Okay, that was a joke. Teleportation would be the best way to get to the Dolomites: you don’t have to waste time on preparation and the trip itself. A couple of seconds, and you’re here. The hyperloop by Elon Mask looks a little like a teleportation, but it hasn’t even been launched in California or somewhere in Europe yet. So for now, you can get to the Dolomites in more familiar, but many other ways: airplane, train, bus, car, transfer, hitchhiking or a bicycle. Cruise liners we do not take. If you travel to Italy by water, you probably won’t have time for a trip to the mountains.
Closest Cities (Intro)
— If to speak about my home mountain valley Feltrino and its capital city of Feltre — one of the so-called “doors to the Dolomites” — the biggest and most popular tourist cities close to Feltre are:
- In the south: Treviso (58 km), Vicenza (77 km), Padua (89 km), Venice (102 km), Verona (137 km).
- In the west, it is Trento (80 km), but it’s already a mountain town, so you will need to go to Trento from the plain. The closest cities to Trento is Vicenza and Verona. A little further west of Feltre is Brescia (199 km), Bergamo (246 km), and Milan (298 km).
- In the east, it is Udine (159 km). A little further is the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana (298 km).
- In the north, it is Bolzano (133 km), which is accessible from Innsbruck and Munich. The distance to Feltre via Bolzano is 252 km and 408 km respectively.
Accordingly, if you are traveling from another region of Italy, border or distant country, you must fly to one of these cities by airplane or ride by bus, train, or car.
Closest Airports to the Dolomites
The largest airports close to the Dolomites with domestic and international airlines are:
- Marco Polo Airport in Venice (VCE),
- Aeroport Treviso A. Canova in Treviso (TSF),
- Villafranca (Valerio Catullo) Airport in Verona (VRN)
- Milan Bergamo Airport (Il Caravaggio Orio al Serio Airport) in Bergamo (BGY),
- Malpensa Airport in Milan (MXP),
- Trieste Airport in Trieste (TRS) — there is no airport in Udine,
- Innsbruck Airport in Innsbruck (INN),
- Munich International Airport in Munich (MUC).
Further from these cities, you can get to the Dolomites by the six left types of public and personal, or rented transportation: train, bus, car, transfer, hitchhiking or a bicycle.
Traveling to the Dolomites by Train
Firstly, the are trains to the Dolomites. Secondly, there are just a few train lines. The easiest way to get to the Dolomites by train is to travel to Feltre from Venice, Treviso and Padua in the south of the Alps by Trainitalia trains. Tickets to Feltre cost 8–25 euros, depending on the city. It will take 3-3.5 hours to travel.
Important: if you go from Venice you will need to change the train from one to three times in Padua, Castelfranco Veneto and Montebelluna. (Read more in the article “How to Travel in Italy by Train“.)
Also there is a train from Venice to Belluno in the summer season with a stop in a nice Italian town Conegliano.
To Trento, another “door to the Dolomites”, you can get by the same Trenitalia trains from Vicenza and Verona.
From the north you get to the Dolomites by train to another capital city, Bolzano, from Innsbruck and Munich, as well as from the south from Vicenza and Verona via Trento.
Dolomites Bus Companies
If you would like to travel to the Dolomites by bus from another country, for example, from Munich and Innsbruck, the best way to do it is by FlixBus. You need to travel to the same towns of Trento or Padua (you don’t need to go to Venice), and from there by bus or train to the Dolomites. I went like this last spring and liked the trip very much. The trip costs 30-40 euros if you buy the ticket in advance. It’s about 7-8 hours to Trento or Padua. For trips from other cities check the FlixBus routes map.
Then, you can change it to the local bus, if you don’t like to travel by train. For example, there is a bus to Trento from Verona, rounding Lake Garda (but you don’t seen the lake, because it goes not along the coast).
In the Dolomites you can travel by two main bus companies: Dolomiti Bus and Trentino Trasporti. As as by trains, but they are not so common, there are just a few lines. Read the article “How to Travel in the Dolomites by Bus and Train“.
Shuttle Bus to the Dolomites
During the winter and summer season there are some shuttle buses to/from the Dolomites, or express buses. You can get to the mountains from Venice, Verona and Milan with a direct bus. Such a buses to the popular ski resorts or summer resorts.
Traveling to the Dolomites by Car
There are car rental offices in all the cities mentioned above. But consider traveling by public transport, as do all travelers and local people who do not have cars or tourists who do not want to rent them. It’s more environmentally friendly.
Best Dolomites Transfer
It is also possible to order a private transfer from a transfer company. There are many of them both in the cities like Venice or Verona, and in the Dolomites. You can easily find one or two of them on the Internet, compare the price and choose the company. There is one company in my home town Lamon, the one I use and recommend — Oltra Service Auto.
Hitchhiking in the Dolomites
Hitchhiking is another good old way to get to the Dolomites. In general, in Italy hitchhiking is prohibited if you try to catch a car on a busy highway. I don’t recommend traveling that way, you can be taken to the police like it happened once to one of friends, a Russian travel blogger. Instead of hitchhiking, I recommend using BlaBlaCar. It’s an service where you can agree on a trip in advance. It’s very popular everywhere in Europe.
But closer to the Dolomites — starting somewhere from the city of Castelfranco Veneto or Montebelluna, as well as in the mountains — you can hitchhike around the Dolomites easily. Hitchhiking in the Dolomites is good. Drivers willingly and with interest take fellow travelers — especially between small and sparsely populated towns and villages. There are many cars.
I often hitchhike on the way to or from the mountains, because it is not always possible to plan a trip so that you can catch the bus. Hitchhiking is easy to get to know friendly locals and get to know the country better by them.
Traveling to the Dolomite by Bicycle
It is possible. But hard.
This is because there are no straight roads in the Dolomites, you’ll always have to go either up or down. Altitude differences can be up to 1000 meters or more in a day.
However, the Dolomites are a popular destination for cycling. The most famous among cyclists is from Munich to Venice. The part of this road is famous Via Claudia Augusta road.
Going Back (Conclusion)
You can return home the same way you get to the Dolomites. Or, for example, fly to Munich and fly away from Venice, to travel all the Dolomites through. Or the other way around.
Another thing to know is that the Dolomites are so beautiful, hospitable, and authentic that you may want to stay here, too, like it happened to me in 2013. I like to repeat a phrase about my native Karelia and the North that this is a travel with one ticket, because of the same reasons. So, in my case, maybe, to the Dolomites too. There are journeys in life that you can (and should) make only once in a lifetime. So be selective and be brave at the same time.
Cover photo: view on mount Avena, 1439 m, from the Vette Feltrino mountains in the National Park of Belluno Dolomites © by Ivan Kuznetsov.