The Dolomites are a true hidden gem in Italy. There are so many different things to do in the Dolomites in winter that it can be difficult to decide what to see, what to do, and where to stay if you’ve never visited before, so I’ve compiled my ultimate Dolomites guide here for your next trip to Italy!
Best time to visit the Dolomites
Visiting the Dolomites in winter typically spans from December to March. However, for the best snow conditions and fewer crowds, consider planning your trip in January or February.
Visit the South Tyrol during a road trip in the Dolomites
South Tyrol is the name given to the autonomous province of Bolzano. Here the majority of people speak Bavarian (a group of German dialects) but also Italian or Ladin. Therefore all the names are in both languages! It is strange at the beginning and you can get lost when you prepare your trip, but you get used to it quickly.
Also called Alto Aldige in French, the main attraction of this region is its concentration of mountain peaks. The Alps and the Dolomites are the queens of this northern part of Italy. This makes South Tyrol a very important tourist destination.
It’s worth mentioning that the Dolomites are one of the most underrated winter destinations in Europe. Whether in spring or summer to enjoy hiking, and lakes but also in winter when the ski resorts know their moment of glory.
Cross-country skiing, paragliding, sledging, snowmobiling, snowshoeing… there is no shortage of winter activities! It is really the place to be to fill up with sensations and especially to be in constant wonderment in front of these snowy summits.
Any road will offer you a spectacular view. I am used to road trips, but honestly, I didn’t expect to see so much. A beautiful destination close to France to fill up with pure air and beautiful images!
Getting around Dolomites
If you want to rent a car, the roads in the Dolomites are in good condition, and driving is relatively simple. The only thing to keep an eye out for is the parking fee.
I traveled with my friends on this trip. We rented a car from DiscoverCars, as we do on most road trips. We paid 95€ for a four-day rental of an Opel Corsa. The bill was split among four people. We drove about 1000 kilometers in four days and spent 85 euros on fuel.
BEST CAR RENTAL COMPANY: DISCOVER CARS
When booking your Italian car rental online, I recommend and use Discover Cars. I always recommend and personally use Discover Cars for their extensive search options that include both international corporations and local companies, ensuring you get the best deal possible.
Must visit locations
Here is a quick overview of the different points of interest that you can see during a road trip in the Dolomites in winter.
The snow gave you a completely different vision of these places seen here and there on the web or social networks. But honestly, nothing really prepares you for the visual slap that the Dolomites can give! Every turn has its share of wonder, if you love the mountains, the Dolomites are at the top of your list. Don’t doubt it for a second!
Val di Funes
A vision almost too perfect to be true… The little church of San Giovanni standing proudly in the middle of its meadow. It was really one of the places I didn’t want to miss during this road trip in the Dolomites!
You will have to go to the village of Santa Magdalena to have a view on the church. I found this moment very beautiful, delicate and intense. There was no one on the horizon, not a sound. Just the snow and this little church. The atmosphere was strangely cinematic.
Lago di Braies
The most famous lake of the Dolomites! And for good reason, with its view on the mountains, the little church and the famous hut with the boats… Certainly the ultimate must-see during a road trip in the Dolomites with the Tre Cime!
Well in winter of course you will only see the hut! No stairs leading to the water and no boats. It must be, once again, beautiful when the lake is not covered with snow. Parking cost – 8€. Here are five great reasons why you should book a winter trip to Lago di Braies.
Alpe di Suisi
To my great surprise, even in snowy weather, Alpe di Suisi remains a pleasant place to walk. And I can imagine that in summer it must be a paradise for hikers! The view on the mountains is impressive (again), clearly to be put on your list and not to be missed during a road trip in the Dolomites.
To reach Alpe di Suisi in winter you will have to take the cable car from Ortisei, count 18€50 per person for the round trip. It takes about 30 minutes to get back to the cable car station once you reach Alpe di Suisi.
The hiking trails are more accessible in summer than in winter but you can still enjoy them. And don’t forget to have a drink in one of the hotels/restaurants at the foot of the ski resort, the view is really beautiful.
Another emblematic figure that I could admire during this road trip of the Dolomites, the Seceda mountain. You can get there by cable car from Ortisei, you have to pay 30€ per person to see this wonder. And even if in winter you can’t hike and the mountain is less “detached” from the landscape, I don’t regret to have gone there!
Winter sports in the Dolomites
If you are looking for a different destination in Europe to ski during the next winter season, I really recommend Südtirol! The resorts are numerous, and I didn’t even try to count the number of cross-country ski tracks I saw, there are so many of them everywhere!
For lovers of skiing and mountains, a road trip in the Dolomites in winter is like going to paradise! Here is a small but not exhaustive list of the main ski resorts in the region:
- Val di Fiemme Obereggen
- Val Gardena
- 3 Zinnen
- Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Alta Badia
- Alpe di Suisi
Where to stay during a road trip in the Dolomites?
There are many hotels in the Dolomites, and it is best to book ahead of time, especially if you are visiting during peak season or have a limited budget. Caminata di Tures is an excellent starting point for exploring the Dolomites, particularly the Tre Cime and the Lago di Braies.
If you’re looking for a design hotel with everything you need to unwind after a day of sightseeing or hiking, the Boutique Hotel Residence Brugghof & Erlhof is the place to stay.
The hotel is in the heart of town and has a stunning view of the mountains. All of the necessary cooking equipment is provided in the rooms. It’s ideal if you want to stay for a few days without spending too much money on restaurants.
We reserved our accommodations through a Booking website and paid 435€ for four days of lodging.
The Dolomites in winter are the place to go. The Dolomites offer a stunning backdrop for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. If you love winter sports and you want to see what the Dolomites are like in winter, then go ahead and book a flight to the region. But don’t forget to follow the safety precautions and get the most out of your visit.
Is it safe to visit Dolomites in winter?
Yes, the Dolomites are generally safe in winter. However, it’s important to be prepared for cold weather and possible avalanches in certain areas.
What is the best time for skiing in Dolomites?
The best time for skiing is from December to March when the ski resorts are in full operation, and there’s ample snow.
Are there guided tours available for winter activities?
Yes, many tour operators offer guided skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities in the Dolomites.
Visiting the Dolomites in the winter is an unforgettable experience, combining natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural immersion. Whether you’re an avid skier or simply seeking a serene winter escape, the Dolomites offer something for everyone. Embrace the wonder of winter in this breathtaking corner of the world.
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