• CONTACT US if you have any problems registering for the forums.

Dolomites base?


10+ Posts
Hi all, as part of a bigger trip, we want to spend a week or so in the Dolomites. I want to experience the culture of Austrian/Italian heritage, take in some amazing views, maybe a lovely thermal pool for a swim, and a gentle hike or two, over a week or so. We travel mostly by train, as being a family, rental car prices are high, and coming from Australia, I don't love driving on the wrong side. ;) I have been looking at coming into Bolzano by train? We will be coming from Spello in Umbria. Any suggestions for a good base? I am open to renting a car, maybe out of Bolzano to drive the final leg? Or would it make sense to rent out of Verona perhaps. I am happy to hear your wisdom and suggestions on this! Also, timing wise.... mid September of this year.

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Yes (arrival/departure) transport is not as easy as other locations, so train definitely the option IMO. I'd only rent from somewhere else, if that location was also of interest, such that you might spend a few days there as well. FWIW we did drive from Verona to Lago Molveno near Trento. Much of that was on straightforward autostrade, so the driving is straightforward, with decent views, albeit as good as views from a motorway get! Very doable, and Bolzano will just add additional time, not complexity.

Whilst Trento/Trentino does have Austrian influence, we only encountered one person who couldn't/wouldn't speak Italian (at a cartoleria in Molveno). It definitely felt more Italian than Austrian, albeit food-wise felt more midway between the two.

If looking for somewhere that's finely balanced between the two, then possibly that means somewhere between Bolzano and Trento... or perhaps split time across both to *compare and contrast and venture out from each to get hikes etc.

Mid september weather-wise will be very good, though if heading up into the mountains, can hit that point between summer and winter seasons, where ski-lifts / cable cars may only run on weekends (or not at all). Accommodation should be easy to come by and priced on the cheap end of the seasonal scale.

If Trento/Molveno does appeal, I'm more than happy to expand on what the appeal is / logistics (we've done it both with a car, and just by public transport). Hopefully others could chip in for Bolzano / Alto Adige.

* I have enjoyed a couple of such 'compare and contrast' holidays in the past e.g. Melbourne vs. Sydney was the first of these I did, the idea coming from their 'rivalry'.


Forums Admin
We spent a week in Castelrotto a few years ago and loved it. I chose this location based on Terry’s trip report. I’ll put the links to hers and mine below. This area has gentle hikes but I did not hear about any thermal waters. If you based in Castelrotto or the Val d’Gardena, I think you could do it without a rental car.



100+ Posts
Love Val di Gardena and they do have a fair amount of services.

I've always rented cars though, because while there are buses, you're at the mercy of the schedule ad also reaching some of these mountain villages on long winding roads in a bus would be uncomfortable.

All the major Dolomiti areas have passes running for different number of days, for unlimited use of cable cars in the area. One of the draws is the baitas or huts which are small lodges but also restaurants serving some local fare. These are often at the top of cable cars -- you either ride up or hike or 4-5 hours uphill to reach them.

All the big cable cars have restaurants at the mountain stations. Maybe not the best food and kind of high priced but the views are usually magnificent. Then there are smaller huts where you have to hike a bit to get to.

So something like the Val di Gardena card could be put to good use, which includes bus fares but you may be able to use 2 cable cars in a day using public transportation in between the towns. Maybe 3 if you start out first thing in the morning and go until 5 PM when they close.

Weather is unstable, even in September. I've had trips where 3 out of 4 days in a 4-day stay it rained. And it pours too often, not just sprinkle.


10+ Posts
Check out https://www.hotel-mirabell.net/en/ located in Siusi, about one hour's drive from Bolsano. It is a small wonderful base for relatively easy hiking in the Dolomites. The town is Siusi.
My husband and I are in our eighties, in excellent health, and have gone to this area several times to great satisfaction. There are a series of cable car rides up to a hike that takes us about 3 or so hours. Views are gorgeous with snow capped mountains and grazing cattle.
The hotel owners are gracious. Food is delicious, beds comfortable, and again, lovely views.

How to Find Information

Search using the search button in the upper right. Search all forums or current forum by keyword or member. Advanced search gives you more options.

Filter forum threads using the filter pulldown above the threads. Filter by prefix, member, date. Or click on a thread title prefix to see all threads with that prefix.

Recommended Travel Guides

52 Things to See and Do in Basilicata by Valerie Fortney
Italian Food & Life Rules by Ann Reavis
Italian Food Decoder App by Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls
How to Be an American in Italy by Jessica Scott Romano

Share this page