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 and 14 July to 18 September 2025
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 1,160 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
We're no longer taking 2024 bookings on the Alta Via 1. For similar trips in 2024 we recommend:
Alta Via 2: North - a harder trek in the Dolomites
Julian Alps Hut to Hut - a 5 stage hike in Slovenia's Triglav National Park
Adlerweg Karwendel Mountains - 8 nights in the Austrian Tyrol
Tour of the Vanoise South - hut based trek in the French Alps
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.
2025 Prices
Alta Via 1 North
14 July to 18 Sept 2025
Dormitory Classic
3 stages
(4 nights)

GBP 1,015
Singles 190
GBP 1,055
Singles 190
4 stages
(5 nights)
GBP 1,100
Singles 190
GBP 1,160
Singles 190
Main Trip
5 stages
(6 nights)

GBP 1,175
Singles 190
GBP 1,235
Singles 190
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. We plan to book priavte rooms at the 3 huts if possible. Private rooms are limited, and if these aren't available we'll reduce your price on a per night basis.

Dormitories Places
If you'd prefer to stay in dormitory places in the huts please do let us know. These are usually places in shared rooms of up to around 12 people.

Single Room Supplement
For single occupancy rooms on the 2 hotel nights we add our single supplement.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. For solo walker's we can offer our guided Alta Via 1. This is for the full Alta Via 1.
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 Exploratory
Latest research on the Alta Via 1 by Alpine Exploratory's Diane.

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
  • Downloadable GPX Tracks covering the route
  • 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, Rob, Evie, Ben and Amy 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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