Hiking Along Italy’s Most Famous Backpacking Trail – Alta Via 1 in the Italian Dolomites (Part 2)

Below you can find the map of Alta Via 1 with all mountain huts, day routes and extensions marked on it. Click on the button in the top left corner of the map to see the different layers and names of the places. 

Whilst pretty accurate this map should not be used when navigating through the mountains! For that you will require a proper topography map. For crossing Alta Via 1 you need to purchase the TABACCO MAPS numbers: 031, 03, 025 either online or in any sport, souvenir or cigarette shop in the local towns. Even some rifugios sell them! 

Day 6: Rifugio Citta Di Fiume to Rifugio Coldai

Alta Via 1 Day 6 5

Distance: 15.4 km / 9.6 mi

Walking time 4h 30min

Elevation gain: 900 m / 2953 ft

Elevation loss: 700 m / 2297 ft


Variant 1: 472, 568, 561, 556 

This is the original route taking you down to Passo Staulanza then following a paved road to Malga Vescova before breaking of onto a hiking path.

The downside of this option is that you will spend half of the day walking on the side of the road and sharing your space with car traffic. Take this route if you are looking to having an easier day.  

Variant 2: 472, 474, 564, 556

The option I chose starts the same way as the previous one but after getting to Passo Staulanza it continues on path no.472 through a forest circling the west face of Mount Pelmo.

There is a short extension marked on the map to check out the dinosaur prints (it’s also well marked along the trail). Eventually you will turn onto path 474 and start your at times sharp descent to rifugio Palafavera.

From here the route follows an old dirt road (564) before breaking away onto a steep zigzag path leading to rifugio Coldai with amazing views of Mount Pelmo right behind you. 

The advantage of this variant is the possibility of restocking your snack supply at the little shop at the Palafavera campground. However this is a longer route out of the two variants with more elevation gain and loss. 

Night 6: Rifugio Coldai

Rifugio Coldai has one of the best built locations of all the huts you will come across on Alta Via 1. It’s 15 minutes walk away from the beautiful Lake Coldai.

It has the panoramic views of the Dolomiti Bellunesi right from its terrace and you can capture a beautiful sunset light on Mt. Pelmo only 50 meters away from the hut! Do you need any more reasons to stay here? 

Extension: via ferrata Degli Alleghesi

Via Ferrata Degli Alleghesi 1

Stay two nights at rifugio Coldai and tackle the exhilarating via ferrata Degli Alleghesi to the summit of Monte Coldai. The whole trip takes 8 hours and will satisfy those who search for a little bit more adrenaline.

This is an advanced via ferrata that requires a full gear set. If you’ve never done a via ferrata before, I have a beginner’s guide on my site including the equipment list that’s required.

Day 7: Rifugio Coldai to Rifugio Vazzoler

Distance: 11km / 6.84 mi

Walking time: 3h 30m

Elevation gain: 440 m / 1444 ft

Elevation loss: 850 m / 2789 ft

Alta Via 1 Day 7 2


A relatively short day distance wise, but it won’t fall short in the views department! You will spend your day circling around the mighty Mount Civetta and its impressive north face. This was another one of my favourite days on Alta Via 1. 

The day starts with a quick jolt to forcella Coldai then a short descent to the lake of the same name. It was still half frozen when we reached it on day 7 of our hike at the end of June. We also encountered a lot of snow in places (refer to photos below).

Once you reach rifugio Tissi (a great alternative for a stay if Coldai is booked out), you will have reached the highest point of day 7. It means after that it’s relatively smooth sailing downhill all the way to rifugio Vazzoler. 

Night 7: Rifugio Vazzoler

Rifugio Vazzoler was the quietest refuge we have stayed at on the whole traverse. It has a nice garden area sheltered by the trees with impressive rock towers, belonging to the Civetta massif, peaking above. 

Day 8: Rifugio Vazzoler to Rifugio Carestiato

Distance: 11.5 km / 7.14 mi

Walking time: 3h 40min

Elevation gain: 680 m / 2231 ft

Elevation loss: 570 m / 1870 ft

Alta Via 1 Day 8 5

PATH NUMBERS:  555, 554

Today you leave behind Mount Civetta and cross into the wild landscapes of the Moiazza range. This was an unknown territory for me.

I have never made it this far south when spending the previous season in the Dolomites so my excitement level was high and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!

Similarly to the previous day, Day 8 isn’t too demanding when it comes down to distance or elevation. It means you can take it slow and enjoy the hike underneath the soaring rock towers. Those who would like to cut a day from Alta Via 1 could combine day 7 and 8 into one.

You will start noticing that less and less tourists make it this far along the route, but to me with each day passing and the lessening of the traffic, the more special it became. 

Night 8: Rifugio Carestiato

Alta Via 1 Day 8 7

Rifugio Carestiato, your accommodation on day 8, has great facilities and even offers a coin operated laundry!

A luxury we didn’t expect to have until the end of the trip! Try and ask for a room in the separate section from the main building. It’s a lot quieter and that means more uninterrupted sleep! 

Day 9: Rifugio Carestiatio to Rifugio Pramperet

Distance: 15km / 9.3 mi

Walking time: 4h

Elevation gain: 720 m / 2362 ft

Elevation loss: 680 m / 2231 ft

Alta Via 1 Day 9 2

PATH NUMBERS: 549, 543 

The path from rifugio Carestiato starts gently down a gravel road towards Passo Duran. You should reach it within 30 minutes. There are two privately owned huts on the pass.

For approximately next two kilometres you will follow the paved road until you reach a rest area with tables and benches where the first signs for rifugio Pramperet appear.

Soon you will begin your ascent to the first of the two saddles you will cross today: Forcella Dagarei. After the saddle the path undulates crossing several scree fields.

The signs for rifugio Pramperet, as well as the blue triangles marking Alta Via 1, are plentiful along the way.

Around half way into day 9 you will reach Malga Moschesin where you can stop for a snack (Malga is out of operation). From here it’s another 40 minutes to the second saddle: forcella Moschesin and further 50 minutes to rifugio Pramperet. 

Night 9: Rifugio Pramperet

We were a bit unlucky with our stay at the Pramperet refuge. At the time they were waiting for delivery supply and our dinner consisted of whatever was leftover in the storage which meant A LOT of polenta on our plate.

I went to bed rather hungry that night. I can’t say anything bad about the staff of the refuge though. They were some of the friendliest people we met on the route! 

Day 10: Rifugio Pramperet to Rifugio Pian de Fontana

Distance: 7.3 km / 4.5 mi

Walking time: 2 h 30 min

Elevation gain: 540 m / 1772 ft

Elevation loss: 745 m / 2444 ft

Alta Via 1 Day 10 4


Along with day 3 and day 7 of Alta Via 1, day 10 was another one of my favourites. We intentionally skipped breakfast at rifugio Pramperet and ordered a couple of sandwiches to go. We also settled our bill the night before, woke up at 5AM and with our bags already packed we set off shortly after just when it started to get light. 

The reason we did that is because we decided to walk all the way to La Pissa on 10 day. This was quite demanding day for us with over 26 kilometres (16 miles) and 2000 meters (6500 feet) of elevation loss. 

If you are not in the rush I highly recommend staying in the Pian de Fontana refuge first because this part of Alta Via 1 deserves to be taken slowly.  

Thanks to the amazing light conditions the views between rifugio Pramperet and Rifugio Pian de Fontana whilst crossing the rugged Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park were jaw dropping.

There is a very short and narrow scrambling section on the last push to Forcella de Zita Sud. Don’t miss the 10 minute detour to the nearby Summit of Cima di Zita sud for even more extensive views.

To me the most demanding part of the hike was the descent to the Pian de Fontana refuge. It’s a real knee buster, so steep in places that it justifies the warning sign at the start of the descent asking hikers to take extra care! 

Night 10: Rifugio Pian de Fontana

We made it to the Pian de Fontana refuge around 8AM just in time for breakfast! It’s a lovely little place consisting of a few old shepherd huts converted into a mountain refuge with very rustic decor.

Make sure to write down the bus schedule for La Pissa to time your next day accordingly! 

Day 11: Rifugio Pian de Fontana to La Pissa

Distance: 19 km / 11.8 mi

Walking time: 4h 30min

Elevation gain: 300 m / 984 ft

Elevation loss: 1400 m / 4593 ft

Alta Via 1 Day 11 1

PATH NUMBERS: 514, 518, 503 

If you decide to overnight at rifugio Pian de Fontana your last day won’t be as demanding as it was for us. 

The day starts with a drop through a forest to a stream followed by an hour long (and ca 300 meters in elevation gain) jaunt to Forcella Varetta. From the saddle you will traverse along a trail below Cime de La Scala, with Monte Schiara rising to your right. 

Alta Via 1 Day 11 2

Once you reach a junction the path splits with clear signs for rifugio Bianchet, the direction you will be following for the next hour.

This is the last refuge on Alta Via 1. My dad and I stopped here for a longer break and a celebratory beer knowing that in a couple of hours we will reach the end of the route! 

From rifugio Blanchet you will follow a gravel road leading through the forest, with a few clearings in between, all the way to the bus stop! As we walked further and continued dropping the elevation the temperature kept rising. We finished the hike at around 2 PM on June 27th in 40 degree (Celcius) heat! Talk about commitment! 

A list of all mountain huts along Alta Via 1


If you are planning to hike Alta Via 1 this list of most mountain huts along the route will come in really handy. 

If this will be your first time staying in an italian refuge make sure to check out my other article about everything you need to know before staying in a mountain hut in the Dolomites. It includes information about alpine club memberships, how to make reservations, the meaning of ‘half-board’ and much more. 

The huts in bold underlined letters are the ones I have stayed at myself when hiking Alta via 1. 

Mountain hutE-mailPhone NumberCAI MemberShowersCredit/Debit CardsAccepted
Rifugio Biella rifugiobiella@libero.it +39 0436 866 991 Yes No No
Rifugio Sennesinfo@sennes.com+39 0474 646 355No Yes 
Rifugio Fannes info@rifugiofanes.com  +39 0474 501 097No Yes No 
Rifugio Lavarellarifugio@lavarella.it+39 0474 501 094No Yes 
Rifugio Lagazuoi Reservation system +39 0436 867 303 NoYes  Yes
Rifugio Averau Reservation system +39 0436 4660 NoYes Yes 
Rifugio Nuvolausiorpaes@yahoo.com+39 0436 867 938YesNoNo
Rifugio Citta di Fiumeinfo@rifugiocittadifiume.it+39 320 037 7432 Yes No Yes
Rifugio Coldai infocoldai@gmail.com  +39 0437 789 160 Yes Yes  Yes
Rifugio Tissirifugio.tissi@gmail.com+39 0437 721 644Yes  
Rifugio Vazzoler  vazzoler@email.it+39 0437 660 008 Yes  No 
Rifugio Carestiatio info@rifugiocarestiatio.com +39 0437 629 49  YesYes  
Rifugio Pramperet info@rifugiosommarivaalpramperet.it +39 0437 195 6153   YesYes No 
Rifugio Pian de Fontanapiandefontana@livecom.it+39 335 609 6819Yes No

Possible early escape routes on Alta Via 1

Not everyone is up for trekking the whole distance of Alta Via 1. I get it. 11 days of dragging your backpack over mountain passes day after day is quite a challenge for the body. The good news is you don’t have to do the whole route if you don’t want to or simply don’t have time.

You can join or leave at any of the points enlisted below! All locations are served by the local Dolomiti bus running throughout the summer season and you can ask for the schedule at the last refuge where you will be staying or check on google maps. Hitchhiking also seems to work quite well in the Dolomites and I did catch a ride with strangers on a few occasions. 

For your convenience I have linked to accommodation options in each town should you need a rest before continuing your journey.  

Day 3: Passo Falzarego 

After completing the route on day 3 you can catch the gondola down to Passo Falzarego and get the Dolomiti bus to Cortina D’Ampezzo

Day 4: Passo Giau

Instead of staying overnight at rifugio Averau you can continue for another 1,5 hour to Passo Giau and catch the local bus to Cortina D’Ampezzo. 

Day 5: Passo Staulanza 

After getting to rifugio Citta di Fiume on day 5 you can walk further 1h 15 mins to Passo Staulanza from where you can catch the bus to Selva Di Cadore or Forno di Zoldo. 

Day 7: Alleghe 

Stay the 6th night at rifugio Coldai (it would be a shame to miss out on those views) then retrace part of the route from the previous day and hike to the top of the Col Dei Baldi gondola. This will take ca 1h30min. The gondola will take you down to the beautiful town of Alleghe. 

Day 7 or 8: Listolade

After optional night at rifugio Vazzoler take the gravel road  no.555 towards rifugio Capanna Trieste then to Listolade. From Listolade catch a local bus to Agordo. This route takes approximately 2,5 hours. 

Day 8 or 9: Agordo

Stay the night at rifugio Carestatio (optional) then follow the path no.548 from the hut all the way to Agordo (2,5 hours). 

Day 9 (option 2): Forno Di Zoldo

Once reaching the old military baracks at Forcella Moschesin take path no.540 to descent through the Balanzola valley to Forno di Zoldo  (2,5 hours) 


Do you have any questions or need help with planning your holidays in the Italian Dolomites? Drop them in the comments below! I always answer! For more information on hiking, backpacking and photography visit my Italian Dolomites Guide. 


Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.


  1. Hi there, this guide and all of your Dolomites posts are incredibly helpful. I am SO appreciative to you for providing so much useful information all in one place – thank you! I am hoping to do about 6-7 nights on the Alta Via 1, and I’m curious what your opinion is about the must-see stages of this hike. I came across an itinerary that just focuses on the south end of Alta Via 1, but I would hate to miss the entire beginning if it is truly worth seeing. I am an avid hiker who doesn’t mind difficult days, so I am wondering about combining a few of the stages. However, I do not want to double up on too many days because I would like for the trek to be stress-free and enjoyable, without worrying about my speed/distance every single day. In your opinion, is there a section or itinerary of Alta Via 1 that would hit all of the highlights in only 7 days? I appreciate your input – thanks so much for being a badass in this space!

    • Hi Kayla! Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comment. It’s a tough call and it really depends on what you are after. For me, the absolute highlight of AV1 was the stretch between rifugio Pramperet to rifugio Pian De Fontana which my dad and I did in complete solitude. The beginning of Alta Via 1 is very pretty but it’s also the most crowded section. I’d recommend starting on day 3 from Passo Falzarego (you can spend the previous night at rifugio Lagazuoi) then continuing from there. I would also recommend tackling the via ferrata Averau extension which is easily doable as the section between rifugio Lagazuoi to Rifugio Averau is relatively short. Let me know if that helps and if you have more questions!

  2. Hi! I’m curious about your mileage. I obviously need to get a map to track out distances properly, but i was comparing some of your mileage to the estimates given in the “Trekking in the Dolomites” guidebook, and found some sections to be surprisingly longer. I find it frustrating that the guide book seems to rely more heavily on times to places rather than distance in km or mi. Did you track via GPS or estimate using the guidebooks or other maps? For instance, i noted you had from Rif Carestiato to Rif Pramperet as 7.4mi versus the book’s 5.6mi and Rif Pain de Fontana to La Pissa bus stop at 11.8mi, versus the book’s 8mi. It didn’t seem like there were alternate routes there, are there?

    • Hi Erica! Thanks for stopping by and I understand your confusion. To be honest I had the AV1 and AV2 guides with and at the same time measured the distances with my Garmin GPS device and noticed that what the books said was always incorrect to what my watch measured. I cannot speak of Cicerone and tell you what exactly was used to measure the distances. I know they were written already a good few years back and they are updated every two years or so, so I am surprised the distances weren’t updated yet. Nowadays with all the GPS devices available, it is much easier to measure distances. I followed the route using the Tabacco Maps and they were exactly the same routes described in the guidebooks. I hope that answers it for you.

  3. Having done a bit of Alpine trekking, I’d say that horizontal distances aren’t all that useful as a way of thinking of stage lengths. Total ascent is usually more significant, also any long descents, type of terrain etc. A day with 1200m of ascent is going to be very tiring, no matter what the distance.
    All signposts on the trails are marked in times throughout the Alps and these really are the best way to think. It’s just a matter of working out your personal adjustment, add 20% or subtract 10% or whatever. Cicerone timings are at the discretion of the individual author Gillian Price (who is a very experienced guidebook writer). They will be consistent right through the guidebook, but not necessarily with other Cicerone guides with different authors.
    When I walked the Stubai High Level Route, the Cicerone book’s timings were consistently 10% – 15% longer than times on signposts. We walked close to the signpost timings. I’d say signpost times were about right for a fit, late middle aged walker used to Alpine terrain. I haven’t had a chance yet to work out how my own times will compare with Cicerone’s guide or with Marta’s ones!
    Online mapping from OutdoorActive (£30 for a year Pro+, free trial period) allows speedy and consistent measurement of trail distances, ascents, and their estimate of timings, based on Kompass mapping. This gives final stage Rif. P de F to La Pissa at 12.1km (7.6 miles), 410m ascent, 1550m descent and 5 hr 55 walking time. I’d expect distances measured with GPS on the ground to be consistently longer as they take account of every wiggle and bump.

    • Hi Ronald! Thanks a lot for your input and you are definitely right when it comes down to vertical ascents. To me, that’s the number 1 stat that I take under consideration when hiking. Last summer I did a trek in Norway that was 1300 meters vertical ascent over just 3 kilometres. It took 3,5 hours to get to the top which meant we did less than 1 km in an hour. Gillian Price is a brilliant author and in no way I am trying to undermine her guides, I think they are awesome and I own a few of cicerone guides myself. I just put the distances measured by my GPS device which as you said do measure every zig zag, wiggle and bump. I usually walk faster than the times I give on my website because I do realize I am generally a faster hiker than most, simply due to the fact that hiking is my job. As for your last comment regarding the stage between Rifugio Pian de Fontana and La Pissa I compared it to my GPS data and the distance was 19 km, 298 meters ascent, 1388 meters descent with 4 hours of walking (for me), so not sure about the outdoor active online mapping, as the distance seems to be very much off to the GPS data. There were a lot of zigzags at the end adding to the distance, but we smashed it on that day because it was mostly downhill. Once again thanks for your input!

  4. Hi Marta, thank you so much for your amazing site, it’s been very helpful with planning!
    I’m hoping to hike part of the AV1 in late September. I would like to do 5 days/4 nights, and am curious which section of the hike you would recommend? I was thinking of starting at Rifugio Averau (on day/night 0), then completing days 5-8, and hiking out the last day from Rifugio Carestatio to Agordo to catch a bus. What do you think about this idea? I am trying to prioritize the ease of transit at the start/end of the route since we aren’t planning to rent a car, but I would also like to make sure we don’t miss any of the really special sections of the route. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Lauren. Thanks for stopping by. September is a great time to hike AV1, just bear in mind to plan it no later than mid to the third week of September as many of the huts close by the third week of September. As for your question. You could start at Passo Falzarego, hike the first day to Citta di Fiume and then continue as per the itinerary. It is a beautiful part of AV1. My favourite days were day 3, day 8 and the last day so to be honest whichever one part you choose you won’t be disappointed and I think you already chose very well! Passo Falzarego will be very easy to reach from Cortina and Agordo is pretty well connected too. Let me know if I can help any further!

  5. Hi Marta, thank you for your comprehensive write-up! I’m currently planning my trip and following your recommendation. I’m contacting the rifugio and do you have any alternative recommendation for Rifugio Citta di Fiume? I reached out to them and they were saying that they were not sure when they would be open.


    • Hi Aris. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely feedback. Yes you could stay at rifugio Passo Staulanza a mere 45-60 mins further from rifugio Citta Di Fiume. If you do then the next day I recommend hiking to rifugio Tissi because you might find rifugio Coldai to be a bit too close. From Tissi you could hike all the way to rifugio Carestiato skipping a night at rifugio Vazzoler, because once again Vazzoler and Tissi are only a couple of hours apart. I hope that helps!

  6. Hallo, Marta. Your blog was very helpful doing first part of Alta via 1 last year and the trek was amazing. We planed to do the second part this summer. But I have my doubts since this route doesn’t seem as exciting. What would You say? Perhaps You could recommend another route for 5-6 days in Dolomites. We don’t have equipment for via ferrata and some from our group have never done it. So preferably, without via ferrata. We will have 12 yo with us. We would be very grateful for your suggestions!

    • Hi Kristine! Thanks for your great feedback. I am glad my blog helped with your planning. I am not sure how far did you make it on the first half, but personally, I found days 7 and 10 to be the most beautiful on the whole trek and I loved how quiet the route was after rifugio Coldai. I was definitely a bigger fan of the second half than the first. I would definitely recommend doing the second half.
      As for the other routes, most of the ones I have done had via ferratas in them. You could plan a Rosengarten traverse together with the Puez Odle Traverse, starting somewhere like Corvara and then finishing in Campitello di Fassa. Plenty of routes to plan, you will just need maps etc. Let me know If I can help further!

  7. Hello, and thank you for this extremely helpful and beautiful website! I have a question about food in the refugios – I’m gluten free and am wondering if I can count on being able to eat what’s served all along the route, or if I should plan on bringing some of my own food. Many thanks in advance for any insight!

    • Hi Abigail. Thanks for stopping by. If you are celiac then you might have a problem because the food isn’t prepared separately. As for being gluten-free by choice, it’s not impossible but it will be a challenge. All rifugios always have polenta on the menu, but you might end up eating polenta every single night. I am not sure about you but I am personally not a big fan of it, even though it’s considered excellent mountain food because of its high protein content. There are also potatoes, eggs and ham on the menu which would be a good alternative. Other than that the menus are quite mundane and pretty much always the same with pasta being the staple food of course! For breakfasts, you can expect musli with some type of grain and bread of course. If you want to be safe bring your own food.

  8. Hello, Marta. Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice on hiking the Dolomites. This really is a tremendous resource. After pondering the hike for about 5 years, I’ve decided that I really must do the full Alta Via 1 this September. I just hope I haven’t left it too late to secure lodging for each night along the route, though. My dates are flexible so I wondered if there is a good day of the week to start in order to avoid “crowds”. Should, for example, any of the rifugio or locations be avoided around the weekend as they tend to be busier than any other day of the week? Thanks again.

    • Hi Clive! Thanks for stopping by. Your question is actually on point and I reckon it will help quite a few people. Yes you should avoid Lagazuoi on Averau huts on the weekend. They are both accessible with gondolas which makes it easy for weekend travelers to reach them and stay in them. The good news is, both of these huts have online booking systems so you can first see if they are fully booked or not.
      September is significantly quieter than August, so I reckon you should still be fine securing your spots. The huts usually stay open until around September 20th so if you start around September 10th you should be able to book everything. Let me know if that helps and if you have more questions!

  9. Hi, this makes for a great read, thankyou. I am in planning stages for July 2023 and had drafted out our walks/huts – there is no mention of a couple of huts I had planned to stay at though? Pederu for our 1st night, Staulanza for our 4th, San Sebastiano (Passo Duran? – the websites are a bit confusing!) for night 6… any reason why and do you have any feedback on them please?thanks

    • Hi Amanda. Thanks for visiting. I stopped at rifugio Pederu for ice cream and it stands in the Tamersc valley. One can drive to it with a car. Both Passo Staulanza and Passo Duran are mountain passes where you can drive a car. I prefer a more intimate experience, staying in the mountains away from the vehicle traffic. I also found rifugio Citta Di Fiume has much better views than Passo Staulanza, same goes for Rifugio Carestiato in comparison to Passo Duran. To be fair though, most of the huts are very similar to one another, so if that’s where you decided to stay it is totally fine. They are definitely along the route. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  10. Hi Marta,

    Thank you so much for sharing the information. This is a great resource for me to prepare the Dolomites backpacking trip. I am planning to follow your footprint along the Alta Via 1. I am also very much into the photography. Your photos inspired me! If you have dinner in the hut, do you have enough time to get out to take sunset photos? I see most of your photos had very good lighting. How did you manage it?


    • Hi Yang. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely feedback. It depends on when you go. In the summer season, the sunsets are quite late so you can have dinner and then head outside again to take photos. You can also try and capture sunrises before breakfast time, but that means a very early start of the day. I hope that helps!

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