If you aren’t sure what the heck “Dolomites” are…don’t worry, you’re in good company. I heard about them from my hubby! Basically, they are Italian Alps… aka heaven aka gorgeous mountains still located in Italy which means gorgeous views + pasta + wine for daysssss. If that doesn’t already convince you to add this gem to your travel bucket list then you should definitely keep reading.
Here’s what you need to know:
- This amazing area is two hours from Venice
- There are tons of small mountain towns that you can make your home base, but I highly recommend the city of Cortina d’Ampezzo aka the “Queen of the Dolomites”
- DEFINITELY rent a car – it’s so easy to drive and you’re going to want to explore on your own time and terms
- There really is no bad time to go – the winter is peak ski season, the spring is filled with flowers, the summer is prime for outdoor adventure and the fall brings changing leaves.
Now that we’ve got that sorted, I should mention that we visited in the summer and and spent about 4 days total in Venice and the Dolomites. Certainly not enough time if you ask me! If you’re thinking of doing a combo trip (which I highly recommend), definitely make sure to read all about our adventures in Venice.
No surprise, but I redeemed Marriott points for our hotel – the stunning Cristallo Resort & Spa. We were absolutely amazed at the grounds, the service, our room and our VIEW.
After settling in and enjoying a sunset, we headed to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. I am not normally a fan of hotel restaurants, but this one was really great!
The next day was our “Tre Cime Day” according to Adam and I am pretty sure it was his version of Christmas. The plan was to drive through the gorgeous alpine scenery to a basecamp where we would then hike to Tre Cime di Lavaredo aka a very famous grouping of 3 peaks in the Dolomites.
It was supposed to be an “easy hike”, but I forgot that “easy” in Europe means something very different for this out-of-shape American! Even though I definitely put up a stink trying to get up the mountain (sorry, Adam!), I have to say looking back that it was one of my Top 5 hikes of all time. The sun was shining and the views were just stellar!
After working up quite the sweat, we decided that we deserved a pizza lunch reward. Without cell service to Yelp, we found a cute pizzeria and stopped in. It turned out so yummy! Or maybe we were just starving haha.
With full tanks, we continued on our exploration to the Lago di Braies. This little alpine lake was straight out of a fairytale. The water was so clear, blue and beautiful! And even better? They had little wooden rowboats that you could rent. You know one of the reasons that I know that I snagged a good guy? Because after a long day of hiking, he still rowed me around the lake with a smile!
We ended our day coming full circle at a viewpoint of Tre Cime from down below. It’s hard to imagine that we were climbing up in those sky high mountains just hours earlier!
But wait, there’s more! After a quick trip to the hot tub to soothe our aches, we headed out to Tivoli Restaurant for a stunning dinner, complete with a double rainbow! For those of you who don’t know, a rainbow showed up on our wedding day and it is extra special for us every time we’ve see one since.
After a leisurely morning (including some spa time, duh!) we said goodbye to our amazing view and hit the road. But, I had 1 more trick up my sleeve before we left Cortina! I found a restaurant that is also a dairy (or is it a dairy that is also a restaurant?) which means incredibly fresh and delicious butter and cheese. There was very little information available online, but I had one of those feelings. So, we made a reservation at SanBrite and holy crap. I won’t even bother saying more and will just let the photos of our amazing lunch do the talking. And yes, I am fully aware that we only ordered carbs haha.
After we were full and happy, we hit the road to make our way back to Milan. Sad face. Though we of course had to find a few more gorgeous stops along the way!
Funny story behind this little church. I saw a photo of it when we were planning our trip and fell in love with it. Probably because it’s all by itself with these towering mountains and lush greenery surrounding. The photographer in me was dying to find it! So, we found it. But, when we first arrived, the mountains were completely covered by clouds. I pouted for a little bit and we got back in the car. We got lost (shocker) and ended up back at the church and the clouds were completely gone! Beshert (aka destiny). So…hooray, I got my photo!
It is not a trip to Italy without wine tasting, amirite?! So, we stopped at the Castel Ringberg winery for some stunning pours and gorgeous views. What a way to end our trip!
And that, my friends, was a quick trip to the Dolomites! Cheers to love, adventure and gorgeous mountain views ❤
Have you been to the Dolomites? I would love to know your favorite spots!