The Dolomites is an amazing mountain range in the north of Italy. It. has so many breathtaking places that it is hard to choose which places you should include in your planning when your time is limited. From the most impressive mountain faces to the most emerald blue lakes you've ever seen, the dolomites have it all. Not only the highlights but even the landscape you drive through from one place to another is just breathtaking. This region is proof that it’s not about the destination but about the journey.
If you are planning a trip to the Dolomites, you’ve already made the right decision. But to help you determine which places you absolutely must see, we’ve written this guide about the 6 most beautiful places we already visited in the Dolomites.
1. Lake Carezza - Lago di Carezza - Karersee
Lago di Carezza, also known as the Karersee, is a mountain lake in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy. This beautiful mountain lake is known for its wonderful blue, sometimes even emerald green color. Both color and size of Lago di Carezza depend on the season and differ every year. In spring, when the snow starts to melt, the lakes is at its biggest. The lowest water level is reached in autumn, then it is usually no deeper than six meters.
Lago di Carezza is surrounded by immense coniferous forests. In the background you can see the impressive peaks of the dolomites rise tall behind the treetops, making this beautiful picture complete.
Unfortunately, Lago di Carezza cannot offer you a refreshing dip. Swimming is not allowed, and paddling is also prohibited. The lake is therefore completely fenced to make sure people do not enter the water. This is to prevent the beautiful lake from being affected and losing its beautiful color.
Around the lake there is a path of about 2,5 kilometers and almost completely flat. A walk around the lake will therefore not take longer than half an hour and will show you the lake from all sides. There are several benches on the path where you can sit and enjoy the view. There is also a platform from which you have this wonderful view over the lake and where you’ll find some background information about the lake. In the surrounding area there are several other walking routes if you’re up for a longer walk.
A big advantage of this lake is that it is easily accessible: It is located next to the road, so you don’t have to make a long, tough hike to reach this stunning place. There is a big parking lot where you can safely leave your car. The first 15 minutes are free, afterwards you pay only €1 per started hour. Next to the parking lot there’s a visitor center with a little souvenir shop, a restaurant and bar. But don’t go there for a drink with a view, as you cannot see the lake from there, it’s more for a quick bite. The lake itself is free to visit.
Parking lot: 1 euro per 1h (First 15 min free)
2. Seiser Alm - Alpe di Suisi
Seiser Alm, also known as Alpe di Suisi, is the biggest and highest mountain meadow in Europe.
It has an area of 57 km² and lies at an altitude of 1680m to 2350m. In winter it is the ideal place for a winter sport vacation. In summer it is a beautiful area to enjoy numerous walks through this wavy landscape surrounded by various mountain peaks. There are various cable cars and lifts that take you from one place to another or can you explore the area only by foot.
But… there is a big but… reaching these wonderful meadow landscapes isn’t as easy as you think.
Seiser Alm can be reached by car but only before 9am and after 5pm. In between these hours the road to the top is closed and you can only go up there by cable car or by bus. Driving down is allowed 24/7.
You can take the cable car in Seis Am Schlern to Compatsch: a double ride cost you €19, a single ride cost €13. Or you can take the Seiser Alm Express bus, which also costs €19 for a round-trip. You’ll find more details in how blogpost Exploring the magical Seiser Alm – A Complete Guide. Check it out, so you don’t have to encounter any unpleasant surprises.
However, don’t let this stop you from visiting this beautiful place and enjoying some beautiful walks through this wonderful landscape.
Cable car Seiser Alm to Compatsch
Single: 13 euro
Double: 19 euro
Seiser Alm Express (bus)
Round-trip: 19 euro
Compatsch: 19 euro (only reachable before 9pm and after 5am)
Parking before compatsch: free
The Seceda is a 2519 meters high mountain in Val Gardena, in the middle of the dolomites. From the summit of Seceda you have a marvelous view of the impressive peaks of the Dolomites, the mountains of Trentino and Lombardy, almost the entire South Tyrol and even Austria. Besides this breathtaking view of peaks and valleys, Seceda is a true paradise for hikers, mountain bikers and climbers. For the hikers there are both easy hikes, ideal for children, and more difficult hikes. For more adventurous people there are Via Ferrate’s and a variety of climbing tours for experienced climbers. The real adventure seekers can even go paragliding. Mountain bikers can explore this unique environment along wonderful bike and e-bike tours.
To reach the top of the Seceda there are different options. The easiest way to reach the summit is by taking the cable car in Ortisei. Two separate cable cars will take you up to the summit on no time.
If you’re up for a challenging hike or you want to enjoy this area before or after the opening hours of the cable car, it’s also possible to hike up and/or down the mountain. Note that hiking up this mountain will take a lot of time, so make sure you leave in time. If you want to make it before sunrise or you want to see sunset, you’ll have to hike in the dark, or you can stay overnight on top of the Seceda in a mountain lodge.
If you’re undecidable whether you should take the cable car or go for the hike, you can always combine both options. You can buy a single way cable car ticket up or down and hike the other way. In this way you’ll have the full experience and you save some time and money. Whatever option you choose, we’re sure you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Seceda.
Cable car (both: Ortisei – Furnes & Furnes – Seceda)
Adults: Single: 25,5 euro
Adults double: 35 euro
Parking lot cable car: 8 euro
4. Lake Sorapis - Lago di Sorapis
Lago di Sorapis or Lake Sorapis is a mountain lake at an altitude of 1925 metres above sea level. It’s a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by those impressive mountain peaks and it can only be reached by foot or by helicopter. The hiking trail is about 7 km one way (so 14 km in total) and it’ll take you around 1,5 to 2 hours to reach the lake. The way back is the same way as you got there. It’s quite a tough hike with some very steep and slippery parts and cables to hold on yourself, but perfectly achievable if you’re not afraid of heights.
To start the hike you park your car at Passo Tre Croci. From this point you start your hike on a gravel path behind a barrier. You’ll have to walk about 7km to reach the lake and it will take you about 1,5 to 2 hours. It’s quite a though and rocky hike along a few narrow ledges, metal stairways and some slippery parts but you’ll get some impressive views over the Dolomites along your way up.
It can get busy along the way and especially at the lake so we recommend you to start your hike early in the morning.
For more detailed information about visiting Lago di Sorapis, read our blogpost How To Visit Lago Di Sorapis – A Complete Guide.
5. Tre Cime di Lavaredo - Drei Zinnen
Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also known as Drei Zinnen, are three impressive mountain peaks and probably the most famous peaks in the Alps. It is such a jaw dropping place and therefore not surprising that they are the symbol of the dolomiti UNESCO world heritage site.
To get to the Drei Zinnen you’ll have to take a 7 kilometer long toll road. (€30 for cars, €45 for campers). The toll booth is just past Lago d’Antorno. From here you drive along a scenic route up to Rifugio Auronzo.
Or if you prefer, you can also hike from Lago D’Antorno up to Tre Cime but it’s quite a tough hike and will take you about 1,5 hours.
Make sure you get to the entrance of the Tre Cime National Park early to avoid queuing with a lot of other cars. Once you’ve parked your car at the parking lot, you can start different hikes from this point, both long and short hikes. To know more about the most impressive hikes at Tre Cime di Lavaredo, you can read our blogpost about hiking at Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Tip for campers: Stay the night on the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo and wake up in this breathtaking landscape.
For more information about hiking at Tre Cime di Lavaredo read our blogpost Hiking at Tre Cime di Lavaredo – The 2 Most Impressive routes.
Road to Rifugio Auronzo
Cars: 30 euro
Campers: 45 euro
6. Lake Prags - Lago di Braies - Pragser Wildsee
Lago Di Braies or Pragser Wildsee is probably the most famous place among tourists in the Dolomiti, and we can’t deny that it’s really worth adding to your schedule. It’s one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the Dolomiti and it is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Unfortunately this also means that it can get very busy during the day, especially in peak season. To fully enjoy this place, we recommend you to come here as early as possible (at sunrise), but even then there will already be a bunch of other people. Especially around the boat house it can get very crowded and most of the people stay in this area.
Luckily there is a hike you can do around the lake where you can escape from the crowd. It’s a very easy hike from approximately 3,6km and it’ll take you around 1 to 1,5 hours to finish the trail.
From mid-May to the end of October there’s another option to explore this place, and at the same time escape from the crowds. You can ride the waters of the lake in a wooden rowboat. In this way you’ll also see the lake from another point of view.
The water level of the lake fluctuates throughout the year. Most of the time the water level is at its lowest at the end of summer, making this the least ideal time to see this place at its best.
The lake is accessible 24h/7.
The boats open at 9am.
There’s also the possibility to hire the place for private shooting from 07.30 till 09.00 for 150 euro.
Parking & Prices
Boat: €19 for 30min
€29 for 1h
Parking 3 (200m from the lake)
CARS: €6 for 3h (first 15min free)
After 3 hours €0,80 per 30min and maximum €12 per day.
CAMPERS: €8 for 3h
After 3 hours €0,80 per 30min
Parking 2 (400m from the lake)
CARS: €6 per day
CAMPERS: €12 per day, stay overnight: €8
REMARK: from July 10th to September 10th driving access is restricted during peak hours (09:30 am – 4pm).
Between those hours you have to park at P1 (800 meters from the lake) or Parking Segheria and take the shuttle.
Parking 1 (800 meters from the lake)
Cars: €6 (With reservation: €15)
Parking Segheria: €9 + shuttle one way €5