The Dolomites are INCREDIBLE. If you plan on going to Italy and you’re an outdoorsy, active person, I definitely recommend visiting the Dolomite’s. There are so many trails to choose from, but I decided to hike Viel del Pan.
I think renting a car is the best and probably the only option for traveling through the Dolomites. The roads are a little small you have to get used to the winding roads, but if you take your time and let speedy Italians pass, it’ll be fine. I traveled from Bolzano (another beautiful area in Italy) to reach Arabba, but Venice is not a far drive either. (Matter of fact, Venice was my next stop after Arabba).
You can take a train to northern Italy, but renting a car is you’re best bet to do your hiking and sightseeing.
To access the trailhead for Viel del Pan, I stayed in a town called Arabba which had ski lifts available to take you to the trailhead. There are plenty of accommodations in Arabba if you choose to stay there.
I stayed at Hotel Mesdi which was very affordable, close to the ski lift for viel del pan, and breakfast and dinner were included! The food was VERY good and filling (I even mention it in my “Eataly” post)! For dinner you had an appetizer, a first course, a second course, and dessert. After being so full the first night, I was thinking about forgoing my first course or appetizer on the second night, but after seeing the menu I wanted to try everything again!
Viel del Pan
One thing I noticed about the Dolomite region is that it can be overcast and rainy in the morning and afternoon which can hide some gorgeous views on a hike. Don’t let this discourage you from continuing to hike because by midday the sun came out!
In order to get to the trail, I took the ski lift “Porto Vescovo” which was not even a five minute walk from my hotel. You can buy a ski lift ticket there and the ski lifts leave every 30 minutes. After you get off the ski lift, at the top of the mountain, walk straight and to the left a little and you’ll see a small trailhead sign for path no. 601 which is viel del pan. (I had a little trouble finding this sign and looked like an idiot American walking back and forth for the start of the trail.)
The day started off pretty cloudy and it actually started to drizzle while I was looking for the sign, but about half way through the hike the sun came out and I was so warm I even took my jacket off.
As you are coming to the end of the trail you can either take the bus back to Arabba or do what I did and walk through the valley back to town. It only took me about 2 hours and who wouldn’t want to have extra time to take in the beauty?
Tip: Dress in layers during your hike! I went in late June and wore capri pants and a jacket and I was still chilly in the morning- I should’ve worn pants, but as I mentioned previously it did come in handy because when the sun came out I was comfortable.
Absolutely loved hiking in the Dolomites!!! If you’ve hiked in the Dolomites and have a favorite trail, please comment below.