Venice, a city known for its winding canals, historic architecture, and romantic gondola rides, is undoubtedly a must-visit destination in Italy. However, if you’re looking to take a break from the bustling city and immerse yourself in nature, a day trip to the breathtaking Dolomites is just what you need.
Just a few hours away, the Dolomites offer unparalleled views, picturesque villages, and a plethora of outdoor activities. This is possibly my favorite day trip from Venice, although, I recommend spending several days here if you can. Visiting the Dolomites is a must if you’re spending time in Northern Italy. Let’s Explore how to plan the perfect Dolomites day trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and make the most of your time in this majestic mountain range.
Getting from Venice to the Dolomites
You can easily get to the Dolomites from Venice, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. The journey typically takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on your mode of transportation, so you’ll want to start your day early, whichever you choose. You have several options to choose from:
Rent a Car
If you’re up for a mini road trip, this is the most flexible option, as it allows you to explore the Dolomites at your own pace. Car rental services are readily available in Venice, and the drive is relatively straightforward. Be sure to have a GPS or a reliable map, as the mountain roads can be confusing. If you’re traveling with kids and don’t have car seats, this may not be an option for you.
We like to use this site to find rental car options in Europe. They seem to have the best rates and good search filters.
If you prefer not to drive, you can take a train from Venice to one of the towns at the foot of the Dolomites, such as Belluno or Calalzo di Cadore. From there, you can catch a bus to Cortina d’Ampezzo or other nearby towns. Keep in mind that public transportation can be less frequent in the mountains, so plan your connections accordingly.
Guided Small Group Tours
For a hassle-free experience, consider booking a guided tour. There are numerous companies offering day trips from Venice to the Dolomites, with varying itineraries and inclusions. If you are traveling with kids and need car seats, many tour options will provide them for you. You can also look into using Day Trip as an option. It’s like hiring a private driver.
You can also take a guided tour, which is what I prefer to do. This option is perfect for those who prefer to have everything planned out and enjoy the company of a knowledgeable guide. We’ve taken this Venice to Dolomites Day Tour before and it’s been great. We had an excellent guide and tour mates on our Dolomites day tour. We saw so much beautiful scenery in the Dolomite mountains. Just make sure whatever tour you book has a maximum group size that you are comfortable with.
Must-See Sights and Activities to see on your Dolomites Day Trip
Once you’ve arrived in the Dolomites, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to breathtaking sights and outdoor activities. Here are some must-see spots and activities to consider during your day trip. Note that not all of these will be accessible by public transport (why I recommend a car or tour guide).
Did you know we have a whole guide to the Dolomites? You can read our in-depth Dolomites Guide here.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
These iconic peaks are among the most recognizable landmarks in the Dolomites. A hike around the base of the Tre Cime is a fantastic way to experience their grandeur up close and to get the best views. The trail is well-marked and suitable for most fitness levels, taking approximately 3-4 hours to complete.
This charming famous Dolomites town, often referred to as the “Queen of the Dolomites,” is the perfect place to explore, shop, and enjoy a delicious Italian meal. The town is surrounded by stunning mountain views, making it an excellent base for hikes and other outdoor activities.
Lago di Braies
Also known as Pragser Wildsee or Lake Braies, this emerald-green alpine lake is nestled among the peaks and offers a serene setting for relaxation and reflection. Rent a rowboat, take an easy walk around the lake, or simply admire the stunning views.
You can also rent boats on the lake. Bring cash and your muscles!
This is one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy, but it can also be crowded and full of people trying to get the same shot, so just keep that in mind. Most people tend to get here early in the morning to beat the crowds. This will most likely not be possible, so I recommend coming at twilight to enjoy the scenery.
This picturesque mountain pass is an ideal spot for panoramic views of the Dolomites. It’s a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and photographers seeking that perfect shot of the surrounding peaks. Spend time enjoying the views and enjoy this photo stop of this beautiful mountain range.
Cable car ride
A trip to the Dolomites wouldn’t be complete without taking a cable car ride. Take a scenic cable car ride to appreciate the Dolomites from above. There are several options available, such as the Lagazuoi Cable Car or the Tofana di Mezzo lift in Cortina d’Ampezzo. These rides offer breathtaking views and easy access to high-altitude trails. Check to make sure your Dolomites tour includes a cable car ride. You may need to pay for this on your own during your free time.
Tips for Taking a Venice to Dolomites Day Trip
- Plan ahead: A successful Venice to Dolomites day trip requires a bit of planning. Research your transportation options, hiking trails, and must-see sights to ensure you make the most of your limited time in the mountains.
- Start early: To maximize your time in the Dolomites, it’s essential to start your day early. Aim to leave Venice no later than 6 or 7 a.m., which will give you plenty of daylight to explore the mountain range.
- Dress appropriately: Weather in the Dolomites can be unpredictable, even during the summer months. Check weather conditions before going and be prepared for changing conditions by dressing in layers and bringing a waterproof jacket, comfortable walking or trekking shoes, and a hat for sun protection. See our packing list here.
- Pack essentials: Don’t forget to pack essentials for your Venice to Dolomites day trip. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, water, snacks, and a fully charged phone or camera for capturing those unforgettable moments.
- Check the weather forecast: Keep an eye on the weather forecast leading up to your Venice to Dolomites day trip. Mountain weather can change rapidly, and some trails or attractions may be closed due to poor conditions. Be prepared to adjust your itinerary accordingly.
- Be mindful of time: When exploring the Dolomites, it’s easy to lose track of time. Set a schedule for your day and stick to it, ensuring you have enough time to return to Venice safely. Keep in mind that driving or taking public transportation in the mountains can take longer than expected.
- Prioritize your must-see sights: With limited time in the Dolomites, it’s essential to prioritize the attractions and activities you want to experience most. Focus on the highlights and save other sights for a future visit.
- Consider a guided tour: If you’re short on time or prefer a more structured experience, a guided Venice to Dolomites day trip is an excellent option. Many tour operators offer pre-planned itineraries, transportation, and knowledgeable guides to help you make the most of your day in the mountains.
- Stay flexible: Remember that unexpected circumstances can arise during a day trip, such as road closures, weather changes, or missed connections. Stay flexible and open to adjusting your plans as needed.
- Enjoy the journey: A Venice to Dolomites day trip is an unforgettable experience filled with awe-inspiring landscapes and unique opportunities for exploration. Embrace the adventure, take plenty of photos, and create lasting memories in the majestic Dolomites.
FAQs about a Venice to the Dolomites day trip
A: Yes, you can absolutely take a day trip to the Dolomites from Venice. It’s a popular excursion for travelers looking to explore the stunning mountain range and enjoy a change of scenery from the city. The Dolomites are easily accessible from Venice, with the journey taking approximately 3 to 4 hours, depending on your mode of transportation. You can choose to rent a car, take public transportation, or join a guided tour to make the most of your day trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A: Absolutely! A day trip to the Dolomites is definitely worth it, especially for travelers who appreciate breathtaking landscapes, picturesque villages, and outdoor activities. The Dolomites offer a unique opportunity to escape the bustling city of Venice and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature. While a single day may not be enough to explore everything the Dolomites have to offer, a well-planned day trip can still provide a memorable experience and an opportunity to see some of the area’s most iconic sights.
A: Yes, there is a train service from Venice to the Dolomites, although it doesn’t take you directly into the heart of the mountain range. The train journey from Venice typically takes you to towns at the foot of the Dolomites, such as Belluno or Calalzo di Cadore. From there, you can catch a bus or arrange other transportation to reach popular destinations like Cortina d’Ampezzo or other nearby towns within the Dolomites. Keep in mind that public transportation in the mountains may be less frequent, so it’s essential to plan your connections carefully to make the most of your day trip.
A: The train journey from Venice to the Dolomites takes approximately 2 to 3 hours, depending on your final destination and the specific train connections. This duration is for the train ride to the towns at the foot of the Dolomites, such as Belluno or Calalzo di Cadore. Once you arrive at one of these towns, you’ll need to take a bus or arrange other transportation to reach popular destinations within the Dolomites, which may add additional travel time to your journey.
I hope this has been helpful and that you’ll be able to plan the perfect Dolomites day trip from Venice!