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Dolomites Itinerary Advice Please

If anyone is also on the Trip Advisor forum, I have posted this there as well.

Ok, I've done a lot of reading both online and books and I've got a rough itinerary. I would appreciate input.

Day 1 -We arrive June 18, 2017 9:10 am Venice Marco Polo Airport. Drive to the Dolomites, park near Rifugio Auronzo and hike and stay at Rifugio Locatelli.

Day 2 – Day Hike Stay at Rifugio Locatelli

Day 3 – Return to our car and go to Lago di Sorapiss and then Cortina d’Ampezzo to explore area and spend the night.

Day 4 - Drive to where we take the cable car up to Rifugio Lagazuoi – spend the night.

Day 5 – Day hike to Nuvolau, stay at Rifugio Lagazuoi

Day 6 – Cable car down and drive to and explore the Val Gardena and Val Funes (must see the famous area at Santa Magdalena) and stay in Ortisei .

Day 7 -We have to make our way back to Venice at some point as we have an early morning flight to Split on Day 8.

Does this sound feasible?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
1700 posts

A lot of checking in / checking out.
Are you a photographer? Sounds like only a plan a photographer would come up with.

If it were me, I would skip staying at Lagazuoi and the hike to Nuvolau and go from Cortina d'Ampresso to Ortisei visiting Lagazuoi in route and stay 3 nights in Ortisei instead.
Your big plan problem is on your one night in Ortisei you expect to see Ortisei, the area around Ortisei, I imagine take the lifts up to Seceda and Alpe Di Suisi even if not hiking and then drive to Santa Magdalena and back all in day starting from a rifugio that is not very close. I don't think you could do all that in a day.

I assume famous area at Santa Magdalena you mean the church there. This is a photo I took recently there.
http://www.mattreynoldsphotography.com/#/alps/
Still working/culling my other images from the area.

Staying in Ortisei a couple of nights would allow you to do some hiking on Alpe Di Suisi and Seceda areas there rather than just take the lift up see it, take a photo and ride back down.

Other piece of advise if you want a private room in the 2 rifugios you mention you need to book NOW. Those fill up well in advance. Even the shared rooms book but you have more time on those.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks for the quick reply.

You got me. Though not a professional, I'm an avid amateur and it is always a priority when I'm thinking about planning a trip.

Yes, that is the area (beautiful pictures you have) along with this one:
https://img.posterlounge.co.uk/images/wbig/poster-santa-magdalena-und-die-dolomiten-318046.jpg

I will take your advice into consideration. I had run across another photographer/hikers blog and got ideas from her trip as I was finding it so difficult to narrow down what I wanted to see.

Is there a rifugio you would recommend in the Ortisei area? I love the idea of spending most of the nights at altitude instead of in the valleys.

We have time to do a little extra time to sight see the morning/early afternoon of Day 7 as we will just go back to Venice to sleep and catch our flight the next day. We've been to Venice twice so don't have to visit it.

Posted by
1700 posts

From a photographer point of view, where the lift drops you off at Seceda (above Ortisei) is definitely more photographic than top of Lagazuoi ; I would say Alpe Di Suisi is as well ; and if you give 1 night only to Ortisei area and want to drive out to Santa Magdalena which ideally you would time for late day a little before sunset than it just doesn't work well.

The other picture you reference, when I was there it was Speck Fest ; similar to Bacon so the town church was covered with signage and kind of ruined a good shot. It is only a couple of minute drive upward from the little church to the view you posted and in both cases no hiking involved the main viewpoints are just off the side of the road.

We stayed in the valley but there are rifugios on both sides (Seceda side and Alpe Di Suisi side) Would have been nice to stay in a rifugio in either place instead of town in some respects but Seceda side there are no cars and Alpe Di Suisi side you can only drive a car certain times and need to take a roundabout route. Point being it is hard to move around to other areas like Santa Magdelena or even the other side when staying in a rifugio.

Venice is a good distance away from Ortisei area, your plan may be better done in reverse since Cortina/Tre Cime is much closer. To drive to Venice from Ortisei you either go the slow scenic mountain passes or the longer but I imagine faster highway curving around Verona.

Check out Passo Giau since you will be driving nearby anyway, I missed it but love every photo I have seen from there.

Posted by
11683 posts

I don't know about the driving time involved, but I would say your plan looks good for one interested in getting out of citiesnand into the mountains with hikes and refugio overnights. Ortesei is a fairly good-sized town, and makes a good base if you want to do day hikes, but it is not the same as being up in the mountains for sunset and sunrise.

I have always wanted to overnight at Bolzanohütte ( hike from Compatsch on Alpe di Siusi) but have only managed a day hike there so far. The Toni Demetz Hütte is also in a pretty spectacular location, in a notch between Sassolungo and SassoPiatto---think lunar landscape. But again have only managed a day hike there.

Posted by
1700 posts

Not to sound negative as the scenery is breath taking and I encourage you to go but weather is unpredictable at best.
I imagine mid June you have only a 50% change of seeing the mountain peaks well on a given day.
Most people pad there time in one place cause it might take a couple of days to have a good sky/view.

Weather chances quickly so could go from covered to clear enough quickly but there are days that stay covered in clouds all day and no good photos can be taken even if not raining or snowing.

I prefer clouds over blue skies but clouds covering the peaks is not what you want. I went to Alpe Di Suisi twice and didn't come home with 1 good shot cause the peaks would never clear when I was up there.
Seceda I went up 4 times and got great pictures twice (one some great clouds, the other mostly clear) and the other 2 times I only clicked my camera a couple of times as I knew the conditions were not good though like 1 photo I took of the trail in snow.

Having 1 night / 1 chance to get the shot in each place you will need some very good fortune.

Posted by
6543 posts

It's a shame you just cannot go to such a region and just starting snapping pictures.
The time of the day is so important when photographing sunsets, with early a.m. and late afternoon having the best contrasts for lighting. Sometimes you've got to study the lighting and come back tomorrow.

Posted by
1700 posts

True, plus all of the planning you can do online can get you in the region but with a short window of light your composition might be rushed and not be best first try. When you go back a second time you often know where is better to stand/place the tripod.

Case in point my first time at top of Seceda I walked for 2 hours in the freezing cold trying to figure out how to get the view of the edge disappearing in so many shots I had seen, I thought I needed to be closer to the peak.
I realized after quite some time that the ideal spot is back near the lift, walk directly up from the lift and then down the trail but stay on that side right next to the wooden fence. Point is this mistake cost me a day and no way I could have known unless I had been there fore or someone told me, looking at photos and Google earth didn't help enough

You are trying to photograph many of the top places but may be better served picking your top 3 favorite spots and making sure you actually get a good photo of each.

Posted by
11683 posts

The plan has two nights at each of the Refugios, not just one.

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you all for your responses! I will take time to research all of your suggestions. I'm sure I will be back with more questions.

It looks like I'm back to the drawing board as I don't think Rifugio Locatelli will be open when we get there. This year it opened on 6/25. I would still like to do the Tre Cime hike, will just have to stay somewhere else, preferably a rifugio.

I know it isn't the best time of year but this is part of a larger trip where we are meeting up with family to visit several of the Balkan countries and this was the only time of year it could be done. In retrospect, I wish I had put the Dolomites at the end instead of the beginning but plane tickets have already been purchased.

Yes, it is always a fear the weather will not cooperate. I wish I could go without making reservations so that we could drive to good weather. But I know that can also mean disappointment without reservations.
I spent a week in Norway watching money fly out the window because the weather was so dreadful.

Posted by
1700 posts

True guess my concern is combining all in one visit multiple destinations in Val Gardena and Santa Magdelena.

Overall it is 6 nights in 4 different places which is a lot of moving especially to places that you have a long walk from the parking area to reach your lodging.

The OP should define what is most important to them and make them work, if they keep the plan as is why not stay in Santa Magdelena that 1 night. Especially if you have 2 places there you want to photograph at end of day rather than drive 45 minutes in the dark just to sleep in Ortisei.
Or skip Rifugio Locatelli nights just see that during the day and then have time to explore Val Gardena which was my advise but by no means the correct answer, either way can work.

Posted by
1700 posts

Marty, there are other rifugios on the trail to Tre Cime other than Locatelli, maybe one of them will be open.
Auronzo is at the parking lot and probably the most likely to be open.
Rifugio Lavaredo is half way between Locatelli and Auronzo
and there are some on the other side; Büllelejochhütte is one not sure of the others.
Maybe one of them are open.

Posted by
335 posts

Well apparently we are on the same flight from Philadelphia to Venice. We too are headed in the same direction for five nights. We are staying outside of Ortisei at the Jakoberhof. We are planning to do day hikes in and around the Val Gardena area. We are coming from San Francisco. We are planning on driving via Verona. We go back to Venice and drop our car and travel by train to Florence then finish up in Venice. Let's grab a beer in Ortisei. Cheers

Posted by
25 posts

I definitely will rethink some things. Thanks for the advice. I'm sure I'll need more.

Yes, Richard, when I get this figured out, we can definitely arrange that.
I bought my plane tickets before I had a definite travel plan which I normally never do. However, in one day plane tickets went from being almost $2k round trip to $702 rt so we jumped on it. The next day the price had gone back up.

Posted by
335 posts

We did the same thing. Just got our plane tickets before having firm plans. Sometimes you just have to jump on a good deal.

Posted by
25 posts

I really just wish I didn't need to book accommodation in advance. I'd love to wing-it and go where the weather is cooperating.

That said, I took some advice into account adding the extra days in Val Gardena. Need to decide on a rifugio for at least one night there.

Days 1-3 - Val Gardena and Val Funes (I thought about staying in Santa Magdalena for a night but I'd like to watch the weather and go there on the best evening of the 3 (which hopefully isn't the first evening because we will be very tired by then).

Day 4 - Passo Giau and a day hike -Stay at Berg Hotel at Passo Giau

Day 5 - Lago di Sorapiss and Cortina D'ampezzo - Stay at Rifugio Auronzo

Day 6 - Tre Cime - Stay at Rifugio Auronzo

Day 7 - Can visit something here until mid-afternoon before returning to Venice.

Thanks so much.

Posted by
1700 posts

If you are looking for something unique to see on your last day before driving to Venice that is not too far from Tre Cime check out Lake Braies, also called by it's German name Pragser Wildsee. There is a paid parking lot a 2 minute easy stroll from the Lakeside.

Posted by
25 posts

I do have that place as a possibility. I thought it might fit better on (new) day 5 though, if time permits.
If we went there after leaving Rifugio Auronzo, it's in the opposite direction of Venice is the only thing.

Posted by
61 posts

Hi Marty74 and Richard. We will also be arriving in Ortisei on the 18th June. Driving from Varenna in Lake Como. So I am watching this thread with interests. I do the planning hubby John does the driving. I have not researched a route yet so any advice from anyone would be most grateful. We will rely on google maps and via michelin on my iPhone. We will return the car in Venice so any help with that route is also appreciated..we probably won't arrive Ortisei till late afternoon depending how many stops we make along the way I guess. We will be staying at Hotel Grones. We leave for Venice on the 21st June. John will do a lot of hiking alone as I can't walk very far so hence staying in town. And I can amuse myself. Any suggested day hikes for John are also welcomed. Yes let's grab a beer....

Posted by
25 posts

The more the merrier Rocky. I'm still fine tuning my itinerary.

Posted by
703 posts

somethings make you LOL on this forum. We are also driving from Varenna ( lake como) on the 20th May to Alta Badia ( not sure of the route yet) so I am also reading with interest.

I have recently found out we will be in the Dolomites for a stage of the Giro d italia, while it would be interesting to watch , not sure if it will affect our travel plans?

Posted by
25 posts

I have made a reservation at Residence Prapoz for 6/18-6/21 in Ortisei as reasonable options are going fast. It is an apartment which we prefer. But I'm looking to double book at a rifugio for one night on Seceda. Rifugio Fermada looks like a strong contender.

I think (new) Day 5 we will go to Lago di Braies and Cortina d'Ampezzo then stay at Rifugio Auronzo that night. Then, on the morning of day 7, visit Lago di Sorapis before returning to visit.

Posted by
433 posts

What a small world, we have been to the Tony Demetz rifugio, a day trip when we drove and rode gondolas on the Dolomite road.

My husband is a photographer and the Dolomites is a photo paradise, here is one place you should go http://outsideimagery.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/G00009JBNOiJo.tY/I0000828J0bFdS.s/50&display=popup&ref=plugin&src=like&app_id=172525162793917

We are going back to ski there next March - we also grabbed airfare on sale and have no firm plans other than to ski somewhere, if there is snow :-)

Enjoy the trip!

Posted by
25 posts

Beautiful photo Beth! There are too many beautiful places to decide on.

Posted by
145 posts

Beth - That photo is amazing. Where do you access the lift to the top of Mount Marmolada?

Posted by
25 posts

Our trip is fast approaching and the excitement is building. I'm finalizing the plan. All hotels/rifugios are booked but having some second thoughts about one of them.

June 18 - Arrive Venice 9:10 am, pick up rental, drive to and stay in Ortisei (no plans, just see what we feel like)

June 19 - Seceda cable car for hike – Stay Ortisei

June 20 - Ortisei – (interchangeable with the previous day) possible paragliding in the morning then to Val di Funes for hiking and photography around Santa Magdalena – Stay Ortisei

June 21 - Leave Val Gardena – Drive passes, explore region - Stay at Berg Hotel at Passo Giau.

June 22 - Tre Cime Hike – Stay at Rifugio Laverado (I tried to get reservations at Rifugio Auronzo but I never heard back from them).

June 23 - Morning visit to Lago di Braies, then drive and park our car at Lagazuoi cable car, half day hike to Nuvolau – Stay at Rifugio Lagazuoi.

June 24 – Morning hike to Lago di Sorapis then return to Venice.

Should we stay at Passo Giau since we already have a night at Lagazuoi and they seem to be close together? Would appreciate another rifugio recommendation for a different perspective that night than can be reached by car/cable car and/or short walk. Prefer to stay at altitude for great views since we are staying in a valley the first 3 nights.

Which hikes/areas should I purchase maps for? It seems like the Tre Cime is so well traversed and marked that we wouldn’t need a Tabacco map for that one.

Posted by
335 posts

See you on the PHL to VCE flight on 6/17. We are heading to Selva in the Val Gardena for five nights. Then on to Lake Como. Looking forward to our upcoming trip.

Richard

Posted by
145 posts

Following this thread with interest, since I'm headed over next week (and am also a landscape photographer). I'll have my husband and two 20-something kids with me (one, also a photographer), so it won't be all about photography, but I definitely want to get some shots, if possible. We had reservations in May two years ago, and ended up cancelling because there was a huge storm parked over the Dolomites for over a week. I'm hoping that this time the weather is better, though it looks like there's a lot of rain in the forecast at this time of year.

Question for all - How far is it from Ortisei to Santa Magdalena (the viewpoint that photos are taken, anyway)? That's the view my daughter would like to see and photograph. I read though that it's a scary drive to get there with lots of hairpin turns? My daughter does get carsick, so not sure that would work. Also, any tips on where the amazing photos of the church with the dolomites behind it are taken?

Also, I'm hoping to get up to Seceda at least a couple mornings. Does anyone know what time the lifts start? Can you actually get there for sunrise?

Thanks, and hope you all have an amazing trip!
Theresa

Posted by
25 posts

It's a 40 minute drive from Ortisei to Santa Magdalena. We just went there today. I would go in late afternoon or evening for the best light. Driver needs to be alert. Curvy and narrow roads the whole way but nothing dangerous. You can drive to the church but you have to walk behind it and up to get the famous view. Nothing strenuous.
Then continuing past Santa Magdalena, a few minutes father it the cute little onion dome church, St. Jakob. So don't miss that.

Posted by
25 posts

Lift to Seceda starts at 8.:30. You can't stay for sunrise unless you are booked up there at a rifugio. Lasts llifts close at 5:30. 6 at the latest. Or you can walk down. I thought I would do this until I got there. No-way. My knees would murder me. I do now wish I had booked the rifugio for one night up there but I'm still happy with what we did. It was stunning.