When Agustina Lagos Marmol set about naming her luxury adventure travel company, she let the destination speak for itself. And so, it both operates in and is called Dolomite Mountains.
Granted, that’s probably pretty good for Google search results. But it also speaks to the staggering beauty of Italy’s far northeast, which has a way of rendering people speechless. What words could possibly describe the majesty of the peaks rising almost straight up from the valleys?
Some look like a child’s drawing of a mountain: a perfect narrow triangle pointing up from the flat ground. Others are craggy and rugged and jagged and all the other onomatopoetic words we reach for when trying to describe mountains, towers, spires and rock faces that formed out of limestone plates as they crashed into each other many millennia ago.
Walking among this corner of the Italian Alps, it’s hard not to be awed by the drama and violence that must have gone into the creation of the landscapes. And walking among them is definitely worthwhile. Although the Dolomites are best known for challenging skiing—a reputation that is likely to grow now that Cortina has been named one of the host cities for the 2026 Winter Olympics—when they’re covered in snow, you miss the majesty. Plus, in summer you get to sit outdoors to watch the late sunset.
So why go to the Dolomite Mountains with Dolomite Mountains? (The name can get a little confusing.) Marmol’s company hires the best mountain guides for hiking, climbing, via ferratas, biking and skiing. These guys—Luca Gasparini and Michele Barbiero are regulars—have deep experience and any license you can think of. They live for the mountains. They’re also personable, full of good stories and patient and encouraging when a hiker (okay, me—and I was Marmol’s guest) isn’t quite up to the terrain.
Marmol and the women on her team are wizards at logistics. Every trip is bespoke—some with more emphasis on adventure and others with a higher level of luxury. One of the specialties is what they call ski safaris: basically slackpacking on skis (whether on-piste or off) going from resort to resort as someone else handles your baggage.
A lot of effort goes into the summertime slackpacking as well. Luggage disappears from one hotel in the morning and is set up in guests’ rooms when they arrive at the next hotel. Airport transfers are cheerfully rescheduled on short notice. They also employ strategies for beating crowds in the popular places. Even though the Tre Chime di Lavarendo are crowded, you still want to go to capture—and simply soak up—that image of the three towers that are so quintessentially Dolomites. Dolomite Mountains gets there earlier than most guides, so you avoid the worst of it.
Another reason to book with Dolomite Mountains is their network of relationships and high level of taste. Although they work with a variety of budgets, when Marmol wants to go luxury, she knows how to pull out the stops. In Cortina, that means Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa with an Art Nouveau–inspired design, an extensive spa and staggering views. In Alta Badia, it’s the Rosa Alpina, a quietly glamorous Alpine lodge with a Michelin three-star.
Even outside the Dolomites, she knows all the best places. Dolomite Mountains organizes extensions in Venice, Verona, Lake Garda, the Messner Mountain Museums and beyond. Since the prosecco region is conveniently located between the Venice airport and the Dolomites (grazie mille, Italia!), she organizes overnights at the charming, family-run Villa Abbazia, a Relais & Châteaux hotel, and walking trips through the hilly vineyards.
Further afield, she also organizes adventure trips in Sardinia, which she loves, and at her family’s gorgeous estancia in northern Patagonia, where she grew up. (Caballadas—“horses”—if you’re curious, and you should be.)
Lovely and thoroughly Italian as her hotel partners are, the height of Dolomites hospitality—no pun intended, really—is the mountain rifugios, remote lodges that you reach by hiking. You would be forgiven for thinking these are camping huts. But you would also be wrong. They have proper beds and full plumbing. This being Italy, even the simplest has outstanding food. The most luxurious might as well be boutique hotels, albeit with no shoes allowed indoors.
Rifugio Giau has mountain-chic little private bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and a spectacularly cozy dining room with home-style food. The restaurant at Rifugio Averau, near the stunning Cinque Torri rock formations, has a four-page menu of dishes—all delicious—and impressive platters of cheese and charcuterie, not to mention the views. These happen to be just two of many.
And while it’s not a rifugio, Marmol’s preferred lunch spot is especially memorable. After about 15 kilometers of hiking, we veered off the path and through a meadow filled with wildflowers for what she described as a picnic. We took off our boots and walked barefoot onto the terrace of a simple structure. Prosecco was popped and plates of cheese, meats, bread and simple salads appeared.
This was a step up from my usual mountain picnic, which might involve a mangled sandwich pulled from my backpack. Technically, it was still cheese with bread. But it was certainly a step up.
It was only the prelude. Chefs (from the Rosa Alpina, which owns the facilities) emerged, fired up the burners and cooked a delicate risotto with greens. Then they lit the grill and cooked meat, fish and seafood. Lobster tail with that scenery? I’ll take it.
Thankfully there was a cable car to take us down to the base of the mountain. Dolomites Mountains trips—both the company and the region—are the ideal balance of adventurous exertion and pure sensorial pleasure. With a ride back down when you need.