Dolomites Alta Via 1 North

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.8 Read 13 reviews
  • Delighting in the charm of authentic rifugios as you stay high in the mountains
  • Walking amongst picture-postcard alpine scenery—pastures, peaks and forests
  • Enjoying a cold beer on the terrace as a golden sunset bathes the landscape
  • Stay in traditional mountain huts in spectacular locations
  • The sense of achievement at completing the northern section—next year the south!
Trek the most popular northern half of the ‘High Route 1’, covering around 70km over one week on good trails that are well way-marked, passing glowing peaks, shady forests and rolling pastures. The full north-south trail begins in the Italian Sudtirol and ends some 140km later in Belluno. Stay high up in some of the best mountain huts in the Alps with incredible sunsets and great panoramas. During the trek you’ll stay 5 nights in ‘rifugi’, but you’ll begin and end your tour in the exclusive ski resort and hikers’ paradise of Cortina, encircled 360° by the Dolomites. Amongst the more famous mountains are Tofana to the west, Pomagagnon to the north, Cristallo to the northeast, Faloria and Sorapis to the east, and Becco di Mezzodì, Croda da Lago and Cinque Torri to south. You’ll stay in a lovely 3-star hotel for the first and last night of your tour, already at an elevation of 1224m. Set off by bus to the start of the Alta Via 1, at stunning Lago Braies; admire the reflections in the lake as you stride out alongside the water’s edge, then ascend up the first of many zigzags for a well deserved rest at Rifugio Biella, before continuing down to Rifugio Sennes, with its cosy wood-furnished interior, home-cooked food and welcoming hosts, you’ll soon get a taste for the simple life high up in the mountains. Highlights of the northern section include views of the magnificent Marmolada range, the moving WWI open-air museum at Galleria Lagazuoi, and the expansive views from cliff-top Rifugio Nuvolau. Finish the northern stage after an overnight stay at pretty lakeside Rifugio Croda da Lago Palmieri, descending into the low valley for a final overnight stay at Cortina.
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What To Expect

Hike the popular northern half of the Alta Via 1 in just 6 days, enjoying the camaraderie of comfortable rifugi, hand-picked for their ambience and character. You’ll also have time to explore chic Cortina with a stay in a 3* hotel at the start and end of your tour. You should be sure-footed and have a head for heights to really get the most from this trip. It is not suitable for people suffering from vertigo. You’ll tick half of this long-distance trail off your list, with the perfect excuse to return next year to complete the southern section!

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Hut to Hut Hiking | A point to point walking trip, staying in a new location each night, usually with remote mountain huts or refuges included

Inspiration:

Classic

Activity Level & 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

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) and access to our smartphone navigation app along with GPX tracks, 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.

Accommodations

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 tour, you will stay in a friendly 3* hotel on a breakfast basis. In Refugio Fanes only breakfast is included, but you can buy dinner locally at the refugio. For your remaining 6 nights you will stay on a half board basis in mountain huts - ‘rifugi’. 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. 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.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

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

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning. Dinner is not included in Cortina or Belluno as there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Whilst staying in the rifugi dinner is included (excluding drinks). Dinner is not included at Rifugio Fanes where dinner can be bought locally from an a la carte menu. Meals in the mountain huts are always simple, hearty fare.

Included
  • Accommodation for 2 nights in a comfortable 3* hotel (en suite room), and for 5 nights in mountain huts (dormitory accommodation)
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 4 Dinners (in the mountain huts/Rifugios but not Rif Fanes)
  • Route descriptions, guide book, maps and a pre departure information pack
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App
  • 24-hour assistance by phone
Excluded
  • Baggage transfers (can be included as an optional extra)
  • Getting to and from Cortina
  • Travel Insurance
  • Lunches, dinners in Refugio Fanes and Cortina, 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
Extras
  • Additional nights during the trip
  • Private room supplement for the rifugios (subject to availability, rooms with either shared or en suite facilities).
  • Baggage transfers

When To Go

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. 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.

Getting to the Start

To get to Cortina, there are a couple of options: 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 the End

From Cortina, use one of the methods metioned above to get back to Venice.

Luggage Transfer

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, Rifugio Vazzoler 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. Since 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.

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.

 
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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Cortina Day 2 Bus to Lago di Braies. Walk to Rifugio Sennes 6 miles / 10 km Day 3 Walk to Rifugio Fanes 6 miles / 10 km Day 4 Walk to Rifugio Lagazuoi 7.5 miles / 12 km Day 5 Walk to Rifugio Nuvolau 8 miles / 13 km Day 6 Walk to Rifugio Croda da Lago 5 miles / 8 km Day 7 Walk to Cortina 5 miles / 8.5 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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