Where to stay in the Dolomites

Sep 23rd, 2012, 03:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
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It is so easy to get from Verona to Turn by train , that I would keep Verona as your entry point, because if you do have a clear shot at the Dolomiti, then that was first choice anyway, plus I think it is the unique landscape that should have a priority over the valle d'Aosta.

But if when you arrive in Verona you end up seeing nothing but rain in the forecasst for the Dolomiti, and sunshine in valle d'Aosta, it is easy enough to take a train either to Turin from Verona, or to Aosta itself. (You can pick up a car in Aosta, or in Chivasso, which en route to Aosta from Milan and has a train stop). However, it is not ideal to daytrip to the valle d'Aosta from Torino if you want to enjoy the mountains, not merely Aosta town.

But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE: Torino is a perfectly safe place in the evenings. It has a vibrant cafe and club scene, and transportation that runs late into the night. It is as safe as Verona. I also happen to find it one of the most enjoyable, eclectic small cities in Italy (in Europe, actually), and it has exceptional food and wine.

As for your questions about cable car schedules, I suggest you take them to the TripAdvisor message board, where I believe some residents of the Dolomiti post. You have to take some of their "it's always sunny skies" attitude with a grain of salt, because several of them are profesionally involved in the tourism industry.

I don't wish you make a prisoner of a lot of fears about weather, but I do think you should read this previous trip report from a poster who went in late May to the Dolomiti and got rain and unexpected closures. Your chances of getting good weather at that time frame are favorable, but you can see from this report that some travelers there were fairly frustrated with how they ended up spending their time when it rained or was overcast:

pizzocchieri is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 08:31 AM
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I emailed one hotel in Ortisei or Selva and they said they more or less open around the end of June.

So if I can't reschedule the tickets, I'll figure out something else, though a few smaller places outside of Ortisei seem to be open.
scrb11 is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 02:46 PM
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scrb11, don't go to the Dolomites in May - it'll be dead, and most if not all of the lifts will be closed down. Why not go further south, say to Sicily, instead?

Re: the roads in the Dolomites, while they obviously traverse mountainous terrain, the main highways/passes are considerably wider than the ones leading to small villages in Tuscany. If you are afraid of mountain roads (i.e hairpin curves and stepp dropoffs) period, the Dolomites probably aren't for you unfortunately - better head for Switzerland, where you can get around by public transportation very easily.
Andre is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 03:55 PM
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Went to Sicily in 2010.

Will check for flights a month later. If I can't reschedule, at worst I will be "stuck" exploring other parts of northern Italy.
scrb11 is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 04:06 PM
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Lots of things to see in Northern Italy: Lake District, Emilia Romagna...

Here are some ideas a bit further afield:
- Provence
- Côte d'Azur
- Andalucia
- Dalmatian Coast
- Greek Islands
Andre is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 03:05 AM
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If you are planning to do both Turin and Ortisei, there is more than a 4 hours' drive between these two places - I think it would be wise to make a one-night stop in between as otherwise you might end up driving mountain roads when it is close to getting dark.

If you have a two-week trip, you can easily do both areas.

As Andre remarked, the main roads of the Dolomites are relatively wide - even if you are going up higher altitude, they are not too winding or dangerous for sure, (like the road to Trento from Verona) driving up close to the Lake Garda - we did it last December), so even if it is rainy weather, you should still make it safely. It is the towns and villages on the mountains that might prove more difficult to reach in case of bad weather.

So,if you are stell unsure about finding accommodation in mountain towns and villages, weatherwise, etc, and are not really accustomed to driving in mountain roads, and yet still do not want to stay in a large city, then you can find accommodation very very close to a major city of the north like Trento and Bolzano and do day trips from there, depending on the weather. If it would be a bad weather day, you can just stay in the town you chose, or drive to the nearby large city. For example, last December we stayed in a lovely brand new chalet-style hotel called Casa Vigolana Natural Garni. This small hotel is just 14km and an easy drive to Trento. We drove to Trento twice in one day, in the afternoon for the Christmas market and some shopping, and again in the evening for dinner (we had booked dinner at a lovely hotel up a hill just a couple of kms away from Trento centre called Relais Villa Madruzzo - hightly recommendable by me if you want to stay extremely close but not in centre of Trento - it is up a hill though, a reason for its lovely views. The food is very good, and the views are gorgeous.
However, if you prefer to find accommodation more to the north, the main road (highway) from Trento to Bolzano is also a relatively easy drive compared to the mountain roads. Then maybe, if you do not want to find accomodation in the centre of Bolzano, find a town or village, make sure it is not up some small mountain) just a few kms away not as far as Ortisei (which is only about 36kms away from Bolzano, but you need to consider not only distance as such as you might need to pass through some mountain roads), but still extremely close to wander around by car.

That way you would be on the safer side weatherwise and travelwise.

But if you are apprehensive about driving/weather - then do choose a city hotel (at least on the outskirts of city) -then you would certainly be on the safe side. Plus take the toll or main roads (or at least secondary) to arrive to destinations.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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I can book something right now, to make sure I get something. But it seems a lot of the ones in towns like Ortisei and Selva are not available to book.

I have found some threads that suggest you can still find things to do in May and June, like driving to certain passes for the best scenery:


Or that you can still reach places like Alpe de Siusi:


Yes Anna, I also noticed the long distance between Ortisei and Turin. Possibly will look to stay at some point in between. I've been to Lake Como, have little interest in seeing Milan again. Lake Garda might be new but it's not really that much closer than Ortisei?

Also wonder how much further east of Val Gardena/SudTirol I'll be able to see, if I allocate 3 or 4 nights around Ortisei and then have to also think about how much time to plan for Piedmont.

If I get to Cortina/Belluno, maybe Lake Garda would be a good stopping point. Or maybe there's enough in the Sudtirol to see for 3 or 4 nights, at least for a first time visit to the region.
scrb11 is online now  
Sep 25th, 2012, 04:38 PM
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Wherever you decide to base yourself in, be careful not to find accommodation ata very high elevation which needs driving up steep winding mountain roads to get to it, some can be really really long, like to the Passo di Stelvio - in case of bad weather.
I would prefer to do that in a day trip when I would be sure that it is going to be a nice clear and sunny day.

In my opinion, the mountain scenery in the provence of Bolzano is much more scenic than that of Trento, close to this city or even on the route to Madonna di Campiglio, The scenery seems to be more "open", and mountain peaks are more spectacular - probably of course you would be in a higher elevation. If I were you, I would choose a town that is in a valley not too high in elevation, that is very easy to access in case of bad weather, and do day trips from there.

I would not also fit in Cortina as well as a base, you are not going to find any more lovely scenery, and so that you would not be committed to travel more to the east because of booked accommodation, in case of bad weather. Base yourself in one place for 4 nights iniSudtirol (or in two accommodations, but in the same area, and visit the lovely towns, villages and surrounding mountain scenery from this region.

So if I were you, I would base myself in Piedmont and Sudtirol. They would be enough for wandering around mountain scenery.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 04:40 PM
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Forgot to again stress - I would do an overnight stop in some lovely location between Piedmont and Sudtirol.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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Thanks, good to know Sudtirol provides a good sampling of the beauty of the region.

If the Dolomites is as good as advertised, I'll probably return.

Some of the pictures I've seen look like pictures of Switzerland in the summer -- large pastoral expanses surrounded by snow capped peaks.

I've been to Switzerland and Austria but only in the winter so it'll be interesting to see in spring, summer.
scrb11 is online now  
Sep 27th, 2012, 01:10 AM
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The shapes of the Dolomite mountain are very unuaual and with sharp peaks, Alps mountains are more rounded but just as majestic.
Anna_Galea is offline  
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