The Dolomites of Italy are some of the most majestic and sublime landscapes in Europe. I recently had the pleasure of hiking around the Dolomites on a four day adventure. Let me tell you all about my journey.
I have always had a passion for mountains and the great outdoors. At the age of 18 I went snowboarding for the first time in Austria. As soon as I witnessed the beauty of the mountains I decided that one day I would move to Austria and stay forever. And that’s exactly what I did!
Later on, I started to get into climbing and mountaineering. The more time I spent in the mountains, the more I became addicted to their beauty. I began to take photos and travel the world in search of epic landscapes.
Inspiration to Visit the Dolomites for the First Time
Hiking the Dolomites was on my bucket-list for some time. They seemed so mighty and rugged. I read a lot about Tre Cime di Lavaredo and found out about this thrilling via ferrata on a nearby mountain called Monte Paterno which offers stunning uninterrupted views of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
This exciting via ferrata inspired me to go on a hiking adventure in the Dolomites for the first time. I have visited these beautiful Italian mountains three times now. I try going at least once per year and was chuffed to hear that the borders were opening again after the Covid-19 lockdown.
As soon as the border announcement was made, I immediately headed to Italy for another Dolomites hiking adventure. I was scared that the border might close again and this place is always at the top of my travel list.
Four Day Itinerary Hiking in the Dolomites
On this hiking trip to the Dolomites we stayed at Tre Cime di Lavaredo for four days. There are so many wonderful places around these peaks to explore. I couldn’t wait to get out there after being in lockdown for weeks.
The first day was spent summiting Monte Paterno along the Via Ferrata De Luca. It’s a long via ferrata and is definitely one of the most exciting ferratas. During the Austrian-Italian war, tunnels were drilled through Mount Paterno. I always love exploring these dark and steep war tunnels.
Our second day took on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail. This is the best option for seeing Tre Cime from all sides. The loop track leads to three incredible crystal-clear mountain lakes that take your breath away.
Day three was all about exploring Cadini di Misurina. This group of mountains is situated in the eastern Dolomites in the province of Belluno. I’m always blown away by the beauty of these mountains. In many ways, they are even more beautiful than the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Most people overlook these mountains because their eyes are fixated on Tre Cime. It is possible to enjoy both! The trail to Cadini di Misurina is not an easy one. Much of the track is secured with a steel rope. You should take via ferrata gear otherwise your hike could turn dangerous.
If you consider yourself really brave and adventurous then I recommend the Via Ferrata Merlone which summits the Cadini di Misurina. This climb will make your heart beat super fast! But be careful – it’s only for very experienced climbers who have an excellent level of fitness.
Lake Misurina: A Must-Visit in the Dolomites
One destination you have to visit on your Dolomites adventure is Lake Misurina. This charming town is equipped with many hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and of course a pristine lake. Many people actually choose to base themselves here to explore the Tre Cime National Park.
If you have a campervan (or have packed a tent) then you can sleep directly under the north face of Tre Cime as camping is permitted. There aren’t many other villages around the Dolomites as the area is characterised by rugged nature. However, Lake Misurina is one nearby place you can visit.
We always choose to utilise our campervan when we visit the Dolomites. It’s simple and we don’t need to spend hours putting up tents when the wind is blowing 80km per hour! At the main parking lot of Tre Cime you can park your campervan or pitch a tent which is super handy.
For a more luxurious experience you can stay at the Rifugio Auronzo. This hut is located near the Tre Cime circuit trail. You can also stay at the Antonio Locatelli but unfortunately it’s closed this summer due to Covid-19.
My Favorite Memory from Hiking in the Dolomites
Swimming in the Tre Cime lakes was my favourite memory from my most recent trip to the Dolomites. I was exhausted from a long day of hiking and my feet were hurting like hell. Then I saw a Tre Cime lake for the first time. I spontaneously decided to take off my climbing gear and just jumped in.
It was brutally cold. The temperature was around 4 degrees but I still felt so good. I was alone at the time and decided to stay for sunset to see the reflection of the three peaks on the lake. The peaks looked like they were on fire and reflected beautifully on the crystal-clear waters.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
The most important tip I can give is to be careful. Many people forget that the Dolomites is an alpine area. Some of the hiking trails can be extremely narrow, steep and dangerous. One wrong step could find you stumbling down 300 metres below the mountains in a matter of seconds.
Safety is crucial and so is hiking in the right conditions. The weather can change without warning. So if things look a bit dodgy weather-wise it’s always best to postpone your hikes until the weather clears up.
Perhaps the most useful tip is to take via ferrata gear. Many people come hiking in the Dolomites only to be disappointed that they didn’t bring any climbing gear to enhance their experience. Also, remember to carry a swimsuit so you can go swimming in the lakes just like I did!
Enjoy your time hiking in the beautiful Dolomites 🙂