Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1
Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1
Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1
Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1
Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1
Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1

Dolomites High Route: Alta Via 1


Trip Overview

This is the ultimate Italian Dolomites walking trip. 'Alta Via' means the 'high way' and it lives up to its name as we trek through this spectacular landscape. The Dolomites have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of their exceptional geological beauty. Join us and enter a world of breath taking views, of rocky spires, and towering cliff faces. Be prepared to be impressed on our 'Alta Via' trek. 

Highlights

  • World class mountain scenery
  • Fabulous Italian food and coffee
  • Truly spectacular hiking trails
  • Overnights in amazing mountain locations
  • Historic and characterful rifugios
  • Luggage transfers on two of the rifugio nights
  • Professional International Mountain Leader

The uniqueness of the geology in this region is matched by its Austrian-Italian distinctiveness. The area is known as the Sud Tirol in German, and as the Alto Adige in Italian, and presents an eclectic fusion of Austrian and Italian food and folklore.

Try Via Ferrata?

A via ferrata, which in Italian means the 'iron way', is a mountain route with fixed ‘protection’ such as metal ladders, handles and chain that you remain attached to using a climbing harness. This allows access to isolated trail systems, rocky cliff lines and summits normally reserved for climbers. The technique was initially developed by soldiers in the First World War, but has become an established, safe and popular sport. If you would like to try this activity before or after your trip then please ask us for more details. NB: Please note, we only use qualified IFMGA Guides for this activity and it is in addition to the proposed itinerary.

 


The hugest thanks for looking after us so well… We really all did have the loveliest of times and felt in such good hands throughout. It was wonderful not having to make a single decision other than whether to switch from white to red wine and which slice of cake to choose! We were thoroughly spoilt and all returned home glowing with bon homie!

This is just to say thank you very much for organising such an adventure for us.  You managed to pack in every sort of weather and activity and I am pleased to say that once again I used every item of clothing in my rucksack. The Dolomites are really beautiful…all the rifugios were lovely…hot showers and food and our own duvets were perfection at the end of the day. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed it very much.

Itinerary

  • house
  • airport
  • Arrival in Dobbiaco, Italy, also known as Toblach. The Sud Tirol is predominantly German speaking, with Italian the second language. If arriving by bus/train please check both names, Dobbiaco and Toblach. 

     

  • A short bus ride takes us to the famous Lago di Braies beauty spot: a turquoise lake set amongst towering cliffs. According to legend, there were local savages who dug in the mountains for gold and precious stones. The local herdsmen were jealous and tried to steal their treasures, but the savages saw them coming and opened up an underground spring and sunk their treasures in the lake the spring created, Lago di Braies! The lake is one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in the Dolomites. After contouring around the lake we begin our climb through the pine trees until we arrive under the striated cliffs of Monte Muro to immense views at the Porta Sora il Forn at 2388m (7832ft). We then have a very short downhill, just 5 minutes, to the Rifugio Biella for a bowl of minestrone, or whatever else takes your fancy. After lunch, we have a lovely descent through flower meadows and farms, until a final steep road under impressive cliffs takes us down to our overnight at the Rifugio Pederu.

    Ascent: 1045m (3427ft) Descent: 984m (3227ft) Distance: 17km (10.6 miles) Duration: 7h00

    Tonight you have access to your luggage.

  • A steady climb this morning up through the wild and rocky Vallone di Rudo to Lago Piciodil, and with the reward of excellent Italian coffee at Rifugio Fanes. We continue up the trail to Passo di Limo at 2172m (7124ft), and its lake of the same name, which is framed by high peaks and curious limestone slabs dotted with pine trees. Families enjoying a picnic by the lake are a common site. A rugged traverse then brings us to the Forcetta del Lago at 2486m (8154ft), followed by an improbable descent to the green waters of Lago di Lagazuoi. There is then a little 'sting in the tail' as we have a final 200m (656ft) climb to finish at our Rifugio. We are now walking along what was the frontline during WWI, as evidenced by the gun emplacements and tunnels carved out of the ridge line. A remarkably well preserved reminder of more troubled times, the Rifugio Lagazuoi is in an amazing cliffs edge location high in the mountains. It even boasts a wood-fired sauna to ease tired muscles while you enjoy the stunning mountain view. Despite the day’s big climb, the descent is minimal and our knees will appreciate that!

    Ascent: 1685m (5526ft) Descent: 450m (1476ft) Distance: 18km (11.3 miles) Duration: 9h00

    NO access to luggage.

  • Today we go from WWI artefacts hewn into the Lagazuoi and Casteletto mountains, to a close-up of the wonderful summits of Le Tofane. We begin by heading over the Forcella Travenanzes at 2507m (8222ft) before descending past a WWI memorial: a sobering reminder of the bitter fighting which took place here. Then it's over the rocky and wild Forcella Col dei Bos to find fabulous views to Cinque Torri,the Five Towers. We often enjoy a late morning coffee and cake at the Rifugio Dibona, then its a steep descent through larch forests, before we tackle the climb up to reach the Cinque Torri. We can often watch rock climbers tackling the sheer faces of the Towers. We may well take lunch today at the Rifugio under the Cinque Torri. You will notice a theme developing - walk, coffee, walk, cake, walk, lunch! We then have another easy climb to the pass and our gorgeous refuge at Averau

    An optional un-guided afternoon walk is possible along the rocky skyline to the cliff-perched Rifugio Nuvolau. Your guide can explain how to get to the Rifugio, which is one of the oldest in the Dolomites and retains many of its original features. This means you will climb an additional 120 m (393ft). However, you may just want to relax on the terrace at the Rifugio Averau and take in the stunning views of the Tofane, Lagazuoi and Cinque Torri.

    Ascent: 855m (2804ft) Descent: 1150m (3772ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles Duration: 7h00

    NO access to luggage.

  • We leave the Averau perched on its high pass, and begin our day with a descent along a rocky trail through flower meadows down to our next pass at the Forcella Giau at 2350m (7708ft) which offers views to Monte Pelmo. We can enjoy a morning coffee here and contemplate the punishing climb completed by road cyclists in the Giro d'Italia, the Italian equivalent of the Tour de France. A climb of 9.8km (6 miles) with an average gradient of 9.4 per cent and up to 14 per cent in places. After coffee we set off across the mountainside as we follow Monte Formin’s impressive south cliffs before climbing to the Forcella Ambrizzola at 2277m (7468ft)). As we make our way to our next pass we have views of the glorious Civetta and enjoy a gentle descent over pasture through dairy herds. Our final stretch for today is a traversing trail under the impressive peaks and spires of the wild and rugged Monte Pelmo, one of the famous landmark mountains of the Dolomites. Finally, it's down through the larch forests to another lovely rifugio where we spend the night at the Rifugio Staulanza which is run by Marco Sala, a highly respected mountaineer.

    Ascent: 644m (2112ft) Descent: 1150m (3772ft) Distance: 19km (11.8 miles) Duration: 8h00

    Tonight you have access to your luggage.

  • A steady climb up a forest trail behind our Rifugio to gain a ridge where there is the feeling that not too many walkers take this trail as it is not particularly well trodden. The benefits are that we get away from any crowds, and enjoy some peace and quiet. Our trail eventually brings us to Casera di Pioda dairy farm, which sells cheese in the summer. We then leave this rural scene to climb up a well graded mule track to the shoulder of Cima Coldai, an outlier of the Civetta, until we arrive at the Rifugio Sonino Al Coldai. Yet another great rifugio in another stunning location! We continue across a pass and down to the stony beaches encircling the turquoise waters of Lago Coldai. This really is a very beautiful situation as we drop around the lake and over the Forcella Col Negro at 2203m (7225ft) before losing height and entering Val Civetta. With its slabs, peaks and pinnacles the west face of Monte Civetta towers 1200m (3936ft) overhead, and an impressive 7km (4.4 miles) in length. A hanging icefield - the Cristallo – clings to the cliff at the highest point. This face is known as the ‘wall of walls’ and is unique in the Alps. We now head over the Forcella di Col Rean, and our overnight stop at the remote Rifugio Vazzoler.

    Ascent: 952m (3122ft) Descent: 800m (2624ft) Distance: 14km (8.7 miles) Duration: 6h50

    NO access to luggage.

  • This is our final day to our final col at Passo Doran. Leaving our Rifugio we have good views of the Torre Trieste a very impressive rock face towering above our rifugio, and the Cima della Busazza at 2894m (9492ft). After crossing a stony slope below the cliffs, we then gain the steep little pass of Forcella Col Dell’Orso, sitting at 1823m (5979ft). Our trail takes in a short section with some chains as a hand-rail along a flowered rock face then it rises across boulders and pasture, before dropping before the Moiazza’s great south face. Heading along the Val Framont, we can take in a very short detour to the commanding outcrop that hosts the lovely Rifugio Carestiato for another Italian coffee and some lunch! After lunch we have an easy 45 minute walk through pastures and pleasant meadows down to the Passo Duran. Time here for a celebratory drink before a taxi ride to our hotel in Dobbiaco.


    Ascent: 740m (2427ft) Descent: 800m (2624ft) Distance: 14km (8.7miles) Duration: 6h00

    Tonight you have access to your luggage.

  • Today is your departure day from Dobbiaco/Toblach.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. In many cases we have known the management for years, and it’s like visiting friends. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room in Dobbiaco/Toblach. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. Single rooms may be available in Dobbiaco/Toblach, but will incur a supplement. 

On this trip the first and last nights we will be in a hotel, while the rest of the trip we will stay in lovely rifugios. A rifugio is the Italian name given to a mountain lodge/hut. The Dolomite rifugios are lovely, and our guests have said they are more like hotels than huts! In the rifugios we aim to book the best arrangement possible.  Normally we manage to reserve rooms/dorms just for our group so you are not sharing with strangers, however, this cannot be guaranteed. In summary, once we leave Dobbiaco/Toblach you may find yourselves in lovely private bedrooms or in larger rooms. Early booking usually means better rooming arrangements as we have more choice available.

It may be possible that we can book you a double room in the rifugios, but this may incur a supplement. Single rooms are not available in the rifugios. Please contact us for details. 

Hotel Tschurtschenthaler, Dobbiaco/Toblach

Hotel

The Hotel Tschurtschenthaler is a family run hotel right in the heart of Dobbiaco/Toblach. It is ideally positioned for easy access to the many outdoor shops, as well as the bars, and coffee shops. The hotel has a really lovely spa area which is great for easing any tired muscles.

All rooms are all en suite, and some have balconies. The hotel is run by Marlies whom we have gotten to know over several years of visiting the Dolomites. Single rooms may be available on request for a supplementary fee. 

Rifugio Pederu

The Rifugio Pederu is a lovely overnight stop. It is very comfortable, and has open meadows around the building. It is more 'guest house' than rifugio, and our accommodation may be in bedrooms rather than dorms, though we cannot make any promises as it depends on early booking. The bedrooms are en suite, and there are also showers available on the floors for the dorms. Dinner is usually very good with great local dishes. 

Rifugio Lagazuoi

Refuge

Situated in the heart of the Dolomites at 2752m (9026ft), the Rifugio offers a magnificent and cosy place to reward our efforts. The rifugio is famed for its stunning views of the mountains. It is perched on the edge of a cliff and the evening and dawn views are worth watching! It has cosy rooms decorated in traditional style with wood featuring extensively. 

It has a wood fired sauna which is outside the main building and there is something quite wonderful about taking a sauna while gazing at the Dolomites. The rooms are generally bedrooms for between 2 and 4 people, and there are showers on the floor. Dinner is usually very Italian featuring pastas and sauces.

Rifugio Averau

Refuge

Without a doubt one of our favourites. The Sunday Times included the Rifugio Averau on its list of the ten best mountain restaurants in the Alps. We think it is more like a hotel than a rifugio, with excellent dinners offering a choice of courses. It also has a great wine cellar for those who enjoy 'vino'. It has has won many prestigious Italian and international awards, confirming their reputation.

On August 10, 1874 Santo Siorpaes, one of the most famous mountain guides of the time and author of many first ascents of the most famous peaks of the Dolomites, was the first to climb the peaks of Mount Averau. Today, after more than 140 years his descendants run the Rifugio Averau at the base of the mountain. 

Rooms are dormitory style, but very comfortable and clean. With early booking we always aim to book a small dorm just for our group. There are showers and toilets on the floor. 

 

Rifugio Staulanza

The Staulanza is definitely more 'hotel' than rifugio. It is run by Marco Sala a respected Italian mountaineer and the walls are adorned with his photographs from some impressive expeditions. It sits right on the high pass of Staulanza, and has a lovely terrace for enjoying a well-earned drink. 

The bar area is very cosy, and the bedrooms are generally all en suite. Dinner is very Italian and features local dishes. 

Rifugio Vazzoler

The Rifugio Vazzoler feels rather remote and is situated in the forest below some very impressive cliffs. The rifugio was built by the Club Alpino Italiano in 1929. In 1968 the Club set up a botanical garden in the grounds,  which is now managed by the Belluno Regional Forestry Office. The rifugio is quite basic, but nevertheless characterful in true rifugio style with many artefacts from the two World Wars on display, and with great black and white photos of this era showing the amazing routes taken through the mountains by the troops.

The rooms are all dormitory though we can often secure smaller dorms just for our group. There are shared toilets and showers. 


  • You can fly into Innsbruck, Austria, Venice or Verona, Italy. Note that Austrian Airways will normally carry ski bags free of charge. We do, however, ask that you verify this yourself.

    Innsbruck: take a free shuttle bus from the airport to Innsbruck central train station, a 15 minute journey leaving every 10 mins. Take a train to Dobbiaco, also called Toblach, via Brennero/Brenner > Fortezza/Franzensfete. Be aware that in the Dolomites/Sud Tirol all the towns and village have an Italian name and a German name. The train departs hourly for Brennero/Brenner, change here for Fortezza/Franzensfeste, then on to Dobbiaco/Toblach. The journey takes approximately 3h00, and the changes are every 30 minutes at Fortezza and Brennero. If your departure flight is too early for the first local train between Dobbiaco and Fortezza, then you can book a taxi at the hotel to take you directly to Fortezza.

    Venice: (either Marco Polo or Treviso airports) Take the Cortina Express bus to Cortina, and then change for the local bus to Dobbiaco. Our guests have said that either route works well, and the journey is enjoyable.

    Check out Rome2Rio for other options, including trains from Venice to Dobbiaco or even for the entire journey from the UK. Check www.sad.it for local trains to Dobbiaco.

  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you to take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip for whatever reason. NB: The insurance referred to below should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed that your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    For ease of reference the clause relating to Insurance as set out in our Terms and Conditions is given below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency event shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres, except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m. You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to run. We take a maximum of 10 clients.

  • Summer mountain weather can vary considerably. It is generally good in the Alps with lovely days, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

  • A via ferrata, which in Italian means the 'iron way', is a mountain route with fixed ‘protection’ such as metal ladders, handles and chain that you remain attached to using a climbing harness. This allows access to isolated trail systems, rocky cliff lines and summits normally reserved for climbers. The technique was initially developed by soldiers in the First World War, but has become an established, safe and popular sport. If you would like to try this activity before or after your trip then please ask us for more details. NB: Please note, we only use qualified IFMGA Guides for this activity and it is in addition to the proposed itinerary.

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. You can read our full policy here.

  • Due to the specialised nature of many of our holidays, we co-sell a number of our trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped to book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 

     


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sat 06 Jul - Sat 13 Jul
Code: AVD1 19
Price: £1545 Book
Sat 13 Jul - Sat 20 Jul
Code: AVD2 19
Price: £1545 Book
Sat 20 Jul - Sat 27 Jul
Code: AVD3 19
Price: £1545 Book
Sat 31 Aug - Sat 07 Sep
Code: AVD4 19
Price: £1545 Book
Sat 07 Sep - Sat 14 Sep
Code: AVD5 19
Price: £1545 Book

What's Included

  • Half board accommodation in a 3*** hotel or similar for 2 nights based on a twin room
  • Half board accommodation for 5 nights in a rifugio based on shared rooms/dorms, all with showers
  • The services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Transport to the start of the route at Lago di Braies
  • Taxi transfer back to Dobbiaco/Toblach from Passo Duran
  • Luggage transfer between rifugios: this is possible on 2 nights 
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Lunches 
  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Drinks and snacks 
  • Transfers to/from trip meeting point

The hugest thanks for looking after us so well… We really all did have the loveliest of times and felt in such good hands throughout. It was wonderful not having to make a single decision other than whether to switch from white to red wine and which slice of cake to choose! We were thoroughly spoilt and all returned home glowing with bon homie!

This is just to say thank you very much for organising such an adventure for us.  You managed to pack in every sort of weather and activity and I am pleased to say that once again I used every item of clothing in my rucksack. The Dolomites are really beautiful…all the rifugios were lovely…hot showers and food and our own duvets were perfection at the end of the day. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed it very much.

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Grade: Difficult

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At a Glance

From Price £1545
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 2507m (8222ft)
Countries Visited Italy
Meet In Dobbiaco, Italy
View all Walking Holidays

The Dolomites seen from the sky!

Giro rides the Giau!