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Dolomites Easier Alta Via

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  • Location: Italy
  • Duration: 7 nights/8 days
  • Departing from: Bolzano
  • Tour finishes: Bolzano train station
  • Departures 2023: June 18 plus private departures.
  • Price 2023: Euro €3,550 per person based on double occupancy and minimum of 4 people. Single supplement €330. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.

The "Alta Via" made easier (but not easy!). This tour is all about enabling most of our hikers to get into the high mountains and enjoy the experience of not only hiking amongst Europe's most beautiful alpine scenery but also staying in two wonderful fully catered mountain chalets known as “rifugi. The rifugi feature private rooms with comfortable beds, sheets, pillows, towels, hot showers, excellent food and a decent wine list in addition to their fabulous settings high up in the fresh clean air of the mountains. We have taken out the more challenging and technical elements of our regular Alta Via to make this tour physically much easier, but no less spectacular. Private groups can run this easier version in tandem with our regular Alta Via itinerary to allow groups with disparate hiking abilities to share a wonderful mountain adventure together. While one person challenges themselves on our regular Level 4.5 Alta Via itinerary, the other can enjoy a more relaxed but no less beautiful hike on the easier trails. At the end of the day everyone is reunited to recount their adventures and share a lovely moment together in the warm embrace of our comfy rifugi.

Dolomites Easier Alta Via itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1

We pickup in Bolzano at 3 pm. Bolzano is home to Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old mummified “ice man” whose body was found in the nearby mountains. His body and related artifacts are on display in a fascinating archaeological museum that should not be missed. You can do that this morning, and of course, if you want to arrive the night before we can arrange a hotel for you. Meet your guide(s) at 3 p.m. for a 50-minute transfer to Ortisei, a charming Alpine village located at 1,100 meters. After checking into our four-star hotel you will have some free-time to explore the village. We meet for dinner in the village. Hotel, transfer, and dinner included.

Day 2

Today we hike below the dramatic southern face of the Odle massif, and enjoy huge views across the valley to the soaring pinnacles of the Sasso Lungo. Our hike takes us gradually down towards the village of Selva. Along the way we stop for a coffee and a strudel at rifugio Firenze before continuing down to the next rifugio for lunch where we look out over the lush green pastures and larch forests of the Val Gardena. The last knee destroying descent is avoided by a van pick up. We will be back in Ortisei in time to enjoy a gelato in the village square or a sauna at the hotel spa. Overnight Ortisei. Details: Total distance: 10.2 km (6 mi). Elev. gain 166m (531 ft) and loss 839m (2,684 ft). Hiking time: 3.5h Maximum altitude: 2,500 m (8,000 ft) Summary: Moderate hiking. Very good trails. Hotel, breakfast, lift ticket, and dinner included.

Day 3

Today we start the “Alta Via” (high route) component of the tour. A cable-car l whisks us up to the start of our hike. You hike beneath the northern wall of the Odle group before dropping down into the soft embrace of the larch forest. We stop at a rifugio overflowing with geraniums for a well earned lunch before the last push to  the Rifugio Genova. Since 1898 this charming chalet has welcomed hikers and mountain climbers. It sits at 2,300 m (7,500 ft) at the entrance to the  Puez-Odle national park. Upon arrival enjoy a cold beer on the terrace followed by a hot shower. Dinner is enjoyed in the wood-paneled “stube.” Overnight in private double rooms (late sign-ups may have to share a triple or quadruple room). Details: Total distance: about 15 km (9.4 mi). Elev. gain 680 m (2,176 ft) and loss 550 m (1,760 ft). Hiking time: 5. hrs Maximum altitude: 2,425 m (7,760 ft). Summary: Moderate hiking, very good trails, but a long day with a stiff climb to the rifugio. The last 3.4 kms have an elevation gain of 417 m/ 1,334 ft) Breakfast, dinner, and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 4

Today we enjoy a loop hike around Mount Putia. Our route  features magnificent views from above the tree line before gently descending into the quiet of the larch  woods. The trail follows the “valley of the mills. Ancient wooden aqueducts channel water from the mountain to the mills in the valley. We stop for a warming lunch at a log mountain hut where we are once once again above the tree line with wonderful views. A gradual but challenging climb takes over the Putia Forcella and back home to Rifugio Genova where you can chill out on the deck-chairs overlooking the valley and catch the sun's late afternoon rays. Details: Total distance: 14 kms. Elev. gain 530m/1,600 ft and loss 530m/1,600 ft. Hiking time: 5h. Maximum altitude: 2,415 m (8,768 ft). Summary: Easy hiking on good trails, one 2 km section on gravel road plus optional challenging climb. Breakfast, dinner, and rifugio accommodation included.

Day 5

The trail leads us up towards a cathedral of soaring peaks. We crest a low pass and start to descend towards the valley. As we drop down the valley widens and is dotted with the traditional “baita” huts used by generations of shepherds who bring their livestock to graze the high pastures. We eventually arrive at a small hamlet where we are picked up and taken to La Villa village where we have lunch in a fabulous little pizzeria! Afterwards, we take a chair lift back up into the mountains for a 1 hour hike up to Rifugio  Gardenaccia. Built in 1937, this family owned rifugio has retained all its old world charm while enjoying the benefits of a recent renovation which includes a superb sauna. It’s a great way to relax at the end of a wonderful hike. Overnight in private double rooms (late  sign-ups may have to share a triple or quadruple). The shower and WC are down the hall but we also offer you a free  sauna so you can use the accompanying modern shower facility. Details: Total distance: about 11 km (6.3 mi). Elev. gain 440 m (1,408 ft) and loss 1002m (3,200 ft). Hiking  time: 4.5 hrs.  Maximum altitude: 2,440 m (7,808 ft). Summary: After a short climb, the morning is mostly gradual downhill to the pick up point. 1 hour climb after lunch. Good trails. Breakfast, dinner, and rifugio accommodation with sauna facilities included.

Day 6

Your energy levels and the weather will determine which one of several options we will choose. Indeed, the rifugio's lovely terrace and fabulous sauna has enticed many people to take the day off.  Otherwise the  imposing vastness of the Gardenaccia plateau awaits. A morning hike to rifugio Puez for lunch and then a dramatic descent through a narrow cut in the rock back down to welcoming Gardenaccia rifugio. Details: Total distance: choices range between 8 – 17 km (5 – 11 mi). Hiking time: 3 – 6 hrs. Summary: Good trails throughout. Breakfast, dinner, and rifugio accommodation with sauna facilities included.

Day 7

Hike down to the chair lift, followed by a transfer to the village of Colfosco for another lift, this time up to reach a rifugio for a mid-morning coffee break. Then climb up through the spectacular flank of the Crespeina group to then drop down the other side into the gentle valley that leads to the village of Selva Val Gardena. We will stop at Baita Ciampac for lunch, a very special place with excellent food. Afterwards, it is a short downhill walk to our lovely four star hotel. Dinner in the village square at “Nives”, one of the area's premier restaurants, which is a fitting culinary finale for a week of unforgettable hiking highs. Details: Total distance: about 7.5 km (5.5 mi). Elev. gain 260 m (900 ft) and loss 850m (2,820 ft).  Hiking time: 3.5h Maximum altitude: 2,300 m (7,300 ft). Summary: A steep descent to the chair lift, then a steep climb up to Crespiena fork, then downhill to Selva. Good trails throughout. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 8

Van transfer to the Bolzano train station, arriving in time for 10:30 departures. Bolzano  is well connected by train to Verona, Milan, Venice, Innsbruck and beyond. A final transfer to Venice (airport or train station, both of which are about a 2.5-hour drive) can also be arranged for those who wish (not included). Breakfast and group transfer included.

Dolomites Alta Via Hiking Tour Includes:

Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation ( 2 nights in Ortisei at the four-star Hartmann Chalet Hotel or Hotel Rainell or similar, 4 nights in two different rifugi [mountain chalets], 1 night at the four-star Hotel Acadia in Selva Val Gardena)

Meals: 7 breakfasts & 7 dinners

Luggage: Bags are transferred from Bolzano on day one, with drop off Bolzano on the final day. Bag transfer from final rifugio to the transfer van so you only have to carry a day pack on the final day of hiking.

Transport: Private van transfers as per the itinerary, all lift tickets for funicular, gondola and chair-lifts as indicated in the itinerary

Active days: 6 days of guided hiking

Guides: At least 1 bilingual Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people; 2 guides accompany departures of 9 or more people

Max group size: Tours are capped at 14 people

Note: Rooms in the huts are based on a first come, first served basis. If you book early, and you are a couple there is a good chance we will be able to reserve double rooms for you, however it may be necessary to have three or four people maximum in a room. Toilets and showers are in the hallway (it's a great way to meet people!).

Booking: Please e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract or simply click on the BOOK NOW button or the 'Contact Us' tab. Thanks!

Activity Level 3+ = Moderate Plus:

In general: This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers who will find the walks a satisfying workout, while less-fit hikers will find them challenging but do-able and have a great sense of achievement at the end of the week.

Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent steep ascents and descents. The "+" indicates that they also involve more rugged, rocky, or steep terrain than the standard 3-rated tours.

Actual walking time: Between 3-5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.

Distances: Usually 8 - 12 kms (5 - 7 mi) per day. Max distance 15 kms (9.3 mi).

Surfaces: Trails are a mix of compact earth and stones, dirt tracks, and rocky and uneven wooded trails.

Footing: Good, but you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.

Specifics: This is a much easier version of our Dolomites Alta Via hiking tour, but you will still be in an alpine environment, hiking at an average altitude of 2,000 m/6,400 ft with some sustained steep climbs of up to an hour. You will also be hiking with a heavier than usual backpack. 

Hiking Poles: We consider them to be an essential piece of equipment for this tour. 

Compared to the Cinque Terre: The Cinque Terre is the perfect example of a 3+ rated tour. Our most common comment about the Cinque Terre walk and other tours rated 3+ is “More challenging than I expected but I am glad I did it”. This tour is about the same, the biggest difference is the altitude, and the fact you will be carrying a heavier pack. 

Other: This tour is appropriate for “sporty and fit” first-time hikers who enjoy walking and have good balance. People with hip and knee issues might find a 3+ tour challenging because of the terrain, the duration of the hikes, and some of the sustained downhills.

Moderate Plus Tours: Amalfi is the easiest of this group, then Dolomites Lite, followed by the Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Northern Greece Meteora & Zagori, and Andalusia.

Backpacks: On these trips you will be carrying more in your backpacks than on other tours because: a) we are in the  mountains so you need to carry more layers and be ready for any weather conditions; b) you may need to carry more water since it may not be available; c) you may be carrying your lunch; and d) in some cases you may have to  carry an extra change of clothing, as in our Dolomites "Alta Via" Hike you stay up in the mountains where luggage  transfers are not possible.    

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