Alta Via 1
9 stages . 10 nights . Italian Dolomites
Tofane and Cinque Torri on the Alta Via 1 above Cortina
Alta Via 1
Alta Via 1
9 stages . 10 nights

Alta Via 1
Self-guided walking holiday


Key information

Start: Lago di Braies after night in Dobbiaco
End: La Pissa for night in Belluno
Season dates: 15 July to 15 Sept 2024 and 14 July to 18 September 2025
Length: 9 days' walking
Typical walk: 12km, 650m ascent
Total distance: 120km or 75 miles
Highest altitude: 2,752m
Grade: Purple 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 1,790 per person

The Alta Via 1 is a multi-day hike through the Italian Dolomites, North to South. It is purely a walk, without via ferrata sections, but with some wild situations and some demanding terrain. The Dolomites are a region of the Alps famed for towering limestone formations; luckily for trekkers there is also a network of charming mountain huts. Walking the Alta Via 1 takes you through the heart of this spectacular region, on a 9-stage hut-to-hut hike with a remote mountain feel.

The Alta Via 1 is notable for its classic mountain huts - 8 in all on our standard trip. Our huts are generally comfy, compared to other trails and regions of the Alps, and the Italian food is delicious. Three of the huts are more basic, but lovely and in perfect positions for the trail. Generally the huts mean dormitories, with private rooms possible at five huts. As well as these eight huts, we stay in hotels for two nights: in Cortina at the start, and Belluno at the end. Welcoming Italian hospitality characterises the route.

Our routecards follow the main Alta Via 1 trail from Lago di Braies in the North to La Stagna in the South, walking every step of the way. A rest day off-route in Cortina can be added in half way through stage 4, giving 2 half days either side to the point where the trail meets the road. Where the trail offers variants, our routecards describe them and talk about the difficulty relative to the main route. The Alta Via 1 is overall one of the finest trails in the Alps and comes highly recommended by the Alpine Exploratory team, since we explored the route over 2010 and 2011.



Map

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 - hut based trek in the French Alps
Trip Options
The spacing of huts determines the schedules available on the Alta Via 1, but there are some great options for longer or shorter itineraries alike. We love to work with hikers to plan a trip which best suits each group's walking style. This could be a more challenging dash, or staying at each available hut to savour the scenery and cuisine.

Make the trip shorter
Our normal 9-stage trip can be made shorter, completing the full route in 8 or even 7 stages. The trip is made shorter by hiking futher each day. For fitter hikers, it is possible to walk from Rifugio Vazzoler to La Pissa (the finish) in 2 stages rather than 3, by staying at Rifguio Sommariva al Pramperet. It is also a viable option to condense the first 2 stages of the trail into one by walking directly from Lago di Braies to Rifugio Lavarella. Thus we have our 7- or 8-stage treks.

Our 4-stage Alta Via 1 North (Lago di Braies to Cortina) and 6-stage Alta Via 1 South (Cortina to La Pissa) holidays are fantastic trips in their own right. As a rule, we like to suggest our normal stages but walking fewer of them to those with fewer days to spend, leaving the others for a later visit.

Add a rest day
We suggest a rest day in Cortina for those wanting a break part way through. In this case we'd book your first night in Dobbiaco. The rest day comes part way through stage 4 of our standard itinerary, giving 2 shorter days (to and from the bus stop at Pian dei Menis) either side of the rest day. Cortina is a great base for a day, being a busy Alpine hub - similar to Chamonix in France.

Make the trip longer
If you fancy enjoying the majesty of the Dolomites for a bit longer, it is possible to extend your trip by splitting the route into more stages. For a 10-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, you can add in a night at Rifugio Sommariva al Pramperet, between Passo Duran and Rifugio Pian de Fontana (11 stages or 12 with a rest day). Many options work well so please ask us for more details. We'll be delighted to provide suggestions and advice.

Hike with a leader
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
14 July to 18 Sept 2025
Dormitory Classic Comfy
Self-guided
9 stages
(10 nights)
GBP 1,710
Singles 130
GBP 1,790
Singles 130
Main Trip
GBP 1,910
Singles 180
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
GBP 2,050
Singles 330
GBP 2,130
Singles 330
GBP 2,080
Singles 380
Specialised schedules
8 stages
(9 nights)

GBP 1,635
Singles 130
GBP 1,715
Singles 130
GBP 1,815
Singles 180
12 stages
1 rest day
(14 nights)
GBP 2,200
Singles 330
GBP 2,280
Singles 330
please ask us
Options
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Accommodation
Where we stay
Our Classic mix of accommodation aims to give an enticing taste of life in the Italian Dolomites and is our most popular option. We include lovely 3 or 4* hotels in Dobbiaco and Belluno plus 8 nights in cosy and welcoming Italian mountain huts. The of the huts we use on our 'classic' trip only offer places in shared rooms or dormitories. At the other 5 huts we will try for private rooms and our price assumes private rooms on 5 nights. If the private rooms are full we'll reduce your price by between GBP 10 and 20 per person, depending on the hut.

Dormitory Accommodation
If you prefer to stay in shared rooms and dormitories please book our dormitory accommdoation option. We use the same 3 and 4* hotels in Dobbiaco and Belluno.

Comfy
On our Comfy trips we upgrade the hotel in Belluno and 2 of the huts. On our comfy trips there is a possibilty of private rooms in up to 7 of 8 huts. Our Comfy price assumes private rooms on these 7 nights, but please note this depends on availabilty. We will reduce your price by GBP 10 to GBP 20 per person for dormitory places in the huts, depending on the hut. Please note walking distances on our Comfy trip our slightly different. We don't recommend our Comfy mix of huts on the 12 stage trip as it leads to very uneven walking stages.

Single Room Supplement
Our single supplement covers single occupancy rooms in the hotels and at 1 of the huts on our comfy trip.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. For solo walkers we suggest our guided Alta Via 1.

Route
Fixed chains on the Galleria Lagazuoi
Fixed chains on the Galleria Lagazuoi varient on stage 4
Our approach to the Alta Via 1
Our classic Alta Via 1 trip gives a complete journey on foot from Lago di Braies near Dobbiaco, to La Pissa near Belluno without the need to use public transport.

The AV1 trail itself is a well-defined route with a number of variants. Where the route splits, our route generally takes the easier option, with harder alternatives also described in your routecards. This means that you can choose your route depending on 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 terrain on the Alta Via 1 provides an exciting mix of solid trails, over which you can stride out among the high peaks, combined with narrower zig-zagging hillside paths on steep, loose and sometimes exposed terrain. The Alta Via 1 is first and foremost a walk, with no via ferrata or climbing sections.

In some places the paths are particularly steep and loose, for example on the final approaches to mountain passes and in loose descents such as the descent from Forcella di Lech (stage 3) as well as the ascent to Col dell Orso (stage 7), and ascent to the Cita Zima ridge (stage 8). These sections require steady balance and a head for heights.

There are also sections of handrail used as aids to walking on the narrower, more exposed paths, such as those on the ascent from Lago di Braies (stage 1), on the alternative descent from Lagazuoi through the First World War tunnels (stage 4), and on the descent to Rif Pian de Fontana (stage 8). Please ask us for further details and photo of these sections.

Is it for me?
The Alta Via 1 is an outstanding trek with a mix of high mountain passes, excellent views and comfy mountain huts. It is 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, and have day hiking experience, then the AVU can also be suitable for those new to multi-day trekking in the European Alps. The days are not too long and the route is generally well waymarked, aiding navigation, though a map and compass are essential for safe navigation poor weather.

A level of self-sufficiency on the AV1 is necessary as transfer bags (an optional extra) can only be transferred to the huts at Passo Duran on our classic itinerary, and to your hotel in Belluno at the end. On all other nights you’ll need to carry with you everything you need for daily life; it’s not too much and makes for a satisfying daily routine.

Difficulty
The Alta Via 1 is first and foremost a walk and we grade it as a Purple 3. There are no glacier crossings, via ferrata or rock climbing. There are, however, sections of steep and rocky ground which require steady foot placement and an ability to cope with walking along some narrow and exposed paths. One such section is a relatively narrow ridge between Passo Duran and Pian de Fontana (stage 8) with drops to both sides. Please let us know if you’d like more detail on the trickier bits of the trail.

We do not include the difficult via ferrata on the Schiara, the mountain at the end of the trek above Belluno, instead we opt for the variant to finish at La Pissa. From here we take the local bus to Belluno. Our trip also misses out the Monte Pelmo circuit: this is a widely underestimated variant, with 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 Alpine town of Dobiacco 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. Our recommended way, and the most popular with our hikers, is to take the regular coach from Venice to Cortina, and then a connecting bus to Dobbiaco. For the end, Treviso is a good option in addition to Venice, but Venice has the biggest range of flights.

Hikers who are seeing more of Italy after the AV1 can use Venice as a start point for the South - Rome by train, for example - and in fact Belluno links to the Northern cities of Verona, Milan and Turin. In Italy, we love Venice, Rome and Turin and we will be glad to chat about trains and travel around Italy.

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 walkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.

Please ask us if you have any questions about getting to the route; we'll be delighted to advise.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the huts (on 8 nights for our main trip - unfortunately we cannot include dinner at Refugio Averau if staying in a private room)
  • Detailed Routecards AVU1-9 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 4 topographical maps covering the route
  • 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 as an optional extra. It is important to be aware that due to the AV1 route staying high up in huts, bags can only be transferred from Cortina to Passo Duran (which has a road) and Belluno. For clients on our Comfy trip, we can also offer additional drops to Passo Giau and Passo Staulanza which are road stops on the route. If you're adding a rest day we can organise baggage transfers from Dobbiaco to Cortina as well. Unfortunately we are not able get your bags to you at the other huts, so on these nights your bag will travel ahead to the next hotel and be waiting for you there. Please do contact us for more information on baggage transfer and for prices.
Got questions about the Alta Via 1?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Rob and Ben 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 Self-guided

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The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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The outstanding view from Rifugio Lagazoui
  Rifugio Lagazuoi at the end of Stage 4    Photos from the Alta Via 1


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