South of the Alps, the towering peaks of the Dolomites range dominate the landscape, and while a popular ski destination in winter, the summer here is also a great holiday option. To many people the Dolomites are something of a secret anyway, but word is getting out about this staggeringly beautiful region, and its skiing (and summer holiday) potential. The Dolomite super-ski area comprises some 800 miles of slopes, including the Marmolada glacier, creating a network that rivals the Trois Vallées in France. After the snow melts, the mountain landscape morphs into lush green valley pastures and thick
forests dotted with remote mountain huts and isolated villages, all set against a backdrop of the sharp rock formations of the Dolomites. Mountain biking, hiking or climbing are the ideal ways to explore the countryside and there are a wide range of routes to suit people of all abilities and plenty of mountain restaurants to stop at for long leisurely lunches. On Dolomites holidays in summer you can stay in quintessentially Italian rifugios (refuges), and travel between them along Via Ferrata trails, ladders and metal steps fixed into the rock faces that allow the non-climbers to experience some of the thrill of mountaineers, but in a much safer environment, all the while learning about the region's extraordinary WWI history.
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We had a lovely time - the hotel was gorgeous - very comfy and in the perfect spot and they were very helpful and nice. Our two guides were excellent - very knowledgeable and interesting. It was great - all round! We were lucky and had beautiful weather too (blue sky and sun - but freezing, which was great).
Thank you so much for everything - it was all perfect (transfer was great too).
Anyone with a love of beautiful landscapes, impeccable Italian food and picturesque towns will get something out of Dolomites holidays. For families, the two-hour flight time to Italy combined with excellent child-friendly accommodation, gentle outdoorsy activities and numerous abbeys, museums and fortresses to explore, make it a gem of a destination. There’s romance in spades for honeymooners and loved-up couples who can enjoy candlelit dinners in mountainside restaurants, spa days in five-star surroundings and sunset cruises with snow-capped peaks for company. As for a sporty stay, Dolomites holidays are up there with the best of them. Picture paragliding over huge green mountains, climbing on the region's historic via ferrata for high-altitude thrills and bike rides across undulating valleys for incredible views of untouched nature.
What are the best ways to discover the Dolomites?
Dolomites holidays are an exhilarating extension to a stay in the Italian Lakes. After getting your fill of historic charm in bustling touristy towns like Bellagio in Lake Como, opt for solitude and relaxation among the UNESCO-listed mountains of the Dolomites. Surrounded by nature and smaller crowds than other Italian hotspots, a mountain spa retreat is the ideal place for a slice of zen. Practice yoga at dawn as the sun rises over mighty peaks and disappear from the modern world on a half-day guided hike among the mountain greenery. Then come back down to earth with tours of local wineries and a visit to a handful of nearby towns for shopping and dinner in cosy restaurants.
Special things to do in the Dolomites
Get your pulse racing on the via ferrata
The Dolomites’ via ferrata routes are steel climbing aides that were fixed to rock faces during the First World War. Attached with a harness, they enable all levels of climber (there are beginner, intermediate and advanced routes) to experience the breathtaking heights and sheer magnitude of Italy’s most dramatic mountain range.
Eat a Tyrolean feast in a mountainside hut
After half a day hiking in the beautiful green Col de Locia valley, stop for lunch at a typical South Tyrolean hut. Big appetites are welcome here and tired hikers can refuel with a hearty spread of stew, potato and bread dumplings and cured meats and cheeses.