Need help with Dolomites Plans

I'm planning to visit the Dolomites in early Sept 2012. I need some help planning the few days that we'll spend there & I'm hoping that you can help me. I'm planning to leave Venice early in the morning & drive to the Dolomites, then spend the night (not sure where) & drive around the entire next day & then spend the night again in the Dolomites (not sure where) & proceed the next day to Lake Garda. The reason I'm planning on only 2 days in this area is because I've recently become prone to motion sickness & I'm going to seek medical help for this & I'll bring the Bonine, wrist bands, etc. to Italy but I don't want to be stuck in the Dolomites for more than 2 days just in case those remedies don't work & in case I'm really not feeling well. My questions are as follows: Will 2 days be long enough to get a nice overview of the Dolomite area? How long will it take to get from Venice to the Dolomites region?
Can you recommend which scenic routes I should take &/or suggest a good 2-day driving itinerary? What town(s) should I overnight in & can you recommend specific hotels, b&b's, etc.? We are not interested in doing any hiking; we just want to drive around, take in the scenery & take pictures. Thank you for your input.

Posted by Monique
Seattle, usa
83 posts

Dolomites was nice and reminded me of Pismo beach in California. Nice but for me only 2 days was needed.

Posted by Sheron
Alta Loma, CA, USA
1330 posts

Good to hear that Monique because I am worried that 2 nights won't be enough yet I'm worried that if my motion sickness kicks in, more than 2 nights would be miserable! Any ideas on what driving routes to take?

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6815 posts

Dolomites are like Pismo Beach?? You are kidding, right? Sheron, if you are prone to car sickness, you might not want to drive through the Dolomites on the twisty roads. You could stay on the edge or stay in one specific spot, and still enjoy the dramatic scenery.

Posted by Ron
Cesena, Italy
791 posts

Depending on where you're going and on a decent day without too heavy traffic....give it 2 and a half to three hours. A4 from Venice to Verona, catch A22 towards Trento/Bolzano. Forget the SS # for the route to Castelroto but give it about 45 minutes after you get off the autostrada to get there.
I would recommend Castelrotto as opposed to Bolzano. It's smaller but easier to get to some of the other small villages in the Dolomites.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
2048 posts

Hi Sheron, If you just want drive around for 2 days, be forewarned, there are many mountain passes that seperate the valleys and are hard (but not impossible in some cases) to avoid. If you're leary about twisty roads, take the route that Ron laid out, except do not get off for Castelrotto, but rather take the A22 to the Klausen/Chiusa/Val Gardena exit and head into the Val Gardena. This will put you on the SS242 and just a short 20 minute drive from the A22 to Ortisei (Val Gardena). I'd base here (the Val Gardena) for 2 nights. If you're up to it, you can drive a few passes in the area (Gardena, Sella, Pordoi, etc.) or take cable car trips from the Val Gardena. The Val Gardena is made up of 3 towns/villages (Ortisei, St. Christina, Selva) and each is just an easy few minutes drive from one to the next.
If you're looking for a B&B, we stayed at the Garni Ariston in St. Christina. Hope this helps. Paul

Posted by Lane
Mansfield, GA
848 posts

Sheron, sorry to hear that you are prone to motion sickness because the drive through the Dolomites offers some beautiful scenery and photo ops are plentiful. As others mentioned the roads are twisty and could be a problem for you. From Venice the ideal route would be to go straight to Cortina d'Ampezzo and eventually on over to Bolzano. It is almost worth getting dizzy to see the beauty of the Dolomites but if it is too much of a concern for you the route Ron suggested would be better. Maybe, if you took it real slow and once you get into the winding roads stop every few miles and give yourself time to take photos while allowing yourself the mountain fresh air to help with the motion sickness. Over a two day period you will have plenty of time to stop often and still see the best of the Dolomites. We took the same route and stopped often and even had a nice picnic lunch just outside of Cortina with a great view while enjoying our food. We stopped for one night in Canazei and stayed at a place called Peter's which was a small B&B & reasonably priced. Paul recommends other places to stay and he has spent much more time than I in the Dolomites so his is good advice. Our second night we stayed at the Alpi di Siusi and from there drove on to Bolzano. Hope it works out for you because the drive through the Dolomites is special.

Posted by David
Fremont, Ca, USA
87 posts

Ciao Sheron, Last year ,we drove from Piazzale Roma, Venice (where you pick up and drop off rental cars) to Cortina. It took about 2 1/2 hours. We opted to base out of Cortina, we stayed 4 nights at Hotel Montana. We loved Cortina, despite its jetset image, its really a fun, down to earth alpine town which provides just excitement/things to do without a party atmosphere (we were there in the Fall- off season). Cortina is also an excellent jumping off point to Lago Misurina, Passo Falzerago, Tre Cime di Lavaredo and a dash to Austria is possible. BTW Hotel Montana is excellent, with reasonable prices, clean rooms and located in the central pedestrian part of town. I would like to recommend a route that showcases the giant massifs in the Dolomites, it takes 4-5 hours. Start in Cortina, you will see: Passo Falzarego, Corvara, Arabba, Selva di Cadore, Venas and back to Cortina. Yes there are switch backs but the mountain scenery is the most beautiful you'll ever see. Lots of pull outs along the way. From Cortina we drove to Lago di Garda by way of Brunico, Bressanone and Bolzano. It was a long but scenic drive without switch backs. From Bolzano to the A22 to the Torbule/Nago at Lago di Garda exit. From there we drove the east side of Garda to Sirmione where we stayed for the night. We loved the route so much, were planning on repeating it in late Sept 2012. Hope this is helpful. Sorry for the long post...
David ps. search out the excellent book, "The Dolomites of Italy a Travel Guide". Old now and out of print, but still the best English language resource.

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
711 posts

I did the drive on SP46 from Roverto (south of Trento) to Vicenza (via Schio) last year, the scenery was spectacular and there are plenty of hotels/inns/B&B type places to stay at offering beauitful views and such. It's basically the Mt. Pasubio drive. The road is very windy and twisty-turny though so might not be good if you have motion sickness although that probably applies to any drive through the Dolomites you will do.