Alta Badia is a mountain region in South Tyrol in the Italian Dolomites. Nestled between the Fanes Group, the Sella Group, and the Puez Group, Alta Badia is one of the best places to stay in the Dolomites for hiking.
A system of chairlifts and gondolas across Alta Badia makes hiking extremely accessible, effectively shaving off long ascents and even better lengthy descents.
The valley of Alta Badia (Val Badia/Gadertal) encompasses the villages of Colfosco, Corvara, La Villa, San Cassiano, Badia, and La Val.
As you explore Alta Badia, you’ll soon notice that each village (park, mountain hut, etc…) has three names: the Italian name, the German name, and the Ladin name. The Ladin people are the oldest (surviving) inhabitants of this mountainous region. Their culture, heritage, and language continue to thrive here.
Alta Badia Hiking Trails
- Armentara Meadows Trail – Easy hike at the base of Sasso Santa Croce starting in Badia.
- Lake Pisciadù and Pisciadù Peak – Challenging hike in the Sella Group.
- Rifugio Puez – Moderate hike across the Gherdenacia Plateau.
- Capanna Alpina to Fanes Hütte (with optional extension to Forcella de Medesc and La Villa) – Moderate return hike, or challenging point-to-point hike in Nature Park Fanes-Sennes-Prags.
- Lago di Boe and Rifugio Franz Kostner – Easy walk in the Sella Group.
Alta Badia Map
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1. Armentara Meadows Trail
- Trailhead: La Crusc Church, Badia
- Cableway Ascent: Santa Croce and La Crusc Chairlifts, Badia. These chairlifts operate from early June until late September, 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.
- Distance: 9 km point-to-point
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time Needed: 3 – 4 hours
This enchanting walk across the Armentara meadows begins in the village of Badia.
First, you’ll ascend to the Santa Croce Sanctuary by chairlift. From the pilgrimage church, the trail leads beneath the Sasso Santa Croce mountains to Armentara plateau.
Have a relaxing lunch at Űtia Ranch da André before continuing your descent to Badia.
Learn More: Armentara Meadows Trail
2. Lake Pisciadù and Pisciadù Peak Hike
- Trailhead: Passo Gardena
- Distance: 8 – 12 km (depending on route)
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Time Needed: 6-7 hours
The strenuous hike to Cima Pisciadù (Pisciadù Peak) begins at Passo Gardena, the mountain pass between Val Badia and Val Gardena.
From the pass, you’ll follow a lovely balcony trail to Val Setus, a steep sloping “valley” characterized by crumbling rocks and scree. The ascent up Val Setus to Lake Pisciadù is steep and partially secured (no equipment necessary).
From Lake Pisciadù, you can extend the hike to Cima Pisciadù (1 hour one-way).
The circuit trail continues to Val de Mezdi (steep descent) and ultimately back to Passo Gardena, or to Colfosco, or Corvara. This hike is a lot of fun, but it’s definitely challenging.
Learn More: Cima Pisciadù Trail Guide
3. Across the Gherdenacia Plateau to Rifugio Puez
- Trailhead: Gardenaccia chairlift mountain station
- Cableway Ascent: Gardenaccia chairlift, La Villa. The chairlift operates from mid-June until early October (8:30 am – 5:30 pm).
- Distance: 13 km
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Needed: 6 hours
This moderate day hike in Alta Badia begins in La Villa and ends in Colfosco. You can also hike it in reverse.
You’ll visit two mountain huts along the route. You’ll also traverse the Gherdenacia karst plateau in Puez-Odle Nature Park.
Highlights of this trail include the view of Vallunga/Langental Valley at the 10b / 4 trail intersection and the recently renovated Gardenacia mountain hut.
Learn More: Rifugio Puez Day Hike
4. Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella
- Trailhead: Capanna Alpina, San Cassiano
- Distance: 17 km return / 20 km linear
- Difficulty: Moderate / Difficult
- Time Needed: 6 hours / 8 hours
Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella are two mountain huts in Nature Park Fanes-Sennes-Prags, located along the famous Alta Via 1 route.
You can visit these luxurious mountain huts in a day hike starting at the Capanna Alpina mountain hut in San Cassiano. Most visitors will do a return hike. However, you can extend the route all the way to La Villa, if you’re up for a challenge.
Learn More: Rifugio Fanes Day Hike
5. Lago di Boe and Rifugio Franz Kostner
- Trailhead: Cablecar Boé, or Chairlift Vallon mountain station
- Cableway Ascent/Descent: Cablecar Boé: 16.70 EUR round-trip; Cablecar Boé + Chairlift Vallon: 23.80 EUR round-trip. The cablecar operates from mid-June until late September, 8:30 – 5:30 p.m.
- Distance: 2 km one-way from Cablecar Boé top station to Rifugio Franz Kostner. / 720 meters from Vallon top station to Rifugio Franz Kostner.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time Needed: 1 – 2 hours
The day we arrived in Corvara, we walked to Cablecar Boé and took the gondola up for the views. We didn’t get a chance to do a long hike, because it was already late afternoon. But, we did walk to Rifugio Franz Kostner (2500 m) and to the small lake Lago di Boe (2250 m).
At the Cablecar Boé top station, there’s a stunning lookout point and posh lounge with indoor and outdoor seating. From here, the trail leads under the Vallon chairlift to Lago di Boe and then to Rifugio Franz Kostner. Honestly, this trail is boring, and we regretted not taking the Vallon chairlift up.
Rifugio Franz Kostner is a lively mountain hut with brilliant views of Marmolada, Civetta, and Pelmo. With more time, we would have hiked trail 638 to Piz Boé (next time!). There are also several via ferrata options in the area as well.
The highlight of our short visit was seeing a herdsman and his two dogs guide a flock of sheep down the mountain.
When to Hike in Alta Badia, Italy
Early/Mid-June until Mid/Late-October.
Weather permitting, the best time to hike in Alta Bada is from mid-June to mid-October. That being said, most chairlifts and cableways only run until late September. There are plenty of trails that don’t require cableway ascents, so if you choose to arrive in October, you’ll still have options.
Another thing to consider is transit. If you’re planning to visit Alta Badia without a car, you should come between mid-June and mid-September. Starting in October, there are less frequent bus connections.
We think Fall is the best time to visit Alta Badia Read next:
Best Hotels in Alta Badia
Below, we’re highlighting some exceptional Alta Badia hotels.
For more guidance regarding where to stay in the Dolomites, also check out:
Hotel Col Alto
4 star accommodation in Corvara
Hotel Col Alto is a 4-star hotel facing Sassongher peak in Corvara. We were impressed by the staff, the design, the wellness facilities, and the sheer comfort of our room.
We arrived at Col Alto after trekking the Alta Via 1 and smelled like wet socks. The Col Alto staff coordinated our laundry pick-up quickly, let us check-in early, and answered our 101 questions about hiking in Alta Badia.
Beyond the excellent and accommodating service we received, Hotel Col Alto outshines all hotels in Corvara because of its wellness center. As a hotel guest, you have access to five saunas, an indoor swimming pool, a whirlpool, and relaxation rooms with waterbeds and heated lounge chairs (my favorite thing ever). Each day, we rushed down the mountain so that we could enjoy the wellness facilities before dinner. Our bodies were grateful.
We stayed in the Sassongher suite, which was delightful from a design and comfort perspective. From the Sassongher-facing balcony to the in-suite bathtub and luxurious bedding, we loved everything about our room.
Hotel Ciasa Soleil
4 star hotel in La Villa
Hotel Ciasa Soleil is a boutique hotel in La Villa that wowed us with its excellent food (opt for half board), relaxing indoor and outdoor wellness facilities, unbeatable sunset views, and beautifully decorated rooms.
Ciasa Soleil’s layout is intimate, yet roomy. No matter where you are in the hotel, there’s a place to relax. There’s an outdoor elevated terrace for reading and resting. The interior wellness area has a lovely relaxation room supplied with snacks and tea. And, the hotel lounge is perfect for an aperitif or post-dinner cocktail. Did I mention the outdoor hot tub? After a long hike in Alta Badia, there’s no better place to be than that hot tub.
One of the most memorable aspects of our stay was dinner. From the dining room, you can watch Fanes turn vibrant shades of red and coral during sunset whilst eating a 4-course meal.
Also If you’re traveling without a car, Ciasa Soleil a great place to stay because of its close proximity to a bus stop. It makes getting around Alta Badia super easy.
More Excellent Hotels in Alta Badia
- Hotel La Perla in Corvara
- Lüch de Costa in Colfosco
- Hotel Kolfuschgerhof in Colfosco
- La Stua in San Cassiano
- Lagació Hotel Mountain Residence in San Cassiano
- Hotel Melodia del Bosco in Badia
How to get to Alta Badia without a car
We traveled to and around Alta Badia without a car in mid-September. It was easy to get around, though it does require a little planning. And, because each village has three names, it can be a bit confusing. Grab a summer bus schedule (Südtirolmobil Sommer Fahrplan) when you arrive, and use that to get around. Or, simply ask your hotel for help.
Venice to Alta Badia
Most international travelers coming to the Dolomites will fly into the Venice International Airport. There’s a direct Dolomiti Bus (No. 72) from Venice (the city) to Corvara, which takes 4.5 hours. If you’re traveling directly from the Venice Airport to Alta Badia, you should take the Cortina Express instead (read below).
Cortina d’Ampezzo to Alta Badia
From Corvara, you can hop on bus 460 or 465 to La Villa or another destination in Alta Badia.
Bolzano to Alta BadiaThere is no direct transit connection between Bolzano and Alta Badia. You’ll likely have to transfer in Val Gardena. Use the Südtirolmobil website to plan your route.
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- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Dolomites Blog Archive
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
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