Above the clouds: an unforgettable vacation in the Dolomites
The Dolomites are a mountain range of amazing beauty in Northern Italy, characterized by a special shape of peaks and a rock called dolomite. The mineral got its name thanks to the French scientist Deodre da Dolomite. In the 18th century, he was the first to explore this alpine region and discovered that the rocks consist of limestone and another previously unknown substance. That is why both the rock and the mountains were later named after the geologist.
Previously, the massif was called Monti Pallido, meaning "pale mountains". A romantic legend explains the history of this name. Once upon a time, a prince lived in those parts and he fell in love with a lunar princess of unearthly beauty. He liked her so much that he couldn't imagine life without her, so he married her. But the earthly life did not bring joy to the girl. She got sick and got worse every day, and all because she missed her native mountains so much. The gnomes came to the rescue: they wove a blanket of moon threads and covered the Alps with it. That's how the rocks got their special color.
The range stretches across three Italian regions: Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol), and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. You can get here in just 1.5 hours from the city of Innsbruck in Austria or in 2 hours from the Italian Lake Grada, near Venice.
When to go?
The time to travel to this region depends on your hobbies. The summer months are great for hiking, where you can admire amazing views and access the most remote corners.
In winter, skiing enthusiasts will find magnificent slopes and interesting routes.
The least favorable season to visit the Dolomites is October-November and April-early May. It often rains here at this time.
Traveling in the warm months
If you like outdoor activities in the warm season, we have prepared a list of the most interesting routes for one-day hikes:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2320 m)
Length: 10-17 km (depending on the chosen route).
Time: 3-6 hours.
The three sharp-edged cliffs of Tre Cime are the hallmark of the Dolomites. Despite the popularity of this track and the number of people who come here, the route should definitely be included in the trip. It offers grandiose landscapes, so you will get an unforgettable experience and feel unity with nature.
- Track around Cinque Torri (2361m)
Length: 2-4 km (depending on the route chosen).
Time: 2-4 hours.
Although the route near the Five Towers is one of the easiest in the region, you will be amazed by the panoramic views of the Copanic, Tofana, Cristallo massifs and the Cortina d'Ampezzo valley. In addition to the incomparable scenery, there is the Della Grande Guerra Museum, where you can see restored trenches from the First World War and learn more about the important role played by this area during the war.
- Lago Lagazuoi track
Length: 10 km.
Time: 3-5 hours.
The most difficult route on this list is named after Lake Lago Lagazuoi, located at the foot of the majestic cliffs. Its crystal clear waters take on different shades depending on the time of day, and the mirror of the lake reflects the peaks of Torre del Lago and Scotoni Peak. During the hike, you can meet local alpacas or have a coffee near the mountain huts and shops.
Traveling in winter
The Dolomites are a real paradise for lovers of skiing and other winter sports, as Dolomiti Superski was created here, an alliance that united more than 40 resorts into a single ski area. It's one ski pass with 1200 km of pistes and 460 lifts, and the opportunity to visit many mountainous areas without taking off your skis.
If you decide to spend your winter vacation in the Alps, pay attention to these resorts:
- Val di Fassa
It is considered one of the most popular in Italy, thanks to the service and modern equipment, but at the same time pleases with more affordable prices.
The length of the slopes is 200 km, most of them are red (105 km). There are 59 lifts on the territory, and the maximum altitude is 2950 km.
- Cortina d'Ampezzo
It belongs to the category of more prestigious resorts. It is also believed that it is here that the best mountain scenery in the entire Dolomites opens up.
This small resort town is surrounded on all sides by mountains and steep cliffs. There are more than 140 km of slopes and 45 ski lifts, many excursion programs and interesting routes. Most of the routes are aimed at beginners.
One of the favorite resorts among Italians, although it is slightly inferior in size to the others. The ski area is about 80 km long, most of the slopes are red, there are 25 ski lifts, ski schools, a snow park, and a children's area. Several slopes are equipped for night skiing.
Visiting the Dolomites is an unforgettable experience at any time of the year. This unique mountainous region attracts with its natural beauty, legends, and variety of activities. Regardless of the season, this massif is always ready to surprise you with fabulous landscapes and unforgettable moments on the peaks above the clouds.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told you about the best mountain routes in Ukraine.