Headwater - Self-Guided Walking in the Italian Dolomites - Premium

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Enjoy dramatic Italian scenery in the heart of the Dolomites

In the heart of the northern Italian Dolomites, close to the border with Austria and dominated by the famous Tre Cime (Three Peaks), is the beautiful Tyrolean village of Dobbiaco. A week's walking from here allows you to discover the beauty and sheer magnificence of the majestic Alta Pusteria Valley. With over 1000kms of trails, the Italian Dolomites are a mecca for high-level walkers and we provide a selection of meticulously researched route notes for walks at various levels. highlights include a high ridge path along the Austrian border with 360degree views over the Italian Dolomites and Austrian Alps, and a circular hike around the world-famous Tre Cime, three immense obelisks of sheer rock that have now become the symbol of the region. Amazingly, all of this is accessible on well-defined paths either directly from the hotel, or via a short bus or cable car ride.


  • Breathtaking natural landscapes
  • Excellent bird-spotting; stunning flowers; unrivalled Alpine views
  • Beautiful 4-star family-run hotel with spa, pool, sauna and steam room.
  • Visit the world-famous Tre Cime (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Key information

  • 7 nights 4-star hotel with spa, all rooms en suite
  • 6 days centre-based walking 
  • Travel on local buses and trains
  • Altitude max. 2663m, average 2000m
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs
  • Countries visited: Italy

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Route notes and maps
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Approximately 4-6 hours walking per day


Low altitude; good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 215.0km/9.0miles
Day 317.0km/11.0miles
Day 419.5km/12.0miles
Day 516.0km/10.0miles
Day 614.0km/9.0miles
Day 717.0km/11.0miles

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… 


  • Day 1

    Start Dobbiaco

    A transfer is included from Venice Marco Polo Airport. We meet you at Venice Airport and transfer you (2.5 hours) to your hotel in Dobbiaco. Please note that a supplement will apply for non-standard transfers.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Gentle walk through quaint Tyrolean hamlets

    From the hotel, you ascend gently along peaceful country lanes, through picture-perfect Tyrolean villages and hamlets dotted across the hillside - each boasting a lovely chapel or church offering stunning views and decorated with frescoes. At Stadlern, take time over a picnic to soak up the mountain panorama before returning to Dobbiaco alongside the Rienza River. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cable car to high Rotwand pastures. Hike to refuge of Malga Nemes; descend to Moos

    A short bus ride before a spectacular gondola ride this morning to the high Rotwand pastures (1,914m), just below the mighty Croda Rossa limestone peaks. From here it's a gentle descent along pretty pine scented forest trails to the ancient Kreuzbergpass, South Tyrol's most easterly mountain pass. You then head up to the refuge of Malga Nemes, a fabulous panoramic spot for lunch, with marmots foraging in the open sunny pastures, before descending along a wide woodland track to the Tyrolean village of Moos. From here pick up the bus back to Dobbiaco.

    2 options: Walking time 5hrs, distance 15km/9.5mi or walking time 5.5hrs, distance 17km/11mi.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Lakeside walk and ascent of the Hochalm

    Enjoy truly spectacular scenery on one of our favourite trails in the Dolomites. It’s a fantastic full-day hike with ascents and descents of around 800m for unrivalled views. First an easy stroll along the shores of the turquoise Lago di Braies and then ascend via the Alte Kaser pastures to the idyllic mountain bowl of Hochalm for lunch. Your descent is through a deeply carved valley below colossal peaks and impressively striated cliffs.

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk high mountain pastures and meadows of Ampezzo N.P.; descend to Cortina

    Today you'll head into the heart of the Ampezzo National Park in the Italian speaking Veneto region. Setting off from Cimabanche along a disused railway line, you'll head up through the Gotres Valley on an old military road to reach the high mountain pasture of Forcella L'Erosa. You descend to the idyllic meadows of Rifugio Ra Stua and follow a narrow forest footpath towards Cortina.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Follow ridge along the border. Descend to Klammbachhutte; continue to Moos

    This fabulous walk takes you along the impressive crest of the Carniche Alps. You start the day with a bus then cable car ascent up to Mount Elmo (2041m). From here, an old military supply route takes you to the refuge Sillianer hutte (in Austria). This ridge forms a border between Italy and Austria and gives you the most spectacular views across the Austrian Alps. Your descent is on a less well-defined rocky path that crosses the pretty mountain pastures of the Klammbachalm to arrive at the picture postcard village of Klammbachalm, before taking the forest track back down to the village of Moos.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Walk around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo limestone towers

    A fantastic finale to your week awaits as you head by bus to the high-altitude Rifugio Auronzo at the foot of the world-famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2999m). These enormous free standing limestone towers have been so popular with walkers that they've naturally become the symbol of the Dolomites. You follow a wide mountain trail constructed by soldiers during the First World War which provide the finest views of these three immense columns.

    Walking time 4hrs, distance 11km/7mi or walking time 5.5hrs, distance 17km/11mi.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Dobbiaco

    A transfer back to Venice Marco Polo Airport is included. We'll make the 2.5 hour drive back to the airport for your flight home. A supplement will apply for non-standard transfers. If you're staying on after the tour to do your own thing, you can make your way to the city from here.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 7 dinners are included.

Evening meals are served in the atmospheric candlelit dining room where high quality cuisine includes a weekly 5-course banquet and themed Tyrolean buffet evening.


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.

Is this trip for you?

This is a centre-based independent walking holiday. Walks can easily be extended/shortened by using the complimentary 7- day Mobil Card which gives unlimited access to local buses and selected cable cars and chairlifts. 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 is 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 challenging 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

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotel Bellevue

You will spend 7 nights in the beautiful 4-star Park Hotel Bellevue. It combines old-world charm with good old-fashioned hospitality. Facilities include a luxurious spa with sauna, steam room, swimming pool, massage/beauty treatments; there’s also a cosy lounge to curl up in with a book, or take an aperitivo in the relaxing bar. 

Room Upgrades:
Room upgrades may be available on request for a supplement; prices start from an additional £8 per person per night (based on 2 people sharing) – please enquire at the time of booking for further details and prices.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory single room supplement payable in advance.

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2017
    David Bruce

    The Italian Dolomites: Self Guided Walking

    Dobbiaco was a tremendous centre and the Park Hotel Bellevue was everything that we would have wanted. The guidance notes for the walks were excellent and each of the itineraries gave us a different view of the Dolomites from rolling pastures to jagged peaks. I would unreservedly recommend the holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the Tre Cime was beautiful and quiet with glimpses of marmots and alpine, wild flowers hanging on to the rugged terrain. Other walks were almost as spectacular and each had a different character and high point.

    What did you think of your group leader?


    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are up to it, always choose the longer walks. They are quieter and allow you to work off some calories in preparation for the excellent food at the Park Hotel Bellevue.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thankyou for a great holiday.
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Benjamin Stadelmann

    Lovely Hiking Around Dobbiaco

    Overall, a wonderful experience. We were somewhat uneasy about a centre-based trip, because if you find that the food isn’t to your liking the first couple of days it could make for a disagreeable week. We needn’t have worried, the chef at the Bellevue is top notch, making terrific use of fresh local vegetables, fruit and cheese and kept us guessing on what the menu would have to offer next. Service was consistently professional and friendly. What I liked best about the walks was the sheer variety – really no two alike, pastures, meadows, forests, boulder strewn scree fields, babbling brooks, fields brimming with wild flowers, cute hamlets, the suggested hikes had it all. The “moderate” rating is fair, though there are a few parts where a walking stick comes in handy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After a rigorous climb up to the alpine hut at the Three Peaks I was ready for lunch and was treated to an absolutely superb goulash with a variety of fresh baked breads. To get that quality of food out in the middle of nowhere was remarkable, all the more so as the price was reasonable! It puts all the overpriced lousy food in tourist traps to shame.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The self guided notes were thorough and trails well marked, barely used the maps which seemed like a bit of a waste. The walks are very straight forward, did not miss having a guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t pay too much attention to the suggested itinerary. Weather is a more important factor and how ambitious you feel on a given day. Make good use of the spa, it really helps to rejuvenate those tired legs! Not sure if it is s misprint, but the stated summer temperature of 20-22 is misleading. Yes, it is chilly at night and at peak altitude, but during the day in July it is HOT!! More like 32 in Dobbiaco during the afternoons, but it does cool off very pleasantly in the evening.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The 7-day Mobile card for public transit is an asset. Works on all buses and trains, makes it dead simple to go to and fro at ease.

    A great holiday. The hotel and staff were excellent. The trip notes and walks were well documented and sign posted. Awe inspiring scenery. Overall, a well organised, quality hotel, holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a couple of the higher, longer walks, looking back to where you had started/ just come from and seeing the scenery, distance, views and distance travelled.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No group leader as such, but the hotel team and staff were just excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Start on the lesser distance walks and build up to the biggies

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No, just another great Exodus trip

    Fantastic walking mixed with fabulous views and a hotel of the highest quality we would recommend to anyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the summit of Mt Elmo crystal clear skys and views to die for. Eating lunch looking over to the other side of the valley reviewing yesterday's walk and picking out the bunker we sat on and didnt even know until we continued the walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No group leader it is self guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont be put off by the fact its self guided the walking instructions are easy to follow and with the maps provided very difficult to get lost. The Dolomite paths are the best sign posted we have ever come across our own national parks could learn a lot from the Italian and Austrians.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is an absolute dream for serious walkers they have a sauna, pool, solarium, jaccuzi which after a full day's walking is heaven. Not to mention the hotel food and service second to none. You get Michelin* cuisine every night and a wine cellar for all tastes and pockets. We have been on walking holiday's all over Europe and USA and this is a must do for all serious walkers or serious food and wine buff's!

    A fantastic week's walking in wonderful scenery, staying in an excellent hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walking was varied, ranging from easy to moderately challenging. We added in some extra sections on some walks to make them a bit more challenging; this was easy to do given the maps provided and the well signposted paths. The best day was the Tre Cima walk but make sure you do the full version to avoid some of the crowds!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was a unguided trip, but the maps and walk notes which were provided were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to vary your route if you are confident at map reading and want a bit more of a challenge. Make use of the hotel's three (!) saunas - no one else seems to. Don't expect to lose any weight on this holiday - the quantity and quality of the food in the hotel will not be outweighed by your exertions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great experience. We will definitely try other unguided walking holidays.

    This is the perfect self-guided walking holiday. The location is ideal, the hotel is fabulous, and everything is exceptionally well organized. If you want to go on a non-group walking holiday in beautiful mountain scenery but you like not having to plan routes - and a wonderful place to eat and stay - this is the holiday for you!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Dolomites offer a superb area for walking, with stunning mountain scenery, beautiful alpine pastures, pine forests, and wildflowers. This is some of the best-organized walking I have ever done. Exodus provides very well-written and detailed walking route guides and maps, with all the information you need to plan your day; the routes themselves are very clearly signposted and waymarked with numeric codes that correspond to the maps and instructions. So there is zero anxiety about getting lost or ending up somewhere you would feel out of your depth. That said, if you like to devise your own routes, you can - there is a huge variety of walks here beyond the 12 or so that Exodus provides, all waymarked on clear paths. The other wonderful thing about this holiday is the hotel Bellevue. This is an old-fashioned family run hotel of the very best kind: not posh or pretentious, just clean, comfortable and impeccably managed. You are very well looked after here. The food is outstanding: a 5 course meal is offered most nights, while the breakfast buffet is the nicest I've ever encountered anywhere. The swimming pool and spa are beautiful and very welcome after a day's walking. This is easily one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in - would gladly come back!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No group leader, as this is self-guided. However, the hotel staff were extremely helpful with any questions we had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Exodus rates this as a Leisurely/Moderate holiday. We found nearly all the walks to be at the upper end of Moderate: as it's an alpine area, there is lots of up and down, with very little flat. With the addition of the hot July sun, we found the walking a little harder-going than anticipated. It won't be a problem for regular hillwalkers, but be aware that the Dolomites is not an area for Leisurely walking.We flew to and from Venice, which is nearly 3 hours' taxi ride from Dobbiaco. We later learned that Innsbruck is closer to Dobbiaco, and can be reached fairly easily by train (the Dobbiaco train station is 5 mins walk from the hotel). So, depending on where you are flying from, Innsbruck airport might be more convenient.

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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Call us on 074 340 4587