Looking for the perfect 5 Day Dolomites Itinerary?
Get ready to hit the road for the ultimate adventure through the Dolomites – trust me, this isn’t your average road trip!
We’re talking about a wild ride through northern Italy, boasting stunning peaks, picturesque villages, and some of the clearest lakes you’ll ever see.
I personally explored the Dolomites for 5 days and this itinerary was excellent from start to end, and I highly recommend you follow it too.
DOLOMITES ITINERARY – OVERVIEW
To help you plan your Dolomites itinerary, this is the Dolomites road trip route I took, starting and ending in Bolzano.
I highly recommend this route if you want to see the best of what the Dolomites have to offer.
Here is a quick glance at how to spend 5 days in Dolomites;
- Day 1: Arrive in Bolzano, rent a car, and drive to Ortisei
- Day 2: Discover Val Di Funes
- Day 3: Ortisei to San Candido (or Cortina d’Ampezzo)
- Day 4: Three Peak Nature Park (Tre Cime)
- Day 5: Lake Sorapis Trail and back to Bolzano
ALTERNATIVE DOLOMITES ITINERARY
In case you don’t want to fly into Bolzano, then you have 2 different itineraries:
- Fly to Milan, rent a car, and drive to Ortisei, following the itinerary above.
- Fly to Venice, rent a car, and follow the itinerary below:
- Day 1: Drive to San Candido (or Cortina D’Ampezzo), and Lake Sorapis Trail
- Day 2: Three Peak Nature Park (Tre Cime)
- Day 3: San Candido (or Cortina d’Ampezzo) to Ortisei
- Day 4: Discover Val Di Funes
- Day 5: Drive back to Venice
If you don’t feel comfortable driving, then you could use public transportation around the Dolomites, but it’s not the most reliable.
For this reason, you’re better off booking a tour around the Dolomites, which is a convenient and easy way to see all the best spots.
WHERE ARE THE DOLOMITES?
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northern Italy.
Specifically, they can be found in the regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Veneto, and Friuli–Venezia Giulia.
The Dolomites are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts because of their stunning peaks and unique rock formations.
Click here or on the image below for an interactive map of the Dolomites.
HOW TO GET TO THE DOLOMITES?
The best option is to fly to one of the airports around the region and rent a car.
There are several airports within driving distance of the Dolomites, including Bolzano, Venice, Treviso, Verona, Innsbruck, and Milan (I personally recommend Bolzano or Venice).
Each of these airports offers different flight options and rental car services, so starting from here is pretty easy.
HOW TO GET AROUND ON YOUR DOLOMITES ITINERARY?
Renting a car in Dolomites is definitely the way to go!
While public transportation is an option, it can be limited and may not reach all of the mountain villages and scenic drives that the area is famous for.
Additionally, having your own vehicle gives you the freedom to fully explore at your own pace, without having to worry about schedules or crowds.
Renting a car in Italy is relatively easy, and there are plenty of reputable companies to choose from.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT THE DOLOMITES?
For hiking and outdoor activities, the summer months from June to September are considered the best time to visit the Dolomites.
During this period, the weather is typically warm and sunny, making it ideal for exploring the trails and enjoying the stunning landscapes.
July and August are the peak months for hiking due to the stable weather conditions.
If you’re interested in winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, the best time would be between December and April when the mountains are covered in snow.
To avoid crowds and enjoy a quieter visit, consider going in the shoulder seasons of May and June, or September and October during autumn.
These periods offer cool, settled weather and the chance to experience the Dolomites’ beauty without as many tourists.
5-DAY DOLOMITES ITINERARY
Now that we’ve covered all the logistics, let’s get to the fun stuff!
I’ll go through the itinerary day by day so that you can plan the perfect Dolomites road trip.
DAY 1: BOLZANO TO ORTISEI
For the first day of your Dolomites itinerary, you’ll want to arrive in Bolzano, rent a car, and drive to Ortisei, a picturesque village set in the heart of the Val Gardena.
From Bolzano to Ortisei it takes about 45 minutes boasting epic landscapes and breathtaking vistas at every turn.
Ortisei is a great place to stay for at least 2 nights as it is near the major spots on the west side of the Dolomites.
When you arrive, be prepared to be wowed by picturesque streets and charming cafes surrounded by epic mountain peaks.
THINGS TO DO IN ORTISEI
Once you have checked in to your hotel, it’s time to start exploring the incredible locations such as Alps di Siusi and Seceda Peak which I’ve gone into more detail below.
ALPS DI SIUSI
For your first stop, I recommend heading to Alps Di Siusi.
Take a breathtaking ride on the cable car up to the majestic Alps di Siusi, Europe’s largest alpine pasture and a true natural paradise.
From here you will be presented with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
The cable car costs 20 EUR per person (8.00 am to 6.00 pm), while the parking fee is 24 EUR, which is quite expensive but it’s definitely worth it for the views.
Once you’ve reached the top, get ready to explore miles of hiking trails, enjoy a picnic in the meadows, or simply bask in the tranquility of the mountains.
If you want to hike, make sure to stop at the tourist office to get a map of the marked trails.
I recommend taking the Saltria Hike which only takes 1 hour and allows you to see Seceda Peak afterward.
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After enjoying Alps Di Siusi, get back on the road and head over to Seceda Peak, one of the most remarkable vistas in the Dolomites.
To get here, you can take the cable car from Ortisei, which costs 27 EUR one way or 37 EUR round-trip per person.
You can park your car at the cable car station, and it will cost you 1.90 EUR per hour or 13 EUR per day.
I personally recommend taking the cable car to get to the top and walking back down to have a combination of views and exercise!
On the other hand, if you want to hike up and down, the circuit is 8.9 km long and takes around 3 hours with no break.
The Seceda Peak viewpoint is only about 5 minutes from the top of the cable car which is super convenient.
Walk along the ridgeline trail, take lots of photos, and prepare to be in awe when you see this landscape with your own eyes!
WHERE TO STAY IN ORTISEI
Ortisei has dozens of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Hotel Montchalet
Mid-Range: Hotel Grien
Budget: Villa Rier
CAMPERVAN PARKS NEAR ORTISEI
If you’re exploring the Dolomites by campervan, see the list below for recommended campervan parks near Ortisei:
DAY 2: VAL DI FUNES
On day 2 of your Dolomites road trip itinerary, set out to Val Di Funes for a day trip which is just 35 minutes from Ortisei
Val di Funes is a popular choice among hikers who love to wander the trails and for general travelers who love to be immersed in nature.
The journey up the valley itself is a treat as you wind through the narrow mountain roads, passing quaint hamlets and catching phenomenal views at every turn.
Once you arrive, you can park the car and roam around for a bit, take photos of the famous Church of St. John, and then head further up the valley to Geisler Alm.
THINGS TO DO IN VAL DI FUNES
Here are some unmissable things to see and do in Val di Funes.
VISIT THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN
The stunning Church of St. John has risen to fame in recent years thanks to Instagram.
Located at the end of Val di Funes, this picturesque church is one of the most iconic and photographed places in the Dolomites.
What sets this charming church apart is its unique position amidst the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Geisler/Odle mountains in the Dolomites – it’s simply breathtaking
Many tourists and photographers come to the Val di Funes specifically to capture this picture-perfect scenery, especially during sunrise and sunset when the warm light bathes the mountains and enhances the beauty of the church.
The Church of St. John is not to be missed on your itinerary of Dolomites.
ADOLF MUNKEL WEG HIKE TO GEISLER ALM
The Adolf Munkel Weg hike is one of the most spectacular trails in the Dolomites, a journey through both woods and pastures, all while tracing along the Geisler/Odle mountain group.
The hike starts at the Zanzer Alm Parking Lot and this moderately challenging route takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete, covering a distance of about 9.2 km.
However, the duration can vary depending on your walking pace and how often you stop to enjoy the stunning views or snap photos.
The stand-out attraction on this hike is Geisler Alm itself, an alpine pasture that is one of the most beautiful in South Tyrol, offering an incredible view of the Geisler Peaks.
Before embarking on this hike, please note that trail can be steep and rugged in parts, so sturdy hiking boots are essential.
Also, remember to pack plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and your camera!
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After hiking to Geisler Alm, it’s time to make your way back to Ortisei and Val Gardena to enjoy the rest of what this place has to offer.
Val Gardena is made up of three municipalities – Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva Val Gardena. Needless to say, all three are worth visiting.
I recommended exploring Ortisei on day 1 of this itinerary, but if you didn’t have enough time, then this is your chance.
Wander around, have a meal at the cafe, visit the museum, and take some photos.
Santa Cristina is another incredible town to visit, with similar vibes to Ortisei, you will not only have mountain views but also authentic cafes and restaurants, as well as Santa Cristina Church.
Last but not least, keep some time to check out Selva Val Gardena, a spectacular place to see the ruins of Wolkenstein Castle, the viewpoint over the town, and plenty of dining options.
I suggest having dinner here before making your way back to Ortisei for the night.
DAY 3: ORTISEI TO SAN CANDIDO (OR CORTINA D’AMPEZZO)
On day 3, it’s time to depart Ortisei to the picturesque San Candido in the eastern Dolomites, which takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes by car.
Alternatively, you can choose to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, which has plenty of great hotels and it’s also closer to the majority of the attractions and hiking trails.
THINGS TO DO ON THE WAY TO SAN CANDIDO
Between Ortisei and San Candido, I recommend stopping on the way to check out some must-see spots which I have listed below.
The first stop on the way to San Candido or Cortina is Bruneck.
Also known as Brunico, there are a few attractions that you can squeeze into your schedule.
Brunico Castles: Take a quick drive up to this historic castle for a glimpse of its structure. You may not have time to tour the interior, but the view of the castle against the backdrop of the Dolomites is worth it.
Bruneck City Center: The center is an open-air museum, and you’ll love hanging out for a while before resuming the road.
Ursuline Church: This church is located right in the city center and is worth a quick visit due to its beautiful architecture.
As you journey through the Dolomites, a swift stop at Welsberg Castle (also known as Monguelfo Castle) is an excellent idea.
Nestled in the quaint town of Monguelfo-Tesido (Welsberg-Taisten), this medieval castle offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history.
If time allows, take a moment to wander along the Castle Path that leads up to the castle for a closer look.
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ARRIVAL IN SAN CANDIDO (OR CORTINA D’AMPEZZO)
When you arrive in San Candido (or Cortina D’Ampezzo) you’ll want to check into your hotel and head straight out to explore!
Consider visiting all or some of the following attractions listed below.
LAGO DI BRAIES
Lago di Braies is an absolute must on everyone’s Dolomites road trip itinerary.
Known as one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes, this bright blue mountain lake in the heart of the mountains offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lago di Braies is located only 25 minutes from San Candido or about 50 minutes from Cortina d’Ampezzo and it’s a short 1-minute walk to reach the lake from the parking lot.
Take a leisurely walk around the lake on the well-maintained trail, or for a truly memorable experience, rent one of the traditional wooden rowboats available at the lake.
Lago di Braies is also a great spot for photography enthusiasts thanks to its stunning natural beauty.
Don’t forget to capture the iconic boathouse against the backdrop of the lake and the majestic Dolomites.
Lastly, if you’re up for a sweat, don’t miss out on the Alta Via 1 hike, one of the coolest activities around Lago di Braies!
LAGO DI MISURINA
After Lago Di Braies, it’s time to visit Lago Di Misurina, the largest natural lake in the Cadore region sitting 1,754 meters above sea level.
The lake’s crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding peaks, creating a breathtaking panorama perfect for photography enthusiasts.
Take a leisurely stroll around the lake to appreciate its beauty fully. The trail is easily accessible and suitable for all ages, making it a great family-friendly activity.
Along the way, you’ll find several benches where you can sit back and soak up the serene atmosphere.
In case you have limited time during the day, I suggest you come after the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike on day 4.
FUN BOB LUGE
If you’re up for an exhilarating activity, then the Fun Bob Luge in San Candido is the perfect adventure for you!
The Fun Bob Luge is one of the most popular summer attractions in the area which offers a thrilling ride down the mountainside on a specially designed sled.
The ride starts beside the top of the chairlift, leading you on a winding journey through breathtaking scenery.
The luge is suitable for all ages and costs just 15.50 EUR per person.
WHERE TO STAY IN SAN CANDIDO
San Candido has dozens of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Naturhotel Leitlhof
Mid-Range: Hotel Andermax
Budget: Residence Rogger
WHERE TO STAY IN CORTINA D’AMPEZZO
In case you decide to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is a great alternative, see the list of accommodations below that I recommend:
Luxury: Hotel De Len
Mid-Range: Hotel Serena Cortina
Budget: Antelao Dolomiti Mountain Resort
CAMPERVAN PARKS NEAR SAN CANDIDO & CORTINA D’AMPEZZO
See the list below for recommended campervan parks near San Candido:
See the list below for recommended campervan parks near Cortina D’Ampezzo:
DAY 4: TRE CIME NATURE PARK
On Day 4, you’re heading to one of the most iconic locations in this region – Tre Cime Nature Park.
Parco Naturale Tre Cime is home to the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo), one of the most recognizable mountain groups in the Alps.
With hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, this park is the perfect day trip in the great outdoors.
TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO HIKE
The trek around Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a loop trail that spans approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
Tre Cime trail is predominantly flat and well-maintained, making it accessible to all levels, and the entire loop takes about 4-5 hours to complete.
While there are mountain huts along the way where you can purchase food, it’s always a good idea to bring plenty of your own supplies such as water and snacks.
Also, wear comfortable hiking shoes and dress in layers because even in summer, it can get chilly at higher altitudes.
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Your journey begins at Rifugio Auronzo, a mountain hut situated at 2,340 meters (7,677 feet) above sea level.
You can reach Rifugio Auronzo by car or bus and there’s ample parking available, but it tends to fill up quickly during peak season so you’ll want to arrive early.
From Rifugio Auronzo, follow the marked trail and you’ll be immediately greeted by stunning views of the Tre Cime and surrounding mountains.
The trail initially takes you to Rifugio Lavaredo, which is a great spot to take a break and fuel up before continuing on the trail to Forcella Lavaredo, the highest point of the trek at 2,450 meters (8,038 feet).
As you descend from Forcella Lavaredo, you’ll pass by the striking Cappella degli Alpini, a small chapel dedicated to fallen Alpine soldiers.
The trail then leads you to Rifugio Locatelli, another mountain hut where you can rest and snack on some food.
After leaving Rifugio Locatelli, continue following the trail back to Rifugio Auronzo to complete the loop.
CADINI DI MISURINA VIEWPOINT
After the Tre Cime hike, if you still have some energy left to continue hiking, I highly recommend the Cadini Di Misurina Viewpoint Trail.
The hike is moderately challenging and takes approximately 45 minutes each way.
You’ll access the trail from Rifugio Auronzo where you initially parked the car for the first hike, which is great because you can do both trails at once.
From here, the trail initially descends before climbing up the opposite ridgeline, leading you to the stunning Cadini Di Misurina viewpoint.
Once at the viewpoint, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking spectacle – the sharp pinnacles of the Cadini mountain group rising majestically from the landscape.
Don’t forget to bring your camera because the view is truly Instagram-worthy!
BACK TO SAN CANDIDO
After a successful hiking day, you’ll be more than ready to go back to your accommodation in San Candido or Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Get some rest, have a filling dinner, and get ready for day 5, the last day of this Dolomites itinerary.
DAY 5: LAKE SORAPIS TRAIL
On the final day of your Dolomites road trip itinerary, the Lake Sorapis Trail is a must.
This moderate hike is a highlight of the region, leading you to the turquoise waters of Lake Sorapis nestled amidst towering peaks.
Good hiking boots are recommended, and always remember to bring plenty of water and snacks.
From San Candido, you’ll get there in about 45 minutes heading south toward Belluno. From Cortina d’Ampezzo, you can reach the lake in just 25 minutes.
You have a few options, you can hike around the lake which is 1.1 km long and takes around 45 minutes to complete with photo stops or hike the full trail which is 11.6 km long.
Alternatively, instead of taking the in-and-out trail, another option is to do the full loop, passing by Forcella Marcuoira on the way back, but that’s a more challenging option.
No matter which route you choose, as soon as you get to Lake Sorapis, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of its distinctive turquoise waters set against the backdrop of the Dolomites.
DOLOMITES ROAD TRIP – FAQ
Driving around and exploring the strikingly beautiful Dolomites is an experience like no other.
Here are some handy travel tips and things to know before you begin your Dolomites itinerary 5 days.
ARE 5 DAYS IN DOLOMITES ENOUGH?
5 days in Dolomites is enough to visit iconic locations like Tre Cime di Lavaredo, hike to stunning viewpoints like Seceda Peak, and explore charming towns like Cortina d’Ampezzo or San Candido.
You’ll likely have enough time for a mix of outdoor activities, sightseeing, and relaxation.
However, if you’re keen on doing multiple long hikes or exploring more remote areas, you might find 5 days limiting, and I recommend staying for 7 or 10 days.
ARE THE DOLOMITES WORTH VISITING?
Absolutely, the Dolomites are worth visiting because it’s simply breathtaking.
There is a plethora of activities for all seasons – in the warmer months, you can enjoy hiking, biking, and rock climbing, and in winter the region transforms into a snowy paradise perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
You can explore charming mountain villages, visit historic churches, and sample delicious local cuisine. What else do you need on a vacation to Italy?!
HOW MANY MOUNTAINS ARE THERE IN THE DOLOMITES?
There are 2,200 named mountains in the Dolomites and 18 significant peaks which rise to above 3,000 meters.
These majestic peaks cover an area of 141,903 hectares and offer some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.
ARE THE DOLOMITES ITALIAN OR GERMAN?
The Dolomites are located in northern Italy. They are a part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east.
The region is rich in culture and history, with influences from both Italian and German traditions due to its proximity to the Austrian border.
Although situated in Italy, the Dolomites have a multilingual heritage. In certain areas, German is widely spoken alongside Italian and the local language, Ladin.
So, geographically, the Dolomites are Italian, but culturally, they have a blend of Italian and German influences which makes this region uniquely fascinating.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN DOLOMITES?
The Great Dolomites Road from Bolzano to Cortina d’Ampezzo offers some of the most breathtaking scenery.
Other notable drives include the Gardena Pass, the route through Val Di Funes and St. Magdalena, and the road around the stunning Lake Misurina.
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY IN THE DOLOMITES?
The currency used in the Dolomites, like the rest of Italy, is the Euro (€). It’s advisable to have some cash on hand for smaller places where card payments may not be accepted.
However, credit and debit cards are widely accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops.
ARE THE DOLOMITES EXPENSIVE?
Yes, the Dolomites in Italy are expensive. And while accommodation ranges widely, budget options start at €50-100 per night.
Car rental is around €50-100 per day, plus parking fees. Expect to spend around €30 per person per day on food. Additional costs like fuel and tolls can add up.
Of course, the cost of your itinerary depends on your lifestyle but I recommend budgeting €250 per person per day as a solo traveler or €200 per day per person as a couple.
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE DOLOMITES?
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FINAL THOUGHTS – DOLOMITES ITINERARY 5 DAYS
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and if you have any questions, please drop me a comment below this post, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
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THANKS FOR READING
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