Dolomites, Italy

Despite being part of the Alps and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomites are not a very popular spot for American tourists. But, maybe after learning all it has to offer you can start to change that.

My dad and I went up into the Dolomites last December on a day trip during our stay in Venice. It wasn’t too long of a drive from the water city and the scenery was beautiful every inch of the way.

Most of our time was spent sightseeing. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to fully take advantage of the Dolomites, but from what I saw I knew I had to share it with you all.

During our trip there obviously was snow and the lakes were frozen, however, the Dolomites are also very well known for its views during the sunny times of the year. One of its primary features being the vast amount of clear alpine lakes.

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The UNESCO site itself is about 548 square miles with a 345 square mile buffer zone, and it is chalked full of things to do. The place is huge for skiing when snow hits the ground, but during the sunnier times of the year, this place is home to things like mountain climbing, cycling, hiking, BASE jumping, and even paragliding.

Specifically, the mountains have been home to a tradition of free climbing since 1887, when 17-year-old Georg Winkler soloed the first ascent of the pinnacle Die Vajolettürme aka the Vajolet Towers (elevation 9,255ft; prominence 636ft).

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Vajolet Towers

Furthermore, the Maratona dles Dolomites – an annual bicycle race through seven of the major mountain passes – always occurs in the first week of July. National Geographic once described it as “one of the biggest, most passionate, and most chaotic bike races on Earth“.

The race is open to amateur cyclists so keep this in mind the next time you update your bucket list. Joining 9,000 people from over 40 different countries to race through the Italian Alps sounds pretty cool if you ask me.

Unfortunately, however, getting in does take a bit of luck. Only 4,800 of the 9,000 spots are reserved for the lottery, and in 2012 29,100 people entered.

Once you do end up getting the ticket, there are three different courses to choose from. The Sellaronda course (34mi; 5,840ft elevation change), The Middle course (66mi; 10,140 ft elevation change), and The Maratona Course (86mi; 13,750ft elevation change).

So, start training!

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And while you spend all this time doing all these super fun things you’ll have beautiful little towns just a hop and a skip away. Whether for you that means hot food, drinks, or a soft bed, these little towns could give you the home base your Dolomite Adventures needs.

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Thank you so much for reading. I was sick with the flu this week so I’m a little behind on posting this, but hopefully, you enjoyed learning about someplace new.

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