Alta Badia is a mountain region surrounding the valley of Val Badia/Gadertal 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.
Alta Badia 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 Summer Hiking Guide
Alta Badia Travel Tips
- Location: South Tyrol, Italy
- When to Hike: Mid-June – Late October, depending on snow conditions
- Top Villages: Colfosco, Corvara, La Villa, and San Cassiano
- Top Attractions: Passo Gardena, Cascate del Pisciadù, Pralongià High Plateau, Armentara Meadows and La Crusc Pilgrimage Church
- Famous Mountain Huts: Rifugio Puez, Rifugio Fanes, Rifugio Lavarella, and Rifugio Gardenacia
- Cool Places to Stay: Rifugio Pralongià on the Pralongià High Plateau and Ütia de Börz at Passo delle Erbe
- Excellent Luxury Hotels: Hotel Kolfuschgerhof, Romantik Hotel Cappella, Hotel Fanes
- Neighboring Dolomites Regions: Val Gardena and Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Closest Airports: Innsbruck Airport in Austria and Marco Polo International Airport in Venice, Italy
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Alta Badia Map
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 peak 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.
- Sass de Putia Circuit Trail – Moderate hike starting at Passo delle Erbe.
- Sass da Ciampac and Lake Crespëina Hike – Moderate hike across the Cir Mountains and Crespëina Plateau to Rifugio Puez.
- Gran Cir Summit – Short peak hike (easy via ferrata) to the summit of Gran Cir in the Cir Group.
- Lago di Boe and Rifugio Franz Kostner – Easy walk in the Sella Group.
1. Armentara Meadows Trail
- Trailhead: La Crusc Church, Badia
- Cableway Ascent: La Crusc 1 & La Crusc 2, Badia. These cableways operate from early/mid -June until late September, 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.
- Distance: 9 km point-to-point
- Time Needed: 3 – 4 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
This enchanting walk across the Armentara meadows begins in the village of Badia.
First, you’ll ascend to the Santa Croce Sanctuary by two cableways (La Crusc 1 & La Crusc 2). From the Santa Croce pilgrimage church, the trail leads beneath the Sasso Santa Croce mountains to the 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)
- Time Needed: 6-7 hours
- Difficulty: Difficult
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 point-to-point
- Time Needed: 6 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
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 out-and-back / 20 km point-to-point
- Time Needed: 6 hours / 8 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate / Difficult
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. Sass de Putia Circuit Trail
- Trailhead: Passo delle Erbe
- Distance: 12.8 km circuit
- Time Needed: 4 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
Sass de Putia/Peitlerkofel is a solitary two-headed mountain in Puez-Odle Nature Park.
A highly enjoyable hiking path circuits Sass de Putia, weaving through forest and across alpine pastures.
The trail starts at the Passo delle Erbe mountain pass, high above Val Badia. From the pass, follow the road towards Sass de Putia. When you reach the alpine pastures at the base of the mountain’s northern slopes (20 minutes), turn right and follow signs to the Forcela de Pütia/Peitlerscharte mountain saddle.
The ascent to Forcela de Pütia saddle is the hardest part of the hike. It’s straightforward, but continuously uphill.
From here, the trail descends across romantic alpine pastures and continues to Ütia Vaciara and Ütia de Göma, two alpine pasture huts directly on the trail.
Insider Tip: You can stay directly at Passo delle Erbe at at Ütia de Börz, an upscale mountain refuge.
Learn More: Sass de Putia Circuit Trail
6. Sass da Ciampac and Lake Crespëina Hike
- Trailhead: Passo Gardena
- Distance: 14.7 km lollipop-circuit
- Time Needed: 6 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate – Moderately Difficult
Sass da Ciampac is the highest peak in the Cir Group, which is part of the Puez mountain range.
The hike to Sass da Ciampac is a moderate one, beginning at Passo Gardena, the mountain pass connecting the valleys of Val Gardena and Val Badia. Along the way to Sass da Ciampac, you’ll cross the Cir Peaks, drop into Val de Chedul valley, and make a counter-ascent to Forcella de Crespeina, the gateway to the Crespëina High Plateau.
The ascent to Sass da Ciampac is straightforward and rewards you with wonderful views of Val Badia, the Sella Group, and the Puez Peaks. The descent to Crespëina plateau and Lake Crespëina is more difficult, because of the scree and slippery terrain.
Start early and detour to Rifugio Puez for lunch.
Trail Guide: Sass da Ciampac Hike
7. Gran Cir Peak Hike
- Trailhead: Passo Gardena
- Distance: 4.5 km out-and-back
- Time Needed: 1:30 hours one-way
- Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
Gran Cir is a prominent peak in the Cir Group (Pizes de Cir in Ladin, Gruppo del Cir in Italian, Cirspitzen in German) within Puez-Odle Nature Park.
This popular summit is easily accessible from Passo Gardena/Grödner Joch. From the mountain pass, it takes 1:30 hours to hike to the summit of Gran Cir. The rewards are many. Atop Gran Cir, you’ll have deliriously beautiful views of the Sella Group, Sassoungo/Langkofel Group, Puez Group and Val de Chedul.
Gran Cir is considered an easy via ferrata (secured climbing route). We wrote about our experience, what gear you need, and more in our Gran Cir Trail Guide.
8. 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.
- Time Needed: 1 – 2 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
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 Time to Visit the Dolomites for Hiking
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
- Hiking in the Dolomites in October
Best Hotels in Alta Badia
Alta Badia is home to an amazing selection of excellent hotels and accommodations, arguably the finest in the Dolomites. No matter where you stay, you can expect a high level of cleanliness. Most hotels and accommodations in Alta Badia require a minimum stay of two to four nights. Hotel wellness facilities are always included in the rate (like in Austria).
Below, we’re highlighting some exceptional Alta Badia hotels, aparthotels, and apartments.
Colfosco (Calfosch in Ladin) is the highest village in Alta Badia, situated at an elevation of 1645 meters, between Corvara and Passo Gardena. It lies at the foot of the Sella Group and Sassongher on the edge of Puez-Odle Nature Park. With mesmerizing views of the Sella Group, Colfosco is an excellent base for actively exploring Alta Badia. Its close proximity to Passo Gardena and Passo Sella, makes it easy to explore Val Gardena and Val di Fassa as well.
Midrange | Hotel Jägerhof is a fantastic alpine hotel and restaurant in Colfosco. With its attractive price point, modern alpine interiors with light wood furnishings, and high-quality cuisine, we recommend booking this gem as soon as possible. The hotel’s spa area comprises a Finnish sauna, steam bath, plunge pool, foot whirlpool, Acquamoon sensory shower, and relaxation room.
Luxury Apartments | Lüch de Costa is a stylish aparthotel in Colfosco. In 2017, this historic farmstead was transformed into several high-end apartments. This is a great place to stay if you want the independence of an apartment but the convenience and finer features of a hotel (spa area, indoor pool, outdoor whirlpool, breakfast, daily room cleaning).
Luxury | Hotel Kolfuschgerhof excels on every level, from its excellent wellness facilities and superb Dolomites views to its fine dining, featuring local and Italian cuisine. Design-wise, the hotel is a winning combination of Tyrolean chalet-style and alpine-modern. Expect extraordinary service and the best spa views of your life.
Luxury | Romantik Hotel Cappella is a newly-renovated 5-star luxury hotel in Colfosco sporting the finest contemporary interiors and furnishings in the region. Guests relish the two on-site restaurants, modern lounge bar, and life-affirming spa overlooking the Sella Group. The wellness area features a brine sauna, a steam sauna, Finnish sauna, child/family-friendly sauna, indoor-outdoor pool, and fitness room. The hotel’s energetic and polished staff ensure that all your needs are met.
The town of Corvara is centrally located in Val Badia at the base of Sassongher mountain, between Colfosco and La Villa. It’s the tourist center of Alta Badia and offers the most in terms of shops, restaurants, and accommodations. Several cableways connect Corvara with the surrounding plateaus like Col Alt Pralongià and mountains like Sella easily accessible.
Midrange | Ciasa De Munt Lifestyle Living strikes just the right balance between urban and the outdoors, with its clean aesthetic, modern elegant lines and location. Guests have access to top-notch wellness facilities, storage lockers, and a washing machine. A fresh breakfast buffet featuring homemade cakes, cold cuts, and eggs is laid out each morning. Take advantage of the mountainside breakfast offering in their Piz Boé Alpine Lounge (2200 meters).
Luxury | Hotel Col Alto is a 4-star hotel facing Sassongher 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.
La Villa Hotels
La Villa (Stern in German) is a small village in Alta Badia between Badia and Corvara. Advantageously situated between the Fanes Group and Puez Group, La Villa is one of the dreamiest places to stay in the Dolomites. Set further away from Passo Gardena, La Villa enjoys a quieter location than neighboring Corvara and Colfosco. Sunset views here are unforgettable. When we stayed in La Villa, we hiked to Gherdenacia Plateau, Rifugio Fanes, and the Armentara Meadows.
Budget-Midrange | Pensione Camoscio is a well-run charming hotel with cozy, Tyrolean-style rooms, excellent breakfasts and dinners, and a peaceful setting. Great value for money.
Luxury | Hotel Ciasa Soleil is a boutique hotel in La Villa that wowed us with its excellent cuisine, relaxing indoor and outdoor wellness facilities, unbeatable sunset views, and striking design.
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.
San Cassiano Hotels
San Cassiano (St. Kassian in German) is a high-alpine village in Alta Badia between La Villa and Falzarego Pass, the gateway to the Ampezzo Dolomites and Cortina d’Ampezzo. This is an excellent base for exploring the Fanes Group and the Pralongià High Plateau. From the village, you can walk the Path of the Larches. From Capanna Alpina, you can hike to Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella. Drive over Falzarego Pass to Belluno and Rifugio Lagazuoi, Cinque Torri, Rifugio Dibona (starting point for the Tofana di Rozes Circuit), and Lago Federa are within reach.
Budget Apartments | Ciasa Milandura offers spacious, clean apartments with fully-equipped kitchens and balconies in San Cassiano.
Midrange | Hotel Conturines is a very welcoming hotel in the heart of the pedestrian zone of San Cassiano, offering comfortable rooms, high-quality breakfasts and dinners, and a small spa area.
Luxury Aparthotel | Lagació Hotel Mountain Residence ingeniously blends rustic alpine charm with modern comforts. Guests enjoy spacious apartments with kitchens as well as a wonderful spa area and daily breakfast.
5-star Luxury | Hotel Fanes dazzles with its first-class spa facilities and skypool, phenomenal food, flawless staff, and magical setting. Breakfast, a Marende (afternoon snack buffet), and dinner are included in the rate.
Badia (Abtei in German) is a village in Val Badia between La Villa and San Martino in Badia. This Dolomites village lies between Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park at an elevation of 1315 meters. The La Crusc Cableways connect Badia with Santa Croce Sanctuary (2045 m), a church set below the impressive rock faces of Sasso di Santa Croce Group (Sas dla Crusc in Ladin, Kreuzkofel in German). From here, hikers can descend back to Badia via the Armentara Meadows, one of the easiest and most enchanting walks in the Dolomites.
Midrange | Hotel Melodia del Bosco is a family-run hotel in Badia offering newly-renovated rooms, excellent breakfasts, heart-expanding Dolomites views, a spa (Finnish sauna, alpine herbs sauna, steam sauna, relaxation area, gym), and an on-site restaurant.
How to get to Alta Badia without a car
It’s easy to get to and around Alta Badia during the summer season (mid-June – mid-September). Grab a summer bus schedule (Südtirolmobil Sommer Fahrplan) when you arrive.
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 4:30 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 Badia
There is no direct transit connection between Bolzano and Alta Badia. You will need to transfer in Val Gardena. Use the Südtirolmobil website to plan your route.
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Plan your trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
- 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
Where to Stay in the Dolomites:
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