This post continues our time in Italy.
Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here & Day 4 here – Read Day 6 here, Day 7 here, Day 8 here, Day 9 here & Day 10 here
Today, we were checking out of our hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo and driving to Cinque Terre where we would be staying for the next 3 nights.
Tip: Cortina will be hosting the 2026 winter Olympics.
Tip: Click here & here to see a list of movies filmed in Cortina and the Dolomites
However, before heading to Cinque Terre, we decided to go back and hike at Tre Cime since the road was closed the first time we had tried to hike there.
Once again, I woke up early to watch the sunset from our balcony.
It started off cloudy so I wasn’t able to capture a really good sunset shot.
After packing up, we headed downstairs to have breakfast before checking out.
We really enjoyed our breakfasts at the hotels…they offered so many options!
And it was always so good!
After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Tre Cime.
The drive takes approx. 40 mins from Cortina.
You will pass two beautiful lakes on the way..one is Lake Misurina and the other being Lake Landro.
We had stopped at Lake Landro when we tried to hike Tre Cime on the first day we arrived in Cortina and it was definitely worth a short stop.
Driving by Lake Misurina
Tip: Click here for the 5 most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites that you can reach by car
Tre Cime is approx. 20 mins from Lake Misurina….the Grand Hotel Misurina overlooks the shores of the lake.
We arrived to the toll gate leading to Tre Cime at approx. 8:45 am and there was already a line of cars waiting to get in!
I highly recommend you get here early because, once the parking lot fills up, they stop letting cars in.
Near the toll booth, they have these electronic parking signs that counts how many parking spots are left…so, every time a car goes through the gate, the number on the sign goes down.
Tip: It costs 30 euros to park here for a car, 20 for a motorcycle & 45 for campers and longer vehicles
It took us approx. 15 mins to arrive to the toll booth to pay for parking.
Tip: The toll booth is only open from 7 -8 am to 5-6 pm but you can exit at any time. Check the most recent information about the toll road here.
Tip: Click here to read about other transportation options to get to Tre Cime.
After you enter through the toll gate, it takes approx 5 mins to arrive to the parking lot.
Views along the way
If you look closely at this picture, you can see Rifugio Auronzo.
Once you arrive, you will be directed on where to park…if you arrive early enough, you will get to park near the Rifugio Auronzo and won’t have to walk up the steep hill!
Unfortunately, we had to walk up the hill! It wasn’t that bad though and it was a short walk.
Shots from the hill leading to the Rifugio
I couldn’t believe how many people had already arrived!
Arriving to the Rifugio
Views near the Rifugio
Make sure to check the weather before you arrive….it was so cold and windy the day we were there!
Thankfully, we were prepared with hats, gloves, under armor, wind pants and rain jackets!!
A shot of the trail
The hike is a 6 mile loop hike that takes approx. 3-5 hrs on a fairly easy, flat trail. There are other Rifugios along the trail as well. (Rifugio Lavaredo and Rifugio Locatelli).
The Rifugios not only provide food but they also provide accommodations and most are very popular due to their location!
The trail begins right in front of Rifugio Auronzo
Shots along the trail
Since we had a 6-7 hr drive ahead of us, we decided to only hike about a mile in and then turn around.
A shot of Rifugio Auronzo from the trail
If you look closely at this picture, you can see where the trail loops around on the other side..
After about 6/10th’s of a mile, you will reach a small church called Cappella degli Alpini
The chapel was built between 1916-1917 by two infantry corps of the Italian Army.
Tip: A few steps beyond the chapel is a trail that breaks off from the main trail to a stunning view of Tre Cime. To do this, look for a break in the fence and a trail sign indicating trail #101A. This trail leads downhill to two monuments.
From the chapel, it’s an easy 10 minute walk to the next Rifugio.
Read reviews of the Rifugio here
Walking along the trail
You could see the Rifugio in the distance
We stopped several times along the trail to take pictures..
I loved how the mountain peaks were lit up by the sun!
Getting closer to the Rifugio
A shot of Rifugio Lavaredo
Tip: To use the restroom at the rifugio, you must pay 1.50 euro…AND, for you women out there, you have to stand up to use the “hole in the floor’!!
We decided to stop here and take in the views a while before heading back to our car.
The views were truly incredible!
Now I know why it’s considered one of the most popular hikes in this area!
Tip: Click here for the 25 best day hikes in the Dolomites
We just had to get someone to take our picture in front of Tre Cime…
Tre Cime simply means three peaks.
After taking way too many pictures, we turned around and headed back to our car.
We stopped for a few more pictures along the way!
More shots along the trail
Once we arrived back to the church, I took a quick picture of the inside.
The church is locked so you don’t have access to the inside.
We spotted grave sites near the church
This area was the site of many battles between the Italians and Austro-Hungarians during World War I.
Click here for more historic churches in the Dolomites
After a few more pics of the church, we continued the walk back to our car.
After approx. 1.5 hrs, we arrived back to the Rifugio Auronzo
We took a few more shots before we left
After making it back to our car, we began our very long drive to our next hotel in Monterosso in Cinque Terre.
Shots along the drive back to the main road after leaving Tre Cime
Once we arrived back to the Tre Cime toll booth, the line was VERY long!
We spotted some Italian cows on the drive 😉
The first lake you will pass, after leaving Tre Cime, will be Lake Landro..
Then you will pass Lake Misurina
We decided to pullover and take some quick pictures of the lake since we hadn’t stopped at this lake yet.
There are few hotels in this area along with restaurants and shops.
After this quick stop, we continued our drive to Monterosso.
The drive there from Lake Misurina took approx. 6 hrs.
As you can see from this map, you will go back through Bolzano which is another popular area to stay.
You will also pass the exit to Verona on the way.
And, notice from the google maps screenshot, there are tolls along this drive.
Please familiarize yourself with the tolls! It can be a great source of stress if you don’t!
All of the links that I provide in my blog will give you a ton of great information so click on them to find helpful tips!
Tip: From Tre Cime, you are only 2.5 hrs from Innsbruck, Austria, 6.5 hrs from Switzerland and 4 hrs 15 mins from Munich, Germany!
Part of the drive to Monterosso was very scenic while part of it was on the autostrada (interstate)
The location of this picture showed we were in the Somadida Nature Preserve.
This area is approx 4200 acres and consists mainly of a thick forest vegetation….as you go up in altitude, spruce gives way to larch and mugo, flora typical of a more rigid alpine climate.
We were now driving through Auronzo Cadore
We passed this church along the way
This area was really big compared to some of the other places we visited
We also passed this church called Parracchia di San Lucano VescovoRemember this church because if you park at the church, you will find a trail that leads to the most amazing lake I’ve ever seen called Lake Auronzo!
We couldn’t believe the color of this lake…it didn’t look real!
The lake is an artificial basin that was the result of a dam created in the 1930’s to block the course of the River Ansei.
After this stop, we continued our drive.
We kept noticing that we were following alongside the lake.
We then spotted a pullover where you could walk across the dam so we decided to stop again to take more pictures of the lake and dam.
The water color changed depending on if the sun was out or obscured by the clouds.
After leaving here, we continued our drive…
We decided that we needed to quit stopping or we would never make it to our hotel in time for check in!
Shots along the way
This area called Longarone reminded me of the mountains that we saw in Hawaii!
In 1963, this entire town, along with four others, was destroyed by a man-made megatsunami that killed about 2000 people, 1400 from Longarone alone.
As people slept or prepared for bed, there was a section of the mountain the size of a small village that broke away – the largest landslide ever recorded in Europe.
It dumped 260 million cubic meters of earth, rock and forest into the deep and narrow Vajont Dam, the world’s highest double-curvature arch dam at 262 metres, which was being built to generate hydroelectric power for the country’s northern industrial cities.
The now unused dam, which remained intact, is open for visits.
Click here to read about the landslide
Once we arrived to this area, we stopped at a small cafe called Bistro 51 to have lunch.
I wished we would have had time to sit on their back deck and eat lunch with these views but we decided we didn’t have time!
We ordered grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and chips and headed on our way.
The sandwiches were delicious!
Shortly after this area, we were directed by the GPS to get on the autostrada!
Tip: When you enter the autostrada (called interstate if you are from the US), you will have to first pull a ticket called a biglietto. Hang on to this ticket because you will need it to pay the toll as you exit the autostrada!
We passed tons of grapevines along the way …this was near Santa Lucia di Piave.
We also went through several tunnels!
Driving the autostrada
Tip: You will need an international driver’s license to drive in Italy. Just go to your nearest AAA and get one…it takes about 20 mins.
Finally after hours of driving, we arrived to Levanto.
Levanto is about 20-25 mins from Monterosso.
Lots of people will stay here instead of the crowded towns of Cinque Terre and take the trains to the different villages.
Tip: Click here to purchase train tickets to the five villages in Cinque Terre
As we continued our drive to Monterosso, we continued to climb in elevation.
Prior to leaving for our trip, the hotel staff at our hotel in Monterosso had informed me that we had two options for parking.
We could either park in a parking garage called Loreto park (Parcheggio Loreto), which was 300 meters (2/10ths of a mile) walk to the hotel or we could park at Fegina Beach in the “new part” of Monterosso.
The parking for both lots will cost 25 euros for the 1st and 2nd day and then 10 euros from the 3rd day and after.
Read more here about parking in Monterosso
We chose the parking garage at Loreto Park because it was a lot closer to the hotel.
Once you enter the garage, you push the button and a green plastic coin will be dispensed and the gate will open.
Retrieve the green coin and keep it in a safe place because you will use this to pay for the parking once you exit the garage.
Tip: Make sure to have euros (paper and coins) to pay for parking and tolls because we could never figure out how to pay with our credit cards!
After approx. 8 hrs after leaving Tre Cime, we finally arrived to our hotel, Albergo Degli Amici!
We reserved room 448 which had 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a full size kitchen, a large living room with a couch and television, table and chairs and a balcony that had sea views!
It was awesome!
Here’s a shot from our balcony!
We arrived just as the sun had set so the views were so amazing!
The hotel has a great rooftop terrace as well…it’s on the 4th floor so it was very convenient for us since our room was also on the 4th floor!
Views from the rooftop terrace
It was surrounded by olive and lemon trees!
Tip: The hotel does have an elevator & offers free breakfast with your stay
After getting settled into our room, we headed back out to find something to eat.
We settled on a restaurant called La Marina.
I ordered the spaghetti and the hubby ordered a pizza.
He wanted pepperoni on his pizza but he couldn’t find it on the menu so he chose the hotdog option thinking that maybe that’s what they called sausage or pepperoni but nope, it was a hotdog on a pizza!! lol!!
The food was really good though!
Tip: Pizzas in Italy aren’t served cut up like in the US so you have to cut it up yourself and it’s a pain!
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to enjoy the rooftop terrace!
After spending some time on the terrace, we headed back to our room to call it a night.
Shot from our balcony before heading to bed.
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for Day 6 in Italy!