Walking Holidays in the Dolomites
The Dolomites are famed for their soaring limestone towers, consisting largely of a very bright Limestone mineral called Dolomite (calcium sulphite). The scenery is dramatic and a complete contrast to the alps, being generally lower and with only one real glacier around the Marmolada massif. There are several massifs, which significantly change colour throughout the day, separated with bright green alpine meadows flecked with flowers and there are both conifer and mixed forests.
Lots of the walking in the Dolomites focusses on their ‘Via Ferratas’, climbing cable ways which take people into some remarkable positions. Then there are to famous hard hut walks The Alto Via 1&2, which utilise a bit of the via ferrata network. The Sherpa Expeditions walks do not involve any Via Ferratas, but give a good account of the variety of terrain and the general scenery.
The region is also renowned for being on a cultural divide, Italian, but perhaps also Austrian, but not quite, as Austria pulled back in the First World War. Now it is partially a semi-autonomous region of the Tirol, known as the Alto Adige. There are also 40,000 Ladins, an ethnic group, speaking an older cruder latin language, and with their own steeped traditions and woodlore. Although Cortina has an Italian feel, other towns are a bit different, and in more Ladino towns you will find buildings with painted facias and complicated carved wood working: towns such as Campitello fit into this category.
BEST TIME FOR WALKING HOLIDAYS IN THE DOLOMITES
September is a lovely month with not so many tourists. Late June is also a possibility, but with the chance of being hampered by residual snow. High summer is a busy period often punctuated by dramatic storms; humid air having drifted up from the coast near Venice.
Getting There and away
Cortina is a popular base in the Dolomites because it is accessible by public transport and many towns in the Dolomites do not have good connectivity. Bolzano is also a popular base for walkers, further to the north.
This beautiful region of the Italian Dolomites is not the easiest place to travel to but the spectacular scenery is well worth the extra effort required. The nearest airports are Venice or Verona. You will then need to get a train to Calalzo and onwards by bus to Cortina. If you are flying to Venice Marco Polo the easiest way to get to Cortina will be to get the Cortina Express coach, there are normally 3 departures a day between around June 20 and September 15, and it takes 2 hours to get to Cortina.
For more information on visiting the Dolomites we have put together a blog article 'Walking in the Dolomites'. Visit our blog >>
Our Walking Holidays in the Dolomites