The Dolomites are one of these atypical mountains of bewitching beauty. Their relief, unique in the world, makes it a fabulous playground for hiking and leaves lasting memories for those who venture there. The many refuges also allow roaming without heavy carrying for lovers of lightness. In summary, it is a perfect massif for long-distance hiking, really not far from our home! I present to you 5 routes among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites.
Of variable length, they will allow you to discover the massif each in their own way. They all pass through the northern part of the Dolomites (some venture south as well) and sometimes overlap. you hole
Alta Via 1, the magic of the Dolomites accessible
Duration: 7 to 10 days
Starting point: Lake of Braies
Arrival point: La Pissa / Soffranco / Belluno
The most famous route among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites. It is also an accessible crossing, which is generally done in a week and does not require technical equipment. Note that the original route, which ends in Belluno, includes a real via ferrata and requires equipment accordingly. This portion is relatively unfrequented by Alta Via 1 hikers, who prefer to avoid getting weighed down for such a small, avoidable section. Most end up in La Pissa or Passo Duran. Soffranco offers the possibility of taking public transport to Longarone and then Venice or Cortina d’Ampezzo.
This popular route crosses fabulous landscapes and ventures onto some of the most famous spots in the Dolomites. You will pass by the famous Lago di Braies, Lagazuoi, the Cinque Torri, the splendid massifs of Pelmo and Civetta. You will walk along ridges between Passo Falzarego and Passo Staulanza, from where you will have magnificent views of the entire northern part of the massif. So here is an easy trek and full of great rewards.
Here is my story of a trek which borrows for a large part the AV 1, accompanied by all the practical information to prepare this route.
The Alta Via 2, my favorite route among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites
Duration: 10 to 14 days
Starting point: Bressanone (Brixen)
Arrival point: Croce d’Aune or Feltre
This is my favorite among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites. The Alta Via delle Legende (high road of legends, another name given to Alta Via 2) crosses the Dolomites from north to south, like Alta Via 1. It is longer, wilder and more technical than her big sister. The equipped passages are numerous without being very difficult. Nevertheless, it is a crossing of the Dolomites on foot reserved for those who are sure-footed.
Although it passes through places frequented during the day, the Alta Via 2 essentially passes through quiet mountains of fascinating beauty. The highlight of the show awaits you in the little-known Pale di San Martino natural park, where the mountains are the most impressive. You will cross it in its intimacy, far from the crowds most of the time, overlooked by huge limestone towers. But the rest of the course will not disappoint you. The Puez massif will seize you with the beauty of its needles and the depth of its canyons. That of Sella will take you to high altitude plateaus with lunar accents. Without forgetting the memorable passage through the balconies of the Marmolada, the highest peaks of the Dolomites, flanked by its great glaciers.
You can find practical information, photos and story in this article.
The Via Alpina, the best of the Dolomites
Duration: 10 to 14 days
Starting point: ovaro
Arrival point: Tires/Bolzano
There ViaAlpina is a major trek, the only route to cross the entire Alpine arc through its 8 countries. A fabulous and immersive adventure close to the mountains, which changed my life. I followed the yellow Via Alpina which devotes more kilometers to the Dolomites than the red Via Alpina. Even if it means crossing the Alps, you might as well take the time for the most beautiful massifs! To get the most out of it, I modified the yellow Via Alpina to create a homemade variant that did not disappoint me!
The route first crosses the Dolomites via confidential passes and grandiose valleys. Far from Cortina d’Ampezzo where the crowds are concentrated, you can discover corners that are still preserved: Val Pesarina, Val Montanaia, Passo del Mus, etc. Then it approaches Cortina, takes the Alta Via 1 for a short time before reaching the fabulous Col de Travenanzes. The mythical places of the Dolomites follow one another: Passo Gardeneccia, Rifugio Puez, Rifugio and Lake Pisciadu, Passo Sella. You will end up with the magnificent Catinaccio massif of Antermoia and the limestone cathedral of Passo Molignon. an east-west crossing that will leave you with marvelous memories. This justifies its place among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites.
Here are my stories with all the practical information to follow my steps! If you want to know more about the Via Alpina, go here.
Dolomites World Heritage Geotrail II, the unsung gem
Duration: 10 days
Starting point: Aldein / Aldino
Arrival point: Sexten / Sesto
A relatively unknown route compared to the Alta Via 1 and 2 mentioned above. But its very well constructed route places it among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites. To tell you the truth, there is 4 geotrails in the Dolomites. the other 3 being even more confidential than the one I’m going to tell you about, number II. Here are the steps:
If the route is concentrated in the north of the massif, it nevertheless takes different paths from the Via Alpina, exploring the south of the Catinaccio massif from Aldein or crossing the Alpe di Siusi, the highest mountain pasture in Europe, where the view of the Sasso Piatto is sumptuous. The path then crosses the natural parks of Puez and Fanes. Geotrail II ends in style with a visit to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a true emblem of the massif.
The Sentiero Italia, an exceptional crossing
Distance: 6880km (for the whole), 261 km for the crossing of the Dolomites (southern route)
Elevation: 16000m (Dolomites)
Duration: 2 to 3 weeks
Starting point: Plocken Pass
Arrival point: Castello di Fiemme
The Sentiero Italia offers a unique route, which crosses Italy from east to west then from north to south through the mountains for nearly 7000 km. From the tip of Sicily to the Eastern Alps, all the major massifs of the boot are visited. due to its length, it is impossible to do it in one summer but we can consider doing it by section. Of course, the Sentiero offers a beautiful crossing on foot of the Dolomites. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about this exceptional trail.
I suggest you start this route at the Plöcken pass. It is not strictly speaking the Dolomites but rather the Carnic Alps. However, the views of the famous massif are fabulous. The interest of this route is twofold: you will discover the Dolomites both from east to west but also from north to south. All the atmospheres are there, from the green Tyrolean mountain pastures to the wilder spaces of the southern Dolomites. A very nice way to cross them and a well-deserved place among the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites.
The proposed route is based on the southern variant of the Sentiero, which begins in Arraba, in the heart of the crossing on foot of the Dolomites.
Several means of transport are possible.
The plane is certainly not the most eco-responsible, but it is the fastest way for those who do not live near the Alps. You will have to take a flight to Venice. From here, the Dolomites are within easy reach. Bus companies connect the main cities of the massif to Venice.
The car offers an interesting alternative to public transport, especially if you live near the Italian border. Thus Bolzano, capital of South Tyrol (the northern part of the Dolomites) is 6h45 from Gap, 6h from Annecy or 6h from Grenoble. Alpiners in search of new horizons will therefore be favored! Note that the stop works randomly in the Dolomites. I experimented with it, always with success but it took sometimes a long time before this success!
The bus from France is also an option. The Flix company notably serves Bolzano, Merano, Longarone, Cortina d’Ampezzo and Brixen (AV 2). A connection is generally necessary from France, as well as a substantial travel time! Inside the massif, the bus network is very developed (especially in season). However, it is difficult to read. For precise information, it is better to contact the tourist offices.
The train is an exploitable but nevertheless subject to the vagaries of getting to the Dolomites. You will find more details on my Via Alpina stories. As much as the journeys can go very well, delays are very possible. This can complicate the correspondences. However, it is a very pleasant way to get around. Venice is very well served. Trains will also drop you off at the heart of the massif: Bolzano, Brixen or even Dobbiacco have stations that welcome travelers from Italy or Austria.
Conclusion on the most beautiful treks in the Dolomites
Here are 5 great hiking routes to enjoy the best of the Dolomites. You will have something for everyone, from the easy crossing over 1 week following the Alta Via 1 to the most complete crossing of the massif on the Sentiero Italia, passing by the Alta Via 2 which will introduce you to via ferrata in a dream setting. Each route has its specificities and is worth the trip.
Of course, the Dolomites are full of exceptional paths. This article cannot list them all. But I wanted to make you want to visit these special mountains on foot by presenting a few routes that caught my attention. I hope they give you the inspiration and information you need! Feel free to post your travel feedback and comments at the bottom of this article!