Alps / Dolomites / Italy
The best hikes around Cortina
Self-Guided Hut / Lodge Trek in the Dolomites
Self Guided – Cortina Dolomites Hut Trekking Highlights
- Super-scenic Dolomites hiking trails
- Fully catered huts, most w/ showers
- Lots of WWI History along the hike
- Excellent Italian & Tyrolian meals
- Famous resort town of Cortina
- September is THE Octoberfest in Munich!
This is the flagship hike in the Dolomites! Centered around the famous resort town of Cortina d’ Ampezzo this trek will take you eye-to-eye to many of the stunning postcard images that the Dolomites are famous for: Fanis, Tofana, Croda Da Lago, Marmolada, Cristallo, Cadini and of course the Tre Cime di Lavaredo!
Like in most of our Alps programs, we will take advantage of the incredible network of alpine huts and mountain lodges high in the mountains and charming, family-run bed & breakfasts in the villages. The home-cooked Italian and Tyrolian food and wines are only one reason, why some of our clients keep coming back to the Dolomites!
For the self-guided trip, you can take advantage of our 30 years of experience in the region and we will take care of all pre-trip organization and transport logistics once you’re in Italy.
A detailed daily trip itinerary with trail numbers, horizontal and vertical distances as well as “Plan B” options in case of bad weather or adverse mountain conditions, need for a longer or shorter days etc. will be mailed out upon booking. Following is merely a rough outline of the self guided Cortina Dolomite Hut Trek itinerary.
Arrive in Cortina for lodging in our B&B or Hotel. We will gladly assist you in arranging transport from and to Cortina as well as pre- and post trip lodging.
Day 2 – 5
Our taxi driver Sandro will pick you up at 8.30 AM and take you to the first trail head. The next four days will lead you on a traverse through the Fanis, Tofana, Nuvolau and Croda da Lago Ranges. The itinerary is set up to where you will be walking all the way back to Cortina for lodging on day 5.
Lodging on this leg of the hut trek will be in mountain huts / rifugios with 2 to 6 bed rooms, two of the 3 huts offer shared showers.
Day 6 – 7
Again, early pick up by our taxi driver and drive to Misurina. Start of our two day hike through the Sexten Dolomites. For this leg of the trip, we can either offer lodging in the very small and quaint Buellelejoch hut (sleeps only 11 guests, dormitory sleeping, excellent food) or the Drei Zinnen Hut (Rifugio Comici) with two to four bed rooms and shared showers. In the afternoon of day 7, taxi pick up and return to Cortina to our B&B.
Departure after breakfast
Note: On a custom trip basis, we can also adjust this itinerary to a longer or shorter duration trek and incorporate any preferences you may have.
Detail and Logistics
Prices for our self-guided Dolomites Hut Trek are based on groups of two participants. For groups of 3 we offer a 5% discount, groups of 4: 10% discount, groups of 5: 15% discount, groups of 6: 20% discount, groups of 7: 25% discount, groups of 8: 28% discount.
Meeting Point / Closest Airport
The base town for this trek is Cortina, which is most easily reached from Venice Airport.
Transport options: There is a daily bus operating between Venice Airport and Cortina for 25 Euros per person (2 hours). This bus operates daily with 2- 4 departures depending on the weekday and time of year. Please see our Trip Info link on the left side of this page or FAQ tab for more information on the public bus service – Cortina Express.
Alternatively we can arrange for a private shuttle that takes about 1.5 hrs at 200-350 Euros depending on group size (1-8 passengers) and departure in Venice.
Climate, Weather, Temperatures:
The Dolomites, being on the “sunny side of the Alps” are usually blessed with lasting high pressure systems in September. However, there is also a chance to see some snow, if a storm hits. Hence, day time temperatures can range from -5C (23F) to 25C (77F).
Services Included in the Total Price
Detailed day-to-day trip itinerary with walking times, trail numbers and “Plan B options” in case of fatigue or adverse weather or should you desire a longer day, 4 nights hut lodging in dormitory and multi-bed rooms, 4 half board meals (three courses) in the huts and mountain lodges, three nights lodging with breakfast in a 3 star B&B in Cortina, all transfers to and from the trailheads with our private taxi, assistance with arranging transport to Cortina as well as assistance with any pre and post trip arrangements.
Air fares, lunches, drinks, supplementary charges for single room in hotels and B&Bs, 3 dinners in Cortina, transport to and from Cortina, and airport shuttles can be arranged at an additional charge.
Can I Do It?
Non-technical trail hike, which requires up to 7 hrs, up to 10km (6 miles), maximum of 800 m (2600 ft) vertical distance of hiking on some of the days. The trails are for most part well marked and can be found on the topographic maps of the region. You should be physically fit and an experienced mountain hiker to be able to deal with adverse weather conditions. You should be able to navigate in fog and bad visibility with a map and a compass (or GPS). Rain, snow or icing can make the trails treacherous or cover up trail markers, which can turn your hike into a challenging mountaineering adventure any day. If in doubt if you have the skills and experience required, please discuss it with us – or you may be better off joining one of our guided hut treks.
Our Self-Guided Dolomite Trek can be customized to any duration of your preference. We can also put together a custom itinerary for you in the Dolomites that only includes private room lodging in huts and lodges and we gladly put together other self-guided itineraries in other ranges of the Dolomites than the Cortina area.
What are the Huts like? Double Rooms? Showers? Food Choices?
The standard of the huts in the Dolomites differ hugely. While some of the huts that we are using for this trek are rather like mountain lodges that offer double or 4 bed rooms and shared showers (Lavarella, Lagazuoi, Drei Zinnen) others have only cold running water and bunk bed sleeping in rooms with up to 10 fellow sleepers (Fonda Savio, Buellelejoch). Upon request and early enough booking, we can set up your trek with double room lodging in the huts / mountain lodges only.
The food is always delicious and plentiful with several choices. Special diets can usually be accommodated.
How do I get to Cortina?
There is a daily bus operating between Venice Airport and Cortina for 25 Euros per person (2 hours). This bus operates Friday-Sunday end of June until mid-July and then daily mid-July until September. Cortina Express Bus operates from either Venice Mestre Train station or 15 minutes later from Venice Marco Polo Airport 3 times a day and takes you in about 2 hrs all the way to Cortina and back. To book your spot on the bus please use their website: Cortina Express Bus
If you are having issues with making your reservation, please email us and we can provide you with a step-by-step guide to booking this transfer. Some of our clients have been unsuccessful at making an advanced reservation; however we have never seen any clients missing their preferred transfer time if they haven’t reserved a seat online.
Private taxi: 200-350E depending on numbers in the group (1-8 passengers)(1.5 hours).
We will gladly put potential clients in touch with previous participants of each trip in order for interested guests to get more personalized references and their questions answered from a more objective point of view than what our office could provide.
References of prior guests
“We did have a great Europe trip! Our favorite part, for both of us, was the OnTop self-guided hikes in the Dolomites. It was absolutely spectacular! It was laid out in just the right sequence, starting off fairly easily, and then getting a bit more challenging as we went along…
then providing a little respite in Cortina before doing another amazing circuit of the Tre Cime de Lavarado. Jorg’s directions were very good providing bailout options for really bad weather or fatigue etc… and extra side trips for a bit of extra adventure if that suited our fancy. We did most of the recommended route, but passed on a couple of side trips, and took the short route on the last day. I will provide much more detail in a revised version of Jorg’s hiking instructions, with photos, and map snippets, and some info regarding our impressions of the various trails.”
Steve Ford, WA, USA
MULTIDAY HUT TREK (No ferratas)
1. Technical Equipment
• Sturdy, waterproof leather trekking / hiking boots
• Backpack (35-45 liters)
Some have built-in rain covers (Deuter backpacks).
Rain covers can also be bought separately.
Otherwise bring a big plastic (garbage) bag as an inside liner for your backpack.
• Collapsible trekking poles ( One pole is recommended)
We suggest using the ‘layer system’: Light technical clothing that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly if sweaty or wet.
Layers can be put on and taken off fast if weather conditions change during the day.
• Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)
• Wind and waterproof over pants with side zippers (Gore Tex or similar)
• Hiking or Mountaineering pants (Schoeller or tightly woven cotton fabric recommended!)
• Light-weight hiking shorts
• Fleece or heavy jacket
• Medium weight fleece sweater
• Long underwear or running tights (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Undershirt – preferably long sleeves (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Warm socks for mountaineering / hiking boots (wool/synthetic outers)
• Warm hat, covering your ears
• Pair of warm gloves (warm finger gloves sufficient)
• Gaiters (light weight and short, when traveling early or late season)
• Sun hat
• Bandana (optional)
3. Hut lodging (if included in the program)
• Very light youth hostel sleeping bag or thin sleeping bag liner for the huts for sanitary reasons (lightest is silk, weighing less than ½ pound). Wool covers or duvets are provided by the huts
• Light hut slippers (optional). Some huts provide a limited selection of slippers.
• Very Small towel
• Alpine Club card (if you happen to be a member)
• Ear plugs (optional but very useful)
4. Other Items
• Rain cover for backpack (unless already built into backpack) Otherwise bring a big plastic (garbage) bag as an inside liner for your backpack or pack everything that needs to stay dry in plastic zip-lock bags.
• Spare underwear, socks
• Clothing and shoes for hotels / B&B in the evening
• Sun glasses (with good UV protection)
• Sun screen and lip protection
• Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter or Camelback
• Light head lamp or torch (for bathroom visits at night)
• Blister kit (optional)
• Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)
• Personal items (prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses, etc.)
• Pocket knife or Leatherman (optional)
• (Health) insurance documents
• Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)
• Camera, batteries (optional)
• Compass, maps and GPS optional
Self Guided – Cortina Dolomites Hut Trekking
- Up to 8 hrs/day
- Marked Hiking Trails
- Light multi-day packs
Self Guided – Cortina Dolomites Hut Trekking
8 Days Trip,
6 Days Trekking
Mid-June through Early October
Customized trip duration available with pro-rated pricing
Self Guided – Cortina Dolomites Hut Trekking
Single room supplement:
US $72, CA $90
€ 60, £ 54
High season surcharge:
US $120, CA $155
€ 110, £ 100
Includes: detailed Day to day itinerary, 4 nights hut, 4 dinners & breakfasts, 3 nights hotel with breakfast, taxi transport to trailheads.
Extras: Lunches, drinks, dinners in Cortina, airport shuttles.