Advice for travellers
In addition to private airport transfers available on request, there are several options for your travel from the airport to the Dolomites.
Depending on your arrival airport and destination, a private car costs approximately from €300-400 each way. Advance reservations are recommended.
Rental cars are available at all major international airports. However, if your trip does not begin and end at the same location within the Dolomites, you will also need to make arrangements to park and return to your car at the end of your trip. Many of our guests choose to hire a car at the arrival airport. Due to the lack of drop off points, we recommend you to keep the car until the end of your trip. In Cortina, you can drop off your car if rented through Autovia (available at Venice Airport) http://www.autovia.it/ The most common gear transmission in Italy is manual. You can also find automatic cars but you may need to book it in advance.
Trains operate regularly between Venice to Bozen/Bolzano in the Dolomites. You can also travel by train from Milan, Verona, Innsbruck (www.trenitalia.com).
Bus: there are a few bus companies operating from the main cities to the Dolomites:
Daily services from Venice Airport & Venice Mestre train station to Cortina.
Daily services from Cortina to Alta Badia (from July to September, see below)
Tickets can be purchased online, on board of the coach, or at the Cortina Express ticket counter located at Venice airport & Cortina bus station.
Daily services from Venice Airport & Venice Mestre train station to Cortina
Advance reservation mandatory, tickets can be purchased online or at the ATVO ticket counter located at Venice airport.
Daily services from Venice Airport & Venice Mestre train station to Cortina
Online reservation mandatory.
from Venice, first you need to get to Cortina as explained above. From Cortina:
- From mid April to mid June: there are no buses connecting Cortina with Alta Badia, the only option is to get a taxi from Cortina (ask us for details).
- From mid June to mid Sep:
- Cortina Express (www.cortinaexpress.it) operates twice a day from Cortina to Alta Badia, calling at San Cassiano, La Villa, Corvara and Colfosco.
- Dolomiti Bus (www.dolomitibus.it) operates services from Cortina to Passo Falzarego. From Passo Falzarego, connections to Alta Badia are available hourly with SAD buses, the last bus operates at 17.55
- From mid Sep to Dec 26th: there are no buses connecting Cortina with Alta Badia, the only option is to get a taxi from Cortina (ask us for details).
- From Dec 26th to end of March: Cortina Express (www.cortinaexpress.it) operates daily services from Cortina to Alta Badia, calling at San Cassiano, La Villa, Corvara and Colfosco.
From Innsbruck to Alta Badia, regular trains operate between Innsbruck and Brunico, with 1 change scheduled at Fortezza. From Brunico take bus 460 to Alta Badia, last service operates at 08.19pm on weekdays, 06.19pm on weekends.
Services from Milan, Bergamo, Verona, Venice, Innsbruck, Monaco to Bolzano. From Bolzano there are hourly services to Val Gardena: bus 350 or bus 170 from Bolzano train station to Val Gardena, calling at Ortisei/St.Ulrich, Santa Cristina, Selva/Wolkenstein.
From Innsbruck to Val Gardena, regular trains operate between Innsbruck and Bolzano (some services also call at Ponte Gardena/Waidbruck). From Bolzano (or Ponte Gardena/Waidbruck) take bus 350 or bus 170 to Val Gardena, calling at Ortisei/St.Ulrich, Santa Cristina, Selva/Wolkenstein.
Val Di Fassa is serviced by bus services from Trento and Bolzano train station (www.ttesercizio.it).
In summer, daily coach services depart from Milan, Bergamo, Venice, Mestre to Val Di Fassa, departures are scheduled very early in the morning, between 07.30am and 08.00am.
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. Some private rooms have shared bathrooms.
Pillows and blankets are always provided, so sleeping bags are not needed.
In dormitory accommodation, a sleeping sheet (or sleeping bag inline) is required, so bring your own unless you don’t mind purchasing one at the rifugio or in town.
In private rooms, some huts provide bedding but not all do. It’s always best to bring your own just in case. Silk or nylon sleeping sheets are light to carry and can be purchased in most outdoor shops.
You should also take with you a light pillow-case, or use a light scarf as a makeshift pillow-case.
You’ll also need a small towel, for the shower. A pair of lightweight shoes or slippers are needed, as boots cannot be worn inside the huts. Most huts provide crocs for everybody’s use.
Hut rules include “lights out” from 10pm to 6am, and there is no smoking permitted. At some of the huts there are no private facilities, so you should expect to share, including showers. There is a large dining room for dinner and breakfast, where you can also purchase wine, beer, soft drinks, and snacks.
On some of our trips, generally the longer ones, a Dolomite Mountains duffel bag is provided for you to use (if not already included in your trip, you can request this service at additional cost, contact us for a quotation).
You can pack the belongings you require for the nights at Rifugios, and leave the rest of your luggage stored at your hotel. When you return from your overnight excursions, your luggage will await you – either at your original hotel (if you are returning there), or transferred to multiple accommodations throughout your journey, or transferred to your final destination. (See your specific itinerary for details).
A vegetarian option is always available at hotels and Rifugios. Whilst the hotels are also able to cater for special diets, most of the Rifugios have limited options available, especially for Celiacs and Vegans. We suggest that you carry your own snacks and supplements, and it is important that you tell us well in advace should you have a particular request/allergy.
With regards to Veganism, Rifugios find it harder to cater (butter is widely used) therefore we kindly ask you to be flexible, and if possible to switch to vegetarianism during the overnights on the mountain. A Vegan option may be available but this is not guaranteed.
If you are on a trip (or a part of your trip) that is based in a hotel, you only need to carry a light backpack for the personal belongings you need for the day including your rain gear, water, photo equipment, etc.
On a hut-to-hut trekking trip, you will carry a larger pack to carry your rain gear, water, and photo equipment, as well as a small first aid kit, reading material, climbing equipment (if you are rock climbing or climbing a via ferrata), change of clothes, overnight clothing and sleeping sheet, toiletries, snacks, and any extras. We recommend a minimum 50-60 liter pack with a load bearing waist harness.
If you are making a hut-to-hut trip there will be no facilities to do laundry during the trip, unless you hand wash in a sink. For this please bring a plug with you.
If you are staying at a hotel for any portion of your trip, you will have a laundry service available at some hotels. For details, please refer to the Hotel/B&B/Rifugio information attached.
On completion of your trip, you may wish to acknowledge the efforts and professionalism of your guide(s) by way of some kind of tip or gift. Tipping is at your discretion, and therefore we do not include it in the trip cost. If you do choose to tip, we recommend approximately €10 per day and per participant for your main guide and €5 for assistants. Tipping is not customary, however it is appreciated.
In restaurants and bars it is customary to leave between 5% and 10% of the bill, but again this is at your discretion. You do not have to tip at every meal, but only if you have been satisfied with the service etc.
Italy’s electrical outlets are primarily on the 220 volt / 50 cycles per second system, most using a 2 round pin plug. If you plan to use any electric devices while you are travelling, if your devices are not from Italy, you will need to use an electrical converter and a plug adapter. You can buy these before you arrive at specialty travel store, or once you arrive at the airport terminal and local supermarkets.
All Rifugios have electricity.
For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_power_systems in order to get a better idea of the three pin types used in Italy.
The Dolomites are usually warmer and receive less precipitation than the rest of the Alps. However, as in all mountainous areas, the weather can change suddenly and it can vary greatly between regions within the Dolomites. Typically bad weather arrives from the South, while winds from the North usually bring good weather.
The weather in the Dolomites always has an element of unpredictability. You can expect a mix of warm sunny days sometimes punctuated by rainy cooler weather. You should always be prepared for sudden changes in weather while you are out on the trail. In July and August, while the average maximum temperature may reach 80°F / 25°C on the valley floors, keep in mind that as you gain elevation it will be colder. For every 1,000 feet you climb, the temperature will drop 3.6°F (6.5°C for every 1,000 meters). What may be an 80°F / 27°C day in Cortina could be 60°F / 15°C on one of the summits! In September daytime temperatures can reach into the upper 60°s and low 70°s F, but early mornings will be cooler (upper 50°s to low 60°s). At this time of the year, rainy days at lower elevations mean snow on higher elevations. Rainstorms can drop the temperature 15° to 20° Fahrenheit. You should bring raingear jacket and pants (pants optional) with you every day, regardless of the weather conditions when you leave your hotel in the morning.
There is no such thing as bad weather, but bad clothing!
Make sure you are prepared for your trip with the necessary rainproof clothing and keep an eye on the weather forecast. In summer, the rain don’t normally last all day (of course with some exceptions). It is common to get late afternoon thunder-storms which can be powerful. We strongly recommend you to ensure that your walk is completed by 4-5pm and seek shelter immediately should you be caught in a thunderstorm.
Tap water is generally drinkable, unless specified differently. We advise against drinking or filling your bottles from streams and/or melting snow, as the water source is not necessarily clean. Natural springs are the best choice as the water is naturally filtered by the soil. Natural springs can be found in many areas across the Dolomites or nearby the Rifugios.
Alternatively, Water bottles can be purchased at Hotels and Rifugios.
Wi-fi service at Hotels is very good but not always free of charge, please check with reception on arrival.
At Rifugios we ask you to be understanding as Wifi is not widely available. Rifugios can be located in remote areas, some may offer Wifi for a few hours a day and charge hourly rates, the signal may be erratic and -in most cases- only available in the common areas or corridors. In bad weather conditions the Wifi signal can go down completely. It may be a good opportunity to read your book, meet like-minded people and get to know the locals!
Good phone reception is available throughout the Dolomites, with the exception of the Fanes National Park where reception is erratic.
Whilst we recommend you to carry some snacks with you such as cereal bars, dried fuit &nuts, chocolate etc, it isn’t necessary to take a packed lunch; you will be surprised by the amount of huts available en route, all serving delicious hearty meals at reasonable prices.
A head torch is not needed but could become useful, especially in hut-to-hut trips.
If your trip includes a visit at Lagazuoi area, a head torch is needed to descend through the WW1 tunnels.
This is not normally the case as the Rifugios will call us on our emergency cell phone to check that everthing is in order. We recommend you to reach your Rifugio at a reasonable time in the afternoon but if you think you will arrive late, please inform the Rifugio out of courtesy and tell them an estimated time of arrival.
Sturdy, properly fitting footwear can make your trip much more pleasurable. If you’re buying new boots for your trip, please make sure they fit properly and break them in by wearing them as often as possible before departure. The trip is not the best time to find out your boots do not fit right. Blister pain and discomfort not only will make the hikes less enjoyable, but also will slow you down and delay the rest of the group.
Lightweight or mid-weight, waterproofed, sturdy hiking boots with ankle support. Running shoes or sneakers are not appropriate for hiking in the Dolomites.
Whether your hiking boots are new or old, come prepared with blister protection. We recommend a type of second skin called “Band-Aid Blister Block” (you can find it in different shapes and sizes, depending on the area of the foot you need to protect, at drugstores). Make sure you read the instructions, as it is not applied to your skin like regular second skin (your guide can also help you).
We provide via ferrata equipment for all of our via ferrata trips. This includes a helmet, harness, double via ferrata lanyard with shock absorber. Depending on the itinerary you have selected, equipment may be included in the cost of your trip, or may be available for an additional rental fee.
In addition to your hiking clothing and equipment listed above, you will need to bring:
Gloves: a 3/4-finger leather glove for dexterity. This is crucial for via ferrata activities including navigating cables and rock walls, as well as for climbing activities such as belaying, aid climbing, and jugging.
Shoes: lightweight hiking boots or hiking shoes.
Note: if your itinerary includes the Marmolada Glacier, you will need to have a sturdy hiking boot or shoe that accepts crampons.
All our Via Ferrata excursions are led by a UIAGM/IFMGA guide. The guide can suggest alternative routes according to the weather forecast, or decide to move forward or push back the meeting time as to avoid adverse weather conditions.