Walking Holidays

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

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Tel. 01799 513331 - - Open Today - 9am to 5.30pmCollett's Ltd. is ABTA bonded W6883 - Travel with confidence
Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

Over the last two weeks we have been incredibly spoilt with fun and fascinating local events across the Zugspitze Arena. For the midsummer solstice the hills were literally alive; each year local families create incredible images out of fire that burn high in the mountains after sunset. This years ‘Bergfeuer’ was dedicated to the ordination of a local priest, so the mountain fires were of a religious theme with altar tables, crucifixes and even the face of christ appearing on our highest peaks! The ordination itself was a huge event in the village, where a parade was held in the church square accompanied by a large brass band in traditional dress.

Accommodation in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
The Picos de Europa
Accommodation in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Organised or Self Guided Walking Holiday in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Potes
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa
Self Catering Chalets and Apartments in the Picos de Europa

Plenty more lederhosen were to be seen later in the week at the ‘Tirolean Abend’ at the Zugspitzsaal, the local community centre. Staff and guests sauntered down after dinner to enjoy an oom-pah-pah band, traditional dance, wood chopping and of course…plenty schnapps consumption! And for those that hadn’t had their fill of schnapps, there was a healthy sized group in presence the following day for the free tour of the local schnapps factory (with tastings!).

To round off the week, we were treated to the Alberg Classic Car Rally, where an amazing array of vintage vehicles were driven through Ehrwald’s main square by well known Austrian racing drivers and other celebrities. The Hotel Sonnenspitze’s sun terrace was the prime location for watching the cars drive by whilst enjoying a nice drink in the sunshine!

Do not worry that you have missed out on all the fun! There is an entire programme of local events that is produced weekly by tourist information- we will always have copies readily available here for you to look at.

Many thanks to Kate for the words and photos. She’ll be sending in pictures and blogging for us regularly from the Austrian Alps! Dafydd has also been supplying us with some beautiful landscape shots of the walking and mountains for our blogs, website and Facebook page – Thank you!

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Here in Ehrwald we do like to treat our guests to trips abroad, and what adventure could be better than a visit to the top of Germany?! At 2962m, the Zugspitze is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as Germany’s highest mountain. It can be approached via cable car from Ehrwald, or from the beautiful lake Eibsee just over the border in Germany. In fact, the border itself runs over the Zugspitze’s western summit meaning that you can spend time in both countries at the top, with a small tunnel connecting the separate German and Austrian tourist areas. The number of facilities available is really quite incredible, and you can even chose to dine in a large outdoor cafe/bar or in one of two stunning restaurants offering ‘Bavarian Haute Cuisine’…all with free Wifi! There are museums on both the German and Austrian sides, however we would strongly recommend a trip around the Austrian museum which gives a fascinating insight into the history of the mountain and the construction of its various trains and cable cars.

Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
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Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Seebensee - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Seebensee - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Low level walking holidays in Austria Low level walking holidays in Austria
Low level walking holidays in Austria Low level walking holidays in Austria
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Seebensee - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Seebensee - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze in the Austrian Alps
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Walking in the Austrian Alps Walking in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Ramblers holidays in Austria Ramblers holidays in Austria
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Seebensee - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps Seebensee - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps Walking and hiking holidays in the Austrian Alps

As you would expect, the views from Germany’s highest vantage point are just ridiculous! On a clear day, there are over 400 visible peaks in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland, including the highest mountains in the eastern Alps such as the Großglockner (3,798 m), Wildspitze (3,768 m), Ortler (3,905 m) and Piz Bernina (4,049 m). There is even the opportunity to wave to our friends in the Dolomites, with the Marmolada (3, 343 m) making an appearance on the horizon. You can easily spend a couple of hours soaking up these magnificent views over a coffee or a beer, and we recommend getting an early (ish- you are on holiday!) lift in the morning to beat the queues and to allow time for a walk to the nearby Hochthörle Hütte for lunch in the afternoon. Of course, for the super keen there is the option of walking to the summit from Ehrwald- ask us for more details!

The Ehrwald-Zugspitze cable car is open daily from 8.40 am to 4.40pm, and departs every 20 minutes.
A return journey costs 39 euros, however this journey is included in the Z Ticket, a local lift pass that allows multiple use of lifts throughout the Zugspitze arena, as well as several other attractions. We will talk this all through with you on your arrival.

Many thanks to Toni and David for your fab photos!

Many thanks to Kate for the words and photos. She’ll be sending in pictures and blogging for us regularly from the Austrian Alps! Dafydd has also been supplying us with some beautiful landscape shots of the walking and mountains for our blogs, website and Facebook page – Thank you!

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We have watched Ehrwald spring into action throughout the past few weeks, and today the Coburger Hütte- a favourite amongst locals- opened its doors, serving up amazing food and views of two turquoise mountain lakes. This week’s walk programme has featured visits to several other higher level huts, including the Bichlbacher, Tuftl and Hochfelden Alms. And what better way to reward yourself after a hard climb than with some local treats?! Here are some tips and tempting photos to familiarise you with the local dishes ready for your visit (or for some of you just some delicious memories!)

1) Kaiserschmarrn

As seen here being devoured by Barry and Tony alongside a beer, Kaiserschmarrn is a light, caramelised shredded pancake served with fruit compote, traditionally made of plums or apples. Portions tend to be giant sized, so best to share with friends after a walk, or perhaps after lunch if you’re feeling naughty!

2) Aufschnitt

AKA ‘cold cuts’, an Aufschnitt Platter offers a great selection of local meats, usually served with a selection of pickles, onions, vegetables and of course bread and butter. Perfect for a sunny afternoon, and also usually enough for at least two to enjoy.

3) Kaffee und Kuchen

If you thought the Brits did a good afternoon tea, wait until you see how they do it in Austria! Whilst the mountain huts tend to offer slightly more robust options such as warm apple strudel, cosmopolitan spots such as Ehrwald’s Cafe Leitner offer far more intricate delicacies. Here are Jim, John, Carole and Val enjoying Mocha Eclairs, Apple Streusel and Tropical Fruit Gateaux at the famous Cafe Kroner in nearby Garmisch. Yummy!

4) Almdudler

A popular Austrian soft drink made of grapes, apples and herbs, this refreshing tipple is a lovely alternative to alcohol or indeed the world-dominating coca cola. Best served on a sun terrace with a bright blue cloudless sky.

…and of course there are those scrumptious packed lunches made by yours truly- at 2962 metres what could possibly taste better than a ham roll?!

Many thanks to Kate for the words and photos. She’ll be sending in pictures and blogging for us regularly from the Austrian Alps! Dafydd has also been supplying us with some beautiful landscape shots of the walking and mountains for our blogs, website and Facebook page – Thank you!

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Walking the Seebensee Classic and the Pitznegg Peak

The first ever Collett’s season in the Austrian Alps is officially underway! Our brave firsts guests are reaching the end of their week with us and we’ve had a fantastic few days exploring walk routes, alpine cuisine and the ins and outs of the Hotel Sonnenspitze. It’s fair to say that all hotel guests will certainly eat well, with an extensive buffet breakfast, mid-afternoon snack and extravagant five course meal being provided for you every day (except wednesdays, the day off). Both ourselves and our self-catered guests have enjoyed trying out the local restaurants in Ehrwald and nearby Lermoos- many of which we can highly recommend! We’ve also made use of a fair few huts and alms out on the walks, with awesome views, great food… and delicious local beer!

Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain
Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain - English Iris
Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain
High level walking in the Pyrenees with Collett's
Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain
Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain
Self Guided Walking Holidays in Spain with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain
Wild and Alpine Flowers in the Pyrenees and Spain

Walks this first week have varied from the gentle ‘Seebensee Classic’, a must-do which visits the stunning most photographed lake in Austria, to the ‘Pitznegg Peak’, a fairly gruelling steep ascent for the more hardcore walkers amongst us (but with unmissable views of the arena from the summit!). We have also been blessed to have three very knowledgable botanists amongst our guests, who have shared some incredible facts and enthusiasm regarding the local alpine flowers. This evening we will round off the week with our local and general knowledge quiz to see how tuned in our guests have been- if you’re planning a visit later in the season, we advise you start revising now!!!

Many thanks to Kate for the words and photos. She’ll be sending in pictures and blogging for us regularly from the Austrian Alps!

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Spring in the Zugspitze Arena

Clare, Dafydd, Kate and Kelly our resort team in Ehrwald, arrived in Austria and spent two wonderful weeks getting to know the magnificent Zugspitze Arena. Our local experts the Lockwoods have been an incredible source of knowledge and guidance; having now passed Robert’s ‘local information exam’ (phew!) you will be pleased to know that our brains are now bulging with facts, figures, and expertise which we look forward to sharing with you! Meanwhile, Lesley’s outstanding baking has been a welcome treat after long days of exploration.

Ehrwald, Austrian Alps Ehrwald, Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
Hotel Sonnenspitze, Ehrwald Hotel Sonnenspitze, Ehrwald
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Low level walking holidays in Austria Low level walking holidays in Austria
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The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps

We have witnessed winter melt away and already the first signs of summer are showing, with local Haflinger calves making their way into the village meadows where more and more beautiful flowers are emerging each day. With crystal clear mountainous lakes, stunning alpine vistas, infinite flora and fauna and the warmest hospitality, this gem of the Tyrol really is the perfect spot for your walking holiday in Austria. Most importantly, with four mountain ranges to chose from, you are placed in a completely unique landscape which can provide a perfect walk for everyone. We can’t wait to show you our new home!

Collett’s Mountain Holidays launched walking holidays in Austria at Ehrwald in the Zugspitze Arena in May 2014. We are also pleased to be offering the extensive local knowledge of Robert & Lesley Lockwood, formerly of Alpine Arena to help us establish ourselves in the Austrian Tyrol.

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Spring Recces in the Austrian Alps

We have exciting news from our base in Ehrwald in the Tyrol. In contrast to the amazing winter conditions in Northern Italy and the Dolomites, Austria has had one of the sunniest, driest and warmest winters on record. Spring has arrived early in the high mountains in this beautiful part of Austria. It is official that on our first high level walk to Pitzenegg 2174m (see I&I laminates when in resort) that we have had sightings of the spring gentian, soldenella (see photos) and many more stunning Alpine Flowers.

We are delighted at this news as those who are booking for spring and early summer with us to the Zugspitz arena are promised a fabulous display of alpine and meadow flowers. We cannot wait!!

Ehrwald, Austrian Alps Ehrwald, Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
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The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps
The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps The Zugspitze Arena & Ehrwald - Walking holidays in the Austrian Alps

Collett’s Mountain Holidays will be launching walking holidays Austria at Ehrwald in the Zugspitze Arena in May 2014. We are also pleased to be offering the extensive local knowledge of Robert & Lesley Lockwood, formerly of Alpine Arena to help us establish ourselves in the Austrian Tyrol.

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The Silk Route

Today’s walk in Andalucia had guests wandering along an ancient bandit mule track which was once used to transport Silk from Competa to Granada. In more recent years, this track has become part of the GR7 route through Andalucía and is one of few paths which lead you straight into the heart of the Sierra Almijara Natural Park.

Once again the morning sun gave the impression of mid-summer as we set off on a short 15 minute drive to the start of the route. As the car wound its way up the valley to the top of Competa, the guests seemed relieved that some of the ascent had already been knocked off. I soon changed that by pointing uphill and the realisation of why this was classed a ‘hard’ walk soon became apparent.

After a short trundle past an old lime kiln and through some scrub, we emerged onto a wide track which enabled the group to mingle some more. Our keen bird watcher of the day, Stephen, kept an eye on the sky for the infamous Golden Eagle as the ladies enjoyed smelling the Rosemary and Lemon Thyme which covered the area en masse.

Hut to hut walking and trekking in Italy
Hut to Hut Hiking Tre Cime
Hut to Hut - Tre Cime - Italian Dolomites
Hut to Hut Hiking Tre Cime
High level hut to hut walking holidays
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Rifugio Lagazuoi
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
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Hut to Hut walking holidays
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Rifugio Lagazuoi - Hut to Hut Trekking in the Dolomites with Collett's
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Self Guided Hut to Hut Walking - Rifugio Tierser Alpl
Hut to Hut walking holidays
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut walking holidays
Self Guided Hut to Hut hiking in the Italian Dolomites
Self Guided Hut to Hut Walking - Rifugio Tierser Alpl
Self Guided Hut to Hut Walking - Rifugio Tierser Alpl
Self Guided Hut to Hut hiking in the Italian Dolomites
Hut to Hut walking holidays
Hut to Hut walking holidays
Hut to Hut walking holidays
Hut to Hut walking holidays
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Self Guided Hut to Hut Walking - Rifugio Lavarella
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to Hut Hikes and treks in Italy
Hut to hut in the Dolomites
Self Guided Hut to hut trekking with Collett's

As we reached the highest point, views across the Sierra Almijara opened up over the rolling mountains and down to the coast of Torre Del Mar. A slight haze from the sun created a picturesque scene around El Lucero, a pointy peak which is a popular route for walkers and one on offer later in the week; the lighting up of a few faces suggested some guests would definitely be up for the challenge.

Stepping off the wide track and back onto a narrow, rocky path the out and back route allowed guests to set their own pace without the worry of getting lost. A mix of woodland walking and open pathway was enjoyed along undulating terrain and the passing of kiln ruins added a sense of Spanish history. Arriving at the second ruined ventor (Ventor Pradillos) we decided this would be a great place to stop and have a picnic in the sunshine to admire the coast.

Although walking back along the same path is not always preferred, this particular stretch deemed perfect for bird watching and allowed a new view in the opposite direction. Once we hit the track again we began our descent back to Canillas de Albaida, without meeting a single car I might add.

Arriving back into the village mid-afternoon the last bit of sun was enjoyed in the square with a beer. Oh and by the way, Stephen was very pleased with himself as he did spot a Golden Eagle today after all! Note to self, always remember to take binoculars on walk because you never know what you might spot here in the Andalucian Mountains.

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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Canillas to Competa

A brand new destination, a hotel full of enthusiastic guests new to the area and plentiful picturesque walks to enjoy; welcome to Canillas de Albaida, a beautiful white Spanish village in the high mountains of Andalucía.

Collett’s walk organisers, Rich Manterfield and Kelly Diggle joined Andalucia Walking expert Mick Smith who has been living and working in Andalucía for the past 13 years and has extensive knowledge about Andalucia, Canillas and the surrounding villages.

To kick start a wonderful week of walking in the mountains, Mick shares his extensive knowledge of the area as he leads the group to Competa, an equally charming community, whereby tapas and wine-tasting can be enjoyed at the local Bodega Jarel; a short walk perfect for the first day exploring a new location and an ideal setting to get to know your fellow walkers of the week.

Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago
Hike the Camino de Santiago

Setting off for a quick tour around the village of Canillas, the sun was already feeling incredibly warm for this time of year. As we wandered past old buildings and quirky narrow streets Mick explained a bit about the history of the area. Everybody was thinking the same thing; the streets were incredibly quiet as only waggy-tailed dogs crossed our path. As jackets came off and trousers were shortened, we headed off up the hill to the top of the village and on our way to begin the days walk.

It wasn’t long before we hit a slightly narrower track which took us amongst the scrub and past colourful lemon, orange and olive trees, whilst flower enthusiasts amid the group pointed out favourite species.

Arriving alongside Competa we could see that it was twice the size of Canillas. With an hour to explore the village, guests dispersed to find a nice spot for lunch – the most popular offered a plate of delicious tapas and a seat in the sun. The tall, brown church steeple stood out from its white surroundings which provided the perfect meeting place and a good spot to people watch (whilst enjoying an ice-cream if you couldn’t resist).

The afternoon plan, arranged by Mick himself, was to visit the local Bodega. Maria, the current owner along with her small family, welcomed our group by explaining the wine-making process followed by a tasting session sat out in the sun. A long table laid out with fresh olives, cheeses and meats meant the selection of dry, sweet and very sweet wines went down a treat! Conversation flowed and as the sun began to sink we made our way back along the road to end the day with an easy stroll. What better way to get to know the other guests than by enjoying a glass or two of traditional, local and refreshing Spanish wine?

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.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

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.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Whilst in the UK it is very difficult to spend a night in the mountains away from the hustle and bustle, in the Dolomites it is possible to escape for a night (or three) to enjoy a very unique experience in a mountain hut or rifugio.

If you prefer a bit more comfort than what is afforded by the hut on the Col di Lana (featured in the blog below), you can spend nights out in the mountains – we can easily organise self guided hut to hut itineraries in the Dolomites.

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Chalet Verena, Corvara
Skiing Holidays
Skiing above Arabba
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Collett’s now offers self guided hut to hut holidays in the Dolomites from late June to mid-September. You choose the itinerary and dates that take your fancy, whilst we take care of all necessary arrangements, including the provision of maps, route notes and airport transfers to and from Venice or Treviso. We accommodate you in Badia or Corvara on the first and last nights of your holiday. Click here for more information on our hut to hut walking itineraries.

The Col di Lana

The Col Di Lana, standing at 2452m, is a mountain situated in the Livinallongo del Col Di Lana a few Km East of Arabba. During World War 1, it was the scene of heavy fighting which resulted in over 200 deaths, many due to avalanches alone. When the Austrians discovered that the Italians had silently executed a mine in the peak, they retaliated by creating a counter mine nearby before blowing it up. This resulted in a loss of almost 100m from the summit of Col Di Lana and was surrounded by the Austrians in 1916.

Slide background
Webcam from Rifugio Bioch, between Corvara & Arabba
View of Santa Croce and the Alta Badia above Badia from Rifugio Bioch
Webcam from Rifugio Nagler, above Badia
Webcam from Rifugio Moritizino, between Corvara & Badia
Webcam from Piz La Ila, between Corvara & Badia
Webcam of Corvara
Webcam from Piz La Ila, between Corvara & Badia
Badia Webcam from Haus Valentin
Webcam from Chalet Haus Valentin

A continued interest in the peaks history alongside stunning views and a challenging walk is what has kept Col Di Lana on the map for both locals and tourists alike. A chapel stands on the summit as a memorial to the soldiers who died during the war and communications trenches have been left for visitors to explore. On top of that, a small hut just metres from the summit has been built to encourage avid walkers to enjoy a sheltered lunch, or even to stay the night.

The room holding two bunks beds has been personalised by previous guests and includes a wardrobe of blankets, dried food stuffs and a pack of cards. The adjoining room is complimented by a large wooden table and bench, perfect for eating, socialising and playing games as the view of Marmolada can be enjoyed from the window. For added effect, note books have been left in hope for frequent messages from the huts valued customers; an interesting read dating as far back as 2009.

A popular route up to Col Di Lana follows path #21 which starts just north of Soraru. Expect to climb 700m across 3.5km and enjoy stunning views over Civetta, Pelmo and the surrounding Dolomite mountains as you reach gaps in the tree line. The steep climb becomes worthwhile as the summit comes in to view, followed by a breath-taking 360⁰ view of the surrounding mountains.

If a challenging but pleasant walk and an exciting night in the hut won’t suffice, might I suggest setting the alarm clock in time for sunrise. Enjoy blissful silence as the sun creeps up from behind the Fanes National Park, catching a glimpse of the orange glowing Limestone. The Marmots will soon awaken and can be heard from the valleys below; keep your eyes peeled for Chamois bouncing across the scree.

An evening on the Col Di Lana can be enjoyed either alone, with friends or family and is an easily accessible home from home. An evening in the hut is cost free but an unobtrusive donation box can be found near to the door. It is just one of the Dolomites treats that will have you begging the question – “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

The First World War

In July, August and September Collett’s offers WWI Historical Walks for you to learn more about what happened in the Dolomites on the Austrian – Italian front during the First World War.

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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