Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage – much more than just mountains

Most people will be familiar with the term “Dolomites”, for many, it will immediately conjure up impressive pictures of imposing mountain massifs, and for all those who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s time to learn more about it.

The Dolomites are a special mountain group of the Southern Alps, which are characterized by unique rock formations, their light rock color, and an abrupt transition between gentle alpine meadows and rocky slopes and massifs sitting on them. For many people, the Dolomites are associated with many memories and emotions, as they exert a fascination of their own through their imposing landscape and extraordinary beauty.

Before we dive into my favorite places in the Dolomites and what makes these mountains so special to me, here is a small excerpt about their origin, location, and nomination as UNESCO World Heritage:

“The geological history of the Dolomites begins about 280 million years ago when a mountain range on the edge of an oceanic gulf began to sink and transformed the present Dolomite area into a deep tropical sea basin. Because they needed light to survive, the calcareous algae, sponges, and microorganisms built their reefs and atolls ever higher. Impressive formations were formed. When the European and African earth plates collided and the Alps opened up around 30 million years ago, the Dolomites were lifted out of the sea like a platform. This is how their unique rock layers were preserved. These geological features and their uniqueness made the Dolomites a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. The nine Dolomite sub-areas of the World Heritage Site extend over the five Italian provinces of Bolzano, Trento, Belluno, Pordenone, and Udine. Four sub-areas are located in South Tyrol”.


I love the Dolomites. It may sound trite, but there is nowhere I would rather spend my time than in the Dolomites. With its enchanting mountain lakes, breathtaking panoramas, and imposing peaks, even after more than 20 years, I am still fascinated by the beauty and uniqueness of these mountains. That’s why you can find my 5 most popular places in the Dolomites here. To go up, come down and enjoy.

1) Peitlerkofel

When a friend of mine asked me for the first time if I would like to come with her to the famous Peitlerkofel at the Würzjoch at sunrise, I did not yet know what a lasting impression this mountain leaves. In the meantime, a tour to the 2875m high summit has become an annual tradition. The Peitlerkofel captivates with its unique 360° panorama and is one of the most beautiful views mountains of the Dolomites. Here you can see the Geißler Group, the Kronplatz, the Marmolata (highest mountain of the Dolomites), the Zillertal Alps, and much more. The Peitler meadows at the foot of the mountain in full bloom are also unique, for all those who prefer a leisurely hike in beautiful nature to a summit tour.

2) Three Peaks

Probably the most famous rocky peaks of the Dolomites and known far beyond the borders of the country. The Three Peaks, also known as the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, can be found in Alta Pusteria, South Tyrol. For many South Tyrolean vacationers, a visit including a photo of the three prominent rocks is an absolute must. Here you can choose between easy hikes with baby carriages, more demanding fixed rope routes, and of course classic climbing routes on the rock face – the view is always worthwhile. My favorite: the Kriegs-Kletterteig on the Paternkofel with an incomparable view of the Three Peaks nearby.

3) Geißler

The Geißler in Villnöß became known above all as the home mountains of Reinhold Messner. Today, they inspire extreme climbers, experienced mountaineers, but above all families equally. Traditional huts, easy hiking trails for families, and challenging high-altitude tours such as the Sas Rigais make this area a unique experience for all levels of difficulty in summer and winter.

4) Pragser Wildsee

Charming rowing boats on turquoise blue water, framed by white Dolomite rock: a unique motif that attracts and delights thousands of tourists and locals every year. Braies Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in the Dolomites and is ideal for a leisurely tour of the lake, a boat trip on the lake with picnic and meeting point for families. Those who prefer a bit higher can take a summit tour to the Seekofel with a fantastic view of the Braies Lake and surroundings.

5) Plan de Corones with Messner Mountain Museum

The Kronplatz is one of the most popular active mountains in South Tyrol and is considered one of the country’s N.1 ski mountains. While in summer you can enjoy wonderful hikes, exciting mountain bike tours, or simply enjoy the view, in winter the Plan de Corones becomes an absolute hot-spot for all ages. From the initial snowplow to the fast turns, from the children’s park to the “black five”, the five black slopes, I have learned to love every slope. And for a few years there is a new highlight for mountain & culture lovers: the Messner Mountain Museum Corones. From the famous architect Zaha Hadid, Reinhold Messner tells here with a permanent exhibition an impressive story about traditional alpinism.

I can only recommend you to experience the Dolomites up close, to hike through the impressive natural landscape, and to find your own unforgettable favorite places. To make your Dolomites vacation the perfect all-round experience, the Falkensteiner Hotels in South Tyrol are the ideal starting point for your discovery tours.

PS: The newest Falkensteiner Hotel Kronplatz, directly at the foot of the popular active mountain, opens on 19.11.2020 with an exclusive Experience Concierge, who will find the best places for you, plan suitable excursions, and make your experience perfect with insider tips.