The Dolomites range among the most spectacular mountain landscapes anywhere, and their beauty can be experienced and explored in many different ways. Here are some suggestions for Dolomites outdoor activities.
Outdoor activities with boots, bikes and boards
There is something utterly fascinating about the grey, vertical mountains that tower abruptly above gentle Alpine foothills. The Dolomites that are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage stretch over an area of 140 000 ha with a spectacular diversity of landscapes of deep long valleys contrasted by 18 peaks and sculptural limestone formations such as pinnacles, towers and spires. And the beauty is quite easily accessible.
The Dolomites are a hikers’ paradise offering plenty of easy to moderately strenuous itineraries. There is almost no peak nor valley that does not provide a handful of appealing walking-tours .One of the most popular day hikes is the Tre Cime di Lavarendo around the region’s most famous landmark. From the car park near Lake Misurina it will take you about 2.5 hours to complete the 9.5 km circuit, unless you have to stop for cappuccinos or other refreshments at all the Rifugios along the way
Another easily accessible point of departure is Alpe di Siusi from where there is a variety of walks and hikes with magnificent views of the characteristic landscape.
If you want to go on a self-guided 2-3 day itinerary make sure to bring a detailed map and to book overnight stays well in advance. Tenting is not allowed, and in the high season from July to October many rifugios are fully booked, which is understandable considering the view you’ll have with your dinner. Apart from that there are trails for all levels of ability and experience. Just remember to bring water, snacks and a fully charged cell phone.
As a step up from ordinary mountain walking, the Dolomites have a number of Vie Ferrate or iron roads where a steel cable fixed to the rock serves as an aid to climbing iron rungs or carved steps and ladders. In this way otherwise dangerous routes can undertaken without climbing equipment and climbing experience. Thus they enable the relatively inexperienced a means of enjoying the dramatic positions and accessing difficult peaks normally the preserve of the serious mountaineer. Via Ferrata routes can vary in length from less than an hour to multi-day climbing tours at high altitudes.
The Dolomites has one of the most extensive networks of interconnected cycling trails and paths in Italy with easy and challenging routes for mountain bikes, tour bikes and racing bikes. Visit all the charming valleys and villages and switch between difficult mountain trails with panoramic views, forest routes and freewheeling through the valley. There are bicycles for rent in eg. Dobbiaco, Cortina and on the Passo di Cimabanche.
In winter the Dolomites have developed into a phenomenal ski region with about 450 lifts and cable cars and 1200 km well maintained ski slopes are spread over the entire region. In addition to the outstanding skiing facilities, the area offers great food and cultural events and a range of other winter sports like tobogganing, snowboard, snowshoing and cross country skiing.