If you haven’t visited Venice yet and you plan to add it onto your upcoming Italy Trip, don’t miss out on exploring its most unusual places as well as some of its beautiful surroundings. Being North Italy well connected, there are lovely towns to see near Venice to keep you busy on many days, and one tour worth adding is a day trip from Venice to the Dolomites.
Not many people know that you can go from Venice to the mountains in less than 2 hours. And the connections are also good. By train, you can get from Venice to Cortina, or you can go on self-driving tours, the motorway from Venice takes you to Belluno, and from there you will drive through small villages of the Cadore region. But if you are on tight time, a guided day trip of the Dolomites from Venice can be the best way to explore this mountain region in North-East Italy.
Where to stay in Venice
If you haven’t booked your stay in Venice yet, here are some great suggestions. Venice counts over three thousands of places from luxury hotels to budget hotels and B&B to rental houses and apartments. It takes a lot of time to do an accurate search online. Here below are our picks, both from our experience, plus the feedback from our clients’. Check prices and availability now.
Why visit the Dolomites on a day trip from Venice
There are many small towns and cities near Venice, worth visiting. Some of them are popular destinations like Verona, Padova, Ravenna. But a trip to the Eastern Dolomites is something unique because you will have the opportunity to dive into the heart of Italian Alps, a UNESCO heritage site, and see some characteristic landmarks of Italy. The Dolomites are not only for keen walkers and hikers, the stunningly unique landscape and geology of these mountains is extraordinary, and you will not see anything like that in Europe.
When is the best time to visit the Dolomites
I have no doubt, the best time to visit the Dolomites is in the summer. From mid-June to mid-September but to be on the safe side, I’d go in July or August when the weather is more predictable. I know it’s the busiest time in Italy for tourists, but also the nicest, as far as the weather and day-light are concerned. If you have to choose a day, don’t go over weekends, as all locals take their day out in the mountains, and traffic jams are a classic.
Bonus Tip: When visiting the Dolomites from Venice, plan your trip over midweek days which are less busy and with fewer tourists. Leave early in the morning and stay until late, to avoid office hours traffic.
How to get to the Dolomites from Venice
Going from Venice to the Dolomites is easy. There are trains, buses that take you there. The typical day trip from Cortina from Venice there are trains and shuttle buses from Venezia-Mestre (mainland of Venice). By public transport, it takes approx 3.5 hours. However, I recommend driving in the Dolomites, because it will make things simple if you want to see more places. In the Eastern Dolomites, there is a local bus network, but it’s suitable for those who live there, to go on a day-trip you need to be flexible and move around fast to make the most of your time. If you are taking the train from Venice to the Dolomites, then you will go through Treviso and change to the train to Belluno, and from there you can go by bus. It will take 3-4 hours. Travelling by bus from Venice to Cortina is probably the fastest among all public transportation options.
From Venice to the Dolomites by car
If you choose to go on a self-drive tour of the Dolomites, you can drive on the motorway, A27 from Venice through Treviso and Vittorio Veneto to then exit the “autostrada” in Belluno. From there one hour more drive, Cortina, on the SS51 road. You can hire a car in Venezia-Mestre or at Venezia Airport.
Here below a map that shows the drive from Venice to the Dolomites. The distance is about 150 km and you should plan two and a half hours of driving.
Things to do in the Dolomites
Most people usually choose to go on a day trip to Cortina from Venice to see the most touristy places. Cortina itself is a beautiful small town of the Dolomites. However, the mountain scenery around Cortina is gorgeous, and it’s right in the heart of the Eastern Dolomites. So, I would use Cortina as a hub for a day trip or more day trips in the area.
There are also lovely small towns in North-East Italy to visit. Here is a shortlist of my favourite things:
- Walks of its beautiful green valleys
There are many hiking trails that you can choose from easy to advanced tracks, from short to long and overnight, which involves staying overnight in refuges.
- Climb or go mountain biking or try paragliding
If you are into extreme mountaineering and want to try some “Ferrata” (climbs), you can do some serious climbing, go on mountain biking trails. Or try out paragliding, if you are brave enough.
- Relaxing in the mountain landscapes
If you are not a fit hiker, you can take short walks in the villages or nearby and spend time in a cosy rifugio (mountain hut). Most of them have gardens where you can sit outside and enjoy the spectacular panorama. Or you can take a relaxing walk around one of the many Dolomite lakes.
- Indulge in the Dolomite local produce
Do you think that the Dolomites are only for those keen hikers and walkers? That’s not true. The Dolomites are famous for great food too. From locally produced cheeses and rich culinary traditions, you can taste sweet and savoury specialities.
Why you should go hiking in the Dolomites
There are hundreds of hikes in the Eastern Dolomites. And it would take months, if not years to do all of them. But if you stick to a day trip to Cortina from Venice, you must not miss on on the Croda da Lago Hike. It’s a 12 km easy hike that you can start it from Passo Giau, about 20 minutes drive north of Cortina. From the beautiful refuge, you will enjoy the spectacular view of Mount Nuvolau and hike through sweeping valleys and a very picturesque landscape.
The first half of the hike is more on a rocky path to reach the highest point of the fantastic Mondeval Alpine meadows.
The walk meanders through lunar landscapes of Val Formin along tall spikey mountains walls of Croda Da Lago down to the Feral lake and Palmieri Refuge. It is an idyllic place and one of the most scenic landscapes of the Dolomites I know.
More things to do on a trip from Venice to the Dolomites
A day trip is way too short to do justice to the fantastic Dolomites in Italy. However, if you ideally want to plan 2-3 days to visit more cities outside Venice, there are endless combinations and day-trips that you can do. You can visit the Prosecco Hills, half-way between Venice and the mountains. You can tour some of the ancient small towns in North-East Italy, Vittorio Veneto, Belluno, Bassano del Grappa, Agordo are just a few Dolomites Towns that you can add to your trip itinerary.
If you love food & wine, this is the region that produces the Prosecco wines d.o.c.g. You can also spend times at the many lakes at the foothills of the Dolomites.
If you want to join a multi-day tour that encompasses all of the above and caters for small groups of travellers, check out my Dolomites Trip from Venice.
Like this post, Pin it for later.
If you are planning to visit Italy, check out our Italy Travel Guide.
You can also subscribe to our Tour News, fill in the fields here below, with your name and email address and check your mailbox to confirm email subscription.
We respect your privacy, deliver only valuable content. No spam ever.