Italy: The amazing Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Tre Cime di Lavaredo or Three Peaks or Drei Zinnen are one of the best-known mountain groups in the alps. Located in the Sexten Dolomites,  one of 3 areas of the Dolomites in Italy. The three peaks are:

  • Cima Piccola / Kleine Zinne (“little peak”)
  • Cima Grande / Große Zinne (“big peak”)
  • Cima Ovest / Westliche Zinne (“western peak”).

Normally I am not a fan of most popular places in a region but this is THE place in the dolomites that should not be missed. Due to fact that we traveled in the off-season (June) we hoped for fewer people. As the pass was closed we could not hike from Sexten directly. For that reason it was a one-hour drive from Sexten, which gave away already so many nice views on the mountains and even on the Tre Cime.

As we reached the Rifugio Auronzo we saw already a lot of cars and buses. This to the hope that there are fewer people in the off-season. Nether the less we paid the toll to drive up to the Rifugio, now we wanted to hike. Even with all the surrounding people. We choose to hike counterclockwise, as the most people do. But also clockwise is possible.

Name: Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Length: ~10 km (round trip)
Time: ~4-5 hours
Good to know: the place is really famous and for that reason crowded. Due to the wideness of the area still nice to hike. Be aware that due to latitude and elevation this is not a walk in the park and a basic fitness level is required.

Bear in mind that only in July and August the Dolomites are snow free. For us in June this meant that a lot of pass where still closed and even at this hike there was a lot of snow. Which was particularly tricky as it was at the beginning of the hike when we needed to hike downwards.

Where to park: It is possible to drive to the Rifugio Auronzo and park there. In order to get there a toll street had to be taken.

Tip: in case you do not want to take the toll street it is possible to hike from Sexten to the Dreizinnen hut.

Also, it is not possible to see the Tre Cime from the parking lot. At least 2 to 3 kilometers – no matter which direction – needed to be hiked in order to see parts of the Tre Cime.

Cost: toll for reaching the Rifugio Auronzo parking space.

Personal opinion: during the hike we met a senior hiking group that booked a hiking vacation in the dolomites for 2 weeks. This hike was the highlight of their trip and one guy kept saying. “Seeing once the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in his life, then he can die”. I mean I would not put it that dramatic but in one way he was right, the Tre Cime are really stunning and I can totally understand the fascination with this place. From my point of view totally recommendable to go there.

The overall hike is not technically challenging but it includes some real steep passages.

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