Skiers, hikers, and snowboarders dream of traversing the slopes of the Dolomites, the mountain range in northeastern Italy. Its towering peaks and emerald lakes attract tourists from around the world, especially during summer.
Although skiing and hiking in the Italian Dolomite Alps are easy to figure out, thanks to maps and travel guides, getting to and around the area is more challenging. The Dolomite mountain range is in an isolated region, with some popular villages not accessible by train.
You have several transportation options at varying price points. This lets you choose a solution that accommodates your financial situation while meeting your demand for convenience.
1. Guided Tour
Guided tours offer the highest level of ease and comfort. All of your transportation details will be pre-arranged for you. Depending on the package you book, the travel agency can arrange your pick-up from the airport to your accommodation in the Dolomites area. Otherwise, you still have to travel to the meeting place before the activity.
Luggage transfers are also included in guided tours. From the airport to your hotel, and to different locations, the booking agency will take care of your belongings to ease your burden while you travel.
When you want more flexibility in your itinerary, guided tours may not work for you. In this case, you want to rent a private car instead. You’ll still be able to get around easily around the area and still control your daily schedule.
2. Car Rental
Driving lets you roam Dolomites’ alpine villages, mountains passes, and other destinations without restrictions. Those who don’t want to be limited to guided tour schedules or waste time waiting for the bus will enjoy the privacy and convenience of rental cars.
Look into the airport you’re landing at and see which rental companies serve your location. If you have to rent a car at the last minute, Bolzano is the closest hub. Make sure to book a four-wheel-drive, so you can scout for off-the-beaten-path hiking trails.
However, you need an international driver’s permit (IDP) before you can rent and operate a car in Italy. Make sure to apply for an IDP months before your trip to ensure that your plans won’t get derailed.
Those who prefer not to drive in the Dolomites can rely on the region’s excellent mass transit system. This option is perfect when you want to shave off several dollars from your travel expenses.
3. Public Transportation
Trains can bring you close to the Dolomites with multiple changes. But from Pieve di Cadore, you still have to take a taxi to arrive at Corvara or Cortina d’Ampezzo.
On the other hand, buses run hourly to many popular hiking trails in the Dolomites. If you’re coming from Venice, the Cortina Express and Dolomiti buses have daily trips going in and out of the Dolomites. The buses may be late, though.
If you’re traveling long distances and want to save on transportation expenses, buy multi-day tickets. These passes are cheaper than when you buy single tickets for each trip.
Finally, plenty of hotels in Val Gardena include a free Mobil Card when you make a reservation. This pass gives you free bus rides in the area for seven days. Check if your hotel is a part of the Val Gardena Tourist Association to get a Mobil Card.
The good thing about the Dolomites is that you have multiple transportation options. Determine your priority whether it’s convenience and ease or your budget — and choose accordingly. Plan your transit method in advance to ensure a smooth trip.