Walking tours


Dolomites “Light”

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  • Location: Italy
  • Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Departing from: San Candido, 9 a.m. on Monday Day 2
  • Tour finishes: Venice airport, Sunday morning Day 8 around 11 a.m.
  • Departures 2019: July 7, Aug. 25 and Sept 1, plus private departures.
  • Price 2019: Euro €2,900 per person based on double occupancy and minimum 3 people. Single supplement Euro €260. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.

Dolomites “Light”: We’re offering an easy version of our Dolomites hike that enables just about everyone to enjoy the spectacular alpine scenery of one of Italy’s most scenically dramatic regions. If you have done our Tuscany Walk, Cinque Terre Walk, or Amalfi Walk, then you can do this toned-down version of our classic Dolomites tour. Yes, we have reduced the difficulty and length of the hikes, not the breathtaking views. We still take you on awesome hikes that get you above the tree-line and into the stunningly beautiful environment of the Dolomite mountains.

Trip design: this version of our Dolomites tour is designed to run simultaneously and in parallel with our regular version. This way, people can sign up for the easier version but still do a more challenging hike later in the week if there are other hikers who are doing the other route. It also means that couples can travel together, but not always hike together if one is, shall we say, not feeling as spry as the other. Often the two groups will meet together for lunch as both groups will often be hiking in the same area, but on different routes.

Dolomites “Light” itinerary

Day 1 – Sunday

Independent arrival in San Candido/Innichen. Daily rail connections are available from Milan, Venice, Munich, and Innsbruck. Since the region is bilingual, the villages and towns in this region have both an Italian and Austrian name. Depending on when you get in, you will have some time to explore the village and admire its beautiful wooden farmhouses. The group will meet tomorrow morning. Overnight Post Hotel or Sporthotel Tyrol in San Candido/Innichen. Hotel included. Dinner not included.

Day 2 – Monday

Meet your guide(s) and fellow hikers at breakfast. We take a chair-lift directly from town, then walk forest roads and trails over and down into the beautiful secluded valley of Campo di Dentro. After lunch at a rifugio, we catch a shuttle down through majestic larch forests to our hotel. San Candido-Innichen is situated in the beautiful Upper Pusteria Valley. The village has a dramatic backdrop provided by the jagged peaks of the Baranci chain. You’ll have time to explore the quaint village before meeting for dinner. Overnight San Candido. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 3 – Tuesday

Today we transfer up to the high alpine meadow of Pratopiazza, which lies at 2,000 meters (6,000 ft.). In June it is covered in a carpet of delicate wild flowers and all year round (really!) it is surrounded by the Croda Rossa, Tofana, and Monte Cristallo mountain ranges. A short ascent takes you to Rifugio Vallandro, where you can enjoy a mid-morning cappuccino and strudel break. Then check out an Austrian fort from the First World War that affords commanding views over the former Imperial border between Hapsburg Austria and Italy. Loop back to rifugio Croda Rosa then descend through an open larch wood, along a sparkling mountain stream to the historic Hotel Bruckele, where we have lunch. Shuttle bank to the hotel where you might take advantage of the spa. Overnight San Candido. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 4 – Wednesday

Start the day with a van transfer to the rifugio at Auronzo. Our hike takes us 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 spiked 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). Stop for lunch at a rifugio that offers magnificent views of the surrounding landscape, then continue back to the Auronzo rifugio past rock-faces honeycombed with look-outs dating from WWI. Overnight San Candido. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 5 – Thursday

Leave the Sud Tyrol region this morning and enter the Veneto region 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 your view. You will see why Cortina is considered to be the most perfectly situated town in the Italian Alps. Stop for a picnic in a meadow surrounded by these mountains, then take a funicular from the valley floor at 1,220 m (4,000 ft) to the top of the Tofana di Mezzo at 3,200 m (10,500 ft). After admiring the view from the highest terrace in the Alps, we descend again and hike through wildflower meadows and thick forests back to Cortina. Spend the next three nights at the Hotel Menardi or Hotel Ancora in Cortina. Before dinner you might enjoy a whirlpool in the hotel spa. Overnight Cortina. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 6 – Friday

Today we trade mountains and meadows for canyons and waterfalls. On this spectacular new hike only recently opened, we zigzag upriver through wild rhododendron forests and pause at thunderous waterfalls – you can go right up to them and even in back of one. This is one of the most thrilling hikes you’ll ever take. You have free time this afternoon to explore lovely Cortina, perhaps visit the ethnographic museum detailing the region’s history and traditions, and certainly relax in one of the outdoor cafés. Tonight is a “free night” so you can dine anywhere you like. Your guides have lots of suggestions. Overnight Cortina. Hotel and breakfast included. Dinner not included.

Day 7 – Saturday

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 among the “Cinque Torri” (five towers), whose jagged spires dwarf those below. Tonight we enjoy a special farewell dinner at Ristorante “El Zoco” to celebrate the week’s adventures. Overnight Cortina. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 8 – Sunday

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 one group transfer included.

The hikes in the Dolomites are spectacular. This itinerary allows you to enjoy the magnificence of the mountain terrain in a more relaxed manner than our more rigorous itinerary. The use of chair-lifts and funiculars allows us to avoid the worst of the uphills and downhills; still, we are definitely in the mountains and often in rugged terrain. The paths are good but require good footing. We will be walking between 2.5 and 4 hours a day, which means between 10 -14 kms (6 -8.5 mi.). We have designed this tour so that it can be done by anyone who has done one of our other walking tours.

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 3+ = Moderate Plus:
In general: 
This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers who will find them a satisfying workout and challenging but do-able for not-so-fit hikers who invariably feel a great sense of achievement at the end of the tour!
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 3 rated tours.
Actual walking time: between 2-5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 8 and 12 kms/5 and 7 miles. Max distance is 16 kms/9 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. 
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: Rolling but rocky terrain. Daily activity 4-5 hours. Max distance 16 kms, and the elevation gain is between 200 - 400 m (650 - 1,300 ft). Note: this is an "easier" version of our Dolomites hiking trip, but you will still be in an alpine environment with some sustained climbs, just not as long and steep as our classic tour. The elevation gain and loss is less dramatic than in our classic tour.
Hiking Poles: Highly recommended but not required, and if you habitually use hiking pole you will regret it if you don’t have them. 
Compared to the Cinque Terre: The Cinque Terre is the perfect example of a 3+ tour. Our most common comment about these trips is “More challenging than I expected but I am glad I did it”.

Other: This tour is appropriate for “sporty and fit” first-time hikers who enjoy walking, have good balance, and are coordinated. People with hip and knee issues might find a 3+ tour challenging because of the terrain and the duration of the hikes.
Moderate Plus Tours: Amalfi is the easiest of this group, then Dolomites Lite, then Cinque Terre, followed by Sardinia, Northern Greece Meteora & Zagori, and Andalusia. 

Trip Cost Includes: 4 nights San Candido/Innichen at a 4-star hotel, 3 nights Cortina in a 4-star hotel; 7 breakfasts and 5 dinners; bilingual Customwalks guide(s) to accompany the tour and lead you on the walks; all lift tickets during the tour to access and return from our regularly scheduled hikes, all van and bus transfers as per the itinerary including final transfer to the Venice airport; and luggage transfer between San Candido and Cortina.

Booking: e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.

Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.

travel Guard insurance

Getting There: the trip starts with your arrival in San Candido/Innichen at our pre-booked hotel. San Candido is well connected by rail and bus with the rest of Italy.

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 Itlian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.

Rail: All trains to San Candido from within Italy pass through Verona and then the town of Fortezza. Journey time from Innsbruck to San Candido is around 3 hours, while Venice is 5-6 hours, Verona 4 hours, and Milan is 5-6 hours. 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.

Bus:  there is a convenient direct bus from Venice (“Mestre” train station, or directly from the airport) that takes about 4 hours, including a 50-min. stop/change in Cortina. It only runs on the weekends. See the website for the Cortina Express.

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.

Private Transfers: we can also arrange for a car or van to make your transfer easier; please contact us for details as we may have other people interested in a private transfer from Venice airport.

  We can arrange for a private transfer from an airport or train station to San Candido. Here are some prices: 
-- From Venice airport or “Venezia Mestre” (3 hrs): van for 8 pax €340, car for 2-3 people €280
-- From Verona airport or train station (3.5 hrs): van for 8 pax €450, car for 2-3 people €400
-- From Innsbruck airport (2+ hrs): van for 8 pax €320, car for 2-3 people €260
-- From Bolzano train station (2 hrs): van for 8 pax €250, car for 2-3 people €200

If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip.

4.83 out of 5
Ratings based on 3 Verified Reviews

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

by Murphys, CA from United States, Murphys
Posted Aug 26, 2016

This was our first trip with CustomWalks and it exceeded our expectations. The accommodations, itinerary and guides were excellent. And who could forget the food. It was great with a variety of selections. Stephanie, our guide, provided us with great guide hikes, explaining the history of each of our daily hikes, some located in post-WW I trails locations. Yes we were met with some unplanned rain, but only once did we change our plans and cut our day short. We highly recommend this tour.

by gstetler from Grand Junction, USA
Posted Jul 23, 2016

This was our 3rd CW tour, all have been outstanding with each offering something \special\. On this tour, the special was a dinner at a tiny restaurant above S. Candido. In fact of the top 10 meals I can remember having, 5 have been with Custom Walks. The itinerary was excellent, the hiking destinations were spectacular and even though we had rain on some days the scenery became even more dramatic. Custom Walks has my unqualified recommendation.

by R Sorenson from USA, Oakland
Posted Jan 30, 2015

I was wowed my the scenery and appreciated the choice each day of the more vigorous traditional (which we did some days) and the lighter variation. Having two excellent guides made these choices possible, and this was terrific. I highly recommend this hiking adventure, and the towns in which we stayed were great to explore on off hours. Thanks.

This was our first trip with CustomWalks and it exceeded our expectations. The accommodations, itinerary and guides were excellent. And who could forget the food. It was great with a variety of selections. Stephanie, our guide, provided us with great guide hikes, explaining the history of each of our daily hikes, some located in post-WW I trails locations. Yes we were met with some unplanned rain, but only once did we change our plans and cut our day short. We highly recommend this tour.
by Murphys, CA from United States, Murphys

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