Dolomites Traverse - Gardena to Cortina (Inn-to-inn combo hiking tour)
Meet: Bolzano (Italy)
Depart: Cortina d'Ampezzo
Length: 11 days
Hike Rating: Moderate - Strenuous, 5-7 hours/day, 1000'-3500' elevation gain/loss
See our Dolomites photo gallery
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 inn-to-inn tour starts with a circuit the Val Gardena, our favorite corner of the Dolomites, before venturing east through the Badia valley to the soaring rock towers that surround Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Our 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. We'll meet in Bolzano and then take a 1 hour drive to Canazei. Canazei is a small, attractive village in the heart of the Fassa valley, with miles of hiking trails radiating in every direction. We'll start our tour with a loop of the nearby Gardena valley, before heading east past the mighty Sella mountain and finally to Cortina d'Ampezzo. We'll have 4 nights in high huts and mountain inns (2 of which feature private rooms), and 6 nights in comfortable and casual 3-star hotels 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 our hikes, there are many route options, and a lot of flexibility most days, and we 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.
Day 1 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). From here, you'll take a bus to Canazei, a charming village with narrow cobblestoned streets lined with elegant shops. We'll enjoy a wonderful welcome dinner and settle in to our comfortable and friendly 3-star hotel for the night.
Dates don't work? Check out our village-based Dolomites Dayhikes tour or self-guided Dolomites Val Gardena Traverse, or ask about a private guide for your family or group.
For info on our hiking tours of the Dolomites and Italy,
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