Today I want to introduce you 3 beautiful hiking rings of the Dolomites, in 3 different scenarios, all very fascinating and that will leave you more than satisfied.

None of these 3 hiking rings has special hiking difficulties, I certainly recommend it to those who have already hiking experience, otherwise they can be tackled by the less experienced thanks to the support of a Alpine Guide, which remains the safest of the solutions.

They are all very very classic hikes … I do not know your capability and your knowledge of dolomitic enviroment, so let you decide whether to make the hikes in 2 days or more. We say that for a trained hiker 2 day is enough, but since everyone has his way of walking, his time and his desires, you may of course decide to spend more days.

You can also ask me more details directly if you want.

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HIKE 1 – SEXTENER DOLOMITEN GROUP – LARGE RING OF “TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO”

SEXTENER DOLOMITEN from Auronzo hut to Zsigmondy Comici hut. A ring from the Three Peaks of Lavaredo to the heart of Sextener Dolomites.

view of the Sextener Dolomites from Tre Cime
view of the Sextener Dolomites from Tre Cime

The Three Peaks of Lavaredo (Tre Cime/Drei Zinnen) are the classic image of all postcards in the Dolomites. And it’s easy to understand why. Three rocky giants that touch the 3,000 meters with extraordinary overhanging walls.

This excursion starts from the Auronzo hut (mt 2.320) to which you will arrive by car on the paved road (tickets 25.00 EUR for cars, 18.00 EUR for motorbikes) from Lake Misurina. You can avoid toll payment by leaving your car before the toll booth (1,880 m), which is about 3km away from Lake Misurina, and walking to the path to the Auronzo hut. In this case add 1.5 to 2 hours of walking. For more details on this first part of the hike see here

From the Rifugio Auronzo an easy and flat track takes you shortly to the Rifugio Lavaredo, and from here to the Forcella Lavaredo (2,445 mt). Here the panorama on the Tre Cime is spectacular. From Forcella Lavaredo you can see the Rifugio Locatelli (mt 2,405), the next step of the tour, which is reachable in about 1 hour from the Forcella, without any particular ascent unless the last 15 minutes. From Rifugio Locatelli follow the indications for Rifugio Pian di Cengia (mt 2,528), that you will see after passing the Forcella Pian di Cengia, which requires some effort in the ascent. The small and lonely Rif. Pian of Cengia welcomes us and opens the way to the Zsigmondy-Comic Hut (mt 2,224), the final destination of the first part of the hike.

Open and beautiful views on the Sextener Dolomiten peaks, especially Monte Paterno and the Croda dei Toni, accompany us along the way.

RETURN

The return can be done the same way but surely it is worth closing the excursion with a ring returning to the Tre Cime through the path that leads between the Rif. Comici and Rif. Pian di Cengia, and passing through the beautiful lakes of Cengia and the lakes of Lavaredo. Then close the hike returning to Rif. Lavaredo and the Tre Cime from the south side.

WHERE TO STAY

in each hut it is possible to book a bed during the whole Summer, with a little advance. I recommend the Comici Hut for amplitude, service and location.

DAYS

2 or 3 days according to your abilities and desires. Want to know more about travel times, altitudes or other details? Write to me!

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When a hut is open? Huts are a traditional element of Alps, but in the Dolomites they are characterized in particular by the high number and the short distance (usually) between them. On Dolomites there are dozens of huts, and in most of them you can find restaurant and rooms. Many of them are recently restored and full of comforts 🙂 Some huts are private, and some are managed by CAI (Italian Alpine Club). The biggest an full-optional huts are often under 2,000-2,200 mt. altitude, while over 2,500 mt. altitude they are usually very simple and essential.

In any case, you will always find a recovery in emergency case (every hut do it by law). The short  distance between them allows children and untrained persons to hike on numerous paths, and also allows anyone to quite easily reach a hut in case of need.

Remember that if you want to pass a night in a hut (it is a beautiful experience) it is fundamental to reserve the bed some day before you go, expecially during July and August. And, first of all, check if the hut is open!

When do the huts open?

Usually the most of huts open from June to September, according with the high tourist season. In that period you are reasonably sure that each hut is open. Of course it is always a good idea to look for updated informations or to call the hut. Some hut can also be open for a larger period, for example from May to October. There are also huts that are open in winter, because they are on the paths of snowshoeing.

Would you like to have a quick overview of the open huts? There is a great website, in my opinion, called RifugiAperti http://www.rifugiaperti.it/. The website is in Italian, but it is so easy and graphic that you do not need to know the language.

It is a Google Map based website, so you can move on the map and simply check which hut is open and which not at the moment you are connected. Informations are not 100% guaranted but the times I used it was right.

open hut

Huts and Bivouacs

It is very important to consider the difference between huts and bivouacs. The bivouac is a free recovery, usually built with metal and situated under the peaks over 2,500 mt altitude. The bivouacs are always open and they have no service but some camp bed (usually 9 or 12 camp beds). They are used as emergency recovery in case of bad weather and also as a good starting point for an early morning hike or climb to a peak. There is no possibility to reserve them, so “those who first come first served”. They not always have a water source nearby.

A typical bivouac on Dolomites

 

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Is Venice too far from Dolomites to make viable a day trip to these wonderful mountains?

Maybe you are one of the 20 Millions tourists that every year pass by Venice and Veneto Region, and because you love mountains, you would like to have a day trip to Dolomites. Of course, yes, you can.

The point is: how? and where to go? and how much does it cost?

First of all it depends from WHO are you and what do you want:

  1. I am just a traveller who want to see this beautiful mountains and their landscapes

  2. I am a hiker and I would like to taste the Dolomites with a 1 Day trek

1) TRAVELLERS
If your goal is to visit the Dolomites area without having any kind of trek, you really have many possibilities and kind lanscapes and small towns to choose. Venice is close to some of the main Dolomites towns, such as Alleghe, Caprile, Auronzo di Cadore (Misurina Lake), Cortina d’Ampezzo, Sappada.
The distance between Venice and these towns is no more than 150-170 km.

HOW TO TRAVEL
Train: is the worst idea you can have. Sustainable mobility is still not a reality in Italy, and often rail connections with small towns are not fast, often are delayed or require changes of train. The Venice-Belluno railway line is one of them. The arrival in Belluno requires at least 2 ½ hours, usually with at least one change of train, and once you are in Belluno you will need to take a bus that in about 1 hour takes you to Alleghe. To go to Cortina, Auronzo or Sappada, from Belluno you have to continue by train to the station of Calalzo-Pieve di Cadore (1 hour more train ride) and from there you need to take a bus that in 1 hour takes you in one of these locations.
So either you get up at dawn or it is better to choose another kind of transport. But if you love trains, here is the link to the timetables of the Venice railway station and bus from the Calalzo train station.
Train Ticket from Venezia to Calalzo: 10-12 Euros (1 way)
Bus Ticket from Calalzo to Cortina (or other destinations): 4-5 Euros (1 way)

Bus: travel by bus from Venice is not such a bad idea, but only if you want to go to Cortina d’Ampezzo. The Queen of the Dolomites has a direct bus line from Venice via the public company ATVO and private CortinaExpress, which in just 2’30 hours take you to Cortina. The first bus departs from Venice at 7:50 AM, which is a good time to enjoy a day at Cortina.
For the other Dolomites towns there are also bus lines, but with slower travel easily exceeding 4 hours. Here the link to the ATVO companion and CortinaExpress.
Bus Ticket from Calalzo to Cortina (or other destinations): 25-27 Euros (1 way)

Rent-a-Car: To rent-a-car could be a good and cheap solution. From Venice to Dolomites you have to consider 1’30-2’00 hrs depending from your destination. From Venice to Longarone (a small town few kilometres far from Belluno) the Highway A27 takes you easily in the hearth of the mountains, and then in less than 1 hour you will be at destination. Check everything when you rent the car, expecially where you have to pick up and to return the car. Venice is a no-car city, so only few rent-a-car companies are allowed to park in the city, and the most of them could tell you to pick up the car at Mestre or Venice Airport (15-30 minutes far).

Private Tour: some companies also offer you to rent a minibus with driver that will pick up and return you at Venice Piazzale Roma (very comfortable!), and they offer a lot of 1-day tours to Dolomites. For more infos about this solution please contact me email.

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Seasonality on the Dolomites is very important. Each season show us the mountains in a different way: woods, rocks, snow, flowers, all change from a month to another. So, how to choose when to take a holiday here?


Spring: is a great period. Hiking is again possible after the snow has melted, but the peaks are still white and snow is plentiful on them. So the panorama is similar to a little “Canada”: bright colours in the valleys, many flowers, a freshness all around you. Temperature is still fresh (easily under 15°C).

Spring top elements: no tourists, good weather, great panorama, good prices in Hotels and apartments.
Spring bad elements: huts are still closed, cold temperature possible.
Be careful of: snow on the paths is still possible, expecially over 2.000 mt. altidude; bring warm clothing with you.


Summer: is the most common season to hike. This not necessary means that it is the best period. Of course summer brings big benefits to hikers: temperature is warm, huts are all open, there is no risks with snow or ice on the paths, so it is surely a good period. Unfortunately most of the people think the same, so Summer bring also a lot of people on the paths. Wheather is usually good, but air is full of humidity, so afternoon thunderstorm or rainy days are frequent.

Summer top elements: general good weather, warm temperature, huts open.
Summer bad elements: many tourists, high prices in Hotels and apartments.
Be careful of: many tourists means more risk in some difficult or exposed passages. If you want to sleep in a hut remember to reserve it some days before, or you probably will not find a free bed.


tofana-di-rozes

Autumn: is the season I love. No longer tourists on the paths, no longer a too warm climate. Again the possibility to hike admiring the snow over the highest peaks, and especially the fantastic colours of the wood. Orange, red, yellow, dark green are the colours of the Leaves during Autumn, so the period between the second half of September to the first half of November is something you should absolutely see on Dolomites.

Autumn top elements: general good weather, great colours, few tourism.
Autumn bad elements: huts are closed, cold temperature possible.
Be careful of: snow on the paths is possible, expecially over 2.000 mt. altidude; bring warm clothing with you.


Winter: is usually an off limits season for hiking. The snow falls abundantly expecially in January and February, so it is not possibile to hike without snowshoeing. But snowshoeing means also having a good knowledge of risks of snow, avalanches, and having the correct saving devices with you. This arguments is out from this blog. So, simply, in this season you have to go down under 1.000 mt. altidude to find some good path without snow.

 

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If you are a passionate hiker, you surely heard to speak about Dolomites before. This fantastic mountain group grew up from the bottom of the sea million years ago. With the particular rocky colours and fascinating shapes Dolomites are a sort of paradise for every hiker, trekker and climber since the XIX century.dolomites-area

Dolomites are located in the North East of Italy, in the Eastern side of the Alps. The main part of them are included into Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige regions, not so far from the important International Airport of Venice, or from the smaller but well-served airport of Treviso.

There are fundamentally 2 main ways to go into the heart of Dolomites Region: one from the Brenner Highway that connect Verona with Innsbruck and Munich, or from Venice (Highway A27) that connect this beautiful city with the town of Belluno, the real gateway to the mountains of this area.

The distances are not so heavy. From Venice Airport “Marco Polo” to Cortina d’Ampezzo (the “Queen of Dolomites” and one of the must-to-see of the area) is only 150 km by car (2 hrs on a easy road). From Treviso Airport is about the same.

This road, called “Alemagna”, drive you in the eastern side of Dolomites, full of beauty. Is the kingdom of some famous peak, such as Tofane group, Tre Cime di Lavaredo (German “Drei Zinnen”), Dolomiti di Sesto (German “Sextener Dolomites”) with their beautiful Natural Parks.

On the other side, with a little longer trip (180-200 km by car) from Verona Airport you will easily reach 2 of the most beautiful dolomitic valley: the Ladins valleys Val di Fassa and Val Gardena.

Where do you think to go?

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