Best Places for Photography in the Dolomites

the dolomites photography

A wilderness oasis, a hiker’s paradise, and a landscape photography playground, the Dolomites are a mountain range located in northern Italy, that spans three different regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, and Trentino Alto Adige.

Yes, you heard that right, the Dolomites cover quite a big area!

landscape photography dolomites

We always refer to this area as ‘the Dolomites’ as a whole, but the reality is that there are several mountain ranges within the larger Dolomites.

All the locations mentioned in this article are scattered throughout the Dolomites, from east to west and north to south – so prepare for some panoramic driving!

Read more: 7 Tips for Photographing Mountains

The weather and the seasons

Before getting into each specific location, information about the differences between the seasons and the weather is needed, as it may affect your trip in the area.

The Dolomites are, on average, a fairly cold place (even during the warm season) and most of the photography locations are at least 1500 meters above sea level, some up to 2500 meters. The differences between the four seasons are significant.


It’s considered high season as most of the villages in the Dolomites are popular ski resorts. It’s really cold (down to -20/-25°C), and most of the trails will be closed due to the snow.

It’s not really recommended for photography as you would miss out on 90% of the locations unless you are a very experienced winter hiker.

Read more: How to Use Cameras in Extremely Cold Temperatures


The spring season in the Dolomites is probably considered the lowest season of the year (from a photography perspective too).

The snow is melting, most of the trails and mountain huts are still closed, and nature still needs to “rise” again from the colds of the winter.

From a photography perspective, it is not the first season I’d recommend, as you will still find mostly wintry conditions up to late May.

Read more: Nature Photography Inspiration for Spring


This is one of the two seasons when the Dolomites really give their best from a photography point of view. Wildflowers bloom everywhere, lush green meadows, and the frozen lakes have finally melted. The trails are all open so that you are free to go explore wherever you’d like.

It’s considered high season, so expect crowds in some of the most popular spots – especially in late July and August when most Italians get their vacation days from work.

Days are quite long in summer, so make sure to pace yourself: sunrise will be around 5:20 AM, and sunset will be around 9:00 PM.

Read more: Golden Hour Photography – A Landscape Photographer’s Guide


The fall season is the second obvious choice when it comes to photography in the Dolomites. All around the area, you will find a species of conifer tree called “larch,” the only conifer that loses its needles in autumn and grows them back in spring.

landscape photography dolomites

These larches get an incredibly vibrant golden color when the fall season arrives and completely change the look of every location.

It’s not rare that photographers want to visit during both seasons (summer and autumn) as you will hardly recognize some locations at times!

The general pace of the trip is much more “enjoyable” than in the summer, as days are a lot shorter, with sunrises around 6:30/7 AM and sunsets around 6:30 PM.

Autumn is considered low season too, so if you’re not a fan of crowds, this will be the perfect option for you.

Read more: 8 Ways to Improve Your Landscape Photography Workflow

Best locations in the Dolomites for photography

Now that you know when to go, here are top locations to head to within the Dolomites for exceptional landscape photography.

1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo

It’s not possible to list the best locations in the Dolomites without starting with the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo: this is arguably the most recognizable scene, all over the world, of the Dolomites.

From a photography perspective, you could spend a full week photographing this specific location, as there are at least five different perspectives from which you can capture these mountains.

landscape photography dolomites

There’s a circuit trail that goes around them, and all across this trail, you will find the perspectives above: the one that you see in the above image is the most classic one and also the furthest from the parking lot (it will take you a bit less than two hours to reach this point, called Locatelli Hut).

If you don’t have enough time to do this longer hike, you can opt for some of the other options, as some only require 40 minutes of walking.

Pack your hiking boots, as some degree of hiking is needed if your goal is to shoot these peaks properly!

They can be captured both at sunrise and sunset, even if sunset is arguably a bit better, when the last light hits the peaks from the right (as you can see in the image above).

2. Cadini di Misurina

The Cadini di Misurina are an impressive range of peaks that you will find right on the opposite side of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo parking lot.

Instead of taking the ‘classic’ circuit trail around the Tre Cime, from the parking lot (at the Rifugio Auronzo), head south and take the only visible trail that, in about 30/40 minutes, will lead to a panoramic viewpoint over the Cadini di Misurina and the canyon underneath.

landscape photography dolomites

A truly incredible view.

The image you see here was taken in summer at sunrise; during sunset, you will get side light coming in from the right instead of the left. Both sunrise and sunset will work great if you are lucky enough to get some great light!

Read more: Why You Should Use a Telephoto Lens for Landscape Photos

3. Cinque Torri

Cinque Torri is definitely amongst the most peculiar and unique rock formations of the Dolomites. They are not far from the Tre Cime area (a 40-minute drive) and offer a multitude of different compositions.

You can reach them either via cable car to the Scoiattoli hut, with zero hiking involved, or by car by reaching the Cinque Torri hut and hiking uphill for 30 minutes from there.

The road to the Cinque Torri hut is not always open and is very narrow and steep – so for those who want to take it, be aware of these possible issues.

Cinque Torri dolomites

In summer, you get a range of beautiful wildflowers right below the hut, while in autumn, the few larches in the area will change their color to the usual burning yellow.

The image that you see here was taken at sunset during a really gloomy evening, but I actually prefer sunrise at this spot (at least in summer) since you get the sun peeking right in between the Cinque Torri, gifting you with a lovely sunstar.

Read more: How to Create Sun Stars in Landscapes and Avoid Lens Flare

4. Val di Funes – Santa Magdalena & San Giovanni in Ranui

The Santa Magdalena and San Giovanni in Ranui churches can both be found in the spectacular Funes Valley (Val di Funes), and they can be mentioned together since they are incredibly close to each other!

dolomites landscape photography

To reach the Santa Magdalena viewpoint, you will have to park your car in the dedicated parking lot and walk on a closed road for about 20 minutes (a bit uphill).

You can easily photograph the San Giovanni in Ranui Chapel without any walking involved, as there’s a parking lot right below the main viewpoint.

Both of these churches stand below the impressive Odle mountain range, and they both get the best light at sunset when the mountains get the golden light.

dolomites landscape photography

Unless you get particular sky conditions, sunrise is not recommended as the whole scene will be in the dark until late morning.

Read more: Where to Focus in a Landscape Photo

5. Alpe di Siusi

Another classic scene from the Dolomites is the wooden huts of the Alpe di Siusi with the stunning Sassolungo and Sassopiatto in the background. It doesn’t get much better than this!

To reach the classic viewpoint you see in the image below, you will have to park your car in Compaccio and walk on a limited-traffic road for about an hour.

the dolomites photography

Alternatively, you can stay in one of the hotels closer to this viewpoint which will grant you access to that limited traffic road, and you’ll be able to walk to the spot from your accommodation.

This is a location that works fantastically both at sunrise and at sunset: at sunrise, like you see in the picture here, you will get the sun rising in front of you (more to the left during summer, slightly out of the frame), while during sunset you will get the last light on the peaks.

It’s hard to pick a favorite because both are beautiful scenes!

Read more: How to Find Balance in Photography Compositions

6. Passo Giau

Back to the mountains near Cortina d’Ampezzo (called ‘Dolomiti Ampezzane’), the Giau Pass is surely one of the best locations in the area and will suit any landscape photographer.

This is a mountain pass, so you can drive all the way up to the top and there’s no hiking needed.

In summer, you will find plenty of rhododendron and other wildflowers in the meadows, and in autumn, you should bring a telephoto lens to capture some close-up shots of the forests below the pass in their foliage colors too.

Dolomites landscape photography

This is another location where it really doesn’t matter whether you come at sunrise or sunset: at sunrise, as you see from the image above, you get the sun peeking on the right and bathing the peaks with the first light.

At sunset you get the sun on the opposite side, giving you a backlit scene. Both situations work beautifully – you only need some luck with the weather!

Read more: How to Photograph Trees and Forests

7. Braies Lake

Another place that, for better or for worse, you can’t miss on your Dolomites trip is the Braies lake.

No matter what time of day you visit this location, brace yourself for crowds! For a few years now, during summer, they have limited access during the peak season (July/August), and you can only go up there by public bus during the day.

dolomites landscape photography

The best time for photography is arguably sunrise, not so much because of the light (you will get a faint side-light both during sunrise and sunset) but mostly because of the fewer people around: there will still be a number of photographers, influencers, and all sorts of shootings going on – but it will be possible to get some clean shots.

Autumn will be ten times better than summer – with much fewer people around and beautiful foliage colors all around the lake.

Read more: How to Improve Your Lake Photography

8. Sorapiss Lake

Sorapiss lake can be found close to Cortina d’Ampezzo. It’s a 20-minute drive, however you will then have to hike for approximately 2 hours to reach the lake itself. It’s one of those places that you have to conquer!

If you visit during the peak of the summer season, you need to start your hike early (or late), because you will definitely not be alone. Being such a popular place, it attracts people at all times of the day.

landscape photography dolomites

The turquoise water has made this lake so popular among photographers and tourists; it’s such an impressive sight!

This lake is nestled between some big peaks, which means it never really gets any golden light – all you can hope for is some beautiful clouds in the sky. For reference, the image you see here was taken during late afternoon, when the sun hits the mountain (il Dito di Dio) from the right side.

Read more: An Introduction to the Power of Colour Photography

9. Seceda

The views you get from Seceda are unlike anything else in the Dolomites: a 360° panorama over some of the most impressive peaks of the whole range, with the majestic Odle mountains standing tall right in front of you.

dolomites landscape photography

Seceda can only be reached by cable car, either from Ortisei (40€, you will arrive directly at the viewpoint, or five minutes from it) or from Santa Cristina di Val Gardena (20€, but you will arrive approximately 45 minutes from the top, and you’ll have to walk from there or take another cable car which sometimes can be closed).

The other option is to hike all the way up from downtown, but it will take you a good three hours if you are well-trained, or up to four and a half hours if you take it slow!

The sun will set at your back, so you will get the last light on the peaks, while it will rise straight in front of you. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a sunstar: both situations work great photography-wise, but I’d recommend sunset more than sunrise.

The cable cars will close well before sunset, so you either bivouac somewhere along the way down (or up, if you plan to go in the morning) or you just return back all the way down in the darkness.

In conclusion

The Dolomites are a fabulous area for landscape photography – but you definitely need to do some planning before arriving here.

Between cable cars, closed roads, and hiking paths, there are a ton of variables that might impact your trip, and you don’t want to leave them up in the air until the last second.

dolomites landscape photography

There’s not a specific “go-to” lens for the Dolomites as you will encounter all sorts of scenes – from the grand landscapes with the wide-angle, all the way to the intimate landscape with a super telephoto lens. So make sure to bring all of them with you.

Always remember to pack some water, a GPS, and some safety gear in case you go out for longer hikes – and be ready if the weather suddenly changes!

Visit Leonardo's website

Leonardo Papèra is a professional landscape photographer based in Tuscany, Italy with a deep love for all natural environments. After years of continuous exploration, from 2016 he leads photography workshops all-year round in several locations all across Italy, from Tuscany to the Dolomites, from Cinque Terre to Venice.

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