In partnership with Auto Europe
I recently just got back from an amazing two and a half weeks adventure in Italy. Italian summers are gorgeous, with wildflowers all around and seemingly endless things to be conquered. If you were interested in doing a similar trip, I have put together an itinerary of all my favourite spots, with details about my experience and other helpful tips.
Due to our interest in spending the majority of our time in the Dolomites, we flew into Milan. It is a lot easier to get around Italy by car, as many locations are spread out. Auto Europe makes renting a car easy as they connect you to a variety of rental companies, to help you make the best choice! Now that we got the transportation information out of the way, let's talk about my trip.
Alpe di Siusi
Alpe di Siusi was one of my favourite places to explore. If I had to use one word to describe this place it would probably be “wonderland” or maybe “fairytale”. June was a perfect time to visit as the meadows were covered in pockets of yellow wildflowers as you can see in the first image above.
We visited Alpe di Siusi for sunrise. I believe one common misconception about Alpe di Siusi is that it is a “drive-up” spot where you can drive your car, get out, and start taking photos. Although there are technically roads that go into Alpe di Siusi, you aren’t allowed to use them unless you are staying in one of the hotels in the area or you get permission from one of the homeowners. Not to worry though because you can easily walk in. There is a parking lot in a small village called Compaccio, that you can use. It is about a 45-60 minute walk to the iconic meadow. It was a pretty simple road to follow, long as you keep in the Sassolungo peaks to the right of you. Put this place down at the top of your list.
Lago di Braies
Lagos di Braies is one of the most popular lakes in Italy. Before visiting this place I heard how it was overcrowded. Although it was definitely busy, the stunning turquoise watercolor made it all worth it. We loved the lake so much that we went twice! The second time we rented out a wooden boat to get another perspective of the lake. I believe the boathouse opens at around 9:00 am. Make sure that you get there early as the lineup for boats grows quickly! You can rent the boats for 30 minutes or 60 minutes for 15€ and 25€ respectively.
The best time to visit this lake is for sunrise! Due to its easy accessibility, the shoreline gets pretty busy and you’ll be walking around a couple of tripods for sure. You can park at the hotel by the lake, which was about 7€ ($10CAD) for about two hours worth of time. I believe there is a shuttle service that runs from Villabassa if you don't want to pay for parking or don’t have a car.
I figure since I've talked about two very popular spots thus far, I should mention one that isn't as popular. I'm sure some of you have heard of Gardena Pass before, it is one of the many mountain passes located in the Dolomite area. It is the perfect spots to catch sunset, sunrise or even a bite to eat. An awesome part of mountains passes is that there are usually many trails that you can go off and explore on. The best time to visit these places is the evening or early morning as there will be significantly fewer people.
Lago Di Sorapis
Lago di Sorapis is an awesome hike near the town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. It is about 13km (roundtrip) with roughly 130m of elevation gain. It can be completed in around 3-4 hours. The best part about the hike is the bright blue lakes and the towering Punta Sorapiss mountain that stand at the back of the lake. When we arrived at the lake we couldn’t help but take a couple of minutes to admire the beauty of this location, the bright blue color of the water reminds me a lot of the lakes back here in Canada.
There is plenty of parking along the side of the road near the trailhead. We started the hike in the late afternoon as we intended to catch sunset up at the lake. Make sure to bring a headlamp up with you as the trail gets quite dark once the sun went down. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, there are couple semi-exposed sections, where there are cables that you can hold onto although I wouldn’t say it felt dangerous at all. Alternatively, if you wanted to catch the sunrise here, you can stay at the Rifugio Vandelli for the night if you don’t want to hike up. This is a must-do hike.
Terme Di Saturnia
After visiting many hot springs in Washington, Utah, and Oregon, Terme di Saturnia hands down is one of the most unique hot springs I've been to. Terme di Saturnia is located in the quiet little countryside between Florence and Rome. The hot springs are completely free, but show up early to beat the crowds. We went just before sunrise so that we would be able to catch the golden light as it came over the horizon. Even at these early hours, there was still a good amount of people. Although I have nothing but good things to say about this place, there were hundreds of little red worms in the waters. I am not exactly sure what they are, but they are harmless (I think).
Looking for an easy hike to do in the Val di Funes area? After stopping by at the iconic Chesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui church make sure you head up to do the Geisleralm hike. It is a short 9 km hike via the Adolf Munkel trail. After hiking for about 2 hours you’ll arrive at a beautiful meadow. During the day you can stop to grab food and drinks at the Gschnagenhardt Alm or Dusler Alm mountain huts. We did this hike for sunset so unfortunately the huts were already closed. After completing this hike I instantly fell in love with the Dolomites.
Tre Cime Di Lavaredo
The final spot on my guide is a hike located right near the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo area. I am not sure what this hike was called but I am sure you have seen a picture of it before. We set out on this hike for sunset. The hike starts at the Rifugio Auronzo parking lot. This area can get rather crowded in the day time, so be prepared. From the parking lot, you’ll be able to see these stunning jagged peaks off in the distance and a well-developed trail that leads to them. The trail takes about 30 minutes to complete with minimal elevation gain. The best part is you can see the mountains the whole time so you can use them as a guide.
So that concludes my guide to Italy, I hope you found this helpful and that you feel inspired to visit this beautiful country. After visiting countless places over the years, Italy is definitely in my top 3. If you were looking for more information about our car rental services you can check out the Auto Europe website.
Till next time, thanks for listening…