(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 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 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)
19 July to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
9 stages
(10 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Singles 60
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
Singles 80
Singles 120
Main AVU
Singles 120
Specialised schedules
8 stages
(9 nights)

Singles 40
Singles 60
Singles 60
12 stages
1 rest day
(14 nights)
Singles 80
Singles 120
Singles 120
Baggage transfer
All stops except huts
Please ask
Baggage transfer
Please ask

Itinerary and other key information


Here is our normal schedule of 10 stages and 1 rest day:

Arrival day: Arrive in Dobbiaco
Your trips starts on arrival in Dobbiaco. This decorative town is in the Sud Tirol style and is on the branch railway line from the Brenner pass. There are several restaurants for dining out.
Hotel in Dobbiaco

Stage 1: Lago di Braies to Rifugio Sennes
Red3 grade, 9km with 925m ascent, 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. Take to the hillside, steep and loose in places, and climb towards Croda de Becco, an optional 2,810m peak that can be walked on the way to your hut. (We also describe the pleasant cross-country walk to Lago di Braies.)
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 2: Rif Sennes to Rifugio Fanes
Red3 grade, 9.5km with 530m ascent, 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, a road head, which must be descended to and then ascended from.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 3: Rifugio Fanes to Rifugio Lagazuoi
Red3 grade, 11.5km with 1,215m ascent, 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 of the Forcella di L�ch which can be bypassed by an enjoyable variant. The last part of the day is a steady climb up to Rifugio Lagazuoi on its hilltop.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 4: Rifugio Lagazuoi to Cortina
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 120m ascent, 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 the immense cliffs of the Tofana de Rozes. The last 6km into Cortina can be skipped by bus. (A direct option drops to Passo Falzarego, also with cable car option, from where we can take the bus to Cortina.)
Hotel in Cortina (Breakfast)

Rest day: Rest day in Cortina
Take a day to explore the shops, coffee shops and restaurants of Cortina. This busy Alpine hub is - like Chamonix in France - both a resort and a local town.
Hotel in Cortina (Breakfast)

Stage 5: Cortina to Rifugio Nuvolau
Red2 grade, 15km with 1,200m ascent, 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. This small and simple hut is one the most atmospheric on the AV1.
Mountain hut (Breakfast and Dinner)

Stage 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: 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. Congratulations on the AV1!

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.

Trekking towards Monte Pelmo

How to get there

Your holiday starts in the Sud Tirol village of Dobbiaco and ends in the large town of Belluno. The most convenient airport is Venice with several transfer options available by coach or by train plus bus. For the start, Innsbruck and even Munich airports work well thanks to the train over the Brenner pass, and for the end Treviso is a good option.

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

2h bus then 45m bus

Alta Via 1 Start

Rest day

Alta Via 1 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.

Our route

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.

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 see the Accommodation tab for further details regarding the difference between our Classic, Comfy and Hutty trips.


Our Hutty trip stays in dormitories in the 8 huts and in our more basic 2 or 3* hotels in Dobbiaco, Cortina and Belluno.

Our Classic mix of accommodation is our most popular and includes our lovely 3 or 4* hotels in Dobbiaco, Cortina and Belluno. We book dormitory places at the 8 huts but, if you wish, we can ask for private rooms at 5 of the huts, for groups of 2 or more people. We'd ask to add GBP 10 per person for each private-room hut night. (Your trip has at least 3 dormitory nights and at least 2 quite basic huts.)

Our Comfy trips stay in the same great hotels as our Classic trip. The difference is in the huts; we swap 2 huts to nearby huts or auberges with private rooms, and we book private rooms as standard in 4 other huts. If we can't book private rooms on these 6 nights then we reduce your price by GBP 10 per person for each night. (Your trip has at least 2 dormitory nights and at least 1 quite basic hut.)

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 2020

Trip name: Alta Via 1
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: AVUsg
Route: The Alta Via 1 (Walking guide)
(Prefer Guided, North or South?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 10 days' trekking, 1 rest day
Start: Lago di Braies after night in Dobiacco
End: La Stanga for night in Belluno
Typical walk: 12km, 650m ascent
Total distance: 120km or 75 miles
Highest altitude: 2,752m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2020

10 stages and 1 rest day, per person:

AVUsg Classic
GBP 1,320 (singles 120)
Alta Via 1 (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

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

Alpine Exploratory's service

12 nights, staying in:
3/4-star hotels (4)
Mountain huts (8)

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
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

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:

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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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