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It’s no secret that the Italian Dolomites are one of my favorite places to visit in the world. While the summer months are perfect for hiking and camping, I love visiting in the winter months just as much to spend some time skiing, sledding, and enjoying plenty of other winter activities. Last February we were invited to the beautiful region of Alta Badia, one of the biggest ski areas in the world, and instantly fell in love with the culture, food, people and endless activities the region has to offer. It has since then become a yearly tradition for us to visit for a quick weekend escape from Zurich, especially since it’s only a 5 hour drive from our home. After returning from our annual trip again this year, I wanted to share my itinerary and travel tips to help you plan the perfect weekend winter getaway in the Dolomites.

Read More: My 7 Day Roadtrip Itinerary For The Dolomites

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

Things to know before you visit:

  • I highly suggest renting a car, especially during the winter, since the main attractions/popular spots are quite far from each other. Relying on public transportation or a taxi could be time consuming and expensive.
  • Make sure to pack properly for cold weather conditions. You can find my winter packing list ideas at the bottom of this blog post here.
  • Plan out your trip in advance. The Dolomites span a much larger area than you might think. It’s important to plan out the main attractions you want to see since the road conditions, weather, and mountain passes can all cause unexpected delays.
  • Buy a Dolomiti Superski Pass – This ski pass gives you access to one of the biggest and best ski areas in the world with over 1200km of ski runs and 450 connected lifts
  • Try the local Ladin cuisine. The Alta Badia region is home to some of the best gastronomy in all of Italy. Whether you’re at a mountain hut or dining at one of the region’s three Michelin starred restaurants, every meal you have here is of the highest quality. For more local Ladin food examples check out this Ladin cuisine guide from Alta Badia Tourism – you’ll definitely want to try everything on this list!

Where to stay:

Budget (under $100/night) : Apartment Sassongher, Ciasa Alexa, Colfosco Apartment

Mid Range (between $100 – $200/night): La Bercia Dolomites Chalet, Hotel La Scalira, Hotel La Tambra

High End ($200+/night): Hotel La Perla (where we stayed), Hotel Sassongher

My Itinerary

Day 1: Arriving in Alta Badia 

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We spent the majority of this day driving from Zurich to Alta Badia because a major snowstorm had arrived in the Dolomites, which caused many passes and roads to be shut down for hours. We had to drive extremely slow because of the unsafe road conditions, but eventually we arrived at our hotel in the evening located in the beautiful village of Corvara. The hotel we were invited to stay at was called Hotel La Perla and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our stay here.

From the moment we entered the hotel, everything was taken care of and we instantly felt like family. This is not a normal 5 star luxury hotel, but rather a charming wooden house you might find in a mountain tale with some of the most impressive views right out your window. The best part is you can even ski in and out directly from your doorstep. While the hospitality, location and wellness amenities are worth bragging about, what really made this hotel stand out for me was the food! The food is not good, it’s delicious and changes every night you dine there. The dining experience is enhanced by the enchanting atmosphere of the cozy wooden restaurant that makes you feel like you’re dining in someone’s home. After our bellies were full, it was time for us to get some rest to prepare ourselves for a busy day of skiing.

Day 2: Skiing in Corvara 

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

Our first full day in Alta Badia was off to an early start as we headed for the slopes to do some skiing. With over a meter of fresh snow, we were excited to enjoy some powder and beautiful mountain views. We spent the morning skiing in the Corvara area, taking the Col Alt lift directly from our hotel and then several other lifts that led us further into the mountains in the direction towards San Cassiano.

As the weather began to worsen in the afternoon, we decided it was time to stop for a warm meal at the beautiful and newly renovated Ütia de Bioch Hütte. The owner, Marcus, whose family has owned the hut for generations, greeted us with a warm smile and incredible hospitality. He offered us local wines to try, delicious Ladin Turtres (spinach and ricotta turnovers), homemade tiramisu and plenty of other gourmet dishes created by the region’s Michelin starred chef Norbert Niederkofler. You might think of mountain hut food as being basic or boring, but every meal you have at a mountain hut here in Alta Badia is far from ordinary. With every dish, you can tell just how much time and effort is put into creating it.

The time flew by and nearly three hours later we were finished with our meal (Italians like to enjoy their meals especially with lots of wine/apertivos). By this time the lifts were close to shutting down for the day so we hurried up and finished off our last run before returning back to our hotel.

Day 3: Skiing in Colfosco

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

While the weather continued to worsen on our third day here, we were eager to get out onto the mountain and explore some new lifts. To start off our day we headed up the Piz Boé gondola to enjoy a cappuccino at the mountain hut located at the top. I would highly recommend stopping here on a clear day for some breathtaking views overlooking the valley and surrounding mountain ranges, plus the hut is pretty beautiful too!

After waiting a bit for the storm to die down, we headed in the direction of Colfosco, which was by far my favorite lift. The beautiful mountain views, long runs, and charming wooden farm houses dotted amongst the landscape left me constantly in awe. This is also a wonderful area for ski touring and snowshoeing since there are many designated and easily accessible paths for both of these activities.

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

After a few runs, we worked up an appetite and headed to the charming mountain hut known as Jimmi Hütte. I had a delicious rigatoni dish with fried sage and local mountain cheese that was to die for, as well as tried Kaiserschmarrn for the first time. If you’re unfamiliar with Kaiserschmarrn, it’s a traditional Austrian dish made up of shredded sweet pancakes topped with stewed berries, powder sugar, and cream. This is a perfect dish for those with a big sweet tooth and great for sharing since it’s quite large and filling.

Pro tip: Reserve the table at the top of the hut ahead of time so that you dine with one of the best views in the Dolomites overlooking the Val Gardena Pass. 

With tired legs, we started to work our way back towards our hotel in Corvara so that we could enjoy some wellness in our hotel (don’t miss out on this wonderful amenity while staying here). After a long day of skiing, a nice sauna and swim in the heated pool was just what our sore muscles needed.

While we were supposed to start our drive home on this evening, the weather forecasted that the next day would be perfectly clear skies and sunny – a skier’s dream! So we decided to extend our trip by an extra day to finally enjoy a blue bird day on the slopes. It has been my dream to see the Lagazoui piste on a clear day since it was completely covered by a heavy snowstorm with zero visibility when we visited the previous year. You might recognize Lagazoui by its famous sauna located on top of a mountain, which has unfortunately since been shut down. Besides the sauna, it offers one of the most beautiful pistes in the Alps where you can ski while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. If you get a chance, I would highly recommend skiing here not only for the views, but also because it tends to be less busy than some of the other pistes in the area.

Day 4: Enjoying a Blue Bird Ski Day in La Villa

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On our final day in Alta Badia, we awoke to the glorious sight of the sun lighting up the mountains just outside our window and perfectly blue skies. To say we were excited to go skiing would be an understatement. Unfortunately, we also woke up to the news that Lagazuoi was closed due to an avalanche in the area which had shut the pass down – I guess I’ll just have to wait until next year to finally see it! With a quick change of plans offered by our guide for the weekend, Elena, who works for Alta Badia Tourism, we climbed into her car and headed towards the village of La Villa. We spent most of our morning here, enjoying the empty slopes, sunny skies, and stunning mountain views. We even took a visit to the picturesque Santa Croce Church, which has been a place of pilgrimage since 1511.

Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

After exploring the church, we stopped at a mountain hut on our way down the mountain where Elena recommended we try a “bombardino.” The entire time we were skiing I had always wondered what this strange yellow drink so many people were ordering was, which I later found out was called a bombardino. The bombardino is revered as an Italian’s favourite drink in the winter and is the perfect reward after a long day on the slopes. The drink is made by stirring creamy egg liqueur (which gives it its peculiar yellow color) into brandy and then topping it with whipped cream and cinnamon. It is warm and reminiscent of eggnog, making it the perfect winter drink.

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Weekend Winter Getaway In The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

With a few more runs under our belt, we drove back to Corvara and met up with Alessia (the direct of marketing at Alta Badia Tourism) and another Italian photographer at the top of the Piz Boé lift. We ventured off to a more hidden mountain hut for lunch known as Crëp de Munt which specialises in traditional Ladin dishes. We started off our meal with an apertivo and a massive plate of turtres and föies da soni (potato fritters), which are traditionally eaten with sauerkraut. I know it sounds a bit strange, but trust me it’s delicious! For my main meal I ordered a simple plate of penne with roasted tomatoes, rocket, basil and smoked cheese and it was by far my favorite mountain hut meal of the trip. I’m always impressed when someone can make a simple dish extraordinary and memorable. If you get the chance, you must stop here for a delicious meal and enjoy the remarkable scenery!

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As the sun was beginning to dip behind the mountains, there was one more place I wanted to see before we said our goodbyes to the Dolomites. We took the lift in the direction towards the Sassongher mountain where there is a beautiful piste that winds through several wooden farm houses with Sassongher towering in the distance. With the sun on our faces, we stopped to take some photos here and just enjoy the incredible scenery around us.

Eventually it was time for us to head back to our hotel and pack our things before beginning our drive home to Zurich. It’s always so hard for me to say goodbye to places that I’m able to form a special connection to and the Dolomites are no exception. The warm hospitality of the people, the incredible food, and stunning mountain scenery is something that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world.

I hope you can find my itinerary and travel tips of use when you plan your very own trip to the Dolomites. If you’ve ever been to the Dolomites in the winter and have any tips or fun ideas you’d like to share, let me know in the comments below!

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Thank you Alta Badia Tourism for hosting us during our stay. We are so thankful for your generous hospitality and for making every trip so memorable! As always, all opinions and experiences are my own.

 

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. TaylorA few weeks ago, Volvo Switzerland let me take one of their new Volvo XC40’s on a roadtrip to wherever I wanted for two weeks. I couldn’t think of any place more perfect for a roadtrip than the Dolomites in Italy – one of my favorite places in the world! I’ve been to the Dolomites five times now, and no matter how many times I visit I always find new things to discover. The summer months in the Dolomites are my favorite because the grass is green, the wildflowers are in full bloom and you can hike just about anywhere you please with some of the most incredible mountain views around you. One of the highlights of my trip was driving the beautiful, windy roads through mountain passes and alpine meadows in our Volvo XC40 – the perfect ride for a place like this. In case you’re interested in doing the same roadtrip we did, I’ve put together my complete “7 Day Roadtrip Itinerary For The Dolomites” including all the details you need to know about what to see, the best times to visit, and where to stay.

Day 1: Tre Cime di Laverado

After spending the night in Innsbruck, Austria we headed out to our first stop in the Dolomites known as Tre Cime di Laverado. What I love most about this spot is that after a 30 min drive up a windy, yet scenic road to Refugio Auronzo (note the 30 euro toll fee to enter) you can find yourself at the foot of Tre Cime di Laverado surrounded by nearly 360 degree views of some of Italy’s best mountains. This is a great area for hiking, especially for beginners, since most of the trails here have little elevation gain and are well maintained. While the most popular hiking destination is the Drei Zinnen hut, which can be reached within 1.5 hours from Auronzo, we opted to head in a different direction for sunset with equally stunning views. Within 20-30 minutes you can reach an incredible viewpoint of the Cadini Group peaks pictured below. As you make your way down the trail, the staggering sharp peaks tower in front of you and offer the perfect backdrop for any photo.

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor


Where to stay: We stayed in the town of Toblach at Park Hotel Bellevue since it was in between the Tre Cime area and Lago di Braies. I would also recommend staying in the town of Misurina since it is close to many other popular destinations and hiking trails. I have stayed in Misurina before and can recommend the Grand Hotel Misurina.


Day 2: Lago Di Braies and Lago di Sorapis

The next day we woke up early to catch sunrise at Lago di Braies. This lake has become incredibly popular with tourists and photographers in the last few years due to photos popping up all over Instagram and Pinterest. However, once you visit this lake it’s easy to see why thousands of visitors come here everyday to admire the beauty of this iconic place. In fact, it’s one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in the Dolomites.

Its green forests, crystal blue waters and breathtaking mountain views are perfect to enjoy on a warm summer day. However, I suggest visiting in the early morning hours since this lake can get extremely busy, even by mid-morning. You can also take a beautiful wooden row boat out on the lake from 10AM until 5PM  (beginning of June until late September) for 15.00 € for 1/2 hour and 25.00 € for 1 hour.

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

After grabbing some lunch and taking an afternoon nap, we headed to the Lago di Sorapis trailhead around 4pm to catch sunset at the lake. Make sure to park your car at Passo Tre Coci near Restaurant Son Zuogo and follow the signs for trailhead #215. It’s easy to take the wrong trail here or take a much steeper way to the lake so make sure you pay attention to the trailhead markers and ask around if you feel lost. The hike to the lake takes about 2 hours and features some relatively steep sections along the cliffside without railings. However, there is a rope to hold onto in case you are scared of heights. Since this is one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites, I suggest visiting in the early morning or just before sunset as it gets extremely packed during the middle of the day.

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This was my first time visiting the lake and I was immediately taken away by the color of the water, in fact it was probably one of the bluest lakes I’ve ever seen. Lago di Sorapis is truly a magical place. It’s the perfect spot to relax amongst the lake’s turquoise blue waters, tall white rock walls and lush alpine meadows. You can even spend the night just 150m from the lake at the Vandelli Hut if you want to catch sunset and sunrise here.


Where to stay: We stayed at the same hotel as the night before, Park Hotel Bellevue since it was centrally located to many of the spots we wanted to see the next day.


Day 3: Passo di Giau

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

my-7-day-roadtrip-through-the-dolomites-alliemtaylor-12After shooting sunrise and sunsets for almost a week straight, we opted to sleep in this morning and catch up on a bit of work. We stopped for a lakeside lunch at Lago di Dobaccio before heading out to Passo di Giau for some hiking. Passo di Giau is a beautiful drive and is popular among bikers and car enthusiasts because of its sharp bends. Once you reach the top of the pass you can enjoy panoramic views of some of the most beautiful peaks in the Dolomites: the Nuvolau, the Averau, the Marmolada, the Tofane, and the Cristallo.

After waiting out a rain storm, we ventured out on the hiking trails in the direction of Mondeval in Val Fiorentina. We hiked through the valley and up a steep pass, until we eventually found ourselves at the vast plateau of Mondeval. Its beautiful grassy meadows and stunning views of Monte Pelmo instantly took our breaths away. What was even more incredible was that we were able to enjoy this entire hike without seeing a single soul in sight, a rare find in the Dolomites! We spent the evening taking photos around the small lake at the end of the valley with an incredible reflection of Monte Pelmo across its glassy surface that you can find in the photos below.


Where to stay: Since we planned on catching sunrise early at Lago di Carezza, we stayed just a few minutes down the road from the lake at Hotel Adler.


Day 4: Lago di Carezza, Sella and Gardena Pass

 My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. TaylorAlthough I’ve been to the Dolomites several times, I never quite made it to Lago di Carezza since it’s slightly out of the way from most spots in the Dolomites. Finally on this trip I got to visit this magical lake and its emerald green waters in person. We woke up early for sunrise and got to enjoy the lake entirely to ourselves for almost an hour before people started to arrive in crowds. Since Lago di Carezza is located directly next to the main road with no hiking involved, it gets extremely busy by mid morning as you can imagine. Therefore, if you want the best experience I recommend visiting at sunrise for the best light and the least amount of crowds. Besides being incredibly photogenic, it’s a great place to take a stroll around the lake and into the forest to enjoy some peace and solitude.

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

After enjoying breakfast back at our hotel, we headed off to drive over some of my favorite roads in the Dolomites; Sella Pass and Gardena Pass. I love these passes because not only are they connected, but they are also incredibly scenic as they wind their way through the mountains that dominate from both sides. We spent the rest of our day here, stopping what felt like every 5 minutes to take photos from the side of the road and to just admire the endless panoramic views that greeted us around every turn. It was the perfect place to test out the power of our Volvo XC40, handling every bend with grace and ease as we made our way through the passes. Although we didn’t quite get the sunset we expected at Gardena Pass due to an incoming storm, it was a beautiful spot to enjoy nonetheless and the perfect place to end the day.


Where to stay: We based ourselves in Seiseralm for the night since we planned on visiting the meadows of Alpe de Suisi at sunrise. I highly recommend staying at Berg Hotel Zorzi since it’s conveniently located at the point where you have to park your car to access the meadows, plus you can’t beat the surrounding mountain views from the room.


Day 5: Alpe di Suisi

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

Every time I visit Alpe de Suisi it feels like I’m caught in the scene of a fairytale. Even if you only have a few days in the Dolomites, this place has to be on your list. What I love most about this place is how incredibly idyllic it feels. Its pristine green meadows are dotted with rustic old cabins with the beautiful backdrop of the Sasso Lungo peaks towering the distance. To say this place is breathtaking would be an understatement.

One important thing to note is that it is forbidden to drive on the Alpe di Suisi road without a special permit, which can only be obtained if you are the owner of one of the cabins or staying at a hotel nearby. And if you get caught without a permit, you must pay a 150€ fine. In fact, Alpe di Suisi is the largest mountain pasture in Europe, therefore it’s important to respect the rules here and help the preservation efforts of this area.

One easy way to get to the meadows without a permit is to hike in like we did at sunrise. To do so, park your car at the Kompatsch parking lot located here and walk along the road that will take you in the direction toward the ADLER Lodge Alpe. The walk is relatively flat and takes about 45 minutes to reach an ideal view point overlooking the meadow. Make sure to allow enough time so that you don’t miss those first rays of light touching the peaks of Sasso Lungo. It happens quickly and is by far one of the most magical things you can witness here.


Where to stay: Initially our plan for the evening was to camp at the top of Seceda so we could see both sunset and sunrise there, however due to the changing weather we decided to book a very last minute hotel near the town of Ortisei. Ortisei is a charming little town and is perfectly located with access both Seceda and Alpe di Suisi via a cable car.


Day 6: Seceda

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My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

Seceda is by far one of my favorite places in the Dolomites. No matter how many times I’ve visited, its sheer cliffs and panoramic views still manage to take my breath away. It’s a place that you have to visit in person since photos don’t even come close to the raw beauty of Seceda.

We had initially planned to camp at the top of Seceda the night before since you can witness some pretty incredible sunrises here. However, there was a massive thunderstorm lingering above us so we decided to just stay in a hotel to be safe. There are two ways to get to Seceda. You can either take the cable car up from Ortisei which costs around 30€ and from there reach the top of Seceda in 15-20min. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can also hike for about two hours from the Praplan Parking lot although it is very steep.

The next day we opted for the easier route and took the first cable car up in the morning. When we reached the top we were blown away by some truly magical conditions. We stood there in awe as fog rolled off the edges of the mountain plateau with the Geisler peaks poking out in the distance above the clouds. It was almost like walking in a dream.


Where to stay: As we made our way to the village of Val di Funes, we spent our last night at Hotel Gsoihof and had the most incredible experience. The staff makes you feel like family the entire time your here, the food is delicious and you have an incredible view overlooking the valley with the Dolomites towering at your doorstep.


Day 7: Val di Funes

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor

As the weather continued to intensify overnight, we woke up to an incredible surprise out our window the next morning – SNOW! I couldn’t believe it had actually snowed in the middle of August. But then again if there is one thing to remember, it’s that the weather in the Dolomites is incredibly unpredictable. Although I love summer, I was actually really excited for the snow since it made for a nice contrast against the green grass and wildflowers freckled amongst it.

My 7 Day Roadtrip Through The Dolomites - Allie M. Taylor Val di Funes is most famous for the iconic church of St. John. This church is a photographers dream since it is set in an idyllic grassy meadow with an incredible backdrop of the Odle mountain range. We ventured off to see the church in the early morning as it can get quite busy with hikers and tourists since it is the starting point for many hikes. It was so incredible to be able to enjoy the church and roam around the surrounding hillsides before most of the village had woken up. Sadly Val di Funes was the last stop on our journey through the Dolomites and we unwillingly had to start our drive back to Zurich.

Plan your trip!

Below you can find a map of the exact locations we visited and the route we took through the Dolomites.

Have you ever visited the Dolomites before? Comment below with your favorite spots to share it with everyone else.

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Disclaimer: I wanted to give you a big thank you to Volvo Switzerland for partnering with me and making this trip possible with their XC40. All opinions, thoughts, and experiences I share are completely honest and my own. Thanks for reading!