Hi, I’m Mathilde – a 23 year old girl from Denmark. In this article, I’ll be sharing stories from my recent hiking adventure around Tre Cime di Lavaredo. But before I do so, allow me to introduce myself. I currently live in Copenhagen for my studies, however I grew up in a smaller city 3.5 hours away called Silkeborg. It’s known as being the “outdoor capital” of Denmark due to the big forests, many lakes and tons of sports there.
I grew up doing lots of sports, gymnastics and being active with my family. My family and I did a lot of traveling, primarily based on being offline and in nature – which is a big part of what has shaped my love of adventure. Indeed, I still have a desire to get offline more and stay in touch with my surroundings – and all of the beautiful things life has to offer. With my gymnastics team, I also gained some great experiences around the globe and this made me connect with a lot of people from around the world.
As I’ve grown older my love for the outdoors and my curiosity for cultures, differences, people’s upbringings, extreme experiences, world wonders, etc. has grown stronger – especially after traveling the world for a year with my best friend, Victoria. We have friends in many countries now and have spent the past year peeking into their daily lives, which we find so exciting.
That is also one of the reasons we decided to explore Italy, besides wanting to take a detox from our day-to-day life by being offline in the mountains. Speaking of, what can Italy not provide? Mountains, oceans, lakes, foods, wine, Aperols, great weather, beautiful cities and amazing people – Italy has it all, which makes it one of my all-time favorite countries.
A Special Week-and-a-Half in Italy
On our recent trip, we spent 1.5 weeks in Italy where we visited friends in Bolzano and Venice but spent most of our time in the Dolomites. Keep in mind we’re students, so we did our best to make it a budget-friendly trip, and therefore we came in a van. This experience did not disappoint.
We stayed in the heart of the Dolomites at a cheap parking lot, in Selva di Val Gardena, called Parkplatz Plan de Gralba. There was access to water, a public bathroom and restaurants. From here you can easily take buses or drive to the hikes, or just walk from here and let the car stay. At night it was about 0.20 cents per hour and during the day it was 1 euro per hour. It was nice, safe and cheap for us. We drove to the starting point of the trailheads in the area, and had a whole day parking at these places for a cheap amount, and then came back to the parking lot in the evening.
We hiked around Selva di Val Gardena and Seceda, both being whole day hikes due to the trails we combined. We spent some nights in the parking lot and on other nights we drove to Bolzano to stay with our friend. Bolzano is an hour away and is a lovely ride. The city is worth visiting since it has amazing architecture, lakes, wine, a vibrant culture and is cheap.
From here we also visited a different mountain range, Alpe di Siusi, where we spent the day at the mountain lake of Laghetto di Fie. It was refreshing for a summer’s day. After some fantastic days in this area of the Dolomites and Bolzano, we went to Venice to take a little break from hiking. In Venice, we hung out with friends and sipped wine, and afterwards returned to finish up with the grand finale hike at Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
My Tre Cime di Lavaredo Adventure
We came to the foot of the mountain in the afternoon, and spent some time cooking and planning our hike for the next day. The morning of the hike we started from the parking lot at 8:00 am and walked through the forest to the Rifugio Fondovalle (Talschlusshutte) where we followed the trail towards Dreizinnenhutte. We then reached the hut at 12.00 pm and enjoyed our lunch while soaking up the views of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo is insane. It looks like something straight out of a fairytale. There were beautiful sites with flowers and lakes, and there were crazy rock formations which would be a rock-climbers paradise. So it’s easy to say there was something for everyone to enjoy. At the hut there was delicious food but because we came in the high season, it was a bit touristy to be honest. That being said, if you go rock-climbing or embark on the longer trails it would feel like you’re completely alone in the world.
There’s no signal in these mountains, so we spent some time trying to find one of the views we saw on Instagram. We went to the hut to ask a local and a man named Miguel came to our rescue. He said: “I know that place, it’s just on the other side of the mountain, we will climb over it, let’s go”. At that moment, we looked at each other and thought to ourselves: “Why not? This is never going to happen again and surely he is joking about climbing over the mountain”. This is when our adventure truly began.
It was 13.30 pm when we went with Miguel. Little did we know we still had 10 hours to go. We went into the rocks and met a few climbers, who were kitted out with equipment, and we ended up at the end of a cliff where the only way to go was up. This is where we realized Miguel wasn’t joking about climbing over the mountain. He taught us the basics and up we went.
Looking back it sounds a bit reckless, but we both have a certain amount of experience/fitness and this mountain range is well suited for climbing. We climbed to the top where there was a cross and a full view of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. We went on the following trails: Paso Fonfio, Ferrata del Monte Paterno, Sentiero della Pace, Ferrata Verso Cima Dodici, “rock-surfed” down Forcella del Campanello and made a full circle back to our van.
Epic Views of Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The views surrounding Tre Cime di Lavaredo are almost indescribable. It looks like Instagram x10. Being in these mountains you feel completely alone and it’s like being in another world – looking at the miles of mountains and all the colors changing every hour. Tre Cime di Lavaredo is sometimes not visible due to clouds but when they are it’s a majestic sight.
If you arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon, the views won’t be filled with tourists. Nonetheless, even with lots of people, Tre Cime stands tall and beautiful. In the high season there will be many visitors at the photo spots but it’s possible to move to places less full and enjoy the view – especially if you go rock-climbing or do the other side of the mountain.
Favorite Memory from this Trip
My experience at Tre Cime di Lavaredo was filled with excitement and crazy experiences. At some point around 17.00 pm, the clouds started coming in over the mountains and were dark. At the moment, this didn’t feel great but looking back it is one of my favorite memories. While the clouds were rolling in, rain and thunder started within 5 minutes. This is something to be aware of in the Dolomites, as the weather can come and go very fast.
We continued but when the lightning started, we had to hide in a rock cage (they are here from World War II – as these mountains used to be the official border between Italy and Austria). We stayed in the cage for a couple of hours until the storm passed. We had no food and it was freezing (there is snow at this height of 3,000 meters). When it stopped, we ran for 15 minutes to the nearest hut – Rifugio Pian di Cengia – where, to our surprise, it was packed with other hikers who were hiding from the storm.
We were met with blankets and hot chocolate. It ended up being a special moment because of the adrenaline, the relief, and Vic and Miguel who made this bearable. It was 20.30 pm and we still had 4 hours down, but luckily the weather cleared and the rest of the hike was awesome. We walked to Zwolferkofel and afterwards “rock-surfed” from here down to the next hut, Zsigmondyhutte. Finally, the adventure concluded as we headed down in the dark with lights which wasn’t too difficult.
Required Experience for Tre Cime
There are many opportunities to go hiking or climbing around Tre Cime di Lavaredo, which is recommended to do with equipment. The paths are well managed, so if you’re an advanced climber it won’t be too difficult. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good place to practice because it’s very safe. There are lots of trails and plenty where no climbing is required. These are doable for people with standard fitness. It will be worth it as every step is picturesque.
Casual hikers can also take a car to the other side of the mountain and hike around Dreizinnenhutte. For all the rock-climbers out there, the trails on the way to Rifugio Pian di Cengia are suitable and provide a challenge. In my opinion, willpower can take you anywhere around Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Need to Know Before You Go
- If you need to follow a map around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo area, have it downloaded since there is no signal (although there are signs here).
- Go early so you have the option to hike around at the top before it gets too late. Thunderstorms often arrive in the afternoon during summer.
- Bring lots of snacks for the hike and refill your water bottle in the freshwater sources, such as from the waterfalls along the routes.
Other than this, get ready to work your camera to overload because every view and every angle is more amazing than the last. You might even find Miguel around here like we did, and we are sure he will be happy to help. Thanks for reading everyone and be sure to follow me on Instagram.