Italy | Via Ladinia Pastorale

Explore the Italian/Austrian border where the Alps morph into the Dolomites

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  • Via Ladinia lake
  • Meadow Via Ladinia
  • Town in Via Ladinia
  • Via Ladinia town
  • Woman hiking in Via Ladinia region
  • Via Ladinia

Trip Highlights:

  • Experience culture that is colorful with fantastic architecture and cuisine.
  • Sneak through heavenly lush meadows, explore high hills, and trek more rugged peaks.
  • Rest in remote hamlets, hotels and one superbly appointed rifugio.

The Pusteria Valley on the Italian/Austrian border is where the Alps morph into the Dolomites. The northern flank of the valley is pastoral, with undefined walls of limestone and gentler summits. The southern flank is where the Dolomites find their personality, as jagged summits skyrocket above you. Ryder-Walker’s Via Ladinia begins in the calming town of San Candido.

The magnificence of this hiking itinerary lies in its ability to navigate these seemingly impenetrable peaks. The route sneaks its way through heavenly lush meadows, and links fascinating and remote hamlets, hotels and one superbly appointed rifugio. Adventuresome outings exist in the higher hills and more rugged ridges of this forgotten section of the Dolomites, often piercing the astonishing relics of World War I’s Fronte Italiano.

The route follows the migration of the Ladin culture over the centuries. Ladin culture emerged in the more northern area of Tyrol, now southern Germany and the Südtirol (Austria). As a nomadic farming community, the Ladins radiated in many directions, but the southern route you explore was most favorable for them due to the “hospitality” of the topography and terrain.

The culture is colorful and effervescent, with fantastic architecture and cuisine, and it’s all set against the backdrop of many of the most dramatic mountains on earth. Evenings are most enticing, as the Ladinia meld the orderliness of the Tyrol with the dolce vita Italy is so revered for.


This trek travels from north to south, to the most comfortable and atmospheric inns available in each location. From a classic South-Tyrolian hotel in San Candido, embraced by the woods of San Candido and shadowed by the imposing and jagged Baranci peaks; to an enchanting hotel in Alleghe, home to a stunning, emerald green lake where tree covered slopes drop precipitously to the water’s edge; each inn reflects the charm and character of its location.

Trip Itinerary

Choose from our standard itinerary or customize the trek by adding or subtracting days.

Transfer to San Candido in the Val Pusteria.

Begin the day with a quick bus transfer from your hotel to the Fischleintal Valley. The hike brings you immediately into the the almost indescribable beauty of the Sesto Dolomites. After following the Via Alpina trail to the Talschlusshütte (perfect cappuccino stop), the path climbs into a hanging valley below the Zwölferkofel peak. The high point of the day is the well placed Rifugio Comici, an idyllic spot for an alpine hut lunch. The return by the same route truly emphasizes the spectacular nature of this special place.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2600 ft.

After a quick transfer to the Lago di Braies (to many the most beautiful lake in the Dolomites), hike over the Kreuzjoch, with lunch in the agriturismo Ucia de Fejedora, which is outstanding. Hike to San Vigilio, or Al Plan in the Ladin language. Check into your wonderful hotel in this quaint hamlet.

Distance: 4 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 650 ft.

Today’s hike from San Vigilio to the Alp Fanes is wonderful, as much of the hike is in the Fanes wilderness preserve, along quiet trails through unspoiled forest. Overnight in a rifugio with breathtaking views and a wonderful kitchen.

Distance: 5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1620/300 ft.

Hike along the Alta Via 1 and through the beautiful valley between the great and colorful Piz dles Conturines and Monte Cavallo, located above the romantic hamlet of San Cassiano. Your accommodations offers a fantastic kitchen with breathtaking views and all the amenities of a superior hotel.

Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 700/1300 ft.

Today, enjoy a fun filled hiking day through the famous pastures of the upper Badia Valley. Begin with a short transfer to Pedraces and ride the ski lift up to the trailhead. Hike through high alpine woods and meadows beneath the impressive pass of the Forcella de Medesc before hiking through pristine pastures back to your hotel.

Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1000/1400 ft.

Hike over the Col di Lana to Livinallongo. This exceptional day takes in the summit of a mountain fought over for years during World War I. Today this hike is an outstanding outdoor museum. Your hotel for tonight is a family run business that is held in high regard in this quaint village.

Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1200/2600 ft.

Ryder-Walker will provide a morning departure taxi to Belluno or Brunico bus / train station.

Via Ladinia Pastorale | Italy

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