Discover The Alta Via, Dolomites
Why Book your Walking Holiday along the Alta Via with Macs Adventure?
Macs Adventure has been sending hikers to explore the Dolomites since 2007. After our first research trip there, we were desperate to get our customers out to the Dolomites and devised a range of products to let you delve deep into this region and explore all of its beauty for yourself.
We now send over 350 hikers to the Alta Via every year, each of them finding their own adventure on this rugged part of Italy. We wanted to provide the freedom to choose your route, itinerary and travel companions and to take the Alta Via at your own pace.
We know how daunting it can be, setting off on an adventure like this and we knew from experience how important it was to have amazing partners on the ground in the Dolomites to deal with any issues that you might come across. We have worked hard to build solid relationships with all the accommodation partners in the region and should you have the slightest issue, they will fall over themselves to help you out.
We offer a flexible Alta Via experience that gets you in a mix of comfortable, friendly hotels and outstanding mountain rifugios. Because of the remote nature of this trip, baggage transfer is not the easiest, but we have made all the contacts to ensure that if it is possible to take your bags, we can do it, so if you want a bag-free hiking experience we can sort that out for you.
We want to showcase our expertise, by giving you all the resources you will ever need. In the planning stage, we have free guides, comprehensive videos and a host of staff with their own Alta Via stories, waiting to answer your questions. On the route, we use high-quality digital mapping as well as the best maps and guidebooks to make sure you find your way.
We love the Alta Via and our main aim is to make sure that you do too.
Which Itinerary is for me?
The Italian Dolomites are a showstopping European mountain range, which although adjacent, feels a world apart from the perhaps more “stereotypical” snow-capped peaks of the French & Swiss Alps.
The Alta Via 1 is a “high route” through the Dolomites. Providing an escape from urban life, these mountain treks are world-class adventures, which although far from easy, are very achievable for most experienced (but perhaps non-technical) walkers. All of our Alta Via routes require an element of sure-footedness, have a head for heights and not suffer from vertigo as there are some hair-raising sections on each tour.
Which Itinerary is for me?
Dolomites Alta Via Complete (or Extended if you have a little more time): is ideal for experienced hikers, it is a tough but rewarding trip and if you have the time to complete the full trip or take it a little slower and embark on the Extended version this trip is for you. You should be prepared to stay in remote yet charming ’Rifugi’ - these mountain huts give a great sense of camaraderie, with dormitories, and the option at times to have a private room.
Dolomites Alta Via 1 Classic – the ‘classic’ section of the Alta Via 1 over 8 days, covering the majority of the trail and taking in the highlights. Finish before the path takes a wilder and more remote turn as it heads south over Passo Duran. Authentic mountain huts provide a warm welcome on the trail, with lovely 3* hotels in Cortina and Belluno.
Dolomites Alta Via 1 Highlights – If you’re short on time but want to explore the high trails of the Dolomites on foot, this is a great tour for you. You’ll manage a good three days of walking at 1500-2500m, staying a couple of nights in traditional ‘rifugi’, topped-and-tailed with a stay in bustling Cortina.
Dolomites Alta Via 1 North – 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 at the start and end of your tour. 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!
Dolomites Alta Via 1 South –The southern half of the Alta Via 1 has a wilder and more remote feel compared to the busier northern section. With slightly longer days, walking around 14-18km daily, this the ideal choice for fit and experienced hikers looking for a rewarding week’s walking on varied trails high in the Italian Alps.
Each trip offers something different for walkers but all have an abundance of great food, good company, and mouth-watering scenery, so….andiamo!
What is it like to stay in a Refugio?
A walking holiday in the European Alps is the stuff of great memories and offers many rewards. However, many people worry about what it’s like to stay in a Refugio. Here’s our guide to staying in a Refugio:
The Rifugios vary in style, size and the standard across Europe varies considerably. There are many advantages to staying in high altitude huts, including cost and convenience. It can be a lot of fun meeting new and like-minded people in the huts.
Most rifugios run a policy that guests should arrive by 6pm each night. Hut wardens may release bookings that are not taken up before 6pm and getting there before others will be an advantage in terms of getting a good place to sleep. Sleeping huts, rather than camping, requires a lot less kit to be carried on your back.
You are not usually allowed to wear your walking boots inside the hut. Leave boots in a boot room and take advantage of slippers supplied by the hut. An alternative is to take a lightweight pair of sandals with you for indoor use.
Most refugios are small and in big demand in the high season. You will find that dorms of six people or more are standard and some might sleep 10 or more. Some dorms cater for up to 40 people. The earlier you arrive, the more chance you have of choosing where you sleep and if you are with friends you will be able to sleep in the same room. Most operate a first-come-first-served sleeping arrangement. Since most people only stay for one night you should be able to pick from pretty much all the space available, depending on your arrival time. A few huts have smaller or private rooms for couples.
Sleeping set up
A standard rifugio dorm will include bunks with a pillow and a woollen blanket on your bed. You will be expected to bring your own sleeping bag liner. These can be bought or made and are usually a light silk. The bedding in huts isn’t changed every day so a sleeping bag liner makes this feel more acceptable. Check before you go if you require a sleeping bag although it is unusual.
Most Rifugios have communal washrooms. The traditional Refugios also have cold water only and just washbasins rather than showers. Modern Rifugios will have bathrooms and showers with running hot water. The showers are usually operated by tokens that you have to pay for.
Food and drink
Water, soft drinks and alcohol are usually sold in the Rifugios and many also offer a set dinner menu and a breakfast. Some Rifugios also sell lunches. Larger Rifugios might have a restaurant set-up, while smaller Rifugios will serve meals in a common room with big communal tables
When you leave
Don’t forget to eat breakfast before you go. This is usually a basic meal of cereal, bread, jam, cheese, coffee or tea. You will need to pay and many huts accept cash only.