Alta Via 1 North
4 stages . 5 nights . Italian Dolomites
Views from Rifugio Sennes
Alta Via 1 North
Alta Via 1 North
4 stages . 5 nights

Alta Via 1 North
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information

Start: Lago di Braies after night in Dobiacco
End: Cortina in Italy
Season dates: 15 July to 15 Sept 2024
Length: 4 days' walking
Typical walk: 11km, 650m ascent
Total distance: 37,5km or 23,5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,752m
Grade: Purple 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 1,050 per person

The Italian Dolomites are the perfect setting for a walking holiday, with majestic rock formations towering over narrow scenic valleys and forested paths leading up to jaw-dropping vistas. Our 4-stage Alta Via 1 North hike takes you along some of the best walking trails in the Dolomites. The pleasant walking, combined with comfortable huts and delicious food, makes for a splendid hut-to-hut hike in less than a week.

Our Alta Via 1 North trip comprises the first 4 stages of the full Alta Via 1 route, from Lago di Braies in the north (a short bus ride from Dobbiaco) to Cortina, a characterful Italian mountain town in the south. The route climbs sharply from Lago di Braies with its beautiful blue waters into the high Dolomites before taking to an enjoyable cross-country theme with breath-taking views and 3 comfy mountain huts. The penultimate night on the trail is spent at Rifugio Lagazoui, placed high above the Falzarego pass and offering 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains including Monte Tofane and Cinque Torri. This popular section of the AV1 is ideal for experiencing the wilds of the mountains without sacrificing the comfort.

As a self-guided hike, we provide you with our detailed routecards, maps and lots of notes on the route. In our routecards we describe the recognised Alta Via 1 trail along with optional variants, allowing you to select your route as you go!


Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Guided Alta Via 1 - walk the trail with one of our guides
Alta Via 1 South - 6 stages, 7 nights
Full Alta Via 1 - 9 stages, 10 nights
Trip Options
The spacing of huts on the Northern section of the Alta Via 1 determines the schedules we are able to offer, and we are delighted to work with you to create a schedule that suits your walking style so please do just let us know your preferences. We provide some ideas on how to vary your trip length below.

Make the trip shorter
Our normal 4-stage trip can be made shorter by merging the first 2 stages and walking from Lago di Braies to Rifugio Lavarella in a single long day. With a length of 18.5km and with 1,455m ascent, this an achievable option for strong hikers but hard to recommend to most.

Make the trip longer
A longer schedule is also very possible. We would achieve this by splitting the longer day from Rifugio Lavarella to Rifugio Lagazuoi into 2 shorter stages, including a stay in Rifugio Scotoni, known for its delicious food. By choosing this option, the direct route from Lavarella to Lagazuoi over the Forcella di Lech is no longer an option, and instead the alternative via Capanna Alpina must be taken. The Capanna Alpina alternative is longer altogether, though split over 2 stages, and it avoids the steep and loose descent from the Forcella di Lech.

It is also possible to make the trip longer by extending the fourth hiking stage to Rifugio Nuvolau, or a nearby alternative. We suggest a direct route from Rifugio Lagazuoi to Rifugio Nuvolau, taking in the stunning views of Monte Tofane. The trip would then finish with a fifth stage from Nuvolau down to Cortina, leaving time on the way to explore the famous Cinque Torri. We are also very happy to arrange additional nights in Cortina after your hike if you wish.

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and arrangements taken care of. If your group would like a guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details or view our scheduled guided trips.
Alta Via 1 North
15 July to 15 Sept 2024
Hutty Classic Comfy
3 stages
(4 nights)

GBP 835
Singles 150
GBP 975
Singles 190
GBP 1,070
Singles 210
4 stages
(5 nights)
GBP 910
Singles 150

GBP 1,050
Singles 190
Main Trip
GBP 1,190
Singles 210
5 stages
(6 nights)

GBP 985
Singles 150
GBP 1,125
Singles 190
GBP 1,265
Singles 210
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Where we stay
Our Classic mix of accommodation aims to give an enticing taste of hut-to-hut hiking in the Dolomites, and includes 3 nights in comfortable mountain huts plus two lovely hotels in Dobbiaco and Cortina. In Dobbiaco we would book a great 3* hotel, whilst in Cortina we aim for a comfortable 3 or 4* hotel, offering a touch of luxury to the end of your trip.

Avoiding Dormitories
We have the option to book private rooms at all 3 huts on this section of the trail and are more than happy to book these for you if available. Please let us know when you book if you’d like us to try for private rooms on these nights. If successful, we would ask for a small contribution of GBP 10 to GBP 20 per person per night, depending on the hut, for each night spent in a private room at a hut.

Our Comfy trips stay in the same great hotels as our Classic trip. The only difference from our Classic trip is that we’d try for private rooms in the huts as standard. If we are unable to book private rooms at any of the 3 hut nights, we’ll reduce your price by GBP 10 to GBP 20 per person per night, depending on the hut, for each night spent in a dormitory.

On our Hutty trips we’ll book dormitory places in same 3 huts as on our Classic trip. In the towns we use more simple 2 or 3* hotels. This gives a more economical way of trekking in the Italian Dolomites.

Single Room Supplement
If you would like to stay in single rooms rather than sharing a double, twin or triple room we add our single room supplement. This covers the additional cost of booking single occupancy rooms on a per person basis. The single supplement is only applied to the 2 hotel nights where single rooms are available and is not applied to nights spent in huts, which do not offer single rooms.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. If you are still interested in this trip, we do have availability on our guided trips.
Rifugio Sennes on the Alta Via 1
Rifugio Sennes
Steep descent of the Forcella di Lech
Steep descent of the Forcella di Lech on Stage 3
Our approach to the Alta Via 1 North
Our Alta Via 1 North trip gives a complete journey on foot from Lago di Braies near Dobbiaco, to Cortina. The AV1 is a well-defined route with a number of variants. As standard, our routecards follow the easiest route however we describe the different options in detail also, allowing you to choose your route as you go!

People at Alpine ExploratoryPeople at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's latest research on the Alta Via 1 was led by Diane and Dan.

Every year we recce the route and update our routecards to reflect the current trail conditions and any changes to the trail which have occurred over the winter. This ensures you have the most up to date information on the trail.

The Terrain
The Dolomites are some of the most beautiful and dramatic mountains in the world and form part of the Southern Limestone Alps. The terrain underfoot is similarly varied, mixing easy stretches on solid paths surrounded by towering limestone formations, with high, rocky mountain paths and wide forest tracks.

The descent from the Forcella di Lech on Stage 3 crosses particularly loose and steep terrain, and care should be taken. An alternative route exists to skip this section and we describe this in our routecards (via Capanna Alpina). On Stage 1, handrails are in place to help with the ascent to Forcella Sora Forno, and more handrails assist with the optional descent through the Gallaria Lagazuoi (the First World War tunnels which lead through the hillside below Rifugio Lagazuoi) on the final stage into Cortina.

Is it for me?
With the relatively short days and well-walked trails, the Alta Via 1 would be suited to those with a good level of fitness who are happy to walk for around 6-8 hours per day over rocky and at times loose terrain. The trail on the Northern section sticks to the more popular areas of the Dolomites, meaning you get a great sense of camaraderie as you walk and making it a fine option for a first multi-day Alpine hike.

Due to the remote nature of the huts, we cannot arrange bag transfer on this trip. Instead you’ll need to carry everything you need for the duration of the trek; it’s not much to carry and there are plenty of well-placed huts along the trail offering packed lunches.

As with all of our trips, although the trail is well-trodden, the way-markers can be hard to see in poor weather so it is essential that at least one person in your group can navigate using a map and compass.

The Alta Via 1 North is first and foremost a walk; there are no glaciers, via ferrata or climbing sections. There are, however, a few sections of steep and loose terrain such as the descent from Forcella di Lech and the Galleria Lagazuoi as described above, both of which can be avoided. We consider this Northern section of the trail to be easier than its Southern counterpart, with shorter days, relative proximity to civilisation and easier trails.

   Alta Via 1 Walking Guide - more about the route itself

   The making of our Alta Via 1 - our story
How to get there
Aeroplane wing over the Alps on route to Venice
Flying over the Alps on the way to Venice

Your holiday starts in the Sud Tirol village of Dobbiaco and ends in the larger mountain resort of Cortina. The most convenient airport is Venice, with several transfer options available by coach or by train and bus. For the start, Innsbruck and even Munich airports work well thanks to the train over the Brenner pass.

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 hikers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the huts (on 3 nights for our main trip)
  • Detailed Routecards AVU1-4 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 2 topographical maps needed
  • GPX tracks covering our main route
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (9am until 9pm in the Alps)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in the towns (this would be 2 nights on our main trip)
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Let us move any extra luggage you have from Dobbiaco to your hotel in Cortina whilst you walk. Due to the remoteness of the huts, unfortunately we are not able to deliver your bags to any of the huts. There is not much extra to carry but please do ask us for more details and for a quote to transfer your extra bags direct to Cortina.
Got questions about the Alta Via 1 North?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Dan and Rob will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.

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Alta Via 1 North Self-guided

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The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Mountain views in the Dolomites
  Spendid views on Stage 3 between Rifugio Fanes to Rifugio Lagazuoi    Photos from the Alta Via 1

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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