The Italian Dolomites are perfect to explore in any season. Hiking and bike riding in the Summer or skiing in the Winter. The stunning natural beauty is a postcard image that will be instilled in both your heart & soul for a long time.
This was my first experience in Europe for the Winter, not so keen on the cold. I much prefer the Summer time and I had visited the Dolomites for a few days in August on Summer. The lush green mountains, lakes, beautiful wild flowers were a spectacular site. Although, it was busy with bus loads of tourists during this time. Seeing the snow fall upon the Dolomites in Northern Italy with all its majestic glory, was spectacular. The February sunshine & weather exceeding our expectations. My partner and I traveled to some amazing places in the North of Italy. With my widened eyes and opened heart, I feel in love with the area yet again. Exploring snow, mountain tops and frozen lakes under stunning blue skies. The magic of the Dolomites could be felt from miles away.
There was a stillness, a peaceful calm as the wind blew and the snow-capped mountains slept in hibernation.
Northern Italian towns
In awe of its beauty there was something truly quiet and magical about being there in the Winter season. There was a stillness, a peaceful calm as the wind blew, the snow capped mountains slept in hibernation. While my partner took a sleigh down the mountain of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in Auronzo di Cadore, I decided to walk with my camera in hand. I was amazed by how scenic it was. Each bend me with a new view point of the same mountain. The walk in silence was like a form of meditation, with just the crunching sound of the snow and the wind. It was around 5KM from the top of the peak to the bottom. I connected with my surroundings as I listened to my own breathe amongst a sea of white washed mountains.
We visited Erto e Casso and the Vajont dam, where many years ago a landslide tragedy swept away an entire village killing almost 2000 people. Erto (part of the UNESCO heritage) felt like stepping back in time with its pebble stone pavement and old-style homes set in the mountains so far away from the rest of the world.
Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
The beauty of having a car meant that we could also explore the Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions & the small towns that sat at the foot of the mountains.
Among my favourite places where Portogruaro and the posh Bassano del Grappa. Both beautifully preserved towns where you will find real locals and amazing Northern Italian food. You must try the wines and Prosecco in these regions. Home made in small batches, once you get a sip of the Prosecco, you won’t want to drink anything else bottled and sold retail again. I had amazing pasta called Bigoli with duck Ragu & a sweet ball shaped doughnut called frittelle.
The best frittelle we sampled were in the city of Treviso at a small cafe, pictured above. We tried many types and zabaione cream was by far my favourite.
I cannot wait to go back to this region to do some hiking and explore the beautiful vibrant lakes and colours in the Spring or Summer once again. Our trip ended in the lovely Venice just a short trip from Treviso.
Places to visit in the Dolomites
It is no wonder why the Dolomites are filled with adventurous travellers who love skiing, climbing, hiking, bike riding and the fresh mountain air. It is a place in the world that can make you feel so small yet give you a connection to nature that brings you back to life. Here are some of the places to visit in and around the Dolomites;
Erto e Casso, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Bassano del Grappa, Veneto
Things to do
- Go to the top of the UNESCO listed Tre Cime mountains in Lavaredo with a motorised scooter with the option to take the sleigh yourself or walk down the mountains.
- Eat at Pizzeria Eldelweiss in Misurina, Auronzo di Cadore, everything we tried we loved.
- Take the cable car in Cortina d’Ampezzo for the view at the top overlooking the village, if you can handle the crowds
- In Summer visit Lake Braies and many of the beautiful lakes in the Dolomites
- Visit the Vajont Dam and the town of Erto e Casso to step back in time
- While journeying around Veneto stop by the beautiful town of Brunico for a bite to eat and see the view from the castle.
- Take in the colourful beauty of Bassano del Grappa, walk across the old bridge which was being repaired when we went.
- Explore the quaint little town of Portogruaro
Getting to the Dolomites
There are flights to Venice airport from most International destinations.
Trains connect Venice to most major Italian cities.
Hiring a car is required and recommended to get to places and be able to enjoy the beauty that surrounds the region including some beautiful towns in and around Veneto- Friuli. Driving isn’t for the faint hearted, the roads are windy.
Buses like FlixBus take you to the major towns of the Dolomites like Bolzano, Cortina etc. I got a bus last time from Venice airport to Bolzano. Be prepared it is a long ride, especially if there is traffic in the Summer. You are limited with public transport once you are in the towns.
Exploring Italy read out Southern Italian getaway