As one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, visiting the Dolomites is a must for any nature-loving traveller.
If you are planning a holomite (holiday to the Dolomites), you can take your pick of shorter walks or head on a week-long trail, including the many Alta Vias (high routes).
Here are our choices for the best routes for a self-guided hike through the Dolomites however there are other longer tours of the Dolmites, which allow you to have the full experience and beauty the Dolimites have to offer.
1. Adolf Munkel
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Etched into the Odle-Geisler mountain group, this circular trail makes for the ultimate hiking experience, without too much work on your part. Begin your hike on trail no. 6 in the Val di Funes (in Zans), and head towards the Puez-Odle Nature Park under the gaze of the stunning Odle Massif. Once you reach a bridge, turn right onto the Adolf Munkel Weg Trail no. 35.
As you walk further on the trail, the scenery continues to become more and more beautiful. Take a pit-stop at Geisler Alm, where you can have lunch and continue to admire your stunning surrounds. Then, continue on trail no. 36 to get back to your starting point.
For the perfect photo opportunity, hike up the Villnoss path to the viewpoint of St Magdalena church. Nestled in the valley, the quaint stone building makes for a picturesque sight.
Length: 9 km
Duration: 3 – 4 hours
2. Val Gardena
Hiking in the Dolomites is incomplete without exploring the forested landscape of Val Gardena. This memorable corner of the Dolomites is filled with infinite hiking paths, including the Sëurasas trail. Starting at S. Cristina, hikers walk to the Col Raiser lift where they will be taken up to a plateau.
Meander across the valley of the Mastlé Pasture until you reach the Cuca hill, where you can stop for a picnic at Lech Sant (Saint Lake). The amazing views don’t stop here as you travel along to the Pic mountain, and experience the breathtaking panoramic view of the Dolomites.
Dolomite locals also maintain the tradition of hand-crafted wood carvings, which can be seen displayed in many of the flower-strewn valleys, including Val Gardena. Your group will head back home after getting ‘over the rock’ at Sëurasas.
Length: 9 km
Duration: 3 hours
Level: Easy to moderate
For a hike as peaceful as it is stunning, take the route from the Cimabanche Pass that leads you straight to the Prato Piazza plateau. With its UNESCO-protected alpine ecosystem and stunning panoramic view, this trail is unmissable.
Begin your hike at path no.18, which leads you through a spacious forest, and then, start your ascent through the Val dei Chenopi. As you gaze over the Ru dei Chenope river, the formidable walls of Col Rotondo dei Canopi rise up on the right. The last pinnacles of Ra Šàres can be enjoyed before they are replaced when the lush-green peaks of Còšta del Pin come into view.
The Plätzwiese trail is the gift that keeps on giving as you travel along it. The stunning sight of a rocky gorge diverts your path, which then leads out of the forest and towards the grassy Plätzwiese pass. Take in a view where mountains are plenty and the valley is lush. Enjoy the breathtaking sight of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Tofane, Monte Cristallo and the magnificent Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo – a multi-coloured Dolomite landmark.
The plateau has an unbeatable location in the treasured Fanes-Sennes-Braies National Park. If you’re looking to stay in the area, there are a number of accommodation options, including 2 refugios – Dürrensteinhütte and Berggasthof Plätzwiese, which has an array of amazing Italian and Austrian delicacies.
On your way back down, take a detour along the tracks of the Dolomite’s forgotten blue and white train.
Length: 8 km
Duration: 3 hours
4. Der Labyrinthsteig am Karerpass
This stunning trail through the Rosengarten mountain group, is the perfect hike for families. Begin your walk at the Passo di Costalunga Pass/Karerpass and follow trail M21. You will meet a fork where you turn right into a meadow, brimming with flowers. The trail will decline slightly as you venture through a forest, then turn at to trail M13, and continue onto Trail no. 21.
Make your way through one of the many woodlands on this hike and follow the signs to Mitterleger Alm, which is located in a stunning alpine meadow. This trail leads you through one of the most secluded landscapes in the Dolomites, where you can really take in the alpine wonderland.
Follow on to Trail M20 and take in the breathtaking sight of the Latemar Mountain, with its dolomite pinnacles and chalky crags. You also have a stunning view of the Catinaccio (Rosengarten) Massif. Then comes the Labyrinth Trail’s namesake, an unbelievable maze of boulders, which you can explore on the well-marked trail leading you through it.
Take Trail no. 18 as you head home and make your way through the Latemar forest, one of the most beautiful forests in the Alps. Enjoy a few final looks at the stunning landscape as you follow Trail no. 21 back to ‘base’.
Length: 10 km
Duration: 5 hours
5. Viel del Pan Trail
If you’re looking for one of the best Dolomites hiking trips, the Queen of the Dolomites is your answer. The Marmolada mountain group has the ultimate array of views and trails, taking the crown for the highest peak in the Dolomites.
A unique landscape sets this corner of the mountain range apart, which includes pitch black volcanic lava ridges in spectacular contrast with iridescent limestone formations, and her crown jewel – the Marmolada glacier. Interestingly, the Queen is made of grey limestone instead of dolomite.
With 124 hiking trails to choose from, the Marmolada group has endless options for a fantastic hike through the Dolomites. The Viel del Pan is a great way to see a piece of the historic mountain range. Journey along the path used by flour and bread merchants, which links Passo Fedaia with Passo Pordoi. The Marmolada massif was also very significant during WWI when Austrian soldiers dug out the infamous Ice City, a surreal labyrinth of ice tunnels.
Take the cable car from Via Pareda to Pecol, and carry on to Col dei Rossi. Follow the moderately easy path, with a few rises and falls, down to Rifugio Viel del Pan. Lago di Fedaia will appear and, as you travel along until you see a path with steps, Lake Fedaia will come into view. The stunning lake makes an amazing destination to sit and admire your surroundings, and you may even spot a few marmots and the rare deer.
Just past Lake Fedaia, you will reach the hustle and bustle of Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada. The route is a one-way trip but there are regular buses, which can take you back to Canazei. Enjoy some delicious refreshments and a spectacular view while you wait.
Length: 8.7 km
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Level: Quite easy
6. Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo make for an amazing day of hiking and exploring. You can experience this stunning area as you admire the champagne-hued peaks of Cima Piccola, Cima Grande and Cima Ovest.
Begin your trip at the Rifugio Auronzo, which sits on the Alta Via no. 4, and offers an amazing view of the north face of Tre Cime. Visitors to this trail will need to take altitude tobacco No. 10, as it does get quite high. From here, you can make your way to the Rifugio Lavaredo, where a lush valley opens up to reveal cascading grassy hills. Then, admire the dolomite sentinels of Tre Cime from every angle as you hike along a well-marked trail to Rifugio Locatelli.
Carry on to Malga Lange where there is a stunning view of the Three Peaks from the terrace, and you can stop for some traditional South Tyrolean cuisine. From here, it’s a short hop back to Rifugio Auronzo.
Length: 10 km
Duration: 3.5 – 5 hours
7. Lago di Sorapiss
One of the more challenging Dolomites hiking trips is the trail to Lake Sorapiss. On your journey from Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti D’Ampezzo, head out on pass 215 and venture through an alpine forest. Look out for fascinating WWI bunkers as you make your way towards the cable system, which will take you up towards Rifugio Vandelli al Monte Sorapiss.
Your reward for this heady route is the sky-blue Lago di Sorapiss, sitting quietly in the valley. With its beach-like sandy shore, a walk around the lake is the perfect pitstop on this trail, and makes for an amazing photo. More experienced hikers can choose to take path 216 back to base but for a safer route, it’s best to go back the way you came.
Length: 13.5 km
Duration: 3 – 4.5 hours
Level: Moderate to hard
Visit one of the most famous peaks in the Dolomites on this challenging hike to Nuvolau. Begin your trail behind the Passo Falzarego restaurant as you step onto the path to Rifugio Averau. What begins as a light incline, becomes tougher as you go on, so be prepared for some heavy lifting. The trail is already worth it with views of the stunning Le Tofane massif behind you.
As you take the path to Averau Hut, you will pass under Averau mountain, where you experience breathtaking views of Mount Civetta to the south and the glorious Marmolada on your west. Before long, you will reach Rifugio Averau where you can stop for some well-deserved refreshments.
Then, continue on to Rifugio Nuvolau, which is settled on the stunning Nuvolau peak. Take in the stunning panoramic view, which includes a peek at Cinque Torri. Here, you can stop and watch climbers on their ascent up the “Fünf Türmen” (Five Towers), which is one of the climbing treasures in the Dolomites.
Once you have had your fill of alpine air, take the wide path at the Scoiattoli hut, and meander down into the forest. Enjoy the last moments of your hike on a sublime walk through the forest, until you reach Passo Falzarego once again.
Length: 12.6 km
Duration: 3.5 – 5 hours
Level: Moderate to hard
9. Tofana di Rozes Circuit
This all-rounder circuit trail checks all the boxes for an amazing hike in the Dolomites. Set off from the Rifugio Dibona as you follow the gravel path in the direction of the Tofana di Rozes. Pass the rattling teleferic, which is used to get supplies to the rifugio, and carry on to footpath 442. Make your way towards the Grotta di Tofana and via ferrata Lipella, then begin an incline to the south face of the exquisite Mt Rozes.
As you carry on along footpath 404, you will reach the fascinating Forcella Col dei Bos, a site of military artefacts, forgotten trenches and pieces of WWI history implanted alongside a field of fallen boulders. From here, the views are plenty, as you can see the Travenanzes mountain, Monte Cavallo, Tofana di Rozes, Tofana di Mezzo and Tofana di Dentro. As you take in the dolomite monuments surrounding you, gaze down into the idyllic Val Travenanzes.
Venture into the valley on footpath 404, where you can spot one of the fortified boulder formations such as Sasso Misterioso, which can be seen in the direction of Castelletto. Turn right as you follow the signs towards Ra Šàra del Minighèl (the famous Meneghel Ladder). Then, take in the stunning sight of the Pišandro del Majarié, a waterfall cascading alongside the ladder. If you are an experienced climber, take a trip up the via ferrata for some added adventure on your trail.
However, you can also take the footpath 403 near Malga Travenanzes for an easier route. Carry on up the Majariè glacial cirque, as you come to the end of the trail with a rewarding treat at Rifugio Giussani. Head homewards on an old military road, where you will find your way back to the Rifugio Dibona.
Length: 10 km
Duration: 4.5 hours
Level: Moderate to hard
10. Puez-Odle Altopiano
Begin this stunning trail at the Dantercepies cable car station where you can travel up to the starting point. Then, make your way to the Rifugio Jimmy where you can enjoy some light refreshments. This hike is one of the most challenging in the Dolomites, but the views are more than worth it.
After leaving the Refugio Jimmy, begin a steep ascent to Forcella Cier along hiking trail no. 2. Once you reach the top and head into the mountains, the terrain becomes rockier and there may still be some snow in the Summer months. Take in your heady surroundings at 2 viewpoints along the Jeuf deCir area. If you want to head back at this point, Trail no.12 will take you down to nearby Selva.
Alternatively, you can carry on your journey to Rifugio Puez for some much-deserved snacks and the spectacular view. Then, head back down the mountain to Selva on trail no.16.
Length: 16.3 km
Duration: 8 hours
Level: Very difficult
The valleys, peaks and trails across the Dolomites form an amazing landscape to explore. Whether you’re looking for a walk in the fresh alpine air, or something more challenging, the Dolomites have it all. The mountain range’s historic significance, natural wonders and warm hospitality make for a hiking trip unlike any other.
The Dolomite mountains are uniquely beautiful and, with endless routes to explore, there’s no reason to miss out on this stunning piece of the Italian wilderness.