Europe, Hiking

Summer in the Dolomites

October 19, 2015

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.

Scenery

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.

Sunset during summer in the Dolomites

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.

Pastures and mountains in the Dolomites

A boy and horse in the Dolomites.Hiking

Hiking in the Dolomites ranges from family-friendly gravel paths to more challenging via ferrata routes equipped with fixed ladders and cables. Family friendly hiking trail in the Dolomites

Challenging hiking Dolomites

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.

Cycling

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.

Mountain-biking-Dolomites-summer

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.

Food

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.

Tyrollean-dumplings-summer-dolomites

Delicious dumplings served in a skillet at an alpine rifugio

Tortellini pasta meal in the Dolomites

Tortellini at the Adler Mountain Lodge

Location

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.

Travel Tips

  • 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.

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17 Comments

  • Reply Toccara November 14, 2015 at 4:21 am

    Wow, wow, wow. Those views!! I’d love to hike around these parts. I’d probably stick to the family-friendly gravel paths or take the cable car up to the alpine ridge ridge. So beautiful!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks Toccara! There are loads of great hiking options in the Dolomites and lots of gravel paths 🙂

  • Reply Tara November 14, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Oh I love Italy. This is beautiful. Did you go horse riding? I love hiking and horse riding. I think I’ll have to add this to the list.

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 14, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      We didn’t ride horses, but there seem to be lots in the pastures so I expect it is an option.

  • Reply Howard @ Backroad Planet November 14, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Now this is my kind of post, Nancy! Great insider tips and photography, but what I really love is the introduction to an unfamiliar destination. I have visited Austria, but I have not yet visited the Alps. I will be visiting Italy in December. And although I have heard of the Dolomites, I had no clue where they were, nor that they were a UNESCO site. Thanks for the eye-opening article!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 14, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Thank you so much, Howard! The Dolomites are supposed to be spectacular in December. Please let me know if you visit. I would love to see your photos.

  • Reply Jackie | The Globetrotting Teacher November 14, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Beautiful mountains! Alpine meadows with a mountain backdrop are such a beautiful natural combination. Looks like a great place to enjoy the outdoors, relax and explore. The hiking would be right up my alley and the biking too!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 14, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you. Jackie. The Alpe di Siusi is the largest high altitude alpine meadow in Europe so there are lots of hiking and biking trails!

  • Reply Hugo November 14, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Amazing part of Italy. Great captures!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 14, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks Hugo!

  • Reply Maya November 14, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Wow! Scenery is beautiful! I’ve been to Italy many times but not in Dolomites. Me and my boyfriend are planning to go there and do nothing else but mountain biking. Every time we watch Giro d’Italia we get all dreamy 😉

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 14, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Me too Maya! I love watching the Giro d’Italia and hope to ride a few of the routes one of these days! Enjoy your mountain biking 🙂

  • Reply Mar November 15, 2015 at 3:55 am

    Beautiful scenery and food! I had never seen a photo of the Dolomites despite I am from Europe but it looks dreamy!

  • Reply Carly November 15, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Amazing! I’ve never heard of this area prior to reading this post, but if it’s a UNESCO Site, I’ll be adding to to my list for next year. That tortellini looks yum.

  • Reply Alli November 15, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Those dumplings look amazing. I drove through the Dolomites a few years ago, but sadly did it so quickly I didn’t get much of a chance to soak it all in. I would just LOVE to go back and see more !

  • Reply Megan @ Traveling9to5er November 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I was in Italy for five months but never made it up this way. The landscape looks amazing and I’m very interested in trying the difference in the cuisine. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Karilyn November 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I am dying to go to Italy. And this looks like the perfect destination for our outdoor family. I want to do Cinque Terre for sure, and now this is a must on my Italy list. Wow!!

  • Leave a Reply


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