(Alta Via 1) The Tofana and Cristallo massifs above Cortina
ALTA VIA 1 (SELF-GUIDED)   10 stages . 12 nights . Italian Dolomites   Booking

Alta Via 1
Self-guided trekking holiday

+ Colourful scenery and cosy mountain huts
+ Trekking on mountain paths, with no via ferrata
+ Expert advice on all the route variants

Latest news March 2019
Please ask us about a trip during our 2019 season. Thank you.

The Alta Via Uno is one of several North-to-South trekking routes in the Italian Dolomites, that famous region of the Alps characterised by bold, glowing limestone formations. The AV1 is a trek, without via ferrata, in 10 stages from Dobbiaco 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; 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).

Your accommodation is based on the splendid huts and auberges in the mountains, plus our super hotels at start, end and over your rest day. Enjoy the friendly welcomes and superb food of the Italian Alps.


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


Alpine Exploratory
AVUsg Alta Via 1 (Self-guided)
21 July to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
12 stages
1 rest day
(14 nights)
Singles 120
Singles 120
Please ask us
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
Singles 120
Singles 120
Our main AVU
Please ask us
8 stages
(9 nights)

Please ask us
Singles 60
Please ask us
Baggage transfer Please ask us

Itinerary and other key information


Here is our normal 10-stage itinerary with 1 rest day:

Arrival day: Arrive in Dobbiaco
Evening arrival in Dobbiaco. There is masses of scope for eating out.
Stay: Hotel in Dobbiaco

Stage 1: Lago di Braies to Rif Sennes
Red3 grade, 9km with 925m ascent and 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, or the walk across fields and through woods is a pleasant alternative. Take to the hills and climb towards Croda de Becco, an optional 2,810m peak that can be walked on the way to your hut.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 2: Rif Sennes to Rifugio Fanes
Red3 grade, (9.5km with 530m ascent and 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, which must be descended to and then ascended from.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 3: Rifugio Fanes to Rifugio Lagazuoi
Red3 grade, 11.5km with 1,215m ascent and 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 which can be bypassed by an enjoyable variant.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 4: Rifugio Lagazuoi to Cortina
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 120m ascent and 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 immense cliffs of the Tofana de Rozes. The last 6km can be skipped by bus into Cortina.
Stay: Hotel in Cortina
Meals: Breakfast

Rest day: Rest day in Cortina
Take a day to explore the shops, coffee shops and restaurants of Cortina
Stay: Hotel in Cortina
Meals: Breakfast

Stage 5: Cortina to Rifugio Nuvolau
Red2 grade, 15km with 1,200m ascent and 50m descent
Return to 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.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 6: Rifugio Nuvolau to Rif Citta� di Fiume
Red3 grade, 15.5km with 490m ascent and 1130m descent
Descend a steep and rocky path, which can be bypassed, to reach Passo Giau and the hills beyond. Wide open walking over meadows is a theme for the afternoon, interspersed with short climbs. At the end of the day the realm of Cortina has been well left behind, and the Zoldo area looms large. Monte Pelmo is unmistakeable today with its two summits.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 7: Rif Cita di Fiume to Rifugio Vazzoler
Red3 grade, 18km with 750m ascent and 950m descent
Passo Staulanza or Passo Palafavera are crossed today, being two road passes giving alternative routes. A long traverse around the back of spectacular Monte Civetta brings us to Rif Vazoller in its wooded setting.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 8: Rifugio Vazzoler to Passo Duran
Red2 grade, 10km with 580m ascent and 695m descent
Today calls for striding out; the distance passes quickly on generally good terrain, with short sections of more slow-going and steep walking. Severa combes are crossed on the Civetta massif, which the AV1 is still skirting in these stages. Reach the quiet road at Passo Duran.
Stay: Auberge
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 9: Passo Duran to Rifugio Pian de Fontana
Red3 grade, 15.5km with 995m ascent and 965m descent
Enter an area of bold mountains today, at times with a more remote feel than the hills before... however, the walking is similar as you cross the Cime di Zita, and there is a refuge half-way for lunch. A long and interesting descent brings you to a grassy shelf hidden from civilisation.
Stay: Rifugio
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Stage 10: Rifugio Fontana to La Stanga
Red2 grade, 12km with 250m ascent and 1450m descent
The trek is completed with a modest halfday�s stage to the road. To avoid the AV1�s via ferrata finish over the imposing Schiara massif, we take the straightforward path and track past Rif Bianchet, to reach the bus to Belluno. Belluno comes as a contrast to the calm of the trek, being a small yet lively town very much in an Italian style.
Stay: Hotel in Belluno
Meals: Breakfast

Departure day: Depart from Belluno
Enjoy your last breakfast in Belluno and look round the shops before departing.
Meals: Breakfast

This itinerary is typical of our standard 10 stage trek with 1 rest day staying in a mix of hotel and hut accommodation.

Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip starting. We will book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present you a schedule for you to check before we proceed.

Trekking towards Monte Pelmo

Where we stay

Our standard schedule of accommodation consists of 4 nights in a 3/4-star hotels, 1 night in an auberge, and 7 nights in mountain huts.

The huts are comfortable and welcoming. Hut accommodation is in dormitories, either on Alpine-style communal sleeping platforms or in bunk beds. We can sometimes book private rooms at some of the huts however these are subject to availability at the time of booking. In the hotels we book ensuite rooms. In the auberge we can book non-ensuite but still private rooms.

Your info pack contains full details of your accommodation including contact details and directions.

Rifugio Lavarella on the northern section of the AV1

Getting there

Your holiday starts in Dobbiaco, a short distance north of Cortina and ends in the town of Belluno. The most convenient airport is Venice Marco Polo with several transfer options available by coach or train and bus.

Fly to
Venice (VCE)

From Vennice airport we suggest the 2hr bus to Cortina and then catch a further 45m bus from Cortina to Dobbiaco

Alta Via 1 Start

Rest day

Alta Via 1 End

From Belluno we suggest the 2h train to Venice

Fly from
Venice VCE)

It is possible to leave a car at either your first or last night�s accommodation. If you would like to do this, please let us know.

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.


Our approach to the AV1
Our trip gives a complete journey on foot from Lago di Braies near Dobbiaco, to La Stanga near Belluno. The local bus is taken from Dobbiaco to Lago di Braies and from La Stanga to Belluno. On the trek itself, no transport is taken except for (optionally) the bus into Cortina for your rest day. 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.

Your own routes
While your routecards make up the walking for the trip, you are of course free to walk wherever you choose, taking side trips or going by a different route of your own choice. Please note that if you follow your own route you will have left the holiday for the duration.

Typical scenery on the Alta Via 1

Baggage transfer

Let us move your bags between stops. Please contact us for a price. It is important to be aware that due to the AV1 route staying high up in huts, our baggage service is only partial. We can arrange a transfer for your bags from Dobbiaco to Cortina, Passo Duran and Belluno. Unfortunately we cannot get your bags to you at the huts so on these nights your bag will ahead to the next hotel.


We can adjust your AV1 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 6 and 9 stages, depending on how far you like to trek each day. Equally, slower treks are very worthwhile, to linger amid this immense scenery. We also offer our 4 stage Alta Via 1 North and 6 stage Alta Via 1 South?)
trips which are great trips in their own right.

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.

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 a vibrant mountain base.

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 ask about these and other adjustments to your accommodation.

Happy Clients

"Magnificent especially from the Rifugios Nuvolau and Lagazuoi... Very welcoming and comfortable with good food. Fantastic thunderstorm thrown in with the marvellous views. A brilliant experience."

The Astle Family
(Alta Via 1)

Key information Summer 2019

Trip name: Alta Via 1
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: AVUsg
Route: AVU Alta Via 1
(See our background page on the AV1)
(Prefer Guided, North or South?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 10 days' trekking, 1 rest day
Start: Dobiacco in Italy
End: Belluno in Italy
Typical walk: 12km, 650m ascent
Total distance: 120km (75 miles)
Highest altitude: 2,752m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2019

10 stages and 1 rest day, per person:

AVUsg Hutty
GBP 1,110 (singles 120)
Alta Via 1 (self-guided)

AVUsg Classic
GBP 1,190 (singles 120)
Alta Via 1 (self-guided)

Research Summer 2019

Rob Gale at Alpine ExploratoryAlpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Alta Via 1 will be led by:
Rob Gale in July

Recces 2019

Rifugio Pian de Fontana on the AV1
Rifugio Fontana (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

12 nights, staying in:
3/4-star hotels (4)
Auberges (1)
Mountain huts (7)

Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts and 8 evening meals
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards AVU1-10 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
21 July to 15 September 2019
19 July to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

Signposts near Cinque Torri
National park sign (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

Holiday Notes Read our trip dossier,
    a 2-page PDF which is easy to print

Walking guides Our AVU background page

Contact us or use this form:

Rough month?         
Any questions about the AVU?

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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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