The exhilarating beauty of the Dolomites

I traveled to the Dolomites in July 2018 for about a week, curious about that area of the Alps. My co-founder Matt Cobb, had recently spent a few weeks there and the landscapes seemed stunning (even though the weather sometimes capricious).

What follows is a series of landscapes of four of the most beautiful areas of the Dolomites (but yeah, I still have many more to explore!) plus a few extras along the way we hadn’t really planned.

Here’s map of most of the places we visited in the Dolomites.

Lago di Landro and Dobiacco

Our first unplanned stop, the beautiful Lago di Landro…which pretty much presented itself to us while we hadn’t asked for anything :).

Just a hundred meters further we stopped at Lago di Dobiacco (was pizza time so you know…).

Note: say “hi!” to Raphaelle — she’s the one who had to put up with me for a week in the mountains 🙂

Lago di Braies

Our first (planned) stop, very accessible by car, Lago di Braies was insanely beautiful. It’s a postcard no matter the angle from which you look at it. The issue with it being so accessible though, is that it’s insanely touristy and you’ll hear shutter clicks every second (annoying photographers gah!)

  

There’s ton’s of opportunities to walks around the lake. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know I like trees (I always feel like they’re all dancing in front of me), so here’s a series… ha!

 

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

We then headed to Tre Cime, where the real trekking began. It’s also where I did my first via ferrata, which got me super excited — videos and pictures below :).

Rifugio Auronzo (2,333m)

Rifugio Auronzo is your first stop (and probably where you’ll park) on your way to the Tre Crime. The views to get there are stunning.

As you keep following the main path, you get to Rifugio Lavaredo, which you can see on the picture just below.

#shotoniPhone

And that’s only just 10 minutes later that you get to the Tre Cime.

 

And here’s the walk on the other side.

Via Ferrata Monte Paterno

If you stop up there and don’t follow the path to the Locatelli refuge, you get to do a pretty awesome via ferrata, called Monte Paterno. It was the first time I’d try one and it was totally worth it. I went slowly and spent about 3 hours completing it (the man had some pictures to take you know).

    

Here’s a short video to give you a sense of the views.

The way back down was absolutely incredible. 

Rifugio Locatelli (2,438m)

I had just finished the via ferrata and was ready to absorb a huge dinner, only to realize I missed the World Cup’s finale and France’s win over Croatia 4-2. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Oh well, I was fine up there in the mountains! After dinner, we went to bed but clearly didn’t have the best night — a lot of people in the refuge and not-so-comfy beds… I wouldn’t recommend that refuge.

After an early morning sunrise, we headed back to Auronzo through a different route, and stopped for tea on the way.

Lago di Sorapis

Our next big stop was Lago di Sorapis. I had seen numerous pictures of that blue/turquoise cream lake on the internet and was super curious to see it with my own eyes. We went through trail n°215, which was the easiest route available — we would do a slightly more difficult one on the way back.

The 215 was lovely, above all the beginning, a true “balade de santé,” as we say in French.

Finally getting to the lake

An hour and a half later (or more I can’t remember), here we were, admiring the Lago di Sorapis and its unreal color.

Note to fellow photographers: I had to assemble a bunch of shots here as I didn’t carry any wide angle lens (only a 35mm) but if you want to capture this lake, you’ll have an easier time at 16mm or so.

Vandelli Rifugio (1,926m)

We stayed the night at the Vandelli refuge. I don’t have any pictures of it but it was a pretty standard one (much nicer than the Locatelli refuge but nothing too luxurious…). The view from it was beautiful. Here’s pictures at sunset the same evening and sunrise the day after.

 

We then headed back through trails n°213 and n°216, which would take about 3 hours (you can go a lot faster but we preferred to enjoy the landscapes).

We bumped into an alpine ibex on the way back, which I didn’t photograph as I didn’t want to scare him but those animals are insanely beautiful (and impressive to see in real life!).

Back down, we headed to Lagazuoi, one of the highest summits in the area.

Lagazuoi refuge (2,750m)

We were not super lucky with the weather up there — you can usually get truly amazing shots — but the view was still breathtaking.

Cinque Torri

Our next big stop was Cinque Torri, where we’d spend a couple of days exploring. We were welcomed by a lovely sunset before staying in a super comfy refuge.

Rifugio Scoiattoli (2,255m)

It was one of my favorite: the food was amazing, and you only had to step outside to be faced with some incredible landscapes — a photographer’s dream. Here’s a few shots before sunset on that day.

#shotoniphone
#shotoniphone

Sunrise the next morning didn’t disappoint either.

 

 

 

     

Walk to Lago di Limides

We did a pretty cool loop on that day, going back down before going to the Lago di Limides on the way back up.

Then, the way back to the refuge.

Rifugio Averau (2,413m)

We spent our last night in the Tre Cime at Rifugio Averau, where we had for the first time a private room (whoop whoop!). Again here the food was delicious and the views amazing.

Rifugio Nuvolau (2,575m)

Slightly higher and 15 minutes away was Rifugio Nuvolau, where we didn’t stay but went just to admire the views.

Lago di Carezza

After the Tre Cime, we decided to head West to Ortisei which seemed like another beautiful area of the Dolomites. On the way, we stopped at Lago di Carezza, which was probably the most disappointing part of our trip. In a way, the lake is way too accessible to tourists and it felt like going to Disneyland, the opposite of what you look for when exploring in the mountains. Unless you can go very early in the morning (which wasn’t our case), I recommend avoiding the place.

Ortisei and Rifugio Resciesa

We concluded our trip by going to Ortisei and visited the area. We stayed at Rifugio Resciesa, which even though has nothing special, is located a magnificent area.

 

After making friends with cows and donkeys, we ordered a drink and watched another gorgeous sunset..

Yeah the cloud was trying to escape the pic 💨… but I didn’t let that happen

The next morning, we got to see horses running around the refuge at sunrise, a pretty unique moment.

Seceda

Our last stop before heading back to Venice airport was Seceda, which is easily accessible from Ortisei. If you don’t know what happens when mountains are having an argument, look at the picture below.

And that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed following us around 😊.

If you’re thinking of spending some time in the Dolomites, here’s a few things that helped me plan my trip. While I ran a number of searches on the internet to find out about some of the most beautiful places of the Dolomites, the following books gave me more valuable information about walks or ferratas I could try:

See you next time! 👋

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