How to divide time in the Dolomites

Old Nov 9th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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How to divide time in the Dolomites

We're traveling to Italy next summer and are currently booked for four nights in Ortesei. While researching the Dolomites it seems like we would be better to split our time with two nights in Ortesei and two nights near Cortina D'Ampezzo to have diversity in hiking and scenery. Any advice on either approach?
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 10:35 AM
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I prefer road tripping in the Dolomiti to having a "base". Once I've driven over one difficult mountain pass, then I don't particularly want to turn around and drive it back the other way. That said, if you are going to the Dolomiti to do more than scenic driving, and really want to get out of the car and walk some paths, then be sure to leave time for that.

I didn't care much for Cortina d'Ampezzo as a town -- or most of the towns, really, except the villages in the Alta Badia. Were it my trip, I might do 1 night near or in Ortesei, 2 nights in Pedraces, and then 1 night near Cortina.

But for your trip, it really all depends on where you are coming from and where you are going. And if you want to include rides on ski lifts and such, you might prefer to stay in the bigger ski resort-ish towns.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 01:11 PM
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Thank you! I'll look into those possibilities. It would be nice to be a bit more centrally located for the best base....and Padraces looks very lovely.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 01:46 PM
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We spent a week in Ortisei last Oct and did a different hike almost every day. We aren't big hikers but definitely didn't run out if things to see or do and we're happy with our time there.

You can see our pics here
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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Two locations may be a good idea, but Cortina is too far east to be one of them. I would do Val Gardena and Alta Badia.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 02:39 PM
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And have any of you rented road bikes? We're big road bikers and are considering the wisdom of bringing our shoes, pedals and a pair of bike shorts. Knowing there will be plenty to do without biking of course, it would be fun to have biking as another option.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 03:15 PM
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We stayed in Ortisei for 4 nights. Was not too much. There are so many vistas to take in, cable cars to ride and hikes to do. Cortina will take up a lot of your time as far as getting there from some place further west in the Dolomites.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 03:47 PM
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In Pedraces, Hotel Melodia del Bosco is a bike hotel, so if you stay there, they could arrange bike rental for you. I stayed there a couple of years ago on a ski holiday, and thought it was a very nice hotel.

Another good option is to book with Collett's Mountain Holidays in Pedraces or Corvara. In Pedraces, they use either the Melodia del Bosco or Haus Valentin (less expensive but also nice. I stayed there on a hiking trip with Collett's). They offer group hikes almost every day, and provide information if you want to hike on your own. New this year, they also offer road bike rental if you want to bike one or more days.

The biking in the Dolomites is out of this world! If you happen to be there on June 21, you could take part in the Sella Ronda Bike Day, when the entire Sella Ronda, a 60-kilometer loop over four mountain passes, (including, imo, the three most beautiful passes in the Dolomites, Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella, and Passo Gardena), will be closed to cars and open only to cyclists.

Even if you miss Sella Ronda bike day, any (or all) of the three main climbs on the Ronda would make for a fantastic ride.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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Look for the monument to Fausto Coppi at the summit of Passo Pordoi.

Don't miss Passo Giau. It's not part of the Sella Ronda, but it's just as amazing.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 05:59 PM
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Biking sounds like a great idea, but you need to check out which towns do the renting and which roads would suit your level. Lots of info on the web about that through google.

I don't know what your overall itinerary is, but the Cortina d'Ampezzo area was not too far east for the 4 day trip I took, and I approached the Dolomiti from the western side. One of the highlights of that trip, in fact, was driving the Great Dolomite Road from west to east, ending in Cortina d'Ampezzo. It is considered by many, many people to one of the greatest scenic drives in the world.

Coming from Ortesei, it would take less than 90 minutes to drive to Cortina d'Ampezzo, but most people want to go very slow and stop for pictures or walks. Coming from Pedraces, and dropping south via Corvara and Arabba, it would take you roughly an equal amount of time.

If your entire trip in going to be in Italy, it usually not difficult and it would certainly be doable to go from Ortisei to Cortina d'Ampezzo as part of touring the Dolomiti. Many people prefer to stay in one spot. Others enjoy the driving and what's around the next bend. It's all beautiful, and I think the important thing is to plan your trip around what you would most enjoy, whether it is biking or hiking or driving the Great road or what have you.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 12:58 AM
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Having only four days - and this usually means 3 and an half day - I would not spend half a day changing bases.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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I just stumbled across this and I thought you would be interested. Specifically I am talking about post #22 in this thread
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 11:46 AM
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Cortina d'Ampezzo is the VIP town of the area (at least during the ski season, not sure during the summer), consider that when looking for accommodations, you may get a better deal in the nearby towns recommended above...

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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 07:43 PM
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Terrific information and we thank all of you. We will get to work investigating your leads and look forward to a fantastic trip of a lifetime.
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