Italy’s smallest region, the vast Valle d’Aosta, is adjacent to Piedmont, France and Switzerland. On the 3,100 miles of high and medium altitude trails, outdoor activities respectful of nature are emphasized. Just as Capricorn and Chamois unflinchingly eat the wild herbs and alpine grass, the alpine eagle makes its airy courses over the four 12,000-thousand-feet peaks.
In the Valle d’Aosta it is possible to “gondola” in many places – with one of the numerous, reopened mountain railroads, all places of the year-round active region can be reached again. Always framed by the panoramas of the four 12,000-feet mountain giants Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso, the world-famous Monte Cervino (Matterhorn) and Monte Bianco. The bird’s eye view is free.
SKYWAY – Futuristic Gondola Experience with Summit Happiness
The futuristic giant gondola of the Skyway Mont Blanc takes you from Courmayeur to lofty heights in just 6 minutes. The three stations Pontal d’Entrèves (at 4,000 feet above sea level), Pavillon du Mont Fréty (7,000 feet) and Hellbronner Spitze (11,400 feet) are connected by two cable car sections. At the top, lunch awaits at 11,500 feet with Valdostani products at the Bistrot Panoramic. For dessert, the panoramic view over the Mer de Glace is included for free. This year, the largest cable car installation in the Aosta Valley, which was completely restored in 2018, celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Reservations needed: https://www.montebianco.com/en
PLATEAU ROSA – just a wing beat from the Matterhorn
From Breuil-Cervinia, the cable car takes you 11,400 feet up to the Plateau Rosa. The view of the twelve-thousand-feet peaks is boundless – the silhouette of Monviso in Piedmont in Italy and the Swiss Alpine peaks in Valais. The hut Guide del Cervino on the Testa Grigia, is a strategic base for mountain conquerors and sun worshippers.
Special: Largest summer ski area in Europe! On the Breuil-Cervinia at 11,400 feet of altitude of the glacier on Plateau Rosà there is snow even in July and August. The 16 miles of slopes delight beginners to athletes.
CHAMOIS – The highest place without CO2
The cable car to Chamois (5900 HM) is still a relic of the 50’s. Listed as an “Alpine pearl”, this car-free village at the foot of the Matterhorn is a record-breaker! It is the highest village in the Aosta Valley and one of the highest in all of Italy. To get from the Buisson valley to the quiet mountain village with its cobbled lanes and wooden cottages, the cable car is the only means of transport. Here you can smell the purest mountain air without CO2. A second chairlift continues to the Lod Lake with a wonderful picnic meadow.
Special: Chamois can also be reached on foot in a good hour via an old mule track or from La Magdeleine by mountain bike. The highlight: a small mountain airport for special operations.
THERMICS UNDER THE WINGS – Air Sports Options
Have you ever dreamed of just once flying like a wild bird? Ok, then! Or, like the Italians would say: Va bene! Paragliding, gliding, tandem paragliding or rather a ride in a hot air balloon? It’s all possible in Valle d’Aosta.
Special: Going for a spin in a glider is probably the closest thing to flying like a wild bird. It is pulled up into the air without an engine by a motorized aircraft. Lifted to free flight only by wind energy and the force of lift, it glides silently over glacial seas and grassy slopes. A breathtaking experience. In spring, seminars are held at the Aero Club Valle d’Aosta. Glider pilots can take off all year round.
NOSEDIVE AND HIGH ALTITUDE – E-Bike versa Freeride
I must admit, I am not a mountain biker or E-bike fan at all. Especially not in the mountains. However, I don’t want to be a party pooper. The Aosta Valley is a biker’s paradise. Whether by MTB mountain bike (620 miles of trail network e.g. in Valtournenche or Monte Rosa ), via road bike (Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard), downhill or (easy) freeride in Pila or La Thuile, in Valle d’Aosta everyone “flies” up and down the mountain in their own way with their two-wheeler. In summer, some ski resorts transform their lifts for cycling transport, becoming downhill and freeride tracks.
Special: New e-bike route in Breuil Cervinia, which leads next to the 12 Trails-Enduro through the “Matterhorn Bike Park”. In La Thuile, a sporty freeride route with bike park and a 136-mile cross-country route runs through the two-country corner (France/Italy).
HIGH ALTITUDE TRAIL and HISTORICAL PATH – Alta Via and Cammino Balteo
With a total length of 205 miles, high altitude trails such as the well-known summer hiking trail Alta Via 1 and 2 (medium to higher altitudes 6,500 to 9,800 feet) lead past lush meadows, pastures, forests and rock formations.
No. 1 (Path of the Giants / 17 day hikes) leads along the river valley of the wild Dora Baltea with views of the mountain giants.
No. 2 (Path of Natural Beauties / 14 day hikes) crosses mostly the territory of the Gran Paradiso National Park and the Mont Avic Regional Park. Both run between Donnas to Courmayeur. Bird’s eye view included.
Special: This year saw the opening of the newly developed Cammino Balteo hiking trail. Through 23 stations in the charming lowlands (984-5,200 feet), it leads through the Gallo-Roman history and can be explored like a time traveler past stone castles, castles and bridges.
FROM MOUNTAIN HUT TO CASTLE HOTEL – Cozying up
Accommodation of all price categories can be found throughout the region – from rustic rural guest rooms to castle hotels. Alpine farms provide culinary variety,
Agrotourism, winegrowers and small manufactories (such as Fontina cheese dairies) provide insights into their production facilities. Even in high altitudes, the guests are accommodated in the typical alpine mountain huts (Rifugi Alpini) but also upscale hotel restaurants in the best way.
WELLNESS AND RELAXATION – After landing from the sky ride
Wellness is also a priority in the hospitable Aosta Valley. The nature-bedded thermal baths Pré-Saint-Didier and Saint-Vincent as well as hotel-well-being-zones made of precious natural materials offer pure relaxation after all activities. The direct view of the mountain panorama frees the mind from thoughts and worries.
Are you ready for your adrenaline kick? Find out more what the Aoasta Valley has to offer.
Further information and inspiration at https://www.lovevda.it/en
Detailed information about Valle d’Aosta’s nature and wildlife at https://www.vivavda.it/en
Photos: Valle d’Aosta, Roberto Maggioni PR