Last Minute Dolomites w/o Car


Aug 6th, 2015, 11:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 3
Last Minute Dolomites w/o Car

I'm an American living in Ireland, and my partner and I had been planning a 10-day hiking-based road trip in Norway from Aug 22-September 1st. Unfortunately, an unforeseen issue with my bank has prevented me from getting my credit card on time and I won't be able to rent the car in Norway that was essential to every aspect of our trip - from our accommodations to our trekking plans - and we've had to cancel the trip. It was a HUGE bummer to two down-to-every-detail trip planners like ourselves, but since we now have most of the money back and 10 days free from work, we really want to take our hiking holiday elsewhere.

Based on recommendations, we've settled on the Dolomites. Because neither of us have a credit card, we won't be able to rent a car in Italy (did I mention my stupid American self can only drive automatic? sigh). From reading trip reports on here and elsewhere on the Internet, it seems like getting around via public transportation is doable in comparison to other hiking destinations.

As of now, our plan would be to fly into Treviso and then get the train/bus shuttle north.

I have a few questions for experienced, awesome travelers such as yourselves:

1. Is there a village/town in particular that would serve as the best base for car-less hikers? We have heard recommendations for Ortisei, San Candido, Auronzo, and Cortina. Are those doable without a car and have enough trails and lifts in walking distance? How are larger places like Trento and Balzano?

2. How easy would it be for us to switch bases a few times over the 10 days? It seems like there are buses running between all the towns in the region but they don't run very often. I'm not sure if travelers can rely on the buses or if they should be avoided.

3. Being carless, would we be better off sticking with one area, such as only spending our days in the towns of Val Gardena?

If anyone has any experience with a public transportation-reliant trip in the Dolomites, we would love any and all advice! We are not usually such last minute travelers, and this has thrown us for a loop!
kfsev is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,498
Ortisei will be your best hub for transport and the hiking area of the Alpi Suisi. Tons of hotels in all price ranges--look at the Val Gardena sites for more.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
I think coming from Treviso you might want to take a look at Cortina d"Ampezzo, and there it is one of the most spectacular areas of the Dolomiti range, with a lot of ski lifts to hiking trails, but also bus connections.

There are people who live in the Dolomiti area who I think post on the TripAdvisor board. The national park of the Dolomiti range is quite extensive, and there are beautiful hikes everywhere, so it's not like you need to go to just one set of hiking trails. Without a car you might want info from people who know the public transportation options first hand. I don't think bobthenavigator has ever relied on public transportation in the area (neither have I), and I think you would do best to run your plans by people who have. The Rick Steves message board in addition to TripAdvisor might also be most helpful.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
PS: If you prefer to go to Bolzano (it would be better than Trento for access to Dolomiti scenery and hikes) then it would be better to fly into Verona airport if you can, or perhaps even Munich. If you fly into Munich, you can consider going to the Bressanone/Brunico area and taking public transportation from there into the Alta Badia, which is also very beautiful -- but those are villages, rather then towns with lots of lifts and restaurants.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 02:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 3

Super appreciate those recommendations, I've now added a post on the TripAdvisor forum and will hopefully get some useful responses.

We absolutely want to see multiple locations in the region, so I hope that public transportation will let us switch our base every couple of days! I will also look into Alta Badia - we are more village kind of folks anyway
kfsev is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
I'm not recommending this company because I know nothing about them, but you might find some of this logistical info useful (although I think they company perhaps only concentrates on certain areas of the Dolomiti)
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,765
I think either Val Gardena or Cortina would be good, but I would check the hiking in/around both before deciding. Also look at the Belluno area. You might want to split your nights. Also, check options from/to Treviso.

Our lodging in Ortisei gave us free bus passes on the Val Gardena bus service:
[Note many towns listed by their German names.]

Bus service from Cortina:

Jean is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2015, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 372
Hi kfsev

Just got back from Europe yesterday morning and we spent 6 nights in Ortisei - plenty of hikes to do from there.
We did not have a car and flew into Zurich from Australia via HK and then caught train to Bressanone and then cab to Ortisei - a very long journey.
Public transport was easy to use.
Caught local buses a few times and noticed people transferring to other towns as they were putting baggage under the bus.
Buses seemed to run about every 30 minutes from what we could tell and our hotel gave us a local pass for these.
The town was busy as it is school holidays and so were the cable ways but once up on paths things were pretty peaceful.

We went at very short notice and I did find this trip report a good starting point - although you may be better prepared!

I am jet lagged at the moment but will add any info if I get more awake.

It was hot up there - but may have changed.

All the best as it is an amazing area and we would plan a much longer visit some other time.

Happy planning.
love_travel_Aus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 7th, 2015, 02:16 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 679
BM for a future trip. Great information here, thanks everyone.
Keren is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:29 PM.