Walking holidays to Italy? Although the wonders of nature in Italy are well known, it is only when you head into the mountains and walk along the dazzling coastline that you realise how bella this country really is. The coast is fantastic of course, but a hut-to-hut walking holiday in Italy is the literal highlight. In this blog post, we present our three favourite options fortrekking in the Dolomites and the rest of the Alps and give you tips for a safe hiking holiday in Italy. Andiamo!
The Dolomites or the Alps? Technically, the Alps comprise the Dolomites; the locals in the north-east call the mountains the Dolomites. So yes, the Dolomites are part of the Alps, but they are not called the Alps by the locals. Clear? So, we can both speak of the Dolomites and the Alps when we go on a trekking trip in Italy. However, the Tour du Mont Blanc takes place in the more Alpine region and the Alta Via 1 and 2 are both in the Dolomites. Are you still with us? Keep reading.
1) The Ultimate Tour in the Dolomites: Alta Via 1
The Alta Via 1 starts at Lago di Braies, which you can see in the photo above. Lago di Braies is easy to reach from nearby Cortina d'Ampezzo. From here, it is about 120 kilometres to a bus stop. Yep, a bus stop is the end point of the Alta Via 1. You have been on the road for about 10 days and with a short bus ride to Belluno, it's all over. If you want to read more about the Alta Via 1, you can do so in this extensive blog post. Packages for the Alta Via 1 can be found here.
2) Walking Holidays for Mountain Goats: Alta Via 2
Is the Alta Via 2 really so different from its more popular brother? Despite being on the same mountain range and not so far apart, the difficulty level of these trails is quite different. The Alta Via 1 can be done without much difficulty by any hiker, beginner or experienced. The most important thing to take into account is the considerable number of days spent trekking. However, the Alta Via 2 is only recommended for experienced trekkers with a certain amount of experience in the mountains. The Alta Via 2 contains sharp ridges, Via Ferratas and steep slopes, which require experience in the mountains. Something for you? Read more about the Alta Via 2 here and check out our packages here.
3) One Trek, Three Countries: Tour du Mont Blanc
The best time to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc is during the summer months, July and August, when the route has little snow and the weather is usually good. Outside of these months, the logistics become more complicated as many of the hostels and mountain huts on the route are closed. If we had to recommend a more specific period, it would be the second half of August. During these 2 weeks, the number of trekkers and mountaineers is lower and the weather is usually quite pleasant. Read more about the Tour du Mont Blanc or check out one of our packages.
Solo Walking Holidays in Italy, is That Possible?
Yes, it is certainly possible to walk a hut-to-hut tour individually. Finding a place to stay as an individual is often much easier, in the shared rooms there is often a spare bed that you can claim. Hiking individually is done a lot, also by Italians themselves. In the huts you often have a quick conversation with fellow hikers so you don't have to spend your evenings alone.
Safe Walking Holidays in Italy
When you go on walking holidays in the Alps, it is wise to be aware of a few points. Even if this is not your first time, you should never underestimate the Alps. Good tour planning and compliance with the regulations on the mountain will significantly increase safety. To ensure that your hiking holiday is a safe and enjoyable experience, the Austrian Alpine Association has compiled a list of 10 recommendations for safe hiking in the mountains. This list also applies to Dolomites in Italy:
1) Health in the mountains: Hiking is an endurance sport combined with a beautiful nature experience and can have a positive effect on body and mind - provided one is in good physical condition and has a realistic picture of one's own possibilities and limits. Hiking under time pressure and at too fast a pace is not wise.
3. Fully equipped: Only visit the mountains if you are well rested! Food, rain, cold and sun protection must always be in the backpack, as well as a first-aid kit and a mobile phone (Euro emergency number: 112). However, lighter luggage makes walking easier, so don't take too much extra luggage with you. Your equipment should always be suitable for your planned trip. Keep reading for a suitable packing list for your walking holidays in Italy.
4. Suitable shoes: Good walking shoes protect your feet and provide a better fit. Shoes that have a good fit, with non-slip soles, water-resistant, and lightweight are a must for more walking pleasure.
5. Proprioception: It is imperative that you stay alert while hiking in the mountains! Excessive speed or fatigue can have a negative influence on your self-confidence and/or concentration. With this in mind, it is better to walk slower and be safer! (75% of stumbles occur due to carelessness on marked paths or roads - not on open terrain!).
6.Stay on marked trails: The Alps have countless marked hiking trails - these are controlled and maintained and should not be deviated from for this reason. It is not at all a good idea to make shortcuts or take alternative routes through unmarked terrain. On the contrary, it increases the risk of disorientation, accidents, or falls in the mountains. Even steep slopes of packed old snow are often underestimated and dangerous. Are you in doubt? Then rather don't.
7.Regular breaks: Timely and regular breaks not only serve to provide welcome relaxation, but also make it possible to enjoy the countryside. In addition, the body needs regular food and drink to maintain performance and concentration.
8.Child responsibility: Hiking in the mountains can also be fun and exciting for children - provided the route is chosen and planned accordingly. Diversity and playful exploration is much more important for children than altimeters and distances traveled. Dangerous routes require unconditional 1-on-1 help from an experienced adult. Extensive tours requiring long periods of concentration are not suitable for children. If children don't like it, chances are they won't just want to go on a walking holiday again.
9.Small groups: Small groups provide flexibility and enable mutual support. It is also advisable to inform people at home about your plans, what route you are taking, and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies.
10.Respect for nature: Leave no rubbish behind, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect the protected areas. Many areas are accessible by public transport; carpooling is also a more environmentally friendly option.
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Walking Holidays in the Dolomites and the Weather
The most important rule on hut tours and on hikes in the Alps or other high mountains is that the weather changes much faster in areas above 2,000 metres and that there are different climatic conditions than at the altitudes where we normally travel. When planning a hut tour and mountain hikes, the weather forecasts must always be taken into account. Even in the high summer, when the temperature in the valley is over 30 degrees, it can snow in the high mountains. The reason for this is that the temperature can drop by 5-6 degrees per 1000 altimeters. Because cold air can also store less moisture, it rains or snows more often in the high mountains than in the lowlands. In the high mountains a thunderstorm can be particularly dangerous, in principle the chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon increases and the weather can change very quickly due to the altitude.
Een mogelijke onweersbui kun je herkennen aan weerlichten, of kleine cumuluswolkjes, die zich steeds meer opstapelen. Ook een sterk dalende luchtdruk is een zeker teken voor een aankomende onweersbui. In geval van onweer moet je altijd de via ferrata en andere metalen voorwerpenen mijden. Zoek zo snel mogelijk een schuilplaats zoekt in een holle of onder een richel. Een goede bescherming tegen de zon is niettemin essentieel. De boomgrens in de Alpen loopt op een hoogte van 1.800 tot 2.200 meter - daarboven word je blootgesteld aan de brandende zon, die er in in het hooggebergte altijd dik op zit.
Packing List for Hiking Holidays in Italy
Packing the right equipment is key for any multi-day trekking adventure in Italy. Below you will find the equipment recommended for any hike in the Alps.
Medium-sized backpack (up to 40 liters gear capacity), including rain cover
Lightweight sleeping bag
Two pairs of socks
Two sets of wicking underwear
Two wicking shirts
Insulation long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
Water bottle/hydration reservoirs
First aid kit
Garbage bag (to carry out trash)
Hat or cap and thin gloves (liners)
Snacks (e. g. fruit, energy bars)
Windproof jacket (e. g. softshell)
Lightweight stuff sacks to keep everything organized
Alpinist Association Membership Card if you are a member
Blister treatments, tape
Bandana or Buff
How do I Prepare for my Walking Holidays in Italy?
A hut tour can be done by anyone in normal health. However, if you want to get the most out of your hut trip, it is wise to prepare yourself physically. You don't have the Alps by the back door, so you will have to be creative when it comes to your preparation. For adequate preparation you can pay attention to the following five things.
Cardio: It's best to get moving as soon as you think about your hiking holiday in Italy. With the right aerobic fitness you will have a better heart rate, healthy muscles and a large lung capacity. Running, walking, even more walking and and cycling or swimming are excellent training methods. One hour, 3 to 4 times a week is sufficient.
Endurance: Building up your endurance is also important. The best thing you can do is walk long distances, at least once a week. If you can walk comfortably for a longer period of time, you are ready to go.
Train with gear: Use the backpack and shoes you want to use for your cabin trip and add this to your workout as you work on your cardio and stamina.
Altitude:If you can, you can mimic the altitude by walking and hiking in the hills and mountains. If you don't live in the right area, don't panic. The first two points are the most important.
Know your body: This is perhaps the most important part. If you are questioning your physical abilities, it is wise to have a check-up carried out by your GP.
There is no fixed method for preparing for your walking holidays. Your preparation may depend on the duration, the surroundings and what you want to achieve. Not everyone is a mountain goat. Don't think about your preparation. Take it easy and enjoy your time in the mountains.
Hiking in Italy and Covid-19
With the current world situation, the huts in Italy like all other huts in the region, had to take some preventive measures. In order to be able to spend the night in a mountain hut during this period, you have to abide by these rules:
- Do not go to the huts if you are symptomatic!
- Huts are not allowed to operate at full capacity, so make sure you book your stay in advance.
- Bring your own face mask!
- You need to bring your own sleeping bag, lining and pillow cover.
- Bring your own travel towel
Waar boek ik een wandelvakantie in Italië?
You can book your walking holidays in Italy right here at Bookatrekking.com. We have packages for the Alta Via 1, the Alta Via 2, and theTour du Mont Blanc. Did you know that you can also go on a walking holiday in Great Britain, Ireland, the Balkans, Austria or France? Check the following blogs and look ahead to your next adventure!
-Hiking in Wales
-Hiking in England
-Hiking in Scotland
-Hiking in Croatia
-Hiking in Austria
- Hiking in Switzerland
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