My teenage daughter and I are going on a Rick Steve's tour that starts in Venice on a Friday. I am trying to finalize our flight reservations. We wanted to go a day early and go to see Cortina and the Dolomites, but all of the organized tours I can find are not offered on Thursdays. Should we rent a car at the airport and drive ourselves up there, spending Thursday night there? Would this drive be treacherous (mountains?) and would two women alone be safe? Also not sure if it would just be cheaper and easier to hire a private tour. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I need to finalize my flights ASAP!
What month are you going? There will be lots of snow in the winter. We have driven from Venice to Castelrotto twice over the Great Dolomite Road (once in July and once in October) and it is beautiful. It isn't treacherous when there is no snow. It takes longer to get to Cortina than you may think and there isn't a whole lot there besides beautiful Dolomite peaks to look at. It is a small picturesque town and we had great pizza there but other than that there isn't a lot there.
We are going in June. Do you remember how long of a drive it was?
It took about 3 hours to get to Cortina. ViaMichelin says 2 3/4 hours. It is amazing how the scenery changes almost immediately after leaving Venice going up into the mountains. My husband and I kept saying the scenery looks just like a picture book.
You will thoroughly enjoy driving through the Dolomites. Beautiful views and plenty of nice places to stay. We spent one night in Canazei at a nice and economical B&B. Like Cynthia wrote the scenery changes dramatically shortly after leaving Venice. The drive is not treacherous for that time of year. Roads have many switchbacks but go slow and watch the road and you will be fine. If someone makes you nervous or uncomfortable by following too close behind you (and they will) just find a place to pull over and let them pass. Plenty of places to pull over. RS give a nice Dolomite route to drive in his Italy guide book. As you drive stop many times and take photos. The views are fantastic.
Some photos from our trip in May, 2007.