Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours

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Self-guided trek along the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites


  • Hiking high trails through the glowing peaks of the Dolomites.
  • Following mountain paths through flower-filled meadows and shady forests.
  • Enjoying warm hospitality and delicious Italian food in historic mountain ‘rifugios.’
  • Visiting chic Cortina on arrival, and exploring charming Belluno at the end of your journey.
  • Hearing the call of marmots as you discover Parco Nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi.
  • The sense of achievement in completing one of Europe’s classic long distance trails.

Follow the complete length of Italy’s classic 'High Route 1' through the eastern Dolomites from Lago di Braies in the north to Belluno in the south - staying in welcoming and authentic mountain huts. This region of the Italian Alps is famed for some of the best scenery in the Dolomites - immense limestone peaks with excellent, well-trodden trails that let you avoid any "via ferrata," making this a delightful trek.

The ‘rifugi’ are a highlight of the Alta Via 1; you’ll soon fall into a simple, yet pleasing pattern of walking from hut-to-hut, relaxing at the end of a rewarding day in traditional and remote mountain accommodation—some dating from the 1930s, and many still run by the families of the mountaineering pioneers who built them. The AV1 begins in the Sud Tirol, with its distinctive Austrian feel, heading southwards along a high route that winds around and beneath dramatic mountain ranges, including the iconic 10,500 foot peaks of Tofana, Lagazuoi, Pelmo and of course the mighty Civetta. Finish the AV1 some 140km later at the lovely town of Belluno in the south. This trip will delight experienced hikers who can enjoy 9 days of hiking (between 9 and 18km per day), with ascents of up to 3,000 feet.

Begin with an overnight stay at a charming 3 star hotel in the chic town of Cortina, which is easily reached from Venice. Take a scenic bus to the start of Alta Via 1 at Lago di Braies, a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by looming limestone rock faces, which hints at the gems to follow. Follow the distinct dark blue triangle marker ‘High Route 1’ as you make your way through narrow valleys punctuated by soaring spires, alpine meadows, grassy plateaus, dramatic scree slopes and shady forests. The Dolomites rise dramatically around you as you revel in a friendly Italian welcome, delicious pastas and hearty, flavorful fare, excellent local wines, belly-warming grappa and a unique ‘rifugio’ ambience. This area was the front line between Austrian and Italian forces in WWI, and you’ll see fascinating artifacts from that time—the trenches and barbed wire a poignant contrast from the peaceful scenes you see today.

DAY 1: Arrive Cortina

You’ll find pretty Cortina nestled in the heart of the Dolomites. It’s a great place to spend your first night amongst the mountains and to buy any last-minute provisions. Known as the ski and mountaineering centre of the High Dolomites, Cortina offers plenty of restaurants and shops. Reaching Cortina from Venice is easy; there is a twice-daily express bus service.

Overnight: Hotel Pontechiesa***, Cortina

A friendly and traditional Alpine style hotel which is very popular with walkers. Enjoy the cosy and comfortable rooms, locally sourced produce from the breakfast buffet as well as wifi in the rooms. There is an on-site restaurant serving typical regional dishes, or venture into the centre of Cortina (5-10 min walk) and choose from one of the many restaurants here..

DAY 2: Bus to Lago di Braies. Walk to Rifugio Sennes

After a good sleep, take a scenic bus via Dobbiaco to Lago di Braies (1494m), a spectacular lake and the official start of the Alta Via 1. Stride out from the far end of the lake with the mountains looming high on all sides, walking through patches of dwarf pines to the head of the valley. In clear weather you may catch sight of the three giant monoliths of the Tre Cime.

Your first day on the Alta Via 1 involves a good ascent to Rifugio Biella (2327m) from where you can take an optional hike up to the summit of Croda del Becco (2812m), or continue on the mountain track down to Rifugio Sennes, located at 2126m with panoramic views over Croda Rossa (3246m), Cristallo (3221m), Sorapis (3205m), and Tofana (3243m).

Walk: 10km, 942m ascent, 299m descent

Overnight: Rifugio Sennes

Rifugio Sennes can accommodate up to 60 guests in dormitories and rooms with both en suite and shared facilities. Managed by Erich and Cilla Palfrader, the Rifugio was built by their family between 1937 and 1939, and has opened year-round since the 1940s.

DAY 3: Walk to Rifugio Fanes

Today’s trek is along an old WWI mountain track, as you follow switchbacks on a 500m descent to Rifugio Pederü (1548m), which is ideally placed for a bite to eat. Admire views of the Sennes and Fanes massifs.

Continue across the Valle di Rudo as the trail then climbs up the Valun de Fanes to reach Rifugio Fanes (2060m), located above the town of San Vigilio di Marebbe, in a karstic limestone bowl in the Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park.

Walk: 10km, 568m ascent, 639m descent

Overnight: Rifugio Fanes

The lovely Fanes Hut offers both en suite private rooms and dormitory-style accommodation (total of 70 beds). The Rifugio was built in 1928 by brothers Fritz, Rudi and Alfred Mutschlechner, and has been run by Alfred’s son Max since 1978. The Rifugio was renovated in 1996.

DAY 4: Walk to Rifugio Lagazuoi

Continue along the AV1 passing shimmering Lago di Limo (2157m). As you climb the slopes of the Fanes group pause to admire the views to the southern mountain ranges and Marmolada. Crossing the grassy bowl of the Passo Tagéda, we suggest opting for an easier broad track past the windy slopes of Forcella del Lago (2486m), with a (manageable) steep descent on a path through scree to Lago Lagazoi (2182m).

Here in the Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti d’Ampezzo you’ll see remnants of the Austrian- Italian WWI front line. Stop at the open-air ‘Museo all’aparto della Grande Guerra’ with its fascinating interpretation boards. Ascend on a zig-zag path to the Rifugio which lies at 2752m.

Walk: 12km, 1056m ascent, 412m descent

Overnight: Rifugio Lagazuoi

Rifugio Lagazuoi offers 74 beds in total with private rooms on the first floor (some with balcony), as well as spacious dormitories. Built in 1965 by Ugo Pompanin, the Rifugio is now managed by Ugo’s son. Guido and his wife Alma are particularly helpful with advice on routes and weather forecasts. You can pay to relax in the Finnish sauna!

Adding a rest day in Cortina: A cable car runs from Lagazuoi station down to Passo Falzarego, where a bus runs to Cortina. Let us know if you’d like to add in a rest day at this point on the AV1.

DAY 5: Walk to Rifugio Nuvolau

Enjoy a sunrise coffee on the rifiugio’s veranda before setting out across rocky slopes dotted with the remains of WWI; gun ramparts, trenches and officers’ quarters—this is a poignant place for its history and beauty. Care should be taken on the narrow pass traversing the slopes of the Tofana des Rozes, which descends to Rifugio Dibona (2037m).

The AV1 becomes a gentle and fairly even trail through fragrant pine forests, where you should keep an eye out for chamois. Continue through rhododendron forests as the Cinque Torri come into view. Reach Rifugio Averau (2413m), then it’s a 20-min climb to the oldest Rifugio in the Dolomites— Nuvolau (2575m).

Walk: 15km, 1033m ascent, 1144m descent

Overnight: Rifugio Nuvolau*

Built by a baron from Dresden in 1883 (and spared by his nephew on a WWI bombing raid), this simple mountain hut is perched atop a rock. The Siorpaes family have run the Rifugio for over 30 years. The special atmosphere more than makes up for the very basic facilities. There is limited cold water available via a washbasin, and the toilets are located outside of the main building. 24 beds are in rooms of 3-8 (dormitories).

*If you prefer, it is possible to stay at the Rifugio Averau, where there are twin/double en suite rooms as well as dormitories.

DAY 6:Walk to Rifugio Citta di Fiume

Start by returning to the road at Rifugio Averau, thereby avoiding the  route which takes in a short section of via ferrata. Reach Rifugio Passo Giau (2236m) then enjoy a wonderful afternoon of truly lovely walks through flower-filled meadows.

With any luck you’ll spot eagles overhead and hear the calls of marmots as you stroll through grassy fields and farmland strewn with impressive boulders.

Walk: 12km, 538m ascent, 1155m descent 

Overnight: Rifugio Citta di Fiume** (1918m) 

Founded in 1964, this charming rifugio offers 25 beds in 6-bed dormitories, with two external bathrooms. The present building dates back to 1924; with further modifications made in 1964 when the rifugio was created from a cowshed!

**An alternative for walkers preferring private en suite rooms, would be to walk a further 3.5km on to Rifugio Passo Staulanza.

DAY 7: Walk to Rifugio Coldai

In contrast to the high alpine slopes, the AV1 moves on across lush pastures and some scree paths to Rifugio Passo Staulanza (1783m), at the pass of the same name. It is rumoured to serve the best hot chocolate in the Dolomites—so we suggest you indulge yourselves!

With views to Monte Pelmo (3168m), an easier option follows a pleasant and peaceful track which then ascends to Rifugio Coldai (2132m).

Walk: 10km, 624m ascent, 402m descent

Overnight: Rifugio A Sonio al Coldai***

Rifugio Coldai has been run by the same family since 1968. This picturesque rifugio offers beds in dormitories.

DAY 8: Walk to Rifugio Passo Duran

A lovely stroll around Lago Coldai up to a small pass sets the scene for today. Drop down into the valley with views of Lago di Alleghe, before climbing up towards the days’ first major pass, the Forcella di Col Rean.

The path to Passo Duran brings forcella after forcella (mountain passes), in another rewarding stage of the AV1 as you skirt by the Civetta massif. Carry on along the mountain road down to Passo Duran (1605m).

This is a lengthy stage, and it is possible to split today’s walk in two by staying at Rifugio Vazzoler (1714m) if you prefer—please talk to our experts.

Walk: 20km, 1296m ascent, 1829m descent

Overnight: Rifugio Passo Duran San Sebastiano

Charming Passo Duran San Sebastiano offers 25 beds in both dormitories and private rooms. There is a lovely seating area around an open fireplace, a bar and restaurant.

DAY 9: Walk to Rifugio Pian de Fontana

After breakfast, set out on trails that feel more remote than before, with ever-impressive alpine vistas. Today you’ll be walking via the Forcella del Moschesin (1950m) and up the rocky western slopes of the Cima de Zita.

You are now entering the Parco Nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi, the wildest of the national parks on the trail and with a good chance of spotting deer and marmots. A vibrant orange lily flowers amongst the grass, rocks and shrubs.

In one or two places you’ll find the gradient particularly steep, and the ridge path to the day’s highest pass at 2451m feels somewhat exposed. Enjoy glimpses of the Venetian plain. Descend sharply to Rifugio Pian de Fontana (1632m).

This is a lengthy stage, and it is possible to split today’s walk in two by staying at Rifugio Pramperet (1857) if you prefer—please talk to our experts.

Walk: 16km, 1099m ascent, 1031m descent

Overnight: Rifugio Pian de Fontana

This is a simple but homely rifugio, with 32 beds in dormitory-style accommodation. There’s often a roaring fire which goes well with a tipple of grappa!

DAY 10: Walk to La Muda. Bus to Belluno

As you descend the twisting mountain track back into civilisation, find time to reflect on the incredible vistas, wonderful food and wine, and unique characters you’ll have met along the Alta Via 1.

The final stage of your walk is via Rifugio Bianchet (1245m), through woodland dotted with boulders and tiny cyclamen, to meet the road at La Muda, from where you can take a bus (30 mins) to Belluno.

Highly experienced mountain walkers and climbers can check their maps and guidebook for the challenging route up the northern slopes of La Schiara, with a dramatic three-hour descent on almost unbroken via ferrata.

Belluno is the perfect town in which to end your long distance trail. With its compact size, you will enjoy a leisurely stroll around the cafés and boutiques of the old town.

Walk: 12km, 480m ascent, 1672m descent

Overnight: Albergo Capello e Cadore***, Belluno

The Cappello e Cadore Hotel is a popular 3-star hotel located in the heart of the historic town centre, between the central Martiri and Piloni piazzas. The 32 rooms each have aircon, TV, minibar, hairdryer, with free WiFi in the lobby so you can reconnect with friends and family!

DAY 11: Onward Travel

After breakfast, you can take a train from Belluno (via Conegliano) to Venice—just a 1h50mins journey, or continue your travels in Italy!

Additional Nights and Extensions

You can add additional nights at any point before, during or after the walk. Contact us for arrangements or see our website.


We specifically select your rifugi to give you a taste of warm Italian hospitality and so that you are able to join in the camaraderie with your fellow walkers.

For the first and last nights of your walk, you will stay in a friendly 3* hotel on a bed and breakfast basis. For 8 nights you will stay on a half board basis in mountain huts - ‘rifugi’ (except Refugio Fanes where you can buy dinner locally). They offer comfortable accommodation and good local food and drink. Some of the rifugi are more basic than others; they are a mixture of CAI (Italian Alpine Club) and privately-run properties.

Hut accommodation is booked in mixed-sex dormitories made up of alpine-style communal sleeping areas or in bunk beds. We can often book private rooms in the huts (some with shared and some with en suite) and where this type of room is available this is noted against each accommodation; this 'room upgrade' is at an optional supplement. Private rooms are popular and therefore always subject to availability.

Please note that private rooms in the mountain huts are extremely limited and near capacity for many 2017 dates.  While we are always happy to ask, it may not be possible to reserve private rooms in the mountain huts.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers and single rooms are not available except on the first and last nights (in hotel accommodation). A supplement is payable.


This tour is available to start any day of the week from July to September. Upgrades to private rooms will be shown as an option during the booking process. Option & extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.

Please note that private rooms in the mountain huts are extremely limited. If you wish to ask for a private room you need to BOOK EARLY. While we are always happy to ask, it may not be possible to reserve private rooms in the mountain huts.

Time of Year

The best time to walk is July to mid-September, with August the most popular month (with the locals too!) and so busier in the huts. It is not unheard-of for snow to fall on higher ground during the summer, and patches of snow may still be present into July. For this reason, we offer the walk starting from beginning of July. July and August are the hottest months and carry the greatest risk of thunderstorms, which can be torrential and usually occur in the afternoon—being well-prepared and equipped for all these eventualities is essential.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers and single rooms are not available except on the first and last nights (in hotel accommodation). A supplement is payable.

Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate to strenuous and includes daily walks of between 9 and 16.5km with ascents of up to 900m, descents of up to 1300m. You’ll be following switchback footpaths, country lanes, both narrow and wide tracks and rough mountain paths. You should be prepared for rocky and loose ground and unavoidable narrow paths across scree slopes. We have deliberately avoided routes involving via ferrata. Some of the ascents and descents are considerably steep and some can be exposed so require a good head for heights and sure-footedness in places. There are two particularly long days on this trip; Day 8 & Day 9 where you can expect to be walking between 8-10 hours each day. We can split these days up if you prefer, please see the detailed itinerary for more info. You should have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this trip, and be an experienced mountain walker.

Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

As this is a self guided walk you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. This walk is strenuous, crosses high mountain passes and the weather can change quickly. You should be able to navigate easily with a map and compass in poor visibility and be experienced in the mountains.

We supply you with route notes for the recommended routes, as well as a comprehensive guidebook and Tabacco printed maps (1:25 000), so you will have no problem following the route each day. You are of course free to walk wherever you choose, with the possibility of following the guidebook and/or reviewing the map to make your own route.

Baggage Transfers

Bag transfer is available as an optional extra. Due to the remoteness of some of the huts, it is not possible to transfer bags to each overnight location. If you opt for bag transfer, bags cannot be delivered to Rifugio Averau/Nuvolau, Rifugio Coldai and Rifugio Fontana. On these days, simply carry a few overnight things in your day pack to see you through.  

If you choose not to opt for baggage transfer, you will need to carry your kit with you each day. If you are staying in dormitory-style accommodation then you will need to bring a sleeping bag liner (or you can sometimes buy or hire one locally). Bed linen is provided when booking private rooms. For some packing tips and advice, please have a look here.


Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes, trekking towel. Walking poles are highly recommended as the Alta Via 1 is tough on the knees.


Breakfast is included each morning. Dinner is not included in Refugio Fanes (you can buy dinner here locally). It is also not included in Cortina or Belluno as there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.Whilst staying in the other refugio's dinner is included (excluding drinks). This is always simple, hearty fare.

General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sunhat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includs 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 daypack.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking with us that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for cancellation, curtailment, illness or injury.

Getting to Cortina

By Air: Venice Marco Polo Airport is the most convenient airport, with various interational airlines operating here. The smaller Venice Treviso Airport is serviced by low-cost carrier Ryanair (London Stansted, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford).

From Venice Marco Polo airport (or Venice Mestre bus station): it is possible to take the Cortina Express to Cortina (approx. 2h20); departures are twice-daily, usually in the afternoon, so please ensure you check their website for timetables.

From Venice Treviso Airport: From the airport take a bus (approx.12 mins) to Treviso, then from Treviso Sud there is an ATVO bus once a day to Cortina (approx. 2 hrs). Or you can take a bus from Treviso town to Venice Mestre or Marco Polo Airport for onward connections with the Cortina Express (see above). Check the timetable on the ATVO website.

Getting from Belluno

To from Belluno to Venice: From Belluno you can take a train (changing at Conegliano) to Venice Santa Lucia station (approx. 2h30); see for timetables. From here, take a bus from Venice Mestre to Venice Marco Polo Airport (35 mins). See timetable.

To return from Belluno to Cortina: Dolomiti Bus Lines 9 and 30 run between Belluno and Cortina, if you need to return there to collect any additional luggage (we can request if luggage be left at your first hotel in Cortina—subject to prior agreement). Journey time takes just over 1 hr. For timetables, see


  • Accommodation for 2 nights in a comfortable 3* hotel (en-suite room), and for 8 nights in mountain huts (mixed-sex dormitory accommodation) on a half board basis.
  • 10 Breakfasts.
  • 7 Dinners (in the mountain huts/Rifugios, not at Rif Fanes).
  • Route descriptions, guide book, Tabacco maps and a pre-departure information pack.
  • 24/7 phone support from our UK office.


  • Baggage transfers (can be included as an optional extra)
  • Getting to Cortina and from Belluno.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Lunches, dinners in Refugio Fanes, Cortina and Belluno, drinks & snacks.
  • Public transportation, including buses, trains and cable cars.
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program.


  • Baggage transfers
  • Single room supplement (if applicable); available for accommodation in Cortina and Belluno only.
  • Private room supplement for the rifugi (subject to availability, rooms with either shared or en suite facilities).
  • Additional nights during the trip.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest that you book as soon as your plans are finalized as it's a popular trip with a short season and accommodation is limited (particularly private rooms). However, we will always try to accommodate your plans.

How do the baggage transfers work?

If you have included baggage transfers in your tour (optional extra) - Your main baggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation (except for Rifugio Nuvolau/Averau, Rifugio Coldai and Rifugio Fontana due to their remote locations).

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

Due to the remoteness of the huts it is not usually possible to take any form of transport between them. The staff at the rifugi will be able to advise you of your best options.

How fit do I need to be?

This trip is graded moderate to strenuous and requires good physical condition.You must be used to mountain walking, crossing scree or snowy patches, and challenging ascents and descents to get the most from this trip.

When is the best time of year?

The best time to walk is July to mid-September, with August the most popular month (with the locals too!) and so busier in the huts. It is not unheard-of for snow to fall on higher ground during the summer, and patches of snow may still be present into July. For this reason, we offer the walk starting from beginning of July. July and August are the hottest months and carry the greatest risk of thunderstorms, which can be torrential and usually occur in the afternoon—being well-prepared and equipped for all these eventualities is essential.

What personal equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes standard walking gear such as waterproofs, good walking shoes/boots, sun protection, water bottle and a comfortable backpack with waist strap.

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