Walking in the Dolomites – Italy
We will be staying in the small picturesque town of Cortina d’Ampezzo -“Queen of the Dolomites”. This is on the official list of Best of The Alps – Classic Mountain Resorts. You would also be forgiven for thinking you were in Austria. This town has a very Austrian Alpine feel to it and Austrian is also a recognized language here.
The Dolomites are a Mountain Range located in North eastern Italy, they are part of the Southern Limestone Alps. They are an incredible range of high peaks of a red, golden, white colour rock in the sun. Below them is a contrast of bright lush green meadows and pine woods.
There are a great variety of walks to choose from the lowland forest and meadow walks to high reaching peaks, glacial valleys and lakes.
The Dolomites, also known as the “Pale Mountains”, take their name from the carbonate rock dolomite, itself named for 18th-century French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu (1750–1801), who was the first to describe the mineral.
We have chosen the walks that would suit a mixed group of fitness levels but at the sametime also high light many of the great scenic locations and vistas in this region of Italy.
What to Bring:
Here is a short list of extras you will need to bring along for this walking holiday.
- Hill walking Boots.
- Walking Trousers ( Not Jeans)
- Walking Shorts
- Sun Glasses
- Waterproofs (Just in Case)
- Socks Leggings
- Thermal top / T-shirt (Not Cotton)
- Sun Cream
- Insect Repellent
Travel Insurance: Please make sure you have suitable walking insurance for this trip.
The walks on this tour are generally of a moderate level, with a choice of walk.
A good reasonable level of fitness is required.
We will be staying at the family owned 3 star Hotel Panda in Cortina
We will also be staying at Rifugio Scoiattoli for 1 night.
The accommodation providers are well used to us bringing them guests after a days walk and know that they somewhere comfortable to relax and freshen up.
Breakfasts are included and there is a great variety to choose from
Evening Meals: One evening meal is part of the package and we go to restaurants for the meals usually.
Packed Lunch for walks: The accommodations will provide lunch for walks on request.
There are also many local shops and Eurospar very close to the hotel
Day 1) Meet in Venice, Visit Prosecco Vineyard – Cortina
Meet at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 11.30 am to pick up our coach. We then travel to a Prosecco Vineyard in the Treviso Province. This includes a visit to the factory where the Prosecco is made, and it also produces high end salami and prosecutto hams. This is an area where artisan foods are highly prized and you will see this as we tour with Cesare and Martino. We also will visit the vineyard (Cesare told us he paid close to two million euro per hectare for this!) where you will find the ultimate in vending machines – a Prosecco Vending machine!!
You can enjoy sampling the proscecco and the salamis and cheeses of the region and this will get our holiday off to a lively start!
Afterwards we continue to Cortina – a busy little town in a valley, surrounded by fabulous sharp peaks in all directions. This is a skiing resort in the winter, for wealthy people and is also a centre for those doing the famous “Via Ferrata”. You can buy your Gucci handbags and Versace belts and generally upgrade your wardrobe while you are here!
Our accommodation is based in the family owned Panda Hotel. The sister owners are friendly and enthusiastic and have been very helpful to us in planning this trip. There are some single rooms available but supply is very limited.
The centre of town is just five minutes walk away. In the small town there is a wide range of shops and bars, so there is plenty to do.
Day 2) Rund um den Großen Lagazuoi:
This morning we take public bus to Passo Falzareggo and then a Cable car to Lagazuol (2750m), this is one of the most scenic and panoramic views in this area and its where we are at starting our first walk. From where we start the walk the only way is down. The descent is steepish on loose stone, then we follow a flatter track out towards Lago Lagazuoi. We then make our way backwards and follow another trail back down to Passo Falzareggo.
After our walk we catch the bus back into Cortina.
Walking Time: 3.5hrs, Distance 6.8Km, incline 205m descent 773m – Choice to shorten.
Day 3) Rund um die Croda da Lago
Today after breakfast we can take a local bus to Cianpo de Sate. The walk will start at crossing a bridge at the river here. The trail along this route takes a forest road and we then take a smaller trail to the Refugio Lago de Aial from here we start to travel south and upwards on a track towards Beco Daial and continue on towards Crado de Lago with some steep ascent. Once here we can have some lunch at the lake. This is an absolutely beautiful place to relax and enjoy a bite to eat.
Before we make our way down on another track back towards Cortina.
Walking Time: 5.45hrs, Distance 12.2Km, incline 810m descent 810m – Choice to shorten.
Day 4) “Cinque Torri” – “5 Towers” – Rifugio Scoiattoli
We need to take public transport to Passo Falzareggo. We start our walk from here to reach Rifuggio Scoiattoli at 2255m. We will be staying over at the Rifuggio here.
This Rifugio is very modern and offers incredible views all around it. The “5 Towers” are just beside it and you can watch as many people climb these famous rocks. It is very comfortable and offers great food and yes there is a full bar.
There is also a military museum up here from the first world war and Italy’s war with Austria. This area was once one of the main routes into Italy from Austria and was heavily guarded.
There are also trails that you can walk from here such as the Rifugio Nuvolau to really get incredible views at the highest point.
Walking Time: approx. 3.5hrs, Distance 6.8Km, incline 409m Decline: 249m
Day 5) Choice of walk or Cable Car back down.
When we wake up at the Rifugio and after our breakfast here there is a choice to take the cable car back down or walk down a different route to the one that we took up. The walk back down is very easy and is approx. 2-3hrs.
Whichever you decide to do you get the public bus back to Cortina and enjoy the rest of the day to yourself. You can explore Cortina and some of it’s museums or hire a bike to cycle on the greenway here along an old train track. They also provide electric bikes to make the cycle even easier.
Day 6) Cable Car – Riffugio Faloria – Rio Gere – Visit Eco Farm for lunch.
Walking Time: 4.5hrs, Distance 12.4Km, incline by Cable Car, Descent 1169m (choice to shorten)
After our breakfast this morning we will all walk together to the cable car near the Bus station in Cortina to take another cable car to the Rifugio Faloria (2123m). Once on top it’s mainly descent along a good forest road and track to Rio Gere. From here we enter the Eco Farm – Agriturismo El Brite de Larieto. Everything they offer here is made from the farm produce and it is delicious.
After this you have an option to shorten or extend your walk, the extended walk will be approx 12Km. This is a lovely trail over-looking Cortina through some pine woods and meadows, eventually it bring back along to the Greenway (cycle track) into Cortina and back to our hotel.
As this is the last day of our adventure in these wonderful parts of Italy and the Dolomites. So we will have an evening meal together.
Day 7) Transfer to Venice Airport (Marco Polo)
This morning we have an early start and say goodbye to Cortina and the Dolomites and get transferred back to Venice to catch our flights home.