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Are the Dolomites in Italy Worth Visiting? Everything You Need to Know for the Famous Italian Mountain Chain

  • Post last modified:December 26, 2023
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Welcome to one of the most stunning mountain regions in the word- the Dolomites in Italy. This area is gaining a lot more attraction recently from it's turquoise lakes and breathtaking peaks, which make it so popular on Instagram.

When places become so popular so fast though, we are always a bit hesitant. Will it be overcrowded? Are the pictures just exaggerating? Is it really worth the hype? These are always some of the things running through our head, as we typically like to explore more of the hidden gems around the world.

However, we have to say- after visiting the Dolomites in Italy, we now get the obsession. The landscapes are just stunning, and it truly is a unique place to add to the bucket list! Our guide will cover the best things to do in the Dolomites, how to get around, where to stay, and hopefully answer any other question you may be having before booking a trip here.

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In Which Part of Italy are the Dolomites?

The Dolomites are located in the north of Italy, close to the borders of Switzerland and Austria.

What is the Closest City to the Dolomites?

The closest major city to the Dolomites is Venice, which is about 150 km south of the area. The next closest big city to the Dolomites is Bolzano, which is west of the area, and just a half hour from some of the top things to see in the Dolomites.

Where are the Dolomites in Italy?

The Dolomites are in the north east of Italy.

How Do You Get to Italian Dolomites?

Now that you know where the Dolomites in Italy are located, let's look at the different options for getting there.

What is the Best Way to Go to the Dolomites?

The best way to go to the Dolomites is to first fly to the cheapest airport in the area, and then by renting a car from one of the nearby cities.

Renting a Car to Visit the Dolomites in Italy

There are so many things to do in the Dolomites, and a lot of them are spread out. We decided to rent a car for our Western European road trip, and it really was the most helpful thing ever to have a rental car for the Dolomites.

You can easily rent a car from whichever airport you fly into. The best airports to fly into to reach the Dolomites in Italy are Venice, Treviso, and Bolzano.

What is the Closest Airport to the Dolomites?

Bolzano is the closest airport to the Dolomites in Italy, but has only a few flights each day. Cities which fly to Bolzano include Berlin, Cagliari, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Ibiza, Lamezia Terme, Lille, Olbia, Rome, Toulouse, and Zurich.

The next closest airport to the Dolomites is Treviso, which has more flights, and is around 2 hours away from the area of the Dolomites. The Cities that fly to Treviso include Alicante, Billund, Brussels, Bucharest, Chania, Corfu, Eindhoven, Fes, Gdansk, Iasi, Katowice, Mahon, Malaga, Mallorca, Malta, Marrakech, Marseille, Milan, Paris, Porto, Poznan, Prague, Rome, Santander, Sevilla, Suceava, Tallinn, Thessaloniki, Timisoara, Tirana, Toulouse, Trapani, Valencia, Vienna, and Wroclaw.

Venice is the easiest to fly into, and is also about 2 hours away from the Dolomites in Italy. Cities which fly to Venice include Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Barcelona, Bari, Basel, Belgrade, Berlin, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Brindisi, Bristol, Brussels, Bournemouth, Cagliari, Catania. Cologne, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Goose Bay, Hamburg, Helsinki, Istanbul, Izmir, Jeddah, Madrid, Mallorca, Manchester, Montreal, Munich, Nantes, Naples, Newark, New York, Nuremberg, Olbia, Oslo, Lamezia Terme, Lisbon, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Naples, Nice, Palermo, Paris, Philadelphia, Prague, Riga, Rome, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tirana. Vienna, Warsaw, Yerevan, Zakinthos, and Zurich.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Italy". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination!

Search for a flight near the Dolomites in Italy:

Is There a Train to the Dolomites?

Italy is very well-connected by train, so you can in fact get to the Dolomites by using the train system.

What is the Closest Train Station to the Dolomites in Italy?

The closest train station to the Dolomites in Italy is Cortina D'Ampezzo, which is one of the most popular towns in the area, and a great place for people to base themselves.

Is There a Train from Venice to the Dolomites?

You can either take a train from Treviso Airport to Cortina d'Ampezzo, which is between 4 and 6 hours, or you can take a train from Venice to Cortina d'Ampezzo, which is a little under 5 hours.

Other Ways to Get to the Dolomites in Italy

Believe it or not, taking a bus from Venice is actually shorter than taking the train, as there are direct bus rides from Venice Airport to Cortina d'Ampezzo, that take 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Another option is to look at trips on Bla Bla Car, which is a carpooling app commonly used throughout Europe.

Can You Do a Day Trip from Venice to the Dolomites?

If you have a car, you technically could do a day trip from Venice to the Dolomites leaving very early in the morning. It would certainly be hard to see a lot though, as some of the highlights that are closer to Venice include hiking.

You could probably choose one hiking trail, have lunch in Cortina d'Ampezzo, and drive around to see some things before heading back to Venice.

Another option is to take a tour, which would allow you to see some of the highlights, and not worry about the hassle of renting a car, parking, or organizing the sites to see. Here are a few that we found from Venice that you could sign up for:

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Entry Requirements for Italy

Now that you know how to get to the Dolomites in Italy, let's quickly go over the rules for entering and staying inside Italy and the EU.

Visa Entry Requirements for Italy

There are many citizenships that can enter Italy visa-free. Travelers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland can enter with zero restrictions at all, while others that don't need a Schengen visa can visit for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Those from the UK, US, and Australia are some of the nationalities that fall into this category.

The 90/180 Rule

The 90/180 rule states that those who don't require a visa can stay within the Schengen Zone for a total of 90 days in a 180-day period. It's important to note that the 90 days count towards all countries in the Schengen area. For example, if you spend 20 days in Spain (also part of the Schengen Zone), you will then only be able to spend a total of 70 days in Italy within that 180-day period.

We use the Schengen visa calculator, which is super helpful for those who are planning on traveling in and out of the EU for longer periods of time.

Schengen Visas

For those of you that are planning on staying longer than 90 days in the Schengen Zone, or those of you who are from a country that doesn't get visa-free access, you will need to then in fact apply for a Schengen Visa. Make sure to check the list of countries that need to get a Schengen Visa before traveling.

Covid Entry Requirements for the Dolomites in Italy

Italy as well as the rest of Europe has dropped all requirements in regards to Covid-19.

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Visiting the Dolomites in Italy: Local Adjustments

Whenever you travel there are things that you may have to adjust to, such as the language, currency, or tipping culture. These are what we like to call local adjustments, and something we include in every article to help you before visiting somewhere new. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to the Dolomites in Italy.

What Language Do They Speak in the Dolomites?

The official language of the Dolomites is Italian. However, you will notice that there is a heavy German influence, and pretty much the entire region is a mix of those that speak both Italian and German.

Why is German Spoken in the Dolomites?

German is spoken due to the close proximity to Austria and Switzerland, where they also speak German. It's quite common to go into shops and find people who only speak German.

Do They Speak English in the Dolomites?

Being a big tourist destination with travelers from all over, there are in fact plenty of people that do speak English. However, it definitely helps to be able to speak a bit of Italian or German while visiting the Dolomites in Italy.

What Currency Do They Use in Italy?

The currency used in the Dolomites is the same as the rest of Italy, which is the euro. Most places accept credit card, so you won't need to have too much cash on you, unless you are taking public transportation.

Are the Dolomites Expensive?

The Dolomites are quite expensive compared to the rest of Italy, and have prices closer to Austria than other areas of Italy. Hotels are rarely under $100, and dishes in restaurants are typically 15-25 euros. The Dolomites in Italy are getting more popular, and you'll notice prices are continuing to increase each year.

What Outlet Plug is Used in Italy?

The Dolomites in Italy have the same outlets as the rest of Europe, which are for plug types C, E, & F. The standard voltage in the Dolomites is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Dolomites?

The tap water in the Dolomites is completely safe to drink, so we suggest carrying a reusable water bottle with you to fill up whenever you can.

In restaurants in Italy it is pretty standard to be served bottled water at a meal, but you can certainly ask for tap water instead for no charge. (Go a bit north to Austria and this isn't the case- they'll actually charge you for tap water!).

Tipping in the Dolomites, Italy

The tipping culture in The Dolomites is a bit confusing, as in Italy there is no "set rule" about tipping. If you are having a quick breakfast or light lunch you can simply round up to the nearest euro, or leave a euro or two. If you are having an expensive dinner or received exceptional service, then you could leave around 10% extra in cash on the table for your server.

Another thing you may notice is that there might be a "coperto" added to your bill. This is a service charge, typically added for the table whether you ask for it or not, which covers simple things like water and bread. This is separate from a tip, but should always be stated on the menu, or by the server.

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What is Special About Dolomites, Italy?

The Dolomites in Italy are so special because of the incredibly unique mountains. They are made of Dolomite, giving them their beautiful white color and striking formations. The area is also home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the world, rolling green hills, and the cutest mountain villages.

Things to Do in the Dolomites, Italy

Now that you know almost everything you need to know about getting to the Dolomites in Italy,  Here are the best things to see and do in the area.

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Dolomites worth visiting pin

1. Lago di Braies

Known as the "famous lake of Instagram", Lago di Braies certainly is a must-visit for the Dolomites in Italy. Many even believe that the lake itself is enough reason in itself to makes the Dolomites worth visiting! 

The piercing blue waters with reflections of the stunning mountains behind it, and wooden boats floating along it, truly make for the perfect photo, and the place is a true hot spot during sunrise.

Lago di Braies, the Dolomites in Italy
Lago di Braies, the Dolomites in Italy
Lago di Braies, the Dolomites in Italy

Lago di Braies is known as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Want to know more about visiting Lago di Braies? We have a complete guide you can check out!

2. Lago di Carezza

Lago di Carezza is another one of the most beautiful lakes in the Italian Dolomites. It has sparkling turquoise waters, tall green pines surrounding it, and mountains behind it, creating the absolute post-card-worthy scenery.

Just like Lago di Braies, you can drive right up to it, and it is completely free of charge to visit. No swimming is allowed, and you must stay behind the wooden fence, so don't cross it regardless of what some others may do.

Lago di Carezza, Dolomites in Italy

3. Lago di Sorapis

Lago di Sorapis is definitely our favorite spot of the Dolomites in Italy. It has milky blue waters, and beautiful white mountains surrounding it. 

Lago di Sorapis, the Dolomites in Italy

Lago di Sorapis is our favorite lake of the Dolomites in Italy.

Unlike the other lakes, this requires a 2-hour hike each way. While it's certainly more difficult, it is definitely worth it! Even the views along the hike itself are stunning, so don't miss out on this incredible place.

Lago di Sorapis, the Dolomites in Italy
Lago di Sorapis, the Dolomites in Italy
Lago di Sorapis, the Dolomites in Italy
Lago di Sorapis, the Dolomites in Italy

Lago di Sorapis can be reached by a beautiful 2 hour hike.

4. Lago di Landro

Located just off the side of the main road, this is a lake you'll probably end up passing even if you don't have plans to! It has an easily accessible (and free) parking lot, and is the perfect place to make a quick stop along your road trip around the Dolomites in Italy.

Lago di Landro lake in the Dolomites in Italy

5. Lago di Dobbiaco

Here is another gorgeous mountain lake to add to your list of things to do in the Dolomites, Italy. While it's not nearly as popular as some of the other lakes, we definitely think it is worth visiting.

6. Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the most famous hike of the Dolomites in Italy, and definitely one you can't miss out on!

Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the Dolomites in Italy
Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the Dolomites in Italy
Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the Dolomites in Italy

It's known for its three peaks, and there is one main loop to hike, where you can experience views of the famous mountains from all angles. The hike also offers smaller trails off the main route, where you can explore window caves, lakes, unique views, and tunnels from WWI.

Tre Cime di Laveredo is a place you'll want to leave at least half a day for, and it can also be paired with Cadini di Misurina, which starts from the same parking lot. Want to learn more? Don't miss out on our full guide!

7. Cadini di Misurina

Right next to the trail for Tre Cime di Lavaredo is (in our opinion) the most stunning hike in all of the Dolomites, Italy.

Cadini di Misurina is a very short, but super rewarding hike, where you'll get to walk a special path to face the massive sharp peaks of the most impressive mountains in the the Dolomites.

Cadini di Misurina, the Dolomites in Italy

Cadini di Misurina is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Italy.

For all the details of the hike, and the best time to go, be sure to check out our complete hiking guide.

8. Seceda

Seceda is another incredible hike in the Dolomites, that is super popular! It actually reminded us of the iconic Schafler Ridge in Switzerland, and it has a distinct ridge with green fields along it.

In order to most easily get here you should take a cable car from Sellaronda, and then at the top of that you can also take another cable car to get to the top. We opted for a one hour hike, which we highly recommend.

Seceda has a lot of restaurants and refuges around it, making it a great place to spend at least half the day. We have a full guide coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Seceda, the Dolomites in Italy

9. Cortina d'Ampezzo

While most of the highlights of the Dolomites in Italy lie in the landscapes, we do have one real town for you to check out!

Cortina d'Ampezzo was home to the Winter Olympics, and is a prime destination for visitors in the Dolomites. The adorable town has a nice amount of shops and restaurants to choose from, and is also a great place to base yourself while in the Dolomites, Italy.

Cortina d'Ampezzo, the Dolomites in Italy

Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most popular towns in the Dolomites, Italy.

10. Santa Magdalena

Located in the west of the Dolomites, Santa Magdalena is one of the most picturesque villages you can visit. It is home to a few different iconic churches & viewpoints, and is a beautiful place to walk around and enjoy the landscapes around it.

11. Val di Funes

This giant green valley is located in the western area of the Dolomites, and is everything you would imagine from a Dolomites post card.

The entire area is gorgeous, and has various paths for walking. You can technically stop for a quick picture, but we really suggest spending a few hours to fully enjoy the quaintness of the area.

Val di Funes, the Dolomites in Italy
Val di Funes, the Dolomites in Italy

12. Seiser Alm

This is another one of those "famous Instagram spots" that just needs to be seen in person. 

The exact coordinates for the spot are "46°33'09.3"N 11°39'22.9"E. In order to drive into the town itself you're supposed to have a hotel reservation. Otherwise you'll have to walk 2 hours from the parking lot before the town. We ended up taking our chances, and were able to drive there, but we definitely wouldn't plan for this.

We visited for sunset, and it was just stunning! However, we also saw other creators visiting for sunrise and it looked equally gorgeous.

Seiser Alm SYM

13. Giau Pass

Looking for one of the most scenic roads in the Dolomites? Giau Pass is definitely a place to add to your itinerary if you plan on doing a road trip. You'll wind through the mountains and experience adorable villages, tall green pines, and gorgeous mountain views along the way.

snake like road (Giau Pass) in the Dolomites, Italy

Other Things to Do Nearby the Dolomites in Italy

The Dolomites in Italy is a rather large area to cover! If you happen to be doing a road trip like we did, there are also some fun spots on the way from both Venice and Verona.

14. Piramidi di Segonzano

Located halfway between Verona and Lago di Carezza, this is a super cool place to stop along your drive.

Piramidi di Segonzano is a cluster of massive spikes sitting beneath the trees. The bizarre landscape can be seen right from the parking lot, or you can go on a hike to get up close to them.

Piramidi di Segonzano, the Dolomites in Italy
Piramidi di Segonzano, the Dolomites in Italy
Piramidi di Segonzano, the Dolomites in Italy

Piramidi di Segonzano are unique formations found near the Dolomites in Italy.

15. Drago Vaia

This is a place that truly was very out of the way, but we were very excited for the detour. Drago Vaia was an incredible piece of art which was a sculpture of a dragon made from pieces of wood.

Unfortunately, days before we went it was actually burned to the ground! Currently the staff are collecting donations for another one to be built, so hopefully by the time you read this it will be finished! Make sure to check the Google reviews beforehand.

dragon statue in the Dolomites

The dragon was burned, but is being rebuilt soon!

16. Ferrata Signora delle Acque

This via ferrata is definitely one for the adventure-lovers out there, as you'll be climbing right in front of a massive waterfall! Located 2 hours south of the Dolomites, this is a great activity to do if you are coming from Verona.

17. Igne Suspension Bridge

This was actually a spot we just happened to pass by, but it was the perfect spot to break up our trip going from Cortina d'Ampezzo to Venice! About an hour from the Dolomites, the Igne Suspension Bridge is just off the side of the main highway, and has incredible views of the valley below, and the mountains surrounding it.

Suspension bridge in Italy