The Dolomites are a fabulous region filled with limestone towers, quaint villages, and awesome hiking trails. It’s also a region rich in cultural diversity, where Italian, Austrian, and ancient Ladin cultures intermingle among the small, scattered villages. The eastern half of our Great Dolomites Traverse is a bit more rugged than the western half, and is filled with great variety and memorable views.
Your tour 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 transferred by private taxi to Ortisei, a charming village with narrow cobblestoned streets lined with elegant shops, with miles of hiking trails radiating in every direction. From Ortisei, you’ll hike eastward, past the mighty Sella mountain, through the Alta Badia region and finally to the soaring rock towers that surround Cortina d’Ampezzo. You’ll have 1 night in a high hut (no singles, and private rooms extremely limited) and 5 nights in comfortable and casual 3-star hotels with great food. Our deluxe tour includes some truly fabulous 4 and 5-star hotels with amazing meals and luxurious spas.
Your typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at your 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 daypack for the 1 night in the mountain hut, and your luggage will be transported for you from between villages.
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. We typically leave dinner in Cortina free, giving you a night to explore on your own.
The Dolomites is truly a special region. With beautiful inns and hikes, this Dolomites tour will make an unforgettable vacation. If you are interested in hiking the full 10-night tour, please see our Self-guided Great Dolomites Traverse page. If you’re interested in just the 1st half of this tour, see our page on the Self-guided Great Dolomites Traverse, West, for days 1-7 of the full tour, a circuit of the Gardena valley.
Ortisei – 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 additional nights in Bolzano to give you time to explore this small, vibrant city before heading to the mountains.
From here, you’ll take private taxi transfer to Ortisei, with time to wander the village and enjoy the crisp air and dramatic views from town. In the evening, you can unwind and enjoy the excellent cuisine at our tasteful hotel.
Ortisei – One of the charms of Ortisei are the many different trail options surround the village. On your 2nd day, you might take a dayhike through high scenic meadows to the Brogles hut, where you can get a great view of the Alpe di Siusi and gaze upon the jagged needles of the Puez-Odle peaks.
Or for a more adventurous outing, meet up with a local guide for a via ferrata climb (guide and gear not included) on one of the local routes. Via ferrata climbs are famous throughout the Dolomites, and there are many options to choose among, from easy beginner hikes to steep, challenging routes. The local guide office can help you decide on an appropriate route, rent gear, and provide a guide. If you’d prefer to relax in town, Ortisei has a nice, pedestrian-only town center and a great pool and spa.
Corvara – After a quick morning transfer to nearby Selva, a dramatic hike through the U-shaped Vallunga valley leads you to a high, rocky landscape and the Puez hut, and then across to the Gardena pass, where the massive Sella mountain dominates.
From here, a scenic descent or a short bus transfer brings you to Corvara in the traditional Alta Badia region. Stay comfortable and friendly hotel in this pleasant village.
San Cassiano – This is an easy day over the meadows of Pralongia, the hills that separate Corvara and San Cassiano. For a longer day you, can take an optional out-and-back excursion to the Setsas peak for gorgeous views all around. We’ll hike down to the lovely small village of San Cassiano, framed by a gorgeous backdrop of mountains.
Lagazuoi hut – Today’s dramatic walk takes you high above the valley to the rifugio Lagazuoi, a popular hut perched at the summit of a mountain with incredible views and rich history. (We always book private rooms if possible, and space in dormitory otherwise. Early booking gives you a better chance to have private rooms all nights.)
This was the scene of fierce fighting in WWI, and many tunnels and artifacts remain to this day. Despite it’s 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. Your hike leads you across high mountain landscapes with views to famous Cinque Torri region.
You’ll traverse beneath the Tofane di Rozes mountain, bringing you to a mountain inn where we arrange a taxi to meet you for a short transfer to Cortina. Finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the lively town at the heart of the eastern Dolomites for a final, celebratory evening. Dinner is on your own tonight in Cortina.
depart – Today you say arrivederci, and depart for your post-tour destinations. Transportation by bus from Cortina to Venice is included in your tour, or a taxi can be booked for custom travel to other destinations.