(Alta Via 1 North) Tofana group from Cinque Torri
ALTA VIA 1 SOUTH (SELF-GUIDED)   6 stages . 7 nights . Italian Dolomites   Booking

Alta Via 1 South
Self-guided trekking holiday

+ Walk half of the classic AV1 trek in Italy
+ Good mountain paths with no via ferrata
+ Expert advice on all the route options

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 the North-to-South treks across the Italian Dolomites, taking roughly 10 days in its full length. Our AV1 South week spends 6 days on the Southern half of the trail, from Cortina to Belluno.

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, starting from the hillsides above 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. We also miss out the Monte Pelmo circuit, due to its exceptional difficulty and exposure, more than the Walker's Haute Route. (This is a widely underestimated variant).

Where we stay
Your accommodation is based on the splendid huts and auberges in the mountains, plus our super hotels at the start and finish. Enjoy the friendly welcomes of the Italian Alps, then explore Belluno for a buzzing contrast.


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


Alpine Exploratory
AVSsg Alta Via 1 South (Self-guided)
19 July to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
6 stages
(7 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Main AVS
Singles 60
8 stages
(9 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 6 stages:

Arrival day: Arrive in Cortina
Your trips starts on arrival in Cortina. The long pedestrian high street is perfect for strolling - and for shops and cafes. We dine out in town.
Hotel in Cortina

Stage 1: Cortina to Rifugio Nuvolau
Red2 grade, 15km with 1,200m ascent, 50m descent
Reach 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 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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.

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. Please ask us for a price. 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.

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 South in various ways, as follows:

Faster treks
The AV1 has finely spaced huts along the route, which lets us break up the stages in many different ways. To trek simply to the next hut is a quite viable way of completing the AV1; over the South section this would mean about 8 stages. Please ask us to suggest an itinerary, depending on how far you like to trek each day.

Meet tougher 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.

Add days in Cortina
By spending extra nights in Cortina, you can enjoy the local walking to ease your legs into the trip. There are also some sections of AV1 above Cortina that make good daywalks before you hit the trail for real.


Our Classic mix of accommodaiton is our most popular option and includes our lovely 3/4* hotels in 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 2 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 Cortina and Belluno. The different from our Classic trip is that our Comfy trip assumes private rooms at the 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 4 out of 5 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 5 huts and also uses our more basic 2*/3* hotels in Dobbiaco, Cortina and Belluno.

The route

Our approach to the AV1 South
Our trip gives a complete journey on foot from Cortina to La Stanga near Belluno. The local bus can be taken from Cortina to the AV1 which runs above town, and then another bus is taken from La Stanga to Belluno. On the trek itself, no transport is needed. The AV1 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 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, Treviso is a good option.

Fly to
Venice (VCE)

2h bus then 45m bus

AV1 South Start

AV1 South 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 South
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: AVSsg
Route: The Alta Via 1 (Walking guide)
(Prefer North, the full AV1 or Guided?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 6 days' trekking
Start: Cortina in Italy
End: La Stanga for night in Belluno
Typical walk: 13.5km, 640m ascent
Total distance: 85.5km or 53.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,575m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2020

6 stages, per person:

AVSsg Classic
GBP 790 (singles 60)
Alta Via 1 South (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

Forcella la Varetta, a clearing on the AV1
An AV1 clearing (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

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

Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts and 5 evening meals
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards AVU5-10 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 window of a mountain hut on the Alta Via Uno trail
A rifugio window (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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