Tag Archives: dolomites

To really FEEL the Dolomites, don’t follow the crowds

Nobody could expect what happened this year in the Dolomites. Crowds of tourists stormed to the mountains. The queues on some trails and via ferratas were infinitely long.

Just one year ago, we talked about the risk of OVER TOURISM in the Dolomites. In spring, due to COVID-19, the expression turned to TOURISM is OVER.

When we saw the pictures taken by some tourists and posted on social media, we can definitely say that the term OVER TOURISM is correct. The long queues to reach the most popular Dolomites hotspots remind us of the long lines one would encounter at Disney Land.

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The Dolomites stormed by masses of tourists

As a tour operator and promoters of “Dolomites experiences,” we must also look at ourselves and say “Mea culpa“.
At Holimites, we realized that this version of tourism doesn’t reflect our philosophy at all. After seeing and experiencing this sad reality, we decided that we will no longer propose our program “Instagrammable Dolomites“. This was the holiday package where we led you to visit most of the Dolomites and South Tyrolean hotspots. The link to the offer will still work for a while. We will leave it there as a warning in case we get the strange idea to propose something similar in future.

Our main goal is to transmit to our clients the real way to experience mountain life, and the beauty and the silence of this special landscape. The mountains are the ideal place for those who want to relax and charge the batteries 💚, without arguing over a parking space or queuing on the paths.

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A special landscape in the Dolomites

The Dolomites during high season

The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.

Albert Einstein

We don’t want you to hike alone 😉. We want you to understand the advantages of entrusting the plan of your active holiday to local experts. They can show you alternative spots, and hidden pearls. These are places that you will not find in tourist guides (also written for the masses) with a walk of only 1-2 hours. We will take you to places far away from parking lots and/or ski lifts, where influencers in flip-flops, equipped with a drone and tent take the pictures, long before they would think about taking a hike.

As children, we used to go out and explore these beautiful places with our parents. Of course, we remember them, and in the meantime, we have come to learn them a second time as adults.
During high season, when the majority of the tourists visit the famous Braies Lake or climb on the most popular Via Ferratas, we retreat to places where we are sure to be alone.
In the late afternoon, the masses of people return to the valley – this is exactly the moment we like! We stay up in the mountains for the night, in one of the cozy hut 😊 Surrounded by a peaceful atmosphere, we can admire breathtaking sunsets and sunrises on the Dolomites peaks.

You won’t find remote places next to the road or at the top of a cablecar. The real mountaineers are exactly characterized in this sentiment: they don’t look for the easiest way, but for the most interesting one ⛰

The Best View Comes After the Hardest Climb

Anonymous quote

Remember that the excursions should not be organized according to the notoriety on Instagram, but by asking locals for their advice. In this way, you will find the tour best suited to your physical fitness and technical skills.

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A hiker exploring the Dolomites, surrounded by pure nature.

Getting out of the routine and surrounding yourself by pure nature is medicine for body and soul! We from the team Holimites know this exactly. To charge our batteries, we always look for hidden paths and remote places.
Don’t worry, we will not reveal the secrets: we will keep them for ourselves, and for our special guests.

Holimites’ travel diary on the Dolomites Alta Via 1

Lake Braies

Hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts have recently returned to the Dolomites. Those that were hiking with Holimites found that they were able to enjoy the nature and trails of the Alta Via 1 almost entirely by themselves.

Our Dolomites Alta Via 1

For Holimites, the summer season is on! Some days ago, our first guided tour of the summer 2020 started. Guide and guests are excited and super happy to go back in the beloved mountains. The best way to truly enjoy the beauty of nature is to do a hiking tour from hut to hut.
Of course, due to the Coronavirus restrictions (COVID-19), this year our groups are smaller than in the previous years… but this doesn’t stop us!

Our group on the Dolomites Alta Via 1

July 10th, 08.00 am – 1st stage

The Holimites van takes us to the famous and often photographed Lake Braies, trailhead of the Dolomites Alta Via #1. It’s a sunny morning and we can’t wait to start our adventure. After the ritual photos, we start to hike uphill towards Forcella Sora Forno. And here we are, on the Sennes plateau! In the distance, some chamois are playing hide-and-seek, while the cows graze peacefully in the alpine meadows.

July 11th – 2nd stage

After a quiet night in the hut, we wake up in the morning and alas! … it’s raining! This, of course, doesn’t get in our way. Today’s stage is not too challenging, and we reached the Fanes Natural Park for lunch. The marmots welcomed us in their “parliament”. The Fanes kingdom is known because of it’s legends and myths: https://www.holimites.com/en/discover-the-dolomites/history-and-culture-005

July 12 – 3rd stage

The third stage leads us across the Fanes alp, where we can admire the particular formations and structures of the rock. For safety reasons, the path to Forcella del Lago was closed around 2 weeks ago. Therefore the Alta Via 1 slightly detours. The advantage? We pass by Rifugio Scotoni, known for it’s delicious cuisine. We stop here for lunch. In the afternoon, we hike up to Lagazuoi (2.835 m). Before going to bed we experience an amazing sunset. An explosion of colors and emotions. The combination between the soft and warm tones of a sunset and the enormous Dolomites peaks offer a magic atmosphere. The mountains are on fire. We call this phenomenon enrosadira, which happens when the Dolomite peaks take on a reddish color, which gradually turns to purple, especially at dawn and dusk. Wikipedia.

July 13 – 4th stage

We can feel the frizzy air, this morning the sun is struggling to come out, but in the end it wins the duel against the clouds. We leave Lagazuoi behind us and hike between forts and trenches to the 5 Torri area. These areas are remnants of the First World War. We are right on the frontline, which was the border between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We stop for a moment … the ruins and testimonies that we see around us, make us reflect and try to imagine the incredibly cruel moments that the soldiers must have spent in the cold winters of the war years.

July 14 – 5th stage

Today’s stage is quite challenging, but no problem! Indeed, the longer the path, the more things to discover through the Dolomites! From Rifugio Averau we ascend to Passo Giau. Hiking at the foot of the vertical walls of “Lastoi di Formin” and “Becco di Mezzodì, we reach Passo Staulanza, surrounded by the Monte Pelmo on one side, and by the Monte Civetta on the other side. In other words, we are surrounded by the huge Dolomite peaks. At the hut, the deserved reward: we could enjoy the small wellness area with saunas, kneipp and relax area. Now we are regenerated and ready for the last 4 stages of our trekking tour.

Coldai Lake

July 15 – 6th stage

From Passo Staulanza we hike uphill to the charming Coldai Lake, where we refresh our tired feet in the clear water of the glacial lake (2.172 m). We continue towards Col Rean and reach the hut. Oh, who’s waiting here for us? The shepherd with his herd of over 1000 sheep. Each year he hikes hundreds of miles across the pasture around Cadore. The shepherd told us: “It’s a hard work, but the passion and love for the animals makes it easier”.

Sheep at the pasture

July 16 – 7th stage

The view that we have this morning is breathtaking. The impressive wall of Monte Civetta seems to touch the sky, while on the other side, the 1.300 m vertical cliff face down to the Alleghe Lake. We cross the Zoldo Dolomiti, and reach Passo Duran, at the bottom of the Moiazza massif.

July 17 – 8th stage

We continue our way southwards and we realize that the landscape becomes more wild and savage. Our hearts fill with joy when we see the variety of flowers on the trail – a special gift from nature! We reach Pian de Fontana, a rustic and cozy hut. The luxury of simplicity is what we feel in this welcoming place.

July 18 – 9th stage

Last stage of our Alta Via 1 of the Dolomites: 1.640 m elevation loss. We start early in the morning, in order to avoid the warmest hours of the day.
Tired, but satisfied we arrive at La Pissa. In a little canyon we have some time to cool down before the Holimites van picks us up and takes us back to Alta Badia.

Hiker on the Dolomites Alta Via 1

Well, what should we say… another fantastic trekking week in our beautiful Dolomites comes to an end. A hut-to-hut tour means not just hiking in the mountains, but also allows you to experience nature, meet other cultures and make new friends. Nature gives you the possibility to come down, relax and take a break from everyday life 😊 It’s a re-birth for body and soul. As Nietzsche said:

“We like to be out in nature so much because it has no opinion about us.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Despite the restrictions caused by the CoronaVirus, we now have the certainty that we can continue with the work we love. This makes us very happy and proud as we have never stopped and always believed in what we do 💙

Ladin Easter traditions in the Dolomites

We would like to take you on a journey through the Ladin Easter traditions in the Dolomites.

A very popular custom is the “cufada”, the game of the hard-boiled* eggs. 
Pick uo theEaster eggs and leave only the end uncovered. Beat the eggs alternately against each other: first the two tips, then the flatter sides.
The winner is the one whose Easter egg remains whole. The strongest egg wins and the winner receives the opponent’s broken egg as a trophy.

*for a great prank you could also take a raw egg 😂😉

Children playing the game of the hard-boiled eggs. Ladin Easter traditions
Ladin Easter traditions: la cufada

We take you with us during our “cufada” on Easter Sunday.
Watch this video and guess which egg will be the strongest…


🐣 Maundy Thursday: the Easter eggs are painted traditionally on this day.
Natural materials such as onionskin, flowers, leaves and herbs are used.

🐣 Easter Sunday: a special decorated basket containing ham, colored Easter eggs, pretzels (sweat bread) and horseradish root (cren) are taken to the church to get blessed during the Easter mass. In ladin this is called the “Benedì”, the blessed meal.

🐣 Easter Monday: A special and thrilling day for young man that usually begins on March 19th (St. Joseph’s day) where a young man will woo the young lady with their feelings and will tell her that he will collect his eggs on Easter Monday. The young lady decides how many eggs she wants to give to the man. And this number is also the answer: all man visiting her will receive 2 eggs as an Easter gift and as a thank you for the visit, 4 eggs is the answer to those the girl will turn down and 6 special decorated eggs are given to the luckiest one.

For this Easter we wish you a lot of colorful Easter eggs, your Holimites team 🐰

Read more: the history and culture about the Ladins of the Dolomites

Nature in times of coronavirus: this is a special spring 🌸

The world stands still, our life is upside down and we are no more allowed to live it the way we were used to. But nature doesn’t know that, she is not afraid or insecure, she keeps going and surprises us day by day.

Goat willow coloring the blue sky

We are at home and don’t really know how to manage all this free time … Why? Our society doesn’t give us time to think about ourselves, to be inventive, try new things, notice small details and take care about the people we love. Therefore, during the coronavirus lockdown we should take this opportunity to come down a bit and trying to focus on the important things in life 💚

We are used, or try to, have everything under control, but I think this time something went wrong 😅. Now we realize that we are really just passengers on this spaceship and home that we call earth.

The first crocuses are blooming

We are living our lives from home now, but Mother Nature continues to live and shows us her beauty 🌺 day after day. Meanwhile that our surrounding mountains are still covered by a white coat, snow is melting down into the Dolomites valleys. The first flowers are blooming – in white, yellow and purple. Deers and fawns are playing under the first morning sunrises. The swallows are back and they are dancing in the sun searching for a cozy place to build their nest and give new life.
In other words, nature doesn’t care at all about coronavirus 😉 This spring is very special: flora and fauna are being reborn without humane influence.

In the last days we realized that nature doesn’t need much time to regenerate herself. So, even when this crisis is over… let’s try to still be aware of her 😉😊

Marina

My first Maratona dles Dolomites

Maratona dles Dolomites – from Passo Falzarego to Valparola

When I got the news on April 1st, I thought it was a joke … but, no, it was for real! A registration for the Maratona dles Dolomites 2019!
Given I had never been on a road bike before, I felt like a fish out of water! At the same time, I felt lucky that I could participate in this great event.

After my first couple of rides with Igor and Susi, I realized that I actually liked it, so I continued training, also because I didn’t have another option 🥵

Maratona dles Dolomites – start at 6.32 am

Start at 6.30 am from La Villa

Finally, the big day arrived – July 7th! At 5:15 AM we are already on the grid, ready to face the challenge. I felt the adrenaline rising,
in unison with all the other 9,000 people who shared the same goal – namely to pedal together, yes, to struggle, but also to have fun on the magnificent Dolomites passes. What can I say… a thrilling experience!

Each pass has its own charm: the silence on the Campolongo Pass, the melodies of the Alpine horns on the Pordoi Pass, the “Fassane” bells that give you energy to tackle the Sella Pass, and the Passo Gardena with Tyrolean music and tradition. In short, a party that becomes increasingly lively. After the Sellaronda, your legs start to feel the heat. The Campolongo Pass, the Falzarego Pass and the Valparola are yet to come.
But when’re pulled by the crowd of enthusiastic cyclists, you feel you can defy the odds. And then when you reach the most dreaded pass – the famous “Mür dl Giat” 🐈 – it’s easier to conquer it with a small nudge 🤪

Maratona dles Dolomites – at Passo Pordoi

After reaching the finish line, I was so happy for being able to cover the Middle Course of the Maratona.

Middle course of the Maratona dles Dolomites

I hope to relive this experience in the future and I thank Igor for this opportunity.

Marina