If you are a traveler, you are lucky. It is very easy to travel in the Dolomites by bus and sometime by train. From this article you will learn all basic and detailed information about these two main types of public transportation in the Dolomites.
How to Travel in the Dolomites by Train
— The main public transport in the Dolomites is intercity and city buses, but lets’ talk about trains first, because they are quite a few here. There are only:
- Trains from Feltre to Belluno
- Trains from Belluno to Calalzo di Cadore
- Trains from Borgo Valsugana to Trento
- Trains from Trento to Bolzano
- Trains from Bolzano to Brunico
You can find a timetable and buy a ticket on same web site Trenitalia for the region of Veneto and for Trento — Bolzano area in Suedtirolmobil.info — a single web site with a schedule of trains and buses in the South Tyrol region. Tickets can also be purchased on this site.
Now How to Travel in the Dolomites by Bus
The main bus companies in the Dolomites are three: Dolomiti Bus — runs in the province of Belluno in the Veneto region, Trentino Trasporti — runs in the same province and neighboring province Trentino in the autonomous region Trentino — Alto Adige/Suedtirol, and Sudtirolmobil, I mentioned before.
I’m very fond of buses in the Dolomites and I try to ride only them. However, the buses have their pros and cons:
You Will Like About Dolomites Buses (Pros)
- Buses in the Dolomites go to almost all settlements, even tiny villages.
- Publica transportation in Italy is inexpensive by European standards: for example, from Belluno to the foot of Tre Cime di Lavoredo you can go back and forth for around 75 euros.
- Buses are large and comfortable with huge always clean windows (you can admire the views).
- Buses in the Dolomites always ride on schedule with possible deviations in 5-10 minutes (this is Italy!).
- There are welcoming and experienced drivers from whom you can ask for advice about your journey. (But, they usually don’t speak English, so try to ask some locals in the bus too.)
Important to Know About Buses in the Dolomites (Cons)
- Some destinations may only have a couple of buses a day: early in the morning, mid-day, and late in the evening.
- Tickets for Dolomiti Bus and Trentino Trasporti cannot be bought online — they are sold only at ticket offices or from drivers.
- You can get sick on the serpentines.
- You have to do a lot of transfers: two or three on average. Usually, there are no direct buses from, for example, Belluno to Tre Cime.
- Timetables are very complex, with many sub-items that need to be carefully studied: some buses only travel during the school year, others — including or excluding Saturday, others — to certain cities and villages. And timetables change a lot. If you are late for one bus, it is likely that the whole route will collide and you cannot leave on the same day.
How to Plan a Trip on a Bus or Train
At Suedtirolmobil.info you can conveniently plan a route and buy tickets: you need to specify the departure and arrival city, travel date, and desired time. The Trentino Trasporti website also has an online planner, but you cannot buy a ticket. You need to buy it from the driver. Dolomiti Bus has an online planner and even a smartphone app that are very uncomfortable, it is better to use PDF timetables, which can be downloaded from the website in the “Orari” section (“Timetables”).
Attention: use only the current schedule up to date! It is updated twice a year: for summer (usually from 7-10 June to 11-14 September) and winter seasons (usually from 11-14 September to 7-10 June).
At Dolomiti Bus tickets can also be bought only from the driver or at the ticket office of the railway or bus station — in Italy, in small towns like Feltre or Belluno, they are the same or close to each other. In Feltre, opposite the station, there is a Dolomiti Bus office where you can buy a separate ticket or a group ticket.
As a result, if you learn how to combine the schedules of all three transport companies, you can travel the Dolomites on your own and get to any point in one-two days.
Prices or the Cost of Tickets for the Buses in the Dolomites, and Trains
There are many. The standard ticket on the route Feltre — Lamon, which I drive most often, costs 2.40 euros. In 2013, when I came here for the first time, the fare was 2.20 euros. So in six (!) years it rose by only (!!) 20 cents (!!!) The average cost tickets in Dolomiti Bus is 10 euros for 200 km. There are discounts for groups and weekly/monthly subscriptions.
Also important: before entering the bus or train, the tickets must be completed at the vending machine. There may be inspectors on routes, but they are rare.
What to do if there is no bus or train, or, rather, you missed it? You can also take a taxi from the train station. Taxis are expensive. For example, it’s 14 km to Lamon from Feltre, 20 minutes away. A taxi will cost 30-40 euros.
Cover photo by Ivan Kuznetsov.