Austrian Tirol versus the Dolomites

Old Aug 26th, 2010, 04:41 PM
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Austrian Tirol versus the Dolomites

I have a post going right now on advice on where to base ourselves in the Tirol region of Austria and bobthenavigator asked if I considered the Dolomites. I responded in that post but thought it may be more helpful to do a completely seperate post.

So, we will be going next April. Tickets are already booked and we are flying into Munich on April 23rd. It will be my husband and myself, along with another couple. We are all in our early 30s. I love the mountains and Austria. We are considering the Oetztal, the Zillertal and perhaps Hall in Tirol and are looking to base ourselves in one town for 3 to 5 days. I have been interested in the Dolomites for awhile but was concerned about the timing. I've been to Austria and Bavaria in April and, while not ideal, it wasn't too bad. If we went to the Dolomites, keeping in mind that we would be traveling from Munich, where is a good base? I've read so many different options that I'm kind of overwhelmed.

Basically I'm kind of looking for a comparison as far as towns and views are concerned. Do you prefer one area (Dolomites versus Tirol) over the other and, if so, why?

Thanks!
Tracy
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 05:10 PM
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We tried to go to the Dolomites in April one year and most hotels were closed at that time so we stayed in the Veneto..
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 05:34 PM
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Many of the alpine passes in Südtirol/Trentino will still be closed. The roads are smaller for someone not experienced, passes like the Stilfser Joch are a problem. (closed anyway) The Dolomiten are more impressive than (almost) anything you might find further north, except maybe the Glockner area, BUT! in April you will not be able to drive to everywhere. Do you Ski? That would be an alternative. Südtirol in Summer/Autumn anytime. Can you drive on mountain passes, 1.5 cars wide. Austria is far more relaxed, new roads everywhere.
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Thank you both. logos, we aren't that experienced in mountain passes which is why we thought that maybe the Dolomites wouldn't be a good idea for this trip. I unfortunately do not ski. My one ski experience was not a good one. I'll have to give it another try sometime, but I don't want to come home from vacation with a broken neck!

Tracy
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 05:54 PM
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Well, then the snow may keep you from seeing a lot of Südtirol. Just 4 weeks later and you'd be fine. The Inntal around Innsbruck is very wide and flat, not that exciting. But a good start anyway.
http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?...-Hafelekar.jpg

You could visit Sterzing, Meran and Bozen and many other towns in Südtirol on a daytrip, but you'd stay in the valley most of the time.
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Old Aug 27th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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Hi again,

I'd go with staying in Austria as the Dolomites seem "emptier" off season. Places like Hall in Tirol are always "open" but some villages in the Dolomites will be very quiet. The towns/cities of the Dolomites such as Brixen, Meran, Bolzano are not "in" the mountains and lack the mountain scenery.

Driving the passes is a great way to see the Dolomites though. Most are not too daunting at all, especially off season without the busier traffic (incl. tour buses). They are usually in great condition (paving wise)and are wide enough for 2 way traffic, including tour buses.


We were there in late April '05 and all we came upon were open (Gardena/Sella/Giau/Pordoi, etc.)and there wasn't even a hint of snow. Weather of course is impossible to predict and you could "play it by ear" for a day trip there.

This is a great website for the Passes:

www.alpineroads.com/dolomites.php

By the way, Munich airport to Hall in Tirol or the Zillertal is only about 2.5 hours. The Dolomites are less than 1:30 away from say Innsbruck/Hall in Tirol.

It took us 40 minutes to drive from the Gasthof Badl in Hall in Tirol to Sterzing/Vipiteno in Italy.

Paul
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Old Aug 27th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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Tracy, April may not be the best time for the Dolomites. We have been there in May and in late Sep and loved it both times. April is transition time in ski areas and some places are not open. Here are some of my pics that may give you a feel for the area:
http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=4441
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Old Aug 28th, 2010, 06:00 AM
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My spouse and I are looking at the same comparison - Austria or the Dolomites - for 4 daays - coming from Munich and returning to Munich in mid September. Given that snow is not an issue, which trip and which "highway" and which B&B's?

Don
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Old Aug 28th, 2010, 06:35 AM
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Hi Skippie1,

In September the Dolomites are great. We've visited last September. If this is your first trip, it's easy to see both Austria and the Dolomites. From Munich, you need to pass through Austria anyway.

My suggestions would be...

If you have 4 days/5nights:

Munich to Zell am See, Austria. (1 night here)
Zell am See to Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse to La Villa, Alta Badia, Italy (2nights here)
La Villa to Innsbruck area (we prefer either Mittenwald, Germany or Hall in Tirol, Austria to Innsbruck, as both are nearby). (1 night here)
Innsbruck area to Munich

If you just wanted to stay in the Dolomites:
Drive from Munich to Innsbruck (about 2 hour drive), take the Brenner Pass (not the typical "alpine" pass, but a multi-lane highway - the A22). Take the Chiusa/Klausen exit and enter the Val Gardena. Either stay in Val Gardena or drive 20 minutes through the Val Gardena, over the spectacular Gardena Pass (allow 45 minutes for this drive) into Alta Badia.
If you wanted to stay a night in Austria also, spend the night in Hall in Tirol (by Innsbruck) on the way to/from the Dolomites. We can highly recommend the Gasthof Badl in Hall in Tirol. We stayed here in '01,'03 and '05.

www.badl.at

www.worldisround.com/articles/343800/index.html

For the Dolomites, we can recommend the Garni Ariston in St. Christina (Val Gardena)

www.garniariston.com

and the Ciasa Montanara in La Villa (Alta Badia).

www.montanara.it

We have some photo's at:

www.worldisround.com/articles/355539/index.html

www.worldisround.com/articles/324504/index.html

www.worldisround.com/articles/351565/index.html

Paul
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Old Sep 14th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Just returned from the Dolomites this August--gorgeous! Like being in Austria, though it's Italy (since 1919). We had stunning days hiking in the mountains, paragliding, horse riding, and of course enjoying Tirolean cuisine. Castelrotto is a cute village in a gorgeous setting at the base of the mountains (recommended by Rick Steves). And we loved our Hotel Cavallino D'Oro. I just posted pics today from our trip: http://findthefound.org/2010/09/14/i...the-dolomites/. Enjoy your trip, wherever you decide to go.
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Old Sep 14th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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What fun !
Thanks for sharing.
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Old Sep 15th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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It's been too long since my last visit to the Dolomites - thanks for reminding me!
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