Are you interested in a private guide? A private guided tour is booked specifically for you and your friends and family. You choose the dates that work best for you and choose the itinerary that feels right. We can help you make any custom changes you like to our guided Great Dolomites Traverse itinerary and we will take care of all the details. 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!
The Dolomites are stunning location for a private guided trip, with dramatic mountains, flowery meadows, beautiful villages, and great hotels. The fascinating culture melds Italian, Austrian, and ancient Ladin in this mountainous corner of Italy. The Dolomites also boast a surprising variety of beautiful wildflowers in the grassy meadows below the mountains. This inn-to-inn tour starts in the Fassa valley, makes a high-level circuit of the Gardena valley, and traverses east through the Badia valley to the soaring rock towers that surround Cortina d’Ampezzo. We offer a standard version with 3-star village hotels or a deluxe version with 4-star village hotels. The Dolomites also boast some fantastic 5-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, so please ask if you’re interested in a custom proposal. Shorter and longer itineraries are also easy to arrange on a custom basis.
Your tour will begins in Bolzano, a beautiful small city filled with plazas and museums, including the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology, where you can see Ötzi, the 5300 year old ice man found in a nearby glacier. You’ll be met by a private taxi for the 1 hour drive to Canazei, a small, sunny village at the upper end of the Fassa valley, with miles of hiking trails radiating in every direction. Your inn-to-inn trek starts with a loop around the Gardena valley, visiting a couple favorite huts along the way, before arriving in Ortisei in the Gardena Valley. From here, you’ll hike east past the mighty Sella mountain to Alta Badia, then on to the historic mountaintop Lagazuoi, and finally to Cortina d’Ampezzo. You’ll have 4 nights in high huts and mountain inns (note, there are private doubles, but no single rooms at the huts), and 6 nights in comfortable and casual 3-star hotels (standard tour) or exquisite 4-star hotels (deluxe tour) with great food. You won’t want to leave!
Our typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel – a feast of freshly baked bread 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 we’ll be out on the trail, where you’ll get to choose between an easier or more strenuous hike for the day. 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 your hikes, there are many route options, and a lot of flexibility most days, so you can work with your guide on the route that is best for you. You should finish each day around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, perhaps settle into the pool, or just gaze upon the outside panorama from your room balcony. After that, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel’s fabulous restaurants. These are multi-course feasts, often featuring delicious local Austrian and Italian specialties. We typically leave one dinner in Ortisei free, giving you a chance to explore on your own.
With beautiful hotels and a great variety of hikes, this Dolomites tour will make an unforgettable vacation.
Canazei – Arrive in Italy and transfer by train to Bolzano, your gateway to the Dolomites. Bolzano is a pleasant city with large squares, outdoor markets, and a captivating natural history museum, home of the famous Ötzi iceman. If you have extra time, we can arrange an extra night or two here to enjoy the region before heading to the mountains.
From Bolzano, you’ll be met by a private taxi and taken to Canazei, surrounded by stunning scenery at the upper end of the Fassa valley. Meet your guide here, and enjoy a wonderful welcome dinner and settle in to our comfortable and friendly hotel for the night.
Plattkofel – Hiking hut-to-hut, we’ll start with a circuit of the towering Sassolungo mountain group, to the Plattkofel hut, tucked at the base of jagged, imposing rock spires.
With comfortable private rooms and hot showers, Plattkofel is more a comfortable mountain inn than a hut. It’s a very popular lunch stop for hikers during the day. Evenings bring a quiet ambiance that allows us to relax and enjoy a beautiful night high in the mountains.
Schlernhaus – After a night at Plattkofel, we’ll continue on a mellow high-level traverse above the Alpe di Siusi, past the Catinaccio peaks to Tierser Alp hut for a hearty lunch. Afterwards, a dramatic traverse brings us to Schlernhaus, an historic mountain inn atop the mighty Schlern peak, with breathtaking views in every direction.
Schlernhaus exudes a cozy lodge-like atmosphere with a large central dining room that makes a great meeting point to settle in and chat with other hikers. There are no showers, but you’ll have private rooms and a hearty meal.
Ortisei – A steep and somewhat rugged morning descent leads to the vast meadows of the Alpe di Siusi, the largest mountain meadow in the Alps. The undulating trail across the meadows passes by a number of small mountain inns. We’ll stop at a favorite lunch spot where you can enjoy some of the best homemade local flavors in the Dolomites.
After lunch, we’ll continue across the Siusi with a short ascent to a cable car that whisks you down to the pleasant and attractive village of Ortisei. In the evening, you can unwind and enjoy the excellent cuisine at our tasteful hotel.
Ortisei – With a 2nd day in Ortisei, we might take a dayhike through high scenic meadows to Brogles hut, where we can look back on almost our entire route so far.
Or for a more adventurous outing, this would be a great chance to meet up with a local guide for a via ferrata climb on one of the local routes. Ortisei also has a pedestrian-only village core, and a great local pool and spa, if you’d prefer to relax in town.
Corvara – Leaving Ortisei, we’ll hike past the oldest chapel in the valley and up to the beautiful Seceda meadows. There are a variety of trails for longer or shorter days.
This gorgeous valley is not to be missed, with quiet meadows and extensive views of the towering Puez-Odle mountain group. Descend to the village of Selva for the night.
Corvara – A dramatic hike through the U-shaped Vallunga valley leads us to the Puez hut. From here, a high, rocky traverse to the the Gardena pass, where the massive Sella mountain dominates.
A scenic descent along a wooded trail or a short bus transfer brings us to Corvara in the traditional Alta Badia region. Stay comfortable and friendly hotel in this pleasant village.
Corvara – We have a number or great choices for a dayhike from Corvara.
Perhaps an energetic ascent up into the high rocky plateau of the Sella, to the rifugio Boe. An easier option leads us through gentle, scenic meadows of Pralongia, with constant panoramic views of the entire region. Stay in Corvara a 2nd night.
Lagazuoi – Today’s dramatic walk takes us high above the valley to the rifugio Lagazuoi, a popular hut perched at the summit of a mountain with incredible views and rich history.
This was the scene of fierce fighting in WWI, and many tunnels and artifacts remain to this day. Despite its mountaintop position, Lagazuoi has comfortable rooms and hot showers, and takes care to serve abundant and delicious meals.
Cortina d’Ampezzo – Finally, you’ll cap your trip with a hike to Cortina d’Ampezzo, and your choice of hikes. A strenuous option includes a long descent on a quiet, lightly-traveled route through the Fanes National Park. This surprising descent is filled with waterfalls, and promises yet another memorable day.
For a more relaxing day, take a shorter traverse beneath the Tofane di Rozes mountain. This brings us to a mountain inn where we arrange a taxi for a short transfer to Cortina, the lively town at the heart of the eastern Dolomites for a final, celebratory evening.
depart – Today we say arrivederci, and depart for our post-tour destinations.
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