Campervan Trip Through The Dolomites Itinerary

The mountains in the Italian Dolomites.

Table of Contents

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Italy! A bucket list destination for many, but how do you tackle Italy on a budget? By taking a campervan, of course.

We spent a glorious two weeks making our way from Milan to Venice, through the Italian Dolomites and what a trip it was. Driving through quaint villages and navigating mountainous hairpin turns may require nerves of steel, but it’s an incredible way to explore Italy, and you can tailor your trip to suit any budget.

Why travel in a campervan

Why would anyone choose to squish inside a small space and travel? Well, there are lots of reasons but mainly it is the perfect way to explore.

A large campervan parked in Trentino, Italy.

You can travel almost anywhere and everywhere and that is a great way to see Italy. It’s a cost-effective option, with rentals starting at just €40 per day, depending on the type of van you hire.

Being in a smaller space also encourages you to get outside, plus, parking at breathtaking locations and calling it home for the night adds a touch of magic.

Where to stay

There is a huge range of campsites in the Dolomites, with varying facilities. Use Park4night and Campercontact to  find places to stay.

A cable car in Trentino, Italy.

Alternatively, agriturismos, or farm stays, offer another unique option, allowing you to park your campervan and enjoy local produce.

Wild Camping in Italy

Wild camping, also known as “campeggio libero” in Italian, is generally prohibited in Italy. This means setting up a tent or camping outdoors in non-designated areas is illegal and could result in fines ranging from €100 to €500.

There are some exceptions to this:

  • Regional variations: The specific regulations around wild camping can vary by region. Some regions, like Valle d’Aosta and Sardinia, have stricter policies with higher fines, while others may be more tolerant.
  • Permits: In some cases, you can obtain a permit from the local authorities that allows you to camp in specific areas outside of designated campsites.
  • Private property: With the landowner’s permission, you can camp on private property.
  • Enforcement: While the rules against wild camping are in place, enforcement can vary depending on the location and time of year. Tourist areas and beaches are typically more strictly patrolled.

Buildings on the edge of the shore at Lake Como, Italy.

Where to visit on a road trip in Italy

Bergamo

Kick off your adventure with a visit to the delightful city of Bergamo. It’s famous for its medieval upper town, Città Alta, and offers breathtaking views.

Lake Como

Take a side trip to the stunning Lake Como, one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes. take a boat tour around the lake and check out the ridiculously expensive properties, explore the charming villages of Bellagio and Varenna, or trek to one of the many viewpoints for jaw-dropping panoramas.
Mountains in Val Gardena in Italy.

Val Gardena

Drive yourself through the hairpin turns and head into the mountains via Val Gardena, fab for skiers in the winter or a natural paradise in summer. Visit the small towns of Ortisei, Selva Gardena, and Santa Cristina, and ride the cable car to the top of the mountain for amazing vistas.

Lago di Braies

The emerald-green Lago di Braies in the Dolomites is a photographer’s dream. Row a boat on the lake, take a short wander around, or simply check out the stunning scenery.

Snow covered mountains in Belluno, Italy.

Belluno

In the foothills of the Dolomites, visit the historic centre, tour the Cathedral or stroll through the Piazza dei Signori, to experience the city’s history and culture.

A sample itinerary for a Dolomites road trip

Here is our journey through North Italy and the Dolomites and we recommend everywhere we stopped. If you are travelling in peak season, make sure you book ahead as campsites can get busy.

A fish stall at Lake Iseo in Italy.

After flying into Milan and picking up our van we headed straight up to Lake Como for the night before driving to Lake Iseo, an underrated spot with a great lakeside campsite at Camping Cave d’Iseo.

Heading into the Dolomites, check out Val di Fassa for amazing walks, renting bikes and the perfect set up to explore the mountains. We stayed at Camping Catinaccio Rosengarten (Pozza de Fassa).

Make sure you take a stop at Carezza Al Lago, an incredibly beautiful lake. Just be aware of the parking fees!

To finish up our trip from Milan to Venice, we stayed at Camping Serenissima, the perfect spot just on the outskirts of Venice. With a bus stop just outside the camp, it’s the perfect place for an easy connection to Venice.

A camper van in the Dolomites in Italy.

How much does it cost to travel through Italy in a campervan?

Here is a breakdown of the costs for our 12 day trip from Milan to Venice in September 2022. We hired our campervan through Indie Campers and were travelling as a family of four.

September is still considered peak time.

Average Daily cost £200

Campervan cost: £1200 (£100p/n)

Average campsite cost: £30 per night

Food and activities: £70 per day

Total Cost: £3000

A wooden cabin over a lake in the Italian Dolomites.

When to visit the Dolomites in Italy

Summer (June to September – peak season)

With hot temperatures (although cooler in the mountains) this is peak time to visit the Dolomites. Everything is green and lush and it’s the perfect time to experience the outdoors activities that Italy has to offer.

June and September are slightly quieter times to visit and the weather is perfect.

Ski season in the Italian Dolomites.

Autumn (September to November – shoulder season)

As temperatures begin to cool, autumn is again a great time to escape the crowds. Some good deals can be had on accommodation and activities.

Winter (December to February – peak season)

Winter is the prime time for snow enthusiasts, attracting skiers and snowboarders to the Dolomites’ world-class resorts. Accommodation is more expensive and everywhere is busier.

The Italian Dolomites.

It can get chilly in your campervan so make sure you choose a model with a heater. December to February represents the peak winter season with bustling ski resorts and a lively atmosphere.

Spring (March to May – shoulder/off-peak season)

Mild weather, green slopes and meadows of flowers – spring is a perfect time to visit. There may be some leftover snow if you come early.

March and April are considered shoulder seasons, offering a gradual transition from winter, while May represents the beginning of the peak season, providing a tranquil experience with fewer tourists.

Horses in the Italian Dolomites in summer.

Italy is a fantastic place to try out a campervan trip and an incredibly budget friendly option. Whatever the weather, Italy has something for everyone.

Bio

Boston Tribe Travels is a full time travelling family providing tips for family travel, destination inspiration and worldschooling advice.

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