It’s tricky to work out exactly how to get to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo since there are several options depending on how you’re travelling in the Dolomites. Here’s everything you need to know before your trip to the iconic three peaks.
Are you dreaming of running away from your spreadsheet-ridden reality to the serene beauty of Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Dolomites? Yes, me too.
When I first explored the Dolomites, even though I’d done extensive research (and I’m talking months), I still felt pretty confused about how to get to Tre Cime. Where to park, how much money to set aside, where to sleep during the off-peak season – all of it like trying to decipher a hidden blogging code!
About My Experience Getting to Tre Cime
On my first visit to Tre Cime, I was navigating the autumn season in my Russian van, something I don’t necessarily recommend unless you’re an experienced vanlifer! The rifugi were shut, hotel doors were closed, and I ended up overnighting in the parking lot of Chalet Lago Antorno.
Not the luxury experience dreams are made of, but it gave me plenty of time to scope out the options and get all the insider knowledge!
I’ve now returned to the enchanting Tre Cime di Lavaredo several times. I’ve hiked it, driven, been chauffeured, and even stayed overnight in various settings. And now, I’ve got the down-low for you on all things Tre Cime – and not just the Insta-filtered stuff.
Having wined and dined my way around the Dolomites, becoming a go-to resource for my off-beat guides and budget-friendly luxury tips, I’m here to spill the beans and help you plan your dream escape.
This is your no-nonsense guide for how to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, from budget-friendly transport options to season-specific tips.
Let’s conquer the Dolomites together, without the fluff or judgment, and make your experience one for the books! Here’s everything you need to know about getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
HOW TO GET TO TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO
Cheapest & Greenest: Hiking
Quickest & Easiest: Self-drive
Best Value: Bus from Misurina with free parking
- How to Get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo
- Getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo by car or van
- Car Rental in the Dolomites
- Getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo by public transport
- How much does the Tre Cime Toll Road Cost?
- Essential Dolomites Travel Information
- How to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo Final Thoughts
- Planning A Trip To the Dolomites?
The features in this post were hand-selected by a picky diva (that’s me) and some of them are affiliate links. If you buy via these, I may earn a commission on some of these awesome recommendations at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your wonderful support – Cat.
How to Get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The Dolomites are perfect for a road trip, and I know that’s how lots of you will be travelling through the region. The issue with getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo is that vehicle access is restricted to a toll road, and it’s not cheap.
Overall, the Dolomites aren’t really geared up for the sheer volume of traffic on their mountain roads, particularly in high season. The toll road is intended to make driving less appealing, and good public transport options are in place during the summer hiking season.
In shoulder season, things are very different. There’s basically no way to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo in spring or autumn unless you hike up there, drive yourself, or are driven by somebody.
Getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo by car or van
I definitely recommend hiring a car and taking a road trip through the Dolomites, especially if you’re here outside the peak summer months. It’s far and away the easiest way to experience the best that the Dolomites has to offer.
Distance to Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Cadini di Misurina from nearby towns:
- Cortina d’Ampezzo | 23 km, 40 mins
- Dobbiaco/Toblach | 23.6kms, 45 mins
- Sesto/Sexten | 38.3kms, 50 mins
- Bolzano/Bozen | 152km, 2.5 hours
To get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen by car, follow the SS49 road towards Misurina. Just north of the town, take the toll road towards Rifugio Auronzo.
After about 1 kilometre, you’ll reach a small toll plaza with limited parking of maybe 10-15 spots on the roadside. During opening hours, you’ll pay the toll, receive a ticket, and head on up to the parking area.
INSIDER TIP | Most people will plan to arrive at Tre Cime very early so they’re there when the toll road opens. This means you’ll could be in a queue for up to an hour. An alternative is to arrive later in the afternoon around 4 pm when day visitors are leaving.
There’s a vast parking area at Tre Cime di Lavaredo, but it can fill up later in the day during the summer. If the parking is full, they close the road, and you won’t be able to get to Tre Cime until there are spaces.
Outside the opening hours of the toll booth, you cannot go up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, but you can come down and exit at any time. Your ticket is valid until midnight on your day of arrival, but if you stay longer, you will have to pay an additional fee.
DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT | The toll road ticket is only valid until midnight on the day of purchase, so you will pay a second full-day charge on your exit if you stay overnight. That means €60 for cars and small campervans with an overnight stay and €90 for motorhomes.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE | Between late October and late May, the road here is completely closed. Arrive before 9am to be sure of a place to park in high season (August and weekends). Bring cash for payment, just in case, although cards are accepted at the toll booths.
Parking at Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Although the car park at Tre Cime is large, it fills up surprisingly fast in summer, and the toll road will close when it’s full. Once that happens, it’s a one-in, one-out policy.
There’s a digital sign at the toll booth that tells you the number of parking spaces that are left. When this is at zero, you won’t be able to enter. You can either wait until a space frees up or use an alternative way to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Tre Cime Toll Road Opening Times
The opening times of the Tre Cime toll road up to Rifugio Auronzo change by season.
In summer, the Tre Cime toll road is reliably open, and this is also when you have the largest number of options to get up to Rifugio Auronzo.
In the spring, the Tre Cime toll road doesn’t open until the winter snow has melted. This is usually in late May but obviously will vary by year. You can contact the Auronzo Tourist office to check if the road is open before you start your trip.
In autumn, the toll road to Tre Cime closes once the snow arrives, which is usually in late October or early November. The road won’t open again until the spring of the following year.
Tre Cime Toll Road Opening Hours
In summer, the toll road can be accessed 24 hours a day. There will be staff in the booths from 6 am until 8 pm. Outside of those hours, you’ll get a ticket from the machine on the way up and pay your toll as you exit on the way down.
You can exit down the toll road at any time.
Spring and autumn are the shoulder seasons here, and access to Rifugio Auronzo and Tre Cime by the toll road is much less predictable. Some years, the road opens in mid-May and some years, not until late June.
When I visited in autumn (mid-October), the toll road was open from 8 am until 6 pm, and a sign was placed at the barriers indicating the opening hours. Sometimes, the opening will be delayed if there’s ice on the road. Once it snows, the road closes.
Car Rental in the Dolomites
Visiting the Dolomites without a car is definitely possible, but challenging if you’re visiting outside the summer months. If you’re here for photography and getting away from popular sites (like Tre Cime!), then I definitely think you’re better off driving in the Dolomites.
There are various options for car rental in the Dolomites, but I always recommend using Discover Cars to check for the best rates.
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Getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo by public transport
Taking the bus up the toll road to Tre Cime di Lavaredo during peak season is a great option. Not only do you not have to worry about parking spaces, but it’s cheaper as a solo traveller, and the shuttle bus skips the toll road queue!
You can get the bus from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dobbiaco, and Misurina.
For some of these options, a Sütirol Pass (available from accommodations in the region) include your bus ticket cost.
If you’re planning a sunset mission, you’ll miss the bus back down the hill, so you’ll either need to hike or stay the night!
How to get to Tre Cime by bus from Lake Misurina
First of all, you’ll need to get to the bus stop at Misurina Genzianella. There’s a paid car park by the bus stop where you can leave your car.
INSIDER TIP | If you’re prepared for a short walk, you can find free parking spots between the bus stop and Lago Antorno.
How to get to Tre Cime by bus from Cortina d’Ampezzo
This bus takes an hour and only departs four times daily at 8 am, 8:38 am, 10 am and 2:05 pm from Cortina. Although I try to keep this blog as up-to-date as possible (these are the times for 2023), they can change, so please check the timetable yourself too!
Return trips from Tre Cime leave at 9:35 am, 2:30 pm and 4:55 pm.
Alternatively, take the 445 bus to Dürrensee/Lago di Landro, which runs five times daily at about 8 am, 10 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm. You can check the latest times and connections here. This section of the journey takes 30 minutes.
You’ll then transfer to bus 444, which is the shuttle to Rifugio Auronzo. It will take a further 30 minutes to get to Tre Cime on the shuttle bus.
There are 16 shuttle buses daily in high season (mid-July to mid-September), starting from 7:35 am from Dobbiaco/Toblach. The last return bus from Rifugio Auronzo leaves at about 6 pm. Check the latest timetable here.
How to get to Tre Cime by bus from Dobbiaco/Toblach
From early June to mid-October, shuttle bus 444 goes to Rifugio Auronzo. I highly recommend that you book and pay for tickets online in advance here (available from mid-May). Only unsold tickets are now available to purchase at the Dobbiaco bus and train stations.
The shuttle bus takes an hour to get from Dobbiaco to Rifugio Auronzo.
You can find all the latest information on timetables and pricing on the official website.
INSIDER KNOWLEDGE | The shuttle bus doesn’t have to queue with all the other vehicles, so it’s often faster than driving up yourself in peak season.
Getting to Tre Cime di Lavaredo on foot
Since you’re already hiking Tre Cime, you can always tag on a bit of extra walking if the toll road is closed or the eye-watering costs don’t seem worth it to you.
After all, you’re here to hike, right?!
Starting from Misurina adds a total of 7 kilometres to any planned hiking at Tre Cime di Lavardeo. On the way up, you’ll be adding 600 metres of elevation, and it’ll take a little over 2 hours if you’re fit.
Obviously, it’s all downhill on the way home, but it’ll still take a little under 2 hours. This is definitely a packed day, and I’d only recommend it if you’re planning a stay overnight at Tre Cime, or you’re up for a challenging day.
Your other option is to hike up from Lago Antorno or the toll booths. There’s some free parking around Lago Antorno and a small amount by the toll gate. Just before the toll station, trail 101 branches off to the right and leads all the way to Rifugio Auronzo. This 4-kilometre hike takes a little over 1.5 hours if you’re in good shape.
TIP | Note that you can’t park overnight by the toll booths, but it’s a good spot for an early start or sunset finish.
How much does the Tre Cime Toll Road Cost?
So far, still so confusing, right?! That’s kind of how I felt. Let’s break it down by financial and time costs to make it easier for you.
How much does it cost to get to Tre Cime by car?
If you’re self-driving, and ignoring the daily cost of car rental (which I’m assuming you’d be doing anyway), here’s what you’ll spend each day.
Cost | €30 per day per car
Time | 15 minutes, depending on traffic, with the potential of a 1-2 hour wait at the bottom if you time it wrong. I never have, so either I’m lucky, or all those people leaving reviews on Google just don’t read my blog…
Parking | Included
How much does it cost to get to Tre Cime by bus?
There are a lot of variables here when it comes to time investment. The most convenient public transport option, if you have a car, is to take the DolomitiBus 30/31 from Misurina. Otherwise, I think that this is a day trip best done on the 444 shuttle from Dobbiaco.
Cost | Anything from €10 to €24 return, depending on your route and connections.
Time | From 30 minutes to 1.5 hours one-way.
Parking | Either free or from €2/h, and I would factor 4-6 hours, to a maximum of €14.
How much does it cost to get to Tre Cime on foot?
If you’re a lean, green, hiking machine, then this is far and away the best option: no queues, no time constraints, just you and a 600-metre elevation gain. It’s actually a pretty nice hike in the right weather. Since you’ve read this post, you now know that you can’t access the toll road after 6 pm in autumn.
I, however, was not aware of that when I turned up at 6:30 pm to settle in at the Rifugio Auronzo parking lot for sunrise the next day… So a hike it was.
Cost | Free. Your payment is in sweat and steps.
Time | From 1.5-2 hours one-way, depending on where you start and how fit you are
Parking | If you’re hiking, you can probably afford to hang around for some free parking. At most, you’ll be paying the €2/h parking fee at Misurina to a maximum of €14.
Essential Dolomites Travel Information
Where to Stay to Visit Tre Cime di Lavaredo
If you want to spend an entire day or night exploring the Tre Cime di Lavaredo without a risky hike in the dark, then you should definitely consider staying at one of the options below.
Rifugi at Tre Cime di Lavaerdo
Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte | This is the ultimate Tre Cime di Lavaredo accommodation. With a view directly over the three peaks, there’s no better place to stay for those sunset and sunrise opportunities. Online booking is essential to guarantee a place, and starts in February. You must have cash to pay at the hut. The prices below are for 2023.
Open | Late June to late September – check website for dates.
Dorm | €31 bed only / €72 half board
Room | €47 bed only / €85 half board
Breakfast | €14
Shower | €10/6 min
Rifugio Auronzo | I loved my stay here, but people are very divided about this hut – you definitely can’t beat it for convenience, so it gets crowded as a result. The food can be hit and miss, but the views are undeniably spectacular!
Open | late June – late September for accommodation – check website for dates
Dorm | from €60 half board – email or call for the latest price list
Dining | available until October
Rifugio Lavaredo | An easy 20 minutes walk from the car park at Auronzo, this hut has been welcoming guests since 1954, and there are multiple hiking options from here. You must bring cash to pay.
Open | mid-June to late September
Dorm | €75 half board
Room | €82 half board
TIP | Bring enough cash to cover the cost of your room as well as any meals or snacks you might want to have at Tre Cime since there’s no wifi or internet up here. The rifugi don’t take cards.
Albergo Chalet Lago Antorno **
With beautiful views out over the lake, this is a lovely place to stay right near the bottom of the toll road that heads up to the Tre Cime. The shuttle bus stops right by the hotel to head up to the trails so the location couldn’t be better. Breakfast is highly rated! Check rates and book here.
Hotel Sorapiss ***
Right on Lake Misurina, some of the rooms here have absolutely phenomenal views. Incredibly convenient for the road up to the Tre Cime, this is definitely a top choice. Check rates and book here.
Hotel Columbia & Spa ***
A great location near to bus stops and with mountain views. This is great value for money with the added bonus of the onsite spa. Massages are available for all your post-hiking aches! Check rates and book here.
Hotel Meuble Oasi **
Very reasonably priced with wonderful food and stunning views. There’s free onsite parking and you can hire bikes if you’re not too tired after all the hiking… Check rates and book here.
Hotel Rosengarten ***
The rooms are beautiful here, and the food is fantastic. You can get a free shuttle bus from the train station if you’re arriving without a car. It’s family-run, and you actually do get to feel like part of the family when you stay here. Check rates and book here.
Residence Rogger ***
These modern apartments have private parking and kitchenettes – a great option if you’re keen to save a bit of money by self-catering. Located on the outskirts of the town, they’re a better option if you have a car, although the bus does stop nearby. Check rates and book here.
Camping Toblacher See **
Right on the shores of the lake, this campsite has wonderful modern facilities and is a fantastic option if you’re in a van or camping. The sites are flat and all located a stone’s throw from the lake. The onsite restaurant serves great food and pizza. If you want to splash out you can also check out their Skyview Chalets. From €20/night. Check availability here.
When is the Best Time to Visit Tre Cime di Lavaredo?
Just like the rest of the Dolomites, the best time for hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo is either late July or early September through October. I’ve visited 3 times, both in mid-September and early October, and both months were great.
The last of the winter snow will be gone (or yet to arrive), you won’t have to deal with the August crowds, and the rifugi will be open. As a general rule, the hiking season in the Dolomites runs from late May to early October.
The best weather here at Tre Cime is usually in August, but it’s also the busiest month, and this is an incredibly popular hike. Like “busloads of people being dropped off here” popular.
I recommend hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo anytime between late June and mid-October.
If your only option is to come in August, then, at the very least, I recommend avoiding this hike at the weekend. Alternatively, you could try this 3-day hike instead, which goes off the beaten track!
The views at Tre Cime di Lavaredo are impressive at all times of the day. The main thing is to ensure you leave early enough that you don’t have to rush. Take a headlight if there’s any chance of being caught after the sun goes down or you’re starting before sunrise.
Incidentally, sunrise and sunset are great times for photography here. You might want to consider booking a night at one of the rifugi to avoid a very early hike from Misurina in autumn, since the road to Rifugio Auronzo doesn’t open until 7 or 8 am.
Cash or Card in the Dolomites?
Although the region as a whole is very card-friendly, the mountains are a different story. Card machines rely on an internet connection to work, and there usually isn’t one. You need cash in the Dolomites.
As a general rule, make sure that you have enough cash to cover your accommodation for the night and any snacks you might need to purchase. I would suggest €50 per person for sundries on top of your accommodation costs.
How to get around in the Dolomites
Hiring a car in the Dolomites
Although I’m a big fan of public transport, it’s often not practical for most travellers in the Dolomites, particularly if you want to get to trailheads early and depart late. Renting a car and driving will save you a lot of planning stress, and since I’ve always driven in the Dolomites, it’s my recommendation.
Hiring a car in Italy is easy – it’s just a question of where to collect it from. If you’re travelling from overseas, picking up your car at the airport will be the simplest option. I always use and recommend Discover Cars to check prices and book, mainly since they include comprehensive insurance.
TIP | You need either a European Driving License or an International Driving Permit to hire a car in Italy.
For those coming from elsewhere in Europe, especially if you’re arriving by train, renting a car in Bolzano is a good option.
Although the roads here are steep and winding, they’re very well maintained, and driving in the Dolomites is a breeze.
Public Transport in the Dolomites
Although the roads in the Dolomites are good, they’re also not built for large volumes of traffic. There’s a big push in the region to ease congestion on the roads by encouraging visitors get around on public transport.
Visiting the Dolomites by public transport in the summer is considerably easier than at other times of year since many routes stop once the snow sets in.
A lot of the hotels in the Dolomites offer a Guest Pass, which provides free public transport and other benefits. You can read about South Tyrol Guest Cards here, and be sure to check with your hotel if they offer it included in the cost of your room.
If you’re planning to be in the area, want to use public transport, but aren’t staying in a local hotel, it’s worth looking at the Mobilcard, which is valid for 1, 3, or 7 days of consecutive travel. There are also regional public transport cards which are another great money-saving option.
Travel Insurance for the Dolomites
Always have travel insurance, wherever you go and whatever you’re doing. Make sure the level of cover is appropriate for the activities you’re doing and the gear that you’re taking. For the Dolomites, ensure that embarking on a via ferrata won’t invalidate your policy!
I’ve used various companies over the years, since shopping around usually gets you the best deal. I’ve had great service from WorldNomads in the past. This year, I’ve purchased an annual policy from World2Cover (Australia based).
For Digital Nomads, SafetyWing is a great option, mostly for the health cover benefits.
How to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo Final Thoughts
I hope that you’ve found this guide useful and that you know everything you need to about how to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. If there’s anything I’ve missed that you’d find useful, or anything you think I’ve gotten wrong, please shoot me an email, leave a comment below, or send me a DM on Instagram.
I hope you have an amazing time at Tre Cime, and please Pin this post and share it if you’ve found it helpful for planning your trip.
Planning A Trip To the Dolomites?
With world-class summer hiking, incredible winter skiing, and a perfect blend of Italian and Austrian culture, the Dolomites is one of my favourite European destinations.
Check out these essential guides, travel tips, and more to help you plan your trip:
DOLOMITES HIKING GUIDES | How to hike Seceda, an autumn hike at Croda da Lago, the best day hikes in the Dolomites, hiking Cadini di Misurina (the best viewpoint in the Dolomites), hiking to Lago di Sorapis
DOLOMITES TRAVEL | Best things to do in the Dolomites (for foodies and adventurers!), hiring a car in Bolzano, a perfect Dolomites itinerary, visiting the Dolomites for the first time, visiting Lago di Braies, visiting Alpe di Siusi
TRAVEL INSURANCE | Don’t go anywhere without it! I use and recommend Safety Wing.
THOUGHTFUL TRAVEL | No matter where you go, always be aware of the fact that travel impacts the place and people that live there. Being a thoughtful traveller is more critical than ever. Here are my top tips to make your trip a mindful one.
PHOTOGRAPHY | Love my photos and want to know how to take better shots on your own trips? Then my photography guide is for you. Here’s all the photography gear I use too. Want to buy one of my images? Head to the Print Store.
ESSENTIAL GEAR | You’ll find my travel essentials here, and a complete guide to all my hiking gear here.
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