When I first planned my visit to the Italian Dolomites I knew I wanted to spend a lot of time in the mountains hiking, but when I picked up a few guide books to see the possibilities I was overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.
Overwhelmed due to the sheer number of day hikes enlisted, underwhelmed because of the lack of photographs available.
As a photographer I wanted to see what I can expect in regards to vistas, so I did what any hiker should do. I purchased a few hiking maps and off I went.
Whilst most of the hikes on this list are well known, there are certainly a couple off the beaten track gems in there too.
This article is one of many you can find in my Italian Dolomites Guide. If you are a photographer and love the outdoors, you should check it out!
9 Day Hikes In The Italian Dolomites To Fuel Your Wanderlust
1. Croda Da Lago Circuit
This 5 hour long day hike circumnavigates around Dolomite's typically jagged peak - Croda da Lago.
Best walked clockwise the trail passes along Lago Federa - one of the iconic photography spots in the Dolomites, as well as the cozy rifugio Palmieri, where you can stay the night and experience the typical mountain culture of this area.
For more information about the trailhead, distance and route description go to my article dedicated to the Croda da Lago Circuit.
2. Cinque Torri
This one is for the history geeks. The remains of the trenches and weaponries at the foot of Cinque Torri (from Italian - Five Towers) remind us all of the atrocities of the First World War and the horrendous conditions the soldiers had to live in.
The whole area can be reached via a cable car, but the hike is so easy and enjoyable you should just walk it.
The aptly named Cinque Torri means exactly what it is - The Five Towers. They serve as climber's playground. On a sunny day you will be able to see plenty of climbers trying to scale one of the towers.
I covered everything you need to know about this hike in a separate article.
3. Lagazuoi Tunnels
The Lagazuoi tunnels is another very important reminder of the First World War. Due to the strategic position of this area, the Italian and Austro-hungarian soldiers have fiercely battled for it, until it fell into the hands of the Italians.
Some mountain towns though have prevailed their identity and even now, over 100 years later, german remains the language that is often spoken around here.
The hike through the tunnels starts at Passo Falzarego, a mountain pass connecting the towns of Cortina D'Ampezzo with Selva Di Cadore. It eventually finishes on the top of Mount Lagazuoi (photo above), with the famous rifugio Lagazuoi standing on its top.
If you would like to know more about the hike and the best way to see the tunnels go here.
4. Lake Sorapiss
If you plan on basing yourself around Cortina D'Ampezzo during your stay in the Dolomites then reserve a day to do the hike to Lake Sorapiss.
Although elevation wise it's a pretty easy hike, you shouldn't underestimate it, especially if you don't have a head for heights.
A decent section of the trail scales along a rock shelf, on one side protected by a cable on the other side a couple of hundred meter sheer drop. The photo above will give you a good idea of what I am talking about.
A prize in the form of a turquoise, glacier fed lake surrounded by dramatic peaks awaits you at the end.
Not too far from the lake, there is a mountain hut, where you can stay overnight, run by very friendly and helpful locals. It's called rifugio Vandelli. I have stayed there a couple of nights, when tackling the via ferrata Giro del Sorapiss.
5. Tre Cime Circuit
If you are coming to the Dolomites for just a few days and are looking for a hike, that shouldn't be missed, you just found it.
The Tre Cime circuit circumnavigates around Dolomite's famous Three Peaks. The highlights include passing through the iconic Forcella (saddle) Lavaredo and rifugio Locatelli.
If you are feeling adventurous you can combine the hike with two famous via ferratas in the area: Innerkofler/De Luca and Torre di Toblin, but to do that, spending a night in the nearby hut will be essential.
6. Lago Di Braies Circuit
Overcrowding is an issue that is starting to have a negative impact on many places around the World and Lago Di Braies is certainly one of them.
90% of the tourists who flock to this lake don't go further then 100 meters away from the parking lot, just to snap the famous instagram shot right next to the boathouse and move on.
Few realize that there is a pathway you can take, which skirts the lake, taking you away from the craziness of it all and it only takes 1 hour to complete!
It's best to do it early in the morning, when the light rays hit the mountains and light up Seekofel - the peak which reflects in the lake. For more information and photos of the Lago di Braies circuit see this article.
7. Vajolet Towers
When I first saw a photograph of the Vajolet towers I couldn't believe this place was real, let alone it was only an hour drive from where I was based at the time.
Then I learnt that there was a mountain hut right beneath the towers and I thought my day can't get any better! I run to a store bought a topography map of the Rosengarten Nature Park, where the towers are located and planned my next adventure.
There are two ways to reach the towers, first through the via ferrata Passo Santner, second through a day hike. If you are an adventurous spirit go for the first one, but if you just want to hike, here is everything to know about the hike to Vajolet towers.
8. Passo Del Mulaz
The hike to Passo del Mulaz definitely qualifies as an off the beaten path experience in the Dolomites.
Located in the lesser known and much quieter Pale di San Martino group this one way in and out hike will take you to a dramatic mountain pass, which overlooks the many spires of Forcella (saddle) Farangole.
If you want you can easily extend it into a 3 day loop staying at two of the most photogenic huts in the Dolomites: rifugio Volpi Al Mulaz and rifugio Rosetta.
The hike starts at Passo Rolle near the town of San Martino di Castrozza, but before I reveal too much, just head over to my other detailed article about this day hike to learn more.
9. Seceda Ridgeline
The Seceda ridgeline must be one of the most photographed mountain ridge lines in the World. It's the symbol of the Puez Ödle Nature Park and everyone coming to the Dolomites should plan to see it.
Majority of hikers, just trek from the top of the gondola to the ridgeline and back, but I highly recommend doing a whole loop around the area and seeing other interesting rock formations along the way. Also don't forget to check out rifugio Firenze.
You can find all detailed information about this day hike here.
If you have any questions about the hikes on this list or need help with planning your road trip around the Dolomites, don't hesitate to post them in the comments below.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.