Last updated on May 7, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in the European Alps & North of Italy

Where to stay in the Dolomites in summer and winter – BEST HOTELS & TOWNS

Deciding where to stay in the Dolomites is not an easy task, this is quite a sizeable area of Northern Italy.

There are so many beautiful alpine towns, skiing resorts and summer destinations that offer something for every type of traveller.

In this guide, I have narrowed down my 10 best places to stay and visit in the Dolomites. I have compared all of them in two quick and easy-to-read tables, one for summer and one for winter, being these destinations totally different in the two seasons.

But let’s dive into it

Where to stay in the Dolomites Map
Where to stay in the Dolomites Map

Best places to stay in the Dolomites – Key Points

These 10 destinations are very different in summer and winter, offering distinct activities, opportunities and costs too.

For this reason, I have decided to compare the best places to visit in the Dolomites based on the season. And, to save you time, I have created the two tables below that compare the towns based on a multitude of factors (season-related).

You can click on the area/town name to read a full description with all the pros, cons and activities, besides a couple of suggested hotels.

Swipe left or right on the mobile to see the entire table. The rating is from 1 to 5. Brunico and Bolzano, are the only two destinations accessible by train. The others need a mix of train and bus or you just rent a car.

AreaQuality of Ski RunsKm of slopesDay TicketWeek TicketAccessibilityCostReliability of SnowFamily-Friendliness
Cortina d’Ampezzo4/5 – Wide variety120km€58€2883/5 – Accessible by train+bus2/5 – On the pricey side3/5 – Can be hit or miss3/5 – Oriented towards adults
Alta Badia4/5 – Excellent for beginners, less for experts130km€60€2993/5 – Slightly remote3/5 – Mid-range for the region4/5 – Usually reliable5/5 – Excellent facilities and activities for kids
San Martino di Castrozza3/5 – Limited variety, more for intermediates60km€46€2303/5 – Somewhat remote, tricky roads5/5 – More affordable than most3/5 – Can be hit or miss3/5 – Some activities, but not a main focus
Ortisei5/5 – Excellent variety, part of Dolomiti Superski175km€60€2993/5 – Good roads, busy at peak times3/5 – Competitive but not cheap4/5 – Reliable conditions4/5 – Good facilities for children
Arabba4/5 – Excellent for experts, less for beginners122km€55€2932/5 – Remote and challenging roads4/5 – Mid-range5/5 – Excellent2/5 – Limited facilities for children
Brunico3/5 – Good runs at Plan de Corones, but 7km away119km€59€3135/5 – Accessible by train 4/5 – Fair pricing for a city4/5 – Usually reliable3/5 – Urban activities, ski school at Plan de Corones
Canazei5/5 – Excellent variety, part of Dolomiti Superski210km€58€3083/5 – Good roads3/5 – Fair for the area, but still not cheap4/5 – Usually reliable4/5 – Good facilities for children, could offer more activities
Selva di Val Gardena4/5 – Diverse, part of Dolomiti Superski175km€60€2993/5 – Good roads but busy in peak season3/5 – Fair pricing but not the cheapest4/5 – Reliable for the most part3/5 – Decent for kids but more adult-centric
Corvara in Badia3/5 – Limited variety but good quality130km€59€3133/5 – Somewhat remote, can be tricky in winter2/5 – Tends to be on the pricey side3/5 – Fairly reliable3/5 – Some activities for kids, could do better
Bolzano1/5 – Must drive to nearby resortsN/AN/AN/A5/5 – Excellent roads, regular train and bus services4/5 – City pricing1/5 Need to drive to the resort2/5 – Urban activities
Where to stay in the Dolomites in winter – A comparison table

I recommend checking the Dolomiti Superski website if you visit the Dolomites in winter. You will find resort maps and the possibility to buy special day/week tickets covering multiple areas, for a total of 1,200km of slopes.

Beautiful Braies lake at sunrise in autumn in Dolomites.
Beautiful Braies Lake at sunrise in autumn in the Dolomites.

In summer, things are different and usually, the cost of accommodation is lower too.

AreaOutdoor ActivitiesAccessible Hiking TrailsLevel of WalkScenic BeautyAccessibility (Train/Bus)Family-FriendlinessCostCharacter of Town
Cortina d’Ampezzo4/5 – Wide variety but can be busy20+Moderate to Challenging5/5 – Absolutely stunning3/5 – Accessible by train+bus4/5 – Plenty of activities2/5 – PriceyAlpine chic, stylish
Alta Badia5/5 – Excellent variety30+Easy to Challenging5/5 – Incredible views3/5 – Slightly remote4/5 – Plenty of activities4/5 – Mid-rangeTraditional, welcoming
San Martino di Castrozza4/5 – Good range 25+Moderate to Challenging5/5 – Beautiful scenery3/5 – A bit remote, but worth the trip3/5 – Limited activities5/5 – More affordable than othersCosy, alpine charm
Ortisei5/5 – Excellent range35+Moderate to Challenging5/5 – Spectacular Dolomite views4/5 – Good access but can be busy in summer4/5 – Good range of family activities3/5 – Slightly pricey but good value for the areaLively, family-friendly
Arabba4/5 – Good for outdoor enthusiasts, limited otherwise15+Moderate4/5 – Impressive mountain landscapes2/5 – Remote and more difficult to access2/5 – Limited family activities4/5 – Good value for adventurersQuiet, traditional
Brunico3/5 – Limited range of activities in town20+Easy to Moderate4/5 – Lovely urban and natural beauty5/5 – Excellent roads and public transport3/5 – Urban activities4/5 – well priced for the regionVibrant, urban
Canazei5/5 – Excellent range of activities30+Easy to Challenging5/5 – Beautiful mountain views4/5 – Good access, traffic in peak season5/5 – Great for families with a range of activities3/5 – Fairly priced for the regionFriendly, alpine vibe
Selva di Val Gardena5/5 – Top hiking,
biking, and climbing
25+Moderate to Challenging5/5 – Gorgeous Dolomite views4/5 – Easy to access but busy in summer4/5 – Many family-friendly hiking and biking trails3/5 – Fairly priced for the regionRustic, outdoor-centric
Corvara in Badia4/5 – Good range of activities25+Moderate5/5 – Stunning natural beauty3/5 – Somewhat remote3/5 – Some activities for kids3/5 – Fairly priced for the regionTranquil, classic
Bolzano2/5 – City-based activities15+Easy to Moderate4/5 – Mix of city and surrounding nature5/5 – Excellent accessibility4/5 – City-based activities3/5 – City pricingHistoric, urban
Where to stay in summer – A comparison table

I have added a chapter at the end of this guide where I talk more about the accessibility of the destinations. In short, only Brunico and Bolzano have a train station. The other destinations can be accessed with a mix of train and bus transportation, which can be quite time-consuming.

When I plan to visit the Dolomites in winter I do not mind the hassle of public transportation but it’s worth saying that I usually waste the first and last day of the trip on commuting, which is not ideal. It works for a minimum stay of 6-7 days

I have often hired a car which saved me a ton of time, and honestly, it’s a must in summer because you will experience so much more of the Dolomites. There is just no comparison. In winter the cars have snow tyres and you will be able to experience different alpine areas, not just one.

I usually rent my cars on DiscoverCars, a very helpful website that compares car rental prices as well as car rental agencies based on the renters’ feedback (think it of an AirBnb of car rentals).

This site aggregates prices from major rental companies as well as local ones. I always opt for full insurance (no excess at just 8 Euro) to avoid costly fees in case of minor and major accidents, a must if driving there in winter on icy roads.

Another benefit of hiring a car is that you can stop for a couple of days on Garda Lake, in beautiful towns like Bardolino or Malcesine, two of the best towns to stay in Lake Garda.

Cortina d'Ampezzo valley
Cortina d’Ampezzo valley

My 3 best hotels in the Dolomites

Cortina d’Ampezzo – The lux destination for couples

  • Best place for Couples, Luxury Travellers, Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 5

Pros

  • upscale amenities,
  • vibrant nightlife,
  • excellent winter sports facilities

Cons

  • can be expensive
  • crowded during peak seasons

Attractions

  • Tofana,
  • Faloria,
  • Cortina Adventure Park,
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo (UNESCO)

Restaurants and cafes

  • Al Camin,
  • Tivoli,
  • Trattoria Vienna,
  • Pasticceria Alverà

Cortina d’Ampezzo is often called the “Queen of the Dolomites“. Why? Because it is a captivating blend of natural beauty, high-end luxury, and Italian charm.

Known for its winter sports and scenic beauty, it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956 and it will once again in 2026 together with Livigno, another of my favourite places to stay in the Italian Alps, confirming its position as a hotspot for international winter competitions.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is not just for the adventurous; it also caters to those seeking a relaxing getaway with its elegant boutiques, cosy cafés, and world-class restaurants.

At the heart of the town is the Corso Italia, a pedestrian-friendly street lined with shops selling Italian fashion, traditional crafts, and local produce. A stroll here is a perfect way to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Cortina.

When it comes to outdoor activities, Cortina d’Ampezzo is second to none. Skiers and snowboarders are spoilt for choice with multiple areas like Tofana and Faloria.

There are also plenty of other winter activities. Snowshoeing is a must through the beautiful mountain, sledging is getting more and more popular and finally ice skating is unmissable.

Cortina is equally appealing during summer. The surrounding Dolomites provide excellent hiking and biking opportunities. You may also want to explore the Cortina Adventure Park, which offers treetop trails and zip lines.

Hiking around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo is another must. This is a UNESCO site famous for its three alpine cliffs.

Cortina d’Ampezzo offers any type of culinary scene. You can dine in style at Al Camin, an exquisite mountain restaurant offering panoramic views and delicious local cuisine. Ristorante Tivoli is another gourmet destination serving innovative dishes. For a more casual dining experience, head to Trattoria Vienna or enjoy sweet treats at Pasticceria Alverà.

It all sounds so good, isn’t it? Well, the beautiful time you can have in Cortina will not come cheap, in fact, this is probably the most expensive town in the Dolomites. Also, avoid a visit around Christmas time. It can get really busy with all the Italian celebrities, politicians and wanna-be, raising prices to a newer and higher level.

Here are 2 great hotels for a stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo:

HOTEL de LEN ($$$$): One of the best luxury hotels in the Dolomites. Charming location, and exceptional staff. Comfortable, clean rooms and superb amenities. Relaxing spa and delightful afternoon tea.

FIORI Dolomites Experience ($$$): This hotel offers rustic elegance, breathtaking mountain views, outstanding service and exceptional breakfast.

The Dolomites - Alta Badia in winter
The Dolomites – Alta Badia in winter

Alta Badia – outstanding skiing

  • Best place for Skiers, Hikers, Nature Lovers, Foodies
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 4.7

Pros

  • excellent slopes,
  • picturesque villages,
  • stunning nature,
  • unique Ladin culture

Cons

  • not as many other winter activities,
  • quieter nightlife

Attractions

  • Sella Ronda,
  • Santa Croce Church,
  • Museum Ladin,
  • Pralongià Plateau

Restaurants and cafes

  • La Siriola,
  • Las Vegas Lodge,
  • Ütia de Bioch

Alta Badia, nestled in the heart of the Dolomites, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and food lovers. I have enjoyed so much skiing there, it is most definitely one of the best winter resorts in Italy. And in summer there are so many hiking trails to enjoy.

The Sella Ronda, where you can experience never-ending slopes, provides an unforgettable experience, while the Pralongià Plateau is perfect for summer hikes in the Dolomites.

The region’s Ladin culture, one of the three official cultures in South Tyrol, is another highlight. You can explore it further at the Museum Ladin and in the local cuisine. Restaurants like Stüa dl l’Ai and La Siriola, renowned for their innovative dishes based on traditional Ladin recipes, are a must-try.

Alta Badia also boasts several picturesque villages, each with its unique charm. And in this respect renting a car in Italy will help you to enjoy some of them (public transportation is not really an option in winter)

The two major drawbacks of Alta Badia are the lack of nightlife (much quieter compared to other areas) and the limited options for winter sports activities once you have finished on the slopes

Here are 2 awesome in Alta Badia:

Dolomit Boutique Hotel ($$$-$$$$): Stunning mountain views, cosy rooms, excellent service, delicious cuisine. Sustainable, comfort at its best.

Sportony Mountain Lodges ($$$-$$$$): Exceptional access to the slopes, cosy and tastefully decorated accommodations, and a relaxation area with a spa.

Pale di San Martino mountain group close to San Martino di Castrozza
Pale di San Martino mountain group close to San Martino di Castrozza

San Martino di Castrozza – Value for money

  • Best place for Hikers, Families, Nature Lovers, Winter Sport Enthusiasts
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 4.2

Pros

  • beautiful natural scenery,
  • family-friendly activities,
  • great skiing opportunities,
  • good hiking

Cons

  • can get crowded during peak seasons,
  • fewer dining options

Attractions

  • San Martino di Castrozza Area,
  • Paneveggio Pale di San Martino Nature Park,
  • Tognola Peak,
  • Passo Rolle

Restaurants and cafes

  • La Stube,
  • La Vecchia Fornace,
  • Ristorante Pizzeria La Baita,
  • Malga Ces

San Martino di Castrozza, a quaint town located at the eastern end of Trentino, offers a slice of alpine paradise in the Dolomites. Nestled between the Pale di San Martino range and the Paneveggio forest, the town provides a stunning backdrop no matter where you look.

In winter, San Martino di Castrozza transforms into a top-notch skiing destination. The area offers a range of slopes for all levels, from beginners to experts.

Come summer, hiking is the name of the game. Trails abound in the Paneveggio Pale di San Martino Nature Park, giving you countless opportunities to explore the stunning landscape. Climbing Tognola Peak is also a popular activity, especially for the panoramic view at the top.

San Martino di Castrozza is also one of the best areas to stay in Dolomites for families. You will find adventure parks and mini-golf, besides easy slopes for the little ones to start skiing, maybe engaging one of the many kid schools.

San Martino di Castrozza is not anymore a hidden gem of the Dolomites, in fact, it can be very busy in peak season, both winter (Christmas and Eastern weeks) and summer (July and August).

And while there are some good dining options, they are somewhat limited compared to larger towns. This means that you should book your table well in advance.

Here are 2 of the best accommodations in San Martino di Castrozza:

Hotel Garni Suisse ($$): Charming mountain retreat with welcoming hosts, splendid views, and mouthwatering breakfast. Perfect for a cosy getaway.

Casa Rodi ($$): Exceptionally cosy, clean, and spacious accommodation (3BR) with stunning garden views, a hospitable owner, and excellent amenities

Aerial view of Seceda close to Ortisei in the Dolomites
Drone view of Seceda close to Ortisei in the Dolomites

Ortisei – Dolomites in summer for hiking & biking

  • Best place for Hikers, Families, Art and Culture Enthusiasts, Winter Sport Enthusiasts
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.7
    • Winter destination: 4.6

Pros

  • scenic beauty,
  • pedestrian-friendly town centre,
  • family-friendly,
  • local wood carving tradition

Cons

  • can be expensive,
  • fewer nightlife options

Attractions

  • Resciesa Funicular,
  • Mar Dolomit,
  • Parish Church of Urtijëi,
  • Museum Gherdëina

Restaurants and cafes

  • Tobia’s,
  • Vinoteque La Cercia,
  • Restaurant Stua Catores,
  • Cafe Val d’Anna

Ortisei, located in Val Gardena, sits at the foot of the Alpe di Siusi and is surrounded by stunning mountain ranges, offering a beautiful backdrop that changes with the seasons.

You want to stay in Ortisei in winter because it is the gateway to the Dolomiti Superski, one of the largest mountain areas in the world. You will find slopes of any type and length that are perfect for any level.

But the fun doesn’t stop when the snow melts. Come summer, the mountains transform into a hiking and biking paradise. The Resciesa Funicular, for instance, takes you up to a high plateau, offering numerous walking trails with spectacular views.

Ortisei also boasts a pedestrian-friendly town centre, where charming pastel-coloured houses, boutiques, and cafes line the streets. The Parish Church of Urtijëi and the Museum Gherdëina are worth checking out if you’re interested in the local art and history.

On the dining front, Ortisei offers a good mix of traditional Tyrolean cuisine and Italian favourites. Tobia’s and Restaurant Stua Catores are highly recommended, and for a laid-back coffee break or a sweet treat, head to Cafe Val d’Anna.

However, keep in mind that Ortisei, with its upscale appeal, can be more expensive compared to other towns in the Dolomites. Also, the town is more of a quiet, family-friendly destination rather than a party hub.

Here are 2 of the most beautiful hotels in Ortisei:

Hotel Cosmea ($$$): Great location, spotless rooms, generous amenities, friendly staff. Great for winter and summer activities, besides some relaxation.

Hotel Angelo Engel ($$$$): Alpine charm, exceptional service, and top-notch amenities for a luxurious, relaxing stay.

Arabba - A remote mountain village in the Dolomites
Arabba – A remote mountain village in the Dolomites

Arabba – Best area of the Dolomites on a budget

  • Best place for Adventure Sports Enthusiasts, Winter Sport Lovers, Nature Lovers
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.2
    • Winter destination: 4.8

Pros

  • excellent for skiing and hiking,
  • less crowded,
  • stunning mountain views

Cons

  • quiet nightlife,
  • limited shopping and dining options

Attractions

  • Porta Vescovo,
  • Arabba Fly,
  • Museo Ladino Fodom,
  • Monte Civetta

Restaurants and cafes

  • Miky’s Grill,
  • Ristorante Pizzeria Salin,
  • Bar Peter,
  • Malga Plan Boè

Arabba is a small, serene village nestled at the foot of the Sella massif and the Porta Vescovo mountain, offering some of the most economical hotels and apartments in the Dolomites, great if your budget is somehow very limited.

Arabba is also one of the best places in winter because it’s part of the Dolomiti Superski area and has a direct connection to the Sella Ronda circuit. The slopes here are generally steeper and more challenging.

The resort also tends to be less busy than other destinations in this post. This means that, outside of the peak time (Christmas and Eastern) you will share the slopes with not as many people.

Once summer comes around, Arabba becomes one of the best towns for hikers and mountain bikers. You will be totally impressed by the rugged peaks, the scenic trails, and the panoramic views. You can also try paragliding with Arabba Fly if you’re up for a thrill, or you can visit the Museo Ladino Fodom for a dose of history.

While Arabba excels in providing outdoor adventures, it’s a quiet place with limited shopping and dining options and basically no nightlife to talk about. This town is more of an action-by-day and relax-by-night destination.

Here are 2 great options in Arabba:

Appartamenti Home ($$): 1BR and 2BR with stunning mountain views, comfort, cleanliness, and a convenient location close.

Hotel Alpenrose ($$-$$$): Exquisite cuisine, comfortable rooms, and splendid views. Its proximity to the cable car is a bonus

The futuristic Messner Mountain Museum close to Brunico
The futuristic Messner Mountain Museum close to Brunico

Brunico – Great for history and culture

  • Best place for History Buffs, Families, Cultural Enthusiasts
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 4

Pros

  • rich history and culture,
  • family-friendly activities,
  • charming old town,
  • good dining and shopping options

Cons

  • not the best for hardcore adventurers,
  • can be busy in peak seasons

Attractions

  • Brunico Castle,
  • Folklore Museum Dietenheim,
  • Messner Mountain Museum Ripa,
  • Kronplatz

Restaurants and cafes

  • Osteria Pizzeria No. 1,
  • Restaurant Andreas Hofer,
  • Pur Südtirol Bruneck,
  • Cafe Messner

Brunico, also known as Bruneck, is a charming town nestled in the Puster Valley that perfectly marries the modern and medieval eras. One of the highlights of Brunico is undoubtedly its magnificent castle.

Perched on a hill overlooking the town, Brunico Castle is home to one of the Messner Mountain Museums. Founded by renowned mountaineer Reinhold Messner, the museum provides an insightful look into the culture and history of mountain peoples worldwide.

Not too far away from the town, the Folklore Museum Dietenheim invites you to dive into South Tyrolean traditions and rural life.

Brunico won’t disappoint you if you are travelling with kids. A visit to Kronplatz, not just a winter sports paradise, but also a haven of family-friendly activities, is a must. In summer, it offers hiking, mountain biking and the exciting Kron Arc Adventure, while in winter, it transforms into a top-notch Alpine resort.

Brunico’s old town, a pedestrian zone, is an ideal place for leisurely strolls. It’s lined with colourful townhouses, boutique shops, and plenty of dining options.

Whether you’re in the mood for pizza at Osteria Pizzeria No. 1, traditional Tyrolean dishes at Restaurant Andreas Hofer, or simply want to enjoy a cup of coffee at Cafe Messner, there’s something for everyone.

Now, on the cons side, if you’re looking for hardcore outdoor adventures, Brunico might not hit the mark as other places in the Italian Dolomites do. And yes, it can get a bit crowded during peak seasons.

Here are my 2 favourite hotels in Brunico:

Majestic Hotel & Spa ($$$): Idyllic wellness retreat with top-notch facilities and exceptional service

Hotel Post ($$$): Charming alpine retreat offering genuine hospitality, comfortable rooms, and convenient location. Perfect for both leisure and adventure

The Dolomites - Panoramic view of the ski resortin Canazei
The Dolomites – Panoramic view of the Canazei resort

Canazei – The place to be for adventure lovers

  • Best place for Adventure Lovers, Winter Sports Enthusiasts, Summer Hikers
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4
    • Winter destination: 5

Pros

  • excellent for winter sports,
  • great hiking in summer,
  • lively apres-ski scene,
  • good dining options

Cons

  • can get crowded in peak seasons,
  • not much for non-outdoor enthusiasts

Attractions

  • Pordoi Pass,
  • Marmolada,
  • Sella Ronda,
  • Canazei – Belvedere Area

Restaurants and cafes

  • El Pael Canazei,
  • Restaurant La Zinna,
  • Ristorante Tobia,
  • Pasticceria Marlene

Nestled in the heart of the Dolomites, Canazei is a paradise for adventure lovers and winter sports enthusiasts. Known for its hiking and skiing, this small town offers an incredible outdoor experience.

In summer, the town is an excellent base for exploring the Dolomites. Hiking trails of any level abound, leading you to beautiful spots such as the Pordoi Pass and the Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites.

For winter sports, Canazei is an absolute treat. The town is part of the Sella Ronda circuit, a carousel of interconnected slopes that loops around the Sella massif. The Canazei-Belvedere area boasts well-groomed slopes suitable for all levels.

And after a day of sliding down the slopes, the town’s vibrant apres-ski scene starts. Local bars and pubs become lively hubs where you can share your day’s adventures over a pint or two.

When it comes to dining, Canazei doesn’t disappoint. Whether it’s the traditional Italian cuisine at El Pael Canazei, the creative dishes at Restaurant La Zinna, or a sweet treat from Pasticceria Marlene.

On the flip side, Canazei might get pretty crowded during peak seasons. And this is probably the biggest drawback

Here are my 2 suggested hotels in Canazei:

B&B Cèsa Planber ($-$$): Stunning mountain views, excellent location near the lifts, immaculate rooms, delicious breakfast, and friendly, helpful staff

Alpe Di Gries Sella Ronda ($$$): Spacious, clean apartment with a great location. Exceptional facilities, perfect for a comfortable stay in Canazei

Panoramic view of the Dolomites in summer
Panoramic view of the Dolomites in summer

Selva di Val Gardena & Alpe di Siusi – Best for families

  • Best place for Skiing Enthusiasts, Families, Mountain Lovers
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 3.5
    • Winter destination: 5

Pros

  • ski-to door accommodation,
  • family-friendly activities,
  • beautiful mountain scenery,
  • part of the Sella Ronda circuit

Cons

  • limited nightlife,
  • can be expensive during peak seasons

Attractions

  • Sella Ronda,
  • Puez-Geisler Nature Park,
  • Saslong,
  • Ciampinoi

Restaurants and cafes

  • Restaurant Saleghes,
  • Bistro Freina,
  • La Stua de Michil,
  • Bar Saltos

You want to stay in Val Gardena if you are planning a few days of just skiing and relaxing with a glass of wine in the evening. Nestled in the Gardena Valley, Selva boasts a prime position on the Sella Ronda circuit, offering a good selection of accommodations next to the lifts. So easygoing!

Summers in Selva offer a different kind of beauty. The Puez-Geisler Nature Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, opens up for hiking and mountain biking, offering spectacular views of this part of the Dolomites.

While not as adrenaline-pumping as winter sports, the park’s beautiful trails and serene atmosphere make it a great summer destination.

On the cons side. The town’s nightlife is not great, in fact, it is very limited and you might be disappointed. Plus, accommodation and amenities can be expensive during peak seasons.

Here are 3 of the best places in Selva:

Apartments Praruf ($$-$$$): Charming, comfortable 1BR apartments. Prime location, free Wi-Fi and parking. Excellent service

Apartment Belvedere ($$$): Comfortable, spacious apartment (2BR) with all amenities, in a great location near the lifts. Highly recommended for families

Granbaita Dolomites ($$$$$): One of the best hotels in the Dolomites region with an extensive wellness centre, and exquisite dining, ideal for families and couples too.

The mountain resort village Corvara in the Dolomites
The mountain resort village Corvara in the Dolomites

Corvara in Badia – Best winter trip to the Dolomites

  • Best place for Ski enthusiasts, families, couples, mountain and nature lovers, hiking and biking enthusiasts
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4
    • Winter destination: 5

Pros

  • Part of the expansive Dolomiti Superski area
  • Tranquil and relaxed vibe
  • Great options for summer hiking and biking
  • Accessible to Sella Ronda circuit

Cons

  • Can get crowded during the peak winter season
  • Limited nightlife

Attractions

  • Vallon – Boè
  • Col Alt Cable Car
  • Church of Saint Cassian
  • Piz Boè

Restaurants and cafes

  • La Bercia Dolomites Inn
  • Restaurant Piz Arlara
  • L’Tabladel
  • Stüa dla Lâ

Corvara in Badia is another town renowned for its winter and summer sports.

During winter, Corvara serves as an entry point to the Dolomiti Superski, one of the world’s largest ski areas, and is connected to the Sella Ronda circuit. For non-skiers, there’s plenty of winter fun to be had too. From snowshoeing to ice skating.

When summer comes, Corvara turns into an outdoor playground offering endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and climbing. The trails here cater to all, whether you’re a casual hiker or a seasoned mountaineer.

The town is dotted with hiking trails that lead you to panoramic viewpoints, through lovely forests, and past picturesque alpine lakes.

Corvara in Badia has also a pretty town centre with shops selling local crafts and produce, perfect for picking up souvenirs.

On the flip side, do not expect much from the nightlife scene, this is not a winter resort to be out till the early hours of the morning. The town itself can get also quite busy in the peak winter season, around the new year eve.

Here are 2 great hotels in Corvara in Badia:

Berghotel Ladinia ($$-$$$): Stunning mountain views, delicious cuisine, ski-to-door access, and friendly, attentive staff

App Lisüra Boè ($$$+): Perfect location for skiing, very clean and comfortable with a friendly host. Absolutely loved the mountain view

Christmas market in Bolzano
Christmas market in Bolzano

Bolzano – For city lovers

  • Best place for City Lovers, Culture Enthusiasts, Families, Foodies
  • My rating
    • Summer destination: 4.2
    • Winter destination: 4

Pros

  • urban amenities,
  • rich history,
  • diverse food scene

Cons

  • less traditional alpine atmosphere,
  • can be crowded in December weekends for the market

Attractions

  • South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology,
  • Runkelstein Castle,
  • Bolzano Christmas Market,
  • Piazza Walther

Restaurants and cafes

  • Batzen Bräu,
  • Restaurant Laurin,
  • Hopfen & Co.,
  • Wirthaus Vögele

A city with a unique blend of Italian and Austrian cultures, Bolzano (Bozen) offers a different kind of Dolomites experience. Its urban landscape is a refreshing contrast to the typical alpine setting, yet it retains a touch of mountain charm with the Dolomites serving as a stunning backdrop.

In the city, you can visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology where Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from the Copper Age, resides. For art enthusiasts, the medieval Runkelstein Castle is a must-see with its well-preserved frescoes.

During the festive season, the Bolzano Christmas Market, one of the largest in Italy, transforms Piazza Walther into a magical wonderland. It’s a great attraction beloved by families and couples alike. A must-visit in any Dolomites itinerary around December time.

When it comes to food, Bolzano presents a culinary journey that reflects its dual heritage. Batzen Bräu serves excellent craft beers and traditional South Tyrolean dishes, while Restaurant Laurin is known for its exquisite Italian and international cuisine.

Hopfen & Co. is a traditional beer house that’s popular among locals, and Wirthaus Vögele offers a cosy atmosphere to enjoy Tyrolean’s specialities.

While Bolzano may not have the typical alpine atmosphere, it doesn’t lack outdoor activities. There are many hiking and cycling trails that start from the city, and during winter, it’s just a short drive to several ski resorts.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Bolzano:

Stadt Hotel ($$): Prime location, comfortable rooms, excellent breakfast, helpful staff. Convenient parking and elevator

Cooper apartments ($-$$): Immaculate, centrally located 1BR with modern amenities, stunning city views, and exceptional breakfast options

The Dolomites - Autumn landscape of Lago di Braies
Autumn landscape of Lago di Braies, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites

Accessibility to the Dolomites

Only two destinations, Brunico and Bolzano, are reachable by train. The others require a bus or taxi ride from the nearest train station, which can be quite time-consuming. Some hotels may organise the last leg for you but it will not be included in the room price.

Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Cortina d’Ampezzo: No direct train. The nearest train stations are in Calalzo di Cadore and Dobbiaco. From there, you can take a bus to Cortina.
  2. Alta Badia: No direct train. The closest train stations are Brunico (Bruneck), Bressanone (Brixen), Bolzano (Bozen), and Fortezza (Franzensfeste). From these stations, buses run to Alta Badia.
  3. San Martino di Castrozza: Not directly accessible by train. The nearest railway station is Feltre, from which you can take a bus to San Martino di Castrozza.
  4. Ortisei: No direct train. The nearest station is in Bressanone (Brixen) or Bolzano (Bozen), from where you can take a bus.
  5. Arabba: No direct train service. The nearest train stations are Belluno and Brunico, from where buses are available to Arabba.
  6. Brunico (Bruneck): Direct train service is available to Brunico. It’s on the Puster Valley train line that connects Fortezza (Franzensfeste) with Lienz in East Tyrol, Austria.
  7. Canazei: No direct train. The nearest railway stations are Trento, Bolzano, and Ora, from where you can take a bus.
  8. Selva di Val Gardena: No direct train. The nearest station is in Bolzano, from where you can take a bus.
  9. Corvara in Badia: No direct train. The closest train stations are Brunico, Bressanone, Bolzano, and Fortezza. From these stations, buses run to Corvara.
  10. Bolzano: This city is the best connected of all with trains connecting major Italian cities like Rome, Venice, and Verona, as well as Austrian and international destinations.

Always check the Trenitalia website for the latest time schedule and prices.

If you’re planning to fly to the Dolomites, the closest international airports are Verona and Venice, which is about 160km away. Munich in Germany works also very well. Treviso and Innsbruck in Austria have also smaller airports, served by low-cost airlines too.

Budget a trip of around 5-6 hours from the airport to any of these towns, give or take, using public transportation. Save half that time if you rent a vehicle, besides being more practical and what a view along the drive too!

The Dolomites - The Giau Pass at sunset
The Dolomites – The Giau Pass at sunset
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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