Hiking Italy’s Dolomites

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Trip Highlights
Tour details
Itinerary
What's included
Itinerary Changes
Terrain
Condition Grading
Accommodation
Starting point and getting there
Food, Weather
Gear checklist
Currency & Banking
Passports, Visas

The Dolomites mountains in the Italian Alps are a playground for outdoor adventurers, and they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site for their unique geology. The dolomitic limestone has been eroded by the elements over the millennia into towering pinnacles, vertical walls, and sheer cliffs, making it one of the most breathtaking mountain landscapes in the world. We love the area so much that we have developed this “Alta Via 1” tour to indulge our passion for the region. Meet your group at the Venice airport for a transfer into the mountains, where we have two nights in San Candido followed by a few days hiking the "Alta Via" or High Route. This is a special experience because you’ll see some of Europe’s most spectacular alpine scenery while staying high up in the mountains for three nights in isolated mountain chalets (“rifugio” in Italian). They are more spartan than a normal hotel but our travelers are always surprised to find them more comfortable than expected. You’ll find regular beds, hot showers, delicious meals, and the beauty of watching the sun set from high up in the mountains. The last two days return you to the comfort of a four-star hotel in Cortina, where you will have time for some well-deserved pampering at the spa. This tour provides you with a real Himalayan-style trekking adventure but with comfortable lodgings and superb Italian food and wine. It’s definitely a winning combination!

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Get away from it all while hiking in a glorious landscapes of soaring peaks, pinnacles, and colossal rock walls
  • Trek around the spectacular massif of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and observe the extraordinary spike-like shapes that tower above you
  • Wake up to the tranquility of a mountain rifugio and savor the morning with a warm cappuccino as the dew evaporates in the morning sun
  • Savor delicious local specialties such as Casunziei, ravioli stuffed with beetroot and ricotta, and Polenta – often referred to as “the bread of the Dolomites”

TOUR DETAILS

  • Days/Nights: 8 days / 7 nights
  • Price: Contact us for price
  • Condition grading: Moderate to strenuous

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Independent arrival in Venice and transfer to San Candido

Our trip begins in Venice, where you meet your guide(s) at the airport. If you have the time, we suggest you spend a few days exploring this amazing city and the surrounding lagoon, both of which are also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is built across 118 small islands and seems to float on the waters of the lagoon, composing an extraordinary architectural masterpiece. Meet the trip leader at 1 pm at the Venice Airport and transfer to the charming alpine village of San Candido where we check into our four-star hotel. Meet this evening for a welcome dinner where you will get acquainted with your traveling companions and guides.

Overnight in San Candido
Dinner included
Driving distance:
Venice to San Candido 185 km / 3 hr

DAY 2

Hike around the spectacular massif of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo have become the visual symbol of the Dolomites, so hiking around them is an absolute must. These three peaks rise like monoliths into the sky and are surrounded by hundreds of jagged peaks that line the horizon like a crumbling forest of rock. After breakfast we have a short transfer to the Rifugio Auronzo, where we begin our hike towards the Rifugio Locatelli which offers spectacular views onto the Tre Cime. Continue hiking towards the Forcella Pian di Cengia, and from there the trail descends in sweeping curves and switchbacks into a basin before climbing steeply to the Rifugio Lavaredo to close the loop.

Overnight in San Candido
Breakfast and dinner included
Hiking distance: 15 km / Hiking Duration: 5 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 900 m & 570 m
Driving distance:
San Candido to Tre Cime di Lavaredo 30 km / 45 min
Tre Cime di Lavaredo to San Candido 30 km / 45 min

DAY 3

Hike from Lake Braies to our cozy rifugio in Sennes

The adventure ramps up today as we begin the “Alta Via” (high road) part of the trip. Stay for the next three nights in mountain chalets, which aren’t as luxurious as hotel rooms but still offer comfortable beds and linens, hot showers, and excellent food and wine. Enjoy the fresh mountain air and stunning views as you let the cares of daily life fade away. The start of the hike couldn’t be more scenic as we begin at the turquoise waters of Lake Braies, surrounded by soaring peaks with the Croda del Becco towering above us. We start to climb on a well-defined path up to the Rifugio Bella, where we stop for a much-deserved lunch. We continue our hike and reach our cozy rifugio by late afternoon. Our hut is nestled in a high alpine meadow where cowbells ring out as the herds wander along the mountain slopes. Celebrate the day’s hike with a hot shower and a cold beer, followed by dinner in the cozy chalet.

Overnight in Rifugio Fodara Vedla
Breakfast and dinner included
Hiking distance: 13 km / Hiking Duration: 5 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 1050 m & 60 m
Driving distance:
San Candido to Lake Braies 20 km / 30 min

DAY 4

Hike to Lavarella hut, which is also the highest microbrewery in Europe

The day starts with a long descent to Rifugio Pederu, located at the end of the glacial Tamersc Valley, where we can stop for a welcome coffee and fresh pastry. From here we begin our ascent to the Rifugio Lavarella. Follow a path that climbs up again amongst alpine clearings and sparse pine woods to the Forcella de Medesc, and after about two hours we reach our rifugio which sits in the heart of the Natural Park Fanes-Sennes-Braies in a flat basin of the “Klein Fanes” pasture near an enchanting Green Lake. It also happens to be the highest microbrewery in Europe and the beer is brewed with the fresh and crystal-clear mountain water of the Dolomites at 2,050 m (6,700 ft) above sea level. A tasting is definitely on the agenda!

Overnight in Rifugio Lavarella
Breakfast and dinner included
Hiking distance: 6,5 km / Hiking Duration: 3 hr 30 min
Elevation gain & loss: 700 m & 450 m

DAY 5

Hike towards Rifugio Lagazuoi

Today’s hike features dramatic alpine terrain as we head towards Rifugio Lagazuoi. We start with a short climb up a rocky staircase before an easier walk along a wide valley lined by majestic peaks for about two hours. Then we take an amazing trail that climbs steeply out of the valley to Forcella del Lago, where you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views onto Lago Lagazuoi and Rifugio Lagazuoi atop a hill in the far distance. From this vantage point it looks like a nearly vertical descent, but rest assured, the path is quite manageable now that well-groomed switchbacks were built a few years ago. After lunch we have an epic climb up to Rifugio Lagazuoi at 2,752 m (9,000 ft). It has a spectacular location as it sits perched on a cliff with 360 degrees of breathtaking views.

Overnight in Rifugio Lagazuoi
Breakfast, picnic lunch, and dinner included
Hiking distance: 13 km / Hiking Duration:6 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 1060 m & 370 m

DAY 6

Hike past World War I remnants, end in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Even if you’re not a morning person you’ll be excited to get out of bed today to see the sunrise from your rifugio. On a clear morning the entire region slowly opens up to you in all its majesty. After a hearty breakfast, head out for your hike past remnants of the World War I battles that were fought here. You’ll pass the dugouts and bunkers of the Austrian front lines and the eerie remains of Italian trenches and fortifications. Our hike initially stays high above the valley following the rocky sides of the Tofanes massif and the Cinque Torri (Five Towers) on the far side of the valley, then descends towards Falzarego pass and climbs up again to the Rifugio Scoiattoli, where we stop for lunch. After that we have the option to hike through the Cinque Torre Open Air Museum or relax in a sun chair at the rifugio before boarding a chair lift to save our knees a long downhill. Our final destination is Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy’s world-famous alpine resort town which sits in the heart of the Veneto Dolomites in a wide valley surrounded by high peaks.

Overnight in Cortina
Breakfast and dinner included
Hiking distance: 9 km / Hiking Duration: 4 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 330 m & 360 m

DAY 7

Hike past jagged peaks and an enchanting alpine lake

Our last hike features fabulous panoramic views, a jewel-like alpine lake, and the Dolomites signature spire rock formations. The hike begins with a gradual two-hour climb to reach the Rifugio Croda da Lago for a coffee and strudel break. We pass by the enchanting Lake Federa, whose blue-green waters reflect the surrounding peaks. Continuing our climb, we reach the Ambrizzola crest, revealing unparalleled views of Monte Pelmo and "La Marmolada." The path then crosses a gently rolling alpine plateau up to 2,236 m (7,336 ft) at Passo Giau, the second highest road pass in the Dolomites. Enjoy a refreshing drink at the rifugio before transferring back to Cortina. There is some free time to enjoy Cortina before gathering for dinner, where we toast to a successful grand traverse with newfound friends.

Overnight in Cortina
Breakfast and dinner included
Hiking distance: 14 km / Hiking Duration: 6 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 980 m & 260 m

DAY 8

Transfer to Venice

After breakfast we offer one group transfer to the Venice airport. We plan to arrive by 11 am in time for flights departing after 1pm.

Breakfast included
Driving distance:
Cortina to Venice airport 158 km / 2 hr

WHATS INCLUDED

Price includes:
All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy in San Candido and Cortina. In the rifugios, rooms are assigned as people sign up. If you book early and you are a couple there is a good chance we will be able to reserve a double room for you, but in other cases you may have to share a triple or quadruple room with other people. Toilets and showers are in the hallway (it's a great way to meet people!)
Hotel taxes and service charges
All transportation during the trip
Luggage transportation during the Alta Via portion: Your bags will be transferred to the first and second rifugio but you will need to carry necessities for the third rifugio night as your main luggage is transferred to Cortina
The lift tickets
All activities mentioned in the program
Services of a guide throughout the tour

Included meals:
Breakfast, lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary

Not Included:
Domestic and/or international air fare
Medical expenses
Travel or emergency evacuation insurance
Gratuities for leader/guide or driver
Alcoholic beverages and meals other than outlined in itinerary
Visas if needed
Other items of a personal nature
Anything not mentioned in above program

ITINERARY CHANGES

We are constantly updating our unique itineraries based on new information and experiences available. The walks, accommodations, and visits listed may be adjusted. The itineraries presented are subject to modification and change by Tripin Adventures. We reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in our judgment, conditions warrant, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants, anything not mentioned in above program.

TERRAIN

This trip Level is Moderate/Strenuous and is suitable for people who are experienced hikers in good physical condition and who enjoy being challenged. There are quite significant elevation gains and losses, and although the paths are well-kept the terrain often tends to be uneven and rocky. Sometimes you may have to use your arms to climb up a short “impasse” or sit down to descend sections that are too big for a step. Some trails have “open” stretches which could unsettle someone who suffers from vertigo (on the other hand, all you have to do is look the other way!). Altitude can play a role as our challenging hikes are in the mountains, and in the Alta Via section we sleep at 2,700 m (8,860 ft). In addition to the above you will be carrying more in your backpacks than on other tours because: a) we are in the mountains so you need to carry more layers and be ready for any weather conditions; b) you may need to carry more water since it may not be readily available; and c) you will have to carry a change of clothing and your toothbrush for one of the rifugio stays (we organize a transfer of your main luggage for the other nights).

CONDITION GRADING

Moderate
Trips designated "Moderate" are more active and require a bit more endurance. Hikes and treks includes occasional steep ascents. Trip members should be experienced hikers in good physical condition, capable of walking 3-5 hours

Strenuous
Trips designated "Strenuous" require strong physical stamina, as we're often active for 6+ hours per day. Hikes and treks include traversing more rugged and mountainous terrain.

STARTING POINT AND GETTING THERE

Starting point is: Venice
Getting There & Away: The trip starts in Venice, which has an airport and is easily reached by train from various Italian cities. After breakfast on Sunday, we provide a 2hr private transfer to the train station of Venice.We plan to arrive by 11 am in time for flights departing after 1pm.
Rail: See the Trenitalia website (in English) here: https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.

FOOD

Fresh, flavorful, and delightfully simple, the sun-kissed Italian cuisine is dolce vita on the plate. It reflects the history and bounty of its diverse regions and relies on the fresh, seasonal home-grown produce and generally simple, unfussy cooking that brings out the rich flavors of the Mediterranean.
The traditional cuisine of the Dolomites was born “poor”, as it originally included only a few dishes and featured recipes that were simple, but with the authentic and distinctive taste which reflects the nature of these beautiful alpine valleys. As time passed, this cuisine became more extensive, but always remained loyal to tradition, which emphasizes genuine local products of the land where the cuisine originated.
As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There's no obligation to do this though. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own. Note that alcohol and soft drinks are not included.

WEATHER

The climate of the Dolomites is affected by its geographical location, size, strata and the exposure of the mountain slopes. Generally speaking, the summers are mild with average monthly maximum temperatures in July and August rarely much over 25°C and averages of around 20°C in June, September and October. Higher altitudes influence Dolomites climate as temperatures decrease, so during the summer evenings we recommend you always to have warm clothing. In addition to the above all mountain regions get a fair amount of rain in summer and the Dolomites are no exception.

GEAR CHECKLIST

The Dolomites have a temperate climate. Base your clothing on the “layering system”, if it is hot you can “peel off” layers quickly, if it is cooler and windy you can quickly “dress up”. The lighter you travel, the easier you travel. Use your best judgement and pack as lightly as possible. You will appreciate light luggage towards the end of your trip

OFFICIAL PAPERS

  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets

LUGGAGE

  • Duffel bag or rolling luggage
  • 45l Backpack to carry clothing, camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
  • Luggage locks and tags

OUTERWEAR

  • Midweight polar fleece sweater
  • Polar fleece jacket
  • Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho

CLOTHING

  • Hiking shorts
  • Fast drying synthetic t shirt (2x pair)
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
  • Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit

CLOTHING ACCESSORIES

  • Sun hat or baseball cap
  • Winter hat

FOOTWEAR

  • Supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
  • Casual, comfortable shoes for evening

ACCESSORIES

  • Sunscreen and lip protection
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Head torch
  • Personal hygiene items (towel, soap, etc.)

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

  • Security pouch or money belt
  • Trekking poles or walking staff
  • Camera, memory and batteries
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Watch with alarm or travel alarm
  • Travel pillow
  • Motion sickness remedies
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Insect repellent (lowrisk)
  • Electric adapter plug/converter

This is not a fixed list, but more of a guideline, so feel free to add and remove items as you see fit.

CURRENCY & BANKING

Italy has adopted the Euro as its currency. The easiest way to obtain local cash is from an ATM. Italy’s ATMs accept cards bearing the Cirrus, EC, Euro card, Visa and Plus symbols. If you take cash, US or Canadian Dollars can be easily exchanged at banks. Most major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. It is advisable to have some Euros with you upon arrival to be used for a taxi if necessary. You may want to check the website www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

PASSPORTS

You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the conclusion of your trip. Please make sure that you have blank pages in your passport for your visa (if required), entry and exit stamps (one for each). Please make a copy to take with you in the event yours is lost or stolen and keep it separate from your actual passport.

VISAS

Currently an Italian Tourist Visa is not required for citizens of Canada, United States, Britain and Australia. If you hold another passport, please check online.
http://visacentral.com/visas.php

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