East to West through the Dolomites: Part 4

Published on:  | Last updated: 29 March 2017

The Karer See with the Latemar group in the background. Picture from Wikimedia Commons

The final section takes you to Bozen (Bolzan) via the Karerpass (Passo di Costalunga), and the iconic Karersee (Lago di Carezza). The first part of the route follows the Ciclovia delle Dolomiti from Canazei down to Vigo di Fassa where it rejoins the road towards the Karerpass and the Karersee. It continues along the main SS241 before turning off at Nova Levante. The main road takes you through a dramatic river gorge but at the end there’s a long tunnel, so I’ve opted for a quiet road following the crest above which takes you into Bozen avoiding the tunnel.

Map and altitude profile

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Corvara - Canazei 31 kms
Canazei - Pozza di Fassa 11 kms
Pozza di Fassa - Welschnofen (Nova Levante) 18 kms
Welschnofen - Bozen (Bolzano) 27 kms

The Karersee (Lago di Carezza) is an essential stop on the route. The name in Ladin is “Lec de Ergobando” (or “arcoboàn”) the Rainbow Lake. The lake, with the mountains reflected in its surface is, like the Tre Cime di Laveredo, one of the icons of the Dolomites. The name comes from a local legend as does the name of the Rosengarten mountain group which you can see reflected in the lake.

The legends of the Karrersee and the Rosengarten

According to the legend the waters of the lake were home to beautiful nymph called Ondina. The wizard of Latemar was in love with her and tried several times to kidnap her. One day he decided to make a rainbow appear above the lake with the aim of attracting the nymph. She came out of the lake but was terrified at the sight of the wizard and fled. In a rage the wizard threw the rainbow into the lake where it shattered into a thousand pieces, and for this reason, according to the legend the lake shimmers with the colours of the rainbow.

The Rosengarten

According to another legend, King Laurin was the powerful king of a nation of of dwarfs. He had a an immense rose garden with red roses in bloom all year. His daughter however, cried all day from loneliness. A prince fell in love with her, and sought the king’s permission to marry her. When the king refused his permission the couple eloped. In his rage the king sought to destroy the rose garden; his curse was that the mountains would never again see rosa (pink) either by day or by night. The curse wasn’t entirely water­tight: so the mountains glow pink in the at dawn and dusk - the periods of the day that are neither night nor day.


You could continue down the Ciclovia delle Dolomiti to Molina di Fiemme and from there through the Val di Cembra to Lavis where you can pick up the Valle d’Adige cycleway south to Trento or north to Bozen.

At Bozen there’s a junction of cycleways:

  • the Valle d’Adige cycleway south towards Trento and Verona;
  • the EtschRadweg (Via Claudia Augusta) takes you through the Vinschgau (Val Venosta) toward the border with Austria at Reschen (and then on from there)
  • You could head north towards Brixen (Bressanone) and the Brenner pass - or you could turn off at the Fortezza a few kilometres north of Brixen and you could pick up the Pusterbike cycleway. At Toblach (Dobbiaco) another junction offers three more choices:


    From Canazei you could climb to the Lago di Fedaia at the foot of the Marmolada glacier.

    If you are on a mountainbike there are lots of possib­il­ities including the Sella Ronda MTB circuit.

    More information

    Places to stay

    Hotels and B&Bs

    Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

    Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:

     About these links

    If you use these links to book accom­mod­ation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.

    I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirm­ation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accom­mod­ation.

    I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the oppor­tunity to let me know if there’s a problem.

    Many properties offer free cancel­lation but it’s a good idea to check the condi­tions as these vary from property to property.


    There's a hostel in Bozen: the Jugendherberge Bozen


    If you are camping there’s the Moosbauer campsite on the edge of Bozen. Top-quality facil­ities although at busy times of the year you may need to squeeze yourself into a limited amount of space.

      Map of campsites on the route:  DolomitesEW-campsites-map-show map in overlay    |    DolomitesEW-campsites-map-show map in new window   

    Transport and services


    From Bozen you can take inter­na­tional trains north to Innsbruck and München (Munich), or south to the rail hubs at Verona and Bologna.

    Articles in this series

    Decorated house Canazei (Trentino)

    Decorated house Canazei (Trentino)

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