Walking Holidays

Europe’s majestic mountains ~ with a genuine specialist
Organised & Self-guided Walking

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Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

With so many activities on offer during the summer months, it comes as no surprise that chalets, apartments and hotels alike are bursting at the seams during peak season here in the Italian Dolomites; But what about the low season? Despite a somewhat ‘sleepy’ atmosphere, the Alta Badia comes to life in June as the snow smelts and the South Tyrolean’s prepare to open their doors for another memorable season.

Group hiking on the GR11
The GR11
hike the GR11 in the Pyrenees with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Group hiking on the GR11
Group hiking on the GR11
Group hiking on the GR11
Hiking the GR11 in the Pyrenees
Group hiking on the GR11
hike the GR11 in the Pyrenees with Collett's Mountain Holidays
High level walking in the Pyrenees with Collett's
Walking in the Pyrenees with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Self Guided Walking Holidays in Spain with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Walking holidays in the Pyrenees - Hotel Sabocos, Panticosa
The GR11
High level walking in the Pyrenees
Group hiking on the GR11
Group hiking on the GR11
Group hiking on the GR11

There are a few things that define the Dolomites during June which create a contrasting atmosphere to the rest of the summer months. Patches of snow remain high upon the peaks that glisten in the sunshine; the melting run-off keeps rivers flowing high, filling the natural lakes whilst providing deliciously chilled drinking water found in troughs along the walking paths. The snow capped peaks against the fresh bloom of wildflowers creates a photographer’s playground; add to the scene with vast protruding mountains, quaint wooden huts and a friendly Marmot and you have a recipe for endless photo opportunities.

It is safe to say that temperatures are still quite low during this time and that most people come away on holiday to enjoy hot days and warm evenings outside. It has to be said however, that these cooler temperatures make for perfect walking conditions, especially in the mountains. Whether venturing out on an easier, moderate or high level walk, ascent is non-avoidable whilst exploring the alpine world, and with ascent comes a rise in core temperature – that’s when you can be glad it isn’t reaching over 25⁰!

Imagine yourself immersed in the Dolomites Mountains; do you see vast open meadows, an endless rim of peaks, and quiet towns with hardly a soul in sight? Perfect! June sits outside the annual school holiday and as most people will wait for peak season to take a break, cheap flights and discounts are blindly slipping away. Collett’s offer a 10% discount for the first two weeks of June and offer a full programme of walks in low season for people who wish to join organised days at a time when the mountains are quiet. Self-driving is much more enjoyable at this time of year as the roads are practically empty and the freedom to go further afield opens up a variety of locations. Later openings of mountain huts encourages a memorable picnic out on the hills, something which can we particularly enjoyed amongst the flora and fauna without much disturbance from other walkers.

Local events kick off the summer season with exciting music festivals and cultural activities. Corvara host presentations and exhibitions about the mountains, whilst Badia promote sports events and focus highly on cycling in the run up to the Sellaronda on the 23rd June. The Sellaronda bike day, a 55km ride conquering 4 of the main passes, is free for all to take part starting anywhere on the course, for as long as you want (or can physically manage!) – A fantastic personal challenge for the avid cyclist out there. With one starting point in Corvara, it is possible to sit and observe those partaking whilst enjoying a gelato or a fresh Italian coffee. Let’s not forget to mention the Maratona dles Dolomites, a well-known cycling race which sees serious riders from all over the world take on the mountainous roads. This end of the month event brings with it a ‘pasta party’ and evening music entertainment, not something to be missed.

Arguably the main attraction for a June holiday in the Dolomites is the explosion of colour in the wildflower meadows. The mountains come alive with some of the best floral sites in Europe, with a possibility of seeing hundreds of rare species. A range of habitats including upland meadows and rocky outcrops home beautiful orchids and an impressive composition of mauves, pinks, yellows and reds; creating a botanical array which would come as a struggle to recreate in a typical garden back home. The alpine pastures are at their best during early/mid June and it is the perfect opportunity to head out with one of Collett’s flower walkers. Organised walks are on offer 5 days a week, free of charge – a perfect way to spend a day (or maybe even two!) seeking out the rare Lady’s slipper Orchid, increasing your flower knowledge and practising your photography skills in capturing such delicate subjects. With a perfectly positioned mountainous backdrop and quiet paths at this time of the year, you will practically have the enjoyment of the wildflower meadows all to yourself.

So, if you intend to self-drive during your holiday, wish to enjoy the vast array of mountain paths to yourself and are keen to experience some exquisite wildflowers unique to the area, then booking your holiday in June is a good a time as any.

Walking Holidays with Collett’s

It is always great when a group of people collectively venture out for the day somewhere unknown. A simple shared interest, such as walking holidays in Europe, bring people from all different backgrounds together, beginning as strangers but ending with a real sense of connection – a sign of a good day out in the mountains!

This was particularly true late in August 2013, as Chalet Angelo guests headed to the northern Dolomites for a walk around Sas de Putia. Neither myself, or our guests had explored this area before, so we started the day by planning our route on the map with Emma, our walk organiser for the day. Sas de Putia stood over us as we made our way round the circular route along the gravel path. It soon seemed rather busy as we climbed the many switchbacks and realised that we were walking part of the Alta Via 2 – a hut to hut excursion still very popular at this time of the year.

Venice in Winter
Venice in Winter
Mountain & city breaks - Venice Hotels
Mountain & city breaks - Venice Hotels
Venice in Winter

We reached a point where a route to the left could be taken to the summit. Gazing up into the low, grey cloud perched right on top, we were all thankful today’s walk wouldn’t take us up there. That couldn’t be said however, for one of Haus Valentin’s guests who caught us up and excitedly prepared for the 1A Via Ferrata to the top! I was already looking forward to hearing all about it over dinner that evening.

As we descended across wide-spread grasslands, the walk suddenly became very unique. In the distance we would hear a low booming sound coming from the edge of a hill. Upon approach, we came across 3 very large wooden horns; an instant temptation. Everybody gave it a go, blasting out funny sounds across the valley and creating intrigue for the next walkers drawing near. Carvings of snails, an eagle and even a bicycle sat in the surrounding area, a fantastic hand-made collection by very proud local people. What a very unprecedented and unforeseen addition to our walk that could be enjoyed by everybody.

Just when we thought it was over, another charming place came into view as we traversed our way along a rocky path. Munt de fornella, a small wooden restaurant stood with a beautiful back-drop of the Sas de Putia peak. A sweet signpost pointed to places across the globe, as well as their distance – even the 15m walk to the restaurant itself had been included. Docile goats wandered the premises, ponies stood munching the grass nearby and a low hum of a happy crowd filled the place with a sense of contentment after a long days walking!

Collett’s Blogs

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

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When thinking of a mountain holiday many of us may think that this activity is exclusive to professional climbers, sportsmen and adrenaline junkies alone. Here at Collett’s we aim to prove this notion wrong – with holidays in the mountains available for absolutely everyone. Seaside holidays are ten-a-penny, sightseeing getaways are typically too expensive, spa resort holidays can be boring and cruise ships allow no room for real adventure. So why not try something different? Try something unique, memorable and completely customisable to your own personal wishes.

Whilst holidaying with us in any of our fantastic destinations, you choose when you arrive, when you leave, where you wish to stay and what activities you’d like to take part in. In a nut shell – your holiday is tailored and designed totally by you. All of our organised walks are completely free and utilise our unrivalled knowledge of the Dolomites area; running every day apart from Wednesday. For self-guided walks, we are always happy to help with route planning, recommendations and advice.

Italian Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites is one of the most awe-inspiring valleys in the Alps and provides a picture-perfect environment for walking holidays. With such a wide range of different routes available to you, at various different grades, the Dolomites really are the envy of the rest of Europe. The area also includes two National Parks, a range of rare flowers and birds, old WWI sites and the magnificent Sella massif and Marmolada (3343m mountain). Collett’s exact location in the Dolomites is set in the neighbouring villages of Badia and Corvara within the Val Badia.

Moderate Walking in the Passo Gardena
Easy walking in the Val Badia

Accommodation: We have four fantastic chalet hotels available, all with en-suite bedrooms and excellent cuisine. You also have the choice between three mountain hotels, all of which come with spectacular views and incredible hospitality. Your options are full-board, half-board, self-catering and B&B – the choice is up to you. All accommodation provided is within easy walking distance from the village centres and the starting points of many of our walks.

Activities: Whilst holidaying with us in the Dolomites you have the option of participating in the following activities:

  • High level walks on rocky terrains
  • Moderate walks through stunning mountain scenery
  • Easy treks along woodland and riverside paths
  • Floral walks with a flower specialist throughout June & July
  • Painting strolls take you somewhere majestic armed with watercolours
  • Self-guided walks allow you to roam independently with the use of our expert knowledge

Extras: The Dolomites has a wealth of amazing extra activities for you to take part in, including tours of the famous Via Ferrata and World War walks that take place every Wednesday. There are also guided glacier tours and summit ascents available on the same day. We can help you hire a mountain bike for your adventures and can also put you in contact with local suppliers of alpine pursuits; including climbing walls, canyoning, white-water rafting, horse riding, tandem paragliding, golf and much more.

Picos de Europa

Located within the autonomous communities of Asturias, Cantabria, Castile & León (20km from the north coast of Spain) the spectacular mountain range forms part of the Cordillera Cantabrica. The majority of rocks in the Picos are made up of limestone and some peaks can reach altitudes up to 2,600m. The area itself, famous for its cider and piquant blue cheese, is largely protected by the Picos de Europa National Park and as such can offer some absolutely remarkable views.

Accommodation: Our main hosted accommodation is the beautiful Posada El Corcal, located 2km away from the town of Potes. With en-suite bathrooms, modern interior design and rustic tradition – this is the idyllic setting to lay your head after a day’s walk. These rooms are available as full board, half board or B&B. Alternatively; you can stay in Tama near Potes or arrange your own self-catering apartments.

Activities: Whilst holidaying with us in Picos de Europa you can participate in the following activities:

  • Hard level walks along magnificent high trails
  • Moderate rambles through meadows and the beautiful Picos massifs
  • Easy walks following woodland tracks and riverside trails
  • Floral walks throughout May and June
  • Self-guided walks of all grades with local knowledge provided

Extras: Supplements in Picos de Europa include mountain biking, horse riding, canoeing, paragliding and canyoning. Also, if you’re visiting this remarkable area you won’t want to miss the Cares Gorge or the Fuente De, where you can take cable car rides to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and atmosphere.

Organised walks with Collett’s

High level walking in the Picos

Self guided walks with Collett’s


This natural border between Spain and France spreads across approximately 491km of land and encompasses numerous National Parks along with the beautiful Valle de Tena. These magnificent assets make the Pyrenees a photographer’s heaven with beautiful wildflowers and charming scenery to revel in. Collett’s is based in Panticosa – an idyllic village placed amongst the beautiful scenery high up in the mountains.

Accommodation: The Hotel Sabocos is a wonderful 3 star hotel located in the Valle de Tena, right in the centre of the Pyrenees. With modern interior design, en-suite bathrooms and many balconies available to enjoy the view; rest assured your stay will be a comfortable and relaxing one. This hotel is available on half board or B&B basis. You also have the option of self-catering in apartments that sleep 2-6 people.

Activities: When staying with us in the Pyrenees why not take part in the following activities:

  • High level walks along the peaks of the frontier ridge and Ordesa canyon
  • Moderate strolls through wonderful wilderness areas
  • Self-guided walks of moderate and harder levels with expert advice and direction
  • Walk 5 stages of the famous GR11 footpath, involving 700-1000m ascent and 11-20km of walking

Extras: Third party suppliers also have a range of extra activities to offer, including mountain biking, horse riding, canyoning, high ropes, swimming, tennis and much more. The Mediterranean and Costa Verde are also within easy reach for something a little different.

Organised walks with Collett’s

Hike the Valle de Tena, Pyrenees

On the Pic du Midi circuit

Yorkshire Dales

You do not necessarily need to leave the country to enjoy some of the greatest views nature has to offer; here in the UK we display some of the most spectacular scenery available to man. Our base in Yorkshire is perfect for those wanting a quick and easy trip, or maybe a quiet weekend away with family and friends. Leyburn, close to Dales National Park, is where we are based; but there are many options of different walks available to you in this magnificent setting.

Accommodation: Eastfield Lodge in Leyburn is a beautiful guest house just 300 yards away from the village market square. This lodge consists of 8 en-suite bedrooms which are furnished to great taste and individuality. Each room comes with Wi-Fi, flat screen television, DVD players and unmatchable comfort. Awarded four stars by Visit England, you won’t be disappointed with your time spent here!

Activities: Yorkshire has a wealth of activities to offer, some of which include:

  • Pennhill circuit covering 11 miles, taking you through Coverdale, Bishopdale and Wensleydale
  • Fremington Edge encompasses 500m of ascent across 10 miles, providing an immaculate view of Arkengarthdale
  • Gunnerside Gill and Swinner Gill stretch across 11 miles and takes in amazing woodland and limestone scars.

Extras: There are countless other things to enjoy around the Yorkshire Dales, such as visiting nearby Middleham, Richmond, Kettleworth and Reeth. You can also see the Dales National Park Visitor Centre, the Wensleydale Railway, Aysgarth Falls and the beautiful Bolton Abbey. Wherever you choose to visit, you will not be too far away from the lodge and transport is readily accessible at most times of the day.

Another bedroom at Eastfield Lodge
One of our bedrooms in Eastfield Lodge, Leyburn
Walking in Wensleydale

Winter in the Italian Dolomites

As well as offering fantastic summertime walks in the Italian Dolomites, we also cater for winter holidays in the same stunning surroundings. When the snow falls on these mountains the landscape turns into a magical winter wonderland, perfect for winter walkers and skiers alike. Here at Collett’s we organise walks, cater for downhill skiing and also offer snowshoeing as an alternative activity. Don’t let the cold put you off – come and experience something different this winter!

Skiing the Val Mesdi
high in the Dolomites

Snowshoeing on the Pralongià Plateau above Corvara

Santa Croce above Badia

Chalet Angelo were offering some high level walking this week and one of the options took guests to Lago di Sorapis, a majestic lake just the other side of Cortina.

As the drive took us to the Falzarego Pass and away from Badia, the blue skies sadly disappeared in the distance as a huge rain cloud hovered above Cortina. Guests sat questioning why they had chosen shorts for the day as organiser Gemma reassured them that clear skies were definitely forecasted! It was a small group of five, including myself, out for the day and the route was new to everybody. We had all heard stories that Lake Sorapis is a place of awe-inspiring beauty so we could not wait to start the walk.

The first hour flew by as we all conversed, getting to know one another. It soon became evident that we were sharing the route with walkers of the Alta Via 3, a long distance hut to hut walk. The traffic built up as we begin the gentle ascent heading for the small section of protected path. One of our guests, Rebecca, commented “If she can do it, then so can I!” as she pointed to a little girl no older than 3 years. The protected ledge, which offered a trustworthy wire to hold on to, opened up fantastic views across the valley as far as the eye could see.

Views across the Gruppo del Sorapis

Soon enough, Rifugio Vandelli poked its head out of the trees in the distance. We all put a bet on how long it would take us before we were sat comfortably enjoying a coffee; at a minute past midday, it couldn’t have been better timing. It wasn’t long before our eagerness to see this supposed majestic lake overcame us, so we plodded the extra 5 minutes up the hill before it came into view.

Lago Sorapis

A simultaneous “WOW” escaped everybody. The pure blue colour of the water, the protruding rock formations in the background and the sudden arrival of sunshine (something we weren’t sure we’d see!) created a picture-perfect scene so commonly found here in the Dolomites. We took advantage of such a place by enjoying a long lunch in the sunshine as the boys headed down to skim stones across the water. Before time escaped us completely, we decided to carry on with our walk at a leisurely pace.

Up until this point, it was difficult to understand why the walk was graded as hard. However, we soon came across an interesting path which incorporated steep ascent, light scrambling and loose rock – nothing our adventurous and sure-footed guests couldn’t handle nevertheless. Reaching heights of over 2200m, views were ever extending and changeable as we wound around the rock face.

Making our way across the protected ledge, hoping for some sunshine

When you go up, you must come down. The last downhill section introduced unstable scree which had some of us down on our bums – sometimes intentionally. Much support (as well as laughs) was offered to each member of the party and we all got down safely, with thanks from our knees. A nice, flat 2km stretch brought us back to swapping stories and having a good old natter before the track brought us out right alongside the van. A great day had by all unearthing one of the many hidden gems found here in the Italian Dolomites.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer and walker, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.

Anyone who comes to the Dolomites in search of adventure is surely spoilt for choice when it comes to Via Ferrata. With 76 in the immediate area, it stands to question what makes the Brigata Tridentina so popular for our Alta Badia visitors. Walk organisers ventured out at the crack of dawn to get a feel for the Via Ferrata that receives such bright eyes and beaming smiles from our guests.

Climbers approaching the start of Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina near Corvara in the Italian Dolomites

Upon arrival to the car park just below Passo Gardena, we were not sure how long the walk in to Tridentina would be. However, after following the well signposted ‘Via Ferrata’ for ten minutes, we caught sight of the iron wire – easy! Simultaneously a large waterfall revealed itself which attracted our eye to the iron stemples creeping up the side of the rock and out of view.

Climbing on Via Ferrata Tridentina

The view over Passo Gardena to Sassongher and Corvara

The first hour of the route changed between stemples, iron pins and exposed rock. At no point did the climbing become difficult as stemples were perfectly placed when no visible footholds could be found. As we twisted round the face and climbed higher, the waterfall continued to flow alongside us among the orange-tinged limestone. Easy, manageable hand holds were obtainable throughout which took focus away from the exposure, but having the wire present meant that it could be used if needed. Breath-taking views across Passo Gardena, Corvara, Sassongher and the Fanes National Park opened up during the second hour, encouraging frequent breaks to soak it all in.

Passo Gardena

Climbing the ferrata

A local man of an older generation confidently overtook us at a safe place, whilst exchanging a warm smile and a chirpy good morning. His self-assurance and ability to do this Via Ferrata alone supported the 3B grading that this route has; any age and ability can happily complete this route with little difficulty or skill.

A small, vertical ladder took us almost to the top before bringing to light the spectacular bridge. Balanced between two separate rock faces and supported by numerous iron wires, the bridge sits above a very large ravine from where the road below can be seen – an adrenaline filled experience in itself.

Lago Pisciadu, 2500m
Rifugio Cavazza

As we reached Rifugio Cavazza, a five minute walk once unclipped, the temptation of Lago Pisciadu was upon us. With its pristine turquoise water glistening in the sunshine, we all agreed it would be perfect for a post Via Ferrata swim before heading to the balcony for a well earned Cappuccino and strudel.

For more information on Via Ferrata with Collett’s, Click here.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer and walker, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.