We are planning to spend about a week in the Dolomites in June on a month-long trip through the Alps. We are older, 68 and 82, and will use busses when possible but also know that for some of the sightseeing we want to do (to places beyond Alpe d' Suisi and Val Gardena, driving would be our best option. Can you drive in Val Gardena between 9 am and 5 pm? We know you can't drive in Alpe d' Suisi during those hours unless you are checking in to your hotel. Does that restriction apply apply in other areas? (I contacted the Val Gardena tourist office and they told me how efficient the bus system is). Are there similar restrictions near Cortina and other popular tourist areas?
Hi Lindann. To clarify - are you asking if the roads in the valleys and between the 'regular' towns have restrictions? Basically, all the major roads between towns are just regular roads, open 24/7 with no restrictions. Only a few of the roads that go up higher in the mountains have some restrictions.
Enjoy your trip!
Yes, my question was whether we could drive to Ortisei or other villages after 9 am or leave hiking spots before 5 pm.
We came across something that said that you couldn't drive to Alpe di Suisi between 9 am and 5 pm. Something suggested that might be the case throughout the area. When you talk about higher roads that have restrictions, do you mean roads like the one from Ortisei toward Seceda? What restrictions do you mean? My concern was whether we could get to other places, like Funes and Marmolado, etc, by car rather than bus (the trips that become extremely long if done by bus).
What are your thoughts on allocating about 6 days to the Dolomites? How much near Kastelruth/Val Gardena? How much near Cortina? Would we be better to base ourself near Klausen or near Val Gardena for an extended stay or do 3 short stays at various locations? We arrive from San Moritz and head into the Austrian tirol (Lienz and Krimml) on departure, so are putting Tres Cimino on our list on the way out. Currently, a walk to Seceda is the top of our list, with the Alpe di Siusi, Sassolungo, and Lake di Braies are places we plan to visit? Your must sees?
Road restrictions are generally limited to the periods when mountain passes may close temporarily (or permanently for the season) due to snow. If you are going in June, all highways should be open. There are some roads that may be closed to private traffic but generally they are for the Forest Services only (Carabinieri Forestali for example or Forest Fire Services), but those are not regular highways.
Thank you, Roberto.
We have driven over the Brenner Pass before, and into Italy from Bellazona but never explored the Dolomites before. It seems like it will be a feast for the eyes and tummy. Should we find a hotel for 6 days in Ortisei or Castelrotto, or break up the time? I can see some convenience to being in Chiusa or Barbiano because travel to many spots would be over more substantial roads but it would be nice to have sunrises and sunsets filled with the those beautiful craggy peaks.
In general at the moment the movement on the streets of the Dolomites is almost free, except few exceptions (for example in Summer you can access by car to the Braies' lake only if you book in advance or if there are free parking lots available. The same happens at Alpe di Siusi).
The problem is that from 2024 a huge ZTL zone will be introduced in the Dolomites area (remember that is very wide, spread among two regions and 3 provinces). Will be called "Ztl Dolomiti Low Emission Zone". To access to the most famous passes and places (Pordoi, Campolongo, Gardena and Sella, for example) you need to book it in advance (and/or pay a ticket). Is not known how will work exactly, but the Governors of the Regions told that since next Summer 2023 there will done some experiment.
Is possible that you'll find no changes this year and you can drive for free everywhere, but I suggest you to check again close to the vacation and ask some more details to your hotel.
The info about closed roads can be confusing, but don't let it bother you. The roads that are restricted are dead end 'service' roads where there is a lift going up to a hiking area, but there is also a need for a service road for limited use. To avoid unintended use of that road, it is restricted. But as hikers you would take the lift up anyway so it doesn't affect you.
From my map it looks like Klausen is near the freeway; I would not stay there. Stay up in the mountains. We stayed 3 nights in Ortesei and 2 in the next town St Christina. There are lifts from both of those up to Seceda, plus there is a lift from Ortesei up to Alpe de Suisi. Ortesei is much larger, very picturesque and popular for good reason, more variety and shopping, outdoor swimming complex, etc.; depending on where you stay it might be a 1/4 or 1/2 mile walk into town. St Christina is smaller, less to do, more hiker focused. Incredible views from both towns. There is also a 3rd town; easy free bus connections between the 3 towns and lifts, but if you want to venture a car is nice.
We didn't go to Cortina; I know it is popular; believe it is more expensive / upscale.
Have a great trip!
Thank you, everyone, for your great advice. We think we understand the driving restrictions now. We booked our last night in the European Alpes at a B&B near Lago di Braies thinking that would make it possible to enjoy the lake after the crowds disappear. Your input is greatly appreciated. Now we are just trying to decide which route we should take from Alba di Canazei to Lago di Braies.