Alta Via 1 South
6 stages . 7 nights . Italian Dolomites
The Tofana and Cristallo massif
Alta Via 1 South
AVU South
6 stages . 7 nights

Alta Via 1 South
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information

Start: Cortina in Italy
End: La Pissa for night in Belluno
Season dates: 15 July to 15 Sept 2024 and 14 July to 18 September 2025
Length: 6 days' walking
Typical walk: 13.5km, 640m ascent
Total distance: 85.5km or 53.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,575m
Grade: Purple 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 1,190 per person

With majestic views of the dramatic limestone peaks and cosy welcoming huts at the end of each day, the Alta Via 1 South is a classic of alpine hiking. This route takes you through the heart of the Italian Dolomites and to some of the most remote and awe-inspiring locations in Europe. If you’re looking for a week-long alpine hike, this trip is one of the best!

Our Alta Via 1 South holiday comprises of the southern 6 stages of the full 9-stage Alta Via 1 trail. Beginning in Cortina, a charming Italian mountain town, the route takes to the high mountains for 6 exciting days hiking through remote and wild terrain. You will start the hike with a circuit of the splendid Cinque Torri, before traversing under the dramatic Monte Pelmo and around the back of the Civetta massif, with ever changing views of these famous massifs. The trip ends in La Stagna before a short bus ride to the bustling town of Belluno. This Southern section of the Alta Via 1 holds bigger sweeps of hillside and more remote locations compared to the Northern part of the trail, whilst still staying in characterful huts with delicious food!

Our self-guided holiday allows you complete the trek at your own pace. We offer a variety of schedule lengths and our detailed routecards describe the recognised Alta Via 1 route along with optional alternatives, allowing you to tailor the route to your individual needs.


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 the huts along the trail determines the schedule lengths we are able offer on the Alta Via 1 South. There are still a number of great options and we are happy to help you plan a trip that fits your walking style, whether you fancy a fast dash or prefer to savour the stunning scenery and mountain views. We describe a few options below.

Make the trip shorter
For those up for a challenge, the trip can be shortened to 5 stages by making each day a little longer. For example, for fitter hikers, it is possible to walk from Rifugio Vazzoler to La Stagna in 2 stages rather than 3, staying at Rifguio Sommariva al Pramperet. Please do ask us for more details if interested in exploring this option.

If you are interested in an even shorter schedule, why not consider our 4-stage Alta Via 1 North trip starting in Lago di Braies and finishing in Cortina.

Make the trip longer
If you fancy savouring the mountain views for longer, extended schedules are also very possible. For a 7-stage trip we split the long day from Citta’ di Fiume to Rifugio Vazzoler with a stay at Rifugio Coldai, giving two fairly even stages of 9km each. To make the trip even longer, add a night at Rifugio Sommariva al Pramperet, between Passo Duran and Rifugio Pian de Fontana. All options work well so please do ask us for more details if interested in making this trip a little longer.

If you are interested in an even longer schedule, why not consider hiking the full 9-stage Alta Via 1 from Lago di Braies to La Stagna.

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.
20025 Prices
Alta Via 1 South
14 July to 18 Sept 2025
Dormitory Classic Comfy
6 stages
(7 nights)
GBP 1,170
Singles 140
GBP 1,190
Singles 140
Main Trip
GBP 1,310
Singles 190
8 stages
(9 nights)

GBP 1,320
Singles 140
GBP 1,320
Singles 140
Please ask us
Baggage transfer
Please ask us


Where we stay
Our Classic mix of accommodation gives a fantastic taste of hut-to-hut hiking in the Italian Dolomites, and includes 5 nights in charming mountain huts plus 2 nights in 3 or 4* hotels in Cortina and Belluno. Our classic price is based on booking private rooms at 2 of the huts. We'll book these if there's availability however the private rooms fill up fast. If we aren't able to book the private rooms we'll reduce your price on a per night basis. If you'd prefer us to book dormitory places at all the huts, please do let us know.

On our Comfy trips we will upgrade your hotel in Belluno and we will swap 2 of the simpler huts to alternatives where private rooms are available. The price assumes private rooms on 4 of the 5 huts. If we aren't able to book private rooms at the huts we'll reduce your price accordintly. The final hut offers dormitory accommodation only. Please note at one of our Comfy hut options dinner isn't included in private rooms. Please note the comfy huts change the walking distances slightly. Please contact us for more details. We don't recommend the 8 stage trip using our Comfy huts as the walking days are very uneven.

Single Room Supplement
We have a single supplement which covers single occupancy rooms on the 2 hotel nights and at one of the Comfy huts.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. We can offer guided Alta Via 1 trips for single travelers.

Rifugio Citta di Fiume on the Alta Via 1
Rifugio Citta di Fiume
Steep ascent along a ridge from Passo Duran to Pian de Fontana
Steep ascent along a ridge on the stage from Passo Duran to Pian de Fontana
Our approach to the Alta Via 1 South
Our Alta Via 1 South trip gives a complete journey on foot from Pian de Menis, near Cortina, to La Pissa, near Belluno. The Alta Via 1 is a well-established route and our routecards follow the main trail with a few optional variants. Where the route splits, our route generally takes the easier option, with harder alternatives also described in your routecards. This means that on most days you can choose your route dependent on how you feel and the level of challenge you wish to take on.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Latest research on the Alta Via 1 by Alpine Exploratory's Diane.

The Terrain
The Dolomites are characterised by dramatic limestone pinnacles which rise up from lush valleys. As such, the trail is also excitingly varied, with rocky paths winding up and over the mountain passes in addition to wide well-trodden paths and tracks in the valley bottoms. In some places, chains and handrails aid progress, however these are not normally a problem for confident mountain walkers. There are also some sections, mainly on the optional variants, where the paths are particularly steep and loose, for example on the descent from some of the higher passes requiring a good sense of balance and steady foot placements.

Is it for me?
The Alta Via 1 South is quieter than its Northern counterpart, with wilder terrain and more basic huts. It’s the perfect trip for those who like to hike in relative peace. Although basic, the huts are welcoming, sociable, and provide excellent dinners. There are also plenty of other huts along the trail allowing for numerous coffee stops throughout the day!

The Alta Via 1 South would be manageable for fit mountain walkers who are happy to walk for up to 8 hours a day over rocky and sometimes exposed ground. If you are fit and active in your day-to-day life, then the Alta Via 1 South can also be suitable for those new to multi-day trekking in the Alps. The paths are generally well waymarked and we provide all of the maps needed, along with our detailed routecards and lots of notes. Although well waymarked, in poor weather, the ability to navigate using a map and compass is essential.

A level of self-sufficiency on the AV1 is necessary, as bags can only be transferred to Passo Duran and to Belluno at the end. On the other nights, you’ll need to carry with you everything you need for the hike; there’s not much to carry and it makes for a simple way of life. The huts on the route are well stocked with great food, so it isn’t necessary to carry food for the entire trip.

It’s important to remember that the Alta Via 1 is first and foremost a walk and that there are no glacier crossings, via ferrata or rock climbing. There are sections of steep and rocky ground which require steady foot placement, and an ability to cope with walking along some narrow and possibly exposed paths. One such section is the narrow ridge between Passo Duran and Pian de Fontana with drops on both sides (stage 5), as well as the steep ascent to Coll del Orso (stage 4). Please let us know if you'd like more information or photos of these sections.

We miss out the difficult via ferrata on the Schiara, the mountain at the end of the trek above Belluno instead opting for a variant to La Pissa, for the local bus to Belluno. We also miss out the Monte Pelmo circuit (this is a widely underestimated variant) due to its exceptional difficulty and exposure, more than that of the Walker's Haute Route.

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 resort town of Cortina and ends in the large valley town of Belluno. The most convenient airport is Venice with several transfer options available by coach or by train plus bus. For the end, Venice is a still good option.

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.

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

2h bus then 45m bus

Alta Via 1 South Start

Alta Via 1 South End

2h train

Fly from
Venice (VCE)
Or fly from Treviso (TSF)
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the huts (on 5 nights for our main trip)
  • Detailed Routecards AVU4-9 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 3 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

We offer a partial baggage transfer service on the Alta Via 1 South as an optional extra. We are able to transfer your bags from Cortina to Belluno via Passo Duran (one of the huts). For clients on our ‘comfy’ trip, we can also offer additional drops to Passo Giau and Passo Staulanza. Unfortunately, we are unable to drop your bags at any other huts due to their remote nature. On these nights your bag will travel on ahead to the next hotel and be waiting for you there. Please do contact us for more information on baggage transfer and for costs.
Got questions about the Alta Via 1 South?
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 South Self-guided

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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
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Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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View from Rifugio Citta di Fiume
  The view from Rifugio Citta di Fiume    Photos from the Alta Via 1

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