Guided hiking tour of Alta Via I and II in the Dolomites, Italy

Hike Italy’s Most Famous High Routes

With over 300 kilometers (190 miles) of dramatic scenery, Alta Via I and II long-distance treks give you a peek into the nature, cultures, and customs of the Dolomites, a unique region on the border of Italy and Austria.

When the snow melts away from the jagged limestone peaks, the longest and most famous hikes in Italy unfurl into a pastoral landscape dotted with shimmering alpine lakes, rustic mountain huts, and deep, narrow valleys. No matter which trail you choose, expect to see the best of the best of Italy’s most renowned range over the course of a week.

Get a feel for big mountain climbing

The eastern part of the Italian Alps encompasses thousands of footpaths zigzagging through pale sharp-toothed spires, gentle green gorges, evergreen forests, and gleaming lakes. 

Alta Via I (AVI) is the most famous of the bunch. It is one of the most scenic multi-day routes, there are plenty of refugios along the way, and it is accessible for fit hikers looking to dip their toe into big mountain climbing. It runs 80 kilometers (49 miles) and reaches a high point of 2,752 meters (9,029′).

The more complex Alta Via II is the longest route in the Dolomites. Dubbed the High Route of Legends, it rewards the more experienced hikers with out-of-this-world lunar landscapes, exciting via ferratas, and views of the only surviving major glacier on the northern slope. The trail stays at higher elevations throughout (as high as 2,900m / 9,514′) compared to the AVI.

  • ALPINE MEADOWS
  • TOWERING PEAKS
  • COZY MOUNTAIN HUTS
  • UNESCO HERITAGE SITE
  • HIGH-ALTITUDE TERRAIN
Autumn evening alpine Dolomites mountain scene from hiking path betwen Pordoi Pass and Fedaia Lake, Trentino, Italy. Snowy Marmolada massif and Glacier in far right.
Map of the Dolomites
Small map of Alta Via I and Alta Via II treks

Remote places only accessible by foot

YOUR GATEWAY TO A LAND OF LEGENDS

The region’s beauty derives from the interplay of colors, from the dark pine forests to bright meadows of moss, blooming Alproses and Edelweiss, and enriched by crystal-clear lakes mirroring the bare pale walls and spires. These contrasting landscapes have inspired countless legends and fairytales over the centuries. 

At sunrise and sunset, witness the sweeping Enrosadira—or alpenglow. As the sun illuminates the peaks from below the horizon, the pale mountains bathe in warm red, pink, and orange hues.

Cow grazing in a mountain landscape of the Dolomites.

AIRY SUMMITS WITH EXCEPTIONAL VIEWS

With a dizzying array of peaks—18 of them above 3,000m (10,000 ft)—the Dolomites are one of the world’s most storied mountain ranges. The area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its geomorphic significance and diversity of pinnacles, rock walls, steeples, karst systems and glacial landforms.

The most prominent peak is the Marmolada at 3,343 m (11,967 ft), affectionately called La Regina delle Dolomiti, the Queen of the Dolomites. Crowned by steep cliffs and ridges, its jewel is lake Fedaia, fed by the only major glacier in the Dolomites.

Marmolada glacier in the Italian Dolomites and Rifugio Serauta as seen from the via ferrata route called Eterna (Brigata di Cadore), in summer.
Fedaia lake in Dolomites with view of Marmolada mountain.

IRON PATHS FOR
THRILL-SEEKERS

The Dolomites are the birthplace of via ferratas—iron cables and ladders helping you to cross some of the steepest and most impressive crags in the region. 

Bolted into place during WWI to help soldiers navigate the exposed terrain, these suspended walkways of Alta Via II trek have been upgraded and re-equipped, providing safe passage for mountaineers.

Besides maneuvering the precipitous slopes quickly and safely, via ferratas provide an exhilarating way to experience the magnificent landscapes spreading for miles on end.

Young female mountain climber on a difficult Via Ferrata in the Dolomites, Alta Badia region. Woman on a via ferrata suspended wire bridge at Cesare Piazzetta.

Step inside the enchanting world of the Italian Alps

Views of the Dolomites from the trail Guided Alta Via hiking tour scenery
Guided Alta Via hiking tour parallax

Experience the charm and hospitality of mountain huts

Considering that wild camping is forbidden, you shouldn’t be surprised by the number of huts available en route. These comfortable refugios provide shelter, views of iconic peaks and Alpine meadow belts, and offer traditional regional meals at reasonable prices. 

While some huts are dormitory-style with bunk beds, many are very well equipped and comfortable, with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms.

The locals you meet along the way will welcome you with open hands and, if you’re lucky, entertain you with the olden tales of kings, knights, damsels and sprites that once inhabited these parts.

A cozy mountain hut in the Dolomites. An indoor restaurant along the Alta Via route.

Vestiges of history

The Dolomites were a battleground between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces during WWI. One of the reasons why Alta Via I and II are hikers’ favorites is that they blend impressive landscapes with historical remnants. Many of the via ferratas and mountain huts you visit were once used to access front lines and mountain-top military positions. 

Today, the Dolomites are a border region of three distinct cultures peacefully cohabiting: Tyrolean German, Italian, and Ladins—a minority group whose language is native to this remote area. 

Hiking from village to village, you’ll hear local legends and eat distinct cuisine reflecting their cultural roots—from sauerkraut, strudel, and speck dumplings to pasta and fried pastries.

Small photogenic stone catholic church in Italian village with dramatic fog. Hiking from village to village, you’ll hear local legends and eat distinct cuisine reflecting the culture of the Ladin people.

Discover the Dolomites with a guide

Meet your guides

Dolomite Mountains Guides create unique and active outdoor experiences in Northern Italy’s Dolomites and beyond! They craft the ultimate custom adventures for people who demand stylish, low-impact programs with outstanding quality and value. As one of the only local Italian tour operators here, the company has the local knowledge and expertise unlike any other, providing an authentic experience as you take in the local culture.

Agustina Lagos Marmol is the founder of the Dolomite Mountains. She grew up on a ranch in Patagonia before moving to Canada, where she began guiding. Agustina first discovered the Dolomites in 1994. She’s been living amongst these mountains for the last 25 years, hiking, climbing, skiing, cycling—always in search of new hidden gems.

 

Agustina Lagos, your guide on this Alta Via hiking adventure