Old Oct 14th, 2009, 12:35 PM
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We are going to be in Italy in early May and were thinking of spending a few days in the Dolomites. Is that too early in the season for hiking or will we be dealing with snow?We've been told it's a beautiful area, but are concerned with the timing.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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Early May is early for the Dolomites, especially if you want to do some hiking (unless you are thinking of strolls along the rivers in the valleys). Many of the lifts do not open until late June or even early July for the highest ones.

Also, many of the hotels and facilities will be closed---they close after Easter (or maybe a little later in years with an early Easter, like 2010 will be). The families that run the smaller hotels use this as their vacation time, or just quiet time.

We faced this question a couple of years ago when we were in Venice at mid-April. I wanted to visit the Dolomites (I had been there before and loved the area), but it just didn't make sense. We went to Lago di Garda instead, basing in the village of Malcesine. We hiked halfway up Monte Baldo, and rode the cablecar the rest of the way to the top. You could see the ddolomites from there---and there was lots of snow, even where we stood.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 01:24 PM
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Hi, we were in the Dolomites in early to mid May this year and although we had a great time, we did find most things were closed. We stayed one night in Cortina which was very quiet. We found a restaurant and had pizza for dinner but we did have trouble finding somewhere that was open to eat.

Then we had 3 nights in Castelrotto at Haus Silbernagl, which gets great reviews on Trip Advisor. Terrific place to stay if you are in that area. There were a few places open to eat at night, though not many, and most shops were open during the day.

It's a stunning area, the mountain scenery driving from Cortina to Castelrotto was truly amazing. There were few cars about and one road that was closed, which led to Castelrotto. We had to detour about 2 hours out of the way. There had been a sign, earlier on the road, saying something in Italian which we couldn't understand but in hindsight it must have said the road was closed due to the possibility of avalanche. There was a lot of snow about at the higher elevations, though the roads were all clear.

The very helpful owner of Haus Silbernagl, Petra, suggested we do a walk in the Alpe di Siusi and we had a wonderful day. It was the only chairlift open in the area, we parked at the bottom, caught the chairlift then just walked. There was almost no one about, it was very peaceful and very, very beautiful. There were a couple of huts and a place at the very top that would have sold food and drink but they were all closed. We had a stash of water and chocolate so sat at the top and enjoyed the serenity and mountain views.

Where we walked on the Alpe di Siusi there was a small amount of melting snow on the ground but the surrounding higher peaks were covered in snow. We just walked in normal clothes with walking shoes.

So yes, it's off season. But if that's the only time you can go, I would still recommend it. Of course, the weather will vary year to year and you may have trouble if more roads are closed due to snow.

The famous bike race, the Giro d'Italia, was on in that area when we were there. If you can get hold of any footage, it will show you what it was like at that time of year.

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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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In 2006, we were in the Dolomites at the end of May (we arrived May 28), and most of the things we wanted to do were closed. That included cable cars and lifts and museums that had previously announced and publicised opening dates earlier in May. Germany is close enough to the area that people can decide at the last minute to come down for just a few days, or not. The weather was bad, the Germans weren't showing up, so they just pasted up hand-written signs announcing a later opening (if they even bothered to do that). Too bad if you came 5,000 Km from the US based on an opening date that had been announced on the internet six months before.

You can see my trip report at:

It's not so easy to get up to the Alpe di Siusi if all the cable lifts are closed. I don't think early May is a good time to go to the Dolomites.

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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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We were in the Dolomites in early May this year. We found it pretty much as Kay described. We had beautiful weather the first day and not so great the second day and then beautiful weather the 3rd day and the fourth on our drive West. We stayed in Cortina and it was a challenge finding places to stay throughout the Dolomites that were open which is why we stayed in Cortina. There were restaurants open and we ate 2 nights at a really good restaurant about 5 minutes by car outside the main part of Cortina. We did take a drive one afternoon and got caught in a terrible snow fun. It was cloudy and overcast when we took off from Cortina and then it started snowing lightly and then harder making driving slippery and visibility difficult. We were not more than 20 miles outside Cortina, but it was another world. No cars, no people, just us on the road in snow. The higher elevations had the snow markers showing 4-5 ft of snow still on the ground. Several of the passes were open limited hours due to the potential of avalanches.

I agree with KayF, if that's the only time u can go, don't miss it, it's beautiful. If you can go later then I'd do that.
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Old Nov 26th, 2009, 04:48 AM
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hi, if i am going to Dolomites in early April - does it make sense? will i be seeing green pasture with snow capped alps. Also, this will be part of the trip which i will be going to austrian alps. Are the scenery similar ? Should i go to both places. thanks in advance for help.
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 01:50 AM
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Hi Lisay - Early April is the last week of the ski season - so the lifts will still be working (- they close on 11 April).

You will see green pastures at lower levels in the valleys, and snow at higher levels.

If you hit lucky with the weather, the fact that the main lifts are open makes this a good time to go and enjoy the spectacular views at high altitude.

The scenery in the Dolomites is unique. If you have time for both the Dolomites and the Austrian Alps, do both. Why not?

This link might whet your appetite:

Hope this helps ...

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