Spring 2019 was late across Europe due to record winter snowfalls, but the magnificent and world-renowned flora of the Dolomites benefitted enormously and the meadows have, arguably been ‘the best ever’, all packed with flowers in fabulous condition.
In mid-June we saw the glorious spectacle of snowmelt flowers emerging. Low passes, valleys and woodland glades were carpeted with crocuses, snowbells and the exquisite Spring Pasque flower, with its pristine white flowers and golden stamens. Early woodland flowers, often missed in earlier seasons, were rife: fine displays of Hepatica with delicate blue flowers, lovely Alpine clematis, Wintergreen species and the architectural and fascinating flowers of Herb paris. Glorious hay meadows, abundant with floral beauties, bloomed magnificently at ever increasing altitudes. Orange and Martagon lilies thrived, as did the less common St Bruno’s lily. Don’t worry, we have documented where the rarest and most beautiful orchids are, we now know of 9 stands of the exquisite Lady’s slipper orchid in the woods around Corvara. We will find more!
As the high passes, screes and rocks became free of snow the jewel-like flowers of King of the Alps were found on volcanic rocks while those special species that can only be found on the limestone of the Dolomites burst into flower. Beauties such as Pink cinquefoil, Devil’s claw and Paederota bonarota covered the high rocks or nestled in tight crevices. On the bleakest mountain tops tiny cushions of Thlaspi rotundifolia and Androsace alpina so covered themselves with flowers that no leaves are visible.
Walks, old and new, provided a plethora of wonderful species. The path to the Dantercepies cable car at Passo Gardena provided a stunning floral display this year, possibly the best we’ve seen at this location. Lunch at Jimmy’s hut, excellent as always, and back to the bus. However, rather than go back to Corvara directly, guests very much wanted to see the Lady’s Slipper Orchid, so we would get off at Colfosco and walk down through the Pisciadu meadows hunting them out. The Santa Croce meadows were as lovely as ever in July. Everyone enthused by the display of Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi. The Pralongià Plateau was, as always, full of colour and interest, best in show were hundreds of Lilium bulbiferum (Orange Lily). The Colfosco meadows looked wonderful, but the number of marsh orchids were down on last year. Large colonies of fragrant orchids and a dozen, or so, round headed orchids (at Pralongià and Laguzoi) were a real treat. The Ru de Pisciadu did not disappoint when we found 21 blooms of cypripedium calceolus (Lady’s slipper orchid) in one group.
Throughout the wildflower season guests were as keen as any we have had before and many were thrilled by their first sightings of Cypripedium calceolus. The Dolomites is a prime location for mountain flowers because of the wide variety of easily accessible habitats, each with its own special blend of lovely flowers. The summer of 2014 and 2015 showed that natural variation in the passing of the seasons only serves to add to the pleasure to be gained from visiting them.
With thanks to Eddie Spencer & David Charlton
Two of our longstanding wildflower specialists, Cliff Booker and David Charlton, have produced a superbly illustrated, user-friendly and entirely practical handbook (in layout and language) called ‘Mountain Flowers – The Dolomites’. Available from us, it is ideal for the casual enthusiast, who takes pleasure in identifying (without too much hassle) the various fascinating species that catch the eye, whether rare or not-so-rare. Featuring over 130 species, the book costs £9.95 (plus UK P&P at £2.50). For a copy, contact us on 01799 513331, Email us at email@example.com or click here to order your copy online.
We had a tremendous walking week in Tuscany. The team, the accommodation the food, all were exquisite.
We will be back.
This was our belated summer holiday. We enjoyed a lovely week with Mick, Helen and Millie, and our group of 26 clients. The walks were excellent, though shorter than at some other venues - that gave us plenty of down time for some to enjoy the pool and hot tub at the villa, before making our way to gorge ourselves on delicious dinners(Read more...)
I came with the H&G walking group but want to add my personal thanks to your leaders. I love walking but am a bit slow on hills of which there are plenty in Andalusia. I found the going quite challenging but if I showed any sign of lagging one of your leaders was always there to walk with me and I was absolutely delighted to complet(Read more...)
What a stunning location for walking & relaxing in the sun in October. Mick has the local knowledge and coordinates the week with precision. We stayed in the Villa with the beautiful views down the valley and made good use of the swimming pool & terrace. Gustavo the hotel proprietor of the hotel where we ate had character and serve(Read more...)
Wonderful week walking in Tuscany. First the accommodation. Having been to Andalucia last May, this was heaven! Unbelievably thoughtful hosts in a delightful simple, quiet house, with exceptional food, not flashy or haute cuisine, but local and always interesting.
Walking was gentle but always interesting, and the other walkers we(Read more...)
We had a great week, superbly organised by Mick, Helen, Millie and Gustavo at the hotel. We loved staying in the villa and used the pool most days. The terrain made the walks challenging at times but they were always accurately described for us and the group allowed time for the slower members.
We have returned from a week in Tuscany staying at Il Rigo, what a fantastic place for walking, eating and drinking! The food was fantastic and with special dietary requirements nothing was too much trouble. Collett's staff, Charlie, Ben, Claire and Caroline were fantastic guilds and full of fun. All that you need for another fantas(Read more...)
First time I’d used this type of holiday and was not disappointed. Everything ran on rails from start to finish. The walking was spectacular and the views amazing, even in the snow! Accommodation was spot on with great food and comfortable sleeping arrangements.
The maps and route guides made things very easy and still gave you en(Read more...)
Another brilliant holiday with Collett's - our 5th. It’s a great formula, please don’t change. Our thanks to Ben, Caroline, Claire and Charlie - nothing was too much trouble for them and thanks as well to all at Il Rigo. Can’t decide which location is best. We might have to do them all again!!
My dad and I recently finished the Camino tour with Collett's. This is my second tour with Collett's (previously did a wonderful Dolomites tour).
The tour was excellent, from start to finish. The logistics, from arrival transport, luggage transport, and taxi pick-up, was efficient and well-organized. Javier, the on-the-ground guid(Read more...)
Great formula, keep it going and don't sell out! Bavarian Alps and Lakes would interest me, although we have been to Ehrwald.
I think we've been to all of Collett's Walking Holiday locations except Andalucia and Tuscany although we have been to both of these locations independently.
I think your formula is ideal for the older, more experienced walker. Part of the trick is that your guys take the pace from the participants, rather than Alpine guides who lead from the front!
Keep it up!
I have probably had enough of end-to-end trekking at the age of 71. Your formula allows for the odd day off as well as a mix of (Read more...)
My third walking holiday, been ski ing with the family with colletts out of Arraba many times, the formula is just right, going to Corvara for christmas, we know what to expect and as important don’t have to organise athing
The fact that I keep coming back to Haus Valentin shows how much I enjoy my holidays there.
Because it is a relatively small family run guesthouse there is a feeling of intimacy and friendliness that would not be possible in a hotel. The food is excellent and necessarily plentiful for hungry walkers.
Above all it is the enthusi(Read more...)
We had a great 6 days with some interesting walks and weather. Beautiful scenery and memorable moments.
Combination of guided and self-guided walks. Self-contained stay in central location. Great staff members for our trip. Knew the routes, suggested good alternatives based on weather, our skills and the like, plus they made all activities fun.
Once again you delivered a superb mountain holiday for us in Austria, Location in Zugspitz Arena was delightful, hotel Sonnenspitze was well up to standard and your efficient and dedicated staff once again excelled in helping to make this a memorable week in the Tyrol. Thanks again Collett's!
The staff were great and all worked hard to ensure the customers had a great time. Max, John and Becky all stood out as people I’d happily recommend.
Excellent - we had a great time and so appreciated the care and attention of the staff and the great information for our hiking. Collett's have a variety of options for hiking daily and knowledge of the area!
We stayed in both a hosted chalet in Badia before our hut to hut and in a hotel following in Corvara - the above rating apply (Read more...)
Booked with you before and always had a good time previously. I don't know where you manage to get your staff from but they are the friendliest, funniest, most helpful and relaxed group of people we've ever walked with. Thank you Ollie, Jo, Sandy and Flee for an amazing holiday.
We had a wonderful week of Moderate Walks in the Picos de Europa. Our fellow walkers were all very friendly and the Collett’s staff of George, Rachel and Ross took excellent care of us and they had boundless good humour, energy and enthusiasm. The walks were very scenic, taken at a steady pace with time to admire views and stop whe(Read more...)
The laminates for my solo trek were well-done. The descriptions were easy to follow. I was concerned only 1 day, when the clouds hung in the mountains, and I doubted that I would be able to find the trail. Fortunately, a local couple took me with them to the next hut. I might have otherwise hiked back down to the valley and hoped to r(Read more...)
Thank you for a great holiday. The transfer from the airport was friendly and efficient, enabling four strangers to bond immediately and form a friendship grouping that lasted the whole week. A great welcome at the bar - such friendly staff and a much appreciated complimentary beer. The walks were all very well organised and led, wit(Read more...)
I was very impressed with how any queries I had were answered. Also, I had to change my departure date and was shocked to be given a refund - thank you! It was a lovely touch to have someone there to say hello and get me settled in! The sandwiches made by the team for lunch were a nice touch - and delicious. It was good to be offered (Read more...)
A week with Collett's in the Dolomites staying at Haus Valentin. Well organised, friendly and well priced. What’s not to like. 3rd time with Collett's and absolutely no reason we won’t use them again.
This is my second visit to Collett’s in Italy. First time with the missis, second with my mate, both times I’ve had a great time. The staff are always helpful, there is a joint interest with all the customers so there’s very much a family type atmosphere, the food and accommodation has been great and the office hour is great for hints(Read more...)
I had heard of Collett's Mountain Holidays and wanted to try it out... I enjoyed the holiday and found staff very helpful. I liked the personal approach of the office hours! I did two walks on my own and staff were very helpful in providing information and details for local travel. The hotel is very good and the staff very helpful... (Read more...)
Many things make this trip outstanding. The tricky but enjoyable central sections of the GR11, the mountains, the lakes, the marmots, the accommodation, food & wine. The group size of eight clients and four Collett's staff (I understand this is normally three) was also perfect. However the biggest single factor that made this trip out(Read more...)
I thought the team, Anna, Andy, Ben and Kate, seemed to work very well together - all very professional.
I did an Inntravel holiday in the Appennines, near Porretta Terme - thought it might be a good Colletts destination, though not mid-July-August. Have you thought of North-west Italy - Val d-Aosta or similar? Or Ireland
This was our second year at Pension Angelo and once again we throughly enjoyed ourselves. It is stunning area with plenty of varied routes. This year we didn't do Colletts-arranged scheduled walks but organised the days ourselves. Nevertheless the team were very helpful in advising us and helping us sort out our days. We can't praise (Read more...)