Oct 04

The Best Italian Dolomites Hiking Experiences

Find Your Ideal Dolomites Adventure!

It’s easy to see why Ryder-Walker’s many hiking options in the northern Italian Alps are perennially among its most requested. A colorful landscape of pale, vertical rock walls, towers, and steeples rising high above the alpine forests and meadows beneath them, this archetypal mountain landscape north of Venice is both so beautiful and geologically important that it earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status as a result. But beyond its surface features and much lauded “enrosadira” or “alpenglow,” the location of these awe-inspiring rock formations and labyrinthine canyons in the Trentino-Alto Adige region along the Italian border with Austria has resulted in a delightful cultural and culinary mashup. At once Austrian/Tyrolean and Italian, exploration of the Italian Dolomites sees you transition between cultural influences, changing language, customs, and cuisine along the way. Throw in a splash of ancient Ladin heritage in the center of the region – vestige of its days as part of the Roman Empire – and you’re left with incomparable hiking, hospitality, and fascinating historical and cultural explorations unique to the region.

Lift in the beautiful Mountains of Dolomites, Hiking and vacation in Italy

Italian Dolomites Trek

Running mid-June to mid-September, our classic Italian Dolomites Trek features our favorite sections of the Alta Via trail system to blend moderately strenuous hiking of up to 10 miles a day and 3,100 feet elevation gain with superlative hospitality in one of the world’s most unforgettable locations. Offered as both guided and self-guided itineraries, this 8-day/7-night journey begins in quaint, German-speaking Völs am Schlern and finishes in the tony resort town of Cortina, home to the upcoming 2026 Winter Olympics. Along the way enjoy idyllic, point-to-point hiking with an intimate feel as you make your way along the iconic limestone formations derived from ancient atolls and coral reefs. After spending the day on well-maintained trails with expansive views, unwind each evening in our preferred 3-, 4-, or 5-star hotel and inns, and one well-appointed high mountain refuge – each hand-selected to reflect local character through elevated comfort, discerning service, and memorable meals.

Italian Dolomites Mini-Trek

If free time is elusive or you’re an “all-time hits” kind of person, look no further than our self-guided Italian Dolomites Mini Trek for your northern Italian Alps fix. This 5-day/4-night adventure from Völs am Schlern to Corvara between mid-June and mid-September highlights close encounters with the limestone towers and canyons for which the Italian Dolomites are renowned during daily hikes of up to nine miles and 3,100 feet of elevation gain. Expect glimpses of historic castles, ruins, and picturesque churches while traveling point-to-point between charming mountain villages notable for their blend of Germanic, Italian, and Ladin influences. Days of moderately strenuous hiking combine with restorative evenings in authentic inns, 4-star accommodations, and a night in one of Italy’s most refined mountain refuges, all selected to allow you to recharge in comfort while experiencing gracious hospitality and enjoying delicious, local cuisine.

Ambiance Italian Dolomites

If you’re looking to slow down, take in a bit more local flavor, or accommodate a variety of ages or fitness levels, consider our self-guided Ambiance Italian Dolomites trek. Perfect for those who would like to experience the unique and breathtaking beauty of the Italian Dolomites at a less strenuous pace and easier hikes than our classic route, this 7-day/6-night excursion between Völs am Schlern and Corvara offered from June through September spares distance and elevation gain, but nothing in visual splendor. The shorter, easier Ambiance routes rely on high mountain footpaths and number of lifts to keep hikes between five and nine miles with up to 1,750 feet in elevation gain daily, while still affording sweeping views over the Dolomites to the Austrian Alps and the Marmolada. Meanwhile, two-night stays in Völs and Corvara afford ample time for exploration and discovery, or to simply relax and enjoy la bella vita.

Italian Dolomites Rifugio Trek

Intrepid souls looking for the camaraderie and alpine authenticity found in Italy’s high mountain huts, or whose wallets will appreciate their more budget-friendly cost, will want to consider our 8-day/7-night Italian Dolomites Rifugio Trek. Expect point-to-point hikes of up to 9 miles and elevation gains of up to 3,800 feet on this version of our Dolomites journey. As in our classic trek, we begin in German-speaking Völs am Schlern and finish in the ski resort town of Cortina. Between the two, we stay in Italy’s well-appointed mountain rifugios for four nights. There we enjoy the conviviality of shared Schnapps, board games, and communal dining while appreciating the surrounding landscape from our unparalleled mountaintop perches. Ryder-Walker strives to secure private rooms and facilities, if possible, but they are not always available. Our remaining three nights are spent at first-class hotels in towns reflective of the Dolomites’ special blend of Austrian/Tyrolian, Ladin, and Italian influences to make for a truly memorable Dolomites experience.

Via Ladinia: Heart of the Italian Dolomites

Perhaps you’ve already experienced a variation of our classic Italian Dolomites Trek and want to experience more. Maybe you like to travel a bit off the beaten path. Or you might be a history buff keen to learn more about Roman influence in the area and its resulting Ladin culture – or even World War One. If any of these scenarios ring true, then we invite you to consider our Via Ladinia: Heart of the Italian Dolomites trek. Offered mid-June through mid-September as a self-guided trek and in a guided version, this lesser-trodden take on our standard Dolomites trek begins on the Italian/Austrian border in San Candido – where gentler Alps give way to rugged Dolomites in the Pusteria Valley. During this 8-day/7-night moderately strenuous itinerary that heads south to finish in Pieve di Livinallongo and traverses World War One’s Italian front, be prepared for hikes up to 12 miles and 4,000+ feet elevation gains while following a physical and cultural migration path of the ancient Ladins, nomadic farmers from what is now Germany and Austria whose language and culture dominate the region today.

Via Ladinia Pastorale

If the exploration of a peaceful, lesser-trodden corner of the Dolomites offered in our standard Via Ladinia: Heart of the Italian Dolomites sounds fascinating, but its hike lengths and elevation gains feel aspirational, consider visiting one of the Dolomites most fascinating regions through a more relaxed version: the Via Ladinia Pastorale. Offered as an 8-day/7-night self-guided trek from mid-June to mid-September, the trip, like its more challenging sibling, begins at the Italian/Austrian border in San Candido and the Pusteria Valley. From there it travels south, along with the ancient Ladin language and cultural migration paths that have so heavily influenced the area, to finish in Pieve di Livinallongo. Along the way, daily hikes are shorter and gain less elevation than those in the standard trip, while sacrificing none of the area’s natural beauty and intriguing culture.

Dolomiti di Brenta

Rather than a single area, the Dolomites contain nine separate mountain ranges spanning five Italian provinces that together have received protection as a single UNESCO World Heritage Site. Farthest west among them are the Dolomiti di Brenta in the Province of Trento. Unlike other parts of the Dolomites which retain largely Tyrolean and Ladin influences, all things Italian reign supreme in the Brenta group. Here, we offer an 8-day/7-night self-guided trek in late June, July, and September, as well as a guided version. A moderately strenuous itinerary, beginning and ending in the renowned resort town of Madonna di Campiglio, expect to hike routes of up to 8 miles with as much as 4,300 feet in elevation gain during your adventure. Afterwards, reward yourself with a perfectly pulled espresso or a glass of local Nosiola at one of your lovely accommodations, including five-star hotels where we spend four nights.

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