Sunrise at Passo di Giau (Dolomites)
Italy

4 best car accessible views in the Dolomites

In the previous article with The 6 most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, I promised to share with you a similar list of places only with the best views in the Dolomites. These are not just regular Instagram viewpoints, rather stunning and extensive locations, where you can always get creative and take an original photo. And the sunsets here are absolutely breathtaking. 

You will feel like in a fairy tale that you have always wanted to read. During summer, you can look forward to capturing flower-filled landscapes, while in autumn, you can enjoy orange-colored trees and snow-capped peaks. Both seasons are ideal for visiting these places. Summer has the advantage of being able to sleep in the Alpine huts, on the other hand, these beautiful places will be crowded with many more people. 

Hmm, and as I speak about this Italian paradise, it occurs to me that I must add 2 waterfalls to the list. These waterfalls are straight up the most amazing ones I have ever seen. I have a lot on my mind, so let’s get to it!

4 best car accesible views in the Dolomites – Contents:

Passo di Giau

Passo di Giau is a mountain pass at 2236 meters above sea level, just a 20-minute drive from the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort in the northern Dolomites. I can promise a perfect view in all directions. Especially on the top of the mountain Ra Gusela (2595 m), which you’ll see directly in front of you. (The featuring photo of the article is capturing this majestic scenery)

I experienced here the most beautiful and colorful sunrise in the Dolomites. At first, the clouds turned all into shades of purple and pink, and as soon as the sun came up, it gradually began to illuminate the peaks, which looked as they were burning. The light was simply perfect, and I am more than grateful for this breathtaking moment. 

A good thing is that you can also stay here at the Rifugio Passo Giau – so just get up in the morning and look out the window to find yourself in another world. When visiting Passo di Giau, don’t forget to stop by the Lago di Federa lake, which I wrote about in the previous article. It is only a few kilometers away!

Seceda

The view of Mount Seceda (2519 m) is familiar to everyone on social networks. On your left, there is a hundred-meter deep cliff, while in front of you rises a magnificent summit of Mount Seceda, through which clouds slowly roll. So seeing and literally feeling the height difference is very exciting. The Seceda mountain range is uniquely picturesque and partly looks like a sloping surface on which you can slide all the way to the valley… which is practically possible because you can ski here in winter.

But getting to Mount Seceda is a bit trickier. First, you have to arrive in Ortisei (about 35 minutes by car from Bolzano), then you have to get on the cable car Ortisei-Furnes and finally Furnes-Seceda. However, the cable car runs only from June to the beginning of October and costs 35 Euros per person. And since the opening hours are from 8:30 to 17:30, you will only experience the sunrise or sunset if you climb up on your own. The hike along the trail takes about 2 hours and is beautiful.

Seceda Mountain
Seceda Mountain

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Most of you know Tre Cime di Lavaredo from the photos as the iconic trio of proudly towering peaks in the Dolomites, which are completely straight on one side. Although this mountain range is really beautiful, this location offers much, but much more! Wherever you look, unique scenery awaits you. Deep valleys, beautiful mountain peaks both in close distance. Want a little adventure? Take a walk through the tunnels in the rocks from the First World War (see one of the photos below)! But most importantly … From here, the trail leads to my absolutely top view of the entire Dolomites – to the Cadini di Misurina mountains, but I will talk about it later.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is located in the far north of the Dolomites (2 hours by car from Bolzano). However, you can easily reach the top by car, up to the Rifugio Auronzo hut. The only unpleasant thing is that you have to pay for the entry, about 30 Euros per person. But I don’t have to add that it pays off well, right? In addition, you can spend the night in several chalets (Rifugio Auronzo, Rifugio Lavaredo, Dreizinnen Hut) if you go here in the summer. Unfortunately, I could not use these alpine accommodation in sensational locations, because I arrived in the fall when the cottages were already closed. But it must be an unforgettable experience! If you arrive on a similar date as me, spend the night in the Rifugio Antorno which is the closest choice, right on the beautiful Lago di Antorno.

As for the tunnels, it’s not easy to find them (especially if you’re in a hurry or the mountains are already covered in snow). That’s why I’m attaching this link to a map with 2 top places where you can find them. It is always just a few minutes walk from the main trail. There are of course many more tunnels, but I think these 2 places will completely satisfy you. But beware, tunnel number 2 on the map is not fun to go through! Safety always comes first.

 

Sunset at Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Dolomites)
Iconic view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo at sunset
Tunnels - Tre Cime di Lavaredo
View of Tre Cime di Lavaredo from the other side (from the tunnel)
Valley - Lavaredo
Deep valley

Cadini di Misurina

The location and starting point are exactly the same as in the case of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. You drive to the Rifugio Auronzo hut, but then head south along the ridge, at the end of which you have a divine view of the Cadini di Misurina (Cadini group). The hike took me less than an hour, and I walked in the morning in the dark and in deep snow. You can find a map of the trail here

It’s hard to describe this scenery in words if you’re not there in person. A valley so deep is spread right under your feet that its bottom cannot be seen. And you stare silently at the dozens of unique needle-sharp mountain peaks you have in front of your eyes. It’s hard to find a similar view anywhere else in Europe (I just think of the Schäfler Mountains in Switzerland).

And what was the most astonishing memory? Around 5 o’clock in the morning, I met several other adventurous souls who, like me, were looking forward to the moment when the sun wakes up to life. In the cold, in the deep snow, and at high altitudes. But none of us perceived any discomfort. We talked about interesting spots nearby and the cameras were ready to shoot. Splendor!

Sunrise in the Dolomites - Cadini Group view
Cadini di Misurina peaks at sunrise

Cascate di Fanes (waterfall)

Sure, there are a lot of waterfalls in the Dolomites, but I fell in love with these two the most. Cascate di Fanes has 3 huge pluses. First of all, a beautiful and undemanding nature trail leads to this waterfall (map of the trail here). Secondly, it is possible (at its top) to run behind the waterfall without getting wet, which is an amazing experience! And third, of course, the waterfall itself, which looks gracefully like a slender girl full of life; as a source of life. Maybe a strange comparison, but take a look at the photo below. It’s pretty sexy, isn’t it? The drive from Bolzano takes about an hour and a half but from Cortina d’Ampezzo only 10 minutes! I must not forget the valley where this waterfall is located. It is also a feast for the eye. One of the most enjoyable walks in the Dolomites with a pearl at the end.

Cascate di Fanes
Cascate di Fanes waterfall

Cascate di Barbiano (waterfall)

This is a very surprising waterfall. Not only is Cascate di Barbiano over 80 meters high, but the water flow is really very strong! Yes – water is a strong element, which you will easily realize here. What does this mean in practice? Take a raincoat with you! Because the mass of water falling on the stones will give you a quick shower (and your camera). Taking a close picture of this waterfall was quite a struggle because I had to dry the lens after each shutter click. It is also nice that the waterfall can be reached by car (almost) and the drive from Bolzano takes only 30 minutes. Easy peasy.

Cascate di Barbiano
Cascate di Barbiano waterfall

If you want to ask anything, write in the comments or email me! I will be happy to advise on anything. Whether it’s location, planning or other information. For me, South Tyrol is currently the most beautiful part of Europe. I’ve been here twice in recent months. And it certainly wasn’t my last visit. If you love mountains like me, don’t hesitate. In addition, the prices here are lower than in other parts of Europe and the Italian cuisine is excellent!

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