Dolomites : What to do in Cortina d’Ampezzo?
I already knew the Dolomites from a road trip in 2018 and I was really looking forward to going back. You can actually find the article about the road trip in the Dolomites by clicking here. I had the chance to spend 4 days in Cortina d’Ampezzo to discover and rediscover these incredible landscapes, the gastronomy of the region and moments of well-being in exceptional hotels.
I love the Alps but I must admit that I find the Italian part much more impressive 🙈.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Staying in Cortina d’Ampezzo: what to do?
How to prepare your trip to Cortina d’Ampezzo?
☀️ When to go to Cortina d’Ampezzo?
In full disclosure, I’ve never visited the Dolomites in winter before and it must be really interesting. But I can recommend summer very easily, from June to September. Staying at the end of May/beginning of June, the activities and restaurants were not all launched yet but the advantage is to admire the beautiful landscapes with much less people 😇. The weather here is often very nice in the morning, so plan on waking up early to enjoy it!
🚗 How to get around in Cortina d’Ampezzo?
In order to be as self-sufficient as possible, I recommend you come with your own vehicle or rent one at the airport.
Often you will arrive at Venice Marco Polo airport and I recommend that you compare offers on BSP Auto to find the best price for your car rental! You don’t need to rent a 4×4 or a special car, the roads are in good condition.
✈️ Where to get your plane ticket?
We recommend you to compare the best offers and book your flights on Ulysses.
You can benefit from -10€ on your first flight booking on Ulysse by registering via our link!
😴 Where to sleep in Cortina d’Ampezzo?
During my 4 days, I was lucky enough to stay in 2 beautiful 5 star hotels with Spa. The Rosapetra Spa Resort and the Cristallo Resort & Spa. I’ll tell you more about these hotels later in the article.
What to do in Cortina d’Ampezzo?
Let’s go, we’ll reveal our itinerary to visit the Dolomites from Cortina D’Ampezzo.
Day 1: Lake Ghedina
Let’s start this trip with an easily accessible lake in an incredible natural setting: Lake Ghedina. Be careful, there are two ways to get there. The first one, from the north, will force you to walk up for 30 minutes but the walk is very nice through the forest. The second, from the south, will give you direct access to the lake. Picnicking is not allowed on site, so don’t plan to go there for lunch.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
The gloomy weather of the afternoon leads me directly to the check in of the Rosapetra Spa Resort. It’s a good thing to enjoy this 5* establishment and its magnificent Spa. The rooms are all wooden, tastefully decorated. If you have the possibility to stay there, don’t hesitate to book a table for dinner, it’s excellent! Special mention for the outdoor sauna with a view on the mountains 🤩.
Day 2 : Via ferrata Barbara and Waterfalls in the Dolomites d’Ampezzo natural park
Big first for me, I’m going to try the via ferrata. It’s hard to find a better place than the Dolomites for a baptism. Direction the natural park of the Dolomites of Ampezzo for a hike in the middle of nature with an incredible panorama.
If you are interested in via ferrata, and you are not afraid of heights, go to the guide office and ask for the via ferrata Barbara to go down into the canyon and Lucio Dalaiti to go back up. To get to the start of the via ferrata, it takes between 30 and 45 minutes from the free car park. Afterwards, the descent into the canyon is not very complicated, but please follow the safety instructions. For the whole course in the canyon, count on almost 1 hour.
You do not have to do the via ferrata. If you continue along the hiking path, you can reach the Sbarco di Fanes waterfall. From the car park, it will take you a good hour to reach this spot. The last part climbs a bit but it’s still accessible to everyone 😊.
🍷 Where to dine in Cortina d’Ampezzo?
I had the opportunity to test several addresses during my stay. Apart from the 2 nice restaurants in the hotels, I can recommend Ciasa Lorenzi and Dolom’eats with my eyes closed. The service is top notch and the food is delicious.
Day 3: Sunrise in Passo Giau and discovery of the 5 Torri
I woke up at 5am on this third day to go to Passo Giau, located 30 minutes by car from Cortina d’Ampezzo. In June, the sun rises between 5am and 5.30am in the Dolomites so to enjoy the soft light, you have to get up very early! I arrived shortly before 6am at the pass, I was alone and it was just beautiful 🤩. There is no walking, the car park is nearby.
In the middle of the day, another hike for a breathtaking view of the 5 Torri. In high season you can take the chairlift for 13€ per person from the Bai de Dones car park. If it’s not open, allow 30-45 minutes of climbing and a bottle of water, as it’s quite steep. 🥵 I promise, the reward will please you!
Plus, it’s a place full of history as the area was the scene of battles between the Italians and Austro-Hungarians during the Great War.
At the end of the day, I headed to the Cristallo Resort & Spa for my last two nights. This 5* hotel is located on the heights of Cortina d’Ampezzo. It offers a breathtaking view of the mountains and has a unique charm. The decoration of the rooms is very old and it is different from what we are used to see in luxury hotels. The hotel has a large, modern spa.
Day 4: Tre Cime Di Lavaredo and electric bike ride
The road to the Auronzo Refuge, which is the starting point of the hikes around Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, only opens at the beginning of June. So I was there 2 days before the opening. But it’s a blessing in disguise because I was able to get there by electric bike – rented from Snow Service – and there were clearly fewer people.
From the Auronzo Refuge, there are 2 very interesting hikes doable in the same day:
📍 Hike idea no. 1
The first one, 2h30 round trip, will take you to the caves with an incredible view of Tre Cime Di Lavaredo. To start, head towards the Lavaredo Refuge (25 minutes walk without difficulty). Then you have to climb a few metres to get to the other side of Tre Cime. It’s not very difficult, but if you go at the end of May or beginning of June you can find yourself walking in snow. It surprised me, even if it is reassuring to find some snow at 3000 m… Continue towards the Refuge A.Locatelli along the massif on your right. Once you reach the Refuge, the caves are just behind, a 5 minute walk away. I was lucky to be alone as I arrived at 8am out of season. Otherwise, in high season, it is possible to queue unfortunately. For the return journey, take the same path to the Auronzo Refuge.
📍 Hike idea n°2
The second hike is simpler, 1h round trip with no real difficulty. Still starting from the Auronzo Refuge, you now have to go down below, as if you wanted to return to the tollgate but staying as much as possible on your left.
After a 30-40 minute walk you reach the panoramic point of Cadini di Misurina. It is quite easy to find as the viewpoint is just behind Monte Campedelle, which you can go around to the right or to the left. For your information, the scenery is more impressive from the left. I recommend that you follow the itinerary on this site.
That’s the end of this itinerary for what to do in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites! I hope you enjoy this trip as much as I did 🏔.
To go further, check out all our Italy travel guides.