Epic 7 Days in Dolomites Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Braies Lake Dolomites - Epic 7 Days in Dolomites Itinerary for First-Timer Visitors

Planning to visit the Dolomites and wondering how to arrange your trip? You are in the right place as this perfect 7 days in Dolomites itinerary for first-timers will help you with the process.

The Dolomites offer a magnificent blend of rugged peaks, awe-inspiring panoramas, shimmering alpine lakes, enchanting towns, and exhilarating hiking trails. It is one of the most beautiful places in Italy and an absolute dream for every nature lover.

In this article, you will find your perfect road trip itinerary for 7 days in the Dolomites together with more travel tips. Everything from practical tips to hidden gems and more. Keep on reading and I will help you plan the best road trip around the Dolomites.

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How to get to the Dolomites?

The closest airports to the Dolomites are Treviso Airport and Venice Marco Polo Airport. If you are an international traveler, there is a big chance that you will land at Milan Bergamo Airport or Milan Malpensa Airport.

You can arrive at the Dolomites by car if you live in Italy or any surrounding country. If this is an option for you, you can save on rental, which is great. If you don’t have a car, you can check FlixBus to Bolzano or look for possible trains.

Are 7 days in the Dolomites enough?

Are 7 days in the Dolomites enough?

Spending 7 days in the Dolomites can provide a wonderful and fulfilling experience, allowing you to explore many of the region’s highlights and immerse yourself in its natural beauty. However, whether it is enough time depends on your personal preferences, the specific areas you want to visit, and the activities you plan to engage in.

During a week in the Dolomites, you can explore multiple regions, visit iconic locations such as Cortina d’Ampezzo, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and Braies Lake, and engage in various outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, or rock climbing. You’ll have the opportunity to discover charming mountain towns, savor the local cuisine, and appreciate the unique culture and history of the area.

That being said, the Dolomites are vast and offer a wealth of experiences. If you have specific areas or activities in mind that require more time, you may consider extending your stay. Additionally, keep in mind that weather conditions and seasonal variations can impact certain activities and access to certain areas.

How to get around for 7 days in the Dolomites?

How to get around for 7 days in the Dolomites?

In order to follow this Itinerary, you will need to rent a car. Visiting the Dolomites by public transport is possible, but you will miss out on many gems. So if you want to discover the soul of the Dolomites in 7 days, a car rental is a must.

I always use Rentalcars which is an international online car booking service. They match you with the best prices and have a flexible cancellation policy – you can cancel or change most bookings for free up to 48 hours before the pick-up. I only had the best experience with them, so I can recommend this company, but there are endless opportunities online or at the airport arrivals.

Click here to find your car rental for the Dolomites.

Overview of the Dolomites road trip itinerary for 7 days

Day 1: arrival, Strada della Forra, Riva del Garda, sleeping on Garda lake
Day 2: morning in Riva del Garda, Canale di Tenno, sleeping in Bolzano for 3 nights
Day 3: day trip to Carezza and visiting Soprabolzano
Day 4: Lago di Braies, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui
Day 5: morning in Bolzano, Misurina Lake, sleeping in Cortina d’Ampezzo 
Day 6: breakfast in Cortina d’Ampezzo, hike to Sorapis, sleeping in Malcesine
Day 7: Malcesine, Sirmione, departure.

This is your itinerary for 7 days in the Dolomites at a glance. I will share the best things to do, where to stay, some restaurant recommendations, and cool experiences in the Dolomites. Driving time and useful travel tips are included!

Are you excited to discover the Dolomites and plan an unforgettable road trip for 7 days in the Dolomites? Because I am! Keep on reading!

Dolomites road trip itinerary

Day 1: arrival, Strada della Forra, Riva del Garda, sleeping on Garda Lake 

Garda lake Italy - Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary for 7 Days
Strada della Forra, Italy - perfect 7 days in Dolomites itinerary for first-timers

Begin your journey by immersing yourself in the enchantment of Garda Lake. After your arrival, make your way to the northern part of the lake and select one of the charming small towns as your perfect base for the first night.

If you have time, make sure you stop in Limone sul Garda and see where the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace was filmed. And make sure you drive through Strada della Forra when heading to Riva del Garda. This legendary road will take you through depths of mountains, caves, and waterfalls and will leave you speechless.

I choose to stay in Riva del Garda for my first night as it is one of the most beautiful towns on Garda Lake, and I advise you to do the same unless you have another preference.

Considering that you might be tired after your flight, I don’t want you to have a packed Itinerary. Instead, stay around Garda Lake and explore the surroundings.

Other things to know before visiting Riva del Garda

Where to eat in Riva del Garda? Considering that the food in the Dolomites is very different compared to the rest of Italy, this is your last chance to get some traditional Italian pizza. I can suggest Pizzeria Sud Riva del Garda and constant 5-star reviews will back up my recommendation.

Where to stay in Riva del Garda? Riva del Garda has a lot of hotels, so there is something for every budget. If you want to splurge and are looking for a luxury hotel in Riva del Garda, there is nothing better than Lido Palace. Hotel Europa is a good mid-range option and Hotel Garnì Villa Maria is perfect for those on a budget.

Day 2: morning in Riva del Garda, Canale di Tenno, sleeping in Bolzano

Garda Lake Italy - 7 days Dolomites road trip itinerary

Begin your day by enjoying a delicious breakfast, and then embark on a delightful personal excursion in Riva del Garda. Start by strolling along the picturesque promenade, soaking in the tranquil atmosphere and absorbing the beauty of your surroundings. Make sure to visit the local art gallery located in Rocca.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of the old town as you wander through its narrow streets, allowing yourself to get pleasantly lost. Marvel at the remarkable Apponale Tower, standing tall and bearing witness to the town’s history. As you explore further, take a moment to appreciate the captivating Baroque architecture showcased by The Inviolata and S. Maria Assunta churches.

Embrace the art of dolce far niente, the Italian concept of blissful idleness, at Belvedere di via Giacomo Maroni. Here, take the opportunity to unwind, relax, and simply be in the present moment.

Canale di Tenno,  - Dolomites road trip itinerary

Once it’s time to check out, I propose taking you to Canale di Tenno, a hidden medieval gem that remains undiscovered by many, even among Italians. This charming village comprises just four streets, a quaint square, and a mere 50 residents, yet it holds immense allure.

And to top it all off, prepare yourself for an awe-inspiring treat—a breathtaking view from the village’s pinnacle, offering a panoramic vista of the sparkling waters of Lake Garda. It’s an experience not to be missed, adding the perfect finishing touch to your 7 days Dolomites road trip itinerary.

For the next couple of days, I have decided to stay in Bolzano since it is a perfect connecting point for many upcoming places on this 1 week Dolomites itinerary. Therefore, after visiting Canale di Tenno, head to Bolzano and spend some time getting to know the city a little bit better.

Things to know before visiting Bolzano

Where to eat in Bolzano? Now that you have reached the heart of the Dolomites, it is time to explore regional cuisine and Forsterbräu Central is the best place to do that. Also, if you are a foodie, I highly recommend joining this private street food tour in Bolzano.

Where to stay in Bolzano for 3 nights?

–> Luxury: Castel Hörtenberg
–> Mid Range: Stadt Hotel Città
–> Affordable: Albergo Hofer

If you prefer, you can also spend the next 3 days next to Braies Lake and there is nothing better than Hotel Lago di Braies. This will add some extra driving time for this Dolomites itinerary, however, it is perfect for those who want to stay close to the scenic views.

Day 3: day trip to Carezza and visiting Soprabolzano

Carezza lake - Dolomites itinerary

Carezza Lake, also known as Lago di Carezza or Karersee, stands as a true gem of nature and it is your next stop on this Dolomites itinerary for 7 days. With its pristine turquoise waters, breathtaking alpine backdrop, and a touch of mystical charm, this lake has stolen the hearts of visitors. 

However, Carezza Lake is not just a destination; it is an experience that immerses travelers in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Dolomites. Located in the Italian region of South Tyrol, Carezza Lake boasts a setting that seems straight out of a fairy tale. And while the drive from Bolzano takes around 30 minutes, you will make a lot of stops on your way, especially if you are a photographer.

Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, including the legendary Latemar and Rosengarten massifs, the lake creates a mirror-like surface that perfectly reflects the stunning landscape. It is an experience that you don’t want to miss.

Right next to the lake, you will find parking, however, make sure you bring cash, especially coins, because card payments were not accepted at the time that I visited.

1 week Dolomites itinerary

Visiting Oberbozen (Soprabolzano) is one of the best things to do in Dolomites in 7 days since it is conveniently located just above Bolzano. The great news is that you have the flexibility to choose between an invigorating hike or a serene cable car ride that transports you to paradise.

Given my extended visit to Carezza Lake earlier in the day, I opted for the cable car. The cable car ride from Bolzano to Oberbozen is a swift and efficient journey, whisking you away in a mere 12 minutes. 

Departures are frequent, with multiple trips per hour. Tickets are reasonably priced, with a one-way ticket costing €6 and a return ticket priced at €10. However, the panoramic view that awaits you at the top is absolutely priceless.

Considering that you are all set up for the night and have accommodation in Bolzano, feel free to stay until sunset and see the golden lights taking over the views.

Day 4: visiting Lago di Braies, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui

Dolomites in 7 days
Braies Lake - 7 days in the Dolomites

Located in the Dolomites of northern Italy, Braies Lake, also known as Lago di Braies or Pragser Wildsee, is your next stop on this 7-day Dolomites itinerary. With its crystal-clear turquoise water, surrounded by majestic mountains and dense forests, it’s a true gem of nature.

Going early in the morning is recommended to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and the beautiful morning light. This will also increase your chances of having the lake to yourself before the crowds arrive. It takes a 1.5-hour drive from Bolzano, so plan accordingly.

If the weather permits, renting a boat on the lake can be a memorable experience. The rental opens at 9 am (10 am during low season). Consider booking a boat for an hour to fully enjoy the tranquility of the lake and its surroundings. The cost for 30 minutes is 18 euros, while 1 hour is 28 euros.

Keep in mind that the boat rental at Braies Lake may be closed due to bad weather. Before heading there, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for the day. If the weather is uncertain, it’s advisable to have a backup plan.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo - 7 days Dolomites itinerary

The next destination for the day is Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a stunning mountain range that offers a great hiking opportunity if you have the time and inclination. The hike itself spans around 10 kilometers and typically takes around 4 hours to complete. However, if you prefer to drive from Braies Lake to our next stop, Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui, you’ll still encounter beautiful spots along the way.

Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui - Dolomites itinerary for 7 days

Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui is a charming little church that’s worth a visit. It is known for its idyllic location and beautiful mountain backdrop, offering a serene atmosphere for reflection and relaxation. Take some time to explore the church and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this picturesque spot.

If you are looking for the best views, head directly to accommodation called Unterkantiolerhof and thank me later. And make sure you bring a zoom lens.

After all these mesmerizing experiences, head back to Bolzano for some rest.

Day 5: morning in Bolzano, Misurina Lake, sleeping in Cortina d’Ampezzo 

Bolzano - perfect 7 days in Dolomites itinerary for first-timers

Before checking out and leaving Bolzano, make sure you visit the main attractions like Castel Roncolo, Piazza Walther and Via dei Portici, Bolzano’s main cathedral, the daily market at Piazza delle Erbe, and the shopping street on the Laubengasse.

Dolomites - what to do in Dolomites for 7 days

Once you have seen it all, get back on the road and drive to Misurina. It will be a 2-hour drive, but you will go through four seasons of weather and experience high altitude. Make sure you stop on the way because there are some pretty impressive postcard places on this road.

what to see in the Dolomites for 7 days

The highlight of Misurine is Misurina Lake and it must be included in your 7 days in the Dolomites. It’s serene beauty and stunning mountain backdrop make it a captivating sight to behold. And it is surrounded by towering peaks, including the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

The legend says that Misurina was a little spiteful girl with a father who fulfilled her every caprice. One day she requested a magical mirror from the fairy, however, the fairy insisted that she would give the mirror to Misurina only if her father agreed to become a mountain. Misurina grabbed the mirror without thinking and her father immediately turned into a mountain. Once she realized what she has done, she drowned in her own tears and that’s how Misurina Lake was shaped.

After seeing the lake, I recommend you head to Agriturismo Malga Misurina for some amazing local lunch and try some farm products like cheese, meat, etc.

Later in the day, head to Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is one of the top places during winter for skiing lovers, however, it’s so worth a visit also during the summer. One of my favorite views in the Dolomites was right behind Hotel Villa Argentina Cortina d’Ampezzo. There is a restaurant right in front of the parking where you can find insane scenery. Just look at the photo above.

Beyond its natural wonders, Cortina d’Ampezzo also offers a charming town center to explore. The streets are lined with boutiques, showcasing local craftsmanship and offering unique souvenirs to take home.

Other things to know before visiting Cortina d’Ampezzo

Where to eat in Cortina d’Ampezzo? If you like fine dining, you have to visit Ristorante Tivoli Cortina. But if you are looking cheaper alternative, Al Camin won’t disappoint you.

Where to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo? Faloria Mountain Spa Resort is one of the best hotels in the area and perfect for those who are looking for a luxurious experience. While Hotel Piccolo Pocol is a fantastic mid-range hotel.

Day 6: breakfast in Cortina d’Ampezzo, hike to Sorapis, sleeping in Malcesine

Dolomites itinerary for 7 days

Cortina d’Ampezzo is not too big, so I advise you to either spend an evening wandering around or the morning of your sixth day in the Dolomites. Finish up your breakfast and fuel up for the rest of the day.

best things to do in Dolomites in 7 days
complete Dolomites itinerary for 7 days

The next stop of the day is the breathtaking Sorapis Lake. From Cortina d’Ampezzo drive to Passo 3 Croci and it will take you no longer than 15 minutes. You will find plenty of parking there.

The hike is 11km return and takes around 2 to 3 hours each way. Don’t try to rush it as the hike is pretty impressive (just like everything else in Dolomites). Since this is one of the easiest hikes in the area, the place can get pretty busy, especially during summer.

Looking for a place to eat? Head to Agriturismo El Brite de Larieto after the hike or pack your own food and enjoy the picnic with the views of Sorapis Lake.

Malcesine Garda lake - Dolomites 7-day itinerary

To ensure a smooth departure, I made the decision to spend the night in Malcesine, which is closer to the airport. However, it’s important to note that the drive from Passo 3 Croci to Malcesine takes over three hours, so it’s advisable to plan accordingly.

Other things to know before visiting Malcesine

Where to eat in Malcesine? Osteria Santo Cielo was my absolute favorite, but the town is full of cute cafes.

Where to stay in Malcesine?

–> Luxury: Hotel Vega
–> Mid-range: Hotel Querceto Wellness & Spa
–> Affordable: Hotel Baitone 

Day 7: Malcesine, Sirmione, departure 

When you visit Malcesine, be sure to explore the captivating Palazzo dei Capitani and the majestic Scaliger Castle. Lose yourself in the enchanting streets of the old town, where every corner unveils a new charm. For a breathtaking experience, consider taking a cable car up to Monte Baldo and revel in the panoramic views.

And don’t forget to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere by enjoying a refreshing drink at one of the charming bars in town. Malcesine offers a multitude of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor.

Garda Lake, Sirmione, Italy - 7 days Dolomites road trip itinerary

If you have a flight later in the afternoon, take this chance to make a stop in Sirmione and visit the most beautiful castles in Italy – Castello Scaligero of Sirmione. Make sure you check opening times and visiting hours to save time.

In conclusion…

Carezza Dolomites

And that is a wrap of your complete Dolomites itinerary for 7 days. If you were wondering what to do in the Dolomites for 7 days, I am sure that now you are fully prepared for your trip and can’t wait to discover this unique Italian region.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

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perfect 7 days in Dolomites itinerary for first-timers
perfect 7 days in Dolomites itinerary for first-timers


  1. How amazing! You definitely made me want to do Dolomites road trip! The views are just gorgeous! And thanks for so well put together itinerary 🙂

    1. lasma.plone says:

      So kind of you Aga, thank you! I’m sure you would come back with many pretty pictures!

  2. Very nice tips.. I will definitely try to follow next time..

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much, darling!!

  3. Kate Hardy says:

    L o v e y o u r t i p s

  4. As always, a brilliant job! So many useful info very nicely written! About photos, mesmerizing =)

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much for reading!!

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