Ten Photos to Inspire a Visit to the Dolomites

For legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, a man who has traveled everywhere to explore and climb the mountains of the world, the Dolomites of northern Italy remain the most beautiful  mountain range on the planet. He knows them well, after all: he was born in South Tyrol, which, along with the provinces of Trentino and Belluno, make up the area covered by these rocky pinnacles UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Site.

Vertical walls, sheer cliffs, deep and long valleys, alpine meadows, magnificent woods: all this natural beauty is best explored on foot. Given the vast extent of the Dolomites, some planning and advance reading is helpful – my recommendation is for “Shorter Walks in the Dolomites”, written by Italian mountains expert Gillian Price, and published by Cicerone Press, a U.K.-based outdoor activities guidebook publisher.

Complete with background and planning information, as well as photos and maps, “Shorter Walks in the Dolomites” features a selection of walks suitable for people of all abilities, from short 5km strolls to 20km full-day expeditions covering the entire Dolomites area. Each walk described in the guidebook can be completed in one day. All but two of the 50 walks start and finish at a point accessible by local transport.

Below are ten photos of different areas of the Dolomites, all featured in the guidebook. The best time to walk up and down the Dolomites is from June to October (winter time is sensational for winter sports and snowshoeing), so start planning! After all, as the guidebook’s opening quote states, “A traveler who has visited all the other mountain-regions of Europe, and remains ignorant of the scenery of the Dolomite Alps, has yet to make acquaintance with Nature in one of her loveliest and most fascinating aspects.” (John Ball, Guide to the Eastern Alps, 1868. Ball was the first to climb a major Dolomites peak, Monte Pelmo, in 1857.) 

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