Current as of: June 15, 2024 - 07:57

Walking in the Dolomites, Italy

Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: Italy
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 12+
  • Trip Code: W07DS

Trip Overview

Centre-based walking in the stunning natural landscapes of the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites.

In the heart of the Italian Dolomites, the Alta Badia region boasts some of the most spectacular alpine scenery as well as a reputation for excellent cuisine. The village of San Cassiano is no stranger to either and sits just 15km, as the crow flies, due West of Cortina d’Ampezzo (or 30km by road and the Falzarego Pass). Around 500m in altitude above the village lies a large area of beautiful alpine meadow, dotted with traditional wooden mountain huts and the most amazing panoramic views. At some points you have a 360-degree vista that spans from the Austrian Alps to the North to the Marmolada range to the South (the highest peaks in the Dolomites), with the Fanes Natural Park to the East and the Sella mountain range and Gardena Pass to the West – all stunning views in their own rights but when combined it’s almost mind-blowing!

At a Glance

  • 7 nights in a 4 star hotel with spa, all rooms en suite
  • 6 days centre-based walking 
  • Some travel on local buses
  • Altitude max. 2663m, average 2000m
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs

Highlights

  • Stunning natural landscapes of the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites: jagged limestone peaks, high alpine meadows and pine forests
  • Over 400kms+ of marked walking trails; a great array of flora & fauna; unrivalled alpine views
  • Explore charming alpine villages connected by bus and mountain lift system
  • Historical WW1 museum and fighting tunnels in the nearby Lagazuoi mountain
  • Fabulous 4 star family-run hotel with four restaurants, spa, indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna and steam room

Is This Trip for You?

This is a centre-based independent walking holiday. Walks can be extended/shortened by using the local buses and selected cable cars. The walking is along varied and well signed footpaths, both at high altitude and in the lower valleys. There are moderate ascents on most days, and longish descents on days when a cable car can be used to gain altitude. Walkers should have a good fitness level and be confident on uneven terrain. This trip is unsuitable for severe vertigo sufferers, but will appeal to people wanting high level mountain walking by day, and luxury 4-star hotel accommodation at night.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotelier is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. This tour based at the same hotel for the week and is managed locally by the hotelier who will be on hand to assist you and highlight particular places of interest.

Adult min age: 12

Min group size: 2

Max group size: 6

Itinerary

W07DS map

Land Only

  • Start City: Armentarola
  • End City: Armentarola

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Armentarola, San Cassiano

Arrive at your hotel in Armentarola, San Cassiano. Staying at 4 star Ciasa Salares for 7 nights, with 4 nights on Half Board. The below itinerary is only a suggestion and you can do any walk on any day.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2
Pralongia Walk

From the hotel, you ascend steadily along peaceful country lanes, through pine forest and up onto high alpine meadows with spectacular views of the surrounding Dolomites mountain ranges. Either enjoy a picnic en route or when you reach the mountain hut at Pralongia, take time over lunch and soaking up the mountain panorama. Return to San Cassiano for the hotel shuttle or walk back to the hotel. Staying at Ciasa Salares.

Optional shorter walk: 5hrs, distance 15km/9.5mi

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Activity hours: 5.5

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3
Santa Croce and Badia Walk

Walk directly from the hotel or take the shuttle to San Cassiano. This pilgrimage route first skirts above the village then heads through some delightful pine woods. Along the route you pass depictions of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth before you reach the church at Santa Croce with its amazing backdrop and views across the valley and the village of Badia. Descend to Badia and take the bus back to the hotel. Staying at Ciasa Salares.

Optional shorter walk: 4.5hrs, distance 13km/8mi

Distance covered: 9mi (14km)

Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
San Cassiano to Corvara Walk

Enjoy truly spectacular scenery on this favourite Alta Badia trail. You can start the day with a gondola lift or you can climb the first 5km through pine forest and alpine meadows. Once up at the top there are fabulous views ahead to the Marmolada mountains, the highest in the Dolomites, and behind as far as the Austrian Alps in the distance. At some points you have the most incredible 360-degree panoramic views. Continue on with a variety of mountain hut options for lunch then descend to Corvara for a well-deserved drink before catching the bus back to the hotel. Staying at Ciasa Salares.

Optional shorter walk: 3.5hrs, distance 11km/7mi

 

Walking time 4hrs, distance 10km/6.5mi or walking time 5.5hrs, distance 13km/8mi.
Comfortable Hotel

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Activity hours: 5.5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Two lakes of Badia Walk

A short bus trip to Badia before this lovely walk takes you to two small lakes close to Badia with the fabulous backdrop of the Somamunt, Col Plo Alt and Pre Janin mountains. There are some wonderful views over the village and across the valley to the Santa Croce mountain as you head to Lech dla Lunch (pronounced lek-dela-loonk). Bring a picnic and you could even stop here for loonk! A steep climb sets you on your way to Lech da Sompunt and its delightful swans. Descend back to Badia passing through tiny hamlets and take the bus back. Staying at Ciasa Salares.

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Activity hours: 3.5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Valparola Pass Walk

Today you head up to one of the key strategic passes from WW1 – the Passo Valparola for fabulous views over the San Cassiano valley. Heading through the delightful Pre de Costa meadows, and past the Malghe Valparola, you head up towards the pass. When you get there, you may want to stop for refreshments at the rifugio at the top. You can make this a history trip and continue on to the nearby WW1 museum or even to Passo Falzarego and a cable car up to the top of Lagazuoi – one of the most fiercely fought over mountains in the Dolomites. Another alternative is a tough 13km walk across towards the Setsas mountain with more fabulous views and back to the hotel. Staying at Ciasa Salares.

Optional longer walks available.

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Activity hours: 2.5

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7
Fanes Natural Park Walk

Defintely worth the wait – the Fanes Natural Park is a huge expanse of outstanding natural beauty. You can either walk directly from the hotel or get the shuttle to the Capanna Alpina hut before starting the steep climb up to the panoramic Col de Locia. The verdant plateau beyond (Plan de Ciaulunch) and the climb up to the Forcela dl Lech provide awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains and a sparkling, aquamarine mountain lake. You need a head for heights on this one as you descend via two steep gorges, with well trodden paths, to the Scotoni mountain hut and down a spectacular ski slope to the start point. Staying at Ciasa Salares.

Optional shorter walk: 4.5 hrs, distance 10km/6mi

Distance covered: 9mi (15km)

Activity hours: 6

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8
End San Cassiano

The tour ends in San Cassiano.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Accommodation Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia

Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia

Ciasa Salares, Armentarola, San Cassiano

Ciasa Salares, your home for the week, is located just a short walk (or even shorter shuttle/bus ride) from the centre of San Cassiano. Run by the Wieser family, Stefan, Wilma and their son Jan Clemens, who is passionate about the hotel’s fantastic wine cellar, the hotel combines alpine chic in the décor with good old-fashioned hospitality.

The hotel’s four restaurants include an informal wine bar, a terrace restaurant, a main restaurant and tables in the wine cellar. There are also two other very special rooms – the Cheese Room and the Chocolate Room, used for tastings, individual courses during meals and special occasions. Complimentary grappa tasting is available once a week, as well as one glass of wine and cheese tasting in the wine cellar. You will also get 5 half board meals included at the half board restuarant. Customers wishing to eat at one of the other three restaurants at the hotel can use their ‘credit’ from the half board menu and pay any difference locally. Drinks are always excluded.

Other facilities include a library and lounge, a luxurious spa with indoor swimming pool, relaxation area, treatment rooms (3), sauna, steam room and an outdoor hot tub with fabulous alpine views to soak away those aching limbs after a day of walking. Headwater customers get free spa access (spa treatments available for a supplement.)

The hotel offers a free shuttle service to San Cassiano (village and the main Piz Surega lift) as well as to the Capanna Alpina restaurant for the Fanes Natural Park walk. One picnic lunch is included at the hotel’s private mountain hut (day of the week changes depending on the weather). This mountain hut can be reached on foot (1hr 30mins from the hotel) on Day 4 walking or by gondola (about 20mins.)

E-mountain bikes are available to hire for additional charge (payable locally.)

Single supplement from £ 146

Food & Drink

All breakfasts and four dinners are included.

Transport

Transfers to the starting points can sometimes be on local transport – an excellent network of local buses. You will also receive a map and a fully researched set of independent walking routes.

Weather & Seasonality

The Dolomite Mountains offer some of the best weather in all of the Alps – perfect for year-round active adventures. As a mountain range, the Dolomites receive less precipitation on an annual basis than do the majority of the Alps. During the summer temperatures vary between 20°C – 22°C, while temperature starts dropping a bit in September. Equally, at all times you need to be ready for the occasional stormy day.

Weather Charts

Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia

Joining Instructions

The tour itself normally begins at our hotel in Armentarola, San Cassiano, in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Arrival and departure transfers are included (for flight inclusive travellers) between Venice Marco Polo Airport and the hotel in Armentarola at set times which coordinate with the standard flights. Please ask your Sales Consultant for times.

We can also arrange non-standard/private arrival and departure transfers at alternative times from either Venice Marco Polo Airport or from Innsbruck Airport for you (at additional cost – please enquire at the time of booking for prices).

Flights:
We can also book flights for you if you wish. The standard flights we usually use are with British Airways from London Heathrow to Venice Marco Polo, but occasionally we may use flights from Gatwick instead. Please enquire for up-to-date flight details as availability and schedules may change throughout the season.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Armentarola
Location end: Armentarola

What To Take

Essential Equipment

Good walking boots
Small daypack for camera, guidebook, etc.
Water bottle to use when walking and sightseeing (2 litre)
Sun cream
Hat
Sunglasses
Waterproofs
Warm clothes

Optional Equipment

Walking poles
Swimwear

Reading List

Frommers The Dolomites and South Tyrol, Italy
Northern Italy Insight Guide
Frommers Nothern Italy – John Moretti.

Practical Information

Passport

Passports: check if you need to renew

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 3 months left after the day you plan to leave the country (check the ‘expiry date’)
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left – check the ‘date of issue’)

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Italy

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Italy. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/italy
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Please note: it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times in Italy.

Vaccinations and Health

Italy

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

Italy's time zone: Europe/Rome (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

Voltage: 220V Frequency (Hz): 50

Walking the Dolomites of Alta Badia

Money

Italy's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

Using credit cards is by far the cheapest way to pay for things in Italy – indeed, any foreign country. The exchange rates average 9% better than even cash withdrawals from an ATM (the second cheapest way to pay for things). An ATM is available at Venice Marco Polo Airport and San Cassiano.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunch is not included in the itinerary so please allow some spending money for this. We recommend approximately €5-15 per lunch and betwen €20-40 for any dinners not included.
LOCAL TAXES: many Italian cities have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay. It is usually between €2 and €5 per person per night.

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… 

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.