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Written by
Frances McCann
Frances McCann

Walk of the Week: The Italian Alta Via 1

Welcome to another Walk of the Week. This time, we're looking at another must-do for the bucket list, as we take the high road or "alta via" through the spectacular Italian Dolomites on the Alta Via 1 long distance trail.

In a Nutshell:

Distance: 140 km (for the Complete option) Grading: Moderate to Strenuous.  The trail is quite varied in terrain including switchback footpaths, country lanes, both narrow and wide tracks and rough mountain paths, so you should be prepared for some rocky terrain and have a good head for heights. No specialist technical experience is needed though, so it is a very achievable challenge for most.

dolomites1Where is it?

Northeastern Italy is home to the characteristic peaks of the Dolomites range. The chic town of Cortina, home to the ski jet set in the winter months, is the starting point of the Complete trail, and a great place to enjoy some finery before heading into the mountains. The area is of historic significance, as it was the front line between Austrian and Italian forces in WWI, and even today signs of the trenches and barbed wire are a stark contrast to the beauty all around.

Why walk it?

The first reason to walk in the Dolomites is quite simply the views. They will blow you away. Very unique rock formations create spectacular vistas of pale rock, which in glow of the sunset and sunrise are so beautiful it will draw a tear! These are not Swiss-chocolate-box-alps, but they are wonderfully unexpected, unusual, and unforgettable.   The second reason to walk the Dolomites is the remote "refigio" or mountain huts. Many are still run by the same people or families who built the huts, so you are welcomed into a way of life and can enjoy warmth and hospitality combined with the camaraderie of your fellow hikers on the trail. The food is great, the company is great, and all your cares will be left behind. As you will be in mountain accommodation for most of the route, you really do get a true feeling that you are "away from it all" - the perfect antidote to a busy life.

Planning to walk the Alta Via 1

The Complete Alta Via 1 will fit nicely into a 10 night trip, however you can choose to walk the North and South sections separately, walk the highlights in 4 nights, or even take a more relaxed option with rest days over 13 nights. Macs Adventure offer a variety of itineraries with accommodation and all the route notes and maps you'll need as a package, you can review the Alta Via 1 itineraries here. Our destination & adventure specialists can give you all the advice you will need about the trip, so don't hesitate to get in touch with them by emailing at info@macsadventure.com or giving us a call on 0141 530 8886.
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