Where to stay in Dolomites without a car: 9 Best areas

In this article, we will look at Where to stay in Dolomites without a car? I will share with you what I believe are best areas to stay in Dolomites without a car (including map), where I stayed in Dolomites, and the best hotels for all budgets.

You do not necessarily need a car to get around the Dolomites. The Dolomites are a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, and there are various ways to explore the region without a car including public transportation, hiking, biking, walking, and guided tours.

The Dolomites are well-served by public buses and trains. You can take a train to major towns like Bolzano, Brixen, or Trento and then use local buses to reach smaller villages and hiking trailheads. 

The DolomitiBus network connects many towns and is a convenient way to travel within the region. It is efficient and offers a scenic way to travel through the region.

The Dolomites are famous for their cable cars and gondolas, which can take you up into the mountains. These are often used by hikers and skiers to access trails and slopes. They can be found in popular areas like Val Gardena, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and Alta Badia.

If you plan to explore the natural beauty of the Dolomites on foot, there are numerous hiking trails and paths that you can access without a car. Many trailheads are accessible by public transportation or by walking from your accommodation.

The Dolomites have a network of mountain refuges (rifugi) that offer accommodation and dining options. You can hike between these refuges, making it possible to explore the area on foot without needing a car.

Joining guided tours or excursions is another way to experience the Dolomites without a car. These tours provide transportation and take you to some of the most scenic spots in the region.

If you enjoy cycling, you can rent bicycles in some Dolomite towns and use them to explore the area. There are also dedicated cycling routes and trails in the region.

While it’s possible to explore the Dolomites without a car, having a car can provide more flexibility and access to some remote areas. Keep in mind that driving in the mountains can be challenging due to narrow, winding roads, so it’s important to be comfortable with mountain driving if you choose this option.

Additionally, some areas may have restricted access for private vehicles during certain times of the year to protect the environment.

Where to stay in Dolomites without a car?

The best areas to stay in Dolomites without a car are Ortisei/ Val Gardena, Cortina d’Ampezzo, San Candido/ Alta Pusteria, and Corvara/ Alta Badia, La Villa/ Alta Badia, San Cassiano/ Alta Badia, Bolzano (Bozen), Canazei, and Brixen (Bressanone).

These areas are very well-connected to public transportations. Remember to check the local transportation schedules and options as they can vary depending on the season. 

Additionally, to secure the best options for your stay, book your accommodations in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons (June – September in summer and  December – March in winter).

During my trip to Dolomites with no car, I stayed for 5 nights at Hotel Garni Snaltnerhof, a 3-star family-run hotel, located in the center of Ortisei. It is conveniently located within walking distance from the bus stop to Selva di Val Gardena, as well as a short walk to the lifts to Seceda and the Seiser Alm.  

While in Ortisei, I took the Ortisei-Furnes gondola and Furnes-Seceda cable car to Seceda and spent a day hiking to the Rifugio Firenze. I also took a day trip to Alpe di Siusi, used the Mont Sëuc gondola to the top, and the Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway to the bottom.

Map of the best areas and neighborhoods in Dolomites without a car:

Map of the best areas to stay in Dolomites without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Dolomites without a car

Let’s get into the details of the best areas to stay in Dolomites, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area, how to get around, as well as the best things to do and some suggestions of the best places to stay in each area for every budget.

9 Best areas to stay in Dolomites without a car:

1. Ortisei/ Val Gardena

Ortisei, also known as St. Ulrich in German, is one of the best places to stay in Dolomites without a car without a car. It is one of the main towns in Val Gardena valley, in the heart of the Dolomites and is easily accessible by air, train, and car (of course!).

The closest airports to Ortisei are Bolzano, Innsbruck, Verona, Bergamo, Venice, Munich, and Milan. The closest train stations to Ortisei are Bolzano, Bressanone, and Ponte Gardena. From these locations, you can take a bus or taxi to your accommodation in Ortisei.

Once in Ortisei, you can use cableways to visit Seceda, Alpe di Siusi, and Resciesa Plateau, as well as local buses to visit other towns and attractions including the Santa Cristina, Selva di Val Gardena, the Gardena Pass, Sella Pass, and Pordoi Pass.

Most hotels in Val Gardena will give you a free Val Gardena Mobil Card for the length of your stay! The card allows you to travel on free public buses around the region such as to Alta Badia, Bolzano, the villages of Selva, Santa Cristina, and Ortisei.  

Consider buying a Gardena Card and Dolomiti Supersummer Card if you want to use Val Gardena cable cars frequently. You can save lots of money on these cards!

The town is easily explored on foot with plenty of shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and wine bars where you can sample delicious South Tyrolean cuisine and purchase local handicrafts and woodwork.

Ortisei is also known for its wood carving tradition, and you can find many shops and artisans crafting intricate wooden sculptures and products. The town is home to several museums and cultural events that showcase this artistic heritage.

Ortisei is situated in the South Tyrol region of Italy and is known for its alpine architecture, charming streets, and a rich cultural heritage that reflects both Italian and Austrian influences due to its location in a bilingual region.

Visitors to Ortisei and the surrounding Val Gardena have access to numerous hiking trails that lead to alpine meadows, forests, and breathtaking viewpoints. In the winter, the area transforms into a popular skiing destination with access to hundreds of kilometers of ski slopes and cross-country skiing trails.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in Ortisei/ Val Gardena without a car:


2. Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a great location to stay in Dolomites without a car as it is easily accessible by bus, only 2 hours by bus from Venice. It is a picturesque town situated in the Veneto region of Italy, in the province of Belluno, in the heart of the Dolomite Mountains.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is  a well-developed resort town with a good selection of hotels, restaurants, shops, and services. It’s known for its upscale amenities and luxurious accommodations.

Cortina’s central location offers easy access to Lago Federa, Lago di Sorapis, as well as the Cinque Torri,  Lago di Braies, and Mondeval Plateau.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. You can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in the winter months. The area boasts numerous trails and routes suitable for various skill levels.

Cortina is renowned for its world-class ski resorts and has hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956. The town and its surrounding areas offer excellent skiing opportunities in the winter, with numerous ski slopes and cross-country skiing trails.

In addition to its natural beauty, Cortina d’Ampezzo has a charming town center with a mix of Italian and Austrian influences. There are also cultural attractions such as museums, churches to explore including the Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum and the Basilica dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo church.

Cortina offers a range of shops and boutiques selling outdoor gear, luxury fashion, and locally made handicrafts. It’s a great place to find high-quality outdoor equipment and fashion items.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in Cortina d’Ampezzo without a car:


3. San Candido/ Alta Pusteria

San Candido, also known as Innichen in German, is one of the main villages in Alta Pusteria (the Land of Three Peaks). Other towns in the regions are Braies, Villabassa, Dobbiaco, Brunico, and Bressanone.

San Candido is a lovely town and is well-connected to the bus system, making it one of the best areas to stay in Dolomites without a car.

San Candido is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists. Three Peaks (Tre Cime di Lavaredo), three rock formations, are one of the most famous landmarks in the Dolomites. They offer a stunning backdrop for hikers and photographers.

San Candido itself is a charming town with a rich history. You can explore its historic center, visit local churches, and enjoy the Alpine culture and cuisine.

The region boasts several nature parks, including the Tre Cime Natural Park and Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park, where you can experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the Dolomites.

There are many spa and wellness facilities in and around San Candido, allowing visitors to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of outdoor activities.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in San Candido/ Alta Pusteria without a car:


4. Corvara/ Alta Badia

Corvara, also known as Corvara in Badia or Corvara in Alta Badia, is a picturesque village located in the heart of the Dolomites. It is part of the Alta Badia region, which is known for its stunning alpine landscapes, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a rich blend of Italian and Ladin culture.

Corvara is located 40 km from Brunico (Bruneck) railway station and 60 km from Bressanone (Brixen) station. You can take SAD local coach services or taxis to Corvara.  

In the summer season, the area has the free bus service called Corvara-Calfosch Express running between Corvara and Colfosco, stopping by main areas with the ski lifts in order to give you a chance  to move around without a car.

The village is surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, with the Sella Group and the Puez-Odle Nature Park nearby. 

Corvara is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. It’s part of the Alta Badia ski area and is connected to the Sellaronda ski circuit. This makes it a hub for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

In the summer, Corvara offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and paragliding. The surrounding trails and natural beauty make it a paradise for nature lovers.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in Corvara/ Alta Badia without a car:


5. La Villa/ Alta Badia

La Villa, also known as La Villa in Badia or La Ila in Ladin, is another picturesque village in the Val Badia (Badia Valley), which is known for its stunning alpine landscapes and rich Ladin culture.

In the winter, the area becomes a popular ski destination, with access to the Alta Badia ski resort. Nearby nature reserves like Puez-Odle and Fanes-Sennes-Braies offer protected environments for flora and fauna. Hiking in these areas allows you to immerse yourself in pristine alpine landscapes.

You can also visit the historic center of the town with attractions such as The Ciastel Colz castle, and 16th century church dedicated to Saint Maria ad Stellam.

The Ladin Museum, located in San Martino in Badia nearby, is an excellent place to learn about the local culture. 

Best places to stay in Dolomites in La Villa/ Alta Badia without a car:


6. San Cassiano/ Alta Badia

San Cassiano, along with La Villa and Corvara, is a lovely village located in the Alta Badia region, and is one of the great places to stay in the Dolomites.  

The nearest major airport is in Innsbruck, Austria, which is about a 2.5-hour drive away. Other nearby airports include Venice and Verona. The region is accessible by road and is well-connected by bus and shuttle services.

There are various accommodation options in San Cassiano and Alta Badia, including hotels, chalets, and guesthouses. Many of these offer stunning mountain views.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in San Cassiano without a car:


7. Bolzano (Bozen)

Bolzano, known as Bozen in German and Italian, is a great base in Dolomites without a car. It is well-connected by rail and road, making it a gateway to the Dolomites and other scenic destinations in the region. It also has an airport, Bolzano Airport, which offers domestic and international flights.

It is the capital of the South Tyrol region (Trentino-Alto Adige in Italian), which is an autonomous province in Italy with a significant German-speaking population. Bolzano is located in the Alps and is known for its stunning natural surroundings, including the Dolomite Mountains.

Bolzano is a bilingual city where both Italian and German are official languages due to its location in South Tyrol. You will find street signs, government documents, and services in both languages.

Bolzano boasts several historical and cultural attractions, including the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, where Ötzi the Iceman, one of the oldest and most well-preserved mummies ever discovered, is on display.

Bolzano is part of the South Tyrol wine region and is known for its vineyards and winemaking traditions. The city’s cuisine features a mix of Italian and Austrian influences, with hearty dishes like knödel (dumplings) and speck (smoked ham).

Bolzano is famous for its charming Christmas market, which is one of the largest and most picturesque in Italy. It features stalls selling traditional crafts, festive treats, and holiday decorations.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in Bolzano (Bozen) without a car:


8. Canazei/ Val di Fassa

Canazei is a picturesque town located in the Trentino region of northern Italy. It is part of the Val di Fassa, a valley known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Canazei is one of the best areas to stay in the Dolomites with no car as it is accessible by road and is well-connected to other major towns and cities in the region. It’s approximately 45 kilometers from the city of Trento.

Canazei is a popular tourist destination, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts. The town serves as a gateway to the Dolomiti Superski area, one of the largest ski areas in the world. 

In the winter, visitors come here for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. In the summer, it’s a hub for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.

The town offers a range of accommodations, from hotels to chalets, to cater to the needs of tourists visiting for both winter and summer activities.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in Canazei without a car:


9. Brixen (Bressanone)

Brixen, also known as Bressanone in Italian, is one of the best occasions to stay in Dolomites for car-free travelers. It is conveniently situated, making it a gateway to explore the beautiful South Tyrol region and the Dolomite Mountains.

Brixen is a charming town located in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy. It is the third-largest town in South Tyrol and is situated in the Eisack Valley (Valle Isarco) in the Dolomites, a stunning mountain range in the Italian Alps.

Brixen has a rich history dating back to Roman times when it was known as “Augusta Vindelicorum.” It later became an important religious and cultural center during the Middle Ages. The town has a picturesque historic center with well-preserved medieval architecture.

Brixen is known for its historical role as a bishopric (bishop’s seat) and is often referred to as the “Bishop’s Town.” The Brixen Cathedral (Brixner Dom) is a prominent landmark in the town and is known for its stunning Gothic architecture.

Brixen is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including the Dolomites, which offer excellent opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. The nearby Plose mountain is a popular destination for both summer and winter sports.

In addition to the cathedral, Brixen has several other attractions worth visiting, including the Hofburg (Bishop’s Palace), the Pharmacy Museum, and the picturesque town square. The surrounding region offers many opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking trails to skiing resorts.

Best places to stay in Dolomites in Brixen (Bressanone) without a car:


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In conclusion, Ortisei/ Val Gardena, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alta Pusteria,Alta Badia, Alta Badia, Bolzano, Canazei, and Bressanone are the best places to stay in the Dolomites without a car. They are all easily accessible by public transportation, making them great bases for a car-free holiday in the Dolomites.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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