Nothing prepares you for the otherworldly beauty of the Dolomites, whose sheer pink and yellow limestone pinnacles tower like monuments over quaint villages, flowery meadows, wooded valleys, and sun-soaked trails. Italian, Austrian, and ancient Ladin cultures intermingle peacefully in the small, scattered villages in this mountainous corner of Italy. The Dolomites also boast a surprising variety of beautiful wildflowers in the grassy meadows below the mountains. This Great Dolomites Traverse, West, inn-to-inn tour makes a circuit of the Val Gardena, our favorite corner of the Dolomites. A longer self-guided tour can be arranged with additional days extending east to the Badia valley and Cortina d’Ampezzo, so check out our self-guided Great Dolomites Traverse.
The Val Gardena is easily and quickly reached by bus from Bolzano, a beautiful small city filled with plazas and museums. You’ll start with 2 nights in Selva, a tiny village at the upper end of the Val Gardena, with miles of hiking trails radiating in every direction. This will be followed by 3 days (2 nights) of hut-to-hut hiking high above the valley, overnighting in remote mountain inns – the tidy Tyrolean Plattkofel hut and historic mountaintop Schlern hut. Then you’ll circle back to the Gardena valley for 2 nights in Ortisei, a charming village with narrow cobblestoned streets lined with elegant shops. Both of our mountain inns feature private rooms, subject to availability, indoor bathrooms (Plattkofel has showers as well), and delicious home-cooked meals. Our standard tour features comfortable 3-star village hotels, while the deluxe tour opts for more luxurious 4-star hotels in Selva and Ortisei, with beautiful pools and spas, and great food. You won’t want to leave!
Your typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel – a feast of freshly baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs, coffee and freshly squeezed juice – which gives you the energy needed for the day ahead. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Soon, you’ll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours, with many hiking options to choose from. You’ll carry extra clothes in your daypacks for the 2 consecutive nights in huts, and your luggage will be transported for you from Selva to Ortisei.
You should finish your hike 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, you’ll enjoy dinner at your hotel restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, often featuring delicious local Austrian and Italian specialties. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious.
The Dolomites is truly a special region. With gorgeous hotels, charming villages, and numerous exciting hikes, this Dolomites tour will make for an unforgettable vacation.
Ortisei- Arrive in Italy and transfer by taxi to Ortisei, a beautiful town surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Gardena valley.
Meet your group here and enjoy a wonderful welcome dinner and settle in to our comfortable and friendly 3-star hotel for the night.
Ortisei – Today, we might start with a cable car ride to a ridge high above town, and take a dayhike through high scenic meadows to the Brogles hut, where you can scan practically the entire Gardena valley and gaze upon the jagged needles of the Puez-Odle peaks.
In the evening, spend some time exploring town. Ortisei is a beautiful village with shops and cafes lining their cobblestoned, pedestrian-only main road. Your stay also includes entrance to the Mar Dolomit pool and spa, a great place to relax for an hour or two.
Schlernhaus hut – After a slow morning, we’ll begin today by ascending a gondola to the rolling green hills of the Alpe di Siusi, the largest mountain meadow in the Alps. After a mellow crossing of the meadows and an unforgettable stop at the lively Gostner Schwaige for lunch, we’ll continue our steep ascent to the peak.
Finish the day at Schlernhaus, an historic mountain inn atop the mighty Schlern peak, with breathtaking views in every direction. Trails radiate from the hut for optional walks to even higher views. Schlernhaus is somewhat more rustic, with private rooms, bathrooms down the hall, no showers. Their beautiful dining room is a cozy place to relax in the evening enjoying a night high in the Dolomites.
Plattkofel hut – 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. The trail provides stunning views of the famed Catinaccio/Rosengarten group enroute
With comfortable private rooms and hot showers, Plattkofel is more a comfortable mountain inn than a hut, with a quiet ambiance that allows us to relax and enjoy a beautiful evening high in the mountains.
Selva- Today we traverse around the northwest corner of the Langkofel Group, towering in stark relief over the Alpe di Siusi. We’ll spend the day winding our way through boulder fields, grassy meadows, and spruce-larch forests before catching a cable car down to Selva.
Selva is surrounded by pleasant hiking trails and is blessed with beautiful views from every corner. Tonight marks the start of the Dolomites East 6-night tour – new arrivals will join the group for dinner.
Selva- Today we’ll work our way up and explore the high meadows of the dramtic Puez-Odle mountain group, and perhaps stopping in at places like the Regensberger or Stevia Huts along the way.
In the evening, you can unwind and enjoy the gourmet cuisine at your tasteful village hotel. This night marks the end of the Dolomites West 6-night trip.
depart – After breakfast, your taxi driver will meet you at your hotel to take you back to Bolzano.
The otherworldly beauty of the Dolomites is on full display on this hut-to-hut hike from the Gardena valley to Cortina d’Ampezzo.Learn more ›
The self-guided Haute Route tour links Chamonix to Zermatt via a spectacular series of trails with high passes, quiet trails, and stunning views.Learn more ›