My wife and I are visiting Italy in the early spring. South Tyrol seems beautiful, but we are concerned that in late April or early May many of the attractions will be closed, finding hotels will be a problem and there won't be much for us to do (we don't ski)--in short...will the area be dead, and we'd be better off spending our precious time elsewhere? Are the roads trafficable, or will many be closed with snow and ice and we’ll need chains? Please advise if you can. Thanks in advance.
I have been a few times now but toward the end of May/early June. There is still snow around at that time and it can impeed high level routes. Most of the area closes between the end of the winter season (Easter) and the start of tyhe Summer season (Mid June). The snow on the roads is kept clear (as far as I know) but depends on snowfall. It should all be gone from there by then anyway.
We went with Collett's Mountain Holidays in May and from their website it looks as if they will be open from the middle of May. Check with them for their exact dates at www.colletts.co.uk - firstname.lastname@example.org - one of their sales people, Sam, was extremely helpful in organising our holiday. They were very helpful and we had a wonderful time in the Dolomites walking and climbing - Probably the most beautiful mountainous area we have visited. We also went with Collett's in the winter for the first time last year and spent our time winter walking and snowshoeing.
All the best,
The roads should be open but many hotels, especially the smaller ones, will not be. They close for a break after the ski season and do not re-open until mid-May or even later. The scenery will still be stunning. You might look around on some of the tourist websites, such as dolomiti.it or dolomiti.org to see what is going on that time of year.
We drove the Great Dolomite Road but it was close to the third week in May. All the roads were open and the scenery is stunning. We do not ski either but it is a trip I would do again in a heartbeat. Most of the lifts were closed but with a car we did not have any trouble finding places to stay. We were going to drive this route in one day after leaving Venice but the views were so great that we stopped every few miles for photos and wound up taking three days in the Dolomites. As far as the roads are concerned in April and early May I could not help with that. They did have a big snow about a week before our arrival so it is possible even in May. Chances are fairly good however the roads would be ok for travel during that time.
While many hotels are closed there are still B&B's and some hotels that remain open and finding a room should not be a concern especially with a car. We found a nice B&B in Canazei and I think we were the only people staying there that night. Rates are also reasonable during that time of year.