The Perfect 7-10 Day Hiking Road Trip Itinerary Across The Italian Dolomites For Autumn Lovers

The cool mountain air, blue-bird skies, solitude, and a wide array of autumn colors. They say perfection doesn’t exist but when it comes down to hiking in the Dolomites, there is no better time for it than October. At least in my humble opinion.

Having spent a significant amount of time in the Dolomites during the autumn seasons I finally came up with the perfect Fall itinerary, incorporating some of my favorite photography spots and hikes.

Dolomites 7-10 days Fall travel plan overview

A day by day road trip plan across the Italian Dolomites during autumn season
  • Total distance: 554km / 344 mi (excluding distance from and to the airport)
  • Day hikes (more than 5 hours): 3
  • Half-day hikes (less than 4 hours): 5 – 6
  • Number of towns and hotels: 6
  • Photography spots:  13

Where does this itinerary start and end?

Fiera di Primero 1
Fiera Di Primiero – one of the stops along the itinerary

The first town you will stay in is Dobbiaco in the Pusteria Valley in the North part of the Dolomites.

You will then make your way South to Fiera di Primiero in the Pale di San Martino range before heading northwest to Val Gardena and ending in Santa Magdalena in Val Di Funes.

What are the best airports to fly into?

You can either choose to fly to Innsbruck in Austria or one of the airports near Venice (Marco Polo or Treviso).

The distance from Innsbruck is 137 km and it takes 2 hours to drive from Innsbruck airport to Dobbiaco. If you are flying to Venice the journey by car to Dobbiaco will take approximately 2.5 hours.

When is the perfect time to follow this Dolomiti autumn itinerary?

Between October 20th and October 31st. A few days before or after will be ok too, but from my personal experience, the above dates mark the peak of autumn colors.

Col De La Peina 143

How to get around the Dolomites?

For this road trip, you will need a car. I do not recommend renting a campervan during this time of the year. Most campsites are already shut, and the nights can get frigid cold. You will appreciate the warmth of a hotel room to recharge after the days out in the mountains.

If you need a car, I highly recommend Discover Cars – a search engine comparison site for the best car rental deals. If you book through the link above I receive a small commission which helps me run this site and create more itineraries like this one.

What type of traveler is this itinerary perfect for?

Durrenstein 30

An active one! If you spent the last few months on a couch in front of Netflix then I can tell you straight away you will suffer when following this road trip.

But if like me, you can’t stay put in one place and sweating bucket loads doing cardio is your idea of a fun afternoon then you just hit the jackpot! You will love this autumn hiking itinerary around the Dolomites!

What kind of weather can one expect during autumn in the Dolomites?

Albeit short, the days are still pleasantly warm and you can expect to hike in a t-shirt or long sleeve, but as soon as you stop you will feel the cold air running across your body. October is a relatively dry month. The summer storms are long gone, and the winds calm down.

As soon as the sun sets in October the nights get frigid cold with temperatures dropping way below zero. Snow starts to appear at higher elevations, but I have never needed hiking spikes in October. It’s important to carry layers with you on a hike, especially a well-insulated jacket, a hat, and gloves.

How much time will one need to complete this itinerary?

Ideally, you can come for 10 days. However, I will give you some hints on how to shorten it to a week, if you don’t have that much time on your hands. Just scroll down to the end of this post.

The map of the autumn road trip itinerary around the Dolomites

Below you can view the map of the itinerary, where I marked the trailheads for the hikes, photography spots, and the towns that you will be visiting.

Click on the top left of the map to reveal the layers. You can switch the layers on and off per your liking to make the map easier to read.

Day-by-day Dolomiti fall road trip breakdown

Sassolungo Circuit 24

Day 1: Dürrenstein & Lago Di Braies

Morning: Dürrenstein summit hike

We are kicking off this Dolomiti fall itinerary with a summit hike. Go big or go home, right? Dürrenstein is one of the busiest hikes during the summer season, but once autumn hits, its slopes become deserted.

When I hiked it for the first time in October last year I only met a handful of locals on the trail and had the summit all to myself!

Why is the Dürrenstein summit hike great in autumn?

Durrenstein 22

Mainly for two reasons:

Firstly it is sun-exposed. This can be problematic in the summer. I don’t like hiking in the scorching heat.

However, during autumn the cold breeze mixed with sunshine is the perfect combination making this hike very enjoyable. Thanks to sun exposure the trail is also not prone to icing.

The second and more important reason is the views! You can look down into the larch-filled valley for almost the entirety of the hike. An odd larch tree here and there will guide you along the trail and offer perfect photo opportunities.

Head over to my detailed post about the Dürrenstein summit hike to learn everything you need to know about this trail.

Afternoon: Lago Di Braies

Lago di Braies autumn 1

If you still have some steam left in your legs, you can go on a 2-hour stroll around Lake Braies. There are some fantastic viewpoints along the way.  

If your legs are done for the day, then just go to the jetty, sit down, and enjoy the views! With some luck, you will see Seekofel – the mountain, at which foot lies Lago di Braies, reflecting in the lake.

Lake Braies is a tourist hot spot and quite frankly I am not a big fan of this place, but I understand it attracts hundreds of tourists per day for a reason. Access to the lake is very easy. You can just drive up to it and park your car at one of the (overpriced) parking lots.

Getting a parking spot in the height of the summer season borders a miracle, but during Fall you shouldn’t have any issues whatsoever.

Couple it with the fiery larches gracing the slopes of the mountains right down to the lake and you will quickly forget about the rest of the crowds roaming around the lake. 

Read my post about Lago Di Braies for tips about visiting this magical place.

Day 1 total driving distance: 51.9 km

  • Dobbiaco to Durrenstein trailhead (rifugio Pratto Piazzo parking lot) – 20 km
  • Durrenstein trailhead to Lago Di Braies – 16.2 km
  • Lago Di Braies to Dobbiaco: 15.7 km

Day 2 – Tre Cime Nature Park and Croda Fiscalina Circuit

Today will be another intensive day following one of my favorite hikes in the Dolomites: The Croda Fiscalina circuit.

It will be a day packed with fantastic views of Croda Dei Toni, Croda Rossa, Monte Paterno, and most importantly – Tre Cime – the iconic photography spot of the Dolomites!

On top of that, you will visit Val Fiscalina and Val Sassovechhio – two larch-filled valleys through which the hiking path leads.

Rifugio Locatelli 1

What’s great about this hike is that it offers a great alternative approach to the Locatelli hut, where you get the famous views of the Tre Cime.

Most hikers opt for the Tre Cime circuit but follow my recommendation and follow the Croda Fiscalina circuit instead. You won’t be disappointed, even if you will have to work a little harder for it.  

Day 2 total driving distance – 34 km

  • Dobbiaco to Val Fiscalina – 17 km
  • Val Fiscalina to Dobbiaco – 17 km

Accommodation in Dobbiaco for nights 1 and 2

Day 3: Lakes, viewpoints & Cortina D’Ampezzo – the crown jewel town of the Dolomites

After two intensive hiking days, it’s time for a more relaxed one. Today it will be mostly about driving and visiting some of the easy-to-get scenic locations before another action-packed day.

Today’s most important stops will be:

Lago Dobbiaco

If I were to pick a favorite lake in the Dolomites, Lake Dobbiaco would be a big contender for being at the top.

There is a great walking path which takes you around the lake and requires ca. 1 hour to complete. A great option for families with small kids!

Lago Di Landro

Lago Di Landro 1

Drive further 10 minutes along road no. 51 and you will see parking on the left-hand side with a beautiful turquoise lake right next to it. That’s Lago di Landro. Blink and you will miss it.

Lago di Landro offers great reflections of Monte Cristallo, home to two famous via ferratas: Marino Bianchi and Ivano Dibona.

In October the water level in the lake might be very low but the turquoise color remains and it contrasts beautifully against the larch trees growing along the slopes of the surrounding mountains.

Lago Antorno

Lago Antorno 1

Another famous alpine lake in the Dolomites and a great autumn photography spot. Lake Antorno offers reflections of the southern side of the Tre Cime peaks. They look nothing alike in comparison to the famous northern view.

This is a beloved photo spot for many photography tours so you might have to scramble a bit for good photo composition.

Cadini Di Misurina viewpoint

Cadini Di Misurina viewpoint 1

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked about this viewpoint I would be rich (or at least could buy myself dinner).

If it comes down to Instagram-able spots in the Dolomites, this one is number one. Now before you get too excited I do have to tell you that to get to this spot you will have to hike again and after two intense hiking days, you might want to stick to roadside viewpoints.

To get to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint in the Tre Cime Nature Park you need to start the hike at Rifugio Auronzo and follow signs for Rifugio Fonda Savio along path no. 117. The path is extremely easy to follow and well-marked. I explain it in more detail in this post.

Road to Rifugio Auronzo 1

The road to the Auronzo refuge is a toll road only opened at certain hours of the day (exit is possible at any time). It also isn’t cheap. At ca. 30 Euros/car, it’s one of the most expensive stretches of road you will ever drive on.

The drive is beautiful though. Particularly in October. There are several viewpoints, where you will be able to capture the beautiful autumn colors, like in the photo above.

Monte Cristallo’s viewpoint (optional)

After visiting the area around Lake Antorno and Rifugio Auronzo keep driving towards Cortina D’Ampezzo. Ca. 14 kilometers into the drive you will find yourself on the Tre Croci mountain pass.

This is where you will find the trailhead for the famous hike to Lake Sorapiss. During the autumn season, the lake almost completely dries out, hence I don’t recommend hiking to it.

However, I do encourage you to walk the first 30 minutes of the trail to get to the beautiful viewpoint of Monte Cristallo, pictured above.

Day 3 total driving distance – 48.9 km

  • Dobbiaco to Lago Di Dobbiaco – 3.8 km
  • Lago Di Dobbiaco to Lago Di Landro – 8.6 km
  • Lago Di Landro to Lago Antorno – 9.1 km
  • Lago Antorno to Rifugio Auronzo – 5.6 km
  • Rifugio Auronzo to Passo Tre Croci – 13.7 km
  • Passo Tre Croci to Cortina D’Ampezzo – 8.1 km

Day 4 – Croda Da Lago Circuit

Lago Federa Autumn 1

I hope you are well-rested for another adventure. When people ask me about the absolute-must-do fall hikes in the Dolomites, the Croda Da Lago circuit is always my first answer.

The Croda Da Lago circuit leads through a dense larch forest eventually bringing you to the shoreline of Lago Federa. Thousands of larch trees grow along the shoreline of the lake creating a beautiful atmosphere during autumn.

There is a mountain refuge built right near the lake. Whilst most huts close for the season by the third week of September, rifugio Palmieri usually stays open till November.

This is your chance to experience the Dolomiti mountain hut culture and even stay in the hut overnight, should you wish to do so. Just make sure to reserve it before!

Day 4 total driving distance: 20 km

  • Cortina D’Ampezzo to Croda Da Lago Circuit trailhead – 10 km
  • Croda Da Lago Circuit trailhead to Cortina D’Ampezzo – 10 km

Accommodation in Cortina D’Ampezzo for nights 3 and 4

Day 5 – Col De La Puina 

The hike to Col De La Puina was my recent discovery thanks to a fellow local traveler and his YouTube channel – Bruno Pisani. If you would like to see some stunning video footage from the Dolomites make sure to check it out.

Col De La Puina lies within very close proximity to rifugio Citta di Fiume and offers killer views of one of the highest peaks of the Dolomites – Monte Pelmo.

This area comes to life during autumn when the valleys below turn bright yellow and orange thanks to (you probably guessed it by now) many larch trees.

Head over to my article about the hike to Col De La Puina to learn all the details and view more photos.

Day 5 total driving distance – 53.7 km

  • Cortina to Passo Giau – 18.9 km (31 min)
  • Passo Giau to Col De La Puina trailhead – 18.1 km (28 min)
  • Col De La Puina trailhead to Alleghe: 16.7 km (22 min)

Accommodation in Alleghe on night 5

Day 6 – Alleghe & Val Venegia

Alleghe Autumn 1

Alleghe is a small  Dolomiti town and home to a beautiful glacial lake of the same name. The turquoise waters of the lake contrast beautifully against the yellow and orange trees growing along its shoreline.

You should stroll around the lake to get to the viewpoint of the town pictured above. I’ve marked it on the map. Monte Civetta, which can be seen across the lake, raises sharply 2000 vertical meters above it!

The walk along the shoreline is mostly flat and will only take an hour but make sure to also accommodate some time for photos.

Val Venegia

After staying in Alleghe for a night and a morning stroll along the lake, you will make your way towards the Pale di San Martino range. Next on the itinerary is the walk through Val Venegia.

After hiking for the past two days you will appreciate the easy grade of this trail. It goes gently through the valley and even though the effort is minimal you will still be rewarded with amazing views of the jagged peaks of the Pale di San Martino range.

It only takes a couple of hours round trip with minimal elevation gain to complete the hike through Val Venegia. Consider day 6 to be another rest day.

Bring some food with you and have a picnic near Rifugio Venegia. Unfortunately, it will already be shut at this time of the year, but there are still benches outside for you to take a break and enjoy the views.

After the break head back to the car the same way you came and keep driving to Fiera di Primerio across Passo Rolle.

Day 6 driving distances

  • Alleghe to Val Venegia trailhead – 33 km
  • Val Venegia to Fiera Di Primeiro – 33 km

Accommodation in Fiera Di Primeiro on night 6:

Day 7: Lake Welsperg & Monte Castellaz

Morning: Lake Welsperg and Val Canali

Lake Welspberg 1

Begin day 7 of this autumn Dolomiti itinerary with a morning visit to Lago Welsperg. This little lake is only 10 minutes away from Fiera di Primiero.

You can either walk around this tiny lake (ca. 20 mins) or drive further into the valley and spend some time within the towering southern peaks of the Pale di San Martino range.

Afternoon: Passo Rolle and hike to Monte Castellaz

Monte Castellaz 19

Return to Fiera di Primiero for lunch before driving back up to Passo Rolle for the afternoon hike. Next on the itinerary is the little summit of Monte Castellaz connected with late afternoon or sunset at Baita Segantini before the descent back to the car.

Keep driving to Val Gardena.

Day 8 driving distances

  • Fiera Di Primiero to lake Welsperg and back – 10 km
  • Fiera Di Primiero to Passo Rolle (Monte Castellaz trailhead) – 22 km
  • Passo Rolle to Ortisei in Val Gardena – 79 km

Day 8: Val Gardena

Today will be relaxed, but you should take it easy and regain your strength for the following day, which I will get to soon.

Seceda Viewpoint

Seceda Ridgeline 1

Begin with the cable car right up to Seceda viewpoint. Spend some time taking photos before descending back down to town.

For absolute hiking freaks, you can still plan a hike around the Puez Odle altiplano, but the Seceda viewpoint is a highlight.

There is a cable car from Ortisei up to the viewpoint which now stays open until the beginning of November. Check its official website for times and prices.

Vallunga

Vallunga 1

Drive to the trailhead of Vallunga and take a walk for an hour or two through the stunning valley, which comes to life during the autumn season.

How long you choose to walk is entirely up to you. When I followed this itinerary I gave myself an hour there and an hour back.

Similar to Val Venegia this is a very easy walk with minimal elevation gain, so you won’t break a sweat. Visit my guide to the Vallunga hike to learn all the details.

Sunset at Passo Gardena

Passo Gardena 1

End day 8 with a sunset on Passo Gardena with a view down into the valley and towards Sassolungo. This is the mountain you will be circling on the next day’s hike.

Day 8 total driving distance – 39.8 km

  • Ortisei to Vallunga trailhead – 9.2 km
  • Vallunga trailhead to Passo Gardena – 12.2 km
  • Passo Gardena to Ortisei – 18.4 km

Day 9 – Sassolungo circuit 

Begin the day with a drive to Passo Sella, where the trailhead for your next hike is – the Sassolungo Circuit.

This is a full-day excursion so come prepared! Unfortunately, all mountain huts along this route will already be closed for the season, so you must carry enough water and food to last for the day.

Sassolungo circuit has quite a bit of elevation gain and loss, but because it spreads across 17 kilometers it never gets too steep.

Enjoy the views of Marmolada, Rosengarten, Alpi Di Siusi, larch-filled Val Di Fassa, and Val Gardena. A feast for the eyes!

Day 9 driving distances total – 34 km

  • Ortisei to Passo Sella – 17 km
  • Passo Sella to Ortisei – 17 km

Accommodation in Val Gardena on nights 7,8 and 9

Day 10 – Val Di Funes

You made it to your last day. It’s time to unwind a bit. After all, this was quite an intense week and a half. 

I thought long and hard about how to wrap this autumn road trip plan across the Dolomites and thought that Val di Funes could not be left out.

Morning: Santa Magdalena village in Val Di Funes

Santa maddalena village 1

The view of the Seceda ridgeline from the Santa Magdalena village during autumn is special as the yellow larch trees weave through the pine forest. Due to the lower elevation, compared to other locations included in this itinerary, autumn comes here a little later.

That’s why it’s good to leave it for last.

When you get to the Santa Magdalena village, first make sure to check out the view of St Giovanni Chapel.

Afterward, you have a couple of options:

  1. Head onto the easy panorama trail through the village.
  2. If you are still up for a hike, I highly recommend tackling the Adolf Munkel Trail. 

TIP: Santa Magdalena is also spelled Santa Maddalena. Don’t confuse it with another Santa Maddalena village which is close to the Italian/Austrian border and ca. 86 kilometers away.

Afternoon/evening: sunset at Passo Delle Erbe

Passo Delle Erbe 1
Passo Delle Erbe

End your autumn road trip through the Dolomites with a sunset at Passo Delle Erbe and watch the last light hitting the peaks of Sass Di Putia. Passo Delle Erbe is another 30-minute drive from Santa Magdalena village on a windy mountain road.

Day 10 total driving distance – 73.1 km

  • Ortisei to Santa Magdalena – 33.7 km
  • Santa Magdalena to Passo Delle Erbe – 19.7 km
  • Passo Delle Erbe to Santa Magdalena – 19.7 km

Accommodation in Santa Magdalena on night 10

TIP: You don’t necessarily have to book a separate stay in Santa Magdalena. You can also visit Val Di Funes when staying in Val Gardena, the previous spot on this itinerary

How to shorten this itinerary to 7 days

As mentioned previously, whilst I think 10 days is an optimal time for this road trip I understand that not everyone can travel for an extended period. Here are 3 options for you to make the trip shorter:

Option 1: Follow the itinerary as normal for the first 4 days then from Cortina head straight to Val Gardena and stay here for the next 3 nights.

Option 2: Start your itinerary in Cortina instead and cut out the first 3 days.

Option 3: Finish the road trip in Fiera Di Primiero and from there head back to the airport or wherever you started.

The summary of towns visited along this itinerary

Name of the townNumber of nights
Dobbiaco2
Cortina D’Ampezzo2
Alleghe1
Fiera Di Primiero1
Ortisei in Val Gardena3
Santa Magdalena1

That’s a wrap! I hope you will have an amazing time following this epic autumn road trip plan around the Dolomites. If you have any questions make sure to post them in the comments below! I answer all comments personally.

If you would like to support my work you can simply use the affiliate links included in this post or buy me a coffee. Thanks!

Other regions in the Dolomites worth visiting

More travel resources for the Dolomites

Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

39 Comments

  1. Incredible thanks Marta!! Unfortunately we are on an express trip and will have a hire car passing through for 3 nights so trying to decide the best itinerary to see the spectacular scenery. Any suggestions for must do as we don’t mind driving big days ! Thanks

  2. Hi Marta. Thank you for the inspiring itinerary and comprehensive guide. From other sites I’ve read that Great Dolomite Road is really only open mid June to mid September and that at least 2 passes between Canazei and Cortina will be closed for snow. I realize this itinerary does not exactly cover this route but was wondering if you had some knowledge of this and can confirm/point me in the direction of what official sites might provide definitive information? Thank you!

    • Hi Z. Not sure where you have the information from but it is not correct. Whilst it can happen that some mountain passes close over the winter when the conditions turn bad (For example during a snow blizzard). These roads are open and maintained even in the winter as they provide access to ski resorts. I only experienced a closure once in the early November when a snow blizzard hit. From early November until more or less mid-April people are required to carry snow chains with them just in case. Winter tires are also required during those months. I hope that helps.

  3. Dear Marta,

    Thank you so much for the clear overview of options especially for us autumn hikers 🙂
    I have one question for recommendation. I plan to go solo trekking next week, yes it is a last minute plan.
    My whishes: hiking for 5-7 days, preferably stay in mountain huts or other spots where the atmosphere is community/outdoor so easy to have a chat. And I generally like low budget spots. The hikes can be challenging, I have a decent amount of experience. And I really like multi day hikes.
    I saw the option to do the first 4 stages of the alta via 1, this option has the most refugios, but maybe not the nicest trek?
    The other options is the 7(-10) day road trip itinerary you mention. But this would mean I’d be staying in B&B/hotels without many others to connect with?

    What would you recommend seeing my wish list 😉
    Thanks again!
    Roderick

    • Hi Roderick. Thanks for stopping by. Most huts are already shut, the place where they stay open the longest is Rosengarten so I would recommend that you look into my Rosengarten Traverse. I was just there yesterday staying again in the Alpe Di Tires hut. The huts on the Alta Via 1 are closed now.

  4. Hi Marta,
    Thank You for all the tips. We visited Dolomites last Sep/Oct and had a great time. It was lovely.

    For this October visit around the 20th, my brother in law and family are visiting with a 3 year old. They don’t mind the drives and short hikes within and hour or so is fine. They will have a car and food is not an issue as they are bringing stuff with them so don’t mind staying in the Alta Badia area although the cable cars and many restaurants are closed so it is easy to travel to the Cortina area, Tre Cime, and also to the other side to visit Seceda and Alpe di Siusi.
    So, do you think this is fine to visit the following places for full 4 days and 4 nights?
    Do you recommend skipping anything and going to a different place?

    1) Tre Cime – Not the whole way but may be go to the Cadini di Misurina view point
    2) Lagazuoi – cable car is open till the 22nd of Oct , 2023
    3) Falzarego pass when they go to the above places
    4) Seceda
    5) Alpe di Siusi
    6) Passo Gardena when they go to the above places
    7) Val di Funes.

    Two optional places are Lake Braies and Vallunga in case there is time but highly doubtful.
    Considered the option of staying few days in Alta Badia area and few days in Val Gardena but movement of luggage, weather, etc might make it easy to stay in 1 place.

    Any changes or other photographic autumn spots you recommend to consider which don’t require long hikes?

    Thanks,
    Naveen

    • Hi Naveen. Thanks for visiting. Yes Alta Badia is a good place to stay if you want to be kind of in the middle, but you will still have quite a bit of driving to do. To be honest I would choose Vallunga over Val Di Funes. It will be much closer to get to from Alta Badia. All in All the places you enlisted are easy to get it and definitely doable with cable cars and driving.
      As for any personal recommendation I do offer trip planning advice on my site so if you are interested you can schedule a call with me.

  5. Thank you so much! We will be scheduling a planning meeting with you soon for Oct. 2024! For pre planning we have a couple of questions… this itinerary looks beautiful but maybe one too many days with hiking large elevation gain. We looked up a few of the hotels and they have a 3 night minimum stay. When staying at the huts what equipment do you need to have with you…sleeping bags? We were hoping for at least a couple of chair lifts to higher elevation and I think most will be closed. I think there was one in this itinerary. Thank you again and we look forward to talking to you.

  6. Hey Marta – first of all, your website is amazing (I particularly love the pics of Jasper)!! I came across your site last year when planning our Canadian rockies road trip, so i’m very happy to find you’ve also done a Dolomites guide! Do you have any guidance on camping? We’ve got 2 weeks (unfortunately in August so i’m aware it might be quite busy). Do you know how easy it is to do first come first serve camping during this period? Are there lots of campsites available? We’re happy to book ahead also but it seems lots are already booked up! Thanks! Sam

    • Hi Samantha. Thanks for returning to my site. I am so stoked to hear you followed my Rockies itinerary and now came back for the Dolomites! I also have itineraries for Iceland, New Zealand and brand new guide for Norway in case you are looking for more destinations 🙂 As for your question. Yes there are campsites in the Dolomites, usually 1-2 in each town, but there are a lot of people from all over Europe travelling with their campers in August. I would say definitely prebook the sites. August in the Dolomites is a very busy time so try and aim for lesser known areas. Fingers crossed you secure some spots!

  7. Hi Marta
    lovely Blog!! visiting Dolomites for 4-5 days with my kiddo (he turns 10) and wife to look at the grandeur of mighty dolomites.

    have no specific question at this moment but a sheer appreciation of what you have put here!! thank you so much for his and can’t wait to experience fall/autumn during 1st week of October in 23

    • hi Abishek! Thanks so much for taking the time to provide some feedback. I hope you will have a wonderful experience. The full autumn is somewhere between mid until the end of October. At the start of October the trees start turning at higher elevations.

  8. Hi Marta!! your blog it’s amazing and super interesting!!! and your photos are top 🙂 I’m planning my summer trip to Dolomitas (final august, first of September) with Tro, my dog. He is athletic and youth, so walking is not a problem for him jaja
    I want to ask you how easy it’s to travel around Dolomitas area with a doggy (lakes, trails, huts, people, transport, paths, leash always?…)

    Thank you so much!!! 🙂

    • Hi Julia. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comment. Jasper, my dog and I have done plenty of trekking together in the Italian Dolomites, but we only stayed together in mountain huts in Austria. Whilst I have seen an occasional dog here and there staying overnight in the huts, it’s on a hut-to-hut basis so you would either have to check for that information on hut’s website or write to them and ask.
      For day use dogs are not a problem. Plenty of people have their dogs with them. Italy is generally very dog friendly. As for the leash, again Italians are pretty relaxed about it. Very different to Tirol in Austria where I live and where there are plenty of signs to keep a dog on a leash. However as a responsible owner you should know how good your dog’s recall is etc. My dog for instance has a high prey drive. He sees another animal and his brain switches off. I have to keep him leashed.

  9. Hi Marta. Such an incredible blog you have. Amazing content & the pictures are just breathtaking. Your NZ blog helped me so much to plan our trip in autumn (just returned) and I’m so inspired to experience the dolomites in falls. Thanks a ton!!

  10. Hi Marta,

    If you could recommend 4-5 days itinerary for Dolomites. We are planning to visit in Oct and are couple of couch potatoes with little hiking experience. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Joyce! Thanks for stopping by. I sure could give you some pointers as to how to adjust this itinerary, however, what do you mean by couch potatoes? Do you not plan to walk at all?

      • We definitely plan hike as much as we can (some experience on easy hiking) but also recognizing limitations given our low fitness levels.

        • Hi Joyce. Gotcha. Look into valley walks which are great and don’t require much stamina. I would recommend that you check out: Vallunga, Val Venegia, Monte Castellaz (Just hike a part of it without the summit) and Panorama Trail in Santa Maddalena village. For Vallunga and Panorama Trail you can base yourself in Val Gardena. When in Val Gardena I would also recommend taking the cable car to Seceda (Furnes Seceda) and hiking around the Puez Odle Altiplano before descending down with the Col Raiser gondola. This will be mostly downhill walk. For Monte Castellaz and Val Venegia, you could stay in San Martino Di Castrozza. Another two easy trails there are Hiking around Lake Welbspberg and Visitin lago Calaita then hiking around the hike Plateau over there. Let me know if that helps.

          • Thanks Marta. That’s very helpful. One more question, shall we go for Tre crime circuit in October? We might not go on the full extension routes but I’m thinking because it seems like very famous place to go.

          • Hi Joyce, You absolutely can. I have a whole post about the Tre Cime Circuit. If you are not strong hikers you can just hike from rifugio Auronzo to rifugio Locatelli and back the same way. This won’t have as much elevation gain and loss as the whole circuit. If you based yourself anywhere in Val Pusteria for the first 2 days (For example San Candido or Dobiacco) You could do these walks: Lago di Braies circuit (Very easy walk around the lake), Lake Dobiacco Circuit (again just mostly flat walk around a beautiful lake). Hike from Hotel Dolomitenhof to rifugio Fondovalle and back (mostly flat and leads through a beautiful valley) and then on the third day drive to rifugio Auronzo and walk to Locatelli and back to see Tre Cime. I hope that helps.

  11. Hi Marta! Thanks for this great guide and website! My wife and I enjoy hiking vacations — we’ve had a great time in both the Canadian Rockies and New Zealand’s South Island, which it looks like you love too! We’re thinking of visiting the Dolomites this fall and your itinerary looks like a great route. I assume it would be easy to mix in a few via ferratas as well? Any that you’d especially recommend that fit this itinerary? It sounds like October is a great time to visit, but we could also maybe get away in September — is it worth coming earlier to maybe stay in a Refugio before they close? Thanks!

    • Hi Jamie. Thanks for visiting. October is my favorite time to travel in the Dolomites because of how quiet it already is and of course the colors. This road trip was specifically designed to maximize the autumn experience in the Dolomites.
      Yes, you could still mix some via ferratas in, however, you would have to check if they are South/East or North/West facing because some routes can get icy at this time of the year, and holding on to an icy metal cable is anything but fun. September is generally no problem. The via ferratas that would fit nicely in this itinerary are Strada Degli Alpini, Innerkofler, and possibly Torre Di Toblin (That one is North facing, but quite short, so it might be fine). You can also check out my post about via ferratas in Cortina, where you will be staying. Ra Bujela is a great and short one.
      I will have a few more itineraries coming out soon for the Dolomites which will include ferratas so you should check back with me in a couple of months. Let me know if you have more questions!

  12. Hi Marta! Love how comprehensive this guide is, thanks for sharing!

    I’m planning to visit Dolomites in early November 2023, probably 05 Nov – 08 Nov.
    Me and partner are not pro hikers, we are okay with light trekking, and visit some scenic places. Will the dates be suitable? Will the weather be too snowy?

    • Hi Cel. Thanks for visiting. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether it will snow or not. Normally at this time of the year, there is already snow at 2000 meters and higher, In the last two years however it was still very warm at the end of October/early November and even now in January, the snow is reaching 2000 meters and higher, but not lower. It’s actually quite scary how warm it is at the moment. What I am trying to say is that you will probably get away with those dates and still be able to enjoy it however you also have to be prepared that it might snow. During my first autumn season in the Dolomites in 2018 we had to leave exactly at the start of November because it snowed heavily and the mountain passes closed. I know I am not giving you a straight answer, but as you can imagine I am not a fortune teller unfortunately and can only share my observations from previous years. 🙂 Let me know if you have more questions!

      • Just to add. You definitely should be able to still do some of the hikes on this itinerary (lago di Braies circuit, Val Venegia or Vallunga are accessible year round. I hope that helps.

  13. Hi Marta,
    Do you think this itinerary would be suitable for May? My husband and I are only able to get to Italy in May next year, and the dolomites are a must. We followed your Canadian Rockies itinerary to a tee in Autumn 2019, and it was PERFECTION!! So I am very excited to stick to another one of your plans. I know we will miss the beautiful colours because it will be spring, but the hikes and sites you have included look fantastic.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by and for following my itinerary. I am afraid this isn’t the ideal plan for May in the Dolomites. Many of these hikes reach above 2000 meters where the snow tends to linger well into late spring. You would have to skip a few hikes on this list. Another thing is the huts and gondola don’t operate during the spring in the Dolomites and some roads are still closed, most notably the one to rifugio Auronzo – the must-do for many people during the road trip across the Dolomites.
      I visited the Dolomites in May this year, for the first time during late spring (I was there once before in April when the ski season is still in full spring)
      We did manage to do a few hikes and I do plan on writing a spring road trip itinerary for the Dolomites before the end of this year.
      So back to your questions. A few of those places will be accessible during spring, whilst some of the hikes will be a definite no-go. Let me know if I can help further!

  14. Hello! As a retired travel editor, I wanted to give you a virtual high-five for your informative AND entertaining website. We are just now zooming north from Trieste to tromp around the Dolomites (lucky us—our third visit) and your suggestions and itinerary are much appreciated as we revisit old favorites (Canazei region) and explore new ones (Allegheny). We will let you know how it goes! Thanks.

  15. This is outstanding! Thank you! I’m looking at possibly doing a fall photo trip to the Dolomites next year, and this will be a big help!

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