Images: Courtesy of La Perla and Turm
Towers of vertical limestone, tinged pink in the evening light, loom above the rolling green meadows and intriguing castles, ruins and onion-domed church steeples of the Alto Adige region in northern Italy. This may be the most beautiful mountain region on earth, regularly attracting photographers and mountain enthusiasts enamored of the incredible light and topography of the range.
The Dolomites are culturally diverse, and this trip visits the German speaking Tyrolean villages of the Val Gardena, the Ladin speaking center of Corvara in the Alte Badia and the chic Italian speaking center of Cortina D’Ampezzo, a long-
time destination for members of the jet set crowd.
Drink tall weizen beers and nibble on homemade apfelstrudel in Vols Am Schlern, a cobblestoned village beneath the Sciliar, an impressive rampart of limestone. Climb onto the Alpe di Siusi, the largest “alp" in the Alps, with views that extend across the Ortler, Stubaier and Zillertaler Alps of Austria to the north. Spend one night in a comfortable rifugio above treeline, sipping wine and marveling at the unwavering stamina of the innkeeper’s espresso machine. Hike through the Rosengarten, Sassolungo, Puez and Tofane ranges; the most striking and vertical-looking mountains in the Dolomites.
From our fabulous inns, including one immured in a fourteenth century edifice, and others known for their haute cuisine and charm, you’ll enjoy the most fabled scenery and classic hiking of the Dolomites.
- Scenery that can only be referred to as “Eye Candy.”
- Superb accommodations in fourteenth century castles and historic homes.
- Fabled Italian and Tyrolean culture and cuisine.
Day 1 Arrival Vols am Schlern. Check into a fourteenh century Tyrolean castle. Meet guides and group. Relax.
Travel independently by rail to Bolzano, Italy and taxi to Vols am Schlern, also referred to as Fiè allo Sciliar in Italian. Meet your trip leaders and group for a welcome orientation, cocktails and dinner at 7:00 pm. Overnight in a lovingly restored Tyrolean inn, nestled in fourteenth century walls in a tiny hilltop village with winding cobblestone streets.
Day 2 Loop hike below the Sciliar. Lunch at a Tyrolean farm house. Vols-Vols
Today we’ll enjoy a gentle warm up hike through a world of perfectly manicured Tyrolean chalets, rolling fields and pine forests. From Vols, ascend to Tuffalm, a picturesque alp offering views across northern Italy and the entire south Tyrol. Continue to Hofalm, a Tyrolean farmhouse with dirndle-clad women serving tall weizen beers and apfelstrudel. Enjoy views of the Sciliar, an imposing rampart of limestone, before looping back to Vols.
Day 3 Point-to-point hike. The largest "alp" in the alps. Views of the Sciliar. Lunch at a mountain hut. Vols-Rifugio Alpe di Tires
Today’s hike begins in the Alpe di Siusi, the largest meadow, or alp, in the Alps. Views extend to the Austrian Alps to the north and to the region’s dominant peaks, the Sassopiatto, Sassolungo and today’s objective, the Sciliar. Snap photos in front of the Sciliar, then sample more strudel and hot coffee at yet another Tyrolean hut. Have lunch at the Rifugio Bolzano (9,006 feet), an atmospheric restaurant that feels more like a lively beer hall than a climber's hut. Traverse to the Rifugio Alpe di Tires, a well-stocked hut with wine, beer and a commercial grade espresso machine. (No luggage access on this night.)
Day 4 Point-to-point hike. Climb between two imposing limestone spires. Lunch at a climber's hut. Rifugio Alpe di Tires-Selva in Gardena
Hike between the Sassopiatto and Sassolungo peaks. Have lunch at the Rifugio Vicenza, a true climber's hut, perched on a ledge beneath the Sassolungo group of mountains. The Sassolungo, also known as the Langkofel, is one of the most striking mountain peaks in the entire Italian Dolomites. Continue to a high saddle with a dramatically situated cable car. Descend to the Forcella Sassolungo for transport to the village of Selva in Gardena and a welcoming three star inn.
Day 5 Point-to-point hike. Walk up a gorgeous valley. Lunch at a hut with awesome views. Selva-Corvara.
Ascending a pristine glacial valley surrounded by towering limestone walls, we climb through larch and stone pine toward the Rifugio Puez before descending to the village of Corvara in the Alta Badia, a valley where the Ladin culture dominates. Overnight in one of our all time favorite inns- filled with Tyrolean charm and offering superb cuisine.
Day 6 Loop hike above Corvara. Views of the Marmolada, the Tofane and the Della Croce mountains. Corvara-Corvara
We begin with an ascent to a ridge separating the Puez and Sella groups and the Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites at 10,692 feet, to the west, and the Tofane and Della Croce groups to the east. The views are continually engaging on our long traverse to the dramatically situated Rifugio Valparola, where our van awaits us to return to Corvara.
Day 7 Point-to-point hike. Explore WW I ruins. Descend the dramatic Val Travenanzes. Corvara-Cortina D'Ampezzo
A quick shuttle will deliver us to Lagazuoi. During the First World War, Austrians and Italian dug a network of tunnels beneath Mount Lagazuoi. We'll walk through some of these restored tunnels as we enter a stunning world of rock, the heart of the Tofane Range. Ascend gradually to a beautiful vantage point before descending the beautiful and lush Val Travenanzes. Transfer to the alpine center of Cortina D’Ampezzo and the comforts of a four star hotel.
Day 8 Depart. Taxi to rail stations in Dobiacco or Pieve di Cadore for connections to Milan, Munich, Venice, Innsbruck or other destinations in Europe.
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