The most famous hiking trail in the Dolomites, the Alta Via 1, lives up to its promise. Although it doesn't travel through villages like the Tour du Mont Blanc does, the rifugios (mountain huts) you stay at along the way offer up loads of Italian charm and heaps of Italian food. You'll experience brilliant green meadows, rugged monoliths towering overhead, and plenty of World War I history as you pass by former battlefields and fortification remnants.
There are multiple variations to the AV1. In this tour we highlight the route that most hikers tend to take. There are a couple exposed and sketchy sections along this route. A via ferrata lies at the very end of the Alta Via I, but our route exits beforehand, as few hikers complete this via ferrata, and it requires carrying via ferrata gear the entire length of the tour.
The tour is often completed in 7 to 13 days, depending on your fitness level and preferences.
Although this tour is feasible from mid-June to mid-September, it is likely to encounter problematic snowfields in June and snowstorms in September.
IN AN EMERGENCY DIAL 112
The Alta Via 1 is well-marked and well-traveled, but it is not to be underestimated. Daily elevation gain may be more than you are used to in your home region and there are some sketchy sections (almost all can be bypassed) along the route.
Conditions are best, and safest, from mid-July to the end of August. It is not unusual for snow to hang around on the passes through June, and it is also not usual for a snowstorm to block all visibility during the first week of September. Please know that snowstorms in the Alps usually mean that there will be very little visibility, and navigation will be both challenging and time consuming.
The AV1 is not recommended between October and May, except for those with extensive mountaineering experience, avalanche recovery experience, and the proper equipment. Most rifugios are closed during this time.
Always check at your accommodation for the conditions on the next day's route, and listen to local experts (guides and hut stuff) regarding weather forecasts and other potential risks.
Tips and hints
You can make the planning and preparation much simpler by taking advantage of our hut booking service. Find out more about doing the AV1 self-guided at https://www.alpenventuresUNGUIDED.com/av1.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
Book recommendations for this region:
Basic Equipment for Long-Distance Hikes
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Blister kit
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- Tent (3- or 4-season)
- Stove (including fuel and utensils)
- Sleeping mat. Sleeping bag with suitable temperature rating.
- Toiletries and medication
- Toilet paper
Things to Bring if Staying in a Mountain Hut
- Toiletries and medication
- Quick-drying towel
- Ear plugs
- Sleeping bag liner
- Alpine club membership card if applicable / ID
- Coronavirus mask and hand sanitizer
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.