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10 adventures in the Dolomites

Adventurous activities in the world's most famous mountains: The Dolomites.

The most famous mountains in the world are located in the Eastern Alps and are the Dolomites, spread across Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The name derives from the particular type of rock called “dolomia” and the chemical composition of the rocks in the Dolomites gives them a special ability to reflect light, a luminous play that makes them stand out among the surrounding Alpine peaks.

The Dolomites are one of the most renowned nature areas and home to one National Park, the Belluno Dolomites National Park, and nine Nature Parks. In 2009, the Dolomites were declared a World Heritage Site and thus awarded the Unesco World Heritage label.

The environmental and naturalistic peculiarities of this area have always attracted numerous explorers, and every year more and more tourists and enthusiasts come to the resorts in the Dolomites to find peace and relaxation, but also to experience thrills, excitement and adrenaline.

Not only that, the Dolomites are a place where one can still breathe and touch the history of the two World Wars: it is still possible to visit the trenches dug during the First World War, e.g. on Lagazuoi (Sentiero del Kaiserjaer), Pale di San Martino (Cavallazza and Laghi del Colbricon) and Monte Grappa are just some of the paths that one can still walk.

In short, in the Dolomites it is possible to have experiences to suit all needs.

Here is our guide to the ten most adventurous and adrenaline-pumping experiences in the Dolomites:

1) The Adrenaline X-Treme Adventures Zipline

Originally the zipline was used for downstream transport of goods or wood, today thanks to countless patents and safety tests it is used as an attraction.

For more than ten years, the most fearless explorers have been coming specially to San Vigilio di Marebbe to experience darting through the dense forests and flying over the valley meadows against the impressive background of the Dolomites.

With a length of 3 km, you can enjoy an exclusive experience on Europe’s longest zipline.

The route is divided into seven sections with a total altitude difference of 400 metres. You start at the top of Piz de Plaies and it is pure adrenaline, because you will fly over a rocky peak from which you can admire the Sas de Putia.

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The experience takes 60 minutes from the moment of departure from the office located in the central square of San Vigilio di Marebbe. After checking in and registering, the park staff will proceed with the harnessing and briefing before the transfer to the departure station.

It is possible to experience this from May until early November and observe the changing of the wonderful seasonal colours that nature has to offer.

In the low season, once you are ready, harnessed and instructed in safety procedures, you will mount the vehicle and be accompanied by instructors to the starting station. On the way, between hairpin bends and dirt roads, you will cross the steep Erta and Picculin slopes of the Plan de Corones ski area and be able to catch a glimpse of the Sella group and the Marmolada Glacier.

In the high season, you can walk to the valley station of the cable car that leads to Piz de Plaies to arrive, following the signs, at the entrance to the park where a flight of stairs separates you from an instructor who will be there to welcome you to secure you, hook you up to the pulley and give you the push that will mark the beginning of your crazy descent.

There are no age limits, only weight limits, minimum 30kg and maximum 130kg, and no special physical abilities are required. Like all extreme activities, for obvious safety reasons it is not recommended for those suffering from cardiac problems and the staff are very strict about the safety rules to be followed.

The zipline is therefore suitable for everyone who wants to experience the thrill of heights and speed, from the adventurous individual explorer to families with children and groups of friends testing their courage.

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2) Canyoning

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Canyoning, like many other outdoor activities that are nowadays related to fun and sport, has its origins in the exploration of gorges and the search for new routes in inaccessible areas.

In Italy, canyoning began to take on a sporting character around the mid-1980s, when cavers, mountaineers and people connected with the mountain environment began to engage in the activity for leisure or fun. A way of “taking work home”!

Today, canyoning is one of those activities that is most suitable for thrill-seekers in gorges and torrents in contact with water and rock.

With the guides of the Rafting Club Active you can enjoy the experience of being carried away by torrents in complete safety. The base of operations is Campo Tures in Valle Aurina and the descents take place in Lappago.
It is possible to canyoneer from May to October, the minimum age is 14 years and you must not be afraid of water.

The experience lasts about three and a half hours and offers the possibility of jumping and sliding between crystal-clear lakes, rope descending with a rope between waterfalls in breathtaking scenery on normally inaccessible routes.

It is preferable to do the activity in the morning, although on request, the guides of the Campo Tures Rafting Club Active offer the possibility of challenging one’s limits with an exciting canyonig tour in the afternoon as well, to watch the sun slowly set between the high walls of the Dolomite gorges.

With the guides of the Rafting Club Active you can enjoy the experience of being carried away by torrents in complete safety. The operative base is Campo Tures in Valle Aurina and the descents take place in Lappago.                                 It is possible to canyoneer from May to October, the minimum age is 14 years and you must not be afraid of water.

The experience lasts about three and a half hours and offers the possibility of jumping and sliding between crystal-clear lakes, rope descending with a rope between waterfalls in breathtaking scenery on normally inaccessible routes.

It is preferable to do the activity in the morning, although on request, the guides of the Campo Tures Rafting Club Active offer the possibility of challenging one’s limits with an exciting canyonig tour in the afternoon as well, to watch the sun slowly set between the high walls of the Dolomite gorges.

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3) helicopter flight with kron air

Admiring the Dolomites from above is priceless. With Kron Air, you can request an exclusive helicopter flight to admire the peaks and the impressive scenery of forests, valleys and crystal-clear lakes that only the Dolomites can offer.

Kron Air offers standard tours and the possibility of customised tours as well.

Helicopter flights generally depart from the main base in Olang, an advantageous starting point where you can enjoy the Dolomites within minutes of take-off.

There are three basic tours offered by Kron Air:

  • 15-minute flight over Lake Braies, Prato Pizza, Fanes Valley and Plan de Corones
  • 30 minute flight over Braies Lake, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cortina, Fanes/Sennes/Braies Nature Park
  • 45 minutes flight time above Lake Braies, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cortina, Marmolada, Sella Group, Sassolungo, Sassopiatto, Sciliar, Odle Group.

Flights are possible all year round, including weekends and holidays, so you can admire both the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites and the pinkish peaks when the sun sets during the summer.

Anyone can fly in the helicopter, from a minimum of 4 people to a maximum of 5. There are no age limits and anyone can enjoy the experience of flying.
If there are less than 4 people, the Kron Air staff will be happy to add other participants depending on the booking schedule so that everyone has the opportunity to fly over the Dolomites at a reasonable cost.

For the more demanding, it is also possible to book an exclusive flight with less than four people by reserving the flight a little in advance.

The helicopter flight is an ideal experience for families and groups of friends who want to experience the Dolomites from above. The in-flight perspective will give each participant the impression of being much closer to the mountains and emphasises the grandeur and grandeur of the Dolomites.

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4)Downhill In San Vigilio Di Marebbe

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride a bike on a rollercoaster? Here, this is downhill.

The evolution of the bicycle from a means of transport to a means of leisure and entertainment has catapulted the most famous two-wheeler up steep mountain slopes, places unthinkable before the last century to reach by bicycle.

Downhill bikes are robust vehicles equipped with a fork and a suspension frame. On the market you can find different models according to your riding needs with varying frame geometries and suspension extensions. In San Vigilio di Marebbe there are several bike and E-Bike rentals, but before venturing downhill and parabolics it is a good idea to rely on guides with whom you can tackle each trail safely. The Bike School San Vigilio  offers courses and tours for every level of preparation.

Those who want to experience the thrill of speed on rough trails must have good control of the bike so that they can ride down trails of varying difficulty and have fun in complete safety.

To go downhill, in addition to a suspension bike, you need a helmet and proper protectors for your back, arms and knees, which can also be hired from:

The Bike School in San Vigilio is staffed by experienced instructors, riders who are ready to give you advice on off-road riding and accompany you on the steepest Kronplatz trails.

You can cycle all the way to the top of the Kronplatz, enjoy the splendid view before launching yourself down at breakneck speed on the downhill tracks, or, for the lazier ones, in the months from June to September, you can take the cable car up from the Furcia Pass or from the slopes of Reischach and Olang.

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5) the via ferrata of monte paterno

The area of the Dolomites is full of legendary peaks and impressive views, but if the collective imagination is asked to identify the Dolomites, many will answer with The Tre cime di Lavaredo.

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo are located between the Pusteria valley and Cadore, an area that became famous during the First World War. The area was explored to conquer metres and many routes were equipped to bypass or attack enemies. After the end of the first conflict, many paths are walked every year by trekking enthusiasts.

The Monte Paterno equipped trail is just one of those ancient routes, and with the advent of social media, it has become a must-visit place, thanks to the possibility of photographing unforgettable panoramas, unique and evocative postcards with views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

A via ferrata is a set of structures and equipment built and artificially attached to a rock face to make the ascent easy and safe; without such equipment, the ascent would only be possible with the knowledge and use of rock climbing techniques.

Via ferrata equipment consists of the harness to which the via ferrata set is attached. This via ferrata set consists of webbing and a dissipator to which carabiners are attached.
The purpose of the dissipator is to cushion the fall and prevent serious consequences in the event of a fall. The use of a helmet is also indispensable to protect the head from falling rocks and the blows that can occur in narrow passages.

 

How does progression occur on a via ferrata?

Well, one must bear in mind that one must always be belayed with both carabiners, at the anchorage one releases the more advanced carabiner in order to reattach it in the section of cable following the anchorage by climbing over the piton or the element holding the steel cable to the rock. It is actually much more difficult to explain in words than to do it.

How to move in the most difficult sections?

One must always move while maintaining three points of connection with the rock, while the fourth limb (arm or legs) moves in search of the next support while the pelvis plays the role of balance by shifting weight to one foot or the other depending on the position one is in.

There are several via ferratas in the Dolomites and, as already mentioned, the Monte Paterno route is one of the most fascinating due to the nature of the route and the location and panorama it offers. The Monte Paterno equipped route runs through a system of tunnels and trenches from the First World War. The ascent route is relatively short and does not present any major technical difficulties, so it is suitable for anyone who wants to get involved in an activity that is certainly peculiar and gives an adrenalin rush.

Start from the Auronzo mountain refuge, which can be reached by car, and follow the panoramic path no. 101, which leads to the Lavaredo mountain refuge, and then to the Forcella Lavaredo saddle. From the forcella you reach Rifugio Locatelli, an important junction of paths in the area of the Sexten Dolomites.

From Rifugio Locatelli, follow the signs for the Innerkofler war path and turn right in the direction of the north face of the Paterno. You gain height and reach the first war tunnel, illuminated by a few holes in the rock.

A few steps inside and you pass onto the opposite slope where you enter a second gallery.
This gallery on Monte Paterno is over 300 metres long with steps inside and, as it is not well lit, a torch is needed to continue the route.
On reaching the exit, a plaque indicates the start of the Ferrata Innerkofler at Paterno.

The attack of the ferrata is near an edge and after a short horizontal section, the cable continues vertically on a wall with good supports. After ascending a short unequipped section, we continue inside a trench that will gain metres.

Following cables and paths with no particular difficulty, the ascent to the summit comes into focus and we begin to catch a glimpse of the summit cross of Monte Paterno.

In a total of just 3h you reach the summit of Monte Paterno, the breathtaking panorama repays the effort of the walk.

To descend from the summit, take the path that leads to the fork at the Forcella dei Camosci and follow the Forcelle trail number 107 in a southerly direction and then trail number 104, which leads to the Forcella Lavaredo, where you will return to the Auronzo hut car park.

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6) Mountaincart Plose

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Suddenly got the desire to go for a toboggan ride but you’re in the middle of a July afternoon? Mountaincarts come to your rescue. Above Brixen, on the Plose, you can whizz down what in winter is a toboggan run. Mountaincarts are wheeled tricycles, without pedals, without a motor but with brakes, with which you can have fun going down the 9 km track to the Plose cable car valley station.
Only individual bookings are possible, and group requests directly to Rent and Go Sportservice Erwin Stricker. From June it is possible to rent every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Only in July is the service also available on Mondays. Rental takes place at the infoshop at the top station of the Plose cable car from 10 a.m. and closes 15 minutes before the afternoon closure of the cable car. To speed down the curves of the Plose Mountaincart track, you must be at least 12 years old and at least 150 cm tall. Minors may only go down if accompanied by an adult. A helmet is also included in the rent of the mountaincarts. No special clothing is required, but mountain shoes must be worn and it is not possible to start with sandals or open shoes. The activity is carried out at all times except in the event of rain and snow for safety reasons; in the event of storms, operation of the cable car may also be suspended.

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7) Paragliding with Tandem Flights Kronplatz

Higher than a peak there is only the sky. Would you like to try flying like an eagle and glide over the Dolomites?
In Reischach Bruneck, at the start of the lift to the summit of the Kronplatz, there is the meeting point for Tandem Flights Kronplatz.

From the age of 4 and up, everyone can fly. No sporting ability or special knowledge is required. All you need are good shoes, very warm clothing (the risk of frostbite at altitude is not to be ruled out, so don’t be afraid to wear technical winter clothing, even if it’s summer) and the willingness to run 5-6 metres at take-off. Everything else is taken care of by the tandem pilot from the Tandem Flights Kronplatz  team for a flying experience that lasts just over an hour.

When the Kronplatz ski lifts are open, both in summer and winter, you can make an appointment and fly over the Kronplatz or you can start from Campo Tures in the Ahrntal valley or from Falzes near Bruneck.

The experience of flying over the Dolomites and admiring the surrounding landscape from a different perspective is possible thanks to the many years of experience of the pilots, who, in addition to their technical and practical knowledge of flying, rely on top-quality materials to guarantee quality and safety.

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8) Horse Trekking in Longiarü

In Val Badia, at Longiarü in the locality of Campil you will find the Sitting Bull Ranch, which will guide you on their horses through the trails to discover the Puez-Odle nature park.

The Ladin community, as well as all the inhabitants of the mountainous areas of the Dolomites, used horses to transport goods along paths and passes. The Sitting Bull Ranch in Longiarü offers everyone the opportunity to ride horses in the unspoilt Puez and Odle nature park.

One-hour rides are recommended for beginners, while experts can ride for two to three hours, treating themselves to the experience of riding beneath the mountains of Peak 12, Sas de Pütia and the Odle, in places where peace and tranquillity still reign, catching a glimpse of some forest animals if they are lucky, or following the path through the valley of the mills or the viles of Seres and Mischi, where it is still possible to see the typical Ladin houses with their majuns (granaries in Ladin).

The excursions start from the ranch at Campil in Longiarü, the youngest are taken on 10-minute rides to the nearby pond, while for the older ones there are several 1-day horseback riding tours available:

  • Alta Badia – Pralongia
  • Passo delle Erbe – Wurzjoch
  • Passo Rid in San Vigilio
  • Ospizio Santa croce- Hospiz Heiligkreuz
  • La Valle- Wengen 

Two-day excursions are only organised from mid-September to:

  •  Selva di Gardena-Wolkenstein
  •  Valdaora-Olang
  •  Alpe di Fanes- Fanesalm 

A horseback ride, whether for an expert or a beginner, is an excellent workout for body and mind; it is a complete activity with beneficial effects on the psychophysical level as well.

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