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.
Day 1) Sat 20th July – 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 a couple of hotels – family owned Panda Hotel. The sister owners are friendly and enthusiastic and have been very helpful to us in planning this trip. The other accommodation base is Hotel Christallina which is just across the road. We will all dine there on the first night. 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. There is also a walking/cycling greenway on the old railway line so anyone “underwalked” or “slope averse” can get their miles in there.
Day 2) Sunday 21st July: On our first day of walking we will head to the Five Towers Loop. This is accessed by a ski lift. Its one of those with seats and a bar in the front, so you have to be prepared for this. As you don’t want to climb UP this slope as we are starting our walk at over 2250 M!
This area is stunning – it feels like you are on the roof of Europe, with sharp peaks in all directions. As we come off the lifts, there is a nice Refugio for a coffee before we split into two groups. The routes chosen by the recce team are moderate and we will start off very slowly to reflect the altitude we are at.
Both walks will showcase the stunning scenery and include some historical sights. These mountains were occupied by the Italian army during the first World War. This is a part of Italy that has been owned by other countries at various times.
The A Group will walk back DOWN to the bus while the B group will enjoy a return journey on the ski lift to ground level – expect to feel tired but very happy after this one!
Dinner on this evening will in one of the many restaurants in Cortina in smaller groups – and at your own expense. There are plenty of reasonably priced places with a good range of choice.
Day 3) Monday 22 July: Today we will walk together as one group, from the town of Cortina, and the slopes go downhill. An enclosed ski lift will bring us to Refugio Faloria (2123 M). From here we will make our way down through forests trails, passing little farms, and fields of cattle on an Eco Farm. We will bring a packed lunch (from your breakfast in the hotel) for one stop, and will also be passing a Refugio en route. This walk will bring us back into Cortina and is categorised as “moderate”.
We will dine in Vienna, next door to Hotel Panda on this evening, our last in Cortina.
Day 4) Tuesday 23 July: We are flying back from Treviso with Ryanair so we have a full morning in Cortina. This is your chance to explore the town, walk the Greenway, or even just have a lie-in. We leave Cortina around lunch hour to transfer to Treviso airport.
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
I recommend everyone to have travel Insurance to cover for walking in the Dolomites. You can get this here, select Trek option, location Europe, should be approx €30 for the 4 days cover https://www.thebmc.co.uk/insurance To avail of this Policy you may also need to sign up with Mountaineering Ireland https://www.mountaineering.ie
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 in comfortable hotels in Cortina
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 can range from size depending on accommodation.
Evening Meals : One evening meal is part of the package and we go to restaurants for the meals usually