Classic Dolomites - Premium

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8 days
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£1,149
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 44 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TWU
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium
Activity:
Centre-based Trips
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–15

Trek through the Italian Dolomites

The small village of Villabassa, just north of Cortina d'Ampezzo, is nestled close to the Austrian border and sandwiched between the spectacular, jagged limestone peaks of the Dolomites. From here we enjoy an excellent choice of routes with the opportunity to relax in comfort at the end of a day's walking. During the week, we venture into the Fanes-Sennes and Dolomiti di Sesto National Parks for great views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Historically the front line between Italy and Austria-Hungary during the First World War, the trails take us each day through incredible open-air museums.

Highlights

  • 4-star hotel with delicious food, warm family hospitality and wellness centre
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo, UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Some weeks Challenging (level 5) 

Key information

  • 7 nights 4-star Hotel Adler, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days centre-based walking; one free day.
  • Altitude maximum 2900m, average 2500m
  • Not recommended for vertigo sufferers

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Day by day breakdown
Day 210.0km/6.0miles
Day 314.0km/8.0miles
Day 414.0km/8.0miles
Day 612.0km/7.0miles
Day 710.0km/6.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Villabassa
to
Villabassa
  • Day 1

    Fly to Venice; transfer to Villabassa.

    Fly to Venice; transfer to Villabassa.

  • Day 2

    Lago di Braies (level 3 weeks)

    The ideal start to visiting this vast area is a walk straight from the hotel through the very pretty, flower filled Braies Valley. We walk through small villages and farmland until we reach the magnificent Lago di Braies (Pragster Wildsee), one of the 297 glacial lakes of the area. It is certainly one of the most beautiful thanks to being surrounded by jagged peaks that are reflected in the extraordinary mirror-like surface of the lake. We follow the route of 'SS hostages', the leaders of 19 countries who were freed after the First World War by the inhabitants of Niederdorf/Villabassa. Approx distance 16km. 750m ascent, 255m descent.

    Summit Durrenstein (level 5 weeks)

    Some departures of this trip are at Level 5. On those weeks the walks completed are slightly different. 

    Starting at Platzweise we walk to the summit of Durrenstein (2950m), a majestic peak which boasts views all the way to the Austrian Tyrol. Distance approximately 14km (approx 930m ascent, 930m descent)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Kreutzberg Pass to Nemes Alm (level 3)

    Today we explore high pastures and ridges along the Austrian border. We walk steadily up to the Summit of Lutterkopf (2145m) before continuing towards Durakopf. Approx distance 12km. 800m ascent, 800m descent.

    Rossalmhütte (level 5 week)

    We start our walk today from the beautiful Lago di Braies (or Pragster Wildsee) and ascend to Rossalmhütte. Distance approximately15km (approx 1250m ascent, 650m descent)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Climb up towards Strudelkopf (level 3 weeks)

    We walk amongst beautiful wild flowers on our climb up to the summit of the Strudlekopf (2307m). We stop at the Durrenstein hut in the early afternoon for a rewarding homemade apfelstrudel. On our descent down the valley, we explore fortifications and tunnels from the First World War on our return. Approx distance 15km. 600m ascent, 1000m descent.

    Col Quaterna or Knieberg (level 5 weeks)

    We start today's walk by heading to the Malga Rinfreddo hut, where we can find local produce (such as cheese) and maybe enjoy a well deserved cup of coffee. We carry on towards the ridge and a possible climb up Col Quaterna or Knieberg (2503m) alongside the Austrian border.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day

    A free day to relax in the hotel's wellness centre or take a self-guided cycle ride around this wonderful area. Alternatively, you can make your way to Bolzano to visit a museum dedicated to Oetzi, the 5000 year-old 'iceman' whose remarkably well-preserved body was found in 1991 high on a glacier on the Austro-Italian frontier. Or you could journey to the attractive provincial capital of Lienz in Austria.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Tre Cime di Lavaredo (level 3 weeks)

    We enjoy a memorable circuit around the famous 'Three Chimneys', or Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Set amid one of the classic mountain groups of this area, our circuit around these impressive peaks is certainly a highlight of the week. Approx distance 12km. 550m ascent, 550 descent.

    Tre Cime di Lavaredo (level 5 weeks)

    Today we complete a beautiful walk near the spectacular Tre Cime di Lavaredo (or Drei Zinnen). Distance approximately 14 km (approx 750m ascent, 750m descent)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Monte Piano (level 3 weeks)

    To complete the week, we take the amazing attacking route of the Austrians up to the summit of Monte Piano (2324m). Using an impressive network of safe paths, bridges and ladders, we find ourselves upon the flat-topped mountain surrounded by some of the most impressive scenery in the Dolomites. It is the site of an open-air museum dedicated to the First World War where trenches, dugouts and shell craters can be seen amongst the many alpine flowers. On our return, we have time to spot the brilliant blue gentians, alpine white edelweiss and bright saffron that create a beautiful scene around Lake Misurina, thanks to the beautiful pink off the limestone rock. Approx distance 13km. 1000m ascent, 600m descent.

    Monte Piano (level 5 weeks)

    Dramatic traverse of Mt Piano's summits, including an exploration of the open air museum on the way to the very friendly Rinbiancco hut. Distance approximately 11km (approx 1000m ascent, 650m descent)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Venice; fly to London.

    To Venice; fly to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners.

Please note an evening meal is not included on the first evening, as the group flights may arrive late into Villabassa. Sandwiches or snacks are available at the airport or ask the leader to stop on the journey. For breakfast, the hotel offers a large selection of cereals, fruit, cheese and cold meats, (along with tea and coffee of course). Packed lunches are provided for the walks, which are usually sandwiches with a fruit and snack. There is a set menu for evening meals, which may include some local specialities such as Speckknodel.

Weather

In the Dolomites, (as always in the mountains), the weather is very changeable. On average in summer months you can expect some rain on one day in two, but it is likely to come in heavy and thundery outbursts of relatively short duration rather than prolonged showers. In the valleys, daytime temperatures range on average from 12º to 22ºC, although 25º is not unusual. Up in the mountains it will be a few degrees colder. There are always patches of snow remaining on the higher peaks late May and early November, and sometimes due to unpredictable winter weather, this can remain for a little longer *there is always a possibility of snowfall at any time of the season. Therefore you need to be ready for anything, so pack shorts as well as warmer clothes; full waterproofs as well as sun cream.

Is this trip for you?

Due to the nature of the terrain on this trip, neither walking levels are recommended for vertigo sufferers.

Level 3 - moderate walking or level 5 - challenging walking depending on the departures.

We enjoy the same walks and visit the same areas on each trip, but the length and difficulty vary according to the walking level. Please make sure you choose the week that matches your ability.

Most weeks offer Moderate walking (level 3), where we usually walk between 5 and 7 hours per day. The area we are visiting is criss-crossed by a network of long established trails and walking paths, most of them well maintained and waymarked. Even so, paths are rocky and on occasion exposed. A reasonable level of fitness is required for these weeks.

On some weeks, we offer Challenging walking (level 5). On these departures, we usually walk between 6 and 8 hours per day at a steady pace. We use established trails and mountain paths, which are often steep, rocky and more exposed than the level 3 walks. For these departures you will need to be surefooted and have a good level of fitness. Some fixed equipment and easy via ferrata may be encountered.

The exact itinerary (and therefore the length of each walk) may vary depending on weather conditions or other factors beyond our control. Whilst aiming to always follow the routes described in these trip notes, it will be the leader's decision to amend the itinerary if and when necessary. Altitude maximum 2900m, average 2500m.

Accommodation

Hotel Adler - 4 Star

The week is based at Hotel Adler, a 4 star hotel in Villabassa. Located on the village square, this quality hotel is considered the 'best in town'. The cosy bar is often busy with locals and there is a relaxing lounge for peaceful reading. Other facilities include a superb indoor pool and wellness centre with sauna, steam room, solarium and small fitness centre. The well-known restaurant, run by head chef Helene Markart, appears in the Michelin Guide among others; the menu features a mixture of local and international cuisine. All bedrooms are spacious and have en-suite facilities, minibar and TV. A limited number of double rooms for single use are available for a supplement.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed October 2016
    David Williams
    A great week away walking in the dolomites, weather was perfect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Scenery fantastic, hotel comfortable, staff friendly and welcoming, food very good, beer cold, sunshine all week, what could be better.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent leader, helpful, knowledgeable, friendly worked well with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it you won't regret it
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Karen Duffy
    This was my first European walking holiday and I was very impressed with the quality of the whole holiday from the Hotel Adler and its staff who were very accommodating to our guide Alex and also the team at the office. I did wonder about food on holiday as I am a picky eater but all the food provided was delicious and more than enough. There is nothing I could fault on this holiday even with rain for 2.5 days of our walks we managed to do all but the last day of the planned routes and in my opinion it added a chance to see the Dolomites in a dramatic scene as well as glorious sunshine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The penultimate day of walking was beautiful scenery throughout the whole day and a chance to spot native flowers in the wild also.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was fantastic. He was informative and supportive to all group members setting the pace at a level that suited all abilities in the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lovely pool in the hotel that you can relax after a day's walking. If you have the chance to take this walk from Brunex to local ski resort they have a ski lift to 3000ft which gives most impressive panaromic views of Alps and Dolomites on a clear day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great holiday and worth booking, I have fantastic memories and can't wait till my next holiday.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Helen Thew
    An excellent trip which I would highly recommend to other walkers. Each day's walk takes you to a different part of the Dolomites to explore and enjoy. Alex, our group leader, had very good knowledge of the area and could adapt our walks based on the weather conditions and was able to share his historical information with us. The hotel, Hotel Alder, in Villabassa, was a treat to come home to every night - the food was superb and the staff were very friendly. There were 12 of us in the group and we all got on very well indeed which made for a very good week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last day's walk on Monte Piano was very special. We were lucky with the weather and had blue skies and lovely sunshine making the views just amazing. However, thinking about the events that had taken place up there during the war was a very sobering moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was an excellent group leader and kept our group together very well which made for a very united group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weather conditions in one day!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    To future travelers - you will spend most of the week having "wow' moments at the scenery - hope you enjoy as much as I did!
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Robert Hill
    The Dolomites are spectacular. I did the moderate week and found it accurately rated and described. The Hotel Adler was just the cream on the cake with friendly staff, a good bar and outdoor seating area and really, really good meals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day the fabulous scenery in the Dolomites. July 1 - 100 year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and we were in the trenches in Monte Piano the front lines of Italy and Austria Hungary.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was extremely knowledgeable and efficient. But more than that he took care to see everyone was safe and having a good time. His video on our last evening of winter activities in the Dolomites was absolutely spectacular and an unadvertised added bonus. I would not hesitate to follow Alex on future adventures

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make full use of the Spa at the Hotel Adler. Make sure you have full wet weather gear. Most of our days the first week of July were warm and sunny. But one day a late afternoon thunderstorm caught us out and anyone without full wet weather gear would be soaked to the skin in minutes with miles more to walk down the valley.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    For me this was the perfect follow up to the Tour de Mt. Blanc trip the previous year.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Sarah Skinner
    A great week walking, seeing both lakes and peaks with fabulous views.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking around the peaks on the final couple of walks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was excellent, great knowledge of the area and gave friendly helpful tips on how to use poles better, and walk across scree particularly downhill.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack waterproofs, but in going in July take shorts as well.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Paul Richardson
    Alex our guide knew the area so well that he was able to make daily route adjustments to suit weather and ability. Above and beyond the call of duty. As usual the group was a great mix of personalitys. The landscape was truly exceptional. Don't forget your waterproof clothing though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Last days walk. Weather and views were world class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Water proof clothing and footwear
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Donald Heuman
    This was a great trip...Lots of physical activity that yielded great views. Food included with trip price was very good...and when you asked nicely, you were able to order items not on the group menu. Hotel Adler deserves it's 4 star rating. Good location and loved the wellness center. At the end of a day of hiking the steam rooms were most welcoming...Not to mention the comfort of the bar. Our room had a terrace so it was possible to sit outside of our room as well as hang our wet items out to dry...As it did rain and we did do wash. Chose this date because it fit with my touring in Slovenia as part of the same vacation. Thought it would also provide the best hiking weather...We had bright sun the first day, a couple days later it rained and the next day it snowed and then it was sunny again. What a special trip. I have taken several trips with Exodus and this is one of the best for hiking during the day and comfort after the hike. Plus it starts and ends in Venice which makes it easy to extend one's stay in Italy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have traveled to lots of places around the world but have to say the Dolomites were inspirational by themselves. Hiking in snowshoes on freshly falling snow, like we were able to do was very inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Alex was very knowable of the outdoors and the trial offerings in the area. He quickly adapted where we would go depending on the weather and did a remarkable job. He did a good job instructing people on how to improve their hiking efficiency and thus improve technique, safety as well as conserve energy. If I was ever stranded in the wilderness, Alex is someone I would want with me. That said, I also found him a bit arrogant and not someone I would want to lead my next Exodus trip. A co-leader was Martin. Martin was fantastic. He may not know the Dolomites like Alex but he too was knowable about the outdoors and had great leadership and people skills.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When drinking at the Hotel Adler bar, rather than pay as you drink, they encourage that you charge the item(s) to your room. Which is fine. But it is a 4 star hotel with 4 star bar prices which you won't discover until you go to check out. May want to close out bar tab nightly to avoid surprises on the last day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was able to combine this trip with trips in Slovenia. Used GoOpti transportation to get from Slovenia to Venice, which was very reasonably priced and timed to meet the Exodus group arriving at the Venice airport. Took advantage of the trip ending in Venice...relaxed and explored the city and all the cultural offerings.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Judith Brain
    Great walking, great views, great location, great guide, great people. So putting that all together, it was a great holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the Tre Cime.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was interesting, friendly and helpful.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Emma Kislingbury
    Excellent, good value trip. I had not visited South Tyrol before but the Dolomites had been on my bucket list for some time. I booked the regular trip not the more challenging departure but the walking was just right leaving at 9am and back to the hotel 5-6pm. I had looked at doing hut to hut treks but the real highlight was coming back to a base at Hotel Adler, using the pool and spa and loading up on local, delicious five course meals! Maybe less adventurous but an active holiday with maximum relaxation too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning scenery brought to life by our guide and the hospitality of our family run hotel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Extremely knowledgable and passionate about the area. Well qualified to lead on the mountains and genuinely concerned that everyone enjoyed their trip. Honest advice.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Hire a bike from the hotel on the free day. Bolzano is too far away to be a good use of the time. Take wet weather gear and pack warm layers even in the height of summer if, like me, you feel the cold. Be prepared to test your fears (safely) if you don't like heights. Embrace the local food. If you want to use a little less English, scrub up on your German.....much more widely spoken than Italian in the area. If you have the time and budget, fit in a couple of days in Venice. Easy to get to from the airport transfer and a great contrast. Take home some prosecco!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You won't be disappointed if you book this trip. There is no option to do via Ferrata routes but you will experience some short sections of wires and ladders to get a flavour without the adrenaline. Travelled in a pair ages 27 and 32.
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Jonathan Dorward
    A fantastic holiday,great location.Scenery was stunning.Hotel great,nice staff,very helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery,it was breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl Mather was brilliant!! His leadership skills were excellent,his knowledge of the area was second nature.He was very interesting and made our holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip with Karl,you will have a great ,interesting trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We wished we could have stayed a bit longer.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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