The Dolomites, Italy

6 NightsStrong Intermediate to AdvancedFrom €4,000 EUR?Tour costs €4,000 EUR which is approximately $6,679 AUD

Have you ever wanted to explore the UNESCO world-heritage listed Dolomiti mountain range astride a golden Haflinger? We say YES!

If there’s one part of Italy that can truly claim to have lost none of its wildness, it’s the Dolomites. This UNESCO world heritage listed mountain range cuts an imposing silhouette against Italy’s northern border, the silver-grey peaks jutting like teeth into the diamond-clear alpine sky. Only the most intrepid adventurers dare to traverse this rugged region, but don’t tell your guide Alberto’s Haflingers that – they’ve got it down to a fine art. These horses are renowned for their people-pleasing temperament, agility, stamina, and of course their gorgeous honey-blonde colouring. They will carry you up and down the jagged slopes like mountain goats, and it won’t be long before you’re plotting to smuggle one home.

And speaking of Alberto, this handsome Italian is a Globetrotting old hat, having already become a mainstay on our Patagonia Trail in Argentina. Here he cut his teeth working with the gauchos before returning home to Italy to open up the wilds of the Dolomites to adventurous globetrotters.

To be honest, we could NOT be more excited to road test this ride, which we have no doubt will be an absolute highlight in our horse riding holiday portfolio: a slice of Europe that very few people get to explore, a herd of horses to die for, a guide we’ve already fallen in love with and a mountain culture that will leave you awestruck. Through a pair of golden ears, you’ll ride, drink and eat your way along mountain tracks, discovering Südtirolean culture and landscapes that the normal tourist simply cannot access.

Get ready to leave the everyday behind and discover a different side of the Alps, globetrotters, because this is one ride that will leave you high long after you descend the mountains!

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:Haflinger
  • Pace:The pace varies on a daily basis from a walk right through to a fast canter whenever the terrain is suitable. There will be opportunities to trot in between.
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 90kg/198lbs.
  • Type of tack:Comfortable trekking saddles (similar to English all-purpose tack).
  • Seasons:May to October.
  • Group size:A maximum of 5 guests and 1 Globetrotting guide.
  • Time in Saddle:On average 6 to 8 hours per day.
  • Riding Ability:This ride is suitable for strong intermediate to advanced riders only. This means you need to have an independent seat and be able to competently ride a forward-going horse over varied terrain at a walk, trot and (fast) canter. You must also be comfortable riding in an English {equivalent} saddle.
    *Please note, a certain level of fitness is also required, as there will be times when you’ll need to lead your horse on foot due to the mountainous terrain.
    **Please be aware, if you suffer from vertigo you will find parts of this ride VERY challenging.
  • Accommodation:You’ll be bedding down in traditional mountain huts, a blend of both luxurious and modest lodgings. Showers and flushing toilets are available each night, and a spa/sauna will be yours to enjoy on nights 2 and 5 of the itinerary.
  • Ride Length:7 days, 6 nights with 6 riding days.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes round trip transfers to/from Venice Marco Polo Airport on the first and last day of the itinerary, all meals during the ride (from dinner on day one through to lunch on the last day), beer/wine/soft drinks at dinner, twin share accommodation, and spa & sauna on days 2 and 5.

    This exploratory tour also includes a photography and video package provided by Globetrotting, as well as a stylish Globetrotting shirt and cap.

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include international or regional flights, travel insurance (compulsory), beverages other than wine, beer and soft drinks, or accommodation and meals outside the ride itinerary.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

The price includes round trip transfers to/from Venice Marco Polo Airport on the first and last day of the itinerary, all meals during the ride (from dinner on day one through to lunch on the last day), beer/wine/soft drinks at dinner, twin share accommodation, and spa & sauna on days 2 and 5.

This exploratory tour also includes a photography and video package provided by Globetrotting, as well as a stylish Globetrotting shirt and cap.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

The price does not include international or regional flights, travel insurance (compulsory), beverages other than wine, beer and soft drinks, accommodation and meals outside the ride itinerary, and staff tips.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments.

Why is the price quoted in EUR?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.

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  • Arrival

    So that you have plenty of time to settle into the Italian time zone, sleep off the jet-lag and make sure ALL your luggage has arrived safely, we recommend you arrive in Venice two nights prior to the start of the ride. We (Kate and Laura) will organise group accommodation so we can reduce the expense and stay together. Dinner the first evening will be at your leisure, due to varying arrival times and guests wishing to catch up on lost sleep.

    *Please note, accommodation, dinner, tours, airport transfers in Venice and any personal expenses are NOT included.

  • Day Before Ride

    Today we’ve organised a private group tour of Venice. This city is a floating masterpiece, a city built on mud, sand and the slime of a difficult, inhospitable landscape. And yet, with its historic attractions and gorgeous canals, it’s one of Italy’s most famous cities. In just one day, we’ll attempt to get under the skin of this fairy-tale city. The ‘Ooooeeeee!’ of the gondoliers will be our wake up call this morning, and we’ll head out with our local guide to take in the main sights worth your while – think: the Basilica di San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Palazzo Ducale, Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal thoroughfare – and some off the beaten tourist track as well.

    And let’s not forget when it comes to Italy, food is everything, so tonight we’re going to head out for a group dinner at a restaurant recommended by our guide. And thanks to the Floating City’s location and history, seafood is king. Get ready to sink your teeth into local dishes including Baccalà Mantecato (a dish made of stockfish), Polenta e Schie (shrimp paired with polenta), Cicchetti which is typical Venetian antipasti, and for the sweet tooths among us we’ll finish with Buranelli, a type of Venetian biscuit that’s sure to please your taste buds.

    *Please note, accommodation, dinner, tours, airport transfers in Venice and any personal expenses are NOT included.

  • Day 1

    Yippee, the day has finally arrived! We’re in Venice and it’s only a matter of hours until we’re whisked away to the Dolomites astride a beautiful blonde Haflinger! We’ll be collected from either Venice Marco Polo Airport (or our pre-arranged collection point), by 2pm and we’ll take a 2.5 hour transfer up into the mountains to meet our guide, Alberto, and his incredible team of horses.

    After settling in at the first of our traditional mountain huts, we’ll enjoy our first taste of Südtirolean cuisine, which is a fascinating blend of Italian, Austrian and even Swiss influences. Over aperitivi and drinks, we’ll get to know one another and receive a briefing about the ride. Then, belt buckles loosened, we’ll hit the hay to dream of golden horses and silver peaks.

  • Day 2

    After a hearty breakfast featuring freshly-baked bread, croissants, eggs, charcuterie and fruit, we’ll pack our bags so our support crew can bring them to tonight’s destination, don our riding gear and head to the stables. Here everyone will be matched with their perfect horse before we head out on our first ride. Be prepared to pick your jaw up off the ground as we set sight on the phenomenal riding country we’ll be privy to for the next six days.

    Described by UNESCO as a region of exceptional natural beauty, as well as international significance for the earth sciences, the Dolomites are among the most varied, dramatic and awe-inspiring mountainscapes in the world. Think jagged peaks, gravity-defying pinnacles and some of the world’s highest vertical rock walls! Our first stop is the extraordinary, well-hidden Lake Antermoia, a turquoise pool set amongst staggering pinnacles. We’ll then ride on to the Val di Dona (‘Val’ signifies a valley) for lunch before climbing to the base of Sassopiatto, its unforgiving peak looming high above.

    Finally, after six to eight hours in the saddle, we’ll descend to our mountain hut, Zallinger. Dinner will be ready shortly after we arrive. Again, it will be typical of the region: think polenta, canederli (dumplings), Austrian-inspired pork dishes, and the local pasta specialty known as Schlutzkrapfen. Try saying that after knocking back a few local beers! Rest up tonight, Globetrotters – tomorrow promises to be another feast for the senses.

  • Day 3

    Waking up to the realisation that this incredible journey is actually our reality, not a dream, we’ll share a communal breakfast together at 7am. Then we’ll stock our saddle bags with our riding essentials and mount up by 8am, in time to absorb the incredible colours of the mountains as they’re bathed in the morning light. Today’s journey takes us into the heart of the Dolomites, from Passo Duron to Alpe de Tires. The narrow tracks will see us traverse gravity-defying peaks and ridges where we might be lucky enough to spot eagles, kestrels and goshawks high above and marmots munching on the meadowgrass at our horses’ feet. Some autumn flowers should still be bobbing their heads, too, including edelweiss if we’re lucky.

    Lunch will be a picnic-type affair: think gourmet charcuterie, local cheeses, pickles, preserves, artisan bread and sandwiches, all savoured from a pristine alpine meadow. At the end of our day’s riding, we’ll reach the Sciliar Plateau, a sweeping pasture with views of the never-ending mountains in every direction. Here we’ll be able to let our horses stretch out into a trot or canter before being met by Luis Zöggeler, a local farmer, and his family. These mountain folk will be our hosts for the night, welcoming us at their farm. They will put on a fantastic spread, culminating in a sweet specialty such as Sachertorte (a moreish chocolate cake) or apple strudel. Then, hearts and bellies fit to burst, we’ll get some well-earned shut-eye.

  • Day 4

    Avanti, Globetrotters, avanti! Onwards to another day spent on top of the world! After another filling breakfast (and most likely some good strong Italian coffee), we’ll head out with Luis to experience a day in the life of a Südtirolean farmer. Riding across the Scilian fields, we’ll get to herd cattle, churn fresh butter, and whatever other alpine adventures Luis dreams up! After lunch back at the farm, there’ll be the option to head out for another ride, explore the plateau on foot, or sit back and unwind to the distant jingle of cow bells. In the evening we’ll enjoy another farm fresh meal at Luis’s farm, watching the rocky peaks change from amber to purple to black in the fading light.

  • Day 5

    This morning we’ll gobble up breakfast, pack our bags, then jump straight into the saddle to catch the morning light as it passes through the “Forcella Denti di Terrarossa”, a breathtaking but challenging section of the mighty Dolomites. We may need to lead our horses over some of the more technical parts of the route here. Continuing our descent, we’ll reach Seiser Alm, Europe’s largest high-altitude meadow. Now that we’ve formed a strong bond with our horses, we’ll be able to let loose on some fast canters that will have us convinced we’re riding golden eagles, not golden horses. Catching our breath, we’ll find ourselves back at Zallinger Hut, where we spent our second night, in time for a late lunch.

    Afterwards, the afternoon is devoted to relaxing – we highly recommend soothing your hard-working muscles in the hot spa. Then we’ll sip on a cold beer or a warming wine and savour yet another mind-boggling view and a spectacular evening meal, before snuggling into to our warm, welcome beds.

  • Day 6

    This is our last full day in the saddle, and if it’s possible to be even more blown away by our Haflingers’ courage, agility and endurance… today’s route will do the trick. Heading towards the Sassolungo-Sassopiatto peaks, we’ll traverse lush pine, beech and broadleaf forests, gently sloping hillsides, and rocky canyons, some of which are 1,500 metres deep! We’ll hear innumerable birds calling from the canopy and spot more than a few squirrels scampering from branch to branch. The unforgettable Gruppo del Sella – a collection of peaks jutting out dramatically from the surrounding hills – will appear before us as we turn towards the Friedrich August hut. Here we’ll rest the horses and enjoy a hearty lunch before riding on to our last hut, Plattkofelalm, in time to catch the sunset. For our last Südtirolean dinner, we’ll feast with our hosts, guides and support crew, reminiscing on the laughs, adrenaline rushes and fond memories that will no doubt connect us all for years to come.

  • Day 7

    Our last day in the Dolomites has arrived, and we’re squeezing out every drop of Globetrotting goodness that we can with a morning ride to Val Duron. After a final canter over the meadows, it’s time to say ciao to our incredible herd of horses, our amazing crew and Alberto. No, they won’t fit in your suitcase – trust us, we’ve tried. We’ll have our last lunch together with Alberto then we’ll wave a fond farewell to the mountains and begin the 2.5 hour transfer back to Venice. We’ve arranged group accommodation in Venice again tonight, and we’ll head out for one last farewell dinner where we’ll reminisce about our past week in the spectacular Dolomiti mountains.

    *Please note, accommodation, dinner, airport transfers in Venice and any personal expenses are NOT included.

  • Transfer Information

    Transfers between Venice Marco Polo Airport on day one and day seven are included in the ride price. Guests should be ready for pick up at the airport no later than 2pm on the first day. The transfer to the start of the ride takes approximately 2.5 hours.

    As part of this Exploratory Ride, we’re asking all guests to arrive in Venice a minimum 2 nights prior to the start of the ride, so we can enjoy a full day exploring the city sights and living and breathing the Venetian way of life.

    On the last day of the ride, we’ll arrive back in Venice in the early evening where we’ll enjoy one final group dinner – a last hurrah so to speak – before we head off in different directions as we begin the journey to our respective homes the following day.

    Globetrotting is happy to provide a competitive quote on international flights, travel insurance and hotels before and after your ride.

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RIDE OR WHICH IS MOST SUITABLE FOR YOU?

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