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Dolomite stopover quandry

Perth, Australia
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Dolomite stopover quandry

We are an extended Aussie family group of six (aged 7 - 70) travelling from Salzburg to Venice. We want a stopover somewhere in the Dolomites for 3 nights 1st January until 4th January.

We are travellyg by public transport. We are non Skiers but want to experience some winter sports and enjoy the magnificent scenery. Maximum accommodation costs per night is around E200

Would welcome any suggestions re where to go and where to stay.

I've looked at Ortisei and see that most accommodation at that time is already booked.

Munich, Germany
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1. Re: Dolomite stopover quandry

What is your overall itinerary and mode of transport.

Did you have a route in mind.

Is it your intention to go directly from Salzburg to the Dolomites then directly to Venice


First and foremost the Xmas holiday in central europe start ~ 22/23rd December and continue through to around 6th January.

The 6th January "Three Kings" is a public holiday.

In ski resorts there are basically Xmas weeks covering the whole Xmas period. The Hoteliers will generally only accept a minimum of 7 nights.


Christmas weeks generally start on/around 22nd/23rd December regardless of the day of the week. This Xmas gone it fell perfectly for the Hoteliers. The 22nd December was also a Saturday. Most therefore wanted 22-29th Dec or 29th Dec to 5th Jan.

This Xmas coming likely to be very similar possibly even starting on 21st December - 28th Dec and 28 Dec to 4 Jan (as the 6th January is a monday).

If trying to book online there are a number of reasons why they show all booked.

Firstly we are still in this years ski season and therefore details for Winter 2013/2014 not known

Secondly even if known you could be coming up against the "minimum number of nights" criteria. - i.e. not 7 nights.

Even at off peak times Hoteliers in ski resorts are unwilling to take anytihng less than 7 nights well in advance anyway. Why take 3 nights 1 year ahead when they will probably get 7.

In addition in some resort accommodation search engines hoteliers can set minimum number of nights criteria based on days before arrival. This is often not visible to the user.

Just an example

> 29 days before arrival - minimum 7 nights

15-29 - Minimum 5nights

7-14 - 4nights

< 7 1 night

Just an example.

Every year just before Xmas week we go away for a short break sking. Sometimes Ischgl, sometimes Selva (Val Gardena). I can wait until the last minute (only ~3hrs drive to Selva form Munich) but a week before the hoteliers still wanted 4 nights and even with a few days to go the Hoteliers in Selva were wanting 3 nights minimum (we normally go for 3 nights). And this is before Xmas.


If you use a resorts online booking system this is often NOT a booking system but a "booking request" system. Often all that happens is your request and details are sent to the Hoteliers and you receive an Automated reply. YOu MUST wait for direct confirmation/contact from the Hoteliers.

Only last year somebody used a resorts "online booking" accommodation system to "book" a short break during the Xmas period at a ski resort. After receiving the AUtomated reply despite NO direct contact with the Hotel, NO credit card payment or deposit of any kind went ahead and booked flights. Received a direct email from the Hotel a few days later informing them (surprise surprise) of no availability.


To get to the Dolomites from Salzburg is not easy by public transport.

Notwithstanding the issue of not getting accommodation the best place to go to in the Dolomites area with easy links onward to Venice is Cortina.

The Cortina Express coach runs 3 times every day between Cortina and Venice. It only takes 2h15.

At weekends there are an additional 2 services and over Xmas more weekday services



HOWEVER to get from Salzburg to Cortina would require 4h40 to 5h10 and 2 or 3 changes just to get to Dobbiaco/Toblach.

You would then need the local bus 445. This runs every hour and takes 50mins.

Any other parts of the dolomites can be a real pain in the a$$ as far as onward journeys are concerned.

You can not get directly across from the Val Gardena area to Cortina.

From Ortisei for example you would have to get the 170 or 350 bus to Bolzano.

YOur best bet then is to pick up the GERMAN www.bahn.de Munich to Venice direct service.


As you may have problems with accommodation in the mountains go to Bressanone/Brixen

Bressanone/Brixen is a nice town. Has Xmas markets on until 6th January


The Germans www.bahn.de operate 5 direct services daily from Munich to Verona. These all stop at Bressanone/Brixen

Then for your onward jounrey simply again pick up the German Munich - Venice service

The local 350 bus to Ortisei/Selva sometimes goes through Brixen or you could simply take a local train to Ponte Gardena/Waidbruck. From Ponte Gardena/Waidbruck the 350 Bus runs even 30mins or so and takes ~ 35min to Ortisei

www.trenitalia.com for Italian rail

www.sii.bz.it/en for local bus/train transport connections.

You could of course choose to stay in Bolzano itself.

Again all the German trains stop in Bolzano. In addition you have the choice of the 350 or 170 Bus to Ortisei. These buses don't run that often (~ 2hrs between services) but the 170 more often runs to the vllage of Siusi/Seis (every 30mins and the journey takes 40mins) for the Alpe di Siusi/Seiseralm area (linked to Ortisei)




For utilising the German services whether Salzburg to Brssanone or Bolzano or Bressanone or Bolzano to Venice you can use www.bahn.de or Austrian rail www.oebb.at to book in advance.

If you book in advance (up to 92 days) you can get large discounts. In addition when booked together there are additional group discounts and kids under 15 often go free (book them as part of the group).

You can sometimes find with groups over 5 that it is actually cheaper to split into smaller groups - you just have to check on booking.


The Italians www.trenitalia.com stopped cooperating with the Germans on ticketting/info/services a few years ag in a dispute over these cross border servcies (despite the fact they don't operate any themselves). As a result it is not possible to get an online ticket that requires a change from a german to Italian train (or vice versa) hence the need to use www.bahn.de for the german service in Italy.

YOu can of course if you wish either take a German service from Bressanone or Bolzano to Verona and separate ticket from Verona to Venice or simply use Italian trains all the way. Depends on connections.

www.trenitalia.com or www.lefrecce.it for italian trains

Selva di Val...
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for Province of Trento
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2. Re: Dolomite stopover quandry


I think Giftzwerg has covered everything, but just to add that if you're looking at a system like booking.com for your hotels, you probably aren't getting anywhere because the hotels won't have loaded details for next year yet.

They tend to get to the end of this winter season before starting to think about the next one.

Also, I'm not sure that the "seasons" have been officially confirmed yet (high season, low season etc for ski pass prices) and hoteliers tend to wait for these before finalising their prices.


Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Dolomite stopover quandry

The advice given is very valuable and very much appreciated. I have looked at a number of different options (considering all of above) and am NOW looking at a rail journey from Salzburg to Venice via Villach and with a stopover in the "Gastein " area. I have researched some accommodations there and believe, that for our short stay this area might be a better option, with less travel issues and greater accommodation options.

But what is the area like?

Munich, Germany
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4. Re: Dolomite stopover quandry

Gasteinertal is a well known ski and hiking area. Bad Gastein/Bad Hofgastein are the main towns. They are Spa towns. Well known for thermal baths and hotels offering "Wellness" facilities. Clue is in the name "Bad"


You are still going to come up against the minimum number of nights problem

5. Re: Dolomite stopover quandry

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