Dropping in on the Dolomites

I’ve been motorbiking in Europe a couple of times, but only as far as the Pyrenees and the Black Forest. I always fancied going to the Dolomites, but had never had the chance. They are known for their towering peaks and vertical cliff faces which makes the scenery and the roads interesting. As we were driving from Italy towards Austria, we decided to drop off the direct route and take a small diversion into the Dolomites national park… and ended up stopping for a couple of days.

Travelling north out of Italy, we took the junction off the motorway, up a slip road, round a very small roundabout and immediately into a 3km tunnel with a 1:8 gradient. When we struggled out the far end it was bucketing it down with rain with rivers running across and along the roads. We winded/swam our way through the valley until the road suddenly made a sharp turn into the hillside and through another long tunnel. We popped out in the the next valley where the weather was far more agreeable, which was particularly fortunate as the roads became much steeper with frequent hairpins.

After an hour of interesting driving, we arrived at our campsite in Pozza di Fassa, which is completely surrounded by snowy peaks on all sides.

In the morning we headed down to the small village. It was only 2km away, so we took the bikes. I don’t think we pedalled once all the way. The town was nice, but it was clearly a ski town and was mostly closed for the summer, and very much closed when we were there around lunch time. We did find a open pizzeria and actually had a pizza while in Italy. It was very good, reasonably priced and as big as a coffee table. The return journey was fine for Joolz because her Brompton is Electric. I, on the other hand, had to have a good sit down for a while afterwards.

The next morning we packed The Van and continued along our Dolomites road. The skies were perfectly clear and it was nice and warm. We stopped for our last Italian cappuccino to the most spectacular views. We also did a quick geocache.

The road became increasingly narrow, steep and winding as it went above the snow line and over the pass. Unlike the last time we left Italy, The Van was absolutely fine.

When we finally made our way back to the motorway (only about 20km north from where we last pulled off) it was only a short drive over the Alpine Brenner Pass and into Austria…

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