Via Ferrata, Dolomites: Walking Holidays in Italy

Not recommended for anyone with vertigo, the Via Ferrata in the Dolomites, consisting of iron wrung ladders, footpaths and rope bridges, are an exhilarating series of routes that allow non-mountaineers to experience the higher peaks and most dramatic scenery of this most beautiful of mountain ranges.

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Harriet, Kate L and Victoria are here to help give you the inside track.

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Best Time To Visit

May - Aug

The original series of 'iron ways' through the mountains were originally used by locals to cross from valley to valley but the routes were significantly expanded during the Tyrolean campaign in World War One, one of the most vicious arenas in the entire war that saw the Italians and Austrians slugging it out in often appalling conditions. The routes were used to move supplies, ammunition and men around, and the war years also saw the creation of opposing trenches, many of which are still clearly visible today, often astonishingly close together.

The Via Ferrata in the Dolomites vary in difficulty from sedate mountain footpaths to challenging overhead multi pitch climbs, and these more difficult routes are what attracts US and UK special forces to the Dolomites for mountain warfare training courses.

The historical element of any exploration of the Via Ferrata is fascinating enough, but the real stars of the show are the breathtaking views around almost every corner. We can arrange for Via Ferrata of varying degrees of difficulty suitable for complete beginners or pro climbers and everyone in between. It might all sound a little adrenaline-fuelled and nerve-wracking, but the most simple routes - little more than mountain footpaths - still offer stunning scenic views, and when the going gets a little more difficult, there are metal railings that you can hook up to, adding an additional level of safety. Even better, all the trips are lead by highly qualified and extremely knowledgeable mountain guides who know the area intimately.

Days trips are possible, but it's well worth considering longer itineraries with overnight stays in charming rifugios. These remote mountain lodges are a far cry from those in France and Switzerland, and rather than dormitories full of snoring Germans, you can expect private rooms and delicious Tyrolean food and wine that will feel particularly well earned after a day traversing the stunning Dolomites.

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Where to stay

Hotel Rosa Alpina, Dolomites, Italy

Hotel Rosa Alpina

Hotel Rosa Alpina is located in the small village of San Cassiano, in the northern Italian province of Bolzano, and is owned and managed by the Pizzinini family (members of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group). Surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the Dolomites the hotel has a warm atmosphere of a chic alpine lodge, with log fires and décor based on natural materials such as wood and linen.

Ciasa Antersies hotel, luxury hotel in Italy

Ciasa Antersies

Hotel Ciasa Antersies is an excellent apartment hotel, set in the beautiful surrounds of the Dolomites.

Panoramic view  at San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge (White Deer)

Whether in the worlds of food, fast cars or fashion the Italians are a pretty stylish bunch so it comes as no surprise that San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge (also known as White Deer) in the Dolomites is utterly immaculate.

Ciasa Salares exterior

Hotel Ciasa Salares

Escape to the charming Hotel Ciasa Salares, situated in Val Badia at the heart of the Dolomites. Built above central San Cassiano, this family-run hotel is surrounded by verdant pastures and the woods of Fanes Park, in the land of the ‘Ladin’ people.

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Harriet, Kate L and Victoria are our The Dolomites experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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