Dates & Prices


Dates: 1st – 8th July 2023

Price: £1,395 Places available

Single Room Supplement: £200

Deposit: £150 per person

Price Includes: All meal, accommodation with private facilities, ground transport, services of guides & holiday report

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items.

Conservation Donation: Butterfly Conservation

Leader: Dr Martin Warren

Group Size & Travel: Minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 guests plus 1 leader.

Grade: Mountain terrain but generally easy walking at a gentle pace.

Holiday Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of Reginald Farrer, plant explorer & collector & author of The Dolomites: King Laurin’s Garden
  • One centre base with gentle walks from our hotel or using local transport to explore the magnificent mountain peaks of this World Heritage Site landscape
  • Welcoming family run hotel with excellent food
  • Incredible flower meadows with Lilium bulbiferum, Black Vanilla and Round-headed Orchids
  • Campanula and Gentiana generas well represented
  • Enjoy butterflies such as False Heath, Titania’s, Shepherd’s Fritillaries,  Alpine Heath, Apollo, Amanda’s Blue, Chalkhill blue, Arran Brown and others.
  • Led by a knowledgable & experienced Lepidopterist Dr Martin Warren

Explore one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes found anywhere in the world for its rich Alpine flora and colourful palette of butterflies!


Martin Warren OBE is one of Europe’s leading butterfly ecologists, having studied butterflies for over 45 years. He has been leading wildlife tours around Europe for the last 25 years and has recently written a widely acclaimed book Butterflies: a Natural History published by Bloomsbury. He was a major contributor to the Red Data Book of European Butterflies and Climatic Risk Atlas of European Butterflies. He was awarded an OBE for his services for the environment in 2017.

Following a research career at London and Cambridge, Martin became a butterfly specialist with the Nature Conservancy Council before joining Butterfly Conservation as their first Conservation Officer in 1993. Later, as Chief Executive, he helped the charity grow to become the largest insect NGO in the world. In 2004, he helped found Butterfly Conservation Europe which now has over 40 partner organisations in 35 countries across Europe. Martin has published over 300 scientific papers and has been voted in the top 10 British conservationists by BBC Wildlife Magazine. He has a wealth of knowledge about European butterflies which he is keen to use to inspire people to enjoy and conserve these amazing insects.

Join Martin Warren for a leisurely (mainly walking) week in one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes found anywhere in the world!

The Dolomites are a distinctive and beautiful area that takes its name from the crystalline magnesium limestone rocks that make up the peaks that tower vertically above the valleys. The shape of these mountains is unique having risen out of the sea around 250 million years ago. Ice and wind modelled the rocks creating the steep walls, towering spires and pinnacles typical of these mountains which have always been a source of wonder and a favourite destination of rock climbers. The crevices hold a distinctive flora of magnesium loving plants, while the meadows and alpine pastures teem with butterflies and insects.

The holiday is based in the Val di Fassa, in the village of Campitello. Val di Fassa lies in the north-east part of Trentino on the borders of the province of Bolzano and Belluno. The river Avisio flows through the valley and it is surrounded by the most spectacular and famous Dolomite peaks, such as the Sella Group, Sassolungo, the Catinaccio with the Torri del Vajole, and the Marmolada with its precipitous glacier. The Val di Fassa is one of the places of the area where Ladin, the oldest language in the Alpine region is still spoken. At our very hospitable hotel we shall sample the local and Italian cuisine.

This year the holiday will take place in early July to see a wide range of butterflies such as the beautiful and iconic Apollo, Black-veined White, Alpine Heath and Mountain Clouded Yellow. The blues are a real feature, with the stunning Amanda’s Blue widespread and opportunities to see Mazarine Blue, Large Blue, and Alpine Blue. False Heath, Southern Heath and Titania’s Fritillaries should be on the wing too as well as the enigmatic Thor’s Fritillary and some large browns such as Arran Brown and Large Ringlet.

From our base in pretty Campitello we shall explore the valleys of the area on day-long walks to visit a number of different habitats. The paths are steep in places and require reasonable fitness. Extensive meadows surround the village and we shall see many beautiful and colourful plants such as the Orange Lily and interesting orchids including Burnt Orchid, Black Vanilla Orchid and Round-headed Orchid.

We will also visit high mountain pastures on two days, taking the cable car up to Col Rodella on one and to Ciampac on the other. In these high mountain pastures we should see numerous endemic browns, including Lesser Mountain Ringlet, Sooty Ringlet, and Blind Ringlet, as well as Shepherd’s and Mountain Fritillaries, Alpine Blue, Alpine Heath, and Mountain Clouded Yellow.


Day 1: Arrival at airport in Venice and transfer to our hotel in Campitello. If time allows, we will have a look at some local meadows where we could see a range of butterflies as listed below.

Day 2: Our first walk takes through flower-filled meadows to the nearby village of Canazei. We will have close views of Amanda’s Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Mazarine Blue, Small Blue, and if we are lucky, the dark, montane form of the Large Blue. In the wooded areas we will encounter dark False Heath Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Wood Whites as well as Large Wall Brown and Arran Brown. There is also a chance of glimpsing Apollo’s as they drift down from the high mountains.

We shall see some of the colourful flowers that make up the meadows such as Rampions, Yellow Rattle, Salvias, Lousewort, Alpine Aster and Orange Lilies. On the return journey we walk along the forested track that runs along the river to see many of riverside and woodland plants such as Globe Flower, Martagon Lily, Two-flowered Violet, Aquilegas, and Wood Cranesbill. These meadows also contain Titania’s Fritillary and other woodland species such as Wood White.

Day 3: We walk up the small road to Pian, an ancient hamlet made with traditional wooden houses and a unique architecture. We continue on a track up the Val Duron, a beautiful valley surrounded by meadows and woods and traversed by the stream Rio Duron. In former times, the road was used by merchants and shepherds from Alpe di Siusi, Castelrotto and Tires to reach the Val di Fassa. We hope to several skippers alongside the tracks, including Red Underwing Skipper, Olive Skipper, and Dingy Skipper. Other likely species include Black-veined Whites, Northern Brown Argus, Small Blue, Chalkhill Blue, False Heath Fritillary, and Berger’s Clouded Yellow.

We should see a number of woodland orchids such as Bird’s-nest Orchid and Yellow Coralroot. From there we make our way to the Val Duron for more flower meadows with lovely plants such as Horned Rampion, Rock Soapwort, Meadow Sage and Clustered Bellflower We can return down a steeper but made up path.

Day 4: A short walk across the river to take the cable car to the Col Rodella (2,400m) and to walk part of the Friedrich August Way, named after the Bavarian King and mountaineer. This will take us through some of the richest high-altitude flower meadows where we will see Shepherd’s Fritillaries, and montane specialists such as Lesser Mountain Ringlet, Blind Ringlet, Woodland Ringlet and Common Brassy Ringlet. Other likely butterflies include Alpine Blue, Alpine Heaths and Mountain Clouded Yellow. There are a huge array of plants to see including Alpine Azeleas, Shining Cinqefoil, Rhaeticum Poppy, Edelweiss and the endemic Bluish Paederota (Paederota bonarota).

Day 5: We will explore the meadows just above the hotel in Campitello, which abound with Amanda’s Blues, and fritillaries such as False Heath, Titania’s, Heath, and Dark Green. This is also a great place to see the stunning Scarce Copper and possibly Apollo. If we have time, we will go down to the river to see if we can see the rare Thor’s Fritillary which breeds amongst the pine forest.

Day 6: A short drive to Alba di Canazei from where we take the cable car to Ciampac (2,170m) to explore some more beautiful high alpine pastures. Here, there are good populations of Shepherd’s and Mountain Fritillary as well as Ringlets such as Lesser Mountain, Large, Blind and Woodland Ringlet. We should also have a good chance of seeing Alpine Heath, Mountain Clouded Yellow, Sooty Copper, and very possibly Asian Fritillary.

The meadows abound with colourful plants including Spring Gentian and Globe Orchid, as well as the King of the Alps (Erytrichium nanum).

Day 7: We will return to visit the best local meadows around Campitello where we will have further opportunities to see a range of fritillaries, blues, browns and Skippers. We will also look for day-flying moths such as the Scarce Forester, Chimney Sweeper and Burnet moths. We will look out for other insects such the chunky Wart-biter Cricket.

Day 8: Transfer back to airport in Venice for departure.

Margaret…Campitello was a perfect location, so enjoyed not travelling each day and even then only short distances. The hotel was excellent, friendly, comfortable and very good meals. The week was fantastic. Yiannis was a superb guide, extremely knowledgeable, very tolerant and fun.

I was thrilled to get the holiday report, it certainly brought back the most wonderful memories of a fantastic holiday. Not only a written report but so many superb photos too.  I was especially thrilled to see the one of the Arran Brown as I took an almost identical photo and wasn’t sure what it was. In Yiannis we could not have wished for a better leader. He was brilliant, so knowledgeable and fun, it was a real pleasure to be with him and I do hope our paths cross one day soon!

Una…Thank you so much for the Dolomites trip report, its the best tour report I have seen, wonderful to have so many photos!