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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 2024: July 11 plus private departures.
  • Price 2024: Euro €3,600 per person based on double occupancy and minimum of 4 people. Single supplement €480. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.
  • Departures 2025: July 10 plus private departures.
  • Price 2025: Euro €3,850 per person based on double occupancy and minimum of 4 people. Single supplement €490. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.

We have made our "Alta Via" Dolomites Hike easier, but that does not mean it is easy! We have taken out the more challenging and technical elements of our regular Alta Via to make this tour physically easier but no less spectacular. This tour is all about getting into the high mountains and staying up high for four nights in two fabulous fully catered mountain chalets known as “rifugi." The rifugi feature private rooms with comfortable beds, sheets, pillows, and towels. Hot showers and toilet facilities are, however, shared. Don't let that minor inconvenience prevent you from having this wonderful experience. The chalets have excellent food, a decent wine list, and fabulous alpine settings. A week in the Dolomites on our Alta Via tour will provide you with a week of unforgettable hikes and delicious cuisine, plus three nights in four-star comfort at the beginning and end of the tour. Note: Private groups can run this easier version in tandem with our regular Alta Via itinerary to allow groups with disparate hiking abilities to share an incredible 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 more accessible trails.

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 pickup 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 hike 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.

Please note: Some details of the itinerary may change according to the departure date of your tour. Whenever we run a tour we make new discoveries. Sometimes they are good discoveries, like a wonderful new trattoria, and sometimes they are bad, like a trail has been washed away. The result is that we sometimes change our itinerary to improve it by adding new wonderful elements to the tour or by removing something that does not work anymore. Rest assured, our goal is to always provide you with the best possible experience. We will advise you of any changes to the original itinerary prior to departure.  

Altitude

F.A.Q.: "Do your guests frequently experience altitude sickness in this area? If so what pre-tour preparation do you recommend?"
None of our guests have suffered from Altitude sickness on any of our Dolomites tours. Altitude sickness usually only happens at levels above 2,500m/8,000ft. We spend the first two nights in Ortisei sleeping at 1,230 m/3,900ft, allowing you to acclimate. Our first day of hiking is after you have slept one night at that altitude. You may experience some shortness of breath during your first hike, but that is all unless you have some pre-existing medical conditions that make you more sensitive to lower oxygen levels.  After two nights in Ortisei, two nights are spent at 2,300m/7,350ft at Rifugio Genoa and two more nights at 2,050m/6,550ft at Rifugio Gardenacia. None of these altitudes are above the usual threshold of 8000 feet, and we do not spend much time hiking above 8,000 feet. Our final night is back in the valley at 1,400m/4,480 feet in Selva Val Gardena.  Be in shape for the tour and stay well-hydrated during the hikes.

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 or at a four-star hotel in Ortisei)

Meals: 7 breakfasts & 7 dinners

Luggage: Bags are transferred from Bolzano on day one, with drop off in 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 last 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 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+ out of 5= Moderate Plus:

In general: This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers who will find the hikes 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 hiking 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 hike 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 hiking 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.

As a point of reference, what is a 1 out of 5 Activity rating? A 1 out of 5 rated tour is a tour without any hiking. Hikes would be in towns, cities, and villages, and the countryside hikes would be on paved, or gravel/dirt roads, and occasionally on some packed earth trails. Elevation gain and loss would be negligible.

As a point of reference, what is a 5 out of 5 Activity rating? A 5 out of 5 rated tour is a tour that would be physically challenging and technically difficult even for very fit and experienced hikers. The hikes would have steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails with challenging footing, such as on scree fields, or through rock falls and boulders. Distances would be up to 25 km/16 miles per day and feature ascents of over 1,000 m/3,200 feet in a day. A 5 out of 5 tour would also mean that you would be carrying a heavier-than-normal pack. None of our tours are rated 5 out 5. Our most challenging tours are 4.5 out of 5, and they are the Dolomites Alta Via (because of some exposed trail that requires some technical expertise) and our Republic of Georgia tour which has some long hikes with over 1,000 meters of elevation gain.

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