(Alta Via 1 North) Striding north from Rifugio Sennes
ALTA VIA 1 NORTH (SELF-GUIDED)   4 stages . 5 nights . Italian Dolomites   Booking

Alta Via 1 North
Self-guided trekking holiday

+ A week on trek to complete half of the AV1
+ Fun Alpine paths without any via ferrata
+ Expert advice and detailed routecards

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 one of several North-to-South trekking routes in the Dolomites. The whole AV1 is a trek of about 10 days, without via ferrata, and this trip covers the Northern half in one week.

Life on the AV1 falls into a relaxing pattern. The huts are welcoming and the food excellent. The terrain mixes easy stretches over which you can stride out among high peaks, with tighter paths on steep, loose and rocky ground.

The Dolomites are rounded lumps of mountains, rather than pointed, such that traverse paths often have steep drops to one side. Our routecards follow the main Alta Via Uno route as far as the Passo Falzarego area above Cortina, at which point we drop down into Cortina. We also describe all of the common variants, so that on most days you have some choices of path. Importantly, the difficulty of your AV1 trek depends heavily on the variants you choose. We explain the relative difficulties in your routecards. By choosing the easiest options throughout, the trek has only short sections of these loose, exposed paths; on the other hand, taking the harder variants makes for a trek with much harder terrain than the Tour du Mont Blanc.

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.

Where we stay
Your accommodation is based on the splendid huts along the AV1, plus our super hotels at start and end. The villages are bright and colourful; the huts are atmospheric and civilised. And the food...!


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


Alpine Exploratory
AVNsg Alta Via 1 North (Self-guided)
19 July to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
4 stages
(5 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Main AVN
Singles 60
5 stages
(6 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Singles 60
Specialised schedules
3 stages
(4 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Singles 60
Baggage transfer
All stops except huts
Please ask
Baggage transfer
Please ask


Here is our normal schedule of 4 stages:

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. There are several restaurants for dining out.
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. (We also describe the pleasant cross-country walk to Lago di Braies.)
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)

Departure day: Depart from Cortina
Enjoy an Italian breakfast in Cortina. The bus runs to Venice, or try our suggestions for travel via Treviso and onwards in Italy.

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 direct to Cortina. Please contact us for a price. Because the AV1 North stays high up, in huts, there can be no intermediate baggage drops. However, there is not too much to carry on the AV1 and we are glad to advise.

North or South?

Our North and South weeks on the AV1 are designed to be excellent treks in their own right, and to let the whole AV1 be completed over two separate trips to Italy. But how do the two halves differ?

Very generally, the Northern half is less challenging; it's the Southern half that holds the bigger sweeps of hillside and the more remote locations. The difference is marginal, however, and there is no reason to overlook any part of the AV1 on grounds of remoteness. Because we have configured our two halves to be split in Cortina, the Northern half also gives us more flexibility to add rest days or to space things out within one week. Our Southern week has a greater feeling of steady movement through the landscape.

Both halves are superb treks, both give the true flavour of the AV1.. and both can be done the following year!


We can adjust your AV1 North in various ways, as follows:

Faster treks
The AV1 can be broken up in several different ways, thanks to a fine spacing of huts along the route. Please ask us to suggest an itinerary of between 3 and 6 stages to Cortina, depending on how long you like to be out each day. The AV1 allows many combinations of huts.

Stick to the easiest terrain
The AV1 sits close to the Tour du Mont Blanc in its difficulty, as per our normal AV1 route, but some choices of route variants will give tougher terrain than the TMB. Experienced walkers might enjoy some of the variants to the route. Most of the variants are possible within the normal pattern, unaffected by the accommodation that we book for you.

Start from Cortina
The AV1 starts near Dobbiaco in the North, but a first night can be spent in Cortina instead. This gives an easier journey, and the ability to leave luggage at your hotel.

The AV1 is a trek among huts, passing few villages between the start and end. However, we can adjust the mix of hotels and huts from our normal schedule. While dormitories are difficult to avoid entirely, we can reduce their number. Please see the options described below.


Our Classic mix of accommodaiton is our most popular option and includes our lovely 3/4* hotels in Dobbiaco and Cortina. At the huts, our Classic mix of accommodation includes dormitory places as standard. At the 3 huts included on our 4 stage trip, we do 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 and Cortina. The different from our Classic trip is that our Comfy trip assumes private rooms at the 3 huts. Where we are not able to book private rooms, 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 3 huts and also uses our more basic 2*/3* hotels in Dobbiaco and Cortina.

The route

Our approach to the AV1 North
Our trip gives a complete journey on foot from Lago di Braies to Cortina. On the trek, no transport is taken except for (optionally) the bus from Dobbiaco to Lago di Braies and (again optionally) a final bus into Cortina. The AV1 North is a well-defined route that offers many variants, as described in your routecards. 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 Dolomites resort of Cortina. 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.

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

2h bus then 45m bus

AV1 North Start

AV1 North End

2h bus

Fly from
Venice (VCE)

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 North
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: AVNsg
Route: The Alta Via 1 (Walking guide)
(Prefer South, the full AV1 or Guided?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 4 days' trekking
Start: Lago di Braies after night in Dobiacco
End: Cortina in Italy
Typical walk: 11km, 650m ascent
Total distance: 37.5km or 23.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,752m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2019

4 stages, per person:

AVNsg Classic
GBP 680 (singles 60)
Alta Via 1 North (self-guided)

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

Cortina, destination of our AV1 North trek
Cortina (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

5 nights, staying in:
3/4-star hotels (2)
Mountain huts (3)

Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts and 3 evening meals
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards AVU1-4 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
19 July to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

The forests of the Dolomites
Dolomites forests (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

Contact us or use this form:

Rough month?         
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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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