(Alta Via 1) Trekking towards Monte Pelmo
ALTA VIA 1 (GUIDED)   10 stages . 12 nights . Italian Dolomites   Booking

Alta Via 1
Guided trekking holiday

+ Expert leading on a superb all-round Alpine trek
+ Trekking on mountain paths, with no via ferrata
+ Warm huts, friendly greetings and superb food

Latest news November 2019
Our 2020 dates and prices are up! Availability is great at this early point. Please ask us about a trip - thank you.

The Alta Via Uno is a trek, without via ferrata, from Dobbiaco to Belluno in the Dolomite mountains North of Venice. One of the classic trekking routes across the Dolomites, it offers colourful mountain scenery and a manageable challenge.

The Dolomites are rounded lumps of mountains, rather than pointed, such that traverse paths often have steep drops to one side. The AV1's terrain mixes easy stretches over which you can stride out among high peaks, with tighter paths on steep, loose, rocky ground. Standard Alpine paths are the norm, plus some unavoidable exposed sections and some wild settings. We follow the main Alta Via Uno route, taking variants as the group decides each day.

Trek in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs). We miss out the difficult via ferrata on the Schiara, the mountain at the end of the trek above Belluno. We take the variant to La Stanga, for the local bus to Belluno, thus keeping the whole trek to normal mountain paths and tracks instead of any via ferrata.

Your accommodation is based on the splendid huts and auberges in the mountains, plus our super hotels at the start and the end, plus over your rest day. Enjoy the friendly welcomes and superb food of the Italian Alps.


Map showing the route of Alpine Exploratory's Alta Via 1 guided walking holiday


Alpine Exploratory
AVUg Alta Via 1 (Guided)
19 July to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Scheduled guided trips
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
Private trips only
Singles 120
Main AVU
Private trips only
Private guided trips
8 stages
(9 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Singles 60
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
Singles 80
Singles 120
Singles 120
12 stages
1 rest day
(14 nights)
Singles 80
Singles 120
Singles 120
Baggage transfer
All stops except huts
Baggage transfer


Here is our normal schedule of 10 stages and 1 rest day:

Arrival day: Arrive in Dobbiaco
Your trips starts on arrival in Dobbiaco. This decorative town is in the Sud Tirol style and is on the branch railway line from the Brenner pass. The group dines out in the town.
Hotel in Dobbiaco

Stage 1: Lago di Braies to Rifugio Sennes
Red3 grade, 9km with 925m ascent, 270m descent
The mountains start immediately above Lago di Braies, a famed lake hemmed in by hillsides. The local bus takes you there from Dobbiaco. Take to the hillside, steep and loose in places, and climb towards Croda de Becco, an optional 2,810m peak that can be walked on the way to your hut.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 2: Rif Sennes to Rifugio Fanes
Red3 grade, 9.5km with 530m ascent, 580m descent
Cross-country is the theme for the next two stages as you cross large areas of upland meadow and rock. Today's stage is divided into two at Rif Pederu, a road head, which must be descended to and then ascended from.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 3: Rifugio Fanes to Rifugio Lagazuoi
Red3 grade, 11.5km with 1,215m ascent, 565m descent
Today's goal is the well-positioned refuge on the former front line between Italian and Austrian forces in WW1. Mostly on good paths and tracks which allow striding out, there is one steep descent of the Forcella di Lech which can be bypassed by an enjoyable variant. The last part of the day is a steady climb up to Rifugio Lagazuoi on its hilltop.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 4: Rifugio Lagazuoi to Cortina
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 120m ascent, 1,660m descent
Today there is the option to explore the Galleria Lagazuoi, a restored First World War tunnel. The main walk takes you to Rifugio Dibona under the shadow of the immense cliffs of the Tofana de Rozes. The last 6km into Cortina can be skipped by bus. (A direct option drops to Passo Falzarego, also with cable car option, from where we can take the bus to Cortina.)
Hotel in Cortina (Breakfast)

Rest day: Rest day in Cortina
Take a day to explore the shops, coffee shops and restaurants of Cortina. This busy Alpine hub is - like Chamonix in France - both a resort and a local town.
Hotel in Cortina (Breakfast)

Stage 5: Cortina to Rifugio Nuvolau
Red2 grade, 15km with 1,200m ascent, 50m descent
Return to the hillsides above Cortina, with an optional bus to miss the first 6km and approximately 450m of ascent. Walk near the splendid Cinque Torri (five towers) and onto the bold ridge that holds the Nuvolau hut. This small and simple hut is one the most atmospheric on the AV1.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 6: Rifugio Nuvolau to Rif Citta' di Fiume
Red3 grade, 15.5km with 490m ascent, 1130m descent
Retrace your steps on the ridge and skirt underneath it to reach Passo Giau, second of the road passes above Cortina. The hills beyond allow wide open walking over meadows, interspersed with short climbs. At the end of the day the realm of Cortina is far behind and the Zoldo area looms large. Monte Pelmo is unmistakeable in view with its two summits.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 7: Rif Cita di Fiume to Rifugio Vazzoler
Red3 grade, 18km with 750m ascent, 950m descent
Passo Staulanza is crossed early today, being a wooded road pass. After Rifugio Coldai we pick up a long traverse around the back of Monte Civetta. Rolling downhill at the end of the day we come to Rifugio Vazoller in its wooded setting.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 8: Rifugio Vazzoler to Passo Duran
Red2 grade, 10km with 580m ascent, 695m descent
Today's distance passes quickly on generally good terrain, with short sections of more slow-going and steep walking. Several combes are crossed as we round the Southern end of the Civetta massif. Reach the quiet road at Passo Duran.
Auberge (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 9: Passo Duran to Rifugio Pian de Fontana
Red3 grade, 15.5km with 995m ascent, 965m descent
Enter an area of bold mountains today, at times with a more remote feel than the hills before. The crossing of the Cime di Zita involves a narrow ridge at the high end of Red grade. On the way up we can stop at Rifugio Sommariva for lunch. In descent a long, steep and interesting hillside brings you to a grassy shelf hidden from civilisation. Here sits the Pian de Fontana refuge, another basic one and quite charming.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 10: Rifugio Fontana to La Stanga
Red2 grade, 12km with 250m ascent, 1450m descent
The trek is completed with a modest half-day stage to the road. To avoid the AV1's via ferrata finish over the Schiara massif we take the straightforward path to Rif Bianchet, then the wide track to La Stanga. We catch the local bus to Belluno. The city comes as a contrast to the calm of the trek, being a lively place very much in an Italian style.
Hotel in Belluno (Breakfast)

Departure day: Depart from Belluno
Enjoy your last breakfast in Belluno and look round the shops before departing. The train to Venice makes it easy to keep exploring and we can advise. Congratulations on the AV1!

Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.

Baggage transfer

Let us move your bags between stops. Because the AV1 stays high up, in huts, our baggage service is only partial. On the hut nights your bag goes ahead to the next hotel. We also offer a direct baggage service from Dobbiaco to Belluno: please ask us.

Options (for private trips)

If you join us as a private group instead of joining our scheduled treks, then we can adjust your AV1 in various ways.

+ Walk from Dobbiaco to add a pastoral prelude to the hills
+ Shorten the trek to perhaps 8 stages, or add more rest days
+ Take easier variants to give less loose terrain
+ Make it basic or up the comfort with our best hotels and options for private rooms on some nights

Of course, on a private trip you can come on the dates that suit you. Except for the composition of the group and the dates, everything else is the same as on our scheduled AV1s.

Dolomites Alta Via 1 (Self-guided) - look here for all the options

Accommodation (for private trips)

Our Classic mix of accommodaiton is our most popular option and includes our lovely 3/4* hotels in Dobbiaco, Cortina and Belluno. At the huts, our Classic mix of accommodation includes dormitory places as standard. Whilst at 3 of the huts, dormitory places are the only option, at the other 5 we have the chance to book private rooms. If you would prefer private rooms (available for groups of 2+), please do let us know. For each night was are successfull in securing private rooms, we ask for an additional GBP 10 per person.

Our Comfy mix of accommodation uses our lovely 3/4* hotels in Dobbiaco, Cortina and Belluno. The different from our Classic trip is that our Comfy trip assumes private rooms at the 5 huts where private rooms are available. We would also swap 2 of the more basic huts for comfier alternatives giving a possibility for private rooms on 6 out of 8 hut nights. Where we are not able to book private rooms (at the huts where private rooms are available), we would of reduce your trip cost by GBP 10 per person per night.

Our Hutty mix of accommodation assumes dormitory only places at the 8 huts and also uses our more basic 2*/3* hotels in Dobbiaco, Cortina and Belluno.

Why Alpine Exploratory for your guided AV1?

We trek the ideal route
Our groups always aim to trek continuously. Nothing is worth cutting out! Occasionally a cable car or bus can be helpful, but the most satisfaction comes from walking from start to finish. Our route is the main AV1 with scenic options that your leader can offer.

Expert knowledge of the route
The same careful research that goes into our self-guided AV1s informs our guided treks too. We place particular emphasis on interpretation of the path's difficulties. Our leaders understand how different trekkers approach different challenges, and how much the group will enjoy each route option.

Flexible, personal planning
As per our general ethos, even on our scheduled guided trips we like to be flexible. Single rooms are no problem on the valley nights. If you'd like extra nights in Dobbiaco or Belluno, or indeed tips on Venice, please just ask us.

Small groups expertly led
Alpine Exploratory follows best practice in the mountains. Our leaders are all International Mountain Leaders and we keep to a maximum group size of 8 clients. The aim is a small, tightly knit group with an engaging leader, completing the AV1 with safety, proficiency and fun.

About us - more about what makes us tick

The route

Our approach to the AV1
Our trip gives a complete journey on foot from Lago di Braies near Dobbiaco, to La Stanga near Belluno. The local bus is taken from Dobbiaco to Lago di Braies and from La Stanga to Belluno. On the trek itself, no transport is taken except for (optionally) the bus into Cortina for your rest day. The AV1 is a well-defined route that offers many variants from which the group can choose. Where the route splits, generally our normal route below takes the easier option.

The AV1's terrain comprises wide tracks through forests, the odd country lane, zig-zagging hillside paths and steep, rocky mountain paths. In some places on optional variant paths the paths are particularly steep and loose, for example on the final approaches to cols and in loose descents. However, the AV1 has no via ferrata or climbing sections and is a trek throughout.

How to get there

Your holiday starts in the Sud Tirol village of Dobbiaco and ends in the large town of Belluno. The most convenient airport is Venice with several transfer options available by coach or by train plus bus. For the start, Innsbruck and even Munich airports work well thanks to the train over the Brenner pass, and for the end Treviso is a good option.

Fly to
Venice (VCE)
Or fly to Innsbruck (INN) or Munich (MUC)

2h bus then 45m bus

Alta Via 1 Start

Rest day

Alta Via 1 End

2h train

Fly from
Venice (VCE)
Or fly from Treviso (TSF)

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.

Key information Summer 2020

Trip name: Alta Via 1
Guided or self-guided? Guided
Trip code: AVUg
Route: The Alta Via 1 (Walking guide)
(Prefer Self-guided, North or South?)
Group size: 4 to 8 people
Length: 10 days' trekking, 1 rest day
Start: Lago di Braies after night in Dobiacco
End: La Stanga for night in Belluno
Typical walk: 12km, 650m ascent
Total distance: 120km or 75 miles
Highest altitude: 2,752m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Dates Summer 2020

Scheduled trips 2020
Please join one of our guided trips:

AVUg3 1 to 13 August 2020
Guided by Rob Gale
Book (Spaces, Guaranteed)
IMLs at Alpine Exploratory

AVUg5 30 August to 11 Sept 2020
Guided by Jonty Mills
Book (Spaces, Guaranteed)
IMLs at Alpine Exploratory

Private trips 2020
Please join us any time in our season from
19 July to 18 September 2020

Research Summer 2020

Rob Gale at Alpine ExploratoryAlpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Alta Via 1 was led by:
Rob Gale in July

Recces 2020

Rifugio B Carestiato on the AV1
Rifugio Carestiato (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

12 nights, staying in:
3/4-star hotels (3)
Mountain huts (8)

Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts and 8 evening meals
Guided trekking with your IML

The UIMLA logo An IML leads your trek

The IML is the award needed to lead treks in the Italian Dolomites

The IML award

Crossing the Ru Formin on the AV1 above Cortina
Above Cortina (Photo gallery)

The AV1 in the Alps

Map of the AV1 within the Alps

Our city information included in your info pack:
Venice, Innsbruck, Munich

City breaks after trekking

Find out more

About our walking holidays Our FAQs page covering equipment, weather, insurance and more about how our trips work

Walking guides Our AVU background page

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Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.
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