Summer in the Dolomites
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
― John Muir
John Muir’s quote captures my sentiment well, especially when it comes to summer in the Dolomites. If you haven’t experienced this unique corner of the Alps, here are five reasons to plan a summer visit.
Describing the landscape in the Italian Dolomites is a challenge. Beautiful, stunning, and unique are appropriate adjectives but seem insufficient when it comes to the geographically rich UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is much more to this magical mountain region. Like how the majestic, pale mountains glow almost iridescent shades pink, orange and purple at sunset, a phenomenon known locally as enrosadira.
And the endless alpine meadows that invite you to hike or bike a bit further along the trail. And then there are the local animals you encounter all the way, who seem to love spending the summer in the Dolomites as much as we do.
Hiking in the Dolomites ranges from family-friendly gravel paths to more challenging via ferrata routes equipped with fixed ladders and cables.
When hunger, thirst or fatigue strike, an alpine inn or rifugio, meaning refuge or shelter in Italian, is never far away. These primarily family-run restaurants and small hotels are a welcome place to stop for a snack, meal or even an overnight stay.
The Dolomites are a world-class cycling destination. Race along the same twisting mountain roads as the professional cyclists in the Giro d’Italia, or explore the alpine trails on a mountain bike – each day is a new adventure in this corner of Italy.
If you love to ride on the road, consider watching or joining the Maratona dles Dolomites in early July. This epic 138 km road cycling event includes multiple mountain passes and an altitude gain of 4230 m.
Part of Austria until World War I, the cuisine in the Dolomites reflects the history of the region. Menu items in both the alpine rifugios and village restaurants are diverse and delightful – Austrian apple strudel served alongside Italian cappuccino at breakfast, Tyrolian dumplings at lunch, and pasta with local wine in the evening.
Although the Dolomites retain a remote feel, the region is only a few hours drive from Milan, Munich or Salzburg depending on the direction of travel.
- Located in Italy, near the Swiss and Austrian border, the Dolomites are accessible by train to Bolzano. A vehicle is required and recommended if you want to visit the charming mountain towns. Visit ÖBB for train schedules.
- Visit the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site for more information about the area.
- Accommodation ranges for five-star lodges to mountain cabins. The Alta Badia, a region within the Dolomites, has an informative website covering trails, accommodation and activities. The Alpe di Siusi is another favourite area and the regional website offers everything you need to plan all or part of your summer in the Dolomites.
- Mountain bikes are plentiful in the Dolomites so no need to bring your own. Road bikes are also available, but they book up in advance, especially during the Maratona dles Dolomites.
- Milan is a fabulous city and a great place to spend a few days before a summer vacation in the Dolomites.
You may also enjoy reading about a unique alpine stream walk experience in the Dolomites.