If you are a trekking lover, you have surely heard of the Dolomites, in the northern region of Italy. This incredible place has a very different culture from the rest of the country. Sometimes you just forget you are in Italy and you feel immersed in the German lifestyle and culture. The hotel employees, the bus drivers, the waiters, everybody just speaks both Italian and German languages, for example. This is how the SudTirol community is built.
So, a few months ago, I was lucky enough to live and work in a hotel in Selva di Val Gardena, a little town in one of the valleys. This opportunity has given me the chance to explore the area as a local, and also discovered I was living in probably one of the most beautiful and dreamy places that I have visited in my life. You will find yourself in breathtaking valleys, reach some rugged mountain peaks and find spectacular blue and crystal lakes. The best thing about the trails is that they are perfectly signposted and you will feel safe and comfortable walking along them. So if you are visiting the Dolomites and you want to enjoy as much as you can, come with me to this imaginary trip with me and let's plan together. Are you ready to go?
Seceda (2518 meters) is a very famous mountain in the region of South Tyrol. This peak has become really popular on Instagram because of its dagger-like Fermeda Peaks. It looks like a shipwreck in the middle of the mountains. To be honest, it is great to watch it and all the surrounding area, and it changes its view depending on the season you are visiting it.
The most amazing thing about this place is that everybody can enjoy its beauty. Why? Even if you are not a hiker, you can reach almost the top with practically no effort at all, taking the cable car from Ortisei town to Seceda. Simple like that!. From here, ascending to the Seceda viewpoint will take you only a ten minutes walk. And boom! The stone giants will be in front of your eyes.The real shipwreck of Seceda.
What’s next, we start our way back with a beautiful trail along the mountains and cozy huts where you can stop whenever you feel like having lunch, tea or try the amazing apple strudel they make all around the valley ( Importante advice: you MUST try it!) So, follow the path number #1 to descend to Rifugio Firenze. Once you arrive there, you take the path #2 on the right hand until you cross paths with number #5, all the way to Col Raiser.All the way down from Seceda. Flowers and mountain peaks. Feeling like Heidi, the cartoon, for a little while.
Once you reach Col Raiser you have two options: if your body is already tired and you are ready for your shower, take the cable car into the town of St. Christina. If you still have some energy left, just keep on walking on the same path. From there, you have two regular bus services running back to Ortisei. They are buses number 350 and 352.
This hike, then, is a perfect activity for a one day hike. Not too tiring or demanding but it gives you the chance to literally touch the sky with your hands and also feel yourself in the middle of a fairytale. And I think that feeling is simply priceless.
The Cime Di Lavaredo
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the most famous hiking trip ever in the Dolomites. Although the rock star of this route is the Tre Cime di Lavaredo mountains, the whole route is a delight wherever you look: affiliated peaks, caves, tunnels, lakes … Literally, you can not ask for more!A few sheeps hanging around. A breathtaking scene.
There are several itinerary options to follow depending on the time and energy you count but they all start from the Rifugio Auronzo. You can reach to the car park by car, of course, but take into account the tolls because they are not very cheap but nothing is too expensive when you are going to hike around these beauties. You pay € 30 toll for cars, €20 for motorcycles and € 45 for campers or caravans, a very common way of travelling around in the region.
If you are planning to get there by bus instead, you can take it from anywhere around Lake Misurina for only €4 (line 444).
The last but the most demanding option is to walk from the checkpoint where they charge the toll, you park there for free and you start the walk of around 5km with positive unevenness - which will take you about 2 hours for one way.
My chosen itinerary is a circular one and the longest because I used to have one free day every week so I arrived every Thursday very excited and motivated to walk.
From the Rifugio Auronzo, take path #101, and pass the small church of Maria Ausiliatrice, all the way up to Rifugio Lavaredo. The church also is worth a visit if you are into that kind of tourism.
At the refuge, you can add a little walk to the left and go up to the Forcella Lavaredo viewpoint, where you will be amazed by views of the three peaks and all the surrounding landscapes.To be honest, you will feel the time stops for a bit. It is that kind of landscape that makes you feel so small in the world. Have you experienced that? For me, that kind of feeling is like an addiction and I think that is why I keep on hiking.
Once you are at the Rifugio di Lavaredo, turn right along path #104 towards the Rifugio Pian di Cengia, walking all around Mount Paterno and crossing Lago di Cengia.Mountains, forest, and lake. A lively painting in front of my eyes.
After crossing the Forcella di Cengia pass, you will reach the Piani lakes and the Riugio Locatelli on the way down. From here you have to follow path #105 to come back.
I highly recommend using the app Maps.me just in case. These paths are perfectly marked and it is always good to have another tool apart from the normal signposts.
The Sassolungo (3,181m) is the highest mountain of the Langkofel group in South Tyrol in the Dolomites. Completing this hike will take you around 6 hours and in this one in particular, the elevation is 1000m. Not too easy but with time and patience everybody can complete it. I have seen people of all ages and physical conditions around the paths. If you are thinking about it twice, I have to say it is really rewarding and you will change the landscape many times along the way, which allows you to experience the Dolomites in their full escence.The day started a little cloudy, but I think it was kind of a magical view, right?
On your right, you will have an enormous mountain facing you. And on your left, you will enjoy grassy meadows and alpine flowers. A perfect hiking combo !May I am dreaming? Pinch me!
The trail begins at the Passo Sella car park and if you have your vehicle, it costs €5. If you want to reach there by public transport, the line #471 runs from Ortisei and Selva di Val Gardena over Passo Sella.
Let’s start our hike then! Start walking south for a few minutes and then turn right to take over the path number #557 for Rifugio Frederich August. Follow the #557 trail to the famous Rifugio Sasso Piatto. Once you arrive, choose path #9 and then continue in path #527.You will meet path #526 which takes you to another great and modern hut of the valley, Rifugio Comici, and finally drops you back to the start, Passo Sella.
In conclusion, if hiking in the Dolomites is in your plans, don't forget these amazing hiking trails to make your trip unforgettable. Keep in mind that all these hiking routes can be done in one day and do not need any special equipment, you just need to want some adventure into the incredible mountains that Italy offers you. Be grateful for taking yourself to this little but powerful part of the world because you will always remember it. Grab your hiking boots and good luck!