Walking Holidays in Italy - Cortina - Heart of the Dolomites


Cortina - Heart of the Dolomites - Single Centred
Holiday Highlights
  • Observe the remnants of WW1 along the paths or try the daring ‘Via Ferrata’
  • Climb amongst high peaks and spires of these strange mountains rising to over 3200m
  • Walk within the heart of the Dolomites, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site


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  • Overview
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Cortina, or Cortina d’Ampezzo as the collection of settlements are known, is located in northern Italy and nestles under the majestic scenery of the Dolomites at the head of the Valle del Boite. As an area of outstanding natural interest and beauty, the Dolomites are a designated UNESCO World Natural Heritage Area. It is the largest of the 18 municipalities which make up Ladinia, a widely cultural area where the local Ladin language is most prevalent and is still spoken today. Originally Cortina d’Ampezzo was composed of a number of “frazioni”, isolated villages and hamlets, but with an increase in tourism in the area from the 1950’s the town began to grow rapidly. Only the most outlaying villages and hamlets have remained secluded and isolated from the main centre of Cortina. 

Cortina’s popularity as a winter sports resort led to it hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics as well as regularly hosting World Cup skiing events. However, in summertime the region takes on another role as a prime hiking destination offering endless options of mountain walks. Sections of the Dolomites are now open air museums remembering these battles between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarians.

Already a rather select destination frequented by British tourists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Cortina also became a favourite resort for upper-class Italians after World War I. Cortina is now a smart and stylish centre with fashion houses, and various artisan, antique and craft stores. As well as fashion, specialist retailers in hiking and mountaineering equipment line the streets. The primary symbol of Cortinese shopping still remains La Cooperativa di Cortina, founded on June 28th 1893.

Cortina offers more than 400 kilometres of well marked hiking trails for all levels of walker. Lower level paths take in all the local scenery as they wander through meadows and forests, around sparkling emerald lakes and past plunging waterfalls. For those requiring a greater challenge, climb higher into the more remote areas to walk ridge trails amongst the peaks and spires of these strange mountains as they rise to over 3,200m and are magnificently outlined against a deep blue sky. You will also be able to walk past the remnants of the battles of World War 1 such as the Austrian emplacements and the frontlines. In addition, the Via Ferrata trails are there for the experienced or for the novice with the company of a mountain guide. 


Getting Around 

There is an excellent bus service centred on Cortina which is supplemented by numerous chairlifts and cable cars to access higher level hiking trails. We have chosen hotels that are within easy walking distance of the bus station.


Via Ferrata 

A Via Ferrata, literally an 'iron path', is a route equipped with chains, rungs and other fixed anchor points such as ladders or wooden walkways. For experienced hikers, taking on a Via Ferrata is often top of their wish list. In the Dolomites and around Cortina specifically there is a huge variety to choose from. We have one route in our walk booklet which involves a small section of Via Ferrata, equipment needs to be rented and is payable locally. We can also arrange guided Via Ferrata days with a local mountain expert for more difficult routes.

Hotel Franceschi Park - 4 Star

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This 4* hotel has been in the Francesc. There is a small wellness centre with sauna and Turkish bath. An extensive breakfast buffet is taken in the restaurant with hot and cold options, as is dinner which is a served 5 course meal of excellent quality. Every week there is a typical “Ampezzana” dinner and a Gala dinner.

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Hotel Olimpia *** - 3 Star

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This hotel was built for the 1956 Winter Olympics and is run by the Lorenzi family. It is situated in the centre of the town in a traffic restricted area, close to the ski lifts for Faloria and the bus station.

The hotel has a small bar and a terrace with views of the Tofane mountains. A generous buffet breakfast is taken in the hotels breakfast room. There is also a wellness centre with a jacuzzi and sauna.


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Availability Information

Due to its altitude of 1,211m, Cortina retains a pleasant summer temperature with average July highs of 22 degrees Celsius. Walking is possible between mid-June and the end of September with the risk of snow in late June and late September. Public transport for walks is reduced and is limited from Mid-September onwards.

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