Dolomite Explorer - Italy
"The Dolomites! It was a full fifteen years since I had first seen sketches by a great artist not long since passed away, and their strange outlines and still stranger colouring had haunted me ever since. I thought of them as every summer came around; I regretted them every Autumn; I cherished dim hopes about them every Spring." Amelia Anne Blanford Edwards from Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys: A Midsummer Ramble in the Dolomites 1873.
- Visit Verona and wonderful northern Italian town made famous by Romeo and Juliet
- Walk through the World Heritage Dolomites
- Visit WWI trenches which ran through this region
- Marvel at the sheer beauty of the Sud Tyrol
- Return each night to wonderful accommodation at the Dolomitenhof
Considered by well healed adventurers and travellers as "the most beautiful mountain range on the planet", the Dolomites offers spectacular rugged mountain trails, lush valleys of vast forests and at the right time of year, seas of beautiful wildflowers. Mountain refugios provide wonderful meals and shelter in this wild and outrageously gorgeous landscape.
The Dolomites is situated in the Sud Tyrol (or Alto Adige in Italian), which is the north east section of Italy. The use of 2 names (Sud Tyrol and Alto Adige) harps back to a complex history where the region was once part of the Habsburg Empire and essentially Austrian and then transferred into Italian hands in the mid 19th Century. As such, both German and Italian are spoken and the area is a curious mix of Swiss, German and Italian (in our opinion the best of both).
The Dolomites is compact enough to form a base (our very well appointed hotel) and then explore the area on day treks, returning each night for a hearty meal.
Days will be spent exploring the region by foot on trails that will take us deep into the mountains, over passes and down the other side. We will also have a chance to try our hand at via ferrata, mountain biking or exploring ancient towns surrounded by spectacular mountain peaks. Some may even choose to spend the night in a Refugio on an extended 2 day hike. Others may stay back at the hotel and use their extensive spa facilities. It is completely up to you how active you wish to be.
Don't be like Amelia Edwards and wait 15 years before you visit the Dolomites. Come with us on this wonderful adventure into one of the planets most beautiful landscapes.
Day 1: Arrive in Verona and transfer to accommodation. Free time.
Day 2: Transfer to Bad Moos. 5hrs (B,D)
Day 3: Smuggler Trail Monte Elmo. 6hrs (B,D)
Day 4: Alpine Pastures. 5hrs (B,D). Mountain Biking day.
Day 5: Passo Monte Croce – Prati di Croda Rossa. 5 hours (B,D)
Day 6: Trek to Pian di Cengie Hut 5 hours (overnight Rifugio) (B,D).
Day 7: Paternkofel M Paterno (Via Ferrata) to Drei Zinnen 7hrs Via Ferrata (B,D)
Day 8: Rest day (B,D)
Day 9: Meadows of Monte Gsell to Rifugio Tre Scarpeti. 5hrs (B,D)
Day 10: Transfer back to Verona. 4hrs (B)
Day 11: Verona (B,D)
Day 12: Home (B)
"A Traveller who has visited all the other mountain-regions of Europe, and remains ignorant of the scenery of the Dolomite Alps, has yet to make acquaintance with Nature in one of her loveliest and most fascinating aspects". John Ball Guide to the Eastern Alps (1868)
Day 1: Arrive in Verona and transfer to accommodation. Free time.
Day 2: Transfer to Bad Moos.
Bad Moos is near the town of Sexten at the foot of some of the most iconic Dolomite formations. Our accommodation is out of town (we have the closest accommodation to the mountains and trails) however there is a free shuttle that can take you back into town. Tonight we will have a briefing on how the week will work, the options available, weather, the trails etc. (B,D)
Day 3: Smuggler Trail Monte Elmo
Description: Cable car Monte Elmo – top of Monte Elmo – Rifugio Sillianer – Cable Car Monte Elmo
Duration & difficulty: 5 - 6 hours (break included) – ca. 400m altitude difference – medium (B,D)
The "Smuggler Trail" runs along a ridgeline that separates Italy from Austria. It was used by smugglers to transport illegal cigarettes and alcohol across the border. The trail snakes it's way along the ridge following WWI and WWII military placements. Mussolini used this ridge to build secret bunkers as he never quite trusted his ally, Hitler.
We will follow this trail as part of our Dolomite hike and have lunch either on the ridge or at a lovely Rifugio lower down the mountain. This trek is intended to be a good introduction to the week ahead, as we will explain the history of the area and it will provide panoramic views of the main Sexten Dolomite massif.
Day 4: Alpine Pastures
Description: Passo Monte Croce – Malga Klammbach – Malga Nemes – Passo Monte Croce
Duration & difficulty: 6 hours (break included) – ca. 300m altitude difference – easy, medium (B,D)
Mountain Biking Tour: Today we take you on a wonderful Mountain Tour away from the roads and higher up the mountain with spectacular views of the valleys and ranges. This will not be too difficult. We will be using e-bikes which will make the journey of 60-65 kilometers quite a bit easier.
Day 5: Passo Monte Croce – Prati di Croda Rossa
Description: Passo Monte Croce – Prati Croda Rossa – Fiscalina Valley or down by cable car
Duration & difficulty: 4 - 5 hours (break included) – ca. 550m altitude difference – easy (B,D)
Today we will cross the Val de Sesto onto the Dolomite side so that we get up close to the mountains that have provided a surreal backdrop so far. A short bus ride to Kreuzbergpasse, we will head up into the forest line before exiting at around 1900m above the trees. Bunkers from WWII can be seen throughout this area, and the typical Dolomite rock and formation creates a dramatic landscape for us to walk through. Our guide will describe how the area was formed over the millennia to give us an understanding in the coming days the significance of the area.
We will then traverse along the base of a dolomite wall before reaching Burstall Castelliere at 2150 m. From here we are afforded amazing views down into Sexten and back toward Kreuzbergpasse. After a quick 30 minute descent, we will have lunch at Rudu Hutta (maybe a schnitzel or some pasta). After lunch, we will head for home down through a dreamlike forest landscape filled with wildflowers, birds, larch trees and pencil pines.
Day 6: Trek into Dolomites to Refugio Pian di Cengia (2528 m) - Summit Croda Fiscalina (2675 m)
Duration & difficulty: 5 hours (break included) – ca. 1100m altitude difference – medium (B,D)
Today we head deep into the Dolomite massif and the UNESCO World Heritage site. From our hotel, we will head left up a zig-zag trail toward the impressive Zwoelferkofel. This enormous towering rock dominates our walk as we hike above the tree line above 2000 meters. Our first stop will be the wonderful Rifugio Zsigmondi for a little apple strudel and a coffee at 2224 meters. Our final destination is only an hour from here across a beautiful green high field and then up over the Piso Fiscalino at 2519 meters. The Rifugio Pian di Cengia is nestled into a small gully with amazing views of the Dolomites. This small Rifugio is considered the best in the Italian Alps with room for only 22 people.
After lunch and a rest, we will take a short walk along World War One trenches toward Croda Fiscalina a small summit with awesome views of the Fiscalina valley and the immense Dolomite massif.
Tonight we will have a delicious mountain meal of 3 courses before a well-deserved sleep.
The Rifugio Pian di Cengia is a mountain Rifugio. The rooms are dorm style. This is an extremely clean place with excellent food and facilities. There are no showers. You will have to pack an overnight pack for these 2 days in the mountains.
Day 7: Rifugio Pian di Cengia to Paternkofel Monte Paterno (Via Ferrata) to Drei Zinnen
Duration & difficulty: 6 hours (break included) – ca. 200m altitude difference up and 1300m down – difficult (B,D)
Via Ferrata Option: Today we can offer those that wish to try their hand at Via Ferrata (or "Iron Roads" in Italian) the Monte Paterno. This is a beginners traverse of an important and beautiful mountain range that featured during the First World War.
Via Ferrata was invented in these mountains and gave access to parts of the mountains that are not available to normal hikers. The activity involves wearing a helmet and a harness and clipping into fixed steel cables that are bolted into the rock walls. There are places that are exposed to high drop-offs. If you have a phobia of heights then this may not be an option for you. If you decide not to do this option we will have a guide to escort you through the mountains back to our hotel.
Day 8: Rest day or a local walk
Today is gazetted as a rest day. You can use the spa and sauna facilities at the hotel or jump on the bus and head into Sexten for a wander. For those that wish to continue to explore you can join the walking tour conducted by the Alpine Schule through the hotel (this is free). Lunch today is at your own expense. (B,D)
Day 9: Meadows of Monte Gsell - Casella di Fuori - Rifugio Tre Scarperi
Description: Dolomitenhof – Meadows Fiscalina valley – Innergsell meadow – Casella di Fuori - Rifugio Tre Scarpeti - Dolomitenhof
Duration & difficulty: 5 (break included) – ca. 800m altitude difference – medium (B,D)
One of our favorites walks as it takes us through beautiful meadows carpeted by flowers. We learn about farming in this area and also above traditional medicine through the use of trees, shrubs, and flowers. From the meadow, we head up through idyllic pine forests and finally to a meadow with amazing views of the Dolomites. From there we head to Casella di Fuori at just over 2000 meters which divides Val Fiscalina from Val Campo di Dento.
A steep down on the other side we will then take an easier trail eventually leading to the Rifugio Tre Scarperi, which serves some of the best food in Italy.
Day 10: Transfer back to Verona
Today we farewell the mountains and head back to Verona for 2 nights. The remainder of the day is free to relax and wander Verona. (B,D)
Day 11: Verona
Today we will have a town tour of this ancient town, explaining its history and a few of its' secrets. Then in the evening, we have planned a final dinner together and then off to the Opera to see Carmen in the ancient Roman Forum dating back to 30 AD. Overnight in Verona. (B)
Day 12: Home
Today we all depart hopefully off to another Italian destination or back home. (B)
Note: For those that wish to stay extra nights in Verona we can arrange this. We can also arrange for ongoing train tickets to and from Verona.
Single Supplement: For those that wish to have a single room there is a Single Supplement for this trip of $650
Via Ferrata: Via Ferrata is Italian for "Iron Road". This "new" sport had very serious origins as mountaineers were employed to establish fixed cables through these mountains so that soldiers could form lines and access points into enemy territory. The Dolomites is riddled with WW1 remains, with bunkers, barbed wire and even rooms cut into the rock face. Today Via Ferrata is a sport in itself, giving hikers that know what they are doing, access to parts of the mountain once only accessible to trained mountaineers.
Those undertaking Via Ferrata must wear a helmet and a harness with attached carabiners. The carabiners are locked into the metal cable that is fixed to the rock face. If you lose your footing the carabiner and harness will stop you from falling any further than a couple of meters.
The Via Ferrata we have planned for this trip is for beginners and is considered quite easy. We will have a trained professional guide from the Alpineschule who is experienced in introducing people to Via Ferrata.
You must have a head for heights and are ok with exposed rock faces. This is a great way to see the Dolomites, giving you access to parts not available to normal hikers and is highly recommended.
Mountain Biking: We have planned a mountain bike day in the Dolomites which will take us high into the mountains, through lush pastures, forests and with great views of this superb landscape. The trip will be led by a registered Mountain Bike Guide with helmet and bike included. So if you are thinking about this part of the trip maybe you should pack your lycra.
WHAT DOES OUR DOLOMITE EXPLORER INCLUDE?
SERVICES OF AN EXPERIENCED MOUNTAIN GUIDE
Our lead guides are fully trained, registered and licensed IFMGA members who work for us regularly. All mountain lovers, they have skied, climbed and hiked many of the routes around the area and spend their days off, exploring the Dolomites. All are Guides of the Alpineschule Dolomite.
We will be employing luxury accommodation throughout this expedition. The hotel in Verona is still not set yet however it will be close to the center of town.
The hotel near the Dolomites is the Dolomitenhof, a luxury spa hotel with amazing accommodation, meals, and views of the area. This will be our home for 8 days. We will unpack our bags here on Day 2 and repack them again on Day 10.
MEALS WHILE ON EXPEDITION
No matter where we take you, food is an important component of any No Roads Expeditions trip. Europe is no exception.
All meals are outlined within the itinerary.
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet with fresh bread rolls and croissants, bacon and eggs, and a large selection of cold meats and cheeses, home-made juices, cakes and mueslis
Lunch: These are usually taken at a local Rifugio where they make fresh pasta, apple strudels and more. Lunches are to be paid directly to the Rifugio which gives you the widest selection of meals, tasting whatever you feel like. These meals are usually between 10 Euro and 15 Euro.
Dinner: 5-course gourmet dinner with a sumptuous buffet with fresh salads, vegetables, and antipasti Also a cheeseboard with local and Italian cheeses and fruit corner Sundays aperitif reception followed by a gala dinner.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WALK THE DOLOMITES?
The best time to walk the Dolomites is mid-June to the end of July and then September. June has fewer people and the flowers start to bloom then and into July. August is holiday time in Europe and there are just too many people on the trails. September sees the trails free up again.
- Led by qualified guide
- All accommodation in towns and on the mountain
- All meals as outlined in Itinerary
- All transfers to and from the Dolomites
- Park permits
- Welcome dinner and Celebration dinner
- All activities as per itinerary
- International airfares
- Travel Insurance
- Arrival and Departure Transfers in Verona