The Hidden Italy guided walking tour to Verona and the Dolomites is a real treat: "Absolutely a wonderful experience, my high expectations have been exceeded in every sense. Our rating? 12/10! Thank you." PG 2013.
The tour starts in Verona, one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in Italy. After an aperitif in our hotel (a 4-star in the pedestrian centre, where Maria Callas used to stay), we'll have a traditional dinner in one of the town's finest osterias. Dinner.
This morning we'll be taken on a guided walk around this fascinating city, which has been an important military stronghold guarding the access to the Alps since Roman times and was one of the great Renaissance cities in northern Italy. Mauro, our expert guide, is a local through and through, has degrees in art history and architecture and is possibly related to everyone in Verona. We'll finish with a light lunch in a local trattoria. The rest of the day and evening are free. Lunch.
Today we drive north, into the heart of the Dolomites. Following the 'wine road’ beside the banks of the Adige River. We will then stop at a spectacular 14th century castle for a light lunch in the courtyard and a visit to its museum (dedicated to mountaineering).
We then continue into the Dolomites. Our base for the next four nights is in a lovely family-run hotel on the edge small town at the far end of a spectacular valley. Dinner will be at our hotel (Dinner).
Our first walk in the mountains is a spectacular introduction to the Dolomites. We take a cable car to the top of the northern side of the valley (2,500 metres) from where you have breathtaking 360 degree views over the whole mountain range, stretching to the horizon on all sides. From here we take a good path across down through alpine pastures to a mountain lodge for lunch (10 kms, 3 hrs,Grade 2 click for details).
After lunch the more energetic can continue down hill back to the hotel (8 kms 2 hrs, Grade 2, click for details). Otherwise, the others can take a cable car back to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel (Dinner).
Today we drive to Bolzano, the capital of the Alto Adige, a pretty town on a river with a long history and strong Austrian feel. We stop in the hills above Bolzano for a short walk down hill through lovely in forests (6 kms, 1.5 hrs, Grade 2 click for details) to a cable car (there is also the option of taking an historic train down) which we’ll take down to Bolzano.
After lunch, we will visit one of the highlights of the region: the excellent museum dedicated to Otzi, the 5000 year old 'Iceman’ found in 1991 before returning to our valley. Dinner is at our hotel (Dinner).
The walk today starts with another cable car ride, this time up the southern side of the valley (2,000 metres) from where we walk across the beautiful rolling pastures, across a vast undulating amphitheatre of alpine meadows surrounded by some of the most spectacular ranges in the area. After a picnic lunch, we continue under soaring cliffs, where we get a lift back to the hotel. (14 kms, 4 hrs, Grade 2 click for details).
For the energetic there is the option of following a trail down through forest and into the valley to our base (4 kms) (Lunch and dinner).
Today we leave the valley, driving north to visit one of the prettiest towns in the region. From here we drive into the mountains, stopping for lunch along the way. Our base for the next four nights is a pretty village in a Ladino speaking valley, one of the more secluded and spectacular in the Dolomites. Our family-run hotel overlooks the village, surrounded by pastures filled with lowing cows and frolicking donkeys. Dinner is at our hotel (Dinner).
Today we drive up to the southern side of the valley, picking up an unsealed forestry road that takes us through pine forests, over the ridge and into the neighbouring valley, stopping for a picnic lunch on the way. On the way down the other side, we pass through a number of 'viles', clusters of ancient timber farmhouses and barns that have survived from another era (9 kms, 4 hrs, Grade 2 click for details).
After well-earned refreshments at the local village, we'll be picked up and driven back to our base, stopping to visit a recently restored 14th century castle which houses a fine ethnographic museum. Dinner at our hotel (Lunch and dinner).
Today you have two options. Option 1: drive across the Brennero Pass into Austria to visit the marvelous city of Innsbruck (formerly an important centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Innsbruck remains the capital of the Tyrol regional, of which the Dolomites were part for 400 years until 1919 when they were annexed to Italy). Option 2: have a relaxing day in our valley, including a morning walk and lunch. We’ll regroup in the evening for dinner (Dinner).
This morning we drive to the head of our valley then up a steep winding road into the rugged beauty in the heart of the National Park, to a mountain lodge which is perched on a plateau surrounded by soaring mountains.
We'll spend the day exploring this area, including a morning walk (6kms, 2 hrs, Grade 2, click for details), followed by lunch and a stroll to the 'green' lake to see the 'parliament of marmots', a colony of furry mountain critters and the site of one of the most famous Ladino legends, before driving back down to our base. Dinner is at our hotel (Dinner).
Today we leave the valley, picking up the famous Strada delle Dolomiti (the Great Dolomite Road) which was built by the Austrians in the early 1900s and is one of the most beautiful roads in the Alps. On the way we pass under the Marmolada group, the highest peaks in the Dolomites, where we'll stop for lunch, before descending to the town Cortina d'Ampezzo, the 'Queen of the Dolomites' and host of the 1956 Winter Olympics.
A little faded from its heydays in the 1960s and 70s, Cortina still has a lot of charm and a wonderful setting in a sunny upland basin, with magnificent views of the mountains on all sides. Our very nice, new 4-star hotel set in greenery, is a lovely short walk from town. The evening is free (Lunch).
The final walk is one of the most famous and spectacular in the Alps - a circular walk around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a 40 minute drive from Cortina. The walking route follows a mountain path that loops around the base of this extraordinary formation, three jagged peaks rising over 3000 metres - a fitting grand-finale to the tour. (10 kms, 4 hrs, Grade 3 click for details, there is the option to shorten this walk).
After a picnic lunch, we return to Cortina. Our farewell dinner will be at our hotel (Lunch and dinner).
After breakfast, we will be transferred to Venice/Mestre, 1.5 hours away, with a first stop at Venice airport (which has water taxis and vaporettos directly into Venice) and then on to Mestre station (which has national and international rail connections).
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Verona and the Dolomites in autumn: 13 days / 12 nights
11 September to 23 September, 2020
The 2019 tour is fully booked.
Tour Size7 to 15 people
Single supplement $850 (double room for single use)
- 12 nights accommodation (see the itinerary for details) in 4-star boutique hotels
- All breakfast, and all lunches and dinners (wine included) listed in the itinerary
- All transfers and activities during the tours
- All taxes and service charges at the hotels and restaurants
- All paid admissions during the tour
- 7 guided walks
- Guided sight seeing tours of Bolzano and Innsbruck
- Services of a full-time professional tour guide
Verona and Dolomites walking tour: Verona to Cortina FAQs
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"Our second time.... and it gets better and better! Your efforts in looking after the "Dirty Dozen" are without comparison. Thank you for a wonderful trip, we have seen parts of the Dolomites we would never have discovered on our own."
– Robbie N, Verona and the DolomitesView all Testimonials ›