Where to stay in the Dolomites? This is the question that every tourist who comes to Italy tries to get an answer to. The Dolomites are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Italy. Many people have probably never heard of this unique and extremely photogenic place. In the Dolomites, you will not only visit beautiful places but also explore amazing hiking trails and ski resorts. The Dolomites are home to one-of-a-kind mountain lakes.
One example is Lago di Braies, which you should add to your bucket list. How many days should you spend in the Dolomites? Optimally, it should be 7 days. I will give you a hint as to why you should stay longer in the Dolomites. An important factor in choosing a location in the Dolomites is whether or not you focus on skiing activities.
- 1 Where to stay in Dolomites for skiing?
- 2 Where to stay in Dolomites for hiking?
- 2.1 My top 5 of the most beautiful hikes in the Dolomites classified by order of the most accessible to the most sportive
Where to stay in Dolomites for skiing?
The Dolomites are located in northern Italy near the border with Austria. It doesn’t matter if your trip is a group or you are organizing it on your own. The question that arises is: where to stay in the Dolomites for skiing? The answer to this question depends on many factors. It all depends on where you want to spend your time, whether it be in the high mountains or lower areas. The type of accommodation is also of great importance.
For winter sports enthusiasts, the Dolomites of Val Gardena is the best option. The longest ski slope in South Tyrol is located there. A stay in Val Gardena is the best option aimed at families with children as well as beginner skiers. Importantly, the ski areas in Val Gardena are part of Dolomiti Super Ski, which is a network of 12 well-known ski areas in the Dolomites.
In Val Gardena, you will also experience the longest ski slope for skiers—La Longia, which is 10 km long. The true pearl of the Dolomites is the Sella Ronda, a downhill route that runs all the way around the Sella massif. You can reach it from Selva val Gardena which I recommend for a visit.
Sella is unique, nestled between rocky peaks, forests, and snow-capped landscapes. Covering this downhill route is not particularly difficult. You just need to find the starting point. These are located in Val Gardena, Corvara, Arabba, and Canazei. You should start skiing early in the morning to be able to finish before 3:30 p.m. Later, you may experience the closure of the ski lift.
A really controversial topic can be finding the best places to stay in the Dolomites. “The best” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.
Here’s more information on skiing in Italy.
Where to stay in Dolomites? Best hotels Sella Ronda
Hotel la Perla
Hotel La Perla is located in Corvara in Badia, not far from the Dolomiti Super Ski resort. This hotel offers spacious rooms. In addition, there are swimming pools inside and outside. Most rooms have private balconies with views of the Dolomites. The hotel’s cuisine specializes in regional dishes.
Free parking is available for guests. A sauna can also be used. You’ll find a ski lift a few dozen meters from La Perla. During certain periods of the year, you can book your stay at the hotel for a minimum of 6 nights.
Boutique Hotel Nives
During your stay at Boutique Hotel Nives, you can enjoy the wellness of two pools. One of them is located inside the hotel and the other is located outside.
In addition, they offer free ski transportation. In addition, they offer free ski transportation. It is 300 meters from the Ciampinoi cable car, which connects to the Sella Ronda ski circuit. The hotel is easily accessible by a ski route.
The rooms of the Boutique Hotel Nives have huge windows, wooden furnishings, plush bathrobes and slippers, a Nespresso® coffee maker, and tea making supplies. Beautiful views of Selva di Val Gardena may be seen from every balcony.
You can unwind in the indoor pool, sauna, and Turkish bath in the spa. There is a sun terrace outside that has chairs, umbrellas, and an outdoor hot tub. On request, massages and aesthetic services are provided.
On-site electric bike rentals are available. There is also bike storage provided.
Traditional South Tyrolean and national food is served à la carte at the Nives restaurant, and during the winter, themed meals are included with the half board option at the on-site Stevia restaurant. There are more than 250 different wines available for tasting in the wine cellar. In the morning, a filling breakfast buffet featuring regional specialties, fresh orange juice, and eggs is available.
The Sellaronda ski area’s Corvara neighborhood is home to the five-star Hotel Sassongher. Along with a spa, it provides free parking, a free ski bus, and spacious rooms with satellite LCD TVs.
The Sassongher’s rooms come with a minibar, a bathrobe, slippers, and a bag for the wellness center. The majority have balconies with expansive views of the valley or mountains.
Traditional Italian cuisine is served in the restaurant at the Sassongher Hotel, and there are 5 distinct menu options available for half board. Additionally, there is a piano bar with live jazz music as well as a typical Stube lounge.
The wellness center offers solarium use, massages, and aesthetic services. In the sauna, visitors can unwind after a day of skiing.
The hotel is located in a peaceful area, 10 minutes on foot from Corvara’s center. 3 minutes’ worth of driving gets tourists to the closest ski slopes via shuttle. The Sassongher is 5 minutes on foot from cross-country ski trails.
The 5-star Hotel Alpenroyal – The Leading Hotels of the World in Selva di Val Gardena offers a complimentary wellness center with three pools, an upscale spa, and a gourmet restaurant all inside its 15000-m2 park-like setting.
Its opulent rooms and suites mix contemporary conveniences with distinctive modern traditional accents. They feature a spacious lounge area, flat-screen TV with satellite, cable, and pay-per-view channels, and a minibar. The flooring is either carpeted or wooden.
Suites include a balcony or terrace with views of the park and the Dolomites. WiFi is accessible everywhere.
Breakfast can be enjoyed in the restaurant or on the terrace during the summer, and includes hot drinks, a variety of teas, and cold cuts, as well as freshly baked croissants and juices.
Salmon, eggs, and waffles are also available, as is Prosecco wine. The restaurant, which is open throughout the day and specializes in international and South Tyrolean cuisine, serves lunch à la carte.
The Alpenroyal is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, and its free fitness center and reception are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while beauty treatments can be booked at the spa.
The wellness area also includes two steam rooms, three saunas, a Kneipp bath, and three relaxation areas.
The mountain-view garden is popular with guests, and free hiking trips are available daily. There is also a billiard table next to the snack bar and a game room with a Wii console and a Playstation.
A public ski bus will take you to the 600-meter-away Col Raiser ski area, while free transfers to central Selva are available from 8:30 to 22:30. On request, a private helicopter will pick you up at the airport.
Hotel Welponer in Selva di Val Gardena, 800 meters from the Ciampinoi slopes, has a free spa. It has a furnished garden and large rooms with balconies.
The Welponer’s Alpine-style rooms have a garden view and a satellite flat-screen TV. Some rooms feature a traditional wood-burning stove, and the private bathroom includes soft bathrobes and a hairdryer.
Every day, a sweet and savory breakfast is served, complete with homemade cakes, cold cuts, and juices. The restaurant serves Tyrolean and Mediterranean fare and has a salad bar.
Guests can relax in the sauna or hot tub after a day on the slopes. A nearby horse riding school and tennis court have an agreement with the property.
A bus to Val Gardena stops 200 meters from the hotel, which also has a private garage, and Bressanone is 45 minutes away by car.
Monte Pana Dolomites Hotel
The Monte Pana Dolomites Hotel has rooms with views of the mountains and gardens. It has a restaurant, a tennis court, and a mini-golf course. There is free parking and direct access to the Dolomiti Superski and Sella Ronda ski slopes.
Rooms in this 115-year-old alpine-style building have carpeted floors, minimalist wood furnishings, and satellite TV. They have their own bathroom with slippers, bathrobes, and toiletries.
Breakfast consists of a sweet and savory buffet of croissants, cereals, yogurt, and cold cuts. The restaurant specializes in regional, national, and international cuisine.
The luxurious spa includes a sauna, fitness center, indoor pool, and Turkish bath. Massages can be arranged upon request.
Where to stay in Dolomites for hiking?
Where to sleep during a road trip to the Dolomites: which stages to choose
If you don’t want to change your accommodation every time you visit the Dolomites, you can choose only two stopping points. This will allow you to explore the western part of the Dolomites with lago di Carezza, Alpe di Siusi, Seceda and Santa Maddelena and the eastern part with the Cinque Torri, lago di Sorapis, Tre Cime, lago di Landro and lago di Braies.
The areas of Ortisei and Cortina d’Ampezzo are two excellent bases for visiting the Dolomites. As these are two very touristy towns, you will have to look in the surrounding villages to find cheaper accommodations. This is what we did, staying in two great places that I recommend: Pension Haus Tirol at 12 km from Ortisei and Hotel Fiori at 12 km from Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Read also: 10 top hiking trails in the Dolomites
My top 5 of the most beautiful hikes in the Dolomites classified by order of the most accessible to the most sportive
Lago di Sorapis
The lake of Sorapis is located in the province of Belluno, in Veneto. The lake is incredible for its almost unreal blue color. But the hike that leads us to the lake of Sorapis is just magical!
It’s a path that weaves its way sometimes through the woods, sometimes along the mountain, and that offers an incredible view of the surroundings! If this hike is part of my top 5, it’s because you never get bored for a moment. The whole hike, from beginning to end, is sublime. At the end, the beautiful surprise of the Sorapis lake. Believe me, the photos hardly pay tribute to it.
The place is rather famous, and you should not hesitate to leave early to avoid the crowd. I left around 11:00 am and found a place in the parking lot. I met a few people because people had already left.
Starting point of the hike: Parking (free) Parcheggio per Sorapis SR 48 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Path: Follow direction “Rifugio Vandelli
- Distance: 13km
- Estimated time: Between 4h and 4h30 round trip
- Our time for the outward journey: 2h with some (or many) photo breaks
- Altitude: 1928m
- Elevation gain: 100 meters
- Refuge: The Vangeli Refuge is located at 1926m. It is necessary to climb a little after arriving at the Sorapis lake. It is possible to eat and sleep there.
- Level of the hike: the hike is described as “easy” but it requires a little bit of training because it goes up a lot and there are some passages that could give vertigo (you hold on to an iron bar). I sometimes suffer from vertigo and this hike did not make me uncomfortable. It is necessary to take its time. It is necessary to foresee good shoes, sunglasses, water and what to take full of the sight!
Croda da Lago (lac Federa)
Here is another wonderful surprise, far from the tourist radar but very close to Cortina d’Ampezzo: Croda da Lago. Starting from a road, I join a beautiful hike in the forest that leads us quietly (but climbing well) to the Lago Federa, at the foot of the Croda da Lago, a mountainous massif. A small corner of paradise, far from the crowds, with picture-postcard scenery and the most beautiful view of Cortina. The hike to the Federa lake totally seduced us from the beginning to the end. And we quickly forget the important effort (because yes, it goes up a lot). This is also the cover image of this blog post.
- Departure of the hike: parking (free) at the edge of the road SP638 (Ru Curto).
- I followed the path marked 437 and then 434.
- The distance is 8,5 kilometers.
- Round trip time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Our time for the outward journey: 1h40 with many photo breaks.
- Altitude: 2038 m
- Altitude difference: 475 meters
- Refuge: Rifugio Croda da Lago
The hike doesn’t really present any difficulty, but the difference in altitude is quite important over a small distance, so it goes up all the time. The path is very practicable and well signposted. On the other hand, the climb is very intense, so I advise avoiding going during the hottest hours. What is nice is to be able to take breaks, one of them when you arrive at the viewpoint over the city of Cortina (magnificent!).
Alternatives: You can get to Croda da Lago by starting from Passo Giau and making a loop. In this case, it is necessary to plan the day because the journey is longer. Another alternative, if you are very sporty, is proposed in this article by Lucie Barthélemy.
The Cinque Torri
The Cinque Torri are quite famous in the Dolomites, but less so than others. They are part of my top 5 because the beginning of the hike is really magical in every way. The clear view of the mountains, the landscapes that change the further you go. The feeling of being so high and almost touching the tops of the mountains in front of us
- Starting point of the hike: parking (free) at the beginning of the Giau pass (Rifugio Giau).
- The distance is 10,7 kilometers.
- Time estimate: 4 hours 40 minutes
- Our time for the outward journey: it took us 2 hours to reach the Rifugio Nuvolau.
- Altitude of 2361 meters.
- Elevation gain: The Giau pass is at 2236 meters, but to get to the Cinque Torri you go up and then down.
- The huts are: Rifugio Scoiattoli, Rifugio Nuvolau and Rifugio 5 Torri.
- Extra: It is also possible to go around the Cinque Torri (more info here).
- Level of the hike: an easy hike, but it requires a little bit of training because it goes up a lot and there are some passages that could give vertigo. I must say that I sometimes suffer from vertigo, and this hike did not make me feel uncomfortable.
- The Alternatives: There are several alternatives to going to the Cinque Torri. For example, you can start from the Passo Falzarego Parking, 3 (see on maps) and go through the Lake of Limides. For more information, I recommend this article. It is even possible to get there by taking a chairlift. And so, without too much effort.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
It is impossible not to mention the Tre Cime. A real favorite in the Dolomites. The Italian Alps, a Unesco World Heritage Site, are a hiker’s paradise.
- Departure of the hike : parking at the Auronzo refuge (paying – 30€)
- The pathway leads to the Lavaredo refuge (2344m) and then to the Locatelli refuge.
- Distance: more information to follow
- Round trip time is estimated to be 2h30-3h00.
- Our time: from 9:30am to 1pm at the Locatelli hut and then back to the parking lot at 3:30pm, making several breaks.
- 2999 meters above sea level altitude
- 400m altitude difference
- Rifugio di Locatelli and Rifugio Auronzo
- Starting from the parking lot, the hike is quite easy and fast.
- Alternatives: You can reach the Tre Cime from the bottom (in the valley) or even from the Lago di Misurina. It is necessary to leave early and plan the whole day. To be avoided if you suffer from vertigo.
I’ll end with the longest hike I’ve ever done. I’ll be honest, it was the hardest for me, but the emotion I felt at the end of the day is indescribable. If you’re looking for an extraordinary adventure, this is your next destination: Piz Boè, 3152m! We left around 8am and got back to our hotel after 6pm. So it was a 10-hour day where we had a lot of fun! It is probably the most varied hike we have done.
If you plan to spend your days discovering the most beautiful lakes of the Dolomites, you can decide to do a great sporty hike to the mountain.
- Departure of the hike: parking (free) We left from Arabba (via Mesdi Arabba, 66).
- Time frame: 4h30-5h00
- My time: 6h+.
- Altitude at arrival at Piz Boè: 3152mElevation gain: 1500m (!)
- The level of the hike: I won’t lie. The arrival at Piz Boé was very difficult.
- There are other alternatives, such as taking the cabin from Canazei (Monumento di Fausto Coppi to Terrazza delle Dolomiti).
This list is based on my experience, and there are obviously many other hikes to try in the Dolomites. I think there is so much more to say about the Dolomites, but that will probably be in a future blog post.
And you, what are your favorite hikes in the Dolomites?
Any other places to add to this list?
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