Over the past few years, many of my friends and colleagues has started organizing their own hikes and other outdoor travels. The market of excursions and tour from local guide is growing and soon will turn into a large and self-sufficient industry. I follow what others do and think about how creative hiking differs from other guided tours in the Dolomites. I imagined myself in the place of a participant, who is not easy to understand all of this: one calls you for a photo tour to Nepal, another — for ice-skating in Baikal Lake, Russia, the third — in girls-only-trip to Bali.
— So, we have 15 differences here:
1. One Region
Our outdoor activities take place only in our home region where we live and know it as locals: the Dolomites, Italy. And not the rest of the world.
2. Italy You Don’t Know About
In the Dolomites, you will open Italy you probably didn’t know. It is also wasn’t seen by many regular travelers: with mountains, many original things, more sportive people, etc. You will be a discoverer!
3. One Mountain Range
Each hike is built within only one of three mountain ranges of our home region: Pale di San Martino — Pannveggio Nature Park, Vette Feltrine (National Park of Belluno Dolomites) or Lagorai (Cima di Asta). So we do not travel “here and there” in the Dolomites, do not try to embrace the vast, but study one place from different sides, and not vice-versa.
4. Less Popular Summer Dolomites
Dolomites are associated with winter sports and Dolomiti Superski area. You will see their summer, less popular version. Ok, it is quite popular, too, but still less popular comparing to Dolomites in winter.
5. Not Very Hot
Our creative hiking, cycling and other outdoor activities takes place mostly in the off-season: in late spring and early summer and in late summer and early autumn, when the air is cleaner and the mountains are especially beautiful, and not as hot as in summer.
6. Wilderness Close to Civilization
The Dolomites are not Elbrus, Altai, Nepal or Finnish wilderness areas. Civilization here is close to the nature. There is no need to sleep in a tent and cook food at fire (but in Finland — yes!).
7. Eco-friendly Transport
We try not to organize car transfers: we ride public transport like trains and buses, and bicycles, and walk a lot! And if we can’t go without car, we ask locals to bring us somewhere.
8. Main Expenses Are Included
Many such hikes do not include the main expenses: accommodation and/or food. In ours you will know where you will live and what to eat.
9. Totally Non-touristic Experience
We will live in a village where there are not even Italian tourists, not speaking about foreigners. We will live in family hotels and B&Bs, eat at small agritourism restaurants and bars, get to know and communicate with local people a lot.
10. English Is Enough
You will not be lost in the Dolomites without knowledge of Italian or German, or… even the English languages: our travel format is “your friend is my friend”.
11. No Guides
12. Special Program
For each hike we have created a special program: a lecture, a master class and an interview game to get acquainted with the group without “where I studied”.
13. It’s Sustainable
Our hikes are sustainable (or eco) tourism without harm to nature, aimed at supporting the local community. 10% of the cost goes to development.
14. The Book About Dolomites and Other Gifts
From my photo book about the Dolomites, “The Trail I Paved. Illustration to Feelings and Thoughts,” you will learn more about the place you will come: the journey will continue after the hike — for 300 pages of text. And we will give you more gifts!
After a hike we ask each participant to do something creative too: write, draw, sing, dance, etc. And we help to distribute your creativity!
Cover photo: Tanya Kuznetsova in creative hiking in Pale di San Martino in Sep. 2017 © Ivan Kuznetsov.