If you are looking for the best hikes in the Dolomites that you can do in just one day or less, you’ve come to the right address! Over the past year, we have visited this magical place in Northern Italy several times. Our first time in the Dolomites was in summer, but let us tell you that the Dolomites are beautiful year-round. Now, the hiking culture is real in the Dolomites and a lot of people come here armed with hiking poles and overnight back packs. But even if you are a less experienced hiker like us, you can reach some of the most amazing viewpoints in just under a day. Here are the top 8 best and easy day hikes in the Dolomites.
The Dolomites in Northern Italy
We’ve always been in love with mountains, alpine lakes, early morning hikes, crisp cold air and the feeling of absolute tiredness in the evening. However, we know that this is not everyones cup of tea which is why we want to include some general information in this Dolomites travel guide.
General information about the Dolomites
The Dolomites – or Dolomiti in Italian – are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. They form part of the Southern Limestone Alps and are located in the regions of Veneto, Trentino, and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will understand why as soon as you are there.
WHO WILL LOVE THE DOLOMITES | Honestly, the Dolomites aren’t for hikers only. You will also love them if you are looking for a romantic couple getaway, a family vacation or if you prefer solo travels. What you should have, however, is a love for the mountains. Since you will be surrounded by mountains all the time, you should definitely like fresh alpine air, slightly colder temperatures, and at best hiking.
DOLOMITES PACKING LIST | No matter if it’s summer or winter, you should always have a jacket or a windbreaker with you. In the mountains it can be very cold and windy, especially in the mornings, before the sun shines over the mountains. Here are some things you should always pack:
- Jacket / Windbreaker / Warm clothing
- Gloves, i.e. if you need to hold on to a rope
- Refillable bottles, ideally with a filter
- Hiking boots or hiking equipment; depending on the hikes you want to do
- Hiking backpack to store all your things
- Snacks like nuts, oat bars, dried fruits; especially if you do longer hikes
- Cash, because you have to pay a toll for certain roads
How to get to the Dolomites
There are several ways to get to the Dolomites in Italy. The easiest way would be to fly into nearby cities in Europe (e.g. Verona, Venice, Zurich, or Munich) and then driving into the Dolomites by car. Best thing about this option: You can also spend a few days in the city you fly into!
Since we are from Germany, we always travel to the Dolomites by car. You could also travel by train and rent a car upon arrival.
How to get around in the Dolomites
We would highly recommend to rent a car upon arrival if you do not already travel by car. It’s always best to have a car in the Dolomites since you will be much more independent and don’t need to rely on certain buses. Moreover, most of the buses don’t operate until 9am which is bad if you visit during summer, because most of the destinations are already crowded around 7am.
Top 8 best and easy day hikes in the Dolomites – Highlights
- Crystal clear emerald green lakes
- Hiking to the bluest lake in the Dolomites
- Standing at amazing viewpoints that seem so unreal
- Picture-perfect postcard sceneries
1. Lago di Sorapis
This hike was on our bucket list for so long and we can only say that it is one of the best hikes in the Dolomites. Please note that this hike is not for people who have a fear of heights! Although most websites actually list this hike as an easy one, we’d stay it’s rather moderate. That is mostly due to its length, steep inclines and narrow pathways. It is definitely doable, but nothing for people with a fear of heights.
We did this hike early in the morning and would highly recommend to hike either early in the morning or later in the evening and stay overnight. It’s really crowded during the day and let’s just say that makes the hike even more tough and not really enjoyable.
If you want to read more about Lago di Sorapis and hiking tips, click here.
DISTANCE | 14km / 8.7 miles with 560 meters elevation
START & END | Passo Tre Croci
WHERE TO STAY | Stay in Cortina D’Ampezzo or anywhere nearby.
2. Tre Cime
Second off, we have the most famous hike in the entire Dolomites! The Tre Cime National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning hikes you could possibly do in the Dolomites.
We’d highly recommend to make this hike part of your itinerary! Although there are many hiking trails in the Tre Cime National Park, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop Trail offers the best views over the Drei Zinnen.
If you want to read more about the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike, click here.
The Tre Crime di Lavaredo hike is – as previously mentioned – one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites. That’s why we would highly recommend to start the hike early in the morning. If you can, go around sunrise. This way you won’t be bothered by hundreds and hundreds of other tourists.
Tip: You will have to pay €30 if you want to drive up the mountain pass. They accept cash only!
DISTANCE | 10km / 6 miles with 340 meters elevation
START & END | Rifugio Auronzo
WHERE TO STAY | Stay in Dobbacio or Sexten for the best experience.
3. Alpe di Siusi
When it comes to visiting Alpe di Siusi, also known as Seiser Alm, things can be a little confusing upon arrival. You should know that you cannot drive up between 9am and 5pm. Usually, this is no problem since most photographers arrive well before sunrise but we think that this information is good to know anyways.
If you want to go by car and go before the gondola’s are running, you can drive up before 9am but you have to park your car in the parking lot in Compatsch. With €20 parking fee it is definitely a little expensive but the only choice you have.
In order to reach the famous viewpoints you will now have to hike for about 45 minutes. Since the trail is almost completely flat, this hike is super easy! The best way to explore this beautiful meadow is on foot. It would be a shame if you only visited Alpe di Siusi for certain viewpoints!
If you want to get the coordinates of our photo spots, click here.
DISTANCE | 5km / 3 miles
START & END | Parking lot in Compatsch
WHERE TO STAY | Ideally, stay at one of the hotels at Alpe di Siusi. Alternatively: Sankt Ulrich or Compatsch are just perfect!
4. Cadini di Misurina
This hike is one of our favorites! The Italian Dolomites are filled with awesome viewpoints, amazing mountain peaks and so much more. However, it is not uncommon for you to hike for a long time. That’s were Cadini di Misurina enters the game: it’s a super short hike that will reward you with the most amazing views at the end! It will only take you around 30 minutes to reach one of the most beautiful places in the Dolomites. No wonder Cadini di Misurina had to be part of these top 8 best and easy day hikes in the Dolomites, right?
To get to this hiking trail you have to start at the exact same point as with the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hiking trail. You’ll drive up to Rifugio Auronzo but instead of walking left, you now go right. You will immediately see the rigged peaks from the Cadini di Misurina behind a hill. Happy hiking!
If you want to read more about the Cadini di Misurina hike, click here.
Tip: Try to plan this hike together with the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike. This way you only have to pay the €30 fee once!
DISTANCE | 4km / 2.5 miles with 100 meters elevation
START & END | Rifugio Auronzo
WHERE TO STAY | Stay in Dobbacio or Sexten.
5. Lago di Carezza
Lago di Carezza is another popular photography spot in the Dolomites and the hike will take you through a beautiful pine tree forest. The legend says that Lago di Carezza, also known as Karersee, holds its beautiful emerald green color due to a wizard. It is said that he fell in love with a mermaid that lived in the lake and to draw her to him, he made a rainbow over the lake. The mermaid then got out of the water but got scared upon seeing the wizard. She jumped right back in and disappeared. In his rage, the wizard tore down the rainbow and there it in the lake. That’s how Lago di Carezza got its vibrant colors.
Although we love this legend, Lago di Carezza has its magnificent color due to the algae in the water. Therefore, you should know that Lago di Carezza is completely fenced off. The reason that they fenced it off was that people were going into the water which destroys the algae in it and would thus result in the lake losing its magnificent color.
If you want to read more about our five favorite lakes in the Dolomites, click here.
As always we ask you to be respectful when visiting, because we want to see these places as they are for a long time to come.
DISTANCE | 3.5km / 2.5 miles and 280 meters elevation
START & END | Near Hotel Adler Carezza
WHERE TO STAY | We stayed at Alpe di Siusi, but we’d recommend to stay anywhere nearby.
6. Seceda Ridge Line
This hike actually starts with a cable car ride up to Seceda unless you are a very experienced hiker. There is the possibility to start the hike from the bottom of the mountain but, honestly, we would choose the cable car.
You can find the cable car in Val Gardena. And since there is a parking lot right next to it, you do not need to worry about where to leave your car. The price to take the gondola up and down is a bit pricey though. It will set you back €34 per person to enjoy this hike.
To reach the famous photography spot at Seceda Ridge Line, you will only need to hike for around 10 minutes. However, there are several other hiking trails going across the mountain. Just have fun exploring and enjoy the views then!
7. Lago di Braies
We already have some blog posts about Lago di Braies and travel tips for this area, because the popularity of Lago di Braies has literally exploded in the past years! It became one of the most visited places in the Dolomites and we can guarantee that it’s as beautiful in real life as it is in the pictures.
However, to have the best experience at Lago di Braies, make sure to arrive as early as possible. Sunrise is usually the best time for pictures and hiking around the lake! Not only will you be one of the few people hiking but you will also be able to admire the beauty of sunrises in the mountains.
Luckily, there is a parking lot right next to the lake and the parking fee is €6 (at least it was €6 in June 2020). We’d highly recommend to leave your car at one of the parking lots and ideally leave before 9am when it gets a little too crowded!
DISTANCE | 4km / 2.5 miles and 50 meters elevation
START & END | Lago di Braies parking lot
WHERE TO STAY | Stay in Dobaccio or Sexten for the best experience.
8. Val di Funes
The Church of Saint Magdalena in Val di Funes is one of the recent most popular photography spots. You probably saw this place everywhere on social media and let us say it’s well worth the hype! We love this quaint little church that’s nestled in a green meadow with the beautiful Dolomites towering high in the background.
To reach the best viewpoint you have to hike up a little since you cannot drive up this road. Please do not try to drive up! The property is privately owned and you can get fined if you do. And the hike up will only take you around 20 minutes.
Summary – Top 8 best and easy day hikes in the Dolomites
To be honest, we always thought that the hikes in the Dolomites must be pretty exhausting and simply not doable for someone who lives in a city. However, we were proven wrong with these top 8 best and easy hikes in the Dolomites. There are, of course, more day hikes that are pretty easy but the ones we included in this travel guide come with some of the best views of the Dolomites!
We really hope you liked these top 8 best and easy day hikes in the Dolomites. Here are some more posts you might enjoy:
- Neuschwanstein Castle travel guide
- Top things to do in & around Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- The best things to do in Bavaria in summer
- An essential travel guide to Königssee in Bavaria
- Best places to visit in the Dolomites
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