The Dolomites in September is a fantastic time to visit. The weather is still warm and the crowds are much less than in the peak summer months of July and August.
As I was travelling solo in between my visa (whilst still working remotely), I picked the Dolomites as a base so that I could fit in a couple of hikes on the weekend.
As this trip was planned pretty last minute, I didn’t have as much time to organise the logistics but read that Cortina d’Ampezzo and Ortisei were the biggest towns in the Dolomites and the hikes were accessible from here without a car.
I stayed in Cortina d’Ampezzo for 3 nights and Ortisei for 2 nights and I found them to be great bases to do the Lago di Sorapis hike, the Tre Cime di Laverado hike and Seceda hike using just public transport.
I did have my doubts initially and thought I may not be able to do as much as I would like to but I can reassure you now after coming back from the Dolomites, that it’s SUPER easy to get around by public transport. Yes sure, having a car does make things easier in terms of getting around and not being reliant on a bus or cable timetable, however being a solo traveller on limited time meant hiring a car (and the costs associated with it) was not economical.
I was using the Moovit app which I thought was super helpful to get correct bus timetables and routes. I also used the Sudtirol Mobil website to find different routes and get around the whole Sudtirol area.
To get to Cortina D’Ampezzo, there is a 4 hour bus from Verona with Flix Bus which cost me only €10. I got the bus at 5pm, which got to Cortina around 9pm.
I stayed at Hotel Bellaria which was less than 5 minutes walk from the bus station and the town centre and I highly recommend it. Lorenzo the owner was super accommodating, friendly and helpful and made the stay really enjoyable.
In the morning, I went for a stroll around the town centre then went back to the hotel to work. For lunch, I headed to Al Passetto and had a capricciosa pizza.
In the evening, I went to La Tavernetta for dinner. I had the pappadelle which was good but portion was small.
Lago di Sorapis Hike
The detailed guide to get to Lago di Sorapis hike without a car and with public transport is here.
I walked to the Faloria cable car then caught it to the top. From here you walk up paths 213 or 223 then it will meet at 216 where you can easily follow the signs down to Lago di Sorapis. It is around 8km and took me about 2.5 hours to get there.
The lake was amazing and the colour was a milky blue which was fascinating.
From here, you take the 215 trail back to Passo Tre Croci. This is relatively easy 6km trail back and it took me about an hour.
I took the 030 bus back to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
For dinner, I went to Ristorante Ariston and had the amazing casunziei all’ampezzana which is originally from Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is beetroot and ricotta stuffed ravioli with butter, parmesan cheese and poppy seeds. It was delicious! I had an apple dessert afterwards which was good too.
Tre Cime Di Lavaredo
The detailed guide to get to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo hike without a car and with public transport is here.
From Cortina d’Ampezzo to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, you have to get two buses to get there. If you time it right, you won’t need to wait and feels like a direct trip.
Take the 031 bus from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Misurina (cost €3.50) then the 030 bus from Misurina to Rifugio Auronzo (cost €4.00). The total cost for transportation was €15.
From the car park, take an anti-clockwise direction for better views and a great hike!
I had an hour and a half to wait til my bus but that meant I could relax by Lake Misurina and have lunch after the hike. I went to Pizzeria Edelweiss for a margarita pizza and aperol spritz.
I got back to Cortina around 3pm then went back to the hotel to pick up my bags before heading to Ortisei.
One drawback from my lack of research was that I didn’t plan how to get from Cortina to Ortisei as I assumed there would be a bus to connect the two cities since they were major towns.
I spent €140 to get there which is steep for one person. However, as it was a 8 seater Mercedes people mover, if you split it between more than 4 people, it’s reasonable.
I arrived in the evening and checked into my hotel, had a well deserved shower and then headed out to walk around town and for dinner.
For dinner, I went to Tubladel Restaurant and the food was excellent! I started with a glass of prosecco and they gave a complimentary snack at the beginning which was polenta with goats cheese. I got the special ribs with potatoes and the cabbage salad which was delicious. For dessert, I had the “strudel creation” which was a twist on the Austrian strudel.
The detailed guide to get to Seceda is here.
Getting to Seceda is super easy from Ortisei. Take the Furnes Seceda cable car up to the top and there are numerous trails you can take to see the area.
I walked around the Seceda area but also took the 2B trail to Pieralongia. It was only around 5km return but you were awarded with amazing meadow views and the famous twin peaks (as well as donkies!)
I came back and worked for a few hours and then headed back to Tubladel as I wanted to try the prawn and leek taglioni. It did not disappoint! I rarely go back to a restaurant twice when travelling but I highly recommend this restaurant when in Ortisei!
For dinner, I went to Mauriz Keller restaurant. The pizza came out so quickly (maybe too quickly) and it was only average unfortunately.
Most hotels in the Val Gardena area give guests a free Val Gardena Mobility card which gives access to the bus network. I got the bus from Ortisei to Bolzano which took approximately an hour.
I checked into my hotel and then worked for a few hours before heading to lunch at the rooftop restaurant called Thaler. The views were nice but the crane was unfortunately in the way. The food was average and not cheap so I would only recommend this place for a drink.
For dinner, I headed to Casa Al Torchio for pizza and beer. I can vouch that the pizzas are very good and most under €10!
The next morning I went for my usual early walk and explored the city before having to catch a train to Innsbruck.
The Dolomites is a really special place and has amazing scenery and nature. I only got a small glimpse of it but I am so, so keen to come back and do some more hiking and to get back into nature!