Italy Hiking – Dolomites Grand Traverse

Italy Hiking – Dolomites Grand Traverse

The Italian Dolomites is the place for your next Wild Spirit Adventure.
Just over two hours north of Venice lies a trekkers paradise…
Rolling green hills speckled with charming village chalets mingle with spectacular
mountains that dominate the alpine sky.
The Italian Dolomites are a marvellous walking trail and a hiker’s paradise.
The Alta Via trails are perfect for multi-day, hut-to-hut alpine tours, with some of the most breathtaking and challenging terrain. They are the Haute Routes of the
Dolomites!

The Italian Dolomites is the place for your next Wild Spirit Adventure. Just over two hours north of Venice lies a trekkers paradise…

Rolling green hills speckled with charming village chalets mingle with spectacular mountains that dominate the alpine sky.

The Italian Dolomites are a marvellous walking trail and a hiker’s paradise.
The Alta Via trails are perfect for multi-day, hut-to-hut alpine tours, with some of the most breathtaking and challenging terrain. They are the Haute Routes of the Dolomites!

Saint Augustine wrote:

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”.

Just feel inspired

The Italian Dolomites Grand Traverse
Looking for your next big Adventure?
Want to get back out to nature and feel the energy and power of the mountains?
Join us for our next big walk in the Italian Dolomites.
AUD$4895.00

Day 1

From Venice to San Candido
13:00 Pick up at Venice airport: 3 h ride to San Candido (or Dobbiaco, depending on Hotels’ availability);
18:00 Briefing followed by Welcome Aperitif
19:00 Dinner
Overnight San Candido (or Dobbiaco)
Hotel, breakfast and dinner included

Day 2

From Lago di Braies to Rifugio Fodara (or Sanes)
Transfer: 30 minutes; Hiking: 14 km; 5-6 hours; Terrain: hard packed dirt trails, rock and scree; Elevation gain: 1.050 m, Elevation loss: 70 m
8:30 Short ride by private transfer to Braies Lake (starting point of the Alta Via #1); Today is the start of our epic adventure! The next six nights will be spent in rifugios along our route allowing us to stay high up in the mountains and truly experience what life in this rugged yet breathtaking region is all about. Our duffle bag is transferred for us to some of the rifugios, main luggage is tranferred to our final destination. We carry only our personal daypacks with water and other essentials needed for the day’s hike. A short transfer brings us to the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Natural Park and the beautiful emerald green waters of Lake Braies, surrounded on three sides by Dolomite peaks. We start to climb on a well- defined path past dwarf mountain pines, which we soon leave behind, eventually cresting a high saddle. The view back looks over the ice blue waters of Lake Braies, and ahead to the almost lunar expanses of exposed, weather beaten slabs of rock that characterize this cauldron-like expanse between the massifs of the Croda del Becco and Croda Rossa.
Soon we see a square dot amongst this vast panorama. This is Biella hut, where we stop for a well earned hot lunch. After lunch, only for keen hikers, we can have an optionl hike to the Croda del Beco where a 360° outstanding view is waiting us. We continue our hike and reach our cozy rifugio by late afternoon. Our hut is nestled into a high alpine meadow where cows’ bells chime as they meander amongst the mountains. Breakfast, dinner and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 3

From Rif. Fodara to Lavarella
Hiking: 10,5 km; 3.5 hours; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, one section involving a long and steep descent; Elevation gain: 710 m, Elevation loss: 450 m
Optional hike: 8 km; 2-3 hours; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree; Elevation gain: 400 m; Elevation loss: 400 m

8:30 Start walking to Rif. Fanes

We have an easy start this morning as the trail follows a broad meadow before descending switchbacks to Pederu hut where we can stop for a coffee. Here you will see a collection of baita, or small huts that local shepherds use when bringing their livestock up to the meadows for summertime grazing. The trail dips and climbs amongst alpine clearings and sparse pine woods to the Forcella de Medesc. We enter the Fanes Plateau, which features a karst landscape dotted with stubby green pines that soften the otherwise barren sheets of rock. A small stream meanders through the plateau where horses and cream colored cows graze. It is amongst this gentle yet harsh landscape where we overnight at the Rifugio Lavarella or Rifugio Fanes. There is an optional two- to three-hour hike in the afternoon to Passo di Sant’Antonio, a grassy saddle offering rewarding views of Swiss Alps. At the end of the day we enjoy a hearty meal in the cozy wood paneled dining room. Breakfast, dinner and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 4

From Rif. Lavarella to Rif. Lagazuoi
Hiking: 14 km; 5-6 hours; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree, very steep downhill and one section with slight exposure; Elevation gain: 1.070 m; Elevation loss: 380 m

8:30 Start walking to Rif. Lagazuoi

After a hearty breakfast we set off on a beautifully serene hike that features a gentle descent along a wide valley lined by majestic peaks for the first two hours. We take an amazing trail that climbs steeply out of the valley, hugging the broad flanks of Monte Cavallo, before threading its way through spires and then plunging back down to rejoin the principal trail to Lagazuoi. It features a truly impressive series of switchbacks that descend steeply towards Lagacio Lake where we will take a break for a picnic lunch. Following lunch we have our epic climb to Rifugio Laqazuoi, which sits perched on a ledge overlooking the strategic Passo Falzarego. A starkly beautiful mountain landscape is made more dramatic by the visible remnants of the terrible struggle that occurred here between 1915 and 1917. Twisted bits of barb wire, trenches, and bunkers line our route up to Lagazuoi, which at 2,752 meters (9,029’) is one of the highest huts in the Italian Dolomites. Our efforts are rewarded by a truly awesome 360° view of the surrounding mountains and distant green valleys. Breakfast, dinner and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 5

From Rif. Lagazuoi to Rif. Scoiattoli
Hiking: 10 km; 5 hours; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree, very steep downhill and one section with slight exposure; Elevation gain: 350 m; Elevation loss: 800 m
Optional hike: 4 km; 2 hours and 30 mins; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree; Elevation gain: 150 m; Elevation loss: 150 m

8:00 Start walking to Rif. Scoiattoli. Early risers won’t want to miss the dramatic sunrise over the mountains to the east. Today’s hike start decsending trough the WWI gallery drilled by the italian army, a unique experience! Once we reach the bottom, we continue our way, crossing the valley up to the 5 Torri area, a real paradise for rock climbing. We will have lunch in one of the Rifugi of the area. After Lunch we offer an optional hike to the impressive pick of Nuvolau. Breakfast, dinner and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 6

From Rif. Scoiattoli to Rif. Città di Fiume
Hiking: 10 km; 4 hrs and 30 mins; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree;
Elevation gain: 220 m; Elevation loss: 580 m

8:00 Start walking to Rif. Città di Fiume

An hour of hiking brings us to the Passo Giau, which at 2,236 meters is one of the highest passes in Europe. We continue hiking towards the impressive mass of Monte Pelmo and then enjoy a picnic lunch beneath the Becco di Mezzodì before carrying on to the Rifugio Città di Fiume (1,918 m), one of the few remaining authentic rifugi still mostly frequented by climbers. The rifugio sits on a small grassy clearing with a view onto the imposing flanks of Monte Pelmo. The building’s foundations date back to the 1600’s. Originally a stone barn, it was restored in 1924 after suffering shelling during WWI. In 1964 it was expanded and converted into a rifugio. Toast the day’s hike with a cold beer, followed by a hot shower then dinner in the charming wood-panelled “stube.” Overnight in rooms that host up to six occupants. Shower and WC is down the hall. This is the most spartan/rustic of the three mountain huts. Breakfast, dinner and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 7

From Rif. Città di Fiume to Rif. Tissi
Hiking: 15.60 km; 5 hrs ; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree;

Elevation gain: 480 m; Elevation loss: 220 m

8:00 Start walking to Rif. Tissi

The day starts out easily this morning as we gradually descend to the Passo Staulanza, where we stop for coffee and a slice of Sacher Torte, the wonderful Tyrolean chocolate cake. We will need the food energy as we start to climb up to the Rifugio Coldai for yet another panoramic lunch. Another 2.5 hours of hiking brings us to the unforgettable Rifugio Tissi. Situated beneath the west face of the mighty Monte Civetta, Tissi is famous for the spectacular views and sunsets experienced from its cozy interior. As we dine, the setting sun bathes the craggy parapets of Civetta with its last golden rays. Overnight in rooms that host four, six or ten occupants. Shower and WC down the hall. Breakfast, dinner and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 8

From Rif. Tissi to San Martino di Castrozza
Hiking: 9 km; 4 hrs ; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails, rock and scree;
Elevation gain: 100 m; Elevation loss: 780 m

8:30 Start walking to san Martino di Castrozza via Passo Rolle

After breakfast, take a quick hike up to the iron cross at the Col Reàn for breathtaking views over the sheer drop-off down to Lake Alleghe which shines like a turquoise gem below. Then lift your gaze and take in the main peaks of the Dolomites: the Marmolada, Sella Col di Lano, Fànes, Lagazuoi, Tofane, the Dolomiti Ampezzane, and mighty Monte Pelmo. We slowly descend along the top of a massive slab of rock to reach the flanks of Monte Civetta. We stop for a scenic picnic lunch and then gradually descend into a larch forest and the terminus of today’s hike where we will be picked up by private van transfer and transported to the charming village of San Martino di Castrozza. Breakfast, dinner and hotel accommodation included.

Day 9

From San Martino di Castrozza to Venice airport
This morning we leave at 8:30 a.m. for a 2hr 30 minutes transfer to Venice airport. Breakfast and private transfer included.

Location: Italy
Duration: 8 nights/9 days
Departing from: Venice Airport, 9 a.m., Day 1
Tour finishes: Venice Airport, 11:30 a.m. on Day 9
Departures 2020: June 6 (Saturday); July 26 (Sunday); September 12 (Saturday)

Activity Level 4 = Challenging: Difficult terrain, sustained climbs and descents, at least 5 hours of activity daily, and up to 8 hours of walking. You need to be fit, experienced hikers who enjoy being challenged.

In general: This is a challenging tour for fit hikers who will be happy to end the hike each day and recover with a cold beer. Not appropriate for novice hikers or even for experienced but unfit hikers.

Terrain: Rolling and often steep terrain. Challenging sustained climbs and descents of up to 1,200 metres/4,000 feet. Altitude can play a role as our Challenging tours are in the mountains. In the Alta Via we sleep at 2,700 metres/8,500 feet.

Actual walking time: between 5-8 hours per day.

Distances: Usually between 15 and 18 kms/9.5 and 11 miles. Max distance is 22 kms/14 miles.

Surfaces: Trails consisting of compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads and frequently on rocky and uneven trails. Scree slopes and steep switchback trails are also encountered. Sometimes it is necessary to use one’s arms to climb up a short “impasse”, or sit down on your bum to descend sections that are too big for a step. You might also find somewhat overgrown trails.

Footing: Good to tricky. You must almost ALWAYS pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes or boots with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.

Specifics: The trails are safe, but some of them have some “open” parts which could unsettle anyone who suffers from vertigo (on the other hand, all you have to do is look the other way!). Most of the trails are well maintained, but occasionally you have to walk on a short stretch of scree. You also have to carry what you need for six nights up in the mountain huts, so your day-pack will be a little heavier than usual. Elevation gains are between 600 – 900 m (1,970 – 3,000 ft).

Hiking Poles: REQUIRED! Or at least highly recommended !!!
Other: These tours are not appropriate for first-time hikers. People with hip and knee issues will probably find that these tours will aggravate your pre-existing injuries to the point that you may have to abandon the tour. Hikers need to be fit with healthy joints who can easily hike for six hours a day or more and who are also used to negotiating rocky, uneven terrain.

Backpacks: On these trips you will be carrying more in your backpacks than on other tours because: a) we are in the mountains and therefore 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 available; c) you may be carrying your lunch; and d) you will have to carry extra clothing for our 6 nights stay in the mountain chalets because luggage transfers are not possible.

“If our set departure dates are not convenient for you, you may choose Private departures by selecting your own convenient tour date. These types of departure are best suited to couples, families, charity and small groups of friends. Customised itineraries are available as per your travel need.“

Includes:

  • 1 night San Candido (3or 4 stars hotel)
  • 1 night San Martino di Castrozza (3 or 4 stars hotel)
  • 6 nights in mountain huts (dormitory). Note: Toilets and showers are in the hallway. You need a sleeping bag liner, and your personal towel
  • Also included: 8 breakfasts and 8 dinners; bilingual guide(s) to accompany the tour and lead you on the walks; all van transfers as per the itinerary including pick-up from Venice airport and final transfer back to Venice airport.
  • Gears when need it such as helmet and headlight