Welcome to another post of Behind The Lens! In this section I will be writing a little guide about the places we visit. We travel with a tight budget so that means we have to prepare quite a lot before hand, and that also means that we are able to get to know quite a lot about the countries we visit so I thought that would be a nice idea to share it so you can benefit of it and hopefully save you time. I will include images, tips, hotels, restaurants, routes and many more. Also make sure you check the bold words together with the Tips section to get key information about your trip.
I really hope you enjoy it and find it useful!
For this trip I used the DJI Mavic Pro, but if you are in a tighter budged you should consider getting the Spark. On the other hand you should get the Mavic Pro 2 if you want to get the best results. The camera of choice is a Sony A7R for photos and Sony A6300 for video, together with Sigma 20mm 1.4 ART and Sony 50mm 1.8. Also I always bring with me the amazing DJI Ronin SC stabiliser for smooth videos. Check out the following links:
In the north of Italy, bordering with Austria, we find one of the most beautiful places on earth: THE DOLOMITES
Why do I say that? Have a look:
Not convinced yet? Keep reading…
This place is the dream of every traveller/photographer/trekker/human being in general, just in a few minutes you will be astonished by it’s dramatic landscapes and unique mountains.
We flew to Venice Treviso, probably that is the closest airport to the dolomites or at least the most convenient and cheap. From there we rented a car and drove towards the dolomites region. I would strongly not recommend to stay in the HOTEL AL LARIN. Why? Simply because the are not helpful at all. We had our reservation done for the first night. Our flight was at night and it takes around 2h to drive from Venice Treviso airport to Cortina D’ampezzo. The problem is that the flight was delayed so before we departed we contacted the hotel to let them know that we may arrive just after 12am, they replied saying that after 12am we would have to pay an extra £60! The price of the night was cheaper than this fee! We mentioned that we would be happy to pay a fee but we found that this price was excessive. As we did not expect to be late, we just wanted them to help us out. Their answer? They cancelled the reservation with no refund!!! So we had to book an airbnb in the area and as you may imagine that was quite stressful.
Moving forward, we spend out first night in an airbnb not far from the area for less than 40EUR (which is cheaper than the fee from the hotel), so the next morning we went to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo. This place is a must, as is one of the most iconic landscape of the Dolomites. The trek takes about 3h depending on where do you want to go. The entry fee is around 20EUR per car, and it is pretty easy to follow. You will be able to park and then walk from Rifugio to Rifugio where you will have toilets and Restaurants with local food. First you will walk to Rifugio Lavaredo and from there you must carry on till you border the 3 peaks until you reach Rifugio Locatelli, which is the main place here, from there you will have this view:
We spent there an hour or two, we ate there (excellent food) and took few pictures, then we headed back to the car through the same route. You could carry on walking forward so that will depend on how you plan your trip.
I have to mention that before we got to Tre Cime we stopped by Lago Misurina to take a picture. There is not much to see there, but is worth the picture, plus is not far from Tre Cime.
From there we went to another top location: Lago Di Braies (or Pragser Wildsee In German). We got there for the sunset and that was probably one of the most peaceful moments you can experience.
And that is key, because this place can be very crowded if you don’t choose the time right. You want to avoid the tourists, so by going there in the sunset you will avoid tourists and only few photographers will be there, plus you will be able to have the best views as the light is amazing. As a bonus, the sky was clear so we could see the top of the mountain painted orange (one of my favourite sights). Just you and nature.
You can park the car in the parking and it is not expensive, so you will need to walk for 3 minutes to the lake which is great.
You can literally border the whole lake but the best view is the one you get on the picture so again, will depend on your plans for the trip. Also during the day you can rent one of the boats which must be nice if you have time.
After we drove to our accommodation in Santa Magdalena, the hotel place was called Pension Sonia, a small but very nice hostel.
This location is perfect for one of the most known locations in the Dolomites, this is the Chiasetta di San Giovanni in Ranui. You can see there an old church guarded by the mountains.
If you get there that means you are very close to the mountains so there are so many different trekking routes to do in that area, so again, depending on how much time you have there you may want to stay longer.
But I would strongly recommend to go to Geisleralm. (Remember, every place i say you can copy and paste on Google Maps and will take you there)
You will need to park the car in a restaurant and walk for around 2h, the trek is not easy but doable for most of the people. But trust me, is worth it, one of the best places you will see; you will be walking uphill to get to the feet of these amazing mountains where you will find a valley.
You will eventually get to the Rifugio delle Odle, which is a very nice restaurant on top of the trek.
Once there, make sure to get a nice warm dish and spend there as much as you want, enjoy the views and rest a bit.
Our plan was to go to Seceda after but this place was so nice we stayed longer, maybe next time we will do Seceda. So instead we went to Seiser Alm. Our accommodation was the Hotel Genziana, highly recommended place as it is just perfect, with sauna, swimming pool, gym etc. Open your window and you have amazing mountain views and also views of this little town. It is the perfect place to treat yourself and rest after a few days of trekking.
Also you are a few minutes drive from another amazing place.
The seiser alm area is located in a very nice valley overlooking at different mountains but my favorite of all of them is the Sassopiatto. From the road you will see this very unique mountain and if you drive towards Saltner Schwaige Hutte you will have the best views.
You can find nice routes but as it is a valley, the best is to enjoy the views as there is not much more to do there.
Overall, there are not many places that beat the Dolomites in my opinion, feels like every 20min drive you have an amazing mountain that you could spend 1 month in each just exploring. Some of you prefer beach than mountain so maybe this won’t be your favourite place but still i am sure you will love it.
This was my 2nd time in the dolomites and we spent 3 days there; I would recommend to spend 5 – 7 days there, as there is so much to see and is not nice to rush in such a beautiful and peaceful place. I know you may fancy visiting Venice once you are there but in my opinion, that would be a mistake. I understand that if you have never been to Venice, you may want to go once you are there, so I would recommend to spend either a morning or an afternoon in Venice. It is a very small island and if you go in peak season it will be a literal nightmare, full of tourists. Also if you fly to Venice Treviso will save you an hour compared to if you travel to Venice Marco Polo Airport. They speak Italian, German and English so the language should not be a problem at all. I would recommend to book the hotels online (booking preferably) so that you will get the best deals.
Make sure you plan well in advance your itinerary as that will speed up your trip and you will be able to enjoy so much more than going there without planning, this is such an important factor for me. It may not be easy to spend time looking but trust me in that, you will enjoy much more, that’s why i recommend to start planning at least 4-5 months before the trip so you have plenty of time.
Many of the places will require entrance fee, which should not be very expensive but everything adds, also you won’t find any big city so you will need to buy your own food or go to restaurants.
Depending on the time of the year make sure you bring appropriate boots and clothes, you can never trust the mountain weather so is good to be prepared.
Do you want to see the video of the trip?