In this post we are willing to share with you all our impressions and experience after hiking and travelling in Dolomites for 3 weeks. We are going to tell you all of our impressions and conclusions we made, some advice that we find very important, the reality of the weather and hiking conditions as well as some of our favorite hikes. Hope that you can learn something new from it.
Location and language
First of all, Dolomites are located in the South Tyrol where most part of the population speaks in German and it’s not a surprise because it shares the border with Austria. Only After the first World War this region joined Italy so it remains isolated and independent to some extent.
Talking about languages usually you won’t have any problem with English only with some elder people German is the only language they speak but we could get along with it anyway. Normally everybody speaks Italian too so if you speak it it would be great.
Trail signing is overall good. But be aware that in Italy most of the trails have the white and red mark and only the numbers can differentiate it. So the numbers are more important than the marking itself.
In Dolomites the rules about wild camping are very clear and stated on every info board. It is not allowed. And anyway because of extremelyrocky terrain it would be very difficult. So if you’re a tent lover like us take advantage of the numerous campsites in the area. Out of high season they’re not that expensive.
There are lots of biking routes to take
South Tyrol is great for biking. There are plenty of routes to choose from and you can travel by bike across all the region. There is a special card system where you can buy a card for a week or two to use the rental bikes and their parking spots and it’s very convenient if you don’t carry your own bike with you. And there are a lot of rental spots throughout the region.
The thing that stroke us and affected a lot were the consequences of the Hurricane of 2018 that we could witness in our own eyes. There was an extremely powerful storm and wind that ruined many forest hectares. And these picture of rooted out trees will stay in our eyes for a long time now.
South Tyrol is a center of apple produce
This region is very rich in apples. Thousands and thousands of hectares of apple plantations that we were absolutely amazed to see. They make lots of different varieties and products out of it: juices, dry apples, pastry for example Strudel etc. And of course they’re great to eat as they are in raw condition.
Unique public transportation system
In South Tyrol there is a unique public transportation system. Thanks to it you have a chance to travel all around the region and have unlimited access to all the trains, buses etc. We were able to visit so many places and move around a lot thanks to it. You can get a South Tyrol Vinschgaucard that grants you access to it for a week. Ask for it at the accomodation you’re staying and even at campsites. They should have it. But Not every accommodation has it so learn this information in advance. We got it while we were staying in Val Venosta by the way.
The weather was fine throughout all of our journey. We got lucky because seeing the consequences of the bad hurricane last year was scary. And thunderstorms in the afternoon are not a rare thing. But in the end of August start of September it was nice.
September is a great month to travel
We personally think that the start of September is great for exploring the region because the weather gets quieter with less probability of thunderstorms and it still warm enough to hike without snow. In the end we got into the Arctic air and it got really cold higher up in the mountains at 1700m. But it can happen any moment in summer too so it doesn’t count. Unpredictable mountains and Always will be.
Raincoats and warm clothes is a necessity
So always Have all warm and summer clothes with you as well as raincoats. RAINCOATS is a necessity every day and we had only few days when there wasn’t any rain. So with little to no exception there is an afternoon rain every day. We are just happy we didn’t came into a thunderstorm.
Continuing the topic The best time to start the hike is as early as possible in the morning then you will have enough time and won’t get rushed running away from rain in the end.
Don’t trust the weather forecast to the last word
Weather forecast is not precise. And you can’t trust it to the last word. Out of the three weeks we spend in the region there were only few days when it came true and was right. So better observe the sky and clouds and judge it by yourself.
Vertical rocks are unforgettable
One of our very first brightest impressions about Dolomites were of course the incredibly rocky massive and vertical rocks. We haven’t been in such place before and it’s hard to describe in words, so we have mixed impressions. On one side The landscapes are out of this world and one in a kind but on the other it looks quite scary. To be honest we needed time to get used to it as at first it was scary to even be close to these rocks and walking beside them was terrifying for us. It’s simply Impossible to transmit it’s massiveness by any device and hard to cover with your own eyes.
Instagram shots can be deceptive
But be aware that on pictures it sometimes looks prettier. And in real life it’s different. And on the contrary There were places that looked better or completely different in real life. Also Most of the postcard looking pictures are taken by drone. So don’t get fooled by pictures and good editing skills of a photographer. We know what we’re talking about:)
There are lots of crowded touristic places
There are a lot of tourists in Dolomites and especially in the most popular places like Seceda Lago di Braies Tre Cime. It’s true Even in September and we can’t imagine what it would be like there in the peak season o July and August. And we feel like there were more tourists than on the Tour de Mont Blanc Hike that we did earlier this year. Probably because here you can find some easier trails. So if you can go off season or at least in September and get up early to escape the biggest crowds.
Go off the beaten path
Apart from the popular spots in Dolomites there are so many other interesting places to visit in the area and we were gladly surprised about it. Like for example the lakes Resia and Val Venosta area where we started hiking was a discovery to us. And ended up being one of our favourite spots where we would love to get back. And many others where we still have to travel.
So Do not get focused only on the popular trails, dont be afraid to go off the beaten path and you will see that the Dolomites is so much more than that. We did wanted to exolore the popular spots this time but when we’ll come back another time we’ll definitely be creating our own unique trails. And our favourite ones turned out to be not the popular spots. In our opinion the place gets spoiled when it gets too crowded and we no longer have this close connection to nature and sense of unity with it which is needed when you’re hiking. So if you like solitude go off the beaten path.
Not so much animal variety
Apart from crowds we didn’t like the fact that we didn’t meet enough animals. Probably because it is so rocky and high that it’s not their environment. But we missed it a lot. We met just several birds and marmots that we’ve spotted in the last moment.
Lots of cable cars to choose from
The amount of cable cars is astonishing here. We felt like they’re endless and if you wish you can explore every single peak and hike along the mountain ridge thanks to them. It’s better to buy a card with an access to all of them for a week or limited amount of time – you will save up money thanks to it and it’s simply more convenient.
Not enough water sources to resupply
There’s not enough water sources and rivers where you can resupply. So think beforehand where you can get water or buy more in advance. Compared to Tour de Mont Blanc we could find water sources on every step and there was no lack in it.
We didn’t like the amount of cars and car roads but at tge same time it allows to get to every far off and hard to reach location. So there’s both sides.
Variety of different trails is endless
Talking about trails we took Initially we wanted to take Via Alpina which is one of the high mountain trails. We realized with Dolomites that here there are a lot of challenging trails and extreme trails too. This is an absolute paradise for any rock climber lover as you can choose any of multiple rocks to conquer. Or do the Via Ferrata section hikes getting through the iron steps and ladders and hiking vertically. But we realized that for us to enjoy the hike is not necessary to go that extreme and in fact we don’t enjoy it at all. Fortunately there are plenty of trails to choose for everybody’s tastes and levels of physical forms. There are really easy trails going through the forest, with no crazy uphills and downhills and even the Tre Cime circular hike was quite an easy one.
Our favourite hikes in Dolomites
Our favourite hikes in the region were Passo Gardena to Selva di Val Gardena hike, Loop trail Glurns-Berkwaal and Lake Resia circular trail. As we mentioned before our top favourite trails weren’t the most popular ones even though we visited Lago di braies, Seceda mountain and Tre Cime di Lavaredo as well. If you want to learn more about each one of these hikes we encourage you to watch our separate video where we are going to share all the details. Of course you can always find the full length footage from these hikes on our channel as well. So don’t miss it.
And that was all the information we wanted to share with you regarding our hiking experience in Dolomites. Let us know in the comments if you learned something new and also if you want to add something and share your own stories. Make sure to watch our 8 day series of Hiking in Dolomites that you can find here on our website.