The Dolomites, a group of mountain ranges in the Italian Alps, is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Covering an area of almost 142,000 hectares, the Dolomites have 18 peaks that are over 3,000 meters high. The cliffs, valleys, and rock walls comprise mostly of dolomite, a carbonate rock that produce a distinctive pale color for which the mountains are famous.
In 2009, UNESCO listed the Dolomites as a World Heritage Site citing that the mountains are some of the most attractive landscapes in the world.
One of the most significant contributions to the history of the Dolomites is the fiercest battles between Italy and Austro-Hungry forces that occurred here during World War I. The mountains became the graves of thousands of Italian, Hungarian, Austrian, and German soldiers.
Although many of them died from the various weapons of both sides, a good number also lost their lives due to the harsh environment. The mountains were so steep that it was difficult for either side to send supplies to their troops. Their soldiers had to wait for weeks before they received any supplies and many of them died from hunger, thirst, and the extreme cold weather during winter. During the war, paths and tunnels were carved into the mountain. Today, tourists navigate certain portions of the Dolomites using those same paths and tunnels. Many of them unaware of the amount of lives it took to create those paths.
The tragic events that took place on the Dolomites is now part of history. Today, the mountains are a mecca for tourists. During the winter, tourists flock there to ski the wide open slopes. In summer, mountain climbing and base jumping are some of the popular activities.
Where to Go
The Dolomites is such a large area that there are so many beautiful places to visit. It would be difficult to go to all of them on a single trip. If your time is rather limited, make sure you at least go on one of the 8 popular walking trails known as the Alte Vie. You can also visit one of the high altitude villages or spend some time marveling at the beauty of the Lake of Misurina.
When to Visit
The best months to visit the Dolomites will depend on what activities you’re interested in doing. If you intend to visit during the summer, August is when a multitude of tourists flock here. If you want to avoid the crowd, June and September would be the best months to visit.
Visiting the Dolomites during winter is also an experience you will never forget. Seeing the mountains covered in snow can be breathtaking.
How to Get Here
The best way to travel to the Dolomites is by plane. The first part of your trip will take you to one of the three closest airports to the mountains: Innsbruck Kranebitten, Verona Valerio Catullo, or Bergamo Orio al Serio.
If you plan on driving there, the mountains are a 4-hour trip from Milan, 3.5-hours from Munich, or 1.5 hours from Venice. You might also want to take a train from Verona.