blue flowers with a bee

Walking & Hiking Tour in the UNESCO Dolomite Mountains of Italy

The spectacular Dolomite mountain region of soaring peaks and pristine alpine villages is a walker’s paradise, and we’ve chosen our preferred season for this Dolomites walking tour, when trails are uncrowded and endless fields of wildflowers carpet the slopes. We’ll introduce you to our favorite walks culled from 30 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, or book a private tour in the Dolomites that can be customized for everyone from fit hikers to families with children, with accommodations and activities to suit your group – private groups can choose luxury hotels or family-run inns.

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Trip Length 7 days
Walking Level Fitness
Trip Cost $5480

Walking Levels

Our walks are rated for their level of difficulty as follows:

  • Stroll – Daily distance of 2-5 km (1-3 miles) through archeological sites and in towns with stone stairways. Footwear: Lightweight walking shoes.
  • Easy – Daily distance of 8-10 km (5-7 miles) on dirt paths and gravel roads, with short ascents & descents. Good van access for assistance along the route. Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes.
  • Moderate – Daily distance of 12-16 km (8-10 miles) with longer ascents & descents. May include cobblestone paths and steps, or narrow paths along terraced hillsides. Some van access or options for shorter walks. Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes or lightweight boots.
  • Fitness – Daily distance of 12-16 km (8-10 miles) with steep ascents & descents. Walks are at altitudes of 1200-2450 meters (3500-8000 feet) on trails and forest service roads, some rocky or exposed sections. Limited van access, options for shorter or longer routes. Footwear: Lightweight boots.
photo of the Dolomites with people hiking

“The Dolomites trip was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. We knew we would enjoy ourselves, but the reality surpassed our expectations.”
– N.S., U.S.A.

Trip Highlights

  • 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

Trip Details

Dates
July 10-16, 2019

Meet
Bolzano

End
Venice Airport

Best Time to Go
July & September

Single Supplement
$960 USD

Meals
Daily breakfast / 4 lunches with wine / 5 dinners with wine

Maximum Participants
12

Accommodations
Signature + spa

Itinerary
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Day-by-Day Itinerary

Wildflowers in The Dolomites Placeholder
Wildflowers in The Dolomites

Where We Go: Quiet beautiful towns of Bolzano, San Vigilio di Marebbe, San Cassiano, and chic Cortina.

Day One

Rendezvous in Bolzano  (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 proprietors and well-equipped spa. At night we snuggle under cozy down comforters as the sound of the nearby river lulls us to sleep.

Day Two

Our host, Norberto, will accompany us on our walk today, and he stuffs his backpack with needed provisions, such as wine! 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. After lunch we continue our walk to a farmhouse kitchen, where we snack on a local sweet called  furtaies, hot from the frying pan and drizzled with homemade currant jam. Back to San Vigilio, where we may indulge in a sauna or massage at our hotel.

Day Three

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 as 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, a welcoming oasis of fine service and exquisitely appointed rooms. We stay two nights here, and we’ll dine at an excellent restaurants tucked into the gourmet Val Badia.

Day Four

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. Tonight we have a special dinner in the sublime 3-star Michelin restaurant St. Hubertus, the highest-rated restaurant in the Dolomites, and one of the top ten in all of Italy!

Day Five

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-star hotel in the center of the pedestrian zone. Free evening for exploring the town.

Day Six

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.

Day Seven

Transfer to the Venice airport by noon. Arrivederci!

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