Dolomites FAQ

Which trek should I do?

See the Dolomites Trek Comparison >>

When are your group trek departures?

For 2019, these are our group departure dates:

You can also start a private trek on any day, either self-guided or guided.

What are the huts/rifugios like?

The huts are dorm style with shared bathrooms separated for men and women.  Some private rooms are available, but must be pre-arranged and cost extra. The private rooms are double, triple, and quad, all with single beds.

There will be electricity and hot water.  Sometimes, they offer WiFi, but it may not be dependable, and they may charge a fee.  There are no laundry services, so bring your own laundry soap and sink plug if you must do laundry.  There will be a large dining room for breakfast and dinner.  Wine, beer, soft drinks, and snacks will also be available for purchase.

If you are sleeping in the dorm rooms, you will need to bring a bed sheet, pillowcase, and towel (pillows and blankets are provided).  If you pay for a private room, you will not need the bed sheet and towel.

They serve good food, generally with a choice of 2-3 starters + 2-3 main entrees + dessert.  Wine and beer are available for purchase.

Hiking boots cannot be worn in the huts, so bring an extra pair of lightweight shoes or slippers.  Most huts provide crocs for people to use.

How much should I budget for dinners in town?

Dinners should be around 30-40 Euros per person with drinks.  You may be able to find a pizza for as little as 15 Euros, and there are also 5-star restaurants in the larger towns.

When is the best time to go?

The huts in the Dolomites are open from mid-June to mid-September.  A few huts are open early June through the early October (Alta Via 1 and Hiking Traverse).  July 20 – August 31 is the high (busiest) season.

The Dolomites are usually warmer and receive less precipitation than the rest of the Alps. However, as in all mountainous areas, the weather can change suddenly and it can vary greatly between regions within the Dolomites. Typically bad weather arrives from the South, while winds from the North usually bring good weather. The weather in the Dolomites always has an element of unpredictability. You can expect a mix of warm sunny days sometimes punctuated by rainy cooler weather. Clients should always be prepared for sudden changes in weather while they are out on the trail. In July and August, while the average maximum temperature may reach 80°F / 25°C on the valley floors, they should keep in mind that as they gain elevation it will be colder. In September daytime temperatures can reach into the upper 60°s and low 70°s F, but early mornings will be cooler (upper 50°s to low 60°s). At this time of the year, rainy days at lower elevations mean snow on higher elevations. Rainstorms can drop the temperature 15° to 20° Fahrenheit.

We have never had to cancel a trip because of the bad weather.  There is always a “plan B”:  You can spend an additional night in the same hotel/rifugio instead of hiking, and you can be picked up with a taxi to the next destination, or you can use a lift in order to shorten the hike, etc.

Any special packing advice?

Pack clothing for both warm and cold weather.  It should not be so cold that you need a down jacket.  Hiking boots that are mid-height or taller are good.  You can rent hiking poles (or other equipment) locally only if you start and end in the same place.

If you are sleeping in the dorm rooms at the huts, you will need to bring a bed sheet, pillowcase, and towel (pillows and blankets are provided).  If you pay for a private room at the huts, you will not need the bed sheet and towel.

You will need to carry your own luggage to the huts, so pack light.  Baggage transfers are available for and extra fee.

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Dolomites Trek
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What if I want a Luxury trek?

There are 4-star and 5-star hotels in the towns.  The 5-star hotels can fill up early.

There are no luxury alternatives to the mountain huts, but we can book a private room if there is availability.

What do we get with a Self-Guided trek?

You will have a briefing the night before the trek at 6:00pm at your hotel for about 1 hour.

We will send you maps and detailed descriptions of the trek, huts, and meals.

At the end of your trek, you will call the driver to pick you up and take you to your hotel in town.

You can rent an Italian cell phone for 25 Euros for the trip.

Can we do a via ferrata?

Yes!  We can arrange a guide and equipment for you.  There are different options for different experience levels.

What if I have a special diet?

We can inform the hotels of your special diet. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated fairly easily. Vegan and gluten-free diets are more difficult.

What if we want a triple room?

In the towns, there are triple rooms.  At the huts, it is typically shared dormitories.  A private triple room is an extra $25/person/night.

What if I want a single room?

In the towns, there are single rooms at an extra cost.  At the huts, you will be in shared dormitories — there are no single rooms at the huts.

How do I access the start and finish of the trek?

Cortina is closest to Venice (ending point for all treks and starting point for the Alta Via 1).   Val Gardena and Alta Badia are closer to Innsbruck.  There are buses and trains to the towns, or we can arrange a private transfer. See Getting to the Dolomites >>

How hard is the hiking?

Be prepared for elevation gain. There are some steep sections but not dangerous and not exposed. Loose rocks have to be factored in when hiking in the Dolomites, every hike includes loose rocks sections. We suggest to use the hiking poles.

Tipping

Tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated.  We recommend 10 Euros/person/day for a lead guide and 5 Euros for assistants.  In restaurants and bars, 5-10% is customary but not required.

Weather

The Dolomites are usually warmer and receive less precipitation than the rest of the Alps. However, as in all mountainous areas, the weather can change suddenly and it can vary greatly between regions within the Dolomites. Typically bad weather arrives from the South, while winds from the North usually bring good weather.

The weather in the Dolomites always has an element of unpredictability. You can expect a mix of warm sunny days sometimes punctuated by rainy cooler weather. You should always be prepared for sudden changes in weather while you are out on the trail. In July and August, while the average maximum temperature may reach 80°F / 25°C on the valley floors, keep in mind that as you gain elevation it will be colder. For every 1,000 feet you climb, the temperature will drop 3.6°F (6.5°C for every 1,000 meters). What may be an 80°F / 27°C day in Cortina could be 60°F / 15°C on one of the summits! In September daytime temperatures can reach into the upper 60°s and low 70°s F, but early mornings will be cooler (upper 50°s to low 60°s). At this time of the year, rainy days at lower elevations mean snow on higher elevations. Rainstorms can drop the temperature 15° to 20° Fahrenheit. You should bring rain gear jacket and pants (pants optional) with you every day, regardless of the weather conditions when you leave your hotel in the morning.

Make sure you are prepared for your trip with the necessary rainproof clothing and keep an eye on the weather forecast. In summer, the rain don’t normally last all day (of course with some exceptions). It is common to get late afternoon thunder-storms which can be powerful. We strongly recommend you to ensure that your walk is completed by 4-5pm and seek shelter immediately should you be caught in a thunderstorm.

Drinking Water

Tap water is generally drinkable, unless specified differently. We advise against drinking or filling your bottles from streams and/or melting snow, as the water source is not necessarily clean. Natural springs are the best choice as the water is naturally filtered by the soil. Natural springs can be found in many areas across the Dolomites or nearby the Rifugios. Alternatively, Water bottles can be purchased at Hotels and Rifugios.

Phone Reception

Good phone reception is available throughout the Dolomites, with the exception of the Fanes National Park where reception is erratic.

Do I need to buy food in town before my hike?

While we recommend you to carry some snacks with you such as cereal bars, dried fuit &nuts, chocolate etc, it isn’t necessary to take a packed lunch; you will be surprised by the amount of huts available en route, all serving delicious hearty meals at reasonable prices.

What is the best footwear for hiking?

Sturdy, properly fitting footwear can make your trip much more pleasurable. If you’re buying new boots for your trip, please make sure they fit properly and break them in by wearing them as often as possible before departure. The trip is not the best time to find out your boots do not fit right. Blister pain and discomfort not only will make the hikes less enjoyable, but also will slow you down and delay the rest of the group.

Lightweight or mid-weight, waterproofed, sturdy hiking boots with ankle support. Running shoes or sneakers are not appropriate for hiking in the Dolomites.

Whether your hiking boots are new or old, come prepared with blister protection. We recommend a type of second skin called “Band-Aid Blister Block” (you can find it in different shapes and sizes, depending on the area of the foot you need to protect, at drugstores). Make sure you read the instructions, as it is not applied to your skin like regular second skin (your guide can also help you).

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