Walking Holiday in Italy

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  • Walking Holiday in Italy
  • Premier Icon myopic

    Wife and I are looking at arranging a walking holiday in Italy (Dolomites or Alps) and trying to decide best approach. Looking to hike average of 5 hours a day and not be carting about lots of luggage. We don’t want to do it as a group, or have guided walks – just our own thing at our own pace. We are also not after 4*plus luxury accommodation/food. Just clean with decent food options. We appreciate that for some stops, food options may be very limited.

    Looking for maybe 5-6 days walking, late June or anytime in July.

    Had thought about booking one of the walking tours you find on the internet where they transport all your gear to the next overnight stop for you, leaving you to hike to it in your own time, but the prices look pretty high. If going down this route (haha) does anyone have a company they would recommend?

    As alternatives, we wondered about renting somewhere as a base and heading out daily for different walks, even using lifts or local bus to get around. Anyone got any experience of anywhere that would fit that bill, or a company they would recommend that arranges local rentals?

    Premier Icon nickjb

    Can’t really help for walking in the Dolomites but we’ve done some walking trips in the Alps and Pyrenees. I’d personally go for a single base then go out for walks. You can usually string a circular walk together so its not just out and back and there will be more than enough in a single area.

    I don’t think you’ll struggle for reasonably priced hotels and nice food. We’ve been skiing in Italy quite a few times and its always been good. Always DIY, too. Cheap flights to Milan, hire a car or take a bus to the mountains, book a hotel directly, eat out in local restaurants. Its easy and inexpensive

    Premier Icon Stoner

    Im not familiar with Italy but I would consider starting with a Cicerone book and planning around some of the routes in them, using Pension/B&B for acomm. The books have “where to stay” sections in them.


    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Can’t add much apart from throwing an alternative into the mix.

    Have a look at Piedmont and the Langhe. I’d never given that area any thought at all before a friend moved there. It’s BEAUTIFUL! Not as high but plenty hilly. There’s the southern alps within shouting distance if you need more vert. Great food and wine, fewer tourists, fewer eyesores of lift infrastructure/ bulldozer piste ground works – although I’m sure they’re avoidable in the Dolomites/Alps.

    And there’s Gran Paradiso National Park. 3 valleys come up into it from the Aosta Valley: Cogne, Valsavarenche and the other one. I’ve only been up Valsavarenche, but been up a few times for walking and ski touring. It’s less touristy and wilder than the other valleys, there are a couple of campsites in the valley and two huts 1.5 and 3 hours hike from the top of the valley. LOADS of wildlife, deer and ibex, chamois, marmottes, birds of prey…


    If you want something a bit more ‘out there’, plan a route/circuit based on Refuge huts and the odd Italian equiv of Gite d’tape (B&B / Hostel). Plan for Half way thru the route having a rest day in a village so you can use the laundrette, that way you can carry less clothes. Refuge huts are really useful for travelling light as all bedding is provided (if you’re particularly fussy take a silk sleeping bag liner) and the food is usually basic but good. they provide slippers, so you don’t need anything more than your walking boots and they can provide you with all the food you need (at a cost). Join the AACUK for discounts in Italian Alpine Club owned Refuge Huts (doesn’t apply to food or if the hut is privately owned), you also get mountain rescue insurance included. I should point out that many huts are dormitory sleeping.
    The Aosta Valley is really nice.
    maybe look on the CAI website for a map of their refuges and plan a route based around them.
    if you end up in Aosta and anywhere near the french or Swiss boarders, I recommend their maps (ie carta nazionale della svizzera 292/293/294 or The Mont Blanc Cartes IGN series), the italian compass maps are a bit rubbish IMO.

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest

    We used these guys to provide a base in Arabba (due west of Cortina) for a self-organised via ferrata tour: see if there’s anything that helps http://www.colletts.co.uk/self-guided-hut-to-hut-hiking-dolomites/ even if only to get an idea for itineraries.

    The area around Arabba/Corvara/Selva is awesome and relatively easy high mountain terrain. Should be easy to string together a trip using huts/hotels etc. The other area I know is to the NE of Cortina where you’re into the Tre Cima national park – altogether wilder, less accessible and more challenging.


    We’ve been to Arabba also and cannot recommend it highly enough. We booked an apartment but went along to the Colletts nightly meet and greet type things for some advice when required. They’re a friendly bunch and were very helpful.

    There are loads and loads of great high level walks and via Ferrata of all levels. The lower grades are really just scrambles so no need for gear or climbing experience.

    Premier Icon RicB

    We’ve just booked a holiday very much like this and based in Selva

    Crystal had some good deals for chalets & hotels.

    There’s an area public transport pass that allows use of the gondolas, chairlifts etc as well as busses.

    Good walking & via ferrata and what appears to be awesome biking too

    Premier Icon myopic

    AH, lots to think about. Thanks for the comments, guys. Something for us to chew over this evening 🙂

    Check out a company called Inn Travel, they specialise in exactly what you are looking for. My wife and I have done 2 holidays with them, one in Austria and one along the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. Service is brilliant, and seriously well organised. And for what it’s worth, my in-laws have done about 10 holidays with Inn Travel, and they rate their High Dolomites walk as the best one they’ve ever done.

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