Walking tours


Dolomites “Classic” Hiking Tour

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  • Location: Italy
  • Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Departing from: Venice, 1 p.m. on Day 1
  • Tour finishes: Venice airport, Sunday morning Day 8, around 11:00 a.m.
  • Departures 2023: June 23 (Thursday), July 12 (Wednesday), Aug 27, Sept 3, plus private departures
  • Price 2023: Euro €3,500 per person based on double occupancy and minimum 3 people. Single supplement Euro €330. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.

Classic Dolomites Hike: Our Classic Dolomites tour takes you on some of the most spectacular hiking routes in the world. Our trails wind their way amongst jagged limestone peaks which rise high above green valleys dotted with wildflowers and blue glacial lakes. Lunches are had in cozy alpine huts. The food is rich and hearty, with local Tyrolean specialties like polenta and gnocchi, and the wines are among the best in Italy. We spend the first four nights in the village of San Candido in SouthTyrol. Until 1918 this region was part of the Hapsburg Empire and its people are largely of Germanic descent. Our last three nights are spent in Cortina, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. At the end of the day we enjoy the peace and comfort of charming four star hotels. This tour runs in tandem with our Dolomites Lite so couples with different hiking abilities can travel together, hike apart, but still experience together the breath-taking beauty of the Dolomites.

As a special treat for those who are keen for more adventure, we offer the opportunity to go with an Alpine guide to do a stretch of the famous Via Ferrata (weather permitting). Literally translated as “the Iron Way,” the Via Ferrata runs throughout the Dolomites, incorporating a system of iron ladders to assist hikers on steep mountainous terrain. The trails were originally built and used by WWI soldiers fighting in this region. Our local alpine guide will provide you with the necessary helmets, harnesses, and guidance to safely hike this exhilarating mountain terrain. (supplemental fee required.)

Dolomites Classic Hiking Tour Includes

  • Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation in 4-star hotels (4 nights San Candido/Innichen and 3 nights Cortina)
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts & 6 dinners
  • Luggage: Bags are transferred from pick up at Vencie airport, to San Candido and Cortina, and includes drop-off at Venice airport
  • Special events: All lift tickets (funicular, gondola, chair-lift) as noted
  • Transport: Private van & bus transfers 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

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!

Dolomites “Classic” Hiking Tour itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1

We provide a convenient transfer into the mountains from Venice. Meet the trip leader at 1pm at Venice Airport. A 2.5 hour transfer takes you to our first night’s hotel in San Candido-Innichen, Italy. We are in the Upper Pusteria Valley, close to the border with Austria. This part of Southern Tyrol was part of Imperial Austria until the end of the First World War. After checking into our centrally located four star hotel you will have time to explore this charming village which is flanked by the imposing towers of the Baranci chain of mountains. Get together for a drink and introduction to the tour by your guides followed by dinner. Overnight Post Hotel or Sporthotel Tyrol (or similar) in San Candido/Innichen. Transfer, hotel and dinner included.

Day 2

We have a private transfer to the trail head, and take a chair-lift up to the Prati di Croda Rossa (2,000 m/6,000 ft.) for our first hike. Stop for lunch at a mountain hut and then walk back down and catch a bus back to our hotel. San Candido/Innichen is situated in the beautiful Upper Pusteria Valley and is surrounded by thick pine forests and crowned by the jagged peaks of the Baranci chain. You’ll have time to explore the town before meeting up again for dinner together. The Hike: 12.5kms/7.8 mi, elevation gain 658 m/2,158 ft. Duration: About 4.5 hrs.   Overnight San Candido. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 3

Private transfer to the trail-head for a scenic and challenging hike to Prato Piazza. We start with a hike along the emerald green waters of Lake Braies before climbing up above the tree line. Our efforts are rewarded with a constantly changing alpine panorama. We eventually reach a high alpine plateau that offers wide-open views and which is redolent with meadows of wildflowers which create a cheerful and colorful contrast to the stark beauty of the distant limestone peaks. After lunch, we continue towards Prato Piazza which was a strategic point during the battles of 1917. Private shuttle back to San Candido. Overnight San Candido. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 4

Start your day with a private van transfer up to the Auronzo Rifugio (hut) for a hike around the spectacular massif of the “Tre Cime di Lavaredo.” The “Three Peaks” are some of the most dramatic mountains in the Dolomites due to their extraordinary shape, alignment, and subtle color changes that occur throughout the day. The Cima Grande (Big Peak) is the highest (3,000 m / 9,836 ft), followed by Cima Ovest (Western Peak) and Cima Piccola (Small Peak). We stop for lunch at a rifugio that offers magnificent views of the surrounding landscape then continue down through alpine meadows then back up to Auronzo rifugio to complete our loop. The Hike:15.5 kms/9.6 mi Elev. gain :896m/ 2,940 ft  and loss:570m/1,870 ft Duration: about 5 hours. Overnight San Candido. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 5

We leave the Sud Tyrol region this morning and hike towards the Veneto and its alpine gem, Cortina d’Ampezzo.  As we draw closer to the wide valley where the town lies, the surrounding peaks of Monte Cristallo, Monte Pelmo, Croda da Lago, and the Tofanes fill our view. You will see why Cortina is considered to be the most perfectly situated town in the Italian Alps. Today we hike from Cimabanche to Ra Stua, where we stop for another delicious lunch. Afterwards we go directly to Cortina by minivan. We spend the next three night at the four star Parc Hotel Victoria (or similar), an historic hotel ideally located in the center of Cortina. Dinner in the village. The Hike:11.5 kms/7 mi Elev. gain :520m/1,706 ft  and loss:332m/1,089 ft Duration: about 3.5 hours. Overnight Cortina. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 6

We have a private transfer to Passo Giau to start our hike at 2,236 m (7,336 ft). The trail traverses a high alpine meadow with views onto distant Marmolada glacier and spectacular Monte Pelmo. We arrive at Rifugio Croda da Lago Palmieri for lunch overlooking Lake Federa whose still azure waters reflect the surrounding mountains. After lunch, the trail descends through coniferous forests to our pick up spot. Tonight, is a free night dinner so you are free to eat where you like with whom you like. The Hike: 12 kms/8 miles;  4.5 hours; Elevation gain: 761m/2497ft; Elevation loss: 1292m/4239ft  Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 7

Depending on the weather we will either go up to the Rifugio Nuvolau – which means “rifugio in the clouds” in local dialect but offers spectacular views if it is clear – or we will hike amongst the “Cinque Torri” (five towers), whose jagged spires are often full of intrepid rock-climbers. Tonight we enjoy a special farewell dinner to celebrate the week’s adventures. The Hike: 11.5 kms/7 miles;  3.5 hours  Elevation gain: 563m/1,800ft; Elevation loss: 292m/939ft Overnight Cortina. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included. 

*SPECIAL OPTION: Today you can opt to try the Via Ferrata or "Iron Way" (weather permitting). If you choose this option you skip the regular hike and join a local Alpine guide to summit Punta Fiames (this requires an extra fee at your expense). The Via Ferrata is a network of iron ladders and cables that allow hikers to ascend vertical or exposed trails without the need to rock-climb.Transfer time: 50 mins; The Hike: 8.7 mi (14 km) or 5-6 hours; Terrain: hard-packed dirt trails; Elev gain 3,225 ft (983 m) and loss 850 ft (260 m). Optional Via Ferrata: 5 hours; Transfer 20 minutes.

Day 8

We leave at 9:00 by van for a 2-hour transfer to the Venice airport. From there you can take a bus or water taxi into town or to the train station for onward travel. If you're flying out of Venice, don't book anything leaving before 1 or 2 p.m. to be sure. Earlier transfers can be arranged, at your expense. Breakfast and transfer included.

The hikes in the Dolomites

The hikes in the Dolomites are the most challenging that we offer. The paths are good, but you require good footing and should be used to hiking on steep, rugged terrain.  Many of the hikes are no steeper than our Cinque Terre walk, for example, but the distances we hike in a day are a little longer. We walk 4-7 hours a day but often take a chair-lift, cable-car of funicular up or down various stretches, allowing spectacular views and for an easier hike. Daily distance between 8 and 16 kms.

Useful Links

Visit the Dolomites: great site about the area, see especially the section on culture, traditions, food, etc.
Val Pusteria: general site with weather forecast, photos, etc.
The Via Ferrata: very informative Wikipedia site on these unique trails
World War I in the Dolomites: a short history of some of the battle sites we encounter during our hikes
Cortina d’Ampezzo: very interesting site relating the history of Cortina and the area, going back to Neolithic times and stone-age human remains!
Speak Ladin? a short introduction to this ancient language, a remnant of the Roman occupation of 2,000 years ago



Activity Level 4 = Rewarding: 

In general: This is a Rewarding tour for fit hikers who will find them a satisfying and challenging workout. Not appropriate for unfit hikers.
 This tour is easier than our Dolomites Grand Traverse tour.
Terrain: Rolling and often steep terrain. Challenging uphills and downhills are encountered. Often rugged and even terrain.

Actual walking time: between 4-6 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 10 and 15 kms/6 and 9 miles. Max distance is 18 kms/11 miles. 
Surfaces: Trails consisting of compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads and frequently on rocky and uneven trails. Ancient stone staircases and trails with stone steps are often present. Somewhat overgrown trails are sometimes encountered. 

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

Specifics: The trails are safe but some of them have "open" sections which could make people who suffer from vertigo nervous (on the other hand, all you have to do is look the other way!). Most of the trails are well maintained, but occasionally you have to walk on a short stretch of scree. Expect also some long uphills (2 hours continuously). Max distance is 19 kms/12 miles, elevation gain between 1,500 m/3,800 feet.  

Hiking Poles: Highly recommended and your guides will mutter to themselves when they see you did not bring any poles. If you don’t bring your poles and ask your guide to use his or hers, they will refuse because they need them!  
Compared to the Cinque Terre: More difficult than the Cinque Terre, mostly because the distances are longer. If you enjoyed the hikes on the Cinque Terre and want to hike more, then these 4-rated “rewarding” tours are perfect for you. 

Other: These tours are not appropriate for first-time hikers. People with hip and knee issues might find that these 4-rated tours will aggravate your pre-existing injuries. Hikers need to be fit and able to walk for five hours a day, and used to negotiating rocky, uneven terrain.

Rewarding Tours: Classic Dolomites Hike, Tuscany Mountains

The Via Ferrata: Weather permitting, we offer you the opportunity to go with a qualified Alpine guide along the Via Ferrata. This is an optional hike that we make available to all trip participants, however we reserve the right to exclude any participant if we think he/she is not of sound body, or mind! The Via Ferrata is not for the faint of heart: you wear full climbing harnesses and helmets (equipment is provided) that enables the guide to lead you in safety into difficult mountain terrain where some easy rock climbing is required. Often times you are following routes that were put in place during WWI by Austrian or Italian mountain troops. The cost of the Alpine guide (€450 up to 3 people, €475 from 4 to 6 people, to be paid in cash directly to the alpine guide) is divided by the number of participants. Maximum group size is 8 participants. This is an optional activity.

Getting There: We pick you up from Venice Airport at 1 pm on Day 1. A 2.5 hour private transfer takes you and your luggage to San Candido.

Air: The most convenient airport to the trip is Venice. Innsbruck (Austria) is much closer to the start of the trip, but Venice is closer to the end. Other airports in Northern Italy include Verona or Milan (Linate or Malpensa). For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.

Rail: See the Trenitalia website (in English) at this link. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.  See the Austrian rail system website here if you are coming in from Innsbruck.

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends with a private van transfer to the Venice airport, arriving around 11:00 a.m. From there you can get a bus or water taxi into town or to the train station. See our "Transport Info" page for more information on transportation alternatives at the Venice airport.

If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

5 out of 5
Ratings based on 10 Verified Reviews

Average ratings
Quality of itinerary
Food quality & variety
Value for money
Right amount of activity
Overall satisfaction

by David K
Posted Jul 22, 2022

A fabulous Classic Dolomites tour. Marco & Francesca were excellent guides- thoroughly professional and knowledgeable. Scenery was magnificent,hiking strenuous and food incredible. Thank you Brett and team.

by AngelaK
Posted Jul 21, 2022

The week of Classic Dolomites was truely excellent. The scenery, Marco and Francesca, our guides, the food in the simple Malga mountain huts and in the charming towns were all fantastic. Marco was very knowledgable and able to make little variations to add a Funbob or subtract a long downhill stretch according to the day and our mood.

by Clark S
Posted Jul 21, 2022

We just returned from Customwalks Classic Dolomite tour and it was all we hoped it would be! It is much more than a “tour” when you have the pleasure of enjoying beautiful locations with such knowledgeable guides, get to make new friends with our hiking companions, and all while creating wonderful memories. This was our first trip with Customwalks and it won't be our last. Everything was well thought out with attention to details and planning that made for a seamless experience. Our sincere thanks to Marco and Francesca who quickly became more than guides and introduced us to the culture, history, foods and wines of the region. Expect scenic hiking, spectacular scenery, wonderful food, wine and hotels. Then throw in some spontaneity and fun (Fun Bob coaster and bicycling into Austria) and you have a great trip.

by J Dunlap
Posted Nov 29, 2018

After our fantastic 2017 Tuscany Scooter Tour with Marco and Rachelle, we wanted to return for another tour in Italy so we chose the Dolomites Classic and Light hike after seeing Marco's photos of the hike. It was unbelievable. Stephanie and Manu were outstanding leaders and a pleasure to hike with. The scenery, the food/wine, the friendship with our fellow hikers...unforgettable. We are still talking about it today. I also had the opportunity to do the via ferrata...what a memorable experience. We are already planning our next tour for 2019...Puglia scoter trip.

by D. Radin
Posted Oct 26, 2018

This was a fantastic tour. The guides, Emanuela and Stephanie, were very knowledgeable, engaging, and fun to be with. Hiking in the Dolomites, staying in quality hotels, and eating wonderful meals at the rifugios and restaurants with a very friendly group of fellow tour members was fabulous. I did the classic tour and am very glad I trained seriously for the hikes. I will find another Customwalks tour to take in the future.

by J Mowery
Posted Jul 11, 2018

It's been three years since we took this trip, but it lives on as our favorite Custom Walks adventure (and we've now done three). Dolomites Classic runs in conjunction with Dolomites Light, so one can choose either the light or the classic hike each day. The hikes are spectacular. There's an awe-inspiring moment or vista around every corner. Lunch each day was in a mountainside rifugio with vistas and fantastic food or in a charming farmhouse. Hotels were immaculate and comfortable. And guides Manu and Melissa were outstanding: organized, knowledgeable, and fun! Go!

by Brett
Posted Jan 19, 2016

I took this tour with Customwalks in 2008. It was a spectacular trip that we will never forget. Our guides were top notch, hikes were breathtaking, food was out of this world, and lodging was beyond expectations! It was the trip of a lifetime for us! T.H, USA

by w Bill
Posted Feb 10, 2015

It is hard to believe that we did this tour nearly 5 years ago now considering how fresh the memories are . Our guide was Manu who was and I am sure still is one of the most delightful and helpful guides I have ever walked with . The scenery was consistently spectacular and the walks were moderately challenging particularly the day we did the Via Ferrata . What a buzz that was I absolutely loved it . Anyone who loves the mountains should do this hike. You will be surprised how isolated you can feel in the centre of Europe .

by C B
Posted Feb 01, 2015

This is one of my favorite trips. The scenery is just breathtaking, in that lovely mountain air. The people were friendly, the food was fantastic. Brett insisted we try strudel at every stop... I got to use a little Italian and a little German (only because I wanted to). The towns we stayed in were super, with wonderful local-feeling lodgings. It's quite strenuous, especially if it has been snowing, but if you don't mind the workout, the rewards are huge!

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A fabulous Classic Dolomites tour. Marco & Francesca were excellent guides- thoroughly professional and knowledgeable. Scenery was magnificent,hiking strenuous and food incredible. Thank you Brett and team.
by David K

The week of Classic Dolomites was truely excellent. The scenery, Marco and Francesca, our guides, the food in the simple Malga mountain huts and in the charming towns were all fantastic. Marco was very knowledgable and able to make little variations to add a Funbob or subtract a long downhill stretch according to the day and our mood.
by AngelaK

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