Are you interested in a private guide for your Dolomites trek? A private guided tour is booked specifically for you and your friends and family. You choose the dates that work best for you and leave the rest to us. Hotels are booked, taxis reserved, and your own private guide will be waiting, so all you need to do is show up and enjoy your trip! We can help you make any custom changes if you would like a different version of the Alta Via 1.
The Alta Via 1 is perhaps the most renowned of the many hut-to-hut hiking routes across the Dolomites. Starting at Lago di Braies, it’s a high, rocky route heading north to south across a jagged landscape. While our west to east Great Dolomites Traverse offers more varied terrain, with more time in meadows and valleys, the Alta Via 1 is pure mountains, with grand views and numerous hut nights. There are many route options, and they all take you through the heart of some of the most rugged mountains in the Dolomites.
But let’s face it… a couple nights in huts can be fun (not to mention necessary), but sometimes it’s nice to relax in a comfortable hotel. To that end, we’ve added a couple favorite detours, and have designed our Deluxe Alta Via 1 to take advantage of some of the very fine hotels in the nearby valleys. We’ll start at the historic Hotel Pragser Wildsee, followed by 2 nights at high huts (private rooms often available) before a rejuvenating stop at the 5-star Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano. Then we’ll have 2 more hut nights (again, private rooms are limited but often available) before a grand finish at the impeccable 5-star Hotel Cristallo in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Our typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast, simpler at the huts and more elaborate at the hotels, but generally a feast of rolls and pastries, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs, coffee and freshly squeezed juice – which gives us the energy needed for the task ahead. Soon you’ll be out on the trail, with your own private guide to take care of the details, so you can focus on enjoying the trail. Each morning, you’ll be handed a lunch to carry, and at a mid-point along the way we’ll choose a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy our picnic. We get a lot of compliments on our imaginative lunches – making them something to look forward to as well!
For our hikes, there are generally many route options, and a lot of flexibility most days, and we should finish each day around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, or just gaze upon the outside panorama from your room balcony or hut terrace. After that, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hut or our hotel’s fabulous restaurants. Food at the huts is hearty, filling and good, with plenty of options to accommodate different dietary needs. And meals in the villages are multi-course feasts, often featuring delicious local Austrian and Italian specialties. The Michelin-starred restaurant at the Hotel Rosa Alpina is a particular treat, with a focus on fresh, local cuisine.
Lago di Braies – Arriving in the Dolomites in Cortina d’Ampezzo, you’ll start with a private taxi ride to Lago di Braies (Pragsersee), a gorgeous lake tucked within massive mountain walls.
Enjoy your first evening on the shores of the lake at the historic Hotel Pragser Wildsee, a landmark inn, built in the late 19th century, and an elegant home for the night.
Sennes hut – You’ll start your inn-to-inn trip with an invigorating ascent to a rocky plateau high above the lake. This is the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature preserve, and you’ll hike with stunning panoramas across a wide, forested valley. Biella hut makes a fine lunch stop, and a continuing traverse brings you to rifugio Sennes, a handsome and comfortable inn with private rooms.
Fanes hut – An easy morning traverse brings you to the bucolic Fodora Vedla hut. After a long descent, you’ll climb again, this time to rifugio Fanes, a charming inn tucked into a quiet valley. The nearby rifugio Lavarella is an equally worthy stop for the night.
San Cassiano – After another fine morning walk on the high Fanes plateau, we’ll detour slightly from the traditional Alta Via 1 route, descending through a lush valley to the Alta Badia region of the Dolomites, and the lovely small village of San Cassiano, where we’ll catch up to our luggage, and enjoy a short break from the high-mountain huts.
San Cassiano is framed by a gorgeous backdrop of mountains, and is home to one of our favorite hotels, the 5-star Hotel Rosa Alpina. Luxurious, but hiker-friendly and relaxed, the Rosa Alpina offers the best of both worlds, with a recently renovated pool and spa, wonderful rooms, and gourmet meals. Their Michelin-starred restaurant takes particular pride in using fresh, local ingredients.
Lagazuoi hut – Leaving San Cassiano, we pass the Capanna Alpina and start hiking up the back side of the Lagazuoi mountain. As we approach the top, you’ll see fascinating remnants of the trench warfare that racked this region during WWI, with tunnels, trenches, and informational placards detailing some of the brutal conditions and sobering history of the war.
Lagazuoi hut itself sits atop the mountain – your highest stop of the trip – and enjoys a commanding view. It’s accessible by cable car, and is always a bustling and popular hut. Your energetic hosts Guido and Alma provide a comfortable and welcoming stay.
Croda da Lago hut – This day is also heavily steeped in WWI history. As you descend from the Lagazuoi, you may take time to visit the fascinating Martini ledge below the hut and the Cinque Torri trenches across the valley.
Rather than stopping at the ski-lift accessible Averau hut, we like to take a more scenic route, detouring along wooded trails to the quiet Croda da Lago, a friendly hut next to a tranquil lake.
Cortina d’Ampezzo – A final morning hike brings you finally to Cortina d’Ampezzo, but the bustling and lively heart of the region. Cortina has a nice cobblestoned, pedestrian-only core, and is a great place to spend a couple extra days should you have extra time. We’ll unwind and celebrate at the gorgeous 5-star Hotel Cristallo.
Depart – Today we say goodbye to the Dolomites and head off for our post-trip destinations. Cortina is well-connected to Venice, a great post-trip getaway.
Our guided hut-to-hut hike across the Dolomites is an unforgettable collection of quaint villages, comfortable huts, and rugged landscapes.Learn more ›
The otherworldly beauty of the Dolomites is on full display on this self-guided hut-to-hut hike from the Gardena valley to Cortina d’Ampezzo.Learn more ›