Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided walking holiday - The Dolomites to Lake Garda
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Highlights

  • Classic walks from high in the Brenta Dolomites to Lake Garda.
  • Historic and cosy mountain rifugi, surrounded by golden limestone peaks.
  • Remote trails around chiselled rock faces, forested valleys & alpine pastures.
  • Relaxing at your wellness hotel at Comano Terme, famed for thermal springs.
  • Lake Garda—Italy’s largest lake—with its beach, waterfront parks and cafés.

Walk from the sky-scraping limestone peaks of the Brenta Dolomites to the shimmering shores of Lake Garda. Combine classic hut-to-hut hikes in the Dolomites with relaxed walking at Lake Garda

Experience the atmosphere of remote and historic mountain huts (rifugi), riding a cableway from Lake Molveno up into the heart of the Dolomites. You’ll stay 2 nights nestled amongst a natural amphitheatre of giant monoliths. Descend via the Val d’Ampiez and walk to the thermal springs of Comano Terme, before you wind your way through wooded valleys to spectacular Lake Garda, where you can relax water-side, ferry-hop to picture-postcard villages or enjoy loop walks.

Day 1: Arrive Trento

Cosmopolitan Trento is located in the wide glacial Adige River Valley and is  framed by Südtirol’s mountains. Take time to explore Trento’s Medieval and Renaissance centre, with its pastel hued buildings with wooden balconies, 12th century cathedral, frescoed Piazza Duomo and Buonconsiglio Castle.


Trento is easily reached by train from  across Italy; just 2h10 from Venice, 2h50 from Milan or 4 hrs from Rome.  


Overnight: Trento


Day 2: Walk Fai della Pagnella to Molveno

Today’s walk starts with a transfer (approx. 35 mins) high into the mountains, to Fai della Pagnella at 1000m. Drink in the outstanding views over the wooded valley as you walk towards the aqua tones of Lake Molveno.


Molveno itself is a sleepy lakeside town, with a handful of hotels and restaurants.  Why not try a Trentino speciality—tender white zambana asparagus or carne salada—cured beef sausage rolled in a mixture of coarse salt, laurel, black pepper, juniper, crushed garlic and rosemary. Delizioso!


Walk: 15 km, ascent 814m, descent 953m


Overnight: Molveno


Day 3: Cableway to Palon di Tovre, walk to Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti

Pack your daypack with your essentials as you’ll be staying the next 2 nights deep in the Brenta Dolomites, in remote huts. A cable car then chairlift whisks you high above the lake to Palon di Tovre at 1530m, where you’ll find Rifugio Montanara, the perfect spot to fuel up on honey strudel cake before your hike.


A challenging day has you trekking deep into the Adamello Brenta Dolomites National Park.  Your efforts will be rewarded with outstanding views over the limestone peaks.  Rifugio Selvata provides an idyllic lunchstop. Your goal for the day is the traditional Rifugio of Tosa Pedrotti. Built in 1900, the Rifugio has dormitory rooms with shared facilities, and is run by mountain guide Franco Nicolini and his family.


Walk: 9km, ascent 1284m, descent 376m


Dinner & overnight: Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti (2491m)


Day 4: Walk to Rifugio Cacciatore

Set off following the Sentiero Palmieri route at 2300m along mountain slopes towards Rifugio Cacciatore.  The trail is well way-marked but you’ll need a head for heights as you follow remote footpaths around the great rocky bulks of the Brenta Dolomiti.  You’ll feel as if you’re on top of the world as you soak up the silence and drink in the vistas over craggy pinnacles and into the wooded valleys below.  


Rifugio Cacciatore is nestled in a natural amphitheatre of meadows and mountains.  The Rifugio offers rooms with simple wooden bunks for 2, 4, 6 or 8 people, and bathrooms are again shared. The dinner menu is perfect for hungry hikers, with hearty stews, polenta and wild mushrooms, washed down with a well-deserved cold beer or two!


Walk: 8km, 310m ascent, 1023m descent


Dinner & overnight: Rifugio Cacciatore (1800m)


Day 5: Walk to San Lorenzo, bus to Comano Terme

After a breakfast surrounded by peaks of 2500-3000m, you start your descent through the lush green pastures and shady forests of the Val d’Ampiez and back towards civilisation.


Reach San Lorenzo in Banale, from where a taxi will pick you up and take you to Comano Terme.  The area of Comano Terme is known for its healing waters and after three days of rewarding mountain hikes you’ll be ready to relax at your spa hotel with its sauna, Turkish baths, Jacuzzi, sensory showers and large outdoor pool. 


Walk: 9km, ascent 498m, descent 1611m


Overnight: Comano Terme


Day 6: Walk to Villa del Monte

Continue walking south through the leafy Val di Lomasone as you leave the highest summits behind to reach Villa del Monte. Here a taxi transfer is arranged in the late afternoon to take you to Riva del Garda (30 mins). Alternatively if you’d prefer a lazy day then take the bus all the way from Comano Terme to the lake (1hr).   


‘Riva’ is a bustling town on the northern shores of Lake Garda, with a mountainous backdrop.  Protected by the town’s fortress you'll find the historic centre - tall buildings and narrow lanes, with the Torre Apponale clock tower looming above.  Opposite the waterfront there is a string of cafés, a harbour, a park and a beach—perfect for people-watching with a gelato. 


Walk: 16km, ascent 578m, descent 406m


Overnight: Riva del Garda


Day 7: Loop walk around Lake Garda 

Ferries depart regularly from Riva, whisking you away to the picture-postcard towns of Limone, Torbole, Malcesine and further south on the lake. Jump on board or opt to enjoy a walk close by.


Alternatively, take the ferry to Torbole, and walk the Busatte-Tempesta Trail, with outstanding vistas over the lake, flights of metal stairs and 400 steps.  Return by bus then ferry.


Walk  9km, ascent 375m, descent 370m


Overnight: Riva del Garda


Day 8: Onward travel

Departing Riva you can take the bus west to the train station at Rovereto (40 mins) then catch the train to Venice (1h50). Alternatively take a (scenic!) bus ride all the way along the eastern side to the southern shore of Garda to Peschiera del Garda (1h50) where there’s a train station on the Milan-Verona-Venice line, making onward travel easy from here.


Accommodation

7 nights accommodation is included in your trip; you’ll stay 2 nights high in the mountains at 2 different Rifugi (mountain huts), where you’ll enjoy true Dolomiti hospitality, staying in mixed-sex dormitory-style accommodation with bunks and shared bathroom. Hot showers are available (fee payable), blankets and pillows are provided, and you can either bring your own sleep sheet or hire them from the rifugio. At Rifugio Cacciatore rooms are for 2, 4, 6 or 8 people and are subject to availability at the time of booking.


For the rest of your 5 nights you’ll stay in authentic hotels and B&Bs that are ideal for walkers (of a 3-star standard), family-run and smaller properties where possible.


The accommodation we normally use is detailed here, however is subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.



 

 

 



B&B Al Palazzo Malfatti - Trento



B&B Al Palazzo Malfatti - Trento

Located within the historic centre of Trento, this friendly property offers clean and comfortable rooms which are simply furnished.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Garni Villanova - Molveno



Hotel Garni Villanova - Molveno

The Mori family run this welcoming hotel, situated just infront of the cablecar. There is a sun terrace with wonderful views onto the lake. Rooms are bright and have wooden furniture.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti



Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti

This historic mountain hut offers mixed-sex dormitory-style accommodation with shared facilities. It is located in the remote heart of the Dolomites and is an experience not to be missed. Half board is included.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Rifugio Cacciatore



Rifugio Cacciatore

This remote mountain rifugio offers mixed-sex dormitories of 2, 4, 6 and 8 beds, with shared facilities. The rifugio is surrounded by mountains and alpine pastures. Stay on a half board basis.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Vittoria - Riva del Garda



Hotel Vittoria - Riva del Garda

Hotel Vittoria has 11 rooms over 4 floors; it is an old Bavarian-style hotel-restaurant in the city centre of Riva, just a few steps from the lake. The restaurant specialises in typical Bavarian dishes, accompanied by German beers and Italian wines.


 

 

 

Single Rooms 

This trip is not available to solo walkers due to the nature of the terrain. Single rooms are on request at the hotels/B&Bs only (not possible in the rifugi) and a supplement is payable.


Meals

Dinners are included for the 2 nights that you are staying in the rifugi. Dinner usually consists of polenta or potatoes, meat, preserved vegetables (such as delicious wild mushrooms), pasta and bread. Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements as we will need to check with the hut managers if it is possible to accommodate you.


When you are staying at hotels/B&Bs you are on a bed and breakfast basis.


Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival.  This is strongly recommended at the rifugi and is payable locally. 

Availability

You can start this walking tour on any day between the end beginning of July and start of September. Available from 2017. Lake Garda is very popular so it’s best to book as far in advance as you are able to.  The summer months (mid-July through September) have warm temperatures and plenty of sun – perfect for hiking. While the average max temperature may reach 80 °F / 25°C on the valley floors, a gentle wind higher up usually makes for refreshing walking, and for every 1000m you climb, the temperature will drop by approx. 6.5°C.  As some of the walking on this trip is above 2000m, there may be some snow patches lying early on or late in the season. 


Single Rooms 

This trip is not available to solo walkers due to the nature of the terrain in the Dolomites. Single rooms are on request at the hotels/B&Bs only (not possible in the rifugi) and a supplement is payable. Please remember that with smaller properties the number of dedicated single rooms will be limited.


Grade & Terrain

This trip is graded ‘moderate’ overall, as the walks are 8-16km in length and there are ascents/descents of anywhere between 350 to  800m. However on day 3 when you are walking to Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti, this day is ‘moderate to strenuous’ as you will be ascending 1200m—this is the most challenging day of the week.  This is a trip for experienced mountain hikers. The routes are not technically difficult and we do not include any via ferata, but some paths (particularly to/from/between the rifugi) are remote and high, and as such you must have a good head for heights, be sure-footed and not suffer from vertigo. Other paths on the walk include tarmac tracks, farm vehicle routes and some walking on minor roads (where unavoidable). 


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is not always waymarked (with the exception of some sections where you will be walking on official trails and to/from/between rifugi, where way-marking is good). Detailed routes note and GPS data will be provided for you via the Macs Adventure App. Further information will be provided upon receipt of your booking.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred only between hotels on days 2, 5 and 6 (as there is no transfer access into the rifugi). We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. On Day 3 you will need to pack your daypack to take the essentials with you for the next 2 nights.  You will be reunited with your bags again after your walk on Day 5 (at Comano Terme).


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 



Getting to Trento

By Air: Trento is easily reached by train from city centre stations across Italy; just 2h10 from Venice, 2h50 from Milan or 4 hrs from Rome.  


Train timetables are available at Trenitalia.  


Getting from Riva del Garda

Departing Riva you can take the bus to Rovereto train station (40 mins) then catch the train to Venice (1h50). Alternatively take the bus to Peschiera del Garda (1h50) where there’s a train station on the Milan-Verona-Venice line, making onward travel easy from here.


Further information regarding travel advice will be in your comprehensive pre-departure information pack.

Included

  • 5 Nights in properties of a 3-star standard.
  • 2 Nights in mountain huts/rifugi in bunk-bed dormitory-style mixed-sex accommodation.
  • 7 Breakfasts.
  • 2 Dinners.
  • Baggage transfers between hotel accommodation (days 2, 5, 6).
  • Taxi transfer as on day 2 as per itinerary.
  • Route notes, maps and detailed information pack.
  • Emergency telephone support from our office.

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required).
  • Travel to Trento and from Riva del Garda.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Public transport (eg. buses and ferries).
  • Lunches, drinks and snacks.
  • Dinners on days 1, 2, 5, 6, 7.
  • Local City Tax (up to EUR2 per person per night).
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk.
  • Single room supplement if required (hotels/B&Bs only).
  • Additional taxi transfers (on request).

We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful.

How fit do I need to be?

This trip is graded ‘moderate’ overall, as the walks are 8-15.5km in length and there are ascents/descents of around 800-900m. However on day 3 when you are walking to Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti, this day is ‘moderate to strenuous’ as you will be ascending 1200m—this is the most challenging day of the week.  This is a trip for experienced mountain hikers. The routes are not technically difficult and we do not include any via ferata, but some paths (particularly to/from/between the rifugi) are remote and high, and as such you must have a good head for heights, be sure-footed and not suffer from vertigo. Other paths on the walk include tarmac tracks, farm vehicle routes and some walking on minor roads (where unavoidable).

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Lake Garda in particular is extremely popular. The accommodations mentioned on our website are those that we normally use and are subject to availability at the time of booking, however we will always try and accommodate your plans.

Can we have our own room in the rifugi/huts? 

You’ll stay 2 nights high in the mountains at 2 different Rifugi (mountain huts), where you’ll enjoy true Dolomiti hospitality, staying in mixed-sex dormitory-style accommodation with bunks and shared bathroom.  We can request a smaller dorm, and Rifugio Cacciatore has dorms for 2, 4, 6 or 8 people, however this is subject to availability.  Beds are often simply allocated on arrival. Hot showers are available (fee payable), blankets and pillows are provided, and you can either bring your own sleep sheet or hire them from the rifugio. You should bring a trekking towel with you.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, and dependent on when you are travelling; waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack (which can fit in 2 nights of overnight clothing for when you stay in the rifugi) and hats/gloves etc. You should also bring a sleeping bag liner and a trekking towel for the rifugi (mountain huts). Walking poles are highly recommended due to the steep ascents/descents. Our info packs have a list of all equipement to bring on your walk.

When is the best time of year?

The summer months (mid-July through September) have warm temperatures and plenty of sun – perfect for hiking. While the average max temperature may reach 80 °F / 25°C on the valley floors, a gentle wind higher up usually makes for refreshing walking, and for every 1000m you climb, the temperature will drop by approx. 6.5°C.  As some of the walking on this trip is above 2000m, there may be some snow patches lying early on or late in the season. The Italian Lakes can get extra busy on the main Italian public holidays during the season: 1 May (Labour Day), 2 June (Republic Day) and 15 August (Ferragosto). 

What happens if I don't want to walk?

On the days where luggage is being transferred between your hotels/B&Bs for that night's accommodation (days 2 and 6) you can join the taxi which is transferring your luggage (with enough prior notice), and therefore avoid walking between hotels if you wish.  Alternatively, you can use public transport or local taxis to move you to the next overnight stop when you are not staying at the rifugi. When you are walking to/from/between rifugi/mountain huts (days 3, 4, and 5) there is no alternative but to walk (unless you are injured, in which case you will require mountain rescue and a fee may be involved if your insurance does not cover this).  Please ensure you train adequately for this walk and are well-prepared and have adequate travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances. 

Great views, good variety - a great all-round trip

5

This was a well thought out trip. We really enjoyed it. Forests one day, mountains the next (three), then the plains and finally a walk to recap on what you've just done with pretty good views back to where you've come from. It gave us a great sense of achievement. The 'up' sections in the mountains on day 2 were quite relentless, but well worth it. Try not to check out the accommodation at Comano Terme - leave it as a surprise. It's worth it! Also worth having a look at Trento before heading off on the walk - it looks like an interesting place. We spent a few days further down the west shore of Lake Garda afterwards - highly recommended, although you could quite easily spend more time in Riva too.

K&R

Glasgow

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Fantastic experience!

5

My wife and I at 60 years old and in good physical shape (ultra runner and swimmer) found the hike challenging (not overwhelming). Meaning that you need to train up for the Alps. Good gear is key. Hard rain shell, fleece, a puffy, hat and gloves even in summer for when you go up to 8000'. Each day's turn sheet directions seem to have been written by different authors. Minor discrepancies: ascending vs. descending, left vs. right, proved challenging. At the end of the day however, it was an adventure and we figured it all out. You can too. The varied day's paths were always a delight. Amazed that at all the moving parts (taxi's and bus connections, luggage transfer) all worked flawlessly. The itinerary gave us a good sense of the area: small villages to large towns. We really loved the starting point Trento. Riva was a very nice finish. The spa was perfect after the hard hikes in the Dolomites.

Ann and Geoff

Oella, Maryland, USA

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Thorough enjoyment on the Dolomite to Lake Garda trip

5

What a great way to see a beautiful corner of Italy. Will definitely be traveling with MacsAdventure again.

Amy

Rocky Mountains

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Fantastic!!

5

This was a fantastic trek. The accommodations were so different but each great for its location and complementing each day's walk. The scenery in the Dolomites is spectacular. We were fortunate in being able to see and appreciate it in glorious weather. Fabulous memories and photos. The support and guidance and paperwork given to us before the trip by Sinead was brilliant in helping us plan and look forward to our trek.

Chris'n'Penny

Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

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incredible views, great food, lovely route

5

This is a great route for those who like a challenge but don't need every day of the holiday to be challenging. The hike up to Pedrotti was really hard but worth it! Great views. The next day was just stunning and not as difficult. The day in the spa was a terrific counterpoint and complement. The microclimate and scenery changed every day and they were all good. The last two days are pastoral and charming.

fsm

New York

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Great experience!

5

It was the first time me and my friend (in the mid fifties) travelled with Mac's and we will definitely do it again. The highlights were in the Dolomites where nature is magical. We were lucky to have good weather at the end of August, the sun was shining but it was not too hot. On the other hand, the weather changes rapidly in the mountains and we experienced a heavy lightning storm when we had safely arrived at one of the mountain huts. However, I do not know what we had done if it had surprised us when we found ourselves in the middle of the mountains. The daytrips were very nice and varied, we walked through forests, rugged mountains, a medieval town, apple farms, country roads and the last days in Riva del Garda could not be better. Trekking poles and good boots were very helpful in the rocky uphill and downhill slopes. The hotels / huts have varied in comfort, but all had a good location. A small remark about Rifugio Cacciatore is that there is no hot water and we also did not have access to the shower because they saved on water. May be good to prepare for when you have had an exhausting uphill walk almost all day. Also the hotel in Molveno was double booked but Mac's arranged a new hotel in time before we got there.

Annso

Stockholm, Sweden

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The Dolomites to Lake Garda

5.0 6

100.0

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