In the heart of the Italian Dolomites, the Alta Badia region boasts some of the most spectacular alpine scenery as well as a reputation for excellent cuisine. The village of San Cassiano is no stranger to either and sits just 15km, as the crow flies, due West of Cortina d'Ampezzo (or 30km by road and the Falzarego Pass). Around 500m in altitude above the village lies a large area of beautiful alpine meadow, dotted with traditional wooden mountain huts and the most amazing panoramic views. At some points you have a 360-degree vista that spans from the Austrian Alps to the North to the Marmolada range to the South (the highest peaks in the Dolomites), with the Fanes Natural Park to the East and the Sella mountain range and Gardena Pass to the West - all stunning views in their own rights but when combined it's almost mind-blowing!
With over 400kms of marked trails, just in this area of the Dolomites, a week's walking from here allows you to discover the awe-inspiring beauty of this region. Amazingly, all of this is accessible on well-defined and well way marked paths either directly from the hotel, using the hotel's shuttle service or via a short bus or cable car ride.
This area is steeped in WW1 history with some of the hardest fighting taking place between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops in the mountains nearby. There is a WW1 Museum located in what was an Austro-Hungarian fortress and there are still tunnels that can be visited on the Lagazuoi mountain (although you do need a head for heights for this).
Famed for its varied cuisine - a mix of Italian and Austrian for the most part - the Alta Badia region has two restaurants with a total of 4 Michelin Stars between them. Ciasa Salares, famed for its locally sourced cuisine, is your home for the week, located just a short walk (or even shorter shuttle/bus ride) from the centre of San Cassiano. Run by the Wieser family, Stefan, Wilma and their son Jan Clemens, who is passionate about the hotel's fantastic wine cellar, they manage to combine alpine chic in the decor with good old-fashioned hospitality. The four restaurants include an informal wine bar, a terrace restaurant, a main restaurant as well as tables in the labyrinthine wine cellar where you can enjoy delectable cured meats, fonudes and an impressive wine list including biodynamic wines. There are also two other very special rooms - the Cheese Room and the Chocolate Room. Other facilities include a library and lounge, a luxurious spa with indoor swimming pool, relaxation area, treatment rooms (3), sauna, steam room and an outdoor hot tub to soak away those aching limbs after a day of walking.
The walking in this area is primarily on well-tended and well way-marked tracks. There are narrower paths that run through the pine forests and in others where the tracks enter the local villages where you'll be walking on tarmac for a while. There are moderate ascents on most days, and longish descents on days when a cable car is used to gain altitude. Walkers should have a good fitness level and be confident on uneven terrain - a couple of the suggested walks may be unsuitable if you have a fear of heights, however other options are possible. In the unlikely event of extreme bad weather, cable cars may not operate. Walking boots are essential and walking poles are recommended. Some of the higher level walks may have snow in early/late season.
Arrive at your hotel in Armentarola, San Cassiano. As you're at the same hotel all week the below itinerary is only a suggestion and you can, of course do any walk on any day.
You stay at the Ciasa Salares (all breakfasts and 4 evening meals)
From the hotel, you ascend steadily along peaceful country lanes, through pine forest and up onto high alpine meadows with spectacular views of the surrounding Dolomites mountain ranges. Either enjoy a picnic en route or when you reach the mountain hut at Pralongia, take time over lunch and soaking up the mountain panorama. Return to San Cassiano for the hotel shuttle or walk back to the hotel.
Walk directly from the hotel or take the shuttle to San Cassiano. This pilgrimage route first skirts above the village then heads through some delightful pine woods. Along the route you pass depictions of the last hours of Jesus Christ's life on earth before you reach the church at Santa Croce with its amazing backdrop and views across the valley and the village of Badia. Descend to Badia and take the bus back to the hotel.
Enjoy truly spectacular scenery on this favourite Alta Badia trail. You can start the day with a gondola lift or you can climb the first 5km through pine forest and alpine meadows. Once up at the top there are fabulous views ahead to the Marmolada mountains, the highest in the Dolomites, and behind as far as the Austrian Alps in the distance. At some points you have the most incredible 360-degree panoramic views. Continue on with a variety of mountain hut options for lunch then descend to Corvara for a well-deserved drink before catching the bus back to the hotel.
A short bus trip to Badia before this lovely walk takes you to two small lakes close to Badia with the fabulous backdrop of the Somamunt, Col Plo Alt and Pre Janin mountains. There are some wonderful views over the village and across the valley to the Santa Croce mountain as you head to Lech dla Lunch (pronounced lek-dela-loonk). Bring a picnic and you could even stop here for loonk! A steep climb sets you on your way to Lech da Sompunt and its delightful swans. Descend back to Badia passing through tiny hamlets and take the bus back.
Today you head up to one of the key strategic passes from WW1 the Passo Valparola for fabulous views over the San Cassiano valley. Heading through the delightful Pre de Costa meadows, and past the Malghe Valparola, you head up towards the pass. When you get there, you may want to stop for refreshments at the rifugio at the top. You can make this a history trip and continue on to the nearby WW1 museum or even to Passo Falzarego and a cable car up to the top of Lagazuoi one of the most fiercely fought over mountains in the Dolomites. Another alternative is a tough 12km walk across towards the Setsas mountain with more fabulous views and back to the hotel.
Definitely worth the wait - the Fanes Natural Park is a huge expanse of outstanding natural beauty. You can either walk directly from the hotel or get the shuttle to the Capanna Alpina hut before starting the steep climb up to the panoramic Col de Locia. The verdant plateau beyond (Plan de Ciaulunch) and the climb up to the Forcela dl Lech provide awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains and a sparkling, aquamarine mountain lake. You need a head for heights on this one as you descend via two steep gorges, with well trodden paths, to the Scotoni mountain hut and down a spectacular ski slope to the start point.
NEARBY:Ciasa Salares, your home for the week, is located just a short walk (or even shorter shuttle/bus ride) from the centre of San Cassiano. Run by the Wieser family, Stefan, Wilma and their son Jan Clemens, who is passionate about the hotel’s fantastic wine cellar, the hotel combines alpine chic in the décor with good old-fashioned hospitality.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
The Hotel Kette is set in the heart of Venice, a short distance from Teatro La Fenice, from via XXII marzo, the elegant shopping street, 2 minutes from piazza San Marco and only 10 minutes from Ponte di Rialto. So this is an excellent base for exploring the many delights Venice has in store.
The Giulietta e Romeo hotel, named after the town's most famous lovers, lies in a quiet side street just yards from the Arena. The hotel is fairly modern in style and very comfortable. There is a large lobby area, which leads onto the breakfast room, which is decorated in white with subtle lighting and art deco friezes on the windows.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
An amazing holiday that far exceeded our expectations. Lovely hotel with a great choice of food friendly and welcoming staff. We went on some amazing walks, not too challenging for novice walkers like ourselves. The scenery was simply breath taking and would strongly recommend walking the Valparola Pass, not just for the stunning views but also for its history during WW1. We chose walks provided by Headwater to suit us and made use of the public buses and cable cars.
Very comfortable place to stay with excellent food great service and wonderful walking
Go with the itinerary, or do your own thing with flights transfers and accommodation taken care of, its easy and stress free.
Hotel Ciasa Salares gave us a genuine mountain welcome. It was sophisticated without being pretentious. The food was of the finest quality and delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The only criticism was that the advertised gym was unavailable twice due to it being booked out for the day by another party.
There was plenty of choice of walks for a week's break.
Where to start? This was a fabulous holiday, so good that we have decided to return next year. The staff are delightful and cannot do enough to help even knowing what to do when confronted with a diabetic hypo. We enjoyed the splendid food, the wine and the ambience. The scenery is breath-taking. At 6000ft up the mountains still tower over the landscape. It really is a beautiful place with many well marked tracks for walking. There are cable cars to transport you to the alpine meadows which was a relief as I would have found the climb up challenging. If you would like a memorable holiday this is the place for you.
The holiday was excellent, the walking in the area was great, some challenging but easier options available. The hotel was superb, the staff were very friendly and helpful, food excellent and great facilities.
This was a really excellent trip. There are some beautiful walks in the region with stunning views, and the trip notes are very accurate. The hotel was extremely good, with very friendly staff, nice spa facilities and really impressive food (including the chocolate room!).
Thank you for such an excellent review. Your positive comments are really appreciated and thank you for taking the time to make them.
What is great about this location and this particular hotel is that you can do as much as you want to i.e. stay in your comfort zone; or push your boundaries and cross them, which you will not regret.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 7 night self-guided walking holiday includes:
Single-centre accommodation in a hotel
4 nights on Half Board and 3 nights on B&B
Management by local hotelier
GPS route directions and maps
Headwater navigation app
Standard transfers to/from your hotel (if booking inclusive flights)
1 Grappa tasting
1 Glass of wine
Bottle of Prosecco and apples in the room
How to book:
|14th Aug 2021||US$3479||Tour only: US$3479||Check availability|
|21st Aug 2021||US$2649||Tour only: US$2649||Check availability|
|28th Aug 2021||US$2649||Tour only: US$2649||Check availability|
|4th Sep 2021||US$2649||Tour only: US$2649||Check availability|
|11th Sep 2021||US$2649||Tour only: US$2649||Check availability|
|11th Jun 2022||US$2849||Tour only: US$2849||Check availability|
|18th Jun 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|25th Jun 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|2nd Jul 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|9th Jul 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|16th Jul 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|23rd Jul 2022||US$3599||Tour only: US$3599||Check availability|
|30th Jul 2022||US$3599||Tour only: US$3599||Check availability|
|6th Aug 2022||US$3649||Tour only: US$3649||Check availability|
|13th Aug 2022||US$3849||Tour only: US$3849||Check availability|
|20th Aug 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|27th Aug 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|3rd Sep 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
|10th Sep 2022||US$2879||Tour only: US$2879||Check availability|
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by hotelier.
Selected Saturdays from 14th Aug 2021 to 10th Sep 2022, for 7 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
4 nights on Half Board and 3 nights on B&B
You should allow approximately €40 for local bus fares and any cable car and gondola journeys during the week - the cable car and gondolas are optional however some of the suggested walks require bus travel.
This holiday does not include any flights or rail.