Dreaming of the Dolomites
The final leg of our Italian journey brought us to the Dolomites. The Dolomites, an Unesco World Heritage site was on Marc’s bucket list and now I know why. Located in the northeast corner of Italy, bordering Austria, the Italian Dolomites are widely regarded as some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Add emerald lakes and rolling alpine meadows to the mix and the scenic beauty becomes overwhelming. The region is a favorite ski destination among Italians and famous for hiking in the summer. No matter how long you visit, you will wish you had more time.
Below you will find our itinerary to inspire yours. My brother and myself plan our trips. We tend to start our research exploring Instagram, googling blogs and hotels. It takes days to plan detailed trips from routes, restaurants, hotels, activities and rental cars. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions for your future trip.
We traveled from Tuscany to the Dolomites by way of car, which took 5 hours. If you’re renting a car make sure to get a European drivers permit before arrival. There are also areas of the Dolomites where you won’t be able to drive during certain hours of the day, which is to ensure safety for hikers - make sure to ask your hotel.
Day 1 (Day 9 of our full trip):
Tuscany → Dolomites (5h drive)
Arrival: approx. 4pm
Check into the Hotel - 2 nights
Dinner/Rest at the Hotel with spectacular views.
Tirler is nestled near the largest mountain pasture in Europe in South Tyrol. One of the most beautiful and sustainable wellness hotels in Europe - it was built according to the latest ecological standards. I highly recommend this hotel - the restaurant was incredible. From hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, and pools - you will get the ultimate spa experience after a day skiing or hiking in the mountains. NOTE: During the summer months - don’t expect an air conditioner in your room (many hotels in the mountains don’t provide one).
Other Dolomite options we researched. There are many beautiful hotels, you have to look for hotels in the area that you seek to explore. Dolomites cover a massive area.
Day 2 (Day10):
Breakfast at Hotel - I’m still dreaming about their croissants. The restaurant and hotel staff were fantastic, welcoming and kind.
Visit famous Santa Maddalena Church in Val di Funes
Viewpoint: Panchina Panoramica (20 min hike)
Visit famous St. John in Ranuni Church (30 min walk from other church)
Drive back towards the Hotel
Visit the famous Alpe di Siusi (largest mountain plateau in Europe) Driving here is prohibited. Drive to Compatsch, park at P2 parking lot, and hike 1 hour.
Viewpoint: Belvedere dell’ Alpe di Siusi
Dinner and Spa at the Hotel
If you go to Tirler - I could easily recommend an entire week at this location. The amount of trails and adventures are endless.
Day 3 (Day 11):
Breakfast at the Hotel
Check out of the Hotel
Drive to the new Hotel location (1h 20m) - The dolomites are vast; therefore we split our stay at two hotels to capture more of the landscape.
Check into Hotel for 2 nights
Hotel: Royal Hotel Hinterhuber
Visit the famous Lago di Braies
(30m drive from the hotel)
The water was gorgeous, but expect a crowd. I suggest packing a lunch, though there are two food outlets where you can grab food and souvenirs. There is a parking lot, but get there early for a spot. This is a must see and if you have the time and patience, wait in line to rent a boat and bring your lunch. I paddled around the lake with my mom and it was stunning.
Dinner/Rest at the Hotel or find a local restaurant, which we did, but I don’t remember the name. The town is very small.
Royal Hotel Hinterhuber was nice enough, I would not necessarily recommend this hotel if you plan to stay long and enjoy amenities. A budget conscious hotel, perhaps find another if you're seeking more luxury.
Day 4 (Day 12):
Breakfast at the Hotel - buffet was good.
Hiking Day: (pack lunch). There is a grocery store 5 minutes from the hotel to grab snacks.
Famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop — iconic 3 peaks.
(4 - 5 hrs to complete the hiking loop) 1h drive one way from the hotel.
Starts and ends at Rifugio Auronzo
Bring cash for toll, hike counterclockwise, flat/easy hike.
Cadini di Misurina — lesser known (35-45 mins to viewpoint)
Dinner/Rest at the Hotel
Day 5 (Day 13):
Check out of Hotel
Dolomites → Venice (3h 30m drive)
Arrival: approx. 3pm
Return Rental Car to Marco Polo airport
Transfer to Hotel by ana airport boat
Check into Hotel - 1 night
We spent the afternoon exploring St Mark’s Square and enjoyed a gondola ride. If we had more time we would have spent another day or two in Venice visiting the canals and famous hotels and landmarks. The hotel we stayed at was modern and had room service, which was a treat before our long flight home. A perfect location to be close enough to the airport, but far enough to enjoy the history of Venice. If we stayed in Venice longer, I would have had more tips and hotel recs. Next time.
Day 6 (Day 14) - we say arrivederci to Italy.
Note: For other regions - I found this blog post and this one to be helpful.
As I currently write this, I’m aware of how fortunate I am to be able to explore the cities and countries I’ve gone to - it is a privilege I’m beyond grateful for.
Social media introduced me to places I never dreamt of or even knew about, but at the same time it has created this constant comparison game. Travel isn’t always easy or about beautiful pictures. What you may not see are the flight cancellations/delays, the family/friend tiffs, the lost luggage, dangerous situations, sicknesses, vehicle breakdowns, etc. Travel can humble you, it can be challenging, eye-opening, but most of all - it’s an education of a culture, country, customs and lives outside of our own. When you see the world, you’re prone to explore more of it and most importantly to protect it.
“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences,
and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
Christopher McCandles, subject of Into the Wild
All pictures are taken by my brother - Marc Scarioni. Except for this one ;)