THE DOLOMITES (ITALIAN ALPS)
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEWS & HIKING TRAILS IN THE ITALIAN ALPS
This was probably the part of the trip that I was most looking forward to. After visiting Switzerland & Iceland last year, I was really curious as to how Italy compared. No one ever talks about the Italian Alps, but damn they are GORGEOUS. I personally felt like the Italian side of the alps was more beautiful than the Swiss side. The views were incredible and so much more approachable? I am not sure how to describe it, but the mountains are softer and the land seems sweeter. Maybe pictures would help?
One of our first stops in the Italian Alps was Lake Sorapis. I had read about many beautiful hikes in the Alps and knew immediately that I had to do this one. The trail head for the hike starts off SR48 (follow the signs for Passo Tres Croci). The hike is about 11 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 200 meters. The trail path winds through forest, scales the side of a mountain before coming to a clearing where you will see Lago di Sorapis (Lake Sorapis). This lake is insane. Basically glacial melt, the water is brilliant tiffany blue. This is by far the BEST HIKE I HAVE EVER EXPLORED. Even the HUBS agrees. We witnessed snow, rain, sunshine, waterfalls, mountains, wildlife, etc. It was so beautiful that we all were in awe when we came back. Lets just say this is a hike where you are so lost in the beauty of your surroundings that you forget how tired your feet are.
- RATING: 5/5
- PROS: insane views, beautiful surroundings, pretty clear trail path, hiking shoes not required but would be advantageous, partially shaded, cool & shaded for about 1/2 of the trail.
- CONS: no bathrooms, limited parking immediately off the street (no lot), road leading to trail head is a little bit confusing.
- NOTES: if you are ever searching for hikes in this region this website is a great resource - click here
Supposedly one of the most photographed lakes in Italy, Pragser Wildsee aka Lake Braies is a local gem of the Dolomites. This lake somewhat resembles Lake Morraine in Banff and is beautifully framed by the wonderful Italian Alps and features really pretty almost moody teal water. We absolutely loved visiting this lake and it was so peaceful to just be able to take a canoe out and explore.
- RATING: 5/5
- PROS: beautiful view, no hiking required (just park and walk), serene, quiet, canoe rentals available
- CONS: parking costs 4 Euros, somewhat touristy later in the day
Before we even left for Italy, we had seen some incredible articles about the most beautiful abandoned castles scattered throughout the countryside. After seeing a picture of Belfort Castle we knew that we had to see it. It just worked out that the Castle was en route to the Alps. Built in the 1300's, the castle was abandoned after a fire in the 1600's and has been left virtually untouched since then. The castle offers some great views of the Alps and is super serene which you can see in our drone video (click here)!
- RATING: 4/5
- PROS: free, parking lot, serene, great views,
- CONS: somewhat small
To be completely honest, I didnt really know what to expect of the food in the Alps. Its pretty well known that the alps are this fusion region with a large german influence. In fact many of the signs as you travel north are in both Italian & German. The same is pretty much true for the food. Lots of meats but surprisingly the meals we had in the alps were our second best. This restaurant was right next to our hotel and had two floors - downstairs (the pizzeria) and upstairs (a steakhouse). On the first night we decided to try the steakhouse. As a vegetarian, I really was expecting to just eat sides for the night but they had this "curry" veggie burger. Y'all: it was the best veggie burger I have ever eaten (sorry, Grindhouse you've been bumped)! It was smothered in this creamy masala mayo that was so delicious. Note to self: steakhouses can have excellent vegetarian options.
- RATING: 5/5
- PROS: the prosseco aperit with dragonfruit and mint is excellent, awesome veggie burger, grilled vegetables & baked potato, great atmosphere - some tables have great views , the pizzeria was delicious too - suprisingly good chili burrito and margherita pizza!
- CONS: the tomato butter & bread are not very good (personal opinion), on the expensive side
- NOTES: reservations not required unless you want the view
- RATING: 3/5
- PROS: nice thermal pools with lots of sauna options
- CONS: saunas are towel only (no bathing suits), lots of men walk around entirely nude, steam rooms are nude only, must have sandals, bring your own towels & sandals or you can rent them for a small fee, entry fee, lots of kids
- RATING: 4/5
- PROS: nice staff, really awesome breakfast (waffles, fruit, teas, fresh coffee, meats, pastries, juices, cereals), comfortable rooms with balconies, discounted entry to CRON4
- CONS: no pool or hot tub, rooms are dated
We had such a blast exploring Italy and feel so blessed to have seen so many of the cities. Check out our drone footage from the trip below!