There are so many incredible treks in the European alps. You could debate them all late into the night. To date, I thought the Tour du Mont Blanc was my favorite. But my recent experience in the Dolomites completely surprised me. To put it simply, I was in awe every day of my trek with Mt Sobek, mtsobek.com.
To be transparent, I was trekking with and shooting a film for Mt Sobek. Sobek is a premier adventure company. I am a fan and more than happy to speak about them to anyone who wants to reach out. But for the purpose of this blog, I will speak about just how special the Dolomites are, regardless of how you choose to experience them.
To begin with, the Dolomites are known for their rock formations and terrain. All of which are wildly different. Take, for instance, the moonlike terrain below Piz Boe (see below).
Or the distinctive formation you find at Tre Cime di Lavaredo. You spend more than half a day walking up and past this iconic formation. Which begins to feel like a pilgrimage of a sort. Largely, because the structure of the three primary mounts is unlike anything I have seen. It's mesmerizing. This formation is so iconic, so otherworldly, it captures your senses and commands your attention. (see Tre Cime below).
And while I had previously seen shots of this formation and shots of Piz Boe, the rock formations and mountains of the Dolomites aren't all dry and moonlike. For instance, I discovered the mountain range, shown below, behind my hotel in Passo Pordoi. I was restless before dinner and decided to hike up a hill behind my hotel and came upon the range shown below. It wasn't on our itinerary, but I've never forgotten the surprise of discovering the beauty of this range.
The point being the rock formations and the terrain in the Dolomites are wildly different. Lush green valleys butt up against snow covered mountains that vary in appearance. Coupled with these valleys are often stunning alpine lakes such as Lago di Braies, which you see in the film below. We swam here after a day of hiking. Fortunately, it wasn't as chilly as the surrounding snow capped mountains might lead you to believe.
The Dolomites are culturally fascinating as well.
Much of the Dolomites were part of Austria before the first World War. In reparations after the war, Italy was given all of the Dolomites. A century later, there are those who still feel more Austrian than Italian and when in doubt, they all feel Tyrolian.
The two languages and cultures are ever present. One night you can eat a wonderful pasta dinner, the next you will have a choice of wienerschnitzel. For dessert there will be plenty of opportunities for gelato or strudel. You have the best of both culinary cultures.
In terms of accommodations, there are wonderful refugios atop some of these iconic mountains, and charming small mountain villages below like Cortina (the 2026 Winter Olympic site). And of course you can experience both. For instance, have lunch atop Piz Boe in the refugio, then sleep in the village of Passo Pordoi. You won't be lacking in choices or experiences.
The differing cultures, languages and yes terrain, make the Dolomites a true trip of exploration. The film below is one final look at the Dolomites. Enjoy.