Dolomites Bucket List: 27 must-visit places in the Dolomites, Italy

Welcome to the ultimate Dolomites bucket list by @backpackersintheworld.

Located in northeastern Italy, the Dolomites cover almost 16.000 square kilometres – or 6,155.2 mi² – and offer countless opportunities to trek and relax surrounded by nature.

After a month-long road trip through these incredible mountains, we have put together the ultimate bucket list to help you plan your next trip to what is arguably Italy’s most beautiful mountain range.

How to get around the Dolomites

The easiest way to explore the Dolomites is definitely by car, or even better, by van. Even though campervans are not welcome in many of the valleys here (hi there budget travellers!), having the freedom to sleep on one of the passes – or even better, on top of some mountains (see the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, for example) – is priceless.

Dolomites Bucket List – Part 1

To help you better understand our itinerary we started our route from Bolzano, South Tyrol main city.

This bucket list will be focused on the best natural sights of this region, most of which will blow your mind!

However, we’d recommend also exploring some of the towns, wineries and ski resorts that South Tyrol has to offer if you have enough time to explore this area.

Tip: tap on “More options” to open this itinerary on google maps

Planning a road trip in Italy?
Read also:
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The Battle of the Oranges: inside Italy’s craziest festival | Ivrea’s Historical Carnival


1) Earth Pyramids of Platten / Piramidi di terra a Perca

Have you ever seen anything like that?

Situated at a height of 1550 to 1750 meters above sea level, the Earth Pyramids of Platten are the result of a quirk of nature from many years ago.

In fact, back in 1882, a strong storm hit this area and a trench formed. Later, rain and floods excavated the soil leaving these incredible sand pillars.

These structures continuously evolve and new pillars are formed, especially in wintertime.

Surprisingly, they are not the only earth pyramids in this region: similar structures can also be found in Ritten (Renon), Segonzano, Oberbozen and Collepietra.

Dolomites Earth Pyramids of Platten - Backpackers In The World

Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

To reach these pyramids you have to reach Percha, and then head to the small town of Plata (Platten). Percha is about an hour drive from Bolzano or 77km. If you are coming from Bolzano, the town of Plata will be on the left.

Visiting the Earth Pyramids is only a 7km detour from the main road. The road is steep, and there are 3 small parking areas in Plata. If you are going there early in the morning when there are no people, we recommend you to drive until Parking P2, which is the last parking before the start of the trek.

Dolomites Bucket List - Earth Pyramids of Platten

Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

The trek from Plata to the Earth Pyramids is about 1.5km long and with an elevation gain of about 150m. It is quite steep at the beginning but overall it’s a pretty easy one.
Fun fact: you have to walk across a fence with goats to reach the Pyramids. Say hi to these little guys when you pass by.

Dolomites goats
Dolomites goats

2) Lake Braies / Pragser Wildsee

Welcome to Lake Braies, aka the Instagram lake.

If the previous place was relatively unknown, tell us: how many times have you seen Lake Braies on social media already?

The answer doesn’t matter, you still have to see this lake in person!

First, a quick reminder, as this is often a source of disappointment: the lake is frozen and covered in ice and snow in winter.

It’s hard to say exactly which months it freezes, as it varies every year, but chances are you will find it frozen from December to March/April.

When it’s not frozen, however, its colours are impressive!

Braies Lake boats Dolomites Bucket List

The typical wooden boats attached to the pier float on the crystal clear blue/green water of Lake Braies. Many couples choose this lake for their wedding photoshoots, and it’s not rare to see them.

Do not expect to be by yourself at this place: no matter what time of the year or of the day it is, there will always be a ton of people taking photos of Lake Braies.

Credits: @elisamoscardi

Dolomites Bucket List: How to reach Lake Braies:

Reaching Lake Braies is very simple, which is also one of the reasons why it’s so popular. The lake is located in the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park and it’s a 10 km detour from the main road of Val Pusteria. The lake is about 23km or just 25 minutes from Percha.

There is a very big parking area right in front of the lake, which is known for being pretty expensive. We recommend you heading there at sunrise: not only is the lake more beautiful at this time of the day and there are fewer people, but also you will end up spending less, as the parking is free until 7 AM.

Please note: to limit pollution during high-season (July 10 – September 10), the road to the lake it is closed from 10 AM to 3 PM. A public transport service will be activated during that time.

Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

3) Prato Piazza

Another often overlooked place, Prato Piazza is located only a few kilometres away from Lake Braies.

Prato Piazza is a plateau that sits at an altitude of 2,000 meters, with overwhelming panoramic views of the nearby mountains. It’s the best place you can visit near Lake Braies in winter, and it’s absolutely stunning in summer too.

Prato Piazza can be reached by car or bus, and there is a small parking area at the top of the road.

Keep in mind that from the middle of May to mid-October and from late December to mid-April, the drive-up from Ponticello to Prato Piazza is closed to private traffic from 10 AM to 4 PM. The descent is possible at any time.

From the parking lot enjoy the level 2.5km walk to Rifugio Vallandro, or explore one of the mountain treks available for an incredible view over the plateau.

Credits: @andrea_scacco

Prato Piazza Dolomites Bucket List

Credits: @andrea_scacco

4) Dobbiaco Lake / Toblacher See

Dobbiaco Lake – or Toblacher See – is a beautiful alpine lake located near the town of Dobbiaco and it is the perfect quick stop on your way to Misurina Lake and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

The lake is very accessible as there is a parking area just next to it, and the lake is just on the side of the main road.

Have a walk around the lake, take some photos and relax before the adventure-filled days that are coming next.

Lago di Dobbiaco Dolomites Bucket List
Credits: @marticompa

Credits: @marticompa

5) Misurina Lake

Waking up to the view of Misurina Lake is just priceless. While campervans are not allowed to stay in the parking area in front of the lake, do not miss this opportunity if you’re exploring the Dolomites in a van.

Souvenir shops can be found all around the lake, as well as a supermarket, one of the few you can find around here.

Tip: consider buying everything you need for your treks here!

Misurina Lake is the perfect starting point for two treks: the Tre Cime di Lavaredo trek (with its starting point Rifugio Auronzo being only 8km away) and the Sorapis Lake trek (which starting point Passo Tre Croci is only 6km away).

Dolomites Bucket List Lago di Misurina

6) Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Located exactly on the border between the regions of South Tyrol and Veneto, Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most famous sights of the Dolomites.

Your destination will be “Rifugio Auronzo”, which is a mountain hut at the end of a private road.

We highly recommend you sleeping up there if you are exploring the Dolomites in a van: there is a huge parking area up top and the view is just insane!

The road to reach the Tre Cime is private: this means you will have to pay a salty toll in order to get up there. Here are the prices.

Private road fee:

  • Motorbikes: € 15,00
  • Cars: € 25,00
  • Campervans: € 40,00 (vehicles higher than 2,10m)
  • Fee for every additional day: Motorbikes: € 3,00 | Cars: € 7,00 | Campervans: € 15,00

Credits: @kameliawillich

The best seasons to visit the Tre Cime di Lavaredo are definitely summer and autumn, as it isn’t recommended to visit it during winter. Also, the private road to reach the Tre Cime is closed in winter. There aren’t exact dates for its closure, as it depends on the weather and on the snowfall, but consider it may close from December to April.

Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

Dolomites Bucket List: The trek around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Once you get to Rifugio Auronzo, we highly recommend you to do the loop trek around the Tre Cime to appreciate them at their best.

The trek is 7.5 km long and it takes about 3 hours, and it’s best doing it anti-clockwise.

There are 5 stops along the loop trek: Cappella degli Alpini, Rifugio Lavaredo, Forcella Lavaredo, Malga Langalm and Forcella del Col de Mèdo. If you follow them you can’t get lost.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek - Dolomites Bucket List
Dolomites Bucket List - Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

7) Cadini di Misurina (Tre Cime di Lavaredo)

A must in every Dolomites bucket list, the views over Cadini di Misurina can be found following another trek path from Rifugio Auronzo.

This place is also located on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, in fact, the Tre Cime are located just behind the camera in the shot you see here.


Instead of going around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo following the loop trek, head in the direction of the Cadini di Misurina.

These mountains can be seen from Rifugio Auronzo already and if you follow the path towards them you’ll end up in this insane viewpoint

Credits: @gonzalopasquier

Cadini di Misurina, October 2019 – Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

8) Lake Sorapis

Lake Sorapis became one of the most popular lakes in the Dolomites, attracting trekkers from all over the world.

Unlike the other lakes mentioned above, there is no easy access to this lake. The trek starts in Passo Tre Croci: it is about 5.3km long (one way) and it takes around 2 hours (one way).

We recommend using for this trek as its offline maps are extremely accurate.

The trek is not particularly difficult but we recommend wearing hiking shoes and bring some food and water with you.

Also, the trek itself is incredibly panoramic!

At the end of the trek, you will also find a mountain hut, located just 5 min away from the lake. This mountain shelter is open from June 20th to September 20th, and it is even possible to sleep there.

Check out their website for more info: Rifugio Vandelli

Sorapis Lake Dolomites Bucket List
Dolomites Bucket List Sorapis
Dolomites bucket list - view sorapis hike

The view on the hike to Lake Sorapis – Credits: @lorenzowanderlust

9) Cinque Torri

The mountainous complex of Cinque Torri offers an incredible amount of treks and astonishing views.

To hike Cinque Torri you have different options, all of them pretty similar when it comes to the difficulty of the trek, length and elevation gain. In this blog we will mention the 3 more popular ones:

The first – shortest – trek begins in Baita Bai de Dones

Dolomites Bucket List Cinque Torri

This is the route directly underneath the Cinque Torri chairlift, which starts in Baita Bai de Dones and ends in Rifugio Scoiattoli, a mountain hut just a few hundreds of meters away from le Cinque Torri.

Another trail is the one starting in Rifugio Col Gallina. It is longer than the previous one but offers incredible views.

The last trail would be the one that starts in the famous Passo Giau and ascend along the “via ferrata” Averau.

10) Falzarego Pass / Rifugio Lagazuoi

Passo Falzarego is one of those places that you must visit at least once. Either you choose to reach Rifugio Lagazuoi by gondola or by walk, the view it’s so worth it.

Falzarego Pass is a mountain pass situated at 2.105 meters above sea level, and it offers incredible views over the Dolomites.

Dolomites Bucket List Lagazuoi

Rifugio Lagazuoi is a mountain hut situated on top of Mount Lagazuoi, 2,835 meters above sea level, and it is well-known for its views.

In fact, Mount Lagazuoi offers a 360° view over the Dolomites.

Here is good news for those looking for some rest after the treks of the previous days: this mountain hut can be reached by a gondola most times of the year.

The gondola is open from late May to mid-October (summer season), and from late December to mid-April (winter season).

The one-way ticket costs €12,50, or €17,50 both ways (€13.50 and €18.50 in August).

Alternatively, you can hike all the way up from Passo Falzarego: the trek is about 3-km long (one-way) with an elevation gain of 600m.

Once at the top, the view speaks for itself!

Lagazuoi gondola

In the morning everything was covered in snow as a result of an overnight light off-season snowfall. By the afternoon all the snow disappeared.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Dolomites Bucket List

Rifugio Lagazuoi, 2,835 m.a.s.l.

Dolomites Bucket List – Part 2

In the second part of our Dolomites bucket list, we will explore a different part of the region.

The first stop will be Val di Funes, with its green landscapes and the famous church, just before heading to two of the most popular highlights of the Dolomites: Seceda and Seiser Alm.

Then, we will be stopping in Passo Pordoi and Pozza di Fassa to end the trip visiting the beautiful Carezza Lake and Rolle Pass.

Tip: tap on “More options” to open this itinerary on google maps


11) Val di Funes and GeislerAlm

A place that we couldn’t help but mention in this Dolomites bucket list is Val di Funes, a scenic valley on the edge the Dolomites, dominated by the beautiful Mount Furchetta and Sass Rigais.

One of Val di Funes best spots is undoubtedly the small town of Santa Maddalena Alta, which can be observed by a popular viewpoint.

Check its location in the following map:

Credits: @p.doublephoto

The hike to GeislerAlm

Another incredibly beautiful activity in Val di Funes is the trek to GeislerAlm.

The starting point would be Waldschenke, where you can also park your car, and the route to reach Gschnagenhardt-Alm is about 6km long.

Once again, we recommend using for any treks you do in the Dolomites.

The good thing about this trek is that it is not particularly challenging and it can be done at every time of the year.

If you happen to visit this area in winter, enjoy the way down on a sledge. You can rent one in GeislerAlm for just €5 and you can leave it at the end of the sledge track in Waldschenke.

We also recommend eating in GeislerAlm, the food was delicious and not very expensive.

GeislerAlm Dolomites Bucket List

Winter in GeislerAlm – Credits: @clo_bcrt

Autumn in GeislerAlm – Credits: @elisamoscardi

12) Church of Saint John in Ranui / Chiesa di San Giovanni in Ranui

This little church is becoming very famous lately thanks to social media and is now an iconic place for photographers.

The church is well-known for standing alone in front of the majestic Odle mountains, surrounded by countless pine trees. It is located near the beginning of the trek to GeislerAlm.

Remember that those mountains can only be seen on a clear day, and foggy/cloudy days aren’t rare here.

NOTE: walking through the field in front of the church is prohibited in order to preserve the delicate ecosystem of the mountain from mass tourism.

Credits: @elisamoscardi

13) Alpe di Siusi / Seiser Alm

The Dolomites’ most beautiful and biggest plateau, Seiser Alm – or Alpe di Siusi – is another must-visit place in this region. This is the largest high-altitude plateau in Europe, and has an altitude between 1,680 m.a.s.l. and 2,350 m.a.s.l.

There are several ways to reach Seiser Alm but our favourite is the one from Compatsch – or Compaccio.

Compatsch – or Compaccio – is a small town situated at the beginning of the plateau. It can be reached by car, bus or gondola.

The gondola leaves from the town of Siusi and it costs €11 one way or €16 both ways.

If you plan to reach Seiser Alm by car, keep in mind that the road leading towards Compatsch is closed to traffic from 9 am to 5 pm. This is to limit pollution and preserve the environment of the Dolomites.

NOTE: Those in possession of a reservation in one of the accommodations located on the plateau are not subjected to these limitations.

Once you reach Compatsch, follow the main road and explore the plateau on foot or rent an electric bicycle.

Credits: @chiaraescape

Another option to reach Seiser Alm is by gondola from Ortisei. The gondola costs €13.90 for a single ride and €19.90 for a round trip. The timetable varies during the year and the gondola is open only in winter and summer. Check out their website for more info.

TIP: if you are a photography enthusiast, sunset is better than sunrise in Seiser Alm.

Credits: @gonzalopasquier

14) Seceda

We’re finally here, in Seceda, one of Dolomites’ most famous landmark. Seceda is a beautiful mountain that sits at 2,519 m.a.s.l., near the town of Ortisei first.

NOTE: There is a cablecar service that brings you from Ortisei to Furnes and from Furnes – Seceda. Do not expect to be by yourself up there if you decide to trek when the cablecar is open.

In the summertime, the gondola opens from May 29th to October 18th, and from 8:30 am to 5 pm. A round trip costs €34 while the one-way ticket costs €25.

Alternatively, for those interested in hiking Seceda, the trek will take about 5 hours. The hike is relatively easy, but it can become more challenging if you choose to hike down instead of taking the cablecar.

NOTE: Seceda offers you a lateral view on the same mountains you can see from Val di Funes.

Credits: @gonzalopasquier

15) Pordoi Pass

Pordoi Pass (‎2,239 m.s.l.m.) is another incredible place to visit in the Dolomites. Very similarly to Falzarego Pass, also Pordoi Pass is dominated by its mountain, Sass Pordoi, which stands at 2950 m.a.s.l.

Sass Pordoi is a plateau-like rock summit and it is accessible by cable car from the Passo Pordoi ridge, which is open from May 15th to November 1st.

The round trip on the cable car costs €20, while a one-way ticket costs €12 for the way up and €9 for the way down.

Alternatively, you can decide to hike all the way up to Sass Pordoi, starting from its Pass. The trek is about 3km long with a total ascent of 706m.

The trail doesn’t require any particular hiking gear and it is not technically difficult, but it’s very steep.

Dolomites Bucket List - Pordoi Pass

The road to reach Pordoi Pass is also impressive. This mountain road ascends past a series of hairpin turns surrounded by pristine views.

Dolomites Bucket List - Pordoi Pass

Visit the German military memorial and cemetery in Pordoi Pass

Dolomites Bucket List - German military and cemetery

Opened on 19 September 1959, this military memorial and cemetery host the remains of soldiers fallen in both World Wars.

Shortly before WWII outbreak, 454 fallen Germans and 8,128 fallen Austro-Hungarians exhumed from various WWI cemeteries in the area were collected in the central crypt.

After WWII, 849 Germans killed in the Second World War were buried outside the crypt.

The memorial is in a unique environment as it is surrounded by the Tofane mountain group and the Col di Lana to the east, and Marmolada to the south.

16) Val di Fassa / Fassa Valley

With over 840 treks available, the Fassa Valley is that type of place where you don’t easily get bored.

Whether you are looking for some adventure, you’re fancying some local food or you’re just dreaming of chilling in a jacuzzi in front of the mountains, Val di Fassa is the place for you.

Please refer to Val di Fassa official website for every information you need about treks and routes

Dolomites Bucket List: Things to do in Val di Fassa:

QC Terme Dolomites

QC Terme Dolomiti

Spend a day in a Spa surrounded by the Dolomites. This place is beautiful all year round but it’s obviously more impressive in winter when everything else is covered in snow.

Malga Aloch Dolomites

Masc Aloch & Malga Aloch

If you are a foodie, we’d highly recommend you this place.

Masc Aloch is a farm with a restaurant (Malga Aloch) and the quality of its products is incredible! They are located in Pozza di Fassa and it’s probably the best place to eat there. Enjoy!

17) Val San Nicolò / Saint Nicholas valley

Val San Nicolò is a narrow valley that stretches from Pozza di Fassa to the Marmolada Group, and it’s the perfect place for those looking for relaxation.

This green valley is home of many pastures and here you can also buy local cheese directly from the producers.

The road to Val San Nicolò is closed to traffic but a shuttle bus service is available during summer (June 15th to September 22nd), with the first one leaving from Pozza di Fassa main square at 8.50 am.

Check out the full timetable at this link:

Dolomites Bucket List Val San Nicolò

Lagusel Lake hike

A very beautiful hike in San Nicolò is the one to Lagusel Lake.

This small alpine lake can be reached from several locations, but the route we are showing here is the one from Sauch in Val Nicolò.

Alternatively, you can choose to hike Lagusel Lake from Val Monzoni. Find all the trek information at this link.

18) Carezza Lake / Karersee

No Dolomites bucket list would be complete without Carezza Lake.

Carezza Lake is located near the town of Carezza, in between Pozza di Fassa and Bolzano.

This lake became very popular on Instagram and it is well-known for its incredible reflection.

The best time of the year to visit Carezza Lake is at the beginning of the summer, as the lake is at its fullest.

Reaching the lake is very easy, you can either walk from the town of Carezza or park in the parking area next to it.

Carezza Lake is also easy to reach by bus.

Once at the lake, enjoy walking around it, take some photos and learn about the different types of pine trees of the Dolomites.

Carezza Lake, Lago di Carezza, Dolomite Bucket List

Credits: @gonzalopasquier

19) Rolle Pass

Passo Rolle – or Rolle Pass – adjoins the Primiero and Fiemme valleys, in the southern part of the Dolomites, near the town of San Martino di Castrozza.

Sitting at 1989 m.a.s.l., this is one of the Dolomites’ most spectacular mountain passes.

WINTER: Passo Rolle is considered to be one of the most popular ski destinations in the area. Providing access to over 120 individual pistes, consider visiting Passo Rolle if you love winter sports.

SUMMER: Located within the “Parco Naturale Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino”, Passo Rolle offers many hiking opportunities.

Val Venegia is also closeby: do not miss the chance to eat some local food at one of the malghe (Alpine huts), such as the ones of Venegia and Venegiota.

Passo Rolle Dolomites Bucket List

Credits: @elisa_fedrizzi

Passo Rolle, Dolomites

Credits: @chiaraescape

20) Val Venegia

More than 500 different plant species have been registered by researchers here, making this tiny valley in the Dolomites a veritable botanic garden.

Two spots not to be missed are Malga Venegia and Malga Venegiota.

Dolomites Bucket List, Val Venegia
Val Venegia, Dolomites

Credits: @coupleofcoordinates

21) Parco Naturale Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino

The majestic mountains of the Pala Group make up the largest mountain range in the Dolomites.

There are five mountain huts in the heart of this National Park: Rosetta, Velo della Madonna, Pradidali, Treviso and Volpi al Mulaz.
They can all be reached by trekking.

Rifugio Rosetta is also served by the “Ces – Col Verde – Rosetta” cablecar. The full roundtrip costs €25. Read more on

Paneveggio Nature Park is also famous for its deer reserve: these animals here are free to roam in the huge fields of the park.

No Dolomites Bucket List would be complete without including this place.

Parco Naturale Paneveggio, Dolomites

Credits: @elisa_fedrizzi

Altipiano delle Pale

A fifty square kilometres stone plateau of bare rock situated at 2700 m.a.s.l., the Altipiano delle Pale is the highlight of Panaveggio Nature Park and is one of the most incredible places in the Dolomites.

Dolomites Bucket List – Part 3

In this last part, we’ve included 6 more stunning places – out of our itinerary – you may want to visit:

22) Passo Gardena

Another day, another mountain pass!

Passo Gardena connects the Val Gardena valley with the Val Badia, a side valley of the Val Pusteria.

This pass sits at 2121 m.a.s.l. and since 1960 features many lift facilities and hiking paths.

Passo Gardena is one of the four mountain passes of the Sellaronda (a roundtrip on skis in winter and a four-passes cycle tour in summer).

No matter which Dolomites bucket list you want to follow, you must include some of these passes.

Dolomites, Passo Gardena

Credits: @elisa_fedrizzi

Forcella Cier

The best summer hike in Gardena Pass, from Rifugio Jimmy follow the trail and head up to Forcella Cier (2.469 m.a.s.l.).

You’ll be surrounded by Dolomite rock and the view from up there is incredible!

TIP: Try to make it up there for sunrise, it’s worth it!

23) Sas dla Crusc / Sasso Santa Croce

The Sas dla Crusc/Sasso Santa Croce soars vertically up into the sky, making it a dream spot for climbers from all over the world. However, non-climbers have also their reason to visit this place.

The mountain hut of Rifugio Santa Croce is located just underneath the rock wall and it is possible to reach it by both walking or cable car. From mid-June to the end of September the cable car is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and it costs €20,40 both ways. More information about it at this link.

Prati dell’Armentara

A very beautiful sight near Sas dla Crusc is Prati Dell’Armentara, or Armentara meadows.

Dominated by Sas dla Crusc, Prati dell’Armentara is the best spot for a relaxing walk near Badia surrounded by unspoilt nature.

Not exactly the typical place you would find on every Dolomites bucket list, but we promise it’s insanely beautiful.

The Snow Cave

Protected from the sun by the mountain, snow accumulates here during the winter and never melts, not even in the summer, creating a unique “snow cave”.

Please note: the snow cave only forms with a good amount of snowfall in the wintertime.

Getting here takes about 45 minutes from Rifugio Santa Croce

24) Lago Nero, Madonna di Campiglio

This incredibly beautiful lake is located only 20km away from the popular ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio. It’s a place we could not forget to include in this Dolomites bucket list.

Please note, there are two different lakes named “Lago Nero” in the same area. This one is the lake near Rifugio Cornisello, a beautiful and rudimental mountain hut that can be reached by car.

Lago Nero is about 1km away from Rifugio Cornisello, so it’s very easy to reach. If you’d like to explore more the area, we recommend following the loop trek that leads to Rifugio Segantini and comes back to Rifugio Cornisello.

This trek would be about 10km long with a total ascent of 560m and it takes about 5 hours.

Nearby Rifugio Cornisello there are other 2 lakes that can be reached by car, called “Laghi di Cornisello”.

PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Head here at sunset for this specific light condition and reflection.

Dolomites, Lago Nero

Credits: @chiaraescape

25) Lake Tovel

Lake Tovel is undoubtedly one of those must-visit places in the Dolomites.

The Lake is situated at 1178 m.a.s.l. in the Brenta Dolomites and it can be easily reached by car. During high-season, the road might be closed and a bus shuttle service may be available instead.

FUN FACT: Lake Tovel is worldwide famous as the “Red Lake” of the Dolomites. In fact, until 1964 an incredible and very rare phenomenon used to happen here every summer.

Due to the presence of a specific type of algae, the lake used to turn vivid red, creating a mesmerizing and unique show.

Credits: @chiaraescape

26) Passo Giau

One of the best sunrises you can see in the Dolomites: Passo Giau.

Consider hiking to Rifugio Averau in summer time for an amazing view. The Rifugio can also be reached by taking the Giau chair lift, and the hosts organize dinners with ascent and descent by snowmobile, on foot or on skis.

If you’re just looking for a good photo opportunity, hike up the small hill in front of the mountain for the best view over the pass.

This viewpoint is incredibly beautiful early in the morning. Get ready for an early alarm!

Another popular photography spot in Passo Giau is the winding road that leads up the Pass: the bird-eye view is impressive if you have a drone!

Passo Giau, Dolomites Bucket List

Credits: @tom.bridges

27) The SellaRonda, or Giro dei Quattro Passi

The so-called “giro del 4 Passi” is a route around the Dolomite Sella Group with exceptional views.

It connects Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi, Passo Campolongo and Passo Gardena.

It can be done by car, on foot, by bike and in winter with skis or snowboard.

Clockwise it is about 58 km long with an altitude gain of 450 metres while anti-clockwise it is 53 km with an altitude gain of 900 metres.

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The Battle of the Oranges: inside Italy’s craziest festival | Ivrea’s Historical Carnival

The Battle of the Oranges: inside Italy’s craziest festival | Ivrea’s Historical Carnival

Dating back to 1808, the Ivrea Carnival is one of the oldest festivals in Italy. Carnival is celebrated all over the world, especially in countries with a large Catholic community.

From Rio de Janeiro to Rome, people take to the streets to eat, drink, and celebrate the season. After days of festivals and parades, Carnival culminates in one last night of partying called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.

But in Ivrea, Carnival includes a unique tradition: the Battle of the Oranges.

Carnevale di Ivrea


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Piazza degli Scacchi, Carnevale di Ivrea

History of the Battle of the Oranges

paragraph curated by @the.traveling.historian

For the three days leading up to Fat Tuesday, the men, women, and children participate in the largest organized food fight in Italy – the Battle of the Oranges.

The origins of the fight are a little murky but seem to date back to a medieval revolt. In the 1100s, Ivrea was ruled by an evil tyrannical duke.

The legend says that this duke tried to attack a young miller’s daughter on her wedding night. Instead, she decapitated him and started a revolution. Following her lead, the townspeople of Ivrea stormed the palace and burned it to the ground.

Today, nearly a millennia later, the people of Ivrea commemorate their revolution. Although this time they are armed with oranges and padding, instead of swords and torches. Every festival, a local woman is elected to represent the brave miller’s daughter and lead the food fighting festivities.

Battle of the Oranges, Borghetto, Carnevale di Ivrea

What is the Battle of the Oranges?

The Battle of the Oranges marks the end of the Ivrea’s Carnival, every year since 1947. It is fought for three days, from Sunday to Shrive Tuesday.

It is played between the nine teams of Aranceri (orange-throwers) on foot, who represent the people who revolted, and the Aranceri on horse-drawn carriages, who play the role of the feudal armies.

The battle is a mix of passion and solidarity. It is very common to see rivals shake hands, showing respect to one another, recognizing each other’s skills and courage.

Battle of the Oranges

The battle is based on unwritten rules followed by all the throwers:

The nine teams have a designated area for their throwers (wearing tunics and trousers in their team’s colours).
The 51 orange-throwing carriages are divided into 35 pairs and 16 quadrilles, and they all gather at 1 pm before the start of the Battle. The carts alternate, heading into the town squares for a few minutes, giving life to battles against the teams on foot.

Try to imagine over 7000 people flocking to the streets of a quiet small town to take part in this unique celebration, throwing oranges at each other: this is the Battle of the Oranges.

Over 600 tonnes of oranges are thrown during the festival, which corresponds to over 4.2 million oranges. It is important to note that these oranges aren’t suitable for commercial purposes. More about this topic on “Ethics & Sustainability”.

Horses are considered to be the main stars of the event, they have always been taken care of with great love and respect.

The historical and cultural aspects of the Battle make it one of the most important festivals today, both on national and an international level. Everyone can take part in the Battle by joining either one of the nine teams on foot or one of the squad.

Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Tuchini del Borghetto

Where is it?

The Battle of the Oranges takes place in Ivrea, a quiet town of about 23.000 people near the city of Turin, in the Piedmont region, northern Italy.

Since 2018, “Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century” has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site brings together 27 buildings and architectural complexes.

The battle of the oranges happens in many squares and streets of the city centre. Below you can find a map of the city highlighting the route of the orange-throwing carriages and the different squares where the battle takes place.

Ivrea, City Map

Each team fights in a specific location: “Asso di Picche“, born in 1947, throws in Piazza di Città (11), and they share the “Piazza” (the square) with “la Morte” (1954).

In Piazza Ottinetti (10) we will find the “Scacchi” (1964) and “Scorpioni d’Arduino” (1966), while “I Tuchini del Borghetto” (1964) throw from the right side of the river Dora Baltea (15).

In Piazza del Rondolino (8) we will find “Pantera Nera” (1966), the “Diavoli” (1973) and the “Mercenari” (1974). Lastly, the “Credendari” (1985) throw in piazza Freguglia (9).

Battle of the Oranges, Borghetto

Rione Borghetto (15)

When is it?

The Battle of the Oranges takes place every year, from the Sunday of Carnival to Fat Tuesday.

The 2020 edition took place from February 23rd to February 25th. The 2021 edition will take place from February 14th to February 16th.

Save the date!

Ivrea, Battle of the Oranges

Where to sleep in Ivrea

Here are some of the accommodations located in the city centre of Ivrea: please note that the following links are affiliate links and we earn a small commission out of referenced reservations, at no extra cost for you.

The prices shown are for 2 people, per night.
Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy

Tickets, prices and reservations


The entrance fee for spectators is €10 ($11 USD) on Sunday (free for children up to 12yo), and it is free for everyone on Monday and Tuesday.


Everyone can apply to become an orange-thrower. Reservations for people that aren’t native of Ivrea and that have not attended the festival in the previous year open on the 10th of January.

The participation fee is €90 and includes food & wine on the 3 days of the festival, as well as the oranges.
Here are the websites of the 9 teams:

Battle of the Oranges, Tuchini del Borghetto

The Battle of the Oranges – our best tips

  • If you go as a spectator, you MUST wear a “berretto frigio”, or Phrygian Hat. The Phrygian Hat is a red soft conical cap that is not only an ornamental symbol of the carnival, but also a way to avoid being chosen as a target during the traditional orange battle – as dictated by tradition and by the General’s Orders. It is also a way to show one’s full participation in the event. You can buy one directly at the event for about €5.
  • Always keep a safe distance from the horses: never stand behind, around or near the horses even if they are standing still. Obviously, do NOT throw oranges at the horses.
  • Do not pick oranges from the boxes without the permission of the team. Outsiders are not allowed to throw, but you can make your way around it if you are nice with the members of the team.
  • Do not throw oranges from distance. Oranges are supposed to be thrown from nearby the wagons only. This is to avoid oranges hitting spectators and other people who are not directly involved in the fight on the other side of the square.
  • Do NOT wear glasses in the areas directly involved in the Orange Battle. Even though oranges aren’t supposed to be thrown from distance, there is a chance an orange could hit you even though you are far from the fight.
  • Be careful when you stand close behind the protection nets. Nets are designed to avoid that oranges hit the buildings and people behind them, but they will not protect you if you stand very close to them.
  • DO NOT enter the areas involved in the Orange Battle with pushchairs and prams.
Battle of the Oranges, Borghetto

Things to keep in mind

Wear clothes appropriate for the festival. The layer of smashed oranges on the ground can be as deep as 40 cm in some parts of the street. Dress accordingly: wear boots and trousers you don’t mind getting dirty.

Also, bring spare clothes for when the festival is over.

Ethics and sustainability

While this food fight may seem like a massive waste at first glance, there is a lot going on the behind the scenes.

The Oranges

First of all, it is important to mention that the oranges used in the festival are fruits that would be destinated for pulping otherwise. These oranges, in fact, could never be commercialised and farmers would need to dispose of them.

Instead, farmers are getting paid for their products and the oranges are even used for further processing after the battle.

Battle of the Oranges

Compost & energy

After each day of battle, the smashed oranges are collected and stored in a specific tank.

Subsequently, the citrus fruits to be disposed of are transported to a plant which takes care of their disposal by transforming them into compost and energy. For 2016, the plant has transformed over 680 tons of oranges into compost.

The support against the mafias

The fruits come mostly from Calabrian and Sicilian companies operating in the Libera circuit.

In other words, the festival supports companies that are active to raise awareness and contrast the phenomenon of the mafias in regions where this situation still represents a problem.

Would you like to contribute and write a blog post for

Saturnia Hot Springs: a backpacker guide

Welcome to Saturnia Hot Springs, one of the best places you can visit in Southern Tuscany.

Saturnia is well known in Italy for its thermal baths and the various Spa and Wellness centres you can find in this area, however, in “Cascate del Mulino” you can get the same treatments of the luxury spa for FREE!

In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about this amazing place!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning we may earn a small commission if you book through our links at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our channel, enjoy your free guide!


How to get to Saturnia Hot Springs

First of all, you should know that the actual name of the place you are looking for is “Cascate del Mulino”.

Saturnia is the town nearby it, and it has several hot springs, spas and wellness centres.


The best option to get to this place is to drive there by car. Saturnia Hot Springs is located in Tuscany’s countryside and having your own car can definitely save you some time.

Visiting the Saturnia Hot Springs is a perfect day trip from Grosseto, Rome, Florence, Pisa, and many other places.

TIP: Consider renting a car for the day – or even for a few days – to get the most out of Southern Tuscany. There are many other little villages you’ll want to visit around after the Hot Springs so having your own car is definitely the way to go.


Saturnia Hot Springs is also reachable by bus. Like many places in southern Tuscany, public transport is available but it is not very convenient to use, especially for remote places like Saturnia. However, it is not impossible!

For example, these are the busses you need to take to get there from Grosseto.

  1. Grosseto – Albinia: 33m by bus, every 3 hours (41P; 39O; 40O; 1FP | 3 – 5€) or by train.
  2. Albinia – Manciano: 39m by bus, 5 times a day (41P; 11P; PT5 | 3 – 5€)
  3. Manciano – Saturnia: 24m by bus, every 4 hours (1 – 3€)

Check the following map for the exact route!

Where to stay

Luxury: Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort. A five-star resort which features an 18-hole golf course and is 5 km from the medieval village of Saturnia. Built out of Travertine marble, its elegant thermal spa features Roman baths and natural swimming pools. (From 310€/night)

Mid-budget: Agriturismo Le Cascatelle. Located only 500 metres away, this place is the best option for those who want to visit the Mill Waterfalls. It offers rustic-style rooms and apartments with wood-beamed ceilings and hand-painted furniture. (From 87€/night)

Budget: Casale Fontani. The Fontani farmhouse is located in a unique position immersed in the uncontaminated nature of the Tuscan Maremma, it is an ideal base for hiking in the Albegna valley, but also to visit the many archaeological and cultural sites nearby, such as Sovana, Pitigliano and Sorana. It’s about 30 minutes by car from the Mill Falls. (14€/night)

Entrance fee

There is NO entrance fee.

Yes, Saturnia Hot Springs remain completely free.
However, we have heard some rumours about an upcoming entrance ticket fee starting from April 2020.


Parking is free but limited, so keep in mind that it could be challenging to find a parking spot during high-season if you come late during the day. Being there early in the morning is always a good idea.

Just keep in mind that the parking is for cars and bikes only. Campervans are not allowed (maximum height: 2.20m).

For those travelling in a van or that are just interested in camping in the area, you can find a camping site available located just about 800m from the hot springs. Click here for the location: Camping

It is not allowed to camp at the hot springs.

Best Time to visit Saturnia Hot Springs

The best time of the year to visit Saturnia Hot Springs is during Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November). The pools are not so crowded during these seasons and the air temperature is not too warm, which is best to enjoy the relaxing hot water of Saturnia.

Summer is probably the worst time to visit it. This place isn’t a secret anymore and it will be packed with tourists.

We visited it in February and we can say winter is also a great time of the year to be there. The water is warm all year round so, if you can deal with a little thermal shock while entering and exiting the water, you will be fine. The only downside of visiting the hot springs in winter is that bad weather is behind the corner and you never know what you can get.

This is what the Hot Springs looked like in November 2019 after a thunderstorm:

Best time of the day to go

The best time of the day to visit the Hot Springs in Saturnia is probably early in the morning. Not only you will have the place for yourself, but you will be also welcomed by the incredible amount of steam that is generated by the thermal differential, especially in winter.

TIP: Mid-day is also a great time to visit it, because whenever the sun is high in the sky the water becomes turquoise, and it’s so, so beautiful. At the same time, you may have to deal with lots of people.

We have been there from 7 AM to 10.30 AM and we enjoyed both scenarios.

NOTE: There were quite a lot of tourists at 10 AM also in low season.

A huge amount of steam, on an early and cold winter morning.

More about Saturnia Hot Springs

The thermal waters of Saturnia hot springs have been flowing for millennia from a natural crater, at a constant temperature of 37.5°C, all year round.

The water comes from the foothills of Mount Amiata, some 30 kilometres away. It’s believed it takes around 40 YEARS to get here. In facts, the water descends to a depth of 700 meters during its journey, which is the only way it could reach its temperature.

The pools are about a half meter deep, which make this place perfect and safe for families with kids as well.

Next to the building, which used to be a mill, there is a waterfall. This is why this place is called “Cascate del Mulino” in Italian, which translates to Mill Waterfalls.


Do not expect to find much else besides the hot springs. There are no lockers, no changing rooms, no showers at the Mill Falls.

Most people leave their belongings on the ground near the pools. You can do the same, just keep a close eye on them.

There is also a bar next to it which we believe is open in high season (not in a weekday of February tho) and offers these services. The bar is convenient thanks to its position, but it appears to be a little overpriced.

What to pack

All you need is a swimsuit, a towel and eventually flip flops. If you are going in summertime, you want to pack also sunscreen as the sun can be quite strong.

Consider to bring also your own drinks and snacks to save some money; the on-site bar is not the best representation of the yummy Tuscan cuisine.

Photography tips

As we mentioned before, there are 2 times of the day which are just perfect for photography: sunrise and mid-day.

The water gets an incredible colour when the sun is high in the sky, and the whole place is just magical and empty at sunrise.

All the photos you see in this article are taken by drone. Flying didn’t seem to be prohibited, but it might be a problem in high season.

There is also a viewpoint in front of the Mill Falls, location here.

What to do in the area

If you want to include something else after visiting Saturnia Hot Springs, we’d highly recommend to check out this itinerary.

The next stop should definitely be “Borghi del Tufo”, 3 medieval villages (Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana) located about 1 hour far from the Hot Springs.

Not far from there you will also find Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio, which are definitely must-visit places in this area.

Don’t forget about Val d’Orcia, one of the most beautiful places in Italy. Here you should visit Monticchiello, Pienza, Torrenieri, and all of the other little villages and spots you can find on the infographic below.

Specific articles about these places are coming soon.

Spa & Wellness Centres

For those looking for a more secluded and relaxing experience, we must mention that there are many Spas and Wellness Centres in Saturnia.

There are obviously many different spas and packages, but a basic entrance to the pools will be around 23-27€ (Source: