Via Ferrata walking holiday in the Dolomites, Italy

“An 8 day guided walking holiday along the Via Ferrata, challenging yet exhilarating on so many levels. Mostly high levels, for sure! Staying in one hotel throughout the holiday. ”


5 days hiking on Via Ferrata or Iron Way | Sexten Dolomites | Tre Cime di Lavaredo | Marino Bianchi | Col Rosa | Fanes-Sennes Braies Natural Park | UIAGM mountain leader guides

Description of Via Ferrata walking holiday in the Dolomites, Italy

This week long Via Ferrata walking holiday is definitely more an adventure than a hike in the hills. Taking on the famous ‘Iron Way’ where vertiginous slopes are accessed by scrambling or using the traditional system of cables and metal ladders, we embark on five different high mountain routes during this break. Which is why this holiday is categorised as challenging for hikers.

Although many of these mountain routes have been used for centuries, the Dolomites Via Ferrata, which we climb using a special kit that allows us to clip on to the cables and ladders, date back to the First World War, when the Dolomites were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The lines, then made of ropes but now steel cables, were attached on to the rocks so that troops could negotiate the peaks and ridges. Today they are maintained by the Club Alpino Italiano or Italian Alpine Club.

Some of the most memorable trails that we take on include hiking around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, or three famous jagged peaks of Laveredo, which are a truly spectacular sight. We also hike in the Fanes-Sennes Braies Natural Park, which has been part of the Dolomites’ UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, with truly exquisite mountain scenery, pastures and elevated lakes stretching all the way to the Southern Tyrol. Those who want to push their climbing skills a little further may also get the chance to take on peaks such as Marino Bianchi or Col Rosa.

Flying in and out of Venice, and then transferring to Dobbiaco, we will stay in one family run hotel throughout the walking holiday, which has a small indoor pool and sauna to soothe those muscles at the end of the day.

Travel Team

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06 Jul 2019
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31 Aug 2019
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Via Ferrata walking holiday in the Dolomites, Italy

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Leaders & local suppliers
Our base for the week is Hotel Tschurtschenthaler, a small family run hotel perfectly located in the centre of Dobbiaco. We have worked with this hotel for many years so all our groups receive a warm welcome from the family. Most of the products are sourced locally and the cuisine draws on Italian and Austrian traditions.

We have had an excellent long-term relationship with the local mountain guides who lead the trip and this helps to stabilise their income generation and so helps to create a more sustainable future. Our UIAGM qualified guides ensure the highest level of safety on the mountain and have unquestionable knowledge of the mountain thanks to growing up in this area.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size. The ratio is 1 UIAGM leader to every 8 clients so security on the mountain is of utmost importance to us.

Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. It is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem and our trip leaders encourage clients not to stray from paths to minimise this.

1 Reviews of Via Ferrata walking holiday in the Dolomites, Italy

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 10 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The second day of the Via Ferrata: clear blue skies, warm weather, mountains covered in snow, challenging via ferrata.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The weather can be very variable: take walking gear to cover both warm and cool days, e.g. a thick and thin pair of trousers & shirt.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Partly. The hotel we stayed in was family owned & run but required more travel to get there to/from the airport and to/from the walks. The guides were local
which could be good or bad depending on who you guide is.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really enjoyed the via ferrata, DESPITE the poor guiding. The group relied heavily on one another and at one point a guide from a completely different group helped us over a difficult section... our guide had gone on ahead.

Read the operator's response here:

Whilst we are pleased that you enjoyed meeting the challenges of Via Ferrata, we are very sorry that you were disappointed with the guide for this trip. We have discussed your concerns with the guide on the telephone. The health and safety of our clients is of paramount importance to us and we have spoken to our local team to ensure the best and most suitable mountain guides are used on all departures.

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