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Forums » Italy & Malta » Venice to Como via dolomites

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Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/soniacarlsson »

We have 10 days in northern Italy  booked for late September this year.....we plan on having three nights in Venice....then somehow navigate our way to the Dolomite region for maybe 3 nights and then onto Bellagio/Como for 3 nights.  Is this possible to do without a hire car and do you have any recommendations we need to consider.  We would love to experience a cable car ride somewhere like Ortisei but are open to other suggestions.  We're in our 60s and aren't huge treckers but do enjoy beautiful scenery and gardens. We acknowledge northern Italy is not a cheap destination however we need to be judicious in our choices.  Any feedback greatly appreciated

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RE: Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/mushroom »

I think it can be done with public transportation, but it will be complicated, since there is no train through the Dolomiti area itself, and I don't believe there is one bus that will get you from the east to Ortisei (or some other western town).  You can go by train from Venice to Belluno, but after that you'll need a series of bus connections.  For details of how to do that I would recommend that if no one here can help that you ask on the TripAdvisor message forums for Cortina d'Ampezzo and Ortisei. You might also try the Thorntree forum on Lonely Planet, because its participants tend to skew toward people on a tight budget, and they very often know how to ace all the bus schedules.

 

You might also look into the possibility of taking a train from Venice to Belluno, then a public bus to Cortina d'Ampezzo, and after that taking an all-day commercial coach excursion that travels the Grand Dolomites Road.  Such an excursion might get you all the way to Ortisei or Bolzano, with a lunch stop.  It will obviously not be anywhere near as cheap as the public bus, but might be worth the comfort. There is a train station in Bolzano, so from there you can keep going by public transportation to Lago di Como (it will be a full day of travel).  But again, I am not sure what is available, if anything, in the way of long coach excursions in that area. Never done it myself. (Another forum to try if you are interested: Rick Steves forum)

 

But unless you are really very averse to driving, you might reconsider the idea of getting a car.  You can rent one in Venice or Belluno and if you stay on the Grand Dolomites Road from Cortina d'Ampezzo to Ortisei, it is a beautifully engineered road that is not difficult or exhausting to drive.  You can do the entire road in less than a day, with stops for lunch and photo taking.  After a night or two in Ortisei, you can drop offf the car in Bolzano and take the train onwards, or continue with your car to take a scenic route to Lago di Como (but I have never done this, and don't know if the drive through those mountains is difficult).

 

Two other things I'll add: Late September is already outside the optimal time period for dry, clear days in the Dolomiti.  The risks for rain and overcast in the Alpine north mountains begin very early in September.  The spectacular unique peaks of these mountains -- which is what you are there to see -- can be completely invisible if there is a low cloud cover or rain. There is literally nothing to see.  Of course in some years the late September weather is picture-perfect, dry and clear. You just can't know.  If at all possible, book hotels with a great cancellation policy, and decide when you are in Venice if it makes sense to head to the Dolomiti given the immediate weather forecast.   Of course, if it is raining up there and you decide not to go, then you also need to have booked a Plan B itinerary to do instead.  Fortunately the train line between Venice and Milano is overloaded with beautiful historic towns, several with fascinating historic gardens -- the hardest part is chooosing.

 

Final thing is if you are using the train from Bolzano or Trento to head to Bellagio in Lago di Como, you can get leave the train in Bergamo and switch to a commuter train that will take you to Lecco on the eastern shore of Lago di Como. From Lecco you can take a ferry to Bellagio.  to work out the details for making connections, try the Tripadvisor forum for Bergamo.

 

Hope you have a great trip!  

 

 

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RE: Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/soniacarlsson »

Thankyou so much for your feedback.....very sound information for us to consider.  Should we decide to "wing it" from Venice, would we be naive in choosing to arrive in Ortisei without pre-booking  accommodation at that time of year?

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RE: Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/mushroom »

When I visited the Dolomiti in the second week of September, I was surprised at how much had already gone to sleep for the season.  Some restaurants were closed and some hotels that ordinarily serve lunch and dinner to guests were open for accommodations but not meals.  That makes me think you won't need reservations.  But I would ask more people than me -- especially since I did not stay Ortisei but in Cortina d'Ampezzo and Corvara, Now that I think about it, when I passed through Ortisei, looking to have lunch, I decided to not to stop because the town was filling up with participants in a oompah-band contest, coming in on big buses. It's possible a lot of them spent the night, filling up hotels.

Generally when I road trip without reservations I use Booking.com to book someplace just the night before I arrive in my next town -- so I don't arrive in town cold, with no place to stay.  But when I road trip, I usually don't know where I'm going (I make it up on the road) -- so if you know in a few months that you will want to go to Ortisei and sleep there, you might as well book something you can cancel.  I would think that it would be easy to find on Booking.com a hotel with a free 24-hour cancellation policy. (One thing to think about is that if you travel by public transport is that if you have nothing booked when you arrive, you'll need to haul your own luggage around while you look for lodgings, or leave one of you sitting somewhere watching over it while the other looks).  

 

Something to nail down in advance is when cable cars start closing down for maintenence. My guess is that the end of September is still OK, that the maintenence closures start later, but I think it varies from town to town. Hotels and the tourist offices always know, so you might want to inquire by e-mail later this year, when it is no longer ski season (try early May) but before the summer tourist season starts in June.  Online info is not always accurate. 

 

 

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RE: Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/soniacarlsson »

Thanks again mushroom for your input....I have seen on forums/blogs that a few places continue to operate through to October.....good tip to contact directly too....Btw.....don't know why you're called mushroom as you're certainly not kept in the dark nor have anything to do with b******t.  We really appreciate you taking the time to comment..

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RE: Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/mushroom »

have a great trip! Hope the weather works out for you to see the Dolomiti -- but if not they will still be there for a long long time.  I can't remember now why I picked 'mushroom'.  Probably something as mundane as what kind of pasta dish or risotto I was making for dinner when I signed up.  It will be mushroom season when you are traveling through northern Italy, and they are a great treat. 

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RE: Venice to Como via dolomites

by /bio/soniacarlsson »

Love mushrooms......now you've got me really eager to get there...

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