Where are the Dolomites?
The Dolomite Mountains are the mountainous belt located in the far northeast of Italy, close to the border with Austria. The area covers 141,903 hectares (548 square miles) including 18 peaks that rise to 3,000 meters (9842 feet), and features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes on the planet, with vertical walls sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys.
As part of the Alps, the Dolomites constitute one of the largest subranges of the (eastern) Alps. They stretch between the Isarco Valley in the west and the Piave Valley in the east and south. The northern boundary is Val Pusteria. The range divides into about 20 different subbgroups of various shapes and sizes.
Generally the heart of the Dolomites is divided into two parts—western and eastern Dolomites. The boundary is the line Val Badia-Campolongo Pass-Arabba-Alleghe-Canale d’Agordo. Access from all directions is straightforward.
Discover the Dolomites
A Rich History
The pale mountains according to the architect Le Corbusier the Dolomites are the world’s finest example of natural architecture. In 1788 the French geologist Deodat de Dolomieu (after whom the mountains are named) discovered the properties of this rock, which he realised was a type of mineral comprising calcium magnesium carbonate found in varying proportions in the whitish-grey sedimentary limestone rock of the Dolomite mountains.
The Dolomites have been inhabited since the Iron Age. The Rhaetians, Romans and Lombards all left their mark. Italy joined the Allies during the First World War, after which the mountain front ran through the Dolomites from May 1915 to November 1917 with Austrians on one side and Italians on the other. The oldest permanent settlers are the Ladin people whose vernacular is South Tyrol’s third official language. In 2009 the Dolomites were included in the UNESCO list of landscapes deemed especially worthy of protection.
How to Get There
Distances from Bolzano/Bozen
Verona Airport – 145 km/90 mi
Innsbruck Airport – 100 Km/63 mi by rail approx. 1.5 hrs
Milan Bergamo Airport – 230 km/140 mi by rail approx 4 hrs
Venice Marco Polo Airport – 230 km/140 mi by rail approx. 3 hrs
Munich Airport – 317 km/197mi by rail approx 4 hrs or by car in 3 hrs
South Tyrol’s only airport is located in the southern outskirts of Bolzano/Bozen. Beyond South Tyrol the nearest international airports are in Innsbruck in the north and Verona in the south.
Other airports Bergamo, Treviso, Venice and Munich are over 200 km away (or four hours by rail).
Airport Transfers to South Tyrol:
You can get to South Tyrol quickly and conveniently by bus transfers from the Milan Malpensa, Bergamo, Verona, Munich and Innsbruck airports.
These airport transfers take you to your holiday destination reliably, economically and conveniently. From Munich, Milan Malpensa, Bergamo and Verona airport you can reach Bressanone/Brixen, Bolzano/Bozen and Merano/Meran. These transfers are operated by Südtirol Bus/Dolomites Airport Shuttle and must be booked online at least 48 hours in advance. Transfer from the Venice Airport is handled by Cortina Express.
One of the best ways to discover South Tyrol is by train. Comfortable, punctual and modern trains make your travel easy, convenient and enjoyable. Traveling by rail can be a good alternative to flying. After your arrival in Germany, the DB/ÖBB EuroCity trains will carry you conveniently and comfortably from Munich to Bolzano: these modern trains, operated in partnership by the German and Austrian railways, run along this line 5 times a day. The journey time is approximately 4 hours. There is no need to switch trains at the Brennero (Brenner) Pass and advance booking of trains is not necessary.
South Tyrol can easily and conveniently be reached via the motorway:
Stuttgart › Munich › Rosenheim › Innsbruck (A 22 Brennero/Brenner motorway › Bolzano/Bozen). Most Italian motorways charge a toll.
The fees can be checked on the website of the A22 society.
South Tyrol boasts a splendidly developed integrated transport system using either a pre-paid card (”Carta valore”/“Wertkarte”) which entitles the bearer to reduced fares on almost all regional and town buses, state railways, cable cars etc; or a “Mobilcard”, valid on most forms of public transport for 1, 3 or 7 days.
South Tyrol’s integrated public transport system, which is called Trasporto Integrato Alto Adige in Italian and Verkehrsverbund Südtirol in German, comprises: municipal bus lines, intercity bus lines and CityBuses; the regional trains of the Italian railway, called Trenitalia, which run between Innsbruck and Trento, the Val Venosta (Vinschgerbahn) Railway, and the Val Pusteria (Pustertalbahn) Railway; the Mendola (Mendel) Funicular, the Renon (Rittner) Tram, and the Renon, San Genesio Atesino (Jenesien), Verano (Vöran), Meltino (Mölten) and Maranza (Meransen) Cable Cars. Regional train services run every half hour or hour, along four lines:
- Brennero (Brenner) Line: Brennero — Bolzano (Bozen) — Trento
- Val Venosta (Vinschgerbahn) Railway: Malles (Mals) — Merano (Meran)
- Merano Line: Bolzano — Merano
- Val Pusteria (Pustertal Bahn) Railway: San Candido (Innichen) — Fortezza (Franzensfeste) Bus shuttle services are specifically coordinated with the regional connections of the trains. Valleys and small towns are easily accessible by bus.