The Dolomites Mountains
Italy's South Tyrol & Veneto regions of the Alps.
2013 dates, June 24th - July 4th. Last minute late availability due to a cancellation. Fly Venice for start.
No matter how many glorious mountains you may have explored in your life, you will never be quite prepared for the stunning scenery of the Dolomites, which soar up unexpectedly from a spectacular landscape. It is the ultimate paradise for hikers: lush green valleys, high and awesome wilderness, spectacular wildlife, ancient culture, warm hospitality - and last but not least - terrific food!
They are curiously different to any other range of mountains in the world... the mighty towers, the enormous dolomite walls (a unique type of limestone - and from which the mountains get their name) - and stupendous giant pinnacles.
Our journey will focus on the very heart of the Dolomites range and we will cross and explore two quite different Italian Regions: Veneto and South Tyrol. Veneto is the region whose capital is Venice. The main centre of the Dolomites on the Veneto side is the famous (and stylish) town of Cortina D'Ampezzo. South Tyrol (Alto Adige in Italian, Südtirol in German) is a beautiful region, with a very distinctive character compared with the rest of Italy, as it was a part of Tyrol, a district of Austria, until 1920.The lush-green landscape is typically Tyrolean: tiny villages with pointed bell towers, story-book castles perched over roaring streams, ancient towns with cobbled streets famous for their cafés.
Food in the Dolomites is an exciting mixture of Italian and Austrian tradition - and a very fine mix it is too! Our three carefully selected, family-run hotels will offer us gorgeous, traditional dinners to savor after an energetic day out - and very generous luxurious buffet breakfasts, so that we shall be fully prepared for our daily mountain adventures. After successfully testing our tour in 2011 & 12, we have refined our choice of three perfect places to stay during our walking holiday - each of them having a quite different character, all designed to provide you with a truly unforgettable experience, not just about Alpine hospitality and food - but in a variety of beautiful locations.
Hotel Putia is a family-run hotel in Antermoja, a tiny Tyrolean village at 4,900 ft above sea level near the awesome, bulky cliff of ‘Sass de Putia'. The hotel features spacious and sunny rooms with an astonishing view of the famous pink-coloured sunsets over the Dolomites. Delicious, traditional dinners are always accompanied by a huge salad buffet with plenty of fresh vegetables grown in the family's own kitchen garden. www.putia.com
Rifugio Staulanza is a remote, chalet-style small hotel, settled right on a mountain pass at almost 6000 ft above sea level, surrounded by spruce forests and facing the giant, unearthly tower of ‘Monte Pelmo'. They take pride in their traditional recipes and are spectacularly situated in Val Zoldana, one of the less touristy valleys on the Veneto side of the Dolomites, rich in well preserved traditional wooden buildings. www.staulanza.it
Hotel Pontechiesa is in Cortina - and this is probably the most famous town in The Dolomites, nestled between several great mountain ranges in a deep valley. Pedestrian streets with some grand buildings make this a very stylish town. Our hotel is a 5 minute walk from the town centre, lined with famous cafés and shops. http://www.hotelpontechiesa.it/
Following our philosophy of "off-the-beaten-track" tours, we will focus on experiences you would be most unlikely to encounter without the expert knowledge of our competent local guide. We have chosen a time of the year which is low-season for mass tourism, but offers the spectacular Alpine flora at its best. Further, our tour is a carefully selected mixture of ‘not-to-be-missed' famous hikes such as the "Tre Cime di Lavaredo", an icon of the Dolomites - and much less known trails in hidden, untouristy valleys - idyllic jewels that most visitors haven't heard of.
At this time of the year, in the mid elevations we will be surrounded by gorgeous wild flowers (including many orchids) and at somewhat higher altitudes, by beautiful wild rhododendrons.
On most of our nine planned hikes, by lunch time we'll reach a "malga", i.e. a mountain farmhouse, or a "Rifugio", that is a mountain hut for hikers. In both cases, these magnificently situated chalets usually provide café service, with delicious, home-made traditional pastries and cakes, and also a selection of local cheese, meat (the highlight is "speck", the Tyrolean smocked ham), soups (such as the famed "canederli") - and tasty hot pasta dishes (including the reinvigorating "spaetzli"). The hearty recipes of the "Rifugios" and their warm hospitality are an attractive bonus of hiking in the Dolomites!
As any of you who have walked before with myself and Luca Panaro will know (in Tuscany), he is a ‘past master' at finding these places. He really is a natural leader and an excellent naturalist - endowed with sensitivity, personal warmth and most importantly, real knowledge and genuine enthusiasm to share it with others. So together with ua (Martin & Laine) and Luca, we'll surely share some incredible mountain experiences, giving you rare insights into this stunning region.
10 nights/11 days - 2300 Euros, fully inclusive. Single supplement 130 Euros total.
Fully inclusive tour: hotels, transport, full guidance, cable cars, all meals and drinks included.
Please contact us for a fully illustrated PDF of this tour.