best things to do in the dolomites

An Eco-Friendly Travel Guide to the Best Things to Do in the Dolomites

Nestled within Italy’s northernmost reaches, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dolomites beckons with a myriad of natural, cultural, and gastronomic charms. For the eco-conscious traveler, planning g a journey to the Dolomites can be an exciting venture. Below are some tips on the best things to do in the Dolomites – a sustainable guide brimming with the region’s top-rated hikes, accommodations, dining options, and hidden gems.

Hiking: Embrace the Great Outdoors

The Dolomites are world-renowned for their idyllic hiking trails. So, it should come as no surprise that the top of our best things to do in the Dolomites list begins with the trekking adventures.

  1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop: As one of the most iconic hikes in the Dolomites, this trail offers breathtaking views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo’s dramatic peaks. Remember to bring your reusable water bottles and avoid straying from marked paths to minimize environmental impact.
  2. Pragser Wildsee (Lake Braies): Start early to avoid the crowds and enjoy a serene walk around the pearl of Dolomites lakes. Embrace the calmness and respect the local fauna by refraining from feeding any wildlife you encounter.
  3. Seceda Ridgeline: A somewhat challenging trek, but the surreal panorama atop Seceda makes it worth the effort. Carry your trash with you to maintain the pristine nature of these trails.

Eco-FriendlyAccommodations: Conscious Resting Spots

Finding environmentally-conscious accommodation is a vital part of a sustainable vacation.

  1. Lagació Hotel Mountain Residence: Nestled in Alta Badia, this hotel’s commitment to sustainability extends from its energy-saving architecture to its organic, locally-sourced breakfast.
  2. My Arbor: This elegant eco-resort, hidden in Bressanone/Brixen’s forests, uses eco-friendly materials, green power, and a robust waste management program.
  3. Camping Olympia: For a closer connection with nature, consider the eco-conscious camping options this spot provides near the Dolomiti Friulane Natural Park.

Culinary Delights: Savor Sustainable Dining

The Dolomites’ culinary scene is a celebration of local, organic, and sustainably-sourced ingredients, creating a food lover’s paradise.

  1. St. Hubertus: This 3-Michelin-starred restaurant, helmed by Chef Norbert Niederkofler, exemplifies the ‘Cook the Mountain’ philosophy. It’s focused on using only local, seasonal ingredients.
  2. Malga Panna: A charming mountain dairy offering authentic South Tyrolean dishes and a unique ‘from pasture to plate’ experience.
  3. El Brite de Larieto: For a rustic yet elegant dining experience, this agriturismo champions farm-to-table eating, paired with breathtaking views.

Off-The-Beaten-Path: Discover Hidden Treasures

Lastly, exploring lesser-known spots can often lead to the most rewarding experiences.

  1. Visit the Pyramids of Segonzano: These natural earth pillars are a testament to the Dolomites’ unique geological history.
  2. Discover the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park: A paradise for nature lovers, this park is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, or simply observing wildlife.
  3. Explore the WWI Tunnels at Lagazuoi: A poignant reminder of history, these tunnels combine a dose of cultural education with stunning views.

One of the distinct highlights of a trip to the Dolomites involves staying in a “Rifugio”, or Alpine hut. These mountain refuges, scattered across the region’s picturesque landscapes, offer hikers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the stunning alpine environment. They provide basic to comfortable accommodations, often with bunk beds in dormitories and home-cooked meals. Some huts even boast gourmet dining. It’s an opportunity to not only rest and recharge after a day of hiking, but also to connect with other outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Many of these Rifugios, like the Rifugio Fanes and the Rifugio Lagazuoi, offer panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. By staying in these huts, travelers contribute to the local economy and sustain a long-standing alpine tradition. However, remember to respect the hut rules and leave no trace behind to maintain the beauty and cleanliness of these mountain havens.

By embracing sustainability as we explore the best things to do in the Dolomites, we ensure that this magical destination can continue to captivate future generations of travelers. Remember, responsible travel involves respecting local customs, supporting local businesses, and leaving the smallest footprint possible. Enjoy your eco-friendly journey to the heart of Italy’s majestic Dolomites!

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The Culture-ist