The diverse routes of the Alta Via 2
The Alta Via 2 links the largest mountain groups of the Dolomites, each one a marvel in its own right. You’ll embark on a journey through a startling, panoramic-rich wonderland, so prepare to be mesmerised at every turn. The Alta Via 2 is the longest of the Alta Via treks, its treasures include the unique lunar landscapes of the Sella and Pale di San Martino massifs, the towering peaks of the Puez-Odle group and the Queen of the Dolomites, the brilliant-white glacier of the Marmolada (3343m).
Take a walk on the wild side
The Alta Via 2 is long and rich in diversity. As you trek from one iconic massif to another, you’ll get high and remote, whilst also descending into beautiful upland pastures and woodland. Each mountain group looms from afar before you reach it, traverse it and leave it behind. Rifugios await you along the route with welcoming overnight stops.
This holiday is graded as challenging because it includes relatively long hikes between mountain huts, on trails which cross demanding terrain and include sections of secured trail. If you have any questions about the route, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please also note that for safety reasons, this route requires that you carry (and know how to use) a harness, via ferrata gear (two connected energy-absorbing lanyards with two carabiners) and a helmet. If you would rather not to have to carry (and use) equipment, then take a look at our Fassa Dolomites Hut to Hut, which is of a similar grade, but avoids sections of secured trail and the need for via ferrata gear.
At a glance
22 June – 23 September 2024
(You can start any day)
2 -3 people – £1695
4 + people – £1625
Single supplement – £190
Expect to walk for 5 – 7 hours each day with between 500m – 1260m of ascent and 200 – 1310m of descent. Includes sections of exposed trail which are secured/protected with metal cables etc. and require the use of via ferrata gear.
All Hut bookings at half-board (breakfast and dinner included)
3* Hotel (bed and breakfast) on your first and last nights
Private airport transfers from/to Verona at the start and end of your holiday
Private transfers to the trailhead at the start of Day 2, and from the trailhead at the end of Day 7
Holiday Pack with comprehensive route notes, maps & more
Digital Map Access for the duration of your trip
Excess Luggage Transfer between your first and last night hotels
Please note that packed lunches, tourist taxes (where applicable) and rifugio showers (which cost €3-6) are not included.
Private Rooms – These can be reserved in advance in some of the mountain huts if available at a supplement of £20pp/night
4-Star hotel – for the first and last nights – contact us for details.
This holiday starts in The Val Gardena and ends at Passo Rolle. We recommend flying into and out of Verona Airport. Private transfers from/to Verona are included at the start and end of your holiday.
Day 1 - Arrive in the Val Gardena
Make your own way to Verona. A private transfer from Verona Airport to the Val Gardena is included. Your first night will be spent nestled under the colossal Sella group and Sassolongo, where you can enjoy a taste of the drama ahead.
Accommodation: 3* Hotel, Ortisei, Selva or Santa Christina (B&B basis).
Day 2 - The Puez-Odle Group
Route Statistics: 11km, 1140m ascent, 200m descent, walking time – 5 hours.
After a short private transfer to Col Raiser your weeks hiking begins by crossing the Puez-Odle group, where the stunning Seceda peaks are a magnet for shutterbugs. You will reach the peaks via a scenic trail that traverses a gentle slope with a sheer drop-off on the north side. This makes the peaks seem taller and provides breath-taking views. Don’t be put off by the tourists arriving by chairlift from the valley; they will soon be behind you and, in any case, we have mapped an alternative itinerary for this leg of the hike, which takes you through idyllic mountain landscapes in a less frequented part of the massif. This trail also offers a beautiful angle on the Sella group, your destination for the following day.
Accommodation: Rifugio Puez (Half Board)
Day 3 - Sella Group
Route Statistics: 13km, 1260m ascent, 880m descent, walking time – 7 hours
Today’s itinerary will take you through the monumental Sella group, perhaps the most recognisable massif in the Dolomites. Ever since it formed in the ocean 250 million years ago, Sella has retained the perfect shape of a coral island. Two itinerary options are available today. Firstly, the classic and original Alta Via 2 route, which traverses Sella at high altitude and is suitable for hikers undaunted by a trail that snakes through steep rocks with occasional rungs and cable support. The alternative itinerary by-passes the more challenging sections, taking you along a trail at the foot of the steep cliffs of Sella, before you ascend at the eastern tip of the group to your overnight accommodation, a formidable location offering unforgettable views of neighbouring massifs.
Accommodation: Rifugio Boe (Half Board)
Day 4 - Ancient Merchant's Path
Route Statistics: 13km, 500m ascent, 1310m descent, walking time – 6 hours.
Starting off amidst the high flanks of Sella, today’s itinerary is dominated by the Queen of the Dolomites, Marmolada. At 3313m, it is the highest peak in the Dolomites and your destination, Lake Fedaia, lies at its foot. Initially, you cross the renowned lunar landscapes of Sella, but soon you will set eyes on the spellbinding glacier of the Marmolada, before joining the Viel del Pan, an ancient smuggler’s route, which makes the perfect viewing platform for seeing the Marmolada in all its glory. You also get a bird’s eye view of Lake Fedaia before starting your descent there. The glacier feeds Lake Fedaia, which sits at a mountain pass of the same name. Tonight you will be staying on its shores.
Please Note – use of via ferrata gear is absolutely essential on the ascent – the trail is narrow and exposed and only accessible safely in good weather conditions.
Todays route also features numerous sections of secured handrail (metal cable) on the descent from Piz Boe (they are relatively easy but slow to pass). In particular, there is a short section (20 m) of narrow path (less than 70 cm wide) along a vertical wall secured with a metallic cable, which is well-built and well-maintained but VF kit and a head for heights is essential.
Accommodation: Rifugio Dolomia or Rifugio Marmolada (Half Board)
Day 5 - At the Foot of the Marmolada
Route Statistics: 14km, 520m ascent, 1190 descent, walking time – 6 hours
Today, the Marmolada looms large on your itinerary. Only rock climbers cross the Marmolada in a straight line and this involves scaling the glacier and then negotiating their descent by means of a Via Ferrata. So, two itinerary routes are available for today’s treks. The historical Alta Via 2 itinerary by-passes the Marmolada on the east. This trail was genuinely exciting about 50 years ago, but nowadays it follows an asphalt road for the most part. Hence, the western hiking route is now considered the most attractive choice. Either way, you will receive route notes for both. The western trail will have you reaching for your cameras, with sensational views of the Sella group from the hollow of Ciampac, whilst the eastern option features the awe-inspiring south wall of the Marmolada, a sheer 1km cliff, against which the substantial Malga Ciapela cable car looks like a tiny toy!
Accommodation: Rifugio Contrin (Half Board)
Day 6 - Monzoni Group
Route Statistics:10km, 680m ascent, 790m descent, walking time – 5 hours.
On your final day’s hiking, the Alta Via 2 takes you through the Monzoni group, traversing its main ridge. This is the most remote and seldom-travelled part of the itinerary, where sightings of ibex and other wildlife are common. The Cirelle Pass is the highest point of today’s trek. As you go up the slope to the mountain pass, the remarkable Sassolungo group comes into view, resembling an enormous fairy-tail castle. Crossing the Cirelle Pass is relatively unchallenging. From the pass, the trail charmingly snakes down scree slopes into lush upland pastures. Your destination is a mountain lodge at the San Pellegrino pass.
Accommodation: Hotel Costabella (Half Board)
Day 7 - Passo San Pellegrino to Passo Rolle
From the San Pellegrino Pass, the Alta Via 2 takes you to the Pale di San Martino, or the Pala group. This mountain group is so colossal that it dominates the entire horizon to the south. Some of the most beautiful and memorable locations on today’s itinerary are the little-known Val Venegia valley and the Passo Rolle pass. Val Venegia is especially stunning in the latter half of the day when the sun shines on the northwestern slopes of Pale di San Martino. The Passo Rolle, where your route ends, sits in a vast region of Alpine meadows and is famous for having a superb view of the Cimon della Pala peak – one of the key landmarks of the Dolomite mountains. A private transfer will then take you directly to your final nights hotel.
Accommodation: 3* Hotel, Fiera di Primiero or San Martino di Castrozza (B&B basis)
Day 8 - Depart
Return private transfer from Fiera di Primero or San Martino to Verona Airport (included). Be prepared for an early start. It’s a 2hr 15min transfer so if your flight is at 11am, we’ll aim to have you collected at 6.45am prompt.
Need to Knows
Trusted Local Partner – please note that this holiday has been organised by us in association with a trusted local partner based in the Italian Dolomites.
Via Ferrata Kit – Please note that for safety reasons, this route requires that you carry (and know how to use) a harness, via ferrata kit (two connected energy-absorbing lanyards with two carabiners) and a helmet.
Minimum Number – This holiday requires a minimum of two people.
Alta Via 2 Difficulty – Our challenging hut-to-hut hikes are designed for experienced and very fit hikers. To enjoy a challenging hut to hut holiday you must be physically prepared for long crossings between huts with continuous and steep ascents of up to 1000 meters. These routes feature challenging terrain including loose talus, rugged trails, lightly maintained trails, insufficiently marked trails and sections of secured trail, which bypasses proper via ferrata. Secured trail is typically a trail with fixed metal cable serving to facilitate and make safe any dangerous and exposed section of a normal hiking trail. In normal weather conditions these trails are not hard, but sections of secured trail require the use of via ferrata gear and it is a requirement that you bring your own gear with you.
Rifugios – Except for your first and last nights, you will stay overnight in ‘rifugio’ (mountain huts). These generally offer the following facilities: a bed in a shared room or in a private room (these musty be booked in advance and cost £20pp/ night extra, subject to availability), showers with hot water, toilets, meals, and a water supply for refilling water bottles. Snacks such as sandwiches and chocolate are also usually available for sale. Shared rooms are equipped with bunk beds with mattresses, pillows and blankets. Bed linen is not provided in shared bedrooms: you must have a sleeping bag liner (typically, this is simply a light cotton bag). A warm sleeping bag is generally unnecessary, since there are always blankets in the rooms. If you have pre-booked a private room you are often offered bed linen, thus a sleeping bag liner is not required but this will be confirmed when you book. Finally, you will need clean footwear for the huts: light sliders are an ideal solution.
Breakfast & Dinner – Normally, breakfast is served from 7am to 9am. It usually includes unlimited tea and coffee, bread, butter, jam, honey and chocolate spread. In addition, some mountain huts also offer ham, cheese and muesli. You can also fill up your your flask/thermos with hot water or tea at breakfast: ask the staff, and it will be free in most huts. Dinner is usually served at 7pm or 7:30pm for all guests. A typical dinner in a mountain hut is very rich and includes a starter, a first course (such as pasta, risotto, dumplings), a second course (meat with a side dish) and a dessert. Any drinks at dinner (water, wine, beer, tea, coffee) are not included and should be ordered and paid separately.
Lunch – It is often possible to stop for lunch in the mountain huts you pass on the route, but this option is not always available. In such cases we recommend you buy some light snack (sandwiches, yoghurt, chocolate, water) from the hut where you have stayed the previous night. Mountain huts prepare for lunch the same dishes as for dinner. The cost of a typical hot dish, e.g. pasta or risotto, in a mountain hut varies from €7 to €12.
Safety – It is your responsibility to be wear appropriate outdoor clothing, follow good practice safety in the mountains procedures and be realistic when calculating how long the route each day will take you given your fitness, experience. and ability. These self-guided hut to hut walking trips are planned so that they do not require specific skills or gear, unless it is clearly specified in the itinerary. You can expect well-maintained trails equipped with direction signs. Exposed sections of the trail are secured on the self-guided routes: it makes them safe provided that you follow the basic safety rules for hiking in the mountains.
Weather – The weather in the Dolomites is most stable from the second week of July till the middle of September. This period in the Dolomites is characterized by warm sunny weather and modest rainfall. Earlier in June, the weather is normally favourable, but it is less reliable, and the mountain passes may be blocked by snow remaining from the winter. In June we may have to change the route depending on the snow situation on the passes. The second half of September in Dolomites is a beautiful period, but the weather is again less predictable: the probability of incessant rain increases, and it may snow at the altitude above 2,000 meters.
It is never hot in the Dolomites at the elevation of 2,000 m and above where most of the hiking routes pass. In a sunny day in August the temperature at 2,000 m can reach 20° Cduring the warmest hours of the day. It is comfortable for hiking. In a cold cloudy day, the temperature can stay at around 10° C during the entire the day. It is always chilly at night and early in the morning. Thunderstorms, often with hail, are typical for the warmest months (July and August). In the Dolomites valleys at the altitudes of 1,000 – 1,500 m the day temperature can reach 27° C. It is fresh in the valleys in the morning and evening, and it is not stuffy at night even in the hottest weeks of the summer.
Booking Conditions – be sure to read our full terms and conditions here before booking.
At Your Own Risk – please read the important notes here.
Travel Advice – check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice here.
Passport & Visa – any questions should be directed to the relevant embassy of your destination country; find out more here. It is your responsibility to be in possession of a full passport, valid for your chosen destination.
Travel Insurance – having adequate and valid travel insurance is a condition of booking with us. Details of our insurance partner, Campbell Irvine, are here.
Health Information – You should carry either an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) Neither is an alternative to adequate travel insurance. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/
ABTA – Independent travel advice and help is always available from ABTA by calling 020 3117 0599 or visiting www.abta.com.