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best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

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Lake Macquarie...
posts: 293
reviews: 70
best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)


I have booked Ortisei accommodation for 3 nights beginning of June '14 (although I can change).

We will be coming from Udine (before that, Tireste).

I would love some advice on best location to stay to explore the Dolomites. On the last morning we have to return the rental vehicle to Bressanone (Brixen), so would like somewhere where we are not constantly back tracking.

Thanking you, Chris

Lake Macquarie...
posts: 293
reviews: 70
1. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

Oops, since posting the above, have researched drop off locations for rental cars.

I was going to go with Avis (drop of at Bressanone, as mentioned above), however Europcar have a much cheaper rate but their drop off is at Bolzano Airport.

Will this be a hassle from Bolzano airport to catch a train into Austria?

Could you also please answer the last paragraph about not back tracking (so best town).

Hope this is not confusing???

Thank you in advance.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Province of Trento
posts: 2,586
reviews: 19
2. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

Hi Chris,

Neber traveled by train around here, but Bolzano airport is just south of Bolzano. Bolzano itself is at best 45 minutes from Ortisei. I believe trains run from Bolzano right to Innsbruck.

I'm not sure what you mean about "backtracking". Pretty much no matter where you stay in this area, you'll backtrack quite a bit. Not many roads go through the Dolomites. Almost every valley is connected by a pass. Usually one main road runs through the valley. This is not a bad thing at all. Even if you drive the same pass in both directions, each way gives a different view/perspective. The area is gorgeous. Early June most cable cars/lifts are not open yet, but a few are. Enough to keep you busy for the time you're there. This one, in Ortisei, opens earliest, late May:


Here's the schedule for summer 2013 to get an idea:


I personally think staying in the Val Gardena at this time of year makes sense. The 3 villages/towns (Ortisei, St. Christina, Selva) are just a 5 min. drive from one to the next, so anywhere makes a good base.

For an easy, very scenic loop drive, we've done this:

It can be started/ended from any point really, but I'll use the Val Gardena:

Head to Selva and over the Gardena Pass into Colfosco (Alta Badia). Then from Corvara (Alta Badia) take the Campolongo Pass to Arabba. From Arabba take the Pordoi Pass towards Canazei. Before you get to Canazei (or stop in Canazei), take the Sella Pass. From the Sella Pass get right on the Gardena Pass back to Val Gardena. There's a cafe/restaurant/rest stop at the "top" of the Gardena, Pordoi and Sella Passes. You'll also notice a few small places to park along the passes to get out and walk among the Dolomite peaks.

For some info and photo's of the passes, check out:


Some are listed under the German and or Italian name:

Gardena Pass - Grödnerjoch

Sella Pass - Sellajoch

Pordoi Pass - Passo di Pordoi

Campolongo Pass - Passo di Campolongo

For a map of this, go to www.viamichelin.com

Under "Find your map" type: 39046 Ortisei OR 39033 Colfosco

Hope this helps.

Lake Macquarie...
posts: 293
reviews: 70
3. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

Thank you pja60,

This is just what I need!

I found the map of your suggested route on Michelin.

I am expecting delivery of Michelin Northern Italy and the Italian Lakes which I ordered. I have been managing with bits and pieces of maps on line and not seeing the entire overall area of the Dolomites. I had imagined that driving times would be very great and thinking that 3 nights stay would not be enough (I guess that is what I meant by backtracking).

I have diarised the link for the cable cars/lifts to look at open dates for 2014.

Do you suggest I wait until we get to the Dolomites and approach a tourist info centre for detailed maps of the area?

Thank you again, Chris

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Province of Trento
posts: 2,586
reviews: 19
4. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)


When we brought maps with us, we always had Michelin maps. I find them to be very good. What I do is color copy/enlarge (on 11x17 paper) just the few sections of it that we'll be needing. Easier to read and handle.

If you go to viamichelin.com and put in a route from Ortisei to Cortina d'Ampezzo you'd basically have the Dolomite area west to east. This drive, including the Gardena Pass takes about 2 hours. To see a lot of the Dolomite region, you don't need to travel long distances in miles or time. The driving is slower on local roads and alpine passes, but distances aren't great.

We've always used the Michelin Austria map for this area. It covers the Val Gardena etc. At least a few years ago it did, it may still.

The "scenic drive" I laid out, which includes 4 passes, takes maybe an afternoon.

The Val Gardena is a pretty compact valley, it takes maybe 20 to 30 min to drive end to end on the main road.

We drove from Val Gardena to Bolzano on the A22, visited the Museum of Archaeology, walked a bit, then drove back via the Val d'Egga and the Sella Pass in about 6 hours.

It's all pretty easy and not a vast as you may think. Once you're there I'm sure you'll agree.


Lake Macquarie...
posts: 293
reviews: 70
5. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

Paul, you have been very helpful!!

As we are getting much needed rain here, it is a good excuse to spend time researching this part of our holiday!

I liked the idea of copying stretches of roads for easy reading.

I have also been reading loads of posts that you have given to other travellers and am getting so much information.

I am glad that I wisely booked our accommodation in Ortisei some time ago and do not have to rebook!

Thank you, Chris

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Province of Trento
posts: 2,586
reviews: 19
6. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

Glad to be some help. The Dolomites are amazing.

Perth, Western...
posts: 2,456
reviews: 275
7. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

3 days are better than nothing, by the way i would like to signal a very nice tavern with bedrooms off Sesto where the owners offer free pick up from San Candido train station. Being there at 1.400 mt of altitude, just below the "meridian" of rock formation. Everybody fit enough could walk to the 3 Cime di Lavaredo.

The cost would be a bargain. Take a look at the pictures.


8. Re: best town to stay 3 nights (travelling from Udine)

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