A Day Trip from Venice to the Dolomites: How much can you see in a day?

     "How much time should I plan for the Dolomites?" Most people would say at least several days, but things don't always work out. In my case, the pandemic cancelled my Dolomites trip. BUT we were able to keep a Venice trip when things were looking up. So my husband suggested we could at least take one day out of Venice to try and see some of the Dolomites.

    Is 1 day anywhere near enough time? No. But was it still worth taking a day to try and see some of it? Absolutely!

Lago di Carezza

So how much of the Dolomites can you see in a day trip from Venice?

    We needed to factor in renting a car, the 3 hours between Venice and the Dolomites, and not wanting to drive the windy, unlit mountain roads in the dark. Car rentals didn't open until 8am and the sun set at 8pm (August). So the plan was to be on the road by 8:30am, arrive in the Dolomites by 11:30, and then leave the area around 6pm. Roughly 6 hours with some time to eat. So the question is - do you spend that with 1 hike or several non hike spots? I chose the latter.

    I was able to narrow things down to 3 spots - Lago di Braies, Seceda, and Lago di Carezza. Don't let the map fool you. There are some things nearby that you'll think you can also fit in, but there are mountains in between that require long drives going around them.

    Both of the lakes are right next to the parking and Seceda is a quick cable car up which allowed us to maximize our day. We went in the order of Carezza > Seceda > Braies, but after seeing the lighting, I highly recommend going the other way.

    We chose to rent our car at the Venezia Mestre Station right off of the island. It was far more expensive to rent directly on the island. Prices at the airport were similar to the train station, but it took longer to get there. Neither opened before 8am.

Start at Lago di Braies

This lake is most famous for its boat rides. 

  • The parking leads you right up to the lake. Parking is free for the first hour, then it’s €8 per day.
  • Boat Rentals:  June – September / 9:30am to 5pm / €25 EUR for one hour
  • Food is available at the restaurant and hotel right on the lake


Most famous for it's 360 view at the top

  • Parking is available at the cable car station
  • Cable car - €35 per person (last cable car descends at 5pm)
  • Food is available at the top

Get to this viewpoint by walking up to the left of the cable cars

Lago di Carezza

Most famous for it's "rainbow lake" and reflections

  • Parking is free for the first 15 minutes, then €1 per hour after
  • There is a restaurant and cafe serving food & drinks

    You may have seen photos on Instagram of people standing on a rock by the lake, but those shots were taken illegally. This lake is a protected conservation area that’s fenced off and clearly marked by signs that say do not trespass in several languages all along the fences. To get the infamous "instagram shot," you'd have to jump the fence.

    I hope that helps you get an idea of how much of the Dolomites you could see in a day if you needed. We didn't feel rushed at each spot, but we did not get to hike any paths at all. It also would've been nice to have longer on the boat at Lago di Braies. But we did get plenty of time to take photos everywhere and stops along the drive.