Via Ferratas In The Italian Dolomites Great For Beginners

If you want to dip your feet into the world of via ferrata in the Italian Dolomites, but don’t know which beginner routes would be good to start with, you have come to the right place. 

There are over 700 via ferratas in the Dolomites. Their main history dates back to the 1st World War when soldiers set up intricate routes across the mountains to fight the opposition. 

Since then frayed ropes have been replaced with steel cables and the via ferratas have turned into adventure sites for people, who would like to take hiking to the next level. 

Just last year I was a beginner myself, but after 2 full summer seasons spent in the Dolomites, I managed to tick off over 50 via ferratas from my bucket list. Here are a few that I consider to be great for novices. 

New to the via ferratas? Read my beginner’s guide! 

Ten Beginner Via Ferratas In The Italian Dolomites

1. Via ferrata Gran Cir

Via ferrata Gran Cir, a perfect via ferrata for beginners

If you are a fan of getting great rewards for putting in little effort then via ferrata Gran Cir is for you. 

There is a good reason why this route is on the top of the list. It’s the easiest one and the ascent is only 60 to 90 minutes long. 

Starting at Passo Gardena, one of the most photogenic mountain passes in the Dolomites, the route will take you to the top of the Gran Cir mountain where you can check out the beautiful views of the nearby Sella mountain group and Sassolungo. 

2. Via ferrata Innerkofler/De Luca

Best beginner via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites - Via Ferrata Innerkofler

This is a real gem in the popular Tre Cime Di Lavaredo National Park in the Italian Dolomites. Via ferrata Innerkofler packs a hell of a punch for considering it’s just a half day excursion. 

The ferrata starts near rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte), one of the best mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites, taking you to the summit of Monte Paterno, at the foot of which the refuge was built.  

From the top you can admire the famous three peaks from an elevated view and away from the crowds. Just make sure to leave early to have the summit all to yourself! 

3. Via ferrata Passo Santner

Via ferrata in the Italian Dolomites great for beginners

For a beginner route, this one is a bit harder than the two previously mentioned via ferratas. The reason I decided to include it in the beginner list is that the route never presents any scary exposure. The protection, in the form of cables and stemples, is excellent from start to finish.

The real challenge is to focus on the route and not the amazing views surrounding you. The Rosengarten Nature Park where the ferrata is located is known for its many dramatic spires, many of which are visible on this route. 

The culmination of the ferrata is the Santner mountain pass where you can get an excellent view of the Vajolet towers – one of my favourite photography subjects in the Dolomites! 

Go to my article about via ferrata Passo Santner for detailed information and to see more photos! 

4. Via ferrata Catinnacio D’Antermoia

Via Ferrata Catinnacio D'Antermoia. Great beginner ferrata in the Italian Dolomites

At 3002 meters Monte Catinnacio is the highest peak in the Rosengarten group. Thanks to the beginner via ferrata Catinnacio D’Antermoia and the proximity of the nearby mountain hut, you can have its summit under your belt in just a few hours.

The ferrata starts at Rifugio Principe built on the mountain pass with the same name. If you study the photo above you will be able to notice the hut. It’s the most interesting hut I came across during my time in the Dolomites because it’s built right into the side of the mountain. 

This via ferrata doesn’t pose any great challenges. The only real obstacle might be in your mind. Sure-footedness is a necessity on any of these routes!

5. Via ferrata Ra Gusela

Sunsrise view from the Ra Gusela Summit - best beginner via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites

If you’ve done any kind of research about the Dolomites I am sure that you’ve came across a photo of the Giau mountain pass (Passo Giau).

The mountain standing on the pass – Ra Gusela, is a beloved photography subject for many who visit this area. However few realize that you can get to its summit along the beginner via ferrata Ra Gusela. 

There is nothing technical or complicated about this ferrata. The only scary thing is the few hundred meter high and nearly vertical wall on the other side of the mountain. Don’t worry though, this is not the side you will be scrambling on!

6. Via ferrata Averau

Via Ferrata Averau - a beginner ferrata in the Dolomites

Just two peaks across from Mount Ra Gusela stands Mount Averau. If I was going to single out my favourite beginner via ferrata, it would be this one. 

The cable section on this route is quite intense, but very short. After that it’s a straight forward path to the summit, where some of the best views I have witnessed in the Dolomites are waiting for you! 

Via ferrata Averau can be connected with the previously mentioned Ra Gusela. Together they will make up for a demanding, but exciting day in the mountains! 

7. Via ferrata Sass Rigais

The summit of Sass Rigais in the Italian Dolomites

This great beginner via ferrata will give you a chance to summit the highest peak of the Seceda ridgeline – one of the most iconic photo spots in the Dolomites. The peak is called Sass Rigais and it reaches over 3000 meters!

Due to a relatively long approach, this ferrata is a bit harder than the others I have mentioned in this article. The exposure along the cable section is also greater. I was actually mulling it over for a while whether to include it on my intermediate list, but I decided against it. 

If you have head for heights you shouldn’t have any problems completing this via ferrata. The route is straightforward and there are always great spots to place your feet. For more information about this route, check out my other article

8. Via Ferrata Sassongher

The views from the summit of Sassongher in the Italian Dolomites

Sassongher is the distinct peak standing over the town of Corvara. It also lies within the borders of the Puez Odle National Park – home to the famous Seceda ridgeline.

When I first lied my eyes upon Sassongher I thought of it to be unattainable to a mere mortal like myself. When looking at it from Corvara all you see are 90 degree steep walls.

Luckily the slopes on the other side of the mountain, where the path runs are a lot more gentle, making it one of the easiest via ferratas on this list. 

The approach starts at the top of the Col Pradat gondola in the town of Colfosco and for the first 30 minutes it leads gently along the side of the mountain on path nr 4A. After around 30 minutes it veers off on path nr 7 to Forcella (saddle) di Sassongher. 

The cable protected section starts shortly after you reach the saddle and lasts for only around 100 meters. After that you have another 30-45 minutes of switchbacks to reach the summit. The total round trip time to the top is 3-4 hours and makes for a great half day trip. 

9. Via Ferrata Sass de Putia

Approaching the summit of Sass de Putia in the Italian Dolomites

The hike to the summit of Sass de Putia begins at Passo delle Erbe near the village of Santa Magdalena. 

Sass de Putia has two summits. The lower one can be reached via a day hike, but to reach the true summit you will need to tackle the via ferrata section stretching for around 300 meters before the top. The whole route takes around 6-8 hours to complete.

Sass de Putia can also be summited as an extension to the popular long distance trek – Alta Via 2 running nearby. This is the option I went for when hiking it during one of the summer seasons which I spent in the Dolomites. 

10. Via Ferrata Strada Degli Alpini

Strada Degli Alpini - a great beginner via ferrata in the Italian Dolomites

I have deliberately decided to leave the best for last. If you spend as much time in the mountains as me you can quickly become, what i call the ‘view snob’. Regular green rolling hills don’t quench my thirst for jaw dropping views any longer.

I need sheer walls and dramatic spires and via ferrata Strada degli Alpini delivers exactly that. All whilst remaining within the beginner level, attainable even for those without any via ferrata experience. 

Shop My Via Ferrata Gear

Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

To protect your head from any potential rockfall set off by climbing groups above you, or any other head injuries. 

Black Diamond Momentum Harness 

Aim for a lightweight harness, which will be comfy to wear between the cable protected sections when you are hiking. 

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

When you haul yourself on a cable for half a day your hands will quickly become blistered. My advice is to go for full fingered gloves. 

Camp Kinetic Rewind Pro Via Ferrata Lanyard

Developed specifically for via ferrata scrambling, the lanyard provides shock absorption  in case of a fall.

Have you done any of these via ferratas? If you are going to visit the Dolomites this summer and plan on completing some of them, but have more questions, either check out my complete Italian Dolomites Guide or the links to each via ferrata in the article.

You can also post your questions in the comment section below! 

Marta
Marta

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.

10 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for all this great info! I have based my trip mostly on your suggestions but have a few questions:
    1. I know we cant rent via Ferrata gear from Cortina D’Ampezzo but I am planning to start on the Ouest side and finish in Cortina D’Ampezzo, do you know of where else I would be able to rent out via Ferrata gears ? And would I have to return them on the same day..
    Here is where I am planning to be: 6 days
    Val di Fassa (Vajolet towers) -> Val Gardena -> Seceda -> Tre Cime di lavaredo -> Cinque Torri -> Cortina D’Ampezza..
    2. My second question is around transportation from one place to another, is it easy to find buses or what is the best way to go from one place to another ? (I know if I am starting in Cortina there is the tourist info center but since I am starting on the other side, I was wondering).
    Any tips that you can give me would be appreciated 🙂
    Thank you!!
    Yara

    • Hi Yara,

      Thanks for visiting my site. If you are planning to do 6 days of via ferratas then do consider buying the gear. The total set will set you back around 150-200 euros, 6 days rent will be around 150 euros. It’s just not cost-efficient to rent it. Secondly, I don’t know of any places that would allow you to rent it in one town and return it to another one.
      Public transport is relatively good in the Dolomites and most towns are connected with one another through buses. You can check the Sued Tirol Mobil up and search for bus stops on Google maps, but I am not exactly sure what your plan is. Do you plan on hiking from hut to hut and incorporating all the places that you have enlisted there, or are you going to do each place as a day trip, then return to a town and keep on travelling to the next spot. Whilst buses are pretty good, the issue I’ve got with them is their frequency meaning you really have to be mindful of the times. Another thing is they start relatively late and I always recommend people to do the trips really early in the morning, because in the summer season by midday all peaks tend to be in the clouds, as opposed to glorious bluebird mornings. To start really early though, the only option is to rent a car. Let me know if that helps!

  2. Very informative website.
    My question is: are the via ferratas circular? i mean from where you start, you finish? or do you finish away from where you started?

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks for stopping by. This really depends on the route but you can check individual articles I have for via ferratas to see if it’s a loop or out and back the same way. Some or loops some aren’t/

  3. By any chance, do you have or know of a map with via ferratas + difficulty for the Alta Via 2? I am curious how difficult the via ferratas are on that route.

    • Hi Greg! Yes, Tabacco and Kompass make maps with via ferratas marked on them. As for Alta Via 2 head over to my guide for Alta Via 2 which will tell you which maps to get. I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if it does!

  4. Hi Marta!
    I’m so happy to have found your website. Awesome work! In case I cannot find the info anywhere, where is the best place to rent gear for one day? Also, do you have a favorite campground near one of your favorite Ferratas? Thanks!

    • Hi Kevin!! Thanks for stopping by. To be honest with you I wasn’t very impressed with the campgrounds in the Dolomites. I found them very busy and campervans were too close to one another. The campground in Siusi was super luxurious, but unless you plan on doing the Rosengarten traverse then it isn’t very practical to stay at. I always recommend my readers to stay in the mountain huts. It’s the best value for money accommodation in the Dolomites! As for rental gear, it highly depends on where you will be doing the ferratas. I have a whole article about via ferratas in Cortina D’Ampezzo which is a convenient place for renting or buying gear. Let me know if I can help further!

  5. Hi Marta – your blogs are so helpful, thank you! Do you know of any companies that do guided one day via ferratas? This will be our first time with our teenage children to the Dolomites and would love to try a beginner route but I am not comfortable on our own!

    • Hi Rebecca. Thanks for visiting and for your great feedback. I understand if you are not comfortable. There are definitely some companies who do guided tours for example guide Dolomiti in Cortina D’Ampezzo. I haven’t used them myself but they seem to have great reviews on google. Let me know if I can help you any further!

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