8 Days, 7 Nights|
Guides, lodging, most meals (all breakfasts and dinners), route maps|
Transportation to Castelrotto, lunches, drinks, personal clothing and accessories, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities.
If the Swiss Alps are made for skiing, then the Italian Alps are made for trekking. Join us as we complete a circular tour of these Alps. We start and end in the charming town of Castelrotto by traversing 5-12 miles a day along the breathtaking alpine trails of the South Tyrol in the German speaking north of Italy. We stay each night in the rustic luxury of mountain hotels surrounded by the spectacular crags of the Dolomites. Enjoy Italy from the outside in!
Day 1: Travel independently by rail and bus from Milan to Castelrotto (Kastelruth), a town built for farmers rather than skiers - it has more character than any other town around. We will have a welcome dinner at our hotel in Castelrotto and preview our week's journey in the South Tyrol section of the Dolomites. We will overnight in Castelrotto at Hotel Zum Wolf and depart for Bolzano in the morning.
Day 2: After breakfast we take a bus and gondola up to Compatsch (1850m), a popular winter resort, where we will begin our trek. Our day's hike takes us through Rifugio Saltner (1726m) and on to Rifugio Bolzano/Schlernhaus (2450m). We should spend anywhere from 2 ½ hours to 3 ½ hours on the trail.
Day 3: Our morning begins at Rifugio Bolzano/Schlernhaus (2450m) where we will put down a hearty breakfast, strap on our packs and hit the trail. We will travel over the spine of the Scialar altipiano - a fascinating karst geologic formation - and walk across the south face of Cima di Terrarossa, descending into a deep valley. Today's journey lands us in Rifugio Alpe di Tires (2440m), a cheerful hut with splendid hospitality.
Day 4: After breakfast we will hike to Seiser Alm-Haus/Dialer where we will drop off our packs, have some lunch and continue on to explore some local trails. The scenery along the way provides spectacular views and takes us to the more remote part of our journey. We end our day in back at Seiser Alm-Haus/Dialer where we will spend the next two nights.
Day 5: Today we will from Alm-Haus/Dialer and continue on to the Val Duran region of Alpe di Suisse.
Day 6: Our morning begins in Sasso Piatto where we will have breakfast and then head southwesterly along a moderate trail that takes us to Rifugio Vicenza (2253m). The alpine hut "Rifugio Vicenza" is placed in the heart of the Sassolungo group where you enjoy a wonderful view over the Alpe di Siusi. Our travel time today will be from 4-5 hours.
Day 7: Beginning at Rifugio Vicenza (2253m) we will have an early breakfast and head southeasterly towards Saltria (1689m). This section of the trek marks a moderate to difficult ascent of over 550m from Vicenza to Saltria, but the view is one of the best on the entire trip. Once we reach Saltria, we will have about an hour and a half until we complete our dolomites loop and land back at Compatsch (1850m). Here, we will catch the bus back down to Castelrotto for our celebration dinner.
Day 8: This morning we will have a farewell breakfast at the hotel before catching a train for Milan.
**Itinerary subject to change depending on conditions.
What is special about this trip?
As you travel north through Italy the swarms of tourists thin and landscapes undulate into mesmerizing craggy mountains. Ah, the Alpine glory of north Italy. Trekking along the mountain trails and resting up in rifugios is the best way to experience the German-speaking Dolomites region. This is a one-of-a-kind hiking holiday!
How do I get there?
Most Italy bound transatlantic flights land in either Rome or Milan. The next step is to take a plane, train or bus to Bolzano, where buses regularly run to Castelrotto.
What papers do I need for travel?
All US citizens require a valid passport to enter Italy and the EU. A visa is not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with your nearest Italian embassy for visa requirements.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required when entering or leaving Italy.
How and where will you meet me?
We will meet you in Castelrotto. Your guide will have already checked you into the hotel by the time you arrive. The guide can usually meet you at the bus stop. He or she will have a Northwest Passage sign. If the guide is unable to meet you at the bus stop, he or she will provide you with detailed directions to the hotel.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight to Italy is usually an overnight flight, leaving the U.S. in the late morning or afternoon and arriving mid-day in Rome. Depending on the carrier and connection, you may transfer en-route. The connections from the airport to Castelrotto could take as much as a day, so plan ahead, and if you have any questions, give us a call!
Where should I stay overnight around there?
There are many mountainside hotels and rifugios in the area. Give us a call if you’d like a recommendation.
What money should I take?
The trip fee covers most of your costs. The only things you will be responsible for are lunches, drinks, one dinner, personal purchases, and gratuities. Lunches generally range 10-25 Euros. Dinner ranges 20-40 Euros. Personal purchases again vary- one can buy unique souvenirs made by the local Amalfi residents for 15 Euros or get fine jewelry for significantly more… it’s up to you.
What's the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
The Lira was the Italian currency. However, Italy converted to the Euro in January, 2000. For the most current exchange rate, there are several helpful websites. Oanda (www.oanda.com) will give you a handy conversion cheat sheet to take with you. You can exchange money throughout Italy. Exchange rates throughout may not be the most favorable as they often have higher commission rates and/or minimum commissions. There are ATM’s at the airports train stations which can be handy as there is not a commission, just the ATM service charge. There are also ATM’s in Capri, Positanio, Naples and Amalfi. Some of the hotels where we stay will also exchange. Shops do exchange money but their rates are often high.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
Cash stations are located in all of the major cities. Many of the more upscale shops will take credit cards. You can sometimes negotiate a better price on goods if you pay cash. Many smaller shops do not accept credit cards.
What's the weather like?
The weather in fall and spring is generally around 80° with lots of sunshine. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, including lip protection. A broad-brimmed hat that secures on your head can also be very helpful. Air temperatures cool off at night to the point you may want a light jacket. Rain is unusual but does occur. A light rain jacket can be handy.
What are the accommodations like?
We stay each night in the rustic luxury of mountain hotels or rifugios. These establishments were built to cater to hikers, and have comfortable accommodations and running hot water.
What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed clothing and equipment list to guide you in your packing. If you bring any items requiring electricity, be sure to bring both a converter and adapter plugs. These can be purchased at Radio Shack®, other electronics stores, travel stores etc. Let the salesperson know you are traveling to Italy and they can help you select the appropriate converter and adapter plugs for your equipment. Note that hair dryers, irons, and any other heat producing devices require a stronger converter than other devices. It is helpful to know the wattage of your particular equipment when purchasing the appropriate converter.
Can I drink the water?
Yes. The water is potable everywhere we go.
What's the food like?
Italian gastronomy is not in strange, unusual food combinations, but in the careful attention given to the taste and freshness of the basic ingredients. Your choices include an array of anti-pasta, pasta, seafood, various poultry, meats and homemade pastries and desserts. Italian culture is defined around the dinner table. We can only encourage you to join us and leave room for dessert!
What time zone will I be in?
Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Time, which makes it 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, 7 hours ahead of Central Time, and 9 hours ahead of Pacific Time.
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
We will provide you with a list of our hotels including phone and fax numbers. You should also provide family/friends with The Northwest Passage number (800-RECREATE, 732-7328) as NWP staff will always be notified of any changes in the itinerary.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We hike between 5 and 12 miles a day, which leaves plenty of time for relaxation, afternoon coffees and even additional exploration. Sometimes our trails take us up and down hillsides, but there are plenty of places to rest during these stretches.
What kind of equipment do you use?
We can outfit you with an adjustable trekking pole, but otherwise you are responsible for bringing your own pack and a pair of sturdy footwear. Simplicity is key!
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Your guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
Generally you won’t need to train for this trip if you are comfortable with a moderate level of exercise. You’ll want to be in good cardiovascular shape, and you may want to do some walking before you head over to Italy if it’s not part of your normal routine.