castle accused nine women of partaking in witchcraft and tortured them until they confessed. He thought they stole babies and rode on brooms to Schlern where they ate the flesh of the newborns alongside the devil. There is no proof of any of this. After their trial he burned them at the stake.

Prosels Castle

There are many other legends and myths that surround this area.

I can tell you that when it is dark and rainy this area does give you a sense of creepy.

Travel Tip:

You cannot drive into the valley. You will need to park at the Compatsch and walk in from there.

Hiking and Rifugios

Hiking and Rifugios

The first thing that always comes up during a Google search about the Dolomites are all the hiking trails and amazing things you will see on these paths. I did a lot of research before going to this area and while I didn’t get to do all the hikes I wanted, I was able to enjoy a few.

Rifugio in the Dolomites
Rifugio Lavaredo

Here are some of the most popular hikes to take around the mountains:

  1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop (Drei Zinnen)
  2. Lago di Sorapis
  3. Vajolet Towers
  4. Seceda Ridgeline
  5. Croda do Lago
Rifugio Tre Cime

Rifugios are iconic places to stay and eat while hiking in the Dolomites. Each one is unique and offers outstanding views of the peaks. They offer hot food and drinks like schnapps and hot chocolate. If you are not a fan of camping in tents, then this option is for you! Most Rifugios are open from late May to the end of October then from early December till early April. Check with each location before you decide to try to stay or depend on them for food during your hike.

Cuisine

Italy is a well-known foodie location, and the Dolomite region is no different. Pasta with seasonal ingredients like pumpkin or spinach, ravioli stuffed with local cheese, and delicious hot soups are served everywhere.

Cuisine in the Dolomites

Typical ingredients in this area:

  1. Corn
  2. Potatoes
  3. Pumpkins
  4. Barley
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Beans
  7. Milk
  8. Cheese
  9. Butter
  10. Bread

Grappa is also a common treat that helps you “warm up” after a long day outside. Flavors can be anything from cumin, mugho pine, blueberry, hazelnut, and juniper. Its strong… very strong.

Dishes to try while in the Dolomites:

  1. Risotto – made from local ingredients, my favorite was the black truffle
  2. Gnocchi Cadorini – dumplings with smoked ricotta
  3. Tagliatelle alla Tartufo – it is amazing! Homemade pasta with butter, cheese and of course, truffles
  4. Blueberry venison – meat that is cooked in a heavy thick gravy made from mountain berries, have with a good heavy red wine
  5. Polenta – usually served with meats such as lamb or beef
Cuisine in the Dolomites

Quaint Mountain Towns

Urtijel Dolomites

Cortina d’Ampezzo

 This is the town I used as a home base for my exploration in the region. It offers many hotels, shopping, and wonderful restaurants.

Hotel Options: Luxury – HOTEL de LEN / Mid-range – B&B Hotel Passo Tre Croci Cortina

 
 

Bolzano / Bozen

A great holiday town that has gorgeous gardens and traditional buildings

Hotel Options: Luxury – Parkhotel Laurin or Mid-Range – Stay Cooper

Bressanone / Brixen

This town has quaint winding streets, towering churches, and a great Mediterranean atmosphere

Hotel Options: Forestis Dolomites or Mid-Range Gerharts Premium City Living

Town in the dolomites by church
ulrich town

 

 

Chiusa / Klausen

Gothic architecture, narrow alleys, art, and culture abound in this village

Hotel Options: Luxury – Hotel Ansitz Steinbock or Mid-Range – Cityhotel Goldener Adler B&B

 

Merano / Meran

This village combines typical Italian architecture and alpine influences surrounded by cypress tree and mountain peaks.

Hotel Options: Luxury – Relais & Chateaux Hotel Castel Fragsburg or Mid-Range Steinach Townhouse Meran

This area has so much to offer anyone that visits. Let me know if there favorites of your own that you would recommend to others.
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Kristal Ham

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