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Dolomites 9 — 16 June 2016

Wildflowers & Walking in the Italian Dolomites

This holiday is run by N & S Wildlife & Walking Holidays: bookings are through Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays.

Richard Hobbs and Sally Ward from N & S Wildlife & Walking Holidays write:

"We return to what has to be one of our favourite destinations.  We are based in South Tyrol (also known as Alto Adige) which is the northernmost province of Italy lying to the south of the Brenner Pass and bordered to the south east by the Dolomites with their dome-shaped limestone mountains rising to over 10,000 feet."

Formed over a period of some 30 million years, the Dolomites were originally known as 'the pale mountains' because of the pale-coloured dolomitic limestone.  At their feet are rich alpine pastures, vineyards and tiny lakes. The area is known as the 'Land of Castles,' although many are now ruined. This part of Italy belonged to Austria before World War I and the official languages are both German and Italian. There is also an ancient language in existence called Ladin, which has its roots in Provençal French.

The Schlern, a magnificent limestone pinnacle typical of this region, always dominates the views in this area. It measures over 70 square kilometres and is Europe's largest expanse of high alpine meadowland and a veritable paradise for walkers. Our nearest main town of Bolzano, with its elegant shopping streets and stylish old arcades, has an Italian feel to it and there are many Gothic style buildings, an interesting market and an excellent museum. The museum is home to the internationally famous 'ice man' and the artifacts he had with him when he met his death a long while ago.  A fascinating story and tastefully done.

Our delightful hotel is tucked away and set in its own alpine meadow next to a rushing stream and surrounded by woodland. 

Plants

The flora is extremely varied and we should find great colourful patches of gentians, yellow pulsatillas and globe-flowers growing in some of the high alpine meadows as well as orchids, alpine butterworts and saxifrages.  The attractive woodland contains plants such as alpine clematis, a purple aquilegia, wintergreens and the strange birdsnest and coralroot orchids. We should see interesting ferns such as forked spleenwort, shrubby honeysuckles and, we hope, the lady’s slipper orchid. Other interesting plants include primulas, louseworts, Solomon’s seals, dwarf pine and Pyrenean lily.

Birds

The woodland near the hotel is home to black, green and great spotted woodpecker, together with the unusual and fascinating nutcracker with its distinctive call. On the alpine pastures are ring ouzel and the yellow-billed alpine chough. Crag martins, common and black redstarts and goldcrest may be seen.

Holiday Details

Itinerary: a mixture of walks, local bus and minibus trips, plus a cable car to higher pastures. If you have travelled here with us before, you will find that our walks have gradually evolved and that the local bus now comes to the hotel entrance to take us to the nearby cable car. 

Price: £1,399 per person in twin room for a week (Thursday to Thursday)

Single room supplement: £75

En suite facilities

Flights: Scheduled Ryanair flights London Stansted to Milan Bergamo

Deposit: £300

Group size: 15 to 18 including two leaders

More information and an itinerary for this holiday here.

Recce report, June 2016, here.

Bad Ratzes hotel ('Bad' means spa), our holiday base.

Rich alpine pastures are a feature of the area.

There are small villages with chalet style wooden farmhouses and Tyrolean style churches with onion shaped belfries. 

Photos

... gallery from a recce visit, 2-9 June 2016, here on Facebook.

narrow-leaved helleborine

Narrow-leaved helleborine

globe flower

Globe flower (Chris Durdin)

nutcracker

Nutcracker (from Wikipedia)

WHAT IS EXCLUDED – Although we are on full board we may eat out at lunchtime one day so allow around an extra £5/6 if you would like to do this. Rather surprisingly, the hotel owners are very happy for us to take food from the breakfast table for a picnic. Insurance, drinks, tourist tax (€2 a day) items of a personal nature and entrance to museums etc. are not included.

Photos on this page by Sally Ward and Richard Hobbs, unless otherwise noted.

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The air holidays shown are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 3253. ATOL Protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom. Click on the ATOL logo if you want to know more.

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