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The 9 Best Towns in the Dolomites

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Italy’s beauty extends far beyond Rome’s architectural wonders and the winding canals of Venice. This lovable country is also home to breathtaking natural beauty and quaint villages bound to steal your heart.

When booking your next trip, consider the mirror-like lakes, majestic peaks and winter sports in the best towns worth visiting in the Italian Dolomites.

Here are nine of the best towns in the Dolomites.

9 Towns in the Dolomites to Visit

Heading to the Dolomites in Italy? Check out these beautiful towns.

Related: Best Places to Visit in Northern Italy

1. Cortina D’Ampezzo

This picturesque town is one of the most famous in the Dolomites due to its fancy restaurants and high-end fashion shops. Cortina offers many amazing things to see and do, making it the busiest place in the area.

Accommodations fill up quickly due to the town’s popularity, so book as soon as possible.

From camping to sightseeing, here are some attractions and experiences you should take advantage of:

Croda da Lago

Autumn is the best season to witness the Croda da Lago trail’s transformation into a golden paradise. While hiking, you’ll see the breathtaking views of Cinque Torri, Tofana di Rozales and the alpine Lake Federa.

Photographers especially will want to visit this area during sunrise for postcard-worthy landscape shots. However, the lake can be busy during summer weekends, so arrive early to enjoy its serene atmosphere.

Ivano Dibona

If you’re interested in adrenaline-pumping activities like via ferrata, this popular destination is your place. Ivano Dibona became famous after the Cliffhanger movie starring Sylvester Stallone.

This extreme trail’s altitude, remoteness and length require a high fitness level. It features a 30-meter-long suspension bridge for an otherworldly experience. Remember — outdoor climbing requires immense hand and foot strength and optimal endurance to prevent injuries and death.

Rifugio Pomedes

Bask in the iconic Dolomite peaks while sipping a beer in Rifugio Pomedes — a beautiful mountain hut set at the foot of Punta Anna. This place will make you forget to check your phone with natural views too irresistible to ignore. Watch climbers traverse the Ra Bujela as you munch on Rifugio Pomedes’s homemade desserts, like its famous apple tart.

Is there any greater luxury than treating yourself to a delectable snack surrounded by awe-inspiring landscapes?

Croda da Lago in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

2. Gosaldo

This small village is known for its chair makers — also called “conthe” — and historic mining activity, which ended in 1966 during a devastating flood. Today, you can enjoy hiking and walking, and winter sports enthusiasts can hit the slopes at the Forcella Aurine ski area.

One of the best tourist attractions near Gosaldo is the Natural Park of the Belluno Dolomites. This area has many rivers and streams channeling into the valleys, with various animals, rocks and trees providing a glimpse of the lush Italian wildlife. While you’re in the area, remember to try outdoor activities like trekking excursions and horseback riding.

Make sure to be equipped, check out: The Best Sunglasses for Hiking & Outdoor Activities

3. Misurina

A trip to the Dolomites isn’t complete without visiting Misurina. This beautiful town is just a 30-minute drive from Cortina, so if you’d like to make the most of your trip, make time to see both places.

Discover the following must-visit attractions:

Lago d’Antorno

Lago d’Antorno offers the best natural backdrops for your photos. It offers stunning views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, one of the most famous mountain groups in the Dolomites. The small yet beautiful Lake Antorno reflects the majestic peaks, creating a breathtaking view.

Several hiking trails are also available if you wish to slow down for a breather. Many recommend taking the trail to the Rifugio Auronzo for a panoramic view of the Tre Crime di Lavaredo.

Lake Misurina

This lake is famous for its proximity to the Three Peaks of Lavaredo — the starting point for hiking to Auronzo Hut. Lake Misurina is the largest alpine lake in the Dolomites and one of the most stunning high-altitude lakes in the country.

The waters freeze during winter, making it an excellent surface for skating. Stay at the nearby Grand Hotel Misurina or Hotel Miralago if you want to wake up to calming lake views every morning.

Alla Baita

Enjoy a foamy cup of cappuccino and a croissant in this cozy restaurant after your morning stroll. Alla Baita also offers beer, juices, and homemade dishes with local cold cuts and cheeses. Don’t miss tasting their classic polenta and canederli.

Rifugio Fonda Savio in Misurina, Italy
Rifugio Fonda Savio in Misurina, Italy

4. Sesto and San Candido

If you want a quieter setting to appreciate natural beauty, these two neighboring villages are your best spots. The small towns in the Dolomites are only separated by a five-minute drive, making exploring both areas most convenient.

Add these three attractions to your itinerary:

Val Fiscalina

Val Fiscalina is a picturesque side valley of Sesto and is a popular destination year-round. Enjoy a peaceful excursion with your children in the warmer months, but remember to drink plenty of water before setting off to combat the effects of hot weather. During the winter, you can enjoy cross-country skiing at Rifugio Fondovalle.

Related: Tips for Active Holidays

Three Peaks Nature Park

Three Peaks Nature Park encompasses 11,635 hectares in the northeastern region of the Dolomites, including the municipalities of Sesto, Dobbiaco and San Candido. As you enter, feast your eyes on the majestic peaks of Cima Undici, Monte Paterno, Cima Dodici and Tre Cime di Lavaredo. This is also a great place to look for bizarre rock formations, as well as eagles, white-winged snow finches and other birds. 

Restaurant Wiesthaler

After a fulfilling excursion, get your cold meats and drinks from this restaurant in San Candido. Restaurant Wiesthaler’s Tyrolean cuisine, traditional Wiener schnitzel, grilled trout and unique desserts will satisfy you.

Val Fiscalina in Sesto, Italy
Val Fiscalina in Sesto, Italy

5. Siusi

Suisi is a large town teeming with adventure-filled opportunities. These include visiting main attractions, trying out new dishes, and talking to German-speaking locals. Visit if you want closer access to the Alpe di Siusi Altiplano, Europe’s largest high-alpine meadow.

This famous meadow is home to 790 different plant species, rare birds, pristine lakes and stunning views of mountain peaks. Summer is ideal for hiking and cycling while admiring the beautiful surroundings, while wintertime is favorable for skiing and cold hiking.

Related: Tips to Prevent Injuries on Active Holidays

6. Chiusa

It’s hard to ignore Chiusa, given the stunning sights and attractions in the area. The village offers a great vantage point of the Dolomites, charming eateries and cozy vineyards.

Here’s a list of must-visit attractions:

Gassl Bräu

Munch on quality pizza and brew beer with your significant other in this romantic restaurant. While you may prefer indoor dining, outdoor seating is your best option to appreciate nature while you eat.

Ansitz Gamp

Camping is one of the best ways to get closer to nature. Ansitz Gamp is just a five-minute stroll from the town proper, offering quiet time and convenience. The views show the surrounding vineyards and the Monastery Sabiona on the mountain — plus, there’s a pool you can dive into to cool off. Pack an air mattress to avoid a stiff back and make sleeping in a tent more comfortable.

Chiusa towns in the Dolomites, Italy
Chiusa, Italy

7. Ortisei

Val Gardena’s Ortisei is one of the most popular destinations in South Tyrol due to its hospitable locals and café selection. It offers leisure and sports adventures, making it ideal for all types of tourists. Ortisei is also a great place to stay if you want to use a modern lift to reach the Alpe de Siusi.

The best time to visit Ortisei is in the colder months, when thousands of people set out for Dolomiti Superski and Val Gardena to visit the slopes and snowcapped mountains. These places have varying inclines for beginners learning to ski during their holiday.

Related: Things to Do Before Hitting the Ski-Slopes

8. Corvara

This quiet spot in Badia, South Tyrol, is situated at the foot of the Sassongher Mountain and Val Badia. Corvara is ideal for tourists who enjoy using chairlifts to access hikes or cycling the country’s most challenging passes.

The most pleasant time to visit is throughout the warmer months to experience the chairlifts. Many are unavailable close to mid-September, so booking a room before then is recommended.

Add these places to your itinerary:

Pralongià High Plateau

The Pralongià is an excellent spot for leisurely hikes and spectacular views. It’s a perfect place to walk with children or take a break.

Sport Kostner

This shop carries everything you need for hiking and cycling, from clothing to accessories. They sell items from local brands like Meru and Salewa.

Lago Biotopo

Chill, sunbathe and swim at the pristine Biotope Lake near the departure point of the Piz Boé gondola. The lake looks like a public pool at the foot of green meadows and majestic peaks, making it a perfect spot for taking photos.

9. Brunico

Brunico is a vibrant town with hospitable locals and relaxing activities that lie in the heart of Pustertal Valley. Enjoy leisurely hikes, mountain biking, trekking and skiing in Mount Kronplatz ski resort — one of the most famous in South Tyrol.

If you’d rather live like a local, you can enjoy shopping and dining in various shops. Remember to visit the Brunico Castle above Rienzstadt.

Explore These Quaint Towns in the Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites are a perfect fusion of towering mountains and picture-perfect villages. They’re a place to discover new adventures and appreciate rich Italian culture and nature.

Which village are you adding to your travel bucket list?

Also check out: A Guide to the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy to Visit

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