With their explosive shapes and unique colours, the Dolomites are arguably the most stunning mountains in the world; they are certainly the crown jewels of the Alps. At every turn you are stopped in your tracks by their sheer magnificence. We know you will share our appreciation of this sheer natural splendour. It is a paradise for walking holidays, whether you are a high level trekker, moderate hiker or idyllic stroller, not to mention flower lover, artist, photographer, Via Ferrata climber or an all-round alpine enthusiast. Or, if you simply seek out an idyllic alpine retreat.
We are based in the prettiest valley of the central Dolomites, where unspoilt Tyrolean villages bewitch you with their wood-rich chalets and picturesque churches in a landscape of wildflower-strewn pastures, while the colossal natural monuments, which are the Dolomites, tower above you like castles of rock, which soar to the sky as if frozen in mid-explosion.
The central Dolomites lie largely in Italy’s northernmost province, the South Tyrol, which borders Austria and Switzerland to the north. To the south are the alluring historical cities of Venice and Verona. Geologists believe they were heaved up by great movements in the earth’s crust 50 million years ago when Europe and Africa collided. Since then the actions of ice and water have carved them into the overwhelming sculptural forms we see today. More recently history has shaped the area. After WWI, the area passed from Austria to Italy. In spite of drastic efforts, Mussolini failed to italianise the region and the area now thrives on the harmonious co-existence of the Austrian and Italian cultures in a region where Latin meets Germanic.
Add to these cultures, the influence of a modern mountain-dwelling community with an enlightened, yet conservative approach to tourism, and the result is a unique atmosphere of character and charm in a place where there is so much to see and do.
For walkers, we offer a memorable holiday experience in an area with UNESCO World Heritage status. Our base in Corvara provides superb access to beautiful waymarked trails of all grades. We are flanked by two natural parks: the Fanes to the east, stretching dramatically towards Cortina, and by the Puez-Odle to the west, extending equally dramatically to the Val Gardena. To the south towards Arabba, we have a vast natural plinth, Monte Sella (3152m) and our highest peak, the Marmolada (3343m), Queen of the Dolomites.
These majestic massifs host our brilliantly-researched and extensive portfolio of walks. Within our tried and tested gems, there are a handful of must-do classic hikes, but otherwise with Collett’s you will get off the beaten track into special and breathtaking landscapes.
Easier options are punctuated by exquisite wildflower meadows, sleepy hamlets, traditional farmsteads, riverside and woodland trails, whilst the challenging itineraries will expose you to the most dramatic rock formations in the world.
Our accommodation in Corvara will launch you into a paradise of your choice so that you are always in your comfort zone, whether you join walks organised by us or you choose to self-guide.
The scenery is glorious, whatever the altitude you view it from. Gentle strollers will gaze upwards in awe from idyllic lower-lying trails at the startling rock formations that surround them. Meanwhile, high level trekkers look down with amazement from the rocky reaches to the exquisite
Whether you self-guide or join our daily organised walks, the intermediate walker and gentle stroller will thrive on the many waymarked paths, which wend their way at low and medium altitude between picturesque hamlets and villages. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery in many different ways, perhaps meandering casually for two or three hours on riverside tracks and through wildflower-strewn meadows, or by venturing a little higher on to the woodland trails, upland pastures and occasionally the lower rocky reaches of the massifs themselves. Many of these routes were originally hunting or smuggling trails.
Welcoming mountain huts, known as rifugios, are dotted around this extensive network of numbered paths, each one with its own sun terrace, on which walkers can soak up their magical surroundings, whilst enjoying well-earned refreshment.
Some people come here with specific intentions: fossil collectors love the region’s rich geology; artists and photographers try to capture their own visions of these unique mountains; bird and wildlife observers can admire a diverse range of fauna and, whilst spotting a pair of golden eagles is fortunate, sightings of buzzards, chamois, deer and the comical marmots punctuate many lower level walks.
It is hard to think of anywhere in Europe that offers the high level walker such good access to an extensive network of sensational walks on waymarked trails and protected paths. It is all on our doorstep. At every turn, you are exposed to the most mesmerising landscapes, whilst enjoying a choice of routes that suit individual fitness levels.
From Corvara, you can venture on foot into both the Puez Odle and Fanes national parks on walks of a lifetime. Just to the south of Corvara the valley reaches its terminus and here we are towered over by the colossal flanks of Monte Sella, a natural plinth, monumental in size and splendour, where you might easily spend a week without repeating the same walk.
Further afield, yet still within easy access, there is Cristallo (3221m), Tofana (3244m), Lagazuoi & Cinque Torre (2800m) with its World War Tunnels and Open-air WWI Museum and, of course, the Marmolada (3343m), Queen of the Dolomites, with its brilliant white glacier dominating many a panorama. The rifugios are a positive part of high level walking in the Dolomites. The welcome is warm and the food, service and refreshment are excellent and affordable. Opening on a seasonal basis, they vary from timbered huts to stone lodges. They offer unforgettable panoramas from their sun terraces. Some are close to chairlifts and cable car stations, others are remote, perhaps sitting where two trails meet. Finding the rifugios is easy, as there are good trail signs at regular intervals. Once there, a feeling of camaraderie prevails amongst hikers.
Like all our destinations, the Italian Dolomites is world-renowned for alpine flora, providing good access to celebrated sites, such as the Pordoi Pass, the Bindelweg and the Vallunga. We offer free and optional flower walks 5 days a week in early season. These are offered alongside our programme of high level, moderate and easier walks on the ClassicCollett’s Summer Walking Holiday in the Dolomites. Simply drop into Office Hour each evening to obtain details and sign up to join our dedicated flower specialist.
It is one of life’s great pleasures to walk in breathtaking landscapes that are so rich in fascinating flower habitats, where classic and rare species flourish. Over the years we have documented the locations of the sought-after species and this invaluable knowledge grows each year, providing so much pleasure for our flower enthusiasts.
Every August we welcome Dr John Scanlon to the Dolomites and 4 times a week you can join him on his intriguing World War I walks. As usual, you can join these itineraries as and when you please at no extra cost. Simply drop into Office Hour to obtain details and sign up.
We are convinced the remnants of the WW1 mountain conflict between Austria and Italy will astound you. A bonus of these itineraries is that they take place in one of the most scenically rich locations in the Dolomites. Fighting broke out here between Italy and Austria in 1915, as the border between the two countries ran through these mountains. Committed to the Russian front, Austria abandoned political boundaries and retreated to defendable mountain tops and passes. In snow and freezing temperatures, a tragic and inconclusive conflict ensued, as both sides pushed for high positions in the massifs, ingeniously building fortifications, trenches, look-out posts and miles of tunnels. Much of it is still here in the form of an open-air memorial museum. John Scanlon is as entertaining as he is informative and unsurprisingly his walks have a keen following.
Our summer season of walking in the Dolomites runs from late June to mid September. People who visit us in June and July will witness the explosion of colour that characterises the the phenomenal flower season. They will marvel at snow-capped peaks and see waterfalls at their most abundant. Alpine flora thrives in its own way throughout the season, but after mid July, you just have to get a bit higher to appreciate it. In June you can’t miss it. Exquisite flowers grow everywhere, from roadside verges to high rocky crags.
Typically, the area livens up and dies down as the season unfolds. Early June is quiet and sometimes we can venture out on a walk and not see anyone all day. It’s almost like having exclusivity to your own mountain paradise.After mid-June, we move into a mid-season atmosphere as local services intensify a little and more local shops open.
In Winter, Collett’s is in the heart of the Dolomites in 3 picturesque resorts, each offering easy access to the Sella Ronda and Superski Dolomiti. Corvara, Badia & Arabba are nestled under some of the world’s most majestic peaks. We offer 2 chalet hotels (Bracun & Roch) 2 exquisite hotels and self-catering apartments. This is the perfect springboard for inspirational days out on snowshoes and some of the best skiing in the world.
Collett’s is about the personal touch. Our painstakingly-recruited hosts set us apart from the rest. They don’t wear uniforms or sell excursions. They will make you feel welcome, well-looked-after and well informed. Each evening over a pre-dinner drink they are on hand to help you plan your days, whether you choose to join our daily skiing itineraries or you opt for self-guiding. Contact us now if you would like to communicate someone who has lived in our winter resorts and knows our winter holidays intimately. They will make your booking process an informed pleasure right from the start.
For a walking holiday in the Dolomites, it takes some beating because strategically it is the best located village in the South Tyrol’s prettiest valley. Over the years it has been a genuine pleasure to watch the reaction of our guests as they arrive and are immediately awe-struck by their surroundings. The close harmony of monumental rock formations with the lower heart-warming alpine landscapes of wildflower-strewn pastures and picturesque Tyrolean villages is as enchanting as it is staggering.
Our valley is the Alta Badia and it is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Alps. Unsurprisingly, the area acquired UNESCO World Heritage status in 2009. The valley wends its way below majestic peaks to Monte Sella (3152m), a glorious and colossal plinth, which typifies the drama of Corvara’s location with magnificent rock formations looming over wildflower-strewn pastures, woodland and sleepy hamlets, where the window boxes of old farmhouses overflow with colour.
Corvara is the principal village of the Alta Badia and has two gondolas, one to the Pralongià Plateau at 1980m for easier and moderate walks, the other to the eastern turrets of the Sella at 2152m for amazing high level walks and also two Via Ferrata. It is a vibrant mountain resort with some delightful cafes and bars, stylish shops and a good range of locally-supplied alpine activities including sport climbing, a climbing wall, high ropes, skating, a swimming lake, golf, tennis, archery etc. It is also close to some absorbing places of interest. In short, whatever you choose to do, you’ll soon be glad you came.
Corvara is home to our chalet hotels, hotels and self-catering apartments. We have been here for many years and this will only have positive repercussions for your holiday. Whichever accommodation you choose, you will have good access to the village centre, the Collett’s Walks Team and some fantastic views. You will be a stone’s throw away from idyllic flower meadows and easy woodland trails, where you can meander at leisure.
For high level walking, trails radiate from Corvara to the high rocky terrain of the Puez Odle and Fanes National Parks, which spectacularly dominate the valley and offer countless, dramatic itineraries.