I just returned from a week of self-guided hiking in the Dolomites, booked with Headwater, a division of Exodus Travels. This was my ninth trip to Italy but with a country that is so diverse there is always something new to explore. And I was not to be disappointed - I would any person who likes walking and hiking recommend they put the Dolomites at the top of their bucket list.
Here is my review of Headwater's Self-Guided Walking in the Italian Dolomites.
Grade: according to the trip literature moderate. These kind of trips are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. No experience is necessary, but good health and reasonable fitness are important. Some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved, but general underfoot conditions will be fair. A walking day is normally five to seven hours and daily ascents will likely be around 500m to 800m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 900m to 1000m. I found however there was a wider range of available hikes, from short rambles to tougher hikes. A more accurate rating for this trip would be "multi-grade" Duration: 8 days Price: from CA$2,545 Best time to go: June - beginning of October. Summer holidays some trails get crowded. Accommodation: You will spend 7 nights in the beautiful 4-star Park Hotel Bellevue. It combines old-world charm with good old-fashioned hospitality. Facilities include a luxurious spa with sauna, steam room, swimming pool, massage/beauty treatments Trip link: Self-Guided Walking in the Italian Dolomites
Operator description: In the heart of the northern Italian Dolomites, close to the border with Austria and dominated by the famous Tre Cime (Three Peaks), is the beautiful Tyrolean village of Dobbiaco. A week's walking from here allows you to discover the beauty and sheer magnificence of the majestic Alta Pusteria Valley. With over 1000kms of trails, the Italian Dolomites are a mecca for high-level walkers and we provide a selection of meticulously researched route notes for walks at various levels. highlights include a high ridge path along the Austrian border with 360degree views over the Italian Dolomites and Austrian Alps, and a circular hike around the world-famous Tre Cime, three immense obelisks of sheer rock that have now become the symbol of the region. Amazingly, all of this is accessible on well-defined paths either directly from the hotel, or via a short bus or cable car ride.
Our opinion: a fantastic trip with something to offer for hikers of all abilities. The hotel is one of the best I have stayed at (wuth some incredible dinners included) and the trip notes / route descriptions are very accurate indeed and you could walk the route without the use of the maps supplied. The town of Toblach is superbly located to get around the area using buses and trains, a weekly pass for which was included. I was not prepared for the sheer beauty of the Dolomites and rate this is one of the best hiking areas in the world
Who will it appeal to: hikers liking a high degree of autonomy who like to choose what to do each day but still want help on all the available options. Who will it not appeal to: people looking for companionship or daily guiding would be better booking one of our small-group tours to the same area Our rating: Adventure Coordinators rates Headwater's Self-Guided Walking in the Italian Dolomites 9 out of 10. This is due to the great hotel, the great information provided, because I liked the independence this trip provided and due to the area it was in.
The author travelled with Headwater in October of 2019. Headwater did not review this article.