There always seems to be one more thing to tick off on your bucket list of Italy. Like the Dolomites.
Each day, we read of yet another inspiring destination. And having seen so much of Europe, there’s always one more destination to see. No wonder our bucket list keeps expanding.
One place we did want to tick off was the Dolomites.
Over the years, we’ve watched many Youtube videos of others’ experiences. We’ve absorbed a lot of information on the Dolomite area. And we decided on the best places to visit.
This is why when we were planning our six-week road trip for our youngest son Alex, we sent him a photo of Seceda.
And the response?
Seceda has been Alex’s screen saver for many years. Yip, he definitely wanted to visit.
Five Fabulous Days in the Dolomites
Of course, we were excited Alex was keen to see the Dolomites. He’d told Terry, the itinerary planner, that he loved the outdoors and the small villages. So his two weeks in Italy would include five days in the Dolomites.
And what a treat it was for all of us.
The scenery is spectacular. It sometimes reminded us of the South Island of New Zealand with a rolling landscape and a mountain backdrop.
Arriving from Innsbruck, Terry had chosen the perfect farm stay for our five nights after many stops for photos.
Where to Stay in the Dolomites
Thankfully not this old shed.
Instead, a cosy apartment with a fantastic view of the mountains.
Sitting on our balcony became our morning and evening routine. Coffee and the view for breakfast. Wine and sunset for the evening.
It made us feel so relaxed, surrounded by the beauty of nature. We didn’t want to leave.
Our Airbnb was a two-bedroom apartment above the main house and was comfortable and clean. Our farm stay was with a lovely welcoming family.
But the real treat was …
Airbnb: Apartment ‘Edelweiss’ – Rautnerhof, Ebnerweg 4, Ritten, Bz
Cow Bells and Fresh Milk at Apartment Édelweiss
The allocation of one litre of fresh cow’s milk every morning.
So delicious. We had forgotten how good fresh milk tastes.
The 30 cows milked each morning and evening have some accolades for their quality on the barn wall. All the cows appeared very relaxed in the barn. With only the noise of their bells ringing as they chewed another mouthful of hay.
The farm also had four rabbits who got on well with the two kittens, as did the yard full of chickens.
We did threaten to sing and dance ‘Edelweiss’ to Alex for a Sound of Music moment. But he thought his parents had lost the plot.
Thankfully there were plenty of nearby walks to enjoy and burn some energy.
Six Places to Enjoy Around Ritten
Nearby the farm stay, there are plenty of walks to enjoy mother nature.
It’s only a short drive to Collabo to ride the Cog Railway to Soprabolzano for lunch with a view. Afterwards, you could take the cable car to Bolzano’s old town.
- St Andreas Chapel (Chiesa di Sant’Andrea) – an easy walk from the farm stay
- Longostagno village – a short walk across the field and through the forest
- Earth Pyramids Renon and Bruke Erdpyramiden – clay spires and covered bridge
- Albergo Maria Saal – the tasty menu at a restaurant with a view of the Dolomites
- Cog Railway from Collalbo to Maria Assunta – for coffee or hikes
- Cable car from Bolzano to Soprabolzano
Having these places nearby meant we could explore for a few hours and relax with our mountain view at Apartment ‘Edelweiss’.
However, it was time to visit the mountainside staring at us every morning.
Spend a Day at Seceda
In 2008, the Dolomites became part of UNESCO World Heritage. Seceda is located in a nature reserve (Parco Naturale Cisles-Odle) in Val Gardena, South Tyrol.
We had a sunny day, zero degrees and on the first cable car to the mountain.
Alex was in awe, Terry was already taking photos, and Maura was trying to stay warm. But what none of us expected was the altitude. Walking up to the summit, it felt like we had a brick in our chest.
But, of course, the views of the Dolomites had us forging ahead to the summit.
We were once again impressed with the neatly mown fields.
We got chatting with a couple of goats who needed some attention. Had a small snow fight. And stopped for a drink to “drink” in the views.
Getting to Seceda
We parked the car at Ortisei and took the Cableway (Gondola) and Cableway to Seceda.
We had a gondola to ourselves before changing to the cable car that can hold large groups. You travel 4,500 meters and climb nearly 1,000 meters in altitude.
It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Nearing the top of the mountain, it almost feels like you will hit the rock face. Maybe this was why a French woman in our car was having a panic attack.
Get Refreshments on Seceda
A mountain drink was perfect, with the sun shining and the temperature up a few more degrees. What a view to enjoy with a beer.
Chatting to a couple of goats
What would we do next time?
We would also book a stay in Val Gardena. With Seceda at your front door, you can take longer hikes or hire a mountain bike to explore the trails.
But one place we certainly would return to is Lago di Braies.
Walk around Lago di Braies
It was another cold morning when we arrived at Lago de Braies in the Dolomites. The emerald colour water with a backdrop of Croda del Becco mountain. A memorable moment.
This lake reminded us of photos of Lake Louise in Canada, shown to us by good friends Kerry and Louise.
As we walked the circumference of the lake, the sun shined, and the breeze settled for us to see a fantastic lake reflection.
Alex wearing his shorts took a bet with us; he’d shout a drink for anyone else wearing shorts. He thought it was too cold for other people to wear shorts like him.
Poor Alex lost majorly on these stakes.
Thirteen other people were also wearing shorts! Coffee at the lake, then onto Cortina d’Ampezzo for the first drink.
Stop at Cortina d’Ampezzo
One place to sit and enjoy a coffee is the piazza of Cortina d’ Ampezzo.
The Dolomites surround this town.
Skiing in winter or hiking trails in summer. It is a popular destination, especially at the weekend. And in 2026, the Winter Olympics will be held on the slopes.
We would definitely add a few nights here to cycle the Old Railway to Dobbiaco (to the North) or Calalzo (to the South). The trail takes you through forests and valleys.
And if it rains, there’s always ice skating.
But for photos, you need to drive the Falzarego Pass.
Panorama views at Falzarego Pass.
The Great Dolomites Road (SS48) travels between Arabba and Cortina. The mountains of Lagazuoi and Col Gallina rise above the road, as does Mount Sasso di Stria at 2477 metres.
At the top of the pass, you will find a small chapel, an Open-air Museum of the First World War and memorial, and a restaurant and cafe.
The drive would be perfect for a Bond movie. Lots of tight corners as it zig-zags its way from Cortina d’Ampezzo to the top.
As you drive the Falzarego Pass, you’ll notice the Lagazuoi Cable Car, which connects Falzarego Pass with the Lagazuoi Refuge.
At an altitude of 2,746 metres, the panorama views of the Dolomites are one memory you won’t forget.
Where are we – Austria or Italy?
OK, so sometimes we were a little confused about the nationality around the Dolomites.
Besides the crazy driving, which reminds you, you’re in Italy. The language on many menu boards or signs was German first, Italian second.
And the fields.
Perfectly mowed. Farms are pristine, and houses are very tidy.
Perhaps an exaggeration but close to the point.
To clarify, we asked one of the locals, and they said they are Italians, but their history is Austrian.
It explains why the fields are mowed regularly and to perfection. And why there’s strudel on the menu and bretzels in the bakery.
So come prepared with some German and Italian greetings.
Are the Dolomites worth a Visit?
Absolutely. Even if you aren’t a hiker, the Dolomites are majestic.
To have the opportunity to walk the mountain paths of Seceda with views on a clear day to Austria has to tick the box.
To absorb the beauty of the stunning emerald lake of Lago de Braies. Or the panoramic views from Falzarego Pass. The Dolomites are where you’ll have five fabulous days to love.
And for us, an inspiring destination for a return visit for five days or more.