Where to stay in the Dolomites – BEST 10 TOWNS & AREAS

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

Where to stay in the Dolomites – Key Points

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

For this reason, I have decided to compare the best places to stay 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 (being 5 the best). In the Accessibility column, I have given a 5 uniquely to Brunico and Bolzano, being 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 city, nearby ski resorts vary4/5 – 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 pricing, nearby ski resorts vary1/5 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 for the most up-to-date prices of the tickets. There are also options to buy special tickets to cover 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 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 the Dolomites 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 a skiing week 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 for the trip, which is not ideal.

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 skiing 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

Cortina d’Ampezzo – The lux destination for couples

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Couples, Luxury Travellers, Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 5


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


  • can be expensive
  • crowded during peak seasons


  • Tofana,
  • Faloria,
  • Cortina Adventure Park,
  • Corso Italia

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 ski 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 leisurely 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 ski areas like Tofana and Faloria.

Besides skiing, there are 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. Adventurers might want to explore the Cortina Adventure Park, which offers treetop trails and zip lines.

Cortina d’Ampezzo’s culinary scene is as impressive as its outdoor offerings. 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.

Despite its luxurious leaning, Cortina d’Ampezzo retains its rustic mountain charm. The views of towering peaks, the colourful traditional houses, and the friendly locals all contribute to a uniquely inviting atmosphere.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Cortina d’Ampezzo:

HOTEL de LEN ($$$): Charming location, exceptional staff. Comfortable, clean rooms and superb amenities. Relaxing spa and delightful afternoon tea. Excellent value

FIORI Dolomites Experience ($$$): Rustic elegance, breathtaking mountain views, outstanding service, exceptional breakfast and amenities.

In Conclusion, whether you’re carving down snowy slopes, shopping for Italian couture, or simply unwinding amidst beautiful scenery, Cortina d’Ampezzo offers an unforgettable Dolomites experience. Just bear in mind that all these luxuries come with a higher price tag, and the town can get crowded, especially during the ski season. But if you’re after a taste of high-altitude luxury, Cortina d’Ampezzo will not disappoint.

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

Alta Badia – outstanding skiing

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Skiers, Hikers, Nature Lovers, Foodies
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 4.7


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


  • not ideal for non-skiing activities in winter,
  • quieter nightlife


  • 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 ski resorts in Italy. And in summer there are so many hiking trails to enjoy.

The Sella Ronda, a famous circular ski route, provides an unforgettable experience for skiers, while the Pralongià Plateau is perfect for summer hikes with panoramic views that will leave you speechless.

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 while the nightlife here is quieter compared to other areas, there’s something to be said about the peaceful, starlit nights in the mountains.

On the other hand, if you’re not into skiing, winter in Alta Badia might not be as exciting. The region’s focus on winter sports means other activities are somewhat limited during the colder months.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Alta Badia:

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

Sportony Mountain Lodges ($$$-$$$$): Exceptional ski-to-door access, cosy and tastefully decorated accommodations, with an exceptionally friendly owner

In conclusion, Alta Badia’s outstanding skiing, unique culture, and natural beauty make it one of the best places to stay in the Dolomites. Whether you’re carving the slopes in winter or exploring hiking trails in summer, this place won’t disappoint. Its blend of outdoor pursuits and culinary delights offers a Dolomites experience that’s hard to beat. Despite its quieter nightlife and fewer non-skiing activities in winter, Alta Badia’s charm is pretty much irresistible, especially if you’re a nature lover seeking a peaceful alpine retreat.

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 places to stay in the Dolomites for Hikers, Families, Nature Lovers, Winter Sport Enthusiasts
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 4.2


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


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


  • San Martino di Castrozza Ski 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. The natural scenery here is simply outstanding. 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 ski area offers a range of slopes for all levels, from beginners to experts. Plus, the views from the slopes are breathtakingly beautiful, enhancing your skiing experience.

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.

For families, San Martino di Castrozza offers a range of activities that kids will love. From adventure parks to mini-golf, there’s something to keep the little ones entertained. La Stube and La Vecchia Fornace are two of my favourite spots that you might want to check out.

The Ranch Bar is the perfect spot for a drink or an aperitivo together with a few local products. Those horse saddles at the bar are so cool.

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 ski getaway.

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

In conclusion, San Martino di Castrozza is an excellent choice for families and outdoor lovers seeking the best areas to stay in the Dolomites. Plenty of outdoor activities, a good selection of restaurants and a stunning landscape all around. This is one of the best places to stay in the Dolomites in winter and summer too.

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

Ortisei – Amazing Summer destination

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Hikers, Families, Art and Culture Enthusiasts, Winter Sport Enthusiasts
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.7
    • Winter destination: 4.6


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


  • can be expensive,
  • fewer nightlife options


  • 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, is known for its spellbinding alpine beauty and rich artistic tradition. The town 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.

In winter, Ortisei serves as a gateway to the Dolomiti Superski, one of the largest ski areas in the world. You will find slopes of any type and length that are perfect for any skiing level. Moreover, you get to enjoy skiing with an enchanting panoramic view of the Dolomites.

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. It’s a pleasure simply to stroll around, take in the Alpine charm, and possibly stumble upon an artist showcasing the local wood carving tradition.

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 best hotels in Ortisei:

Hotel Cosmea ($$$): Great location, spotless rooms, generous amenities, friendly staff. Great for skiing, cycling, and relaxation.

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

In conclusion, Ortisei offers a well-rounded experience, making it one of the best areas to stay in the Dolomites. Its mix of outdoor activities, artistic tradition, family-friendly vibe, and beautiful town centre offers something for everyone. While it might be on the pricier side and lacks a buzzing nightlife, the overall charm and the variety of experiences Ortisei offers make it a worthy choice for first-time visitors to the Dolomites.

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

Arabba – The budget destination

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Adventure Sports Enthusiasts, Winter Sport Lovers, Nature Lovers
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.2
    • Winter destination: 4.8


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


  • quiet nightlife,
  • limited shopping and dining options


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

Restaurants and cafes

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

Arabba, a small, serene village situated in the heart of the Dolomites, might be small, but it definitely punches above its weight when it comes to outdoor activities. Nestled at the foot of the Sella massif and the Porta Vescovo mountain, it is one of the most remarkable locations in the Dolomites.

Being off the beaten path means that Arabba also offers some of the most economical hotels and apartments in the Dolomites, great if your budget is somehow very limited.

In the winter, Arabba is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. It’s part of the Dolomiti Superski area and has a direct connection to the Sella Ronda ski circuit. The slopes here are generally steeper and more challenging, attracting many experienced skiers and snowboarders.

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 a hotspot 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. Arabba is not really the town that you would visit for extensive shopping or a culinary trip.

Yet, the restaurants available, like Miky’s Grill and Ristorante Pizzeria Salin, provide delicious and satisfying meals after a long day of activities. And for a quick bite or a cup of coffee, you can always stop by Bar Peter or Malga Plan Boè.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Arabba:

Appartamento Césa Ines ($$): Stunning mountain views, comfort, cleanliness, and convenient location, perfect for outdoor activities

Hotel Alpenrose ($$): Exquisite cuisine, comfortable rooms, and splendid views. Its proximity to ski lifts is a bonus

In conclusion, if your idea of a perfect holiday includes skiing down exciting slopes, hiking through beautiful trails, or just soaking in the awe-inspiring mountain views, then Arabba might just be your ideal place to stay in the Dolomites. Arabba is also one of the most convenient places to stay in the Dolomites, which helps if you have a limited budget. It may lack the lively nightlife and numerous dining options, but the outdoor adventures it offers make it a great choice.

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

Brunico – Great for history and culture

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for History Buffs, Families, Cultural Enthusiasts
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.5
    • Winter destination: 4


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


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


  • 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 era. It’s got an undeniable charm that will captivate any history buff or cultural enthusiast.

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.

For those travelling with kids, Brunico doesn’t disappoint. 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 ski 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.

And for those who’d love to bring a piece of South Tyrol home, Pur Südtirol Bruneck offers high-quality local products.

Now, if you’re looking for hardcore outdoor adventures, Brunico might not hit the mark as other places in the Dolomites do. And yes, it can get a bit crowded during peak seasons. But the blend of historical and cultural attractions, family-friendly activities, and the old town’s charm make Brunico a worthwhile place to stay.

Here are 2 of the best 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

In conclusion, Brunico is a charming town that offers a delightful mix of culture, history, and family-friendly activities. It might not be the first choice for adrenaline junkies, but its unique attractions and vibrant old town make it a place worth visiting. Whether you’re travelling with family, a history enthusiast or a food lover, Brunico has something to cater to your needs.

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

Canazei – The place to be for adventure lovers

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Adventure Lovers, Winter Sports Enthusiasts, Summer Hikers
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4
    • Winter destination: 5


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


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


  • Pordoi Pass,
  • Marmolada,
  • Sella Ronda,
  • Canazei – Belvedere Ski 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 excellent ski slopes and breathtaking hiking trails, this small town offers an incredible outdoor experience.

Canazei isn’t just about its snow-covered landscapes, though. In summer, the town is an excellent base for exploring the Dolomites. Hiking trails abound, leading you to beautiful spots such as the Pordoi Pass and the Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites. In Canazei you will find hiking trails for any level, you are either an experienced hiker or a novice.

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

And after a day of sliding down the slopes, the town’s vibrant apres-ski scene beckons. 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, the flavoursome delights at Ristorante Tobia, or a sweet treat from Pasticceria Marlene, you’re in for a treat.

On the flip side, Canazei might not be the best pick for those who are not into outdoor activities. It can also get pretty crowded during peak seasons. But if you love the great outdoors and are up for an adventure, Canazei is the place to be.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Canazei:

B&B Cèsa Planber ($-$$): Stunning mountain views, excellent location near ski 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

In conclusion, Canazei is a winter sports paradise and a hiker’s dream in the summer. It might get a bit crowded during peak seasons, and it’s not for those who aren’t into the outdoors, but the excellent ski slopes, amazing hiking trails, and the lively apres-ski scene make it a top choice for adventure lovers.

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

Selva di Val Gardena – Best town for families

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Skiing Enthusiasts, Families, Mountain Lovers
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 3.5
    • Winter destination: 5


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


  • limited nightlife,
  • can be expensive during peak seasons


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

Restaurants and cafes

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

The picturesque alpine town of Selva di Val Gardena is an absolute haven for skiing enthusiasts and mountain lovers. Nestled in the Gardena Valley, Selva boasts a prime position on the Sella Ronda ski circuit, offering ski-in, and ski-out accommodation for those wanting to be right on the slopes.

In the winter, Selva transforms into a skier’s paradise, with a network of well-groomed slopes suitable for all skill levels. The town sits directly on the Sella Ronda circuit, making it an excellent base for exploring this extensive ski area. Skiing down the Saslong and Ciampinoi slopes is a thrilling experience that will make your winter trip unforgettable.

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

When hunger strikes, Selva offers a selection of great dining options. From the delicious local cuisine at Restaurant Saleghes and Bistro Freina to the fine dining experience at La Stua de Michil, there’s something for every palate. And for a relaxed drink, head over to Bar Saltos, a local favourite.

But every rose has its thorns, and Selva is no exception. 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 2 of the best apartments in Selva di Val Gardena:

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

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

In conclusion, Selva di Val Gardena is a mountain lover’s dream. It’s a top spot for skiing enthusiasts thanks to its position on the Sella Ronda circuit and offers plenty of family-friendly activities. While it may lack nightlife and can be pricey during peak seasons, the sheer beauty and array of outdoor activities make it one of the best areas to stay in the Dolomites.

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

Corvara in Badia – Fantastic for a winter trip

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for Ski enthusiasts, families, couples, mountain and nature lovers, hiking and biking enthusiasts
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4
    • Winter destination: 5


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


  • Can get crowded during peak ski season
  • Limited nightlife


  • 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

In the heart of the Badia Valley, Corvara in Badia holds a special place among mountain lovers. Nestled between the stunning peaks of the Dolomites, Corvara in Badia is 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 ski circuit. It’s a winter wonderland with stunning, well-maintained ski slopes that cater to all skill levels, from beginners to professionals.

And for non-skiers, there’s plenty of winter fun to be had too. From snowshoeing to ice skating, Corvara has got you covered.

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 verdant forests, and past sparkling alpine lakes. The Vallon – Boè and Col Alt Cable Car are absolute must-dos, taking you high into the mountains for breathtaking views over the Dolomite peaks.

Corvara in Badia has a pretty town centre with shops selling local crafts and produce, perfect for picking up souvenirs. The dining scene is also worth mentioning. From traditional Ladin cuisine to Italian classics, the town’s restaurants serve dishes that are a true feast for the senses. La Bercia Dolomites Inn and Restaurant Piz Arlara are two spots you shouldn’t miss.

Here are 2 of the best 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

In conclusion, Corvara in Badia is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Its charm lies in its stunning landscapes, exciting outdoor activities, and the warm hospitality of its people. If you love the great outdoors, Corvara in Badia could very well be your perfect Dolomites base.

Christmas market in Bolzano
Christmas market in Bolzano

Bolzano – For city lovers

  • Best places to stay in the Dolomites for City Lovers, Culture Enthusiasts, Families, Foodies
  • My personal rating
    • Summer destination: 4.2
    • Winter destination: 4


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


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


  • 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 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.

If you’re a history or culture buff, Bolzano is your treasure trove. 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. The mulled wine is a must to warm up on those cold nights, and the gingerbread is adored by the kids.

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

In conclusion, Bolzano is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an urban base in the Dolomites with a hint of alpine adventure. It’s a city rich in history and culture, offering a diverse food scene compared to most of the other destinations. The city can get crowded, especially during the Christmas market, but its mix of city and mountain vibes more than makes up for it.

The Dolomites - Autumn landscape of Lago di Braies
The Dolomites – Autumn landscape of Lago di Braies

Accessibility to the best places to stay in 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 airport is Venice, which is about 160km away. Munich in Germany works also very well. Treviso, Verona, and Innsbruck in Austria have also smaller airports, some served by low-cost airlines like Treviso.

Budget a trip of around 5-6 hours from the airport to any of these towns, give or take, using public transportation. If you rent a car the time needed is usually half of that, more practical and what a view along the drive too!

The Dolomites - The Giau Pass at sunset
The Dolomites – The Giau Pass at sunset

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