We recently joined Franco of “Walk the Dolomites” for a fantastic hiking experience in these beautiful, unusual mountains. There is no word for “hiking” in Italian (they call it “Alpine Walking”). “Walk the Dolomites” therefore, would be equivalent to “Walk Zion” or “Walk the Smoky Mountains.” Franco has walked the Dolomites since he was little and knows the mountains like the back of his hand. He led us on several great hikes - taking us to “Tre Cime” (this is the area that all guidebooks suggest seeing), but then guiding us on stunning mountain paths where we were the only ones on the trail for miles. The Prosecco tour at the end of the trip was a great way to finish it off. Franco loves what he is doing, and wants to help make your Italy trip the best (he helped us get great lodging, a tourist card, and train tickets for the second half of our Italy trip the week after our hikes). We highly recommend hiking with Franco at “Walk the Dolomites”.
This is a belated review for a great trip almost a year ago. But everything this trip offered was absolutely fresh in my mind. This trip exceeded my expectations on every level. Dolomites, and the itinerary, has it all - varied terrain from moon-like Dolomites, alpine meadows to rock scrambling. Dolomites and villages nearby are also very friendly and laid-back area, with a wonderful variety of wine and cuisine. 1) It’s always the people who make our experience! Our trip leader Franco and two mid-mountain guides (Edi and Francesco) are not only professional in their areas of expertise with but also compassionate, knowledgeable about the local environment and culture, and fun. I loved it when Franco stopped along the trail to brief us for what we would expect for the next hour or two. At the end of trip Franco highlighted the entire trails we hiked on the maps we purchased, making it as memorable as the hike itself. Additionally, the group of people I hiked with made this trip an extraordinary one! We were lucky to have two geologists in our group who offered Dolomites formation 101 along the way. Still remembered how we named the rock as “Angelina Jolie’s lip” LoL… I was grateful to be with experienced and supportive fellow hikers. We each found a different aspect of the hike challenging, and our abilities balanced out over the course of the week. Our leader and guide managed the pace effectively and fellow hikers pumped me with snacks & jokes at just the right moments.2) Food and rifugios you cannot miss! I stayed in Austria’s mountain Hütte, and also hotels along haute route in France & Switzerland. But none of them ever showed such a family atmosphere with stories to share, and a nice blend of characteristics and charm like what Italy’s rifugios did. Certain day’s hiking was strenuous (in my mind :) ), but we were rewarded with time spent in some of the most gorgeous settings imaginable - Rif. Averau had the spectacular view of Dolomites in the sunset and fantastic food; Rif. Lavarella had a sauna room for relaxation; you might even run into a spirited husky with hiker’s gene along Alta Via 1 @Rif. Pramperet. 3) There’re too many highlights to mention. In a nutshell, our leader Franco handled details behind the scenes to ensure the travel, food and lodging logistics were cared for. Celebrating my b-day with a buckwheat cake and a hike to the summit of Col de la Puina with like-minded friends further enriched my experience. Thanks a millions, to Franco, Edi, Francesco, and my lovely fellow hikers!Hope I didn’t spoil too much within this review.
Thanks Franco for a fabulous hiking expedition and holiday, it was everything we could have imagined and more. We deeply loved our experience with you and Edy. We felt we were in the hands of the quintessential tour leader and mountain guide – what an outstanding combination!We very much enjoyed recounting the highlights with you every day. Here are some of them: -seeing the very best the Dolomites have to offer. Your immense local knowledge took us off the beaten track to “secret” places that only a local and highly experienced mountain guide would know about. -the extraordinary insights into the astonishingly beautiful summer flowers - such a proliferation of these colourful beauties! We also enjoyed learning about the other flora and fauna in which we were immersed.-each day brought new challenges with strenuous hikes so that we enjoyed a sense of achievement, always finishing the day with a very enjoyable, quite often amazing, place to stay and enjoy great food.-a very special bonus that we hadn’t expected was to gain an understanding of the very rich, dramatic culture and history of the region. The total experience was one of learning, fun and camaraderie. Now we are working out how to do the hike again in another season! We thoroughly recommend Walk the Dolomites to anybody interested in world class hiking. Many thanks!Michael and Lorelei
Choosing Walk the Dolomites for our trip was the perfect decision. In fact, our experience far exceeded our hopes. We were a group of four women, ranging in age from 18 to 68, who had hiked together in Nepal two years earlier. This time our focus was great food and drink along with magnificent hikes! We looked into established adventure travel companies, but we were swayed by WTD’s personal commitment and connection to the local economy and culture of the area. Franco’s correspondence with us was thorough and thoughtful and that helped confirm our decision. We are ever so glad we did. Every bite and sip (and there were many) was amazing—a great reward for each challenging and stunning day of hiking. The cost was reasonable for the quality of our trip. Franco took care of every detail and added greatly to our stay by choosing great trails and lodgings and complementing our hikes and meals with information about Italy, regional culture and cuisine, and fauna and flora of the area. In addition, Franco knew people—guides, friends, restaurant owners—and through them we gained insights and had experiences we wouldn’t have had otherwise. I recommend WTD to others without any reservation whatsoever (as long as they’re prepared for 8-12 mile hikes)!
The Dolomites region is a uniquely spectacular part of the world.This trip was an amazing experience and I have no hesitation in recommending Franco and his Walk the Dolomites tour. Franco is very passionate about his home - ‘the Dolomites’, and has a wealth of local knowledge. More importantly he is very caring and considerate of the group and is genuinely interested in people and life. On our trip he also had an experienced Guide (Andrea), who also had a wealth of knowledge and was ‘the boss’ when it came to decisions about weather and anysafety concerns. Nathan, another experienced mountaineer and all-round good guy, also helped with the logistics,transport and joined us on some parts of the walk. Communication and language was not an issue with Franco or his Guides. There was a mix of ages within our group but with the common interest in walking, adventure, love of the outdoors combined with Franco and his teams’ hospitality, the whole experience was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the walk, I found it both challenging and rewarding.And the food.......we ate like royalty!
The Dolomites trip consists of a week of magnificent hiking and scenery,excellent regional meals and terrific accommodation with a group of like minded people.Franco is meticulous in his planning and puts every effort into making the week a very memorable experience for all.Thanks also to Nathan and our guide. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to experience the Dolomites in a very unique way with passionate leaders.
My wife and I found this to be one of best experiences we have had on vacation in many years. Truly spectacular scenery that you can not see from any road, challenging hikes which tested your fitness but rewarded you with stunning beauty and a feeling of accomplishment every day. The group we hiked with were helpful, encouraging and fun to be with. Franco was faced with some adversity in weather and an injured guide and reacted so that the trip never missed a beat. We would highly recommend this to anyone who is fit and enjoys the outdoors and gourmet food!