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High Trails of Aosta Valley

High Trails of Aosta Valley

Overview

The beautiful Aosta Valley lies in the shadow of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Grand Combin, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn. It is a real paradise for hikers with excellent walking trails surrounded by the 3000-metre summits of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps. Beautiful chapels, delightful hamlets and spectacular mountain vistas await, and ancient pathways trodden over the centuries by armies and pilgrims bring a touch of history to the exceptional natural environment.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Aosta

Arrive in the quaint, small town of Aosta, in a valley dominated by the stunning views onto Europe’s highest mountains. Take a walk through its streets and admire the well-preserved Roman Theatre, the Arch of Augustus and town walls and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the place.

Day 2: Les Croux to Homene Dessus | 15 km

A short car transfer will take you to the small hilltop village of Les Croux, where today’s itinerary starts with a tough but rewarding climb to above 2,000 metres. You walk through flower meadows overlooking the valley and the high mountains around. Finally, you will be warmly received at the accommodation located next to a beautiful chapel, just outside the village of Saint Pierre.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 6 hrs ↑985 m ↓813 m
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo in Saint Pierre (Agriturismo Les Ecureuils or similar)

Day 3: Lake Fallere Circular Walk | 17 km

This is a fairly demanding route due to the elevation gain that must be tackled (but as it is a circular walk, you can shorten it and retrace your steps back to the accommodation). You will meander through the Bois de Verrogne, and after a tough climb, you reach the crystal clear Lago Fallere situated at 2415 m. En-route you have breath-taking views of the many mountain peaks surrounding you. The descent beyond Becca France allows you to navigate yourself through thick forest woodland.

  • Walking for the day: 17 km, 6-7 hrs ↑995 m ↓995 m
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo in Saint Pierre (Agriturismo Les Ecureuils or similar)

Day 4: Homene Dessus to Vens | 12 km

Today the walk is a bit easier; you go from east to west along the more than 2000 m high ridge of the Valle d’Aosta. Higher up are the pastures where the famous Fontina and Toma cheeses are made, and, on the lower slopes, there are numerous mountain villages and local farms. The small family-run hotel where you stay on the next two nights is located in a charming mountain hamlet surrounded by wonderful scenery.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 4 hrs ↑653 m ↓421 m
  • Accommodation: 2-star hotel in Vens, Saint Nicolas (Hotel Ristoro Vagneur or similar)

Day 5: Vens to Pointe Oilletta and Back | 12 km

From the village of Vens, walk into the area of the old gold mines. Then you climb the 2616 m high Oilletta peak, where your efforts will be rewarded for the stunning views of the high peaks of the Alps, including the Gran Paradiso and the impressive Mont Blanc Massif. Today’s walk is steep and scrambly in places.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 5-6 hrs, ↑963 m ↓999 m
  • Accommodation: 2-star hotel in Vens, Saint Nicolas (Hotel Ristoro Vagneur or similar)

Day 6: Vens to Villeneuve/Cogne | 10 km

Today’s walk includes a long descent along the Dora Baltea River on nice paths, alternated with some flat sections. You will pass by many castles and churches of different historical periods. At the end of the walk, travel to Cogne by local bus (22 km, 30-50 min, EUR 5 pp, fare not included). NB! Your luggage will be taken from the accommodation to a restaurant in Saint Pierre (if you travel by public transport) or a gelateria in Aymavilles (if you travel in your own car). Pick up your bags in St. Pierre (or Aymavilles) at the end of the walk, and then take a bus to Cogne. Dinner in Albergo Belvedere (300 m from your accommodation).

  • Walking for the day: 10 km, 4 hrs, ↑20 m ↓1081 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Cogne (Hotel Grauson or similar)

Day 7: Lillaz Circular Walks | 11 km

Reach the mountain village of Lillaz, known for its enchanting waterfall, where the day’s walk begins with a steady climb to the beautiful Loie Lake (2354 m). Walking along a mountain stream, you pass two other smaller lakes, and gradually you descend to the bottom of the Urtier Valley. From here, take a bus back to your hotel (fare not included). Alternatively, you can walk to Bardoney.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 6 hrs, ↑900 m ↓908 m (Loie Lake) or 11 km, 5 hrs, ↑900 m ↓908 m (Bardoney)
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Cogne (Hotel Grauson or similar)

Day 8: Colle Tsa Sètse Circular Walk | 13 km

From the hotel, you will walk on a beautiful path to the Colle Tsa Sètse pass (2820 m), populated by Alpine marmots and from where you can enjoy great views of the Gran Paradiso and the Mont Blanc Massifs. On the way back, the path beyond the farm can be, for a short distance, unclear, but after you walk on a downhill forest, clearly visible path.

  • Walking for the day: 13 km, 6 hrs, ↑1134 m ↓1068 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Cogne (Hotel Grauson or similar)

Day 9: Departure

The trip ends after breakfast.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Your holiday includes nine nights accommodation in small, cosy and quiet mountain family-run hotels and agriturismi* (farmhouses). All rooms have private en-suite facilities. The places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

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*What is an agriturismo? A combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in ItalianIt is a farm-stay, but it’s also much, much more. Typically, an agriturismo is an independently-owned farm that the owners have decided to use partially for accommodation purposes, in a way similar to English or American bed and breakfasts. One of the best parts of staying in a traditional agriturismo? The food. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve guests food that was prepared from raw materials – vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and often wine and olive oil – produced on the farm or from other local merchants.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

There will be a delicious savoury breakfast and evening meal (drinks excluded) served each day (except for dinner in Aosta on Day 1, which is not included), including a great selection of regional specialities. Packed lunches can be pre-ordered at the accommodations, or you can buy food from the village shops. Throughout the trip, there are plenty of opportunities to taste both the great local food and wines.

Difficulty & terrain

This walking tour is graded moderate due to the relatively steep ascents on most days. Day 5 has a particularly steep and scrambly section (however you can shorten the walk as it is a circular one and skip this section if you wish) and you will need to be comfortable walking uphill on steep rocky terrain. A very good level of fitness is required for enjoying the walks to the maximum (read more about difficulty grades). The walks are mostly on grass and stone paths, dirt roads, forest tracks and also some inevitable short sections on asphalt road. Some of the walks on this trip are waymarked but many are not and you will need to follow the route notes and maps. We supply very detailed route notes and maps so navigation is generally easy. You will be walking in the high mountains and the ability to navigate with a map and compass in the event of bad weather is recommended. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. You can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.

When to go

You can start your holiday every day between 1st June and 15th September.

Please note that August 2022 is already fully booked.

The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Many of these paths are on the sunny side of the valley, but the altitude is high, so the temperature is also acceptable in summer. At the beginning of June, it is still possible to find
some snow, especially over 2000 m, therefore the walks can be heavier or the paths hardly accessible. During the June-September months, you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20°C and 25°C. The warmest month is July, with an average maximum temperature of 25°C.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Turin. Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate airports are also an alternative.

By train or bus

From the airport take a train to Turin train station (approx. 30 minutes), get off at Porto Susa station and take a train to Aosta (approx. 2 hours). Check up-to-date train timetables at https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html or use the Omio planner above.

On your return journey, take the bus from Cogne to Aosta (1h), then by train to Turin. For bus timetables, check at www.savda.it

Inclusions

Included

  • 8 nights in selected B&Bs, hotels and agriturismi
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 7 dinners
  • Private transfer from Aosta to Lez Croux (+ luggage to Saint Pierre) on Day 2
  • Luggage transfer from Saint Pierre to Saint Nicolas on Day 4
  • Luggage transfer from Saint Nicolas to Aymavilles or Saint Pierre on Day 6
  • Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at the first hotel)
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and 1 dinner, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights

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