The Italian Dolomites are definitely one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world. With it's impressive, high peaks, the lush green meadows and picturesque blue lakes it is a dream location for a chilled out holiday and/or a landscape photography getaway. Lucky enough I had the chance to visit the Dolomites for the first time in my life in October 2017, which was also the peak time for autumnal colors.
Getting around in the Dolomites definitely requies a car or a motorbike. What else you need to pack depends on the type of holiday you are going for. If you are planning to be up high in the mountains it's always adviceable to bring warm clothes, sunglasses, enough water and GPS.
If you are going for a landscape photography trip I would suggest you to bring a sturdy tripod, a variety of lenses, neutral density filters and of course enough time! I have spent 8 days in the Dolomites which is still not enough to squeeze it all in.
Val di Funes
Needless to say that this location instantly blew me away.
Val di Funes is this picture postcard perfect landscape which you have probably seen before, if not, it's just about time. The location is easy to reach, easy to shoot and easy to fall in love with. It's best to visit in the late afternoon to catch the beautiful light painting the landscape and the mountain peaks but be warned that you will probably have to share the place with other photographers.
I would suggest a focal length of about 30-40mm and a set of filters to get the most out of this location.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Even though the 25€ fee to access the toll road which leads up to the car park seems quite high it's only a little amount to spend for what you get!
This location is incredible and an obvious choice for landscape photography. Tre Cime di Lavaredo is this amazing rock formation consisting of those 3 otherworldly looking peaks from which you have probably seen a few images on the internet already.
If you plan on visiting this location you should have about 6 hours spare. Rifugio Locatelli is a good choice if you plan on getting a great foreground element in your shot. A return trip takes about 3 hours.
I can highly recommend a visit in the late afternoon to catch sunset - an unforgettable experience!
The trek starts from the car park which is right beside Rifugio Auronzo. You continue the walk along a ridge towards Rifugio Lavaredo until you start the hardest part with Rifugio Locatelli as the final destination.
The route of the hike is easy to follow and not super exhausting. I would still suggest proper hiking boots and headlamps, if you plan to return back to the car during the night. A wide angle lens is recommended here as well as a lens with a low aperture if you want to shoot the milky way! (<F2.8)
Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies is one of these too-beautiful-to-be-true locations which can be found on nearly everyone's Instagram feeds but honestly doesn't fail to deliver.
The lake is super easy to access. There are two main parking sites to be found only 3-5 minutes away from the lake. Pragser Wildsee, which is the German name for the lake, is is surrounded by some incredible mountain peaks which make it look beautiful from any imaginable angle.
The most picturesque composition can be found just beside the boat house overlooking the entire lake with these stunning mountains in the background. I would advice you to be there as early as possible firstly to avoid the crowds and secondly to catch the sunrise which will, if you are lucky, reward you with the typical alpenglow.
Alpe di Siusi
These small wooden huts in front of that unbelievable mountain panorama make the perfect landscape scene which is difficult to be found elsewhere in the world.
Alpe di Siusi is not as easy to reach as it seems because throughout the whole year cars are only allowed to drive up to the car park before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. The parking fee is 17€. The walk from the car park is easy and as soon as you reach the place you know that it's worth every penny of the parking fee.
The place is best to be visited either in the morning or late in the afternoon for sunset. Walking along the paths should give you a feel for good compositions and is really a lot of fun.
Lago Di Antorno
Lago di Antorno is an absolutely beautiful location which is best to be visited in the early morning.
Since Lago di Antorno is located on the way up towards the Tre Cime National Park. The lake is not very big and offers a few interesting different angles with the mountain peaks in the background.
I really recommend you to take a short break and spend some time at this location.
Lago di Landro
Lago di Landro is super easy to access and a must stop for everyone who is driving through the Dolomites.
It's beautiful calm water reflects the big surrounding mountains perfectly. The best time to visit the lake is around sunrise time because the sidelight will beautifully light up the mountains in the background.
Make sure you are wearing proper boots when you intend to walk on the lakeside because the ground is quite muddy and wet feet are almost guaranteed.
Prato Piazza or Plätzwiese is a short, great drive away from Lago di Braies and offers spectacular views of the mountains while walking along the beautiful walking paths.
I haven't really seen a lot of photos before I went up there for the first time which actually made the whole experience even nicer. Prato Piazza is a great place with a big parking lot just a few minutes away from the footpaths.
Just a few more images from my last trip in 2017
Bonus Location: Lago di Lagazuoi
This lake is one of these places in the Dolomites which you won't need to share with lots of other people.
When we were there in October, we had the whole place to ourselves for more than 3 hours! The hike from the car park takes about 1,5 hours and is quite challenging with two very steep intersections. Definitely bring enough water, wear proper hiking boots and try to return before it's too dark.
The beautiful reflections of the surrounding mountains and the clear, green water of the lake is all worth it!