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Via Venezia Alpina – hiking across the Alps to the Adriatic Sea

fspugna (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Via Venezia Alpina – hiking across the Alps to the Adriatic Sea

Hiking Collection by Mareike

22

Tours

174:19 h

299 mi

63,100 ft

The Via Venezia Alpina is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. From Scharnitz, a Tyrolean village on Austria’s border with Bavaria, you hike across the entire chain of the Alps to the Gulf of Venice, covering almost 500 kilometres (310 miles) in three weeks. From the highest peak in the Karwendel mountains, you follow a long ridge in the Tux Alps which brings you into the fantastic South Tyrolean Dolomites mountains. This adventure takes you to some of the most impressive mountains in the region as you hike through the Sella Group, passing Civetta mountain, Mamolata, the highest mountain of the Dolomites, and Schiara peak.

After you climb over the main ridge of the Alps, it’s quite clear that the Via Venezia Alpina is a demanding long-distance hike. You need to be technically experienced to take on the steep and rocky mountain paths. A head for heights and surefootedness is a must. This route is a physical challenge. Whilst many other long-distance hikes allow you to walk just a few kilometres per day, the Via Venezia Alpina challenges you with many long days with a fair amount of distance. This way you can spend as much time as possible up in the high mountains without having to descend back to the valley every day. A few stages may seem frighteningly long at first glance, but you usually have the possibility to shorten them by taking a bus or mountain train. If you want to take the adventure up a notch, you can add some exciting via ferratas to the route in the Dolomites, such as in the Sella or Skiara groups.

What also distinguishes this long-distance hike from others of its kind is that it is not marked throughout. However, all stages follow the well-developed network of trails in the Alps and so the waypoints are always well marked. You spend most of the nights in huts high up in the mountains. It is important to reserve your sleeping places beforehand, as there is often no alternative. Due to the altitude of the trails, the hike is suitable in the summer season. When you arrive at the sea, you can jump straight in thanks to the warm temperatures.

You should always pack some snacks in your backpack for refreshments on the way. On some stages, you’ll also find a place to stop en route for a bite to eat. From time to time, you also pass a village where you can stock up on provisions. The route starts directly from the train station in Scharnitz, making it convenient to reach by train. You can also easily return home from the finish line in Venice by train or long-distance bus.

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Via Venezia Alpina

293 mi

61,650 ft

64,775 ft

Last updated: May 19, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:16
    10.8 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,800 ft
    75 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    With this stage your crossing of the Alps begins, which leads you to the Italian Adriatic Sea. This first day is mainly used to gain altitude. On mostly leisurely paths you penetrate further and further into the mountains to the Karwendelhaus, where you spend your first evening on the Via Venezia Alpina

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  • Difficult
    08:03
    9.00 mi
    1.1 mph
    4,600 ft
    4,800 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The second stage is a special day, because today you will climb the highest mountain of the Karwendel. That is why it demands a lot of altitude from you both on the ascent and on the descent. From the Karwendelhaus you hike south, in the determining direction of the entire Via Venezia Alpina. Right at

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  • Difficult
    05:37
    9.31 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,000 ft
    5,025 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On the third stage, you are about to descend into the Tyrolean Inn Valley, so there is a lot going on for your thighs and knees again. You cross the mountain range that separates you from it via the Lafatscherjoch, from which you have another beautiful view over the Karwendel. On your long descent through

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  • Difficult
    07:19
    11.9 mi
    1.6 mph
    6,725 ft
    0 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    2,000 vertical meters in one day and not a single one downhill? The look at the altitude information on this tour may make you swallow at first. But don't worry: you can use two tools. A hiking bus runs from Hall to Tulfes. From there a mountain railway floats up to the Tulfeinalm. So you can get help

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  • Difficult
    06:08
    9.59 mi
    1.6 mph
    1,425 ft
    3,425 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 5 is followed by summit after summit. No sooner have you got off one than the next. This ridge hike through the Tux Alps becomes a special highlight of the Via Venezia Alpina. And since you climbed so far the day before, you don't even have to climb that many meters. With easy scrambling and sections

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  • Difficult
    06:26
    7.95 mi
    1.2 mph
    3,950 ft
    3,025 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 6 on the Via Venezia Alpina is no walk in the park either, as it continues to explore the remote mountain landscape of the Tux Alps. Once again you turn south first thing in the morning and always climb up the side of a mountain stream to the saddle under the vulture. Here you can make a detour

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  • Difficult
    05:37
    4.88 mi
    0.9 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,025 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this stage you get very close to the Hintertux Glacier. To do this, you first hike a little downhill, and then cross over to the Spannagelhaus. Here you can visit a marble show cave, if you are in time and a guided tour is taking place. Then you climb up to the left of the glacier through the rocky

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  • Difficult
    05:19
    8.26 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,050 ft
    2,700 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage on the Via Venezia Alpina is particularly scenic, as it leads high above the turquoise shining Schlegeis reservoir. Behind it rise the glaciated Zillertal mountains. Your destination is the Pfitscherjoch, where you leave Austria behind and continue hiking through South Tyrol the next day.

    

    You

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  • Difficult
    09:06
    13.1 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,125 ft
    6,825 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 9 is pretty bumpy again - it's best to go to bed early, because getting up early is also a good idea. First you descend from the yoke into the Pfitscher valley. To do this, you use a pass trail that was used by smugglers between Austria and Italy. On the other side of the valley you then climb

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  • Difficult
    08:10
    15.4 mi
    1.9 mph
    4,000 ft
    1,475 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is again very long. But you can shorten it by taking the bus from Pfunders to Niedervintl. You can often hike out of the valley away from the main road, but there are more beautiful sections on the Via Venezia Alpina.

    

    In Niedervintl you have reached 750 meters and thus suddenly quite deep after

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  • Difficult
    07:39
    13.1 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,575 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    A lot of ups and downs await you on this day. The wonderful views of the impressive Dolomites contribute to the motivation. From the Kreuzwiesenalm you hike to the mountain ridge in the east. On this you go south to the saddle behind the Glittner Joch, from which you descend to the Lüsener Joch. There

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  • Difficult
    07:38
    10.8 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,950 ft
    3,625 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    You can only enjoy this stage: some of the most beautiful panoramas of the South Tyrolean Dolomites await you. From the Schlüterhütte you climb over a ridge and then hike slightly downhill into the heart of the Puez-Geisler Nature Park. The imposing rock walls come closer and closer and you will hardly

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  • Difficult
    04:58
    5.00 mi
    1.0 mph
    3,600 ft
    1,150 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On stage 13 it is now mainly uphill again and through the middle of the Sella group. From the Gardena Pass you climb straight up to the rocks in the south. Here you cross a little more to the left, and then climb very steeply in the next channel to the Pisciadù hut. This section is provided with ropes

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  • Difficult
    04:38
    7.45 mi
    1.6 mph
    825 ft
    3,500 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this day you say goodbye to the Sella in order to approach the next famous mountain group: the Marmolada. In the morning the hike begins quite flat over a plateau to the Rifugio Forcella Pordoi. From here you descend steeply through the southern slopes to the Pordoi Pass. If you want to save yourself

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  • Difficult
    11:03
    19.2 mi
    1.7 mph
    5,025 ft
    4,450 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 15 is very long and not stingy with vertical meters. Depending on your form of the day and your preferences, you can shorten this route with a bus or mountain train ride. Right in front of the Rifugio Marmolada, for example, you can get on the bus and let it take you to Alleghe. The almost 20 kilometers

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  • Difficult
    07:04
    10.5 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,200 ft
    4,200 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage takes you through the spectacular Civetta. Most of the time you will stay in the green areas below the white rock peaks. The long descent into the rear Val Corpassa takes about the first half of the route. From there it goes steeply in several steps up to Forcella del Camp.

    

    The last section

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  • Difficult
    07:34
    10.4 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,425 ft
    3,375 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today the ski group welcomes you to the Belluno Dolomites National Park. So the level of the last few days will be maintained and you can look forward to more phenomenal prospects. At the beginning you walk between trees and meadows. Then you come closer to the white rocks again, but stay in the scenic

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  • Difficult
    11:50
    20.6 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,475 ft
    6,650 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    With one last fantastic day in the Belluno Dolomites you say goodbye to the high alpine peaks. Your destination for today is Belluno. Only a mountain range separates this city from the Piave plain, where it becomes really flat. Again, the route and descent are very long today, but you can cover about

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  • Difficult
    11:18
    20.6 mi
    1.8 mph
    5,050 ft
    5,375 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    When you look at the tour information, you might be thinking: How can it get more strenuous after crossing the Alpine ridge? This way is actually not that far, because the first twelve kilometers from Belluno to the village of Nevegal are intended as a bus ride. Once there, you can then decide whether

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  • Difficult
    20:27
    48.6 mi
    2.4 mph
    1,525 ft
    2,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    For the Via Venezia Alpina a stage by bus and train is actually planned, namely by bus to Ponte della Priula and then by train to San Donà di Piave.

    

    If you want to walk everything, you can follow the dream path - crossing the Alps from Munich to Venice - or this tour. Hiking this route takes another three

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    22
  • Distance
    299 mi
  • Duration
    174:19 h
  • Elevation
    63,100 ft

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Via Venezia Alpina – hiking across the Alps to the Adriatic Sea

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