Driving the Dolomites | 5 epic mountain passes

The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. Spread in the regions of Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In August 2009, the Dolomites have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Undoubtedly, this area is a paradise for winding roads. We’ve collected our favourites so far.
Here is the list of 5 epic drives in the Dolomites. Drive Safe!

1. Sella Pass | 2218 m
This high mountain pass between the provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol connects the Gardena Valley and Fassa Valley. 
There are a few observation points at several angles from which you can see the power of nature all around.
Many hiking trails offer you to explore the whole area on foot.

The Sella pass, also known as Sellajoch in German or Passo Sella in Italian, is a perfect combination of the pleasure of driving and admiring an increasingly fascinating landscape. However we highly recommend also to stop by and at least one of the hikes.

2. Rolle Pass |1989 m
The Rolle Pass or Passo Rolle in Italian, is located in Trentino and connects the Fiemme and Primiero valleys. The pass road was built between 1863 and 1874 when the area still belonged to Austria. The pass lies within the Parco Naturale Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino.

Along the road, one can admire the peak of the Cimon della Pala, with a tiny chapel in sight. On the top, there is a huge parking place and a few spots for coffee/snack break. However many of the lovely shops and restaurants are not open all year round. 

3. Passo delle Erbe | 2006 m
Known also as Würzjoch in German, is a mountain pass in the province of South Tyrol which connects the Eisack Valley with Badia Valley.
The pass road is in good condition, but narrow and closed in winter. On the south side, the road is open during winter up to the Plose ski resort.

With a maximum gradient of up to 10%, the Passo delle Erbe offers a scenic ride through. With many beautiful stops to enjoy a majestic view of the Odle group – famous mountain massif of the Dolomites.

4. Gardena Pass | 2136 m
Passo Gardena is a high mountain pass in the Dolomites of the South Tyrol which connects the valley of Gardena and Badia.
From the summit but also while driving up, one can admire breathtaking panoramas, including the famous Sella Ring, in which four linked passes (Gardena, Sella, Pordoi, and Campolongo) encircle the spectacular Sella group.

The route becomes busy with tourists, motorcyclists, and cyclists from late Spring until early Autumn. There are restaurants and huts on the pass itself, to allow hikers access to the dramatic Dolomite mountains also by sunrise or sunset.
Men’s World Cup alpine ski races are held annually in mid-December on both sides of the pass, with a downhill at Val Gardena and the classic Gran Risa giant slalom at Alta Badia.

5. Giau Pass | 2236 m
This pass is located at the center of a vast mountain pasture at the foot of Nuvolau (2,574 m) and dell’Averau (2,647 m) from which you can easily reach the Monte Pore (2,405 m). Impressive views west towards Colle Santa Lucia allow you to admire also famous Marmolada, the highest mountain of the Dolomites.

The road that goes up from Selva di Cadore has many curves and 3 tunnels for protection against avalanches, while the side towards Cortina is more easily passable. However, despite the efforts made over the years, the winter season is often compromised by the avalanches that come down to block the uncovered parts of the road.

Hopefully, we will be able to explore more of the majestic mountain passes in the Dolomite Mountains. The winter season is around the corner so it’s time to prepare snow chains and get ready for it! Stay tuned for an update, we believe to collect more overall tips for Dolomites drives.

RECent blog posts

Iconic village of Italian Dolomites | Santa Maddalena

North Italy is famous for many breathtaking picturesque places. Wonderful lakes, majestic peaks, charming towns, and much more. Sometimes it gets a little bit overwhelming to find the spot for the best view. We believe you've already seen this idyllic church of St.Maddalena with magnificent mountains towering behind. Whether you know where it is located or not, it's one of the most iconic symbols of the Val di Funes, Dolomites.

A complite guide to Lake Carezza

One of the most astonishing alpine lakes all over the Italian Dolomites, sitting in front of pine trees and the mountain range. Due to its popularity, it’s quite a developed tourist spot, therefore in this article, we share a complete guide for your perfect visit. When is the best time to get there, how exactly to find the Lake and other useful information.


Feel free to join the community with a desire for exploring, supporting each other, and sharing love.

Planning the trip?

If you are thinking about visiting the Dolomites (North Italy) be sure to reach out. We are here to help you plan a custom itinerary for FREE. Are you excited and full of questions? Contact us and let’s chat together.
We respect your privacy.
Love, N&M