The spectacular Dolomite mountain region of soaring peaks and pristine alpine villages is a walker’s paradise, and we’ve chosen our preferred seasons for this walking tour, when trails are uncrowded and endless fields of wildflowers carpet the slopes. We'll introduce you to our favorite walks culled from 25 years of exploring the Dolomites, with time to bask in the luxury of welcoming hotels and fine cuisine. Joins us for this UNESCO mountain walking & hiking tour featured in ForbesLife by Christopher Buckley, or book a private tour.
|•||See the 5000 year-old Ice Man found on a glacier and preserved with his hunting tools in Bolzano|
|•||Hike an old caravan path and try your hand at cutting hay with a scythe on the steep slopes. Soothe aching muscles with a sauna or massage|
|•||Learn about the Ladin culture and language and taste delicious sweet furtaies, a typical Ladin wedding dessert. Learn to say “Marry me!” in Ladin|
|•||Walk through meadows knee-high in wildflowers, breathe in the scent of vanilla orchids, and snooze in a field of forget-me-nots|
|•||View the gleaming white Marmolada glacier, the queen of the Dolomites, and watch climbers scaling the jagged peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo|
Christopher Buckley describes his walking tour in the Dolomites with Anita Iaconangelo of Italian Connection and his experience on a via ferrata hike near Cortina.
Rendezvous in Bolzano (flights from Rome or frequent trains from Milan, Venice and Florence), home of the 5000-year old Ice Man, the world's oldest naturally preserved body! Transfer to the picturesque village of San Vigilio, where the road signs are in three languages - Italian, German and Ladin - reflecting the valley’s mix of cultures. Our first walk is a 9 km (5.5 mile) loop through tiny villages bright with flowers and past lush green meadows where hay is still cut with a hand-hewn scythe. A welcome aperitivo and then a hearty dinner of Ladin specialties rounds out the day. We stay two nights in the beautifully restored Monte Sella inn, which has been in the same family for generations and is renowned for its welcoming proprietor. At night we snuggle under cozy down comforters as the sound of the nearby river lulls us to sleep.
Our host, Norberto, will accompany us on our walk today, and he stuffs his backpack with needed provisions, such as wine, sausages and a portable grill! Our 15 km (9 mile) walk begins with a long uphill through meadows filled with an extravagant array of wildflowers, with rugged mountain peaks crowning the horizon. We are all hungry for lunch as we unpack the fabulous picnic while Norberto, never short of breath, hauls the wood for the barbecue. After lunch we continue our walk to a farmhouse kitchen, where we snack on sweet furtaies, hot from the frying pan. Back to San Vigilio, where we may indulge in a sauna or massage at our hotel.
We drive to a quiet valley of idyllic farms, where happy cows are grazing in the green meadows. As we gradually gain altitude, the sound of cow bells gives way to clear rushing streams and we enter the Odles Regional Park. Picnic in a field of buttercups, snooze in a patch of forget-me-nots and just enjoy being far away from the world. Our 17 km (10.5 mile) walk zigzags up to a ridge with sweeping views stretching to the Austrian Alps! We descend through pleasant pinewoods to a small village where we find our luxurious Relais & Chateaux hotel Rosa Alpina, an elegant family-run oasis of fine service. We stay two nights here, and you may choose to dine in the elegant 2-star Michelin restaurant St. Hubertus, or try another of the excellent restaurants tucked into the gourmet Val Badia.
|Donne in Forma|
We take a cablecar up to 2000 meters (6500 feet) to begin our 10 km (6 mile) walk, one of the most spectacularly situated in the Dolomites. Choose from a variety of easy or more challenging routes, while savoring stupendous views of the glacier-covered Marmolada, the “Queen of the Dolomites.” We lunch on a sunny terrace, relishing a plate of creamy polenta with thick local cheese before returning to town. Relax on your private terrace or take time to be pampered in the hotel's top spa facilities.
We drive to the top of Passo Giau, where we begin our 16 km (10 mile) walk above the tree line with bright blue gentians dotting the green slopes. Lunch in a rifugio with one of the best views in the Dolomites is highly recommended—the walk to get there is worth it! This majestic place was marred by heavy fighting during World War I, and the hand-dug trenches are still visible in an outdoor museum. We then head to the lively town of Cortina where we stay in a lovely 4-diamond hotel in the center of the pedestrian zone. Free evening for exploring the town.
Our final day of walking brings us to the amazing Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a classic Dolomites hike with truly awesome views. Surrounded by dramatic soaring peaks, we are up at 2400 meters (8000 feet), following a rocky trail punctuated by clusters of bright yellow alpine poppies. Tonight we drive up to a favorite restaurant above Cortina, in the best spot to appreciate the Dolomites at sunset, and sip prosecco as the mountains turn a soft hue of pink against the darkening sky. Feast on local dishes of fragrant roasted game and poppy-seed ravioli, and those brave enough can finish with a shot of potent alpine grappa.
Transfer to the Venice airport by noon. Arrivederci!
If “Wildflowers in the Dolomites” interests you, consider our similar trip, Dolomites High Routes.
NEW - Via ferrata option
Take a thrilling hike on a via ferrata with an alpine guide, one of the most memorable experiences in the Dolomites! Originally constructed during the First World War to move troops through rugged terrain, a Via Ferrata, or Iron Way, is a high level footpath that uses fixed cables for protection on narrow exposed trails, so with a minimum of equipment the hiker can reach spectacular places normally restricted to expert climbers. Choose a via ferrata (several levels of difficulty are offered) as an alternative to one of our regular walking routes. Cost depends on the number of people who choose the option, and includes use of necessary equipment-helmet, harness, cord and karabiner, as well as instruction by professional private guide.
1 person - 300 euro per person
2 people - 180 euro per person
3 people - 140 euro per person
4 people - 100 euro per person.