Paper and digital maps are great, but it don’t tell you about the places you are going. I mean, about the history, interesting sights on the way, other people’s opinions and advice. So I usually read about the place I’m going before the next hike or bike ride from these six main sources of information about the Dolomites.
Travel Websites and Apps
— There are many official and unofficial travel websites and apps of the Dolomites, where you can get a lot of information about a particular mountain range or the region of the Dolomites.
An example of an official website is Sanmartino.com, unofficial — Kunavithewriter.com.
You can use and trust both, if the last ones are great, too. Sometimes unofficial websites are even better and have much more information about the place, than official websites. And what is greater, they have the author’s personal opinion and advice, modern language, etc. Official websites have more formal information and language. Preparing for the next hike I usually use both sources.
Many official websites (and even some unofficial) have apps nowadays. So if you prefer to get information this way, you can download it before the hike. Check these apps of the official tourism websites of the Italian Alps:
- Sport: Dolomiti Superski for iOS, Dolomiti Superski for Android
- Valley: Alta Badia for iOS, Alta Badia for Android
- Region: Outdoor Trentino for iOS, Outdoor Trentino for Android
Guides and Books
There are also many guides to the Dolomites from locals and travelers. It can be paper books you can buy in a local bookstore or order at Amazon, ebooks, PDFs, and other formats. For example, the article you are reading is a part of the “Creative Guide to the Dolomites With Ready-to-go Hiking and Cycling Routes”. I’m the author.
There are less fiction and non-fiction books about the Dolomites, which are not guides, but they are also a great source of information and inspiration. I’m also preparing such a book called “The Trail I Paved. Labor and Days of a Mountain Keeper in the Dolomites”.
The problem with non-guide books about the Dolomites is that they are usually written and published in Italian and German languages only. The English book I’d like to recommend for sure is “The Pale Mountains” by Carl Felix Wolff. It consists of 15 legends, myths, and tails of Ladins — native people of the Dolomites.
Reports From Other Hikers
Before every hike to a new place in the Dolomites, I make quite Google research about real impressions and advice from real people, which are already hiked this route. They could be very useful, too. Usually, it could be found on any platform: unofficial personal travel websites, blogs, social networks, forums, and groups.
An example of such a website is my website again, but check also these ones:
- Dolomitici group in a Facebook is a great source of photo information and live reports;
- Altitudini blog about creative people in the Dolomites, books, films and so on (in Italian).
There is the same problem with it, that they are usually in Italian/German languages. But you can use some online translator. It is quite enough.
Advice From Locals
If I know some locals, you may ask him or her about ideas for hiking. For example, if you are planning to hike in Pale di San Martino, Vette Feltrino, or Lagorai, feel free to write me with a question or two . Asking people personally is also a great chance to meet a nice creative person and make friends with him or her. You can find such people on Google or social networks like Facebook and Instagram.
Official Tourist Offices and Info Points
Official tourist offices and info points (small offices sometimes with no workers in it, only paper materials and maps) could be found almost in every town or village in the Dolomites. There you can ask questions and advice on the place from the workers of these offices. They could give you advertising papers and books with schedules of events, sales, etc.
The last source of information about the Dolomites before you will step on a route and leave the civilization for some time is information stands. Usually, there is info stand in front of almost every such an office or info point. You can find there a big map of the routes in the local mountains with a lot of useful information. Sometimes these maps are very informative 3D maps. For example, like this one near the rifugio Locatelli in Tre Cime di Lavoredo Nature Park.
This is a great way for navigation in some new places. Usually, I make a photo of such a stand, and, together with reading the signs on the trail, it is enough not to get lost. Even without a map! I hiked like this in my first three big trips to the Dolomites: to Passo Falzarego, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and Marmolada. I didn’t have paper maps, and I didn’t have a smartphone at that time (2013).
Sometimes you can also find information stands on the routes.
Cover photo: © Ivan Kuznetsov.