Hiking At Its Peak, Tasting To Perfection. Delight in and be amazed by the diversity of this much-loved Alpine UNESCO World Heritage site. Accommodating all tastes and active or leisurely pursuits, the Dolomites seamlessly blends its Italian passion for la dolce vita with its European sensibility and efficiency... Read More ›
Hiking At Its Peak, Tasting To Perfection. Delight in and be amazed by the diversity of this much-loved Alpine UNESCO World Heritage site. Accommodating all tastes and active or leisurely pursuits, the Dolomites seamlessly blends its Italian passion for la dolce vita with its European sensibility and efficiency in creating one of the most spectacular holiday destinations around. And even the most discriminating bons vivants will appreciate the area’s cuisine; today, Trentino, South Tyrol and Veneto offer well-known foods, toast-of-the-town wines, and top restaurants, more than proving their worth as haute cuisine regions. What began as simple yet unique food has flourished into a widely respected cuisine, loyal to its tradition, yet encompassing local products reflecting their land. Some much-loved produce includes cheeses from the Fiemme and Fassa valleys, speck (smoked raw ham), apples, and many wines that are world-renowned. Not forgetting the lip-smacking sparkling white wine spumante. Our tour combines all the elements that make this region most special; our chosen accommodations reflect the style and unique cultures of each village, while our guides are passionate, experienced mountain enthusiasts who work year round in the outdoor industry, and are dedicated to providing our guests an exceptional experience.
Delight in and be amazed by the diversity of this much-loved Alpine UNESCO World Heritage site. Accommodating all tastes and active or leisurely pursuits, the Dolomites seamlessly combines its Italian passion for la dolce vita with its European sensibility and efficiency in creating one of the most spectacular holiday destinations around. And even the most discriminating bons vivants will appreciate the area’s cuisine; today the Trentino, South Tyrol and Veneto regions offer well-known foods, toast-of-the-town wines, and top restaurants, more than proving their worth as haute cuisine regions. What began as simple yet unique food has flourished into a widely respected cuisine, loyal to its tradition, yet encompassing local products reflecting their land.
Some much-loved produce includes cheeses from the Fiemme and Fassa valleys, speck, apples, and many wines that are world-renowned. Not forgetting delicious wines from boutique local and organic wineries. Our tour combines all the elements that make this region most special; our chosen accommodations reflect the style and unique cultures of each village, while our guides are passionate, experienced mountain enthusiasts who work year round in the outdoor industry, and are dedicated to providing our guests an exceptional hiking and eno-gastronomical experience.
Day 1: Redagno
Highlights: Arrival in Hotel Villa Berghofer, walk through meadows and pine forests
We’ll pick you up at noon in Innsbruck airport for a transfer to The Hotel Villa Berghofer in Redagno; one of the most idyllic places in South Tyrol. This 4-star superior hotel sits at 1,500 meters (4,921'), providing a breathtaking view of vineyards and the surrounding mountain peaks. Offering silence, freedom, and nature, the location is spectacular.
Built in the early sixties as a Grand Hotel, the Berghofer was completely restructured in 2007. Now, this stately manor combines old and new, with its modern South Tyrolean elements. Furniture and accessories are an elegant mix of traditional and modern, as well as alpine and Mediterranean style. In the restaurant, traditional South Tyrolean specialties are combined with light and modern dishes. They emphasize use of seasonal produce and fresh food, using biologically grown vegetables from their ‘house garden’, and fruit from their own orchards, in the making of their own jams, stewed fruit, and juices. The daily menu also offers vegetarian and calorie reduced dishes.
Upon arrival, we’ll have lunch at the hotel and then take a guided walk through meadows and pine forests, enjoy the swimming pool of the hotel, or take a sauna in the private cabin outside the hotel.
Overnight: Redagno at Hotel Villa Berghofer; www.berghofer.it
Activity: Active/leisure time
Day 2: Redagno
Highlights: Cheese and yogurt farm visit and hike to Corno Bianco.
We’ll enjoy a morning walk to Isi Hutte where we’ll learn Isolde and Philipp’s secrets on how to make cheese and yogurt in a mountain environment. For the adventurous, an optional afternoon summit of the Corno Bianco/Weißhorn massif (2,317m / 7,602') offers a spectacular 360° panorama of the Brenta and Ortler mountain chain, including a view of the Val di Fassa (Fassa Valley), or you may wish to return to the hotel from Isi Hutte to enjoy a free afternoon to explore the area, relax at the spa or by the pool.
Before dinner, Markus our sommelier will guide us through a degustazione (sampling) of the typical Alto Adige wines. We’ll do a thorough tasting of local biodynamic wines including Haderburg and other renowned wines (not labelled organic but produced using organic methods) such as Franz Hass and Hoffstatter.
Overnight in Redagno at Hotel Villa Berghofer; www.berghofer.it
Activity & Distance: 5 hours hiking 13km/8 miles, 800 m/2,625’ ascent and descent
Day 3: Geoparc Bletterbach Canyon
Highlights: Cooking class, Geoparc Bletterbach Canyon Hike
Today we’ll get passionate about pasta during a hands-on cooking lesson! We’ll learn local recipes and a plethora of creative ideas from Chef Stefano as he guides us through the preparation of local gnocchi,canederli and other fresh pastas and desserts specific to southern parts of the Alto Adige region. His motto: ‘Everyone gets a chance to learn by doing!’
Stefano will guide us through the Bergfhofer villa’s organic garden where we’ll pick fresh herbs and other ingredients to cook with. He will also show us a variety of ways to prepare each pasta dish with different combinations of sauces using fresh, local and convenient, ingredients. We’ll then feast on the dishes we have prepared together!
We’ll have ample opportunity to work off our meal this afternoon on a guided hiking tour of the Geoparc Bletterbach, which is included in the Dolomites recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bletterbach Canyon, the ‘Grand Canyon’ of South Tyrol, is a breath-taking, even mystical place. This canyon is 8 kilometres (5 miles) long, as deep as 400m (1,312'), and exposes the geological development of the area like a ‘stone-turned book of geology.’ Here, we may see fossilized imprints of plants, shells, amphibians, and many other traces of prehistoric times.
Overnight in Redagno at Hotel Villa Berghofer; www.berghofer.it
Activity & Distance: 3 hours hiking 9km/5,6 miles, 300m/984’ ascent and descent
DAY 4: Sella Massif – Alta Badia
Highlights: Hike to mountain hut overnight in a mountain rifugio (hut)
Within the enormous fortress-shaped Sella massif is an excellent network of paths. Its sheer flanks are reserved for mountaineers and via ferrata (iron road; a mountain route that is equipped with fixed cables, stemples (wooden step), ladders, and bridges) experts. The mountain group boasts a 3,152-meter (10,341') pyramidal peak, Piz Boè, which can be seen from any of the four passes that bound the Sella Massif.
After breakfast we’ll transfer to Canazei in Val di Fassa, take the two gondolas (included) up to Belvedere, and from here, skirt the imposing Sas Becé to Passo Pordoi. We’ll continue in the direction of the Ossario del Pordoi, a military memorial and mausoleum with the remains of over 8,000 German and Austrian troops who lost their lives in the Dolomites during both World Wars.
Here, we’ll stop for a packed lunch before continuing on to Rifugio Franz Kostner where we’ll experience a night in this authentic mountain hut. Kostner is a small, but cozy rifugio that provides a comfortable stay. Built in 1988 and owned by the Bolzano section of the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano or Italian Alpine Club), the hut has been managed by Manuel and Cristina Agreiter since it opened. Situated in the Sella Group atop a natural rock balcony, the views you can enjoy from here are truly incomparable, as you gaze out upon some of the most famous Dolomites’ peaks, and northwards to the Zillertaler Alps. As the rifugio faces east, the sun wakes us early in the morning; its light gliding along the mountain walls behind the refuge. At nearly 3,000 meters (9,843') high, each of the Sasso delle Nove, Sasso delle Dieci, and Piz da Lech can put on an amazing show in the morning!
Our host Cristina personally takes care of the cooking, preparing simple but delicious cuisine. Polenta is a perennial favorite, with cheese, mushrooms, sausage, and/or goulash (soup or stew of meat, noodles and vegetables). We’ll step in to the Kostner hut kitchen to catch a glimpse of our cook preparing local dishes such as canederli (meat and bread dumplings), goulash, and apple strudel. Italy's spectacular Alta Badia region has built a reputation over recent years for the innovative cuisine served both in its hotels and restaurants, as well as on the ski slopes. A group of local creative Michelin-starred chefs known as the DoloMitici are working to implement their latest initiative called 'Slope Food'. This is this a very special version of the famous finger food or street food; a tasty array of tempting treats created by culinary experts, Michelin-starred Italian chefs and up-and-coming young stars, in twelve hut locations on the slopes of Alta Badia. Since these creative dishes are designed to accompany aperitivi or pre-dinner drinks, the wine pairing is very important. These plates will be served with the finest wines from South Tyrol in collaboration with the chefs and best sommeliers from the South Tyrol.
Those who don’t wish to overnight at the rifugio can descend with the chair lift Vallon and the cable car Boè to the town of Corvara, and transfer to Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano (Extra cost inclusive of chair lift, cable car, transfer and overnight hotel).
Overnight at a rifugio or in San Cassiano in Badia at Hotel Rosa Alpina; www.rosalpina.it
Activity & Distance: 4 hours hiking 8km/5 miles, 660m/2,165’ ascent, 450m / 1,476’ descent
DAY 5: Alta Badia
Highlights: Hike, lunch at Rosa Alpina’s mountain hut, dinner at the nearby Ciasa Salares’ private wine cellar
Today we’ll descend from Rifugio Franz Kostner to Rifugio Bec de Roces and continue on a gravel path to Passo Campolongo, from where we’ll hike through pastures on the plateau of Pralongiá on a trail known as Tru di lagri (path of hunters). We’ll pass Rifugio La Marmotta, Rifugio Punta Trieste and Rifugio Pralongiá. From here, we’ll reach Rosa Alpina’s mountain hut, located at 2,000m /6,561’; our spot for lunch. Uncompromising in its hospitality, we will enjoy the same delectable cuisine in this glorious spot in Alta Badia.
After lunch, we reach the cozy town of San Cassiano in Alta Badia, in less than one hour’s hike downhill. We’ll relax before tonight’s dinner in the private wine cellars of Ciasa Salares; hotelier and sommelier Stefan Weiser has created a cantina not to be missed! The unique cellar walls are lined with 21,000 bottles, representing 1,850 different wines. On tables of local wood, cut according to phases of the moon in harmony with the biodynamic philosophy that underlies the majority of his products, Stefan and Ciasa Salares invite you to enjoy excellent wines from all over the world, accompanied by mouthwatering delicacies. Dishes such as tortelli pasta stuffed with Speck paté or pork shank in honey and black pepper each paired with a local wine offer an unforgettable gastronomical experience for even the most discerning foodie.
Our hotel for the next two nights is the famed Hotel Rosa Alpina, seamlessly weaving the traditional spirit with their unique signature contemporary style for the ultimate 5-star experience in the Dolomites.
Overnight in San Cassiano in Badia at Hotel Rosa Alpina; www.rosalpina.it
Activity & Distance: 5 hours hiking 10km/6.2 miles/1-hour descent, 463m/1,519’ downhill
DAY 6: Santa Croce Sanctuary
Highlights: Morning hike to Santa Croce
Today we’ll walk to the Santa Croce Sanctuary at the base of the Sasso della Croce (Sass dla Crusc for the Ladin-speaking population). It’s a five-minute transfer to the town of upper La Villa from where we start the hike. We first walk uphill on a wide trail, passing through a number of closely knit hamlets formed of clusters of ancient shingle-roofed timber farmhouses and barns known as viles.
After a 45-minute walk we get on a gravel trail that directs us to the Santa Croce Sanctuary. We walk gradually uphill through the pine forest with great views of the Santa Croce, Conturines, and Sella mountain groups as well as the towns of La Villa, San Cassiano, Corvara, Pedraces, and San Leonardo — all part of the Val Badia. Along the way there are a couple of steep ascents. It takes about two hours to get to the church and sanctuary of Ospizio S. Croce. The sober white church was consecrated in 1484 and holds an image of Christ bearing the cross, hence the name of the mountain — Sasso della Croce, ‘stone of the cross.’ The previous chapel on the site was built in the 11th century when a wealthy count of the Val Pusteria withdrew in meditation here in repentance for his harsh treatment of his subjects. He then donated all his earthly possessions to the nearby abbey, the badia, which gave its name to Val Badia. The ‘pilgrim’s’ hospice (ospizio) building from 1718 was originally the sacristan’s lodgings.
We continue for another 45 minutes to our lunch spot at the ‘Ranch Andre,’ a typical Ladino shepherd’s house that has been converted into a small inviting rifugio, serving delicious food. In Alta Badia and in the Ladin culture area, the food is simple and traditional. The recipes are known for being savory and very tasty, and while some of the main ingredients – namely milk, flour, potatoes and sausages – characterizing this cuisine are simple, they’re very nutritious. Among the most popular and most appreciated dishes is the barley soup with turtres (Ladin veggie pastries) or the cajinci (known as schlutzkrapfen in South Tyrol and as ‘ravioli with ricotta and spinach’ in Italy). Other typical dishes include crafuncins (wheat and rye flour ravioli with spinach, no meat or cheese) or puessl (apple pancake, cut into small pieces) or krapfen and strudel.
Meat is also a very important ingredient in the traditional dishes of the Ladin cuisine. Wild fruits like berries, raspberries and blueberries, or mushrooms, are a very important as well. Depending on the season, they can become featured ingredients in a variety of typical Ladin dishes.
After lunch we descend to the town of San Leonardo for a 10-minute transfer back to Corvara. We may visit the kitchen of Rosa Alpina to enjoy an aperitif and cooking demo before sampling a digestive gourmet menu.
Overnight in San Cassiano in Badia at Hotel Rosa Alpina; www.rosalpina.it
Activity & Distance: 5 – 6 hours hiking with elevation at +1,450'/-1,450'
DAY 7: Departure
Breakfast and private departure to Innsbruck airport.
Transfer Time: 1.5 hours to Innsbruck Airport
Local Cuisine Notes:
Breakfast: Breads, jam, grain cereals, yogurts, meats, cheeses and eggs upon request are traditional alpine fare. Lunches: Many lunches are picnics, consisting of traditional picnic fare, sausages and meats, breads and cheeses and local delicacies. Mountain hut lunches will offer vegetable soups or pastas of the day, polenta or other local specialties.Dinners: typically a four- to five-course meal. Dolomites is renowned for its fine cuisine and wines, and this experience highlights the region’s gourmet cuisine
Country: Italy (arriving in Austria, transferring to Italy)
Arrive/Depart: Innsbruck Airport, Austria
Daily Hiking Distance: 3 – 5 hours daily
Exertion level & Terrain Notes:
WJ Rating Level 3 – 4: Active to Moderate. Sustained physical activity throughout trip
More Details: Hiking, elevation gain/loss. Be prepared to hike between 3 – 5 hours per day. Expect elevation gain on some days, steep ascents, and spectacular scenery!
Terrain: Largely on rocky, well marked mountain footpaths
Comfort Level & Accommodation Notes:
WJ Rating:Boutique/Deluxe: alpine properties, with one optional night at a comfortable mountain hut.
More Details: 4-star Superior Inn, 5-star Relais Chateaux property with Michelin-starred cuisine, one night adventure stay in mountain hut two guests per room, with shared external bathrooms. Option to spend additional night at Rosa Alpina (for an additional fee), instead of the mountain hut. We select accommodations that best reflect the style of the region and the unique cultures found in each village.
Price includes: All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy; most meals, local wine with dinner; transfers and transportation from the meeting location to the drop off location (other than air if required), admissions fees to itinerary sites, visits and museums; services of leader/guide throughout the tour; hotel taxes and service charges; handling of one reasonable size suitcase and one carry-on per person.
Travel or emergency evacuation insurance; gratuities for leader/guide, driver; alcoholic beverages and meals other than outlined in itinerary; visas/immunizations, other items of personal nature.
We are constantly updating our unique itineraries based on new information and experiences available. Walks, accommodations, visits and such listed may be adjusted. The itineraries presented are subject to modification and change by Whole Journeys. We reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in our judgment, conditions warrant, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants.