Explore the Dolomites on this self guided / guided combination itinerary! Spend an incredible week of hiking on your own through one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world, with two days of guided via ferrata climbing where you’ll ascend the magnificent walls of this UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Length: 8d / 7n
Start / Finish: Val Gardena / Alta Badia
This trip is available as a custom, private departure on dates of your choosing.
Activity Level: Moderate to Challenging
For everybody in good and active physical health.
Guided / Self Guided Combination
Cost: From €1690 (per person, minimum 4 members)
- Trip briefing upon arrival
- Logistics and map of the area
- Accommodations and meals as noted in itinerary
- Local English speaking Professional UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide for 2 days of via ferrata
- Via ferrata equipment
- Local transportation on guided days
- Luggage transfers
- Italian mobile phone for local emergency calls
- Local medical and evacuation insurance
- Italian VAT tax
Airport transfers available on request.
- Hike through one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world
- Enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of charming mountain rifugios
- Experience the adrenaline rush while climbing a via ferrata constructed during WWI
- Lose yourself in fairy-tale villages, whose architecture, cuisine and language reflects a delightful blend of Italian, Austrian, and Ladin cultures
- Guided / self guided combination trips are a great way to learn about the culture and beauty of the Dolomites with a guide, combined with time to experience these mountains at your own pace
This itinerary gives you the best of all things in the Dolomites – self guided hiking, where you can explore at your own pace, combined with guided via ferrata climbing, where you can ascend the magnificent walls with the comfort of being accompanied by a Professional UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide!
On daily hikes, you’ll encounter wild alpine meadows, deciduous and evergreen woods, high altitude lunar-like terrain soaring peaks, dramatic walls, and towering heights that alternate with refined South Tyrolean towns. Plus you’ll discover hidden delicious mountain inns along the trails, where you can stop for a hearty traditional meal and welcoming hospitality, rich in traditions and customs that recall ancient times. What’s more, there are incredible vistas and unexpectedly comfortable accommodations high up in these mountains!
But after looking up at these towering heights for a few days, we’re sure you’ll want to climb them, and via ferrata climbing is a wonderful way of experiencing the sheer magnificence of the these famous mountains. Well known to climbers all over the world, the world famous vie ferrate of the Dolomites provide non-climbers access to mountains and views usually reserved for mountaineers. Wire cables are fixed to the rock walls for safety, in addition to iron rods and steps. And you’ll get to experience two days of complete adrenaline rush on these incredible well-protected routes, while climbing some of the most beautiful Dolomite peaks in complete safety!
The Dolomites are notable for their composition of pale coloured dolomite – a limestone like rock formed beneath deep, ancient seas – set atop darker volcanic bedding. Widely regarded as being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world, the surreal towers and crags are favourite motifs for postcards and paintings, but they also make a splendid backdrop for your outdoor pursuits!
Day 1 ~ Arrive in Val Gardena, Dolomites
Arrive in Selva Gardena / Wolkenstein on your own and check into your hotel (private transfer available on request). Set among the mountains of Sassolungo, Puez and the Sella Massif, Selva Gardena is part of the valley of Val Gardena, best known for skiing and rock climbing; last but not least, woodcarving, that has flourished here since the 17th century. Home to three cultures – Italian, Austrian, and the native Ladin, most signage in Val Gardena is written in the three languages – Italian, German, and Ladin!
In the afternoon, meet with a Dolomite Mountains representative who will provide a trip briefing and orientation, as well as maps, Italian mobile phone, and everything necessary for the self-guided portion of your adventure. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time for a hike or to explore one of the three villages of Val Gardena – San Cristina, Ortisei, or Selva Gardena.
D… Hotel in Val Gardena (3-Star)
Day 2 ~ Puez-Odle: Rasciesa & Geological Phenomena
Take a short transfer this morning to the beautiful town of Ortisei, dominated by Rasciesa Peak. Hike on in the Puez-Odle Natural Park, through rich pastures up to the crest of Rasciesa di Fuori (2,281m / 7,484'); Puez-Odle is an important park from a geological point of view, because all of the minerals, sedimentary strata, and forms of erosion typical to the Dolomites can be found within it. From Rasciesa peak you’ll hike to Rifugio Malga Brogles across the stunning Odle Group, its pointed rock needles dominating this superb panoramic traverse. After a final brief climb to Seceda, you’ll return to Ortisei enjoying the 8-minute ride down on the panoramic funicular. Afternoon free to explore the Tyrolean towns of Val Gardena. (5 hours hiking 14km / 8.5 miles, 1,516m / 4,974' ascent, 435m / 1,427' descent.)
B,D… Hotel in Val Gardena (3-Star)
Day 3 ~ Sassolungo – Sassopiatto Circumnavigation
In the morning transfer to Passo Sella (2,244m / 7,362'), for your hike on a wide, well-marked trail under the Sassolungo north face and Sassopiatto massifs. Right after the impressive Sassolungo North Clock Tower spire, you’ll hike right into the heart of the massif to Rifugio Vicenza (2,253m / 7,391'), a typical Dolomites rifugio and the perfect place to enjoy lunch.
After lunch, a green landscape will replace the rocky scenery you just hiked through. Stop for a drink at the cozy Murmeltier Hütte (Marmot Hut in German, 2,133m / 6,998') before hiking the final kilometer to your rifugio for the night (2,300m / 7,546'). This evening you will marvel at breathtaking pink sunsets on the walls of Sassolungo, and the quietness of the mountains from your rifugio. (5-6 hours hiking ~13km / 7.5 miles, 507m / 1,663' ascent, 451m / 1,480' descent.)
Day 4 ~ Catinaccio / Rosengarten Massif
Today you’ll take a fantastic hike across the Catinaccio / RosengartenMassif – one of the most recognized landmarks of the Dolomites. From the hut, hike across the beautiful green Siusi Ridge to reach the RIfugio Alpe di Tires (2,440m / 8,005'), where you can enjoy a break on their deck. Continue hiking on rocky terrain until you reach Passo Molignon (2,604m / 8,543'), drop down to Vallon del Principe (2,134m / 7,001') through some switchbacks, and uphill until you reach your rifugio (2,601m / 8,533') for tonight, a small and cozy hut perched on Passo Principe in the heart of Catinaccio. Indulge in a peaceful evening on the terrace, enjoying fantastic panoramas. (6-7 hours hiking ~10 km / 6 miles, 771m / 2,530' ascent, 470m / 1,542' descent.)
Day 5 ~ Val di Fassa
You’ll leave the exposed rocky trails behind as you descend through the Val di Udai along the Udai River, into the lush valley of Val di Fassa. From here transfer by taxi to Alta Badia, your home for your via ferrata experience! (4 hours hiking 9km / 6 miles, ~100m / 328' ascent, ~1,300m / 4,265' descent.)
B,D… Hotel in Alta Badia (3-Star)
Days 6 & 7 ~ Via Ferrata Experience
Meet your UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide for the next two days, and ascend a different via ferrata each day! You’ll learn useful rope techniques and a range of additional skills for climbing and scrambling on different rock features; your guide will be with you all the way to teach you the basics of traveling over these near vertical walls.
Below is a list of the via ferratas that you may ascend in the next two days:
- Via Ferrata Averau – a good confidence builder for beginners, with outstanding views of the Tofane group and Cinque Torri. (2 hours hiking 5km / 3 miles and ascending an easy 75m / 246' grade 2A via ferrata.)
- Via Ferrata Col dei Bos – Not marked on older maps or guide books, this ferrata is one that the Italian alpine military units still use for training. From the top of Col dei Bos the views are unforgettable. (4-5 hours hiking 3km / 2 miles and ascending a moderate 400m / 1,312' grade 3B via ferrata.)
- Via Ferrata Lipella – This is a challenging, full-day climb of one of the most beautiful peaks of the Dolomites, where you’ll go through a tunnel by “torch” (headlamp), and then start to climb the west face of the giant Tofana di Rozes. (Full day hiking 9km / 6 miles and ascending a challenging 600m / 1,969' grade 4C via ferrata.)
- Via Ferrata Tridentina – A stunning route that ascends slabs and walls that overlook some huge waterfalls, with a final dramatic suspension bridge that leads across a chasm. (5 hours hiking 5km / 3 miles and ascending a moderate 400m / 1,312' grade 3B via ferrata.)
- Via Ferrata Piz da Lech – An enjoyable route with easy sections interspersed with some short, steep and entertaining pitches, including two 15 meter (50') metal rung ladders affixed to the wall. (3-4 hours hiking 2.5km / 1.5 miles and ascending a moderate 200m / 656' grade 3B via ferrata.)
B,D… Hotel in Alta Badia (3-Star)
Day 8 ~ Departure
Breakfast and departure on your own (private transfer available on request).
This itinerary may vary based on weather conditions, fitness levels and abilities of participants, and/or the recommendations of your guide.
Want to learn more about our Hotels and B&Bs?
The Dolomites has a multi-faceted culture and history that is reflected in each village we visit, and we make sure to provide you with the most authentic experience of the region possible through the hotels and B&Bs we offer. Hotels and chalets are available in the larger villages, while agriturismos (working farms with accommodations similar to B&Bs) are more common in rural areas. And we always make sure you have access to inspired regional cuisine, and the best panoramas you can get in the Dolomites!
Want to learn more about our Mountain Inns & Rifugi?
Rifugi – or mountain huts in English – are the classic accommodation for hikers, climbers, mountaineers, and ski mountaineers in the Alps. Set in spectacular locations high in the Dolomites, rifugi are accessible only on foot (with a few exceptions that are reachable by car). These marvelous establishments are open primarily in the summer, with a select few in winter, and offer meals and sleeping facilities.
The Dolomite rifugi are considered the best in the Alps. While some are dormitory style with bunk beds, many meet the standard of a simple guest house with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms, and each has its own unique character and charm. Bedding and linens are provided, hot showers are available, and meals are served in common dining areas – like a small mountain inn set high in the mountains with the most incredible vistas in the Dolomites. Whether you’re hiking in summer or skiing in winter, an overnight rifugio stay is not to miss on a Dolomite holiday.
To learn more about rifugi in the Dolomites, check out our Rifugios in the Dolomites article, and learn about one of the best ways to experience these incredible mountains!
Check out the high definition videos in our SUMMER VIDEO GALLERY!