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Self-Guided Classic Dolomites Traverse

The otherworldly beauty of the Dolomites is on full display on this hut-to-hut hike from the Gardena Valley to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Self-Guided Classic Dolomites Traverse

The otherworldly beauty of the Dolomites is on full display on this hut-to-hut hike from the Gardena Valley to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

  • Self-Guided,
  • Inn-To-Inn,
    Activity Level
  • Moderate to Challenging,

Aah, the Dolomites. Europe’s secret gem, where tidy Tyrolean hospitality meets hectic Italian charm.

It’s perfect, really. You’ll find flower-filled meadows tucked against breathtaking pink and yellow cliffs. Charming, sunny villages with trails radiating in every direction. Sturdy, rugged hikes into the rocky heights where you stumble upon a serendipitous hut serving the best coffee you’ve ever had. A great hike to a welcoming inn, followed by a 5 course feast with local wine. Unwind, sleep, repeat.

The Dolomites are notable for having a crazy number of choices. There are so many great routes, with trails everywhere, and no real central massif. We’ve developed one of the best routes in the Dolomites, hiking from verdant Val Gardena to the cultural richness of Alta Badia to the rocky giants surrounding Cortina d’Ampezzo. We have a great mix of village hotels and scenic huts. Beautiful culture, striking mountains, off-the-beaten-path surprises, memorable cuisine. You could get used to this.

This tour is not available in late July or in August when 1-2 night stays at hotels are not possible.  Our self-guided Great Hikes of the Dolomites tour is a good option for mid-summer.

See our guided version

  • 11 days, 10 nights
  • Jun 5 – Jul 10, 2024
  • Sep 1 – Oct 12, 2024
  • $3690 Per Person
  • $1050 Single Room

Itinerary At a Glance

Day 1-2


You’ll start in Ortisei, a sunny village with a pedestrian-only core in the fantastic Val Gardena. Miles of hiking trails radiate in every direction. After a scenic day hike above town, you’ll then head to the Alpe di Siusi, the largest alpine meadow in the Alps.

Days 3-4

Schlernhaus to Plattkofel

You’ll do a 3 day hike across the Alpe di Siusi, first up to the historic mountaintop Schlernhaus hut. After a peaceful night among the stars, you’ll spend an unforgettable day traversing to Plattkofel, a beautiful, newly renovated lodge at the base of an impressive mountain.

Days 5-6


Rolling trails loop you around to Selva, the highest village in Gardena valley. Another great day hike to a high alpine hut caps your time in the Gardena valley, with gorgeous views all around.

Days 7-11

Alta Badia to Cortina

Now you move east to Alta Badia, a rugged region with a strong Ladin culture and seemingly endless views. Stay in the village of Corvara and a night high at the unforgettable Lagazuoi hut, perched atop a high, rocky peak. Explore WW1 tunnels. Then finish with a night in stylish Cortina d’Ampezzo. A private taxi takes you to Cortina after breakfast.


Your tour includes 7 nights in 3-4 star village hotels and 3 nights in huts and mountain lodges where private rooms are generally available. We include all breakfasts and 7 dinners. Luggage transfers between villages are included, as well as private taxis from Bolzano to Ortisei and Cortina to Venice. You will also receive topo maps, detailed route descriptions, gps routes and sightseeing suggestions. We are always available by phone if you have questions during your tour.

Full Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Ortisei

Arrive in Italy and transfer to the Dolomites. A private taxi transfer from Bolzano is included in your tour. Our driver will meet you on arrival and take you right to your hotel in Ortisei, a pleasant and very walkable town in the Gardena valley. If you would like a bit of luxury, 4-star upgrades are available in Ortisei.

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. Bolzano is a pleasant city with large squares, outdoor markets, and a captivating natural history museum (home of the famous Ötzi iceman).  Dinner will be on your own in Ortisei, and there are many good restaurants to choose from.

Arrival: Bolzano. We’ll arrange a private taxi to pick you up in Bolzano for the 50 minute trip to Ortisei.  We normally plan this trip for a 5 pm pickup in Bolzano, but this can be adjusted to suit your schedule.

3-star Cosmea or similar

Day 2

Ortisei, hike to Brogles hut

Ortisei is surrounded by pleasant hiking trails and is blessed with beautiful views from every corner. Take a dayhike through high scenic meadows to the Brogles hut, where the view lends a sneak peak to your route for the next few days gazing upon the jagged needles of the Puez-Odle peaks and the long back of the Schlern massif.

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.  Dinner is again on your own.

HIKE: 5-6 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 1180 ft up, 2360 ft down

3-star Cosmea or similar
  • Breakfast

Day 3

hike across Alpe di Siusi to Schlernhaus hut

You’ll have time for a slow start this morning before starting your day with a gondola ride high above town 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 send you to a favorite lunch spot where you can enjoy some of the best homemade local flavors in the Dolomites, including our favorite Kaiserschmarrn in South Tyrol.

After lunch, a short but steep ascent leads even higher, to the historic Schlernhaus hut, perched on top of the mountain. Built in 1885, this was one of the first mountain inns in the Dolomites. Although it’s been expanded and renovated many times since, Schlernhaus still exudes a rustic charm, with simple private rooms, and bathrooms down the hall. The spacious lodge-like dining room gives you a cozy place to relax and enjoy the accomplishment of arriving at such a beautiful place in the Alps.

HIKE: 5-7 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2670 ft up, 1220 ft down

Schlernhaus Hut
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 4

traverse to Plattkofel hut

Leaving Schlernhaus, you’ll make a relatively easy traverse of the high meadows. Views of the Catinaccio group lead you forward, and there are beautiful mountains in every direction. After a couple hours, you’ll pass by the handsome Tierser hut, a great place to stop for lunch.

From Tierser, a steep but brief decent to Pas de Duron followed by a couple more hours of moderate traverse brings you to Plattkofel Hut. Newly renovated, with private rooms and hot showers (and wifi and laundry service), Plattkofel is more a comfortable mountain inn than a hut – you’re going to love it. It’s a popular daytime stop with hikers, and takes on a quiet ambiance in the evening that allows you to relax and enjoy a beautiful evening high in the mountains.

HIKE: 5-7 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 1640 ft up, 2140 ft down

Plattkofel hut
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 5

hike around Sassulungo to Selva

Today you’ll traverse the dramatic Sassolungo and Sassopiatto mountain group. One option includes a steep and somewhat rugged ascent leading directly into the heart of the mountains, surrounded on all sides by jagged peaks. You might hike all the way to a high pass and the Toni Demetz hut, where a fun gondola can bring you down to the Sella pass. From here, a bus takes you to Selva.

Alternately, continue your circuit lower down through green meadows with constant views to the north and west over the Alpe di Suisi. The Ciampinoi lift will bring you directly to Selva, the highest village in the Gardena valley, a quiet base with a number of fine hotels and restaurants.  This is also a great place to ask about upgrades to a 4-star hotel.

HIKE: 5-7 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 2030 ft up, 2230 ft down

3-star Krone or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 6

Selva, a beautiful loop hike to Seceda in Puez-Odle park

A second day in Selva gives you a chance to further explore this beautiful region. A great hike from town leads directly up to the Seceda meadows, part of the Puez-Odle Nature park. Seceda has a number of wonderful trails. A favorite leads to the higher reaches of the meadows to Piera Longia, a picturesque mountain restaurant at the base of the peaks.

Your descent from Seceda can be eased by a lift down to the valley floor, or you can take an energetic detour to the Stevia hut, for their fantastic apple strudel and otherworldly views of the Sella mountain. Return to Selva for a 2nd night.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 3600 ft up, 3600 ft down

3-star Krone or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 7

hike to the Alta Badia region and Corvara

From Selva, a dramatic hike through the U-shaped Vallunga valley leads you to a high, rocky landscape and the Puez hut, over the Gardena pass, past the massive Sella mountain, and down to the quiet Alta Badia valley.

The Gardena pass is also accessible from Selva by bus or cable car, and you can have an easier day today walking the many pretty trails near the pass. From here, a scenic descent or a short bus transfer brings you to Corvara, another pleasant village.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3160 ft up, 3360 ft down

3-star Villa Eden or Tambra
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 8

Corvara, hike to Santa Croce

This is a more moderate day starting from the nearby town of Badia and leading up to the chapel and restaurant at Santa Croce (la Crusc), with gorgeous views all around. Hike through scenic meadows below a monumental mountain wall to Santa Croce, which can also be reached by chairlift (for a very easy day).  After lunch at the hut, head down wooded trails to the lovely small village of San Cassiano, framed by a gorgeous backdrop of mountains.

Return to Corvara for a 2nd night.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 9.5 miles; Elevation: 2580 ft up, 1930 ft down

3-star Villa Eden or Tambra
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 9

hike past WW1 tunnels to 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. The direct trail is an uphill route through a quiet valley, with optional detours for a longer day. You can also choose an easy day today by taking a bus to the Falzarego pass, and walking to even taking a cable car to the hut.

Lagazuoi was the scene of fierce fighting in WWI, and many tunnels and artifacts remain to this day. Lagazuoi has comfortable rooms, fairly spacious dorms and hot showers, and takes care to serve abundant and delicious meals.

Lagazuoi is a very popular hut and rooms fill fast… even dorm space is often unavailable. Booking early will allow for the best chance at securing accommodations here, but if Lagazuoi is full, we can add an extra night in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 10.5 miles; Elevation: 4110 ft up, 1590 ft down

rifugio Lagazuoi or Cortina hotel
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 10

hike to Cinque Torri region and finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Finally, you’ll finish your Dolomites Traverse with a hike to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Your hike leads you across the valley to famous Cinque Torri region. Starting from Lagazuoi, you might take a moment to explore some of the WWI tunnels just below the hut (if you haven’t already). Then a steep but straightfoward descent leads to the Falzarego pass. If you prefer, you can take the cable car from Lagazuoi to Falzarego instead.

The Cinque Torri hike is filled with WWI memorials and features some fine lunch stops at local huts. Hike up to the Averau hut for some of their famous cuisine (they are renowned throughout the region), then down to the Cinque Torri WWI open-air exhibits. We’ll arrange for your taxi to meet you at a mid-point enroute and take you to Cortina d’Ampezzo for a final, celebratory evening. Dinner is on your own tonight.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 1850 ft up, 3720 ft down

4-star Hotel Cortina
  • Breakfast

Day 11


Today you say arrivederci, and depart for your post-tour destinations.

Departure: Venice.  A private taxi to Venice, a 2 hr trip, is included in your tour, either to the airport or downtown.  We normally book a 9 am departure, but this can be adjusted to suit your schedule. We can book additional taxis or custom travel to other destinations, at extra cost, if needed.

  • Breakfast

Tour Options

Self-guided Classic Dolomites Traverse


  • Great options for both harder and easier days
  • A moderate inn-to-inn with 7 stops in 10 nights
  • Private rooms 9 nights and luggage 7 of the 10 nights
  • A beautiful mix of Tyrolean, Italian and local Ladin cultures
  • Historic mountaintop stops at Schlernhaus and Lagazuoi huts
  • Fabulous hotels and memorable cuisine – high on comfort
  • Fascinating WWI history
  • $3690Per Person
  • $1050Single Room

Self-guided Best of the Dolomites


  • Great inn-to-inn choice for shorter hikes
  • An easy to moderate inn-to-inn with 4 stops in 6 nights
  • Private rooms all nights and luggage 4 nights
  • A beautiful mix of Tyrolean, Italian and local Ladin cultures
  • Historic mountaintop hut at Schlernhaus
  • Friendly hotels and memorable cuisine – high on comfort
  • Great choice for early and late season, June and September
  • $2690Per Person
  • $850Single Room

Self-guided Deluxe Dolomites Traverse


  • Great options for easier hikes
  • A moderate inn-to-inn with 5 stops in 10 nights
  • 4 & 5-star hotels, private airport transfers, luggage each night
  • A beautiful mix of Tyrolean, Italian and local Ladin cultures
  • Our most luxurious inn-to-inn hiking tour
  • Easily customizable to include extra nights
  • $5690Per Person
  • $1650Single Room

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