I didn’t find much information when I was planning my hike, so here are a few things that would have been helpful!
I had wanted to go hiking in the Dolomites for a long time, having been impressed by photos of the massif, the lace of the peaks, the pink of the cliffs; but I didn’t quite know where to go about it. I first researched the Alta via 1, which has quite a few resources online. Half a dozen itineraries lasting about a week criss-cross the massif along a North-South axis. There is also a fairly dense network of paths which makes it possible to imagine many other routes, but this already provides a starting point.
I finally opted for the Alta via 2: it corresponded to the length I wanted (10 days), with big elevation changes; there was no mandatory via ferrata (unlike the end of the Alta via 1 and many of the other routes); and the starting (Bressanone) and ending (Feltre) points were accessible by train (so I took the night train, then regional trains).
I found the Dolomites totally up to my expectations! The steep terrain results in spectacular and ever-changing viewpoints. Refuges make it possible not to overload yourself (and to eat very very well). The rock formations are exceptionally beautiful. Finally, everything is very preserved: pastoralism in the valleys, a few minimalist cable cars, solitude in the heights.
- the differences in height are quite significant, because the Dolomites are structured by small massifs; to pass from one massif to another one goes down in the valley and one goes up on the following one; they are therefore quite sporty routes (take hiking sticks!).
- there are many air passages; I had my via ferrata equipment but I didn’t use it (in case of rain it would have been useful).
- refuges are frequent and comfortable and the food is delicious; it is necessary to count 50-60$ per night in half-board. Given the quality of the food, I also often stopped in refuges for lunch (I also picnicked at certain lunchtimes).
- camping is generally prohibited; there are a few refuges, but few in number although located in very beautiful places.
- if you can only make one section of it, the passages that I preferred are those of the Pale di San Martino (Mulaz, Rosetta, Vezzana) and Pic Boè.
- you can also buy a detailed map (Tabacco maps) and build a loop route in a massif (there are many paths).
I tell my itinerary day by day in a more complete article on my blog: https://www.levoyageinacheve.com/2023/08/dolomites-randonnee-alta-via-2/