Hike in Italys spectacular Dolomites and enjoy Michelin-starred local cuisine and world-renowned wines. You will be amazed by the diversity of the Dolomites, a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, preserved as UNESCO World Heritage site. This spectacular destination combines Italian passion with European sensibility and efficiency, offering an unforgettable mountain version of la dolce vita. Join this holiday and immerse yourself into the Dolomites!
During the holiday, guests will be provided with daily accommodation in a diverse range of venues, from luxury and boutique spa hotels to traditional mountain huts or rifugi.
In the morning, you will meet Whole Journeys in the historic old town of Innsbruck, Austria, at the Romantik Schwarzer Adler Hotel. From there, the group will cross the border into Italy to your destination in Redagno; one of the most idyllic places in the South Tyrol. Located at an altitude of 5,300 feet, the town boasts breathtaking views of vineyards and surrounding mountain peaks. Upon arrival at your hotel, you will enjoy lunch and then take a guided walk through glorious meadows and pine forests at the Dolomites. Afterwards, there is time to enjoy the hotels swimming pool or sauna, before your first amazing dinner. Overnight in Redagno.
Hike to the 7,602-foot summit of the Corno Bianco massif, which has a spectacular, 360-degree panorama of the Brenta and Ortler mountain chain, and a view of the Val di Fassa. Your trek will pass by a church, through the beautiful forest, and up to the bare rocks. Along this moderate hike, you will enjoy a picnic lunch. In the late afternoon, a sommelier will guide you through a degustazione (wine sampling) of Alto Adige wines. You will taste local, biodynamic Haderburg wines, as well as other renowned vintages, such as Franz Hass and Hoffsttter, which are not labeled organic but are produced using organic grape-growing methods. Overnight in Redagno.
Today you will get passionate about pasta during a hands-on cooking lesson. You will learn local recipes and a plethora of creative ideas from the chef, as he guides you through the preparation of local gnocchi, canederli (boiled potato or bread dumplings) and other fresh pastas and desserts specific to southern parts of the Alto Adige region. The chef will guide you through the organic garden, where you will pick fresh herbs and other ingredients to cook with. He will also show you a variety of ways to prepare each pasta dish with different sauce combinations. You will then feast on the dishes you have prepared. Following the class, there will be a guided hiking tour of the Geoparc Bletterbach, included in the Dolomites recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Five miles long and 1,312 feet deep, Bletterbach Canyon reveals fossilized imprints of plants, shells, and amphibians. Overnight in Redagno.
On the enormous, fortress-shaped Sella Massif, you will find an excellent trail network. The Sella mountain group includes a 10,341-foot pyramidal peak, which can be seen from any of the four passes of the Sella Massif. You will ride gondolas from the Val di Fassa up to Belvedere, and from there, you will skirt the imposing Sas Bece to Passo Pordoi. You will continue to Ossario del Pordoi, a military memorial for more than 8,000 German and Austrian troops who lost their lives in the Dolomites, during both world wars. You will stop for a packed lunch, before continuing on to Rifugio Franz Kostner; a rustic but comfy mountain hut where you will spend the night. Situated in the Sella mountain group, the hut offers incomparable views of some of the most famous Dolomite peaks and Zillertal Alps. The rifugio faces east, so the sun wakes you early, and its rays gild the rock faces of surrounding peaks (Sasso delle Nove, Sasso delle Dieci, and Piz da Lech, each nearly 9,800 feet high).
Your host, Cristina, personally prepares simple but delicious cuisine. Polenta with cheese, mushrooms, and sausage is a perennial favorite, as is goulash (a stew of meat, noodles, and vegetables) and apple strudel. Italys spectacular Alta Badia region has built a reputation for innovative cuisine (even on the ski slopes). Guests who do not wish to spend the night at the rifugio can descend on the chair lift and the cable car to the town of Corvara, to be transferred to Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano, for an additional fee, that includes transportation and hotel accommodation. Overnight at Rifugio or for those less adventurous in San Cassiano.
Today you will descend from Rifugio Franz Kostner, passing along other rifugios, as you continue on a gravel path to Passo Campolongo. From there, you will hike through pastures, on a trail known as Tru di lagri, and walk by Rifugio La Marmotta, Rifugio Punta Trieste, and Rifugio Pralongi , before you reach your lunch spot at Rosa Alpinas mountain hut, where you will enjoy more high-altitude Alta Badia cuisine. Your downhill hike will take you to the cozy town of San Cassiano, in Alta Badia. You will relax before doing some wine tasting in the private cellars of Ciasa Salares in the evening, where sommelier Stefan Weiser created a cantina not to be missed. The unique cellar walls are lined with 21,000 bottles, representing 1,850 different wines. On tables of local wood, cut according to phases of the moon and in harmony with the biodynamic philosophy that underlies the majority of his products, you will enjoy excellent organic and biodynamic wines from around the world. Dinner will be on your own at San Cassiano, where you will spend the night.
You will walk to the Santa Croce Sanctuary at the base of the Sasso della Croce, known as Sass dla Crusc by the local Ladino population (Ladin is spoken only in the Dolomites by a few thousand people.) First, you will hike uphill on a wide trail, passing by a cluster of ancient Ladino farmhouses and barns known as viles. Progress through pine forests and revel in the fantastic views of the Santa Croce, Conturines, and Sella mountain groups. After a couple of steep ascents, you arrive at the church and sanctuary of the pilgrims hospice: Ospizio Santa Croce. The sober white church, consecrated in 1484, contains an image of Christ bearing the cross (hence the name of the mountain, Sasso della Croce). You continue on to Ranch da Andre, a typical Ladino shepherds house converted into a rifugio, that serves delicious, traditional Ladin food. Among the most popular dishes, you will find barley soup with turtres (Ladin veggie pastries) or the cajinci (known as schlutzkrapfen in South Tyrol and as ravioli with ricotta and spinach in Italy). Other typical dishes include crafuncins (ravioli with spinach), puessl (apple pancake, cut into small pieces) and strudel. After lunch, you will descend to the town of San Leonardo and transfer back to San Cassiano, where you may visit the Rosa Alpina kitchen, before enjoying an aperitivo followed by a three-course gourmet dinner, prepared and hosted by a 2-star Michelin chef Norbert Niederkofler. Overnight in San Cassiano.
After breakfast, you will depart for the Innsbruck airport in Austria. The ride on private transportation takes around two and a half hours.
The Dolomites, Italy, will be your home during this holiday. Delight and be amazed by the diversity of this much-loved Alpine UNESCO World Heritage site, which accommodates all tastes (for both active and leisurely pursuits) and seamlessly blends Italian passion for la dolce vita, with European sensibility and efficiency.
During your tour, you will delight your taste buds with some of the best foods and wines Italy has to offer. Some of the highlights are the following:
Please arrive at Innsbruck Airport (INN).