The highest peaks of the Alps are a big draw for hikers. Most people head to France to experience them, but you can also take in its splendour on a NW Italy trekking holiday from the Aosta region. Here you can experience the giants from a different perspective with quieter trails and many would argue better food. Check out the best treks in Aosta Valley to find out more.
The Aosta Valley is the smallest region of Italy. Located in the Northwest of the country it boasts spectacular scenery, world-class skiing and snowboarding during the winter and awesome hiking and mountain biking in the summer. The food is of the highest quality and there is a rich a history stretching back to the Romans.
Bordered by France and Switzerland, Aosta Valley is in the heart of the Alps. It is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Europe: Cervino (aka Matterhorn), Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and the biggest of them all, Mont Blanc which at 4,807 metres is the highest mountain in central Europe.
It is easy to get to Aosta from Turin, Milan or Geneva airport. In fact the Aosta Valley resorts are among the easiest to reach from the UK making it an ideal destination for a NW Italy trekking holiday, weekend hike or just a short break in the mountains.
Home to over 2,000 trails, the region is a hikers paradise set among 4,000 metre peaks. You’ll find stunning mountain views, ample alpine nature, quaint hamlets, delightful chapels and plenty of outdoor activities in Aosta Valley.
It’s difficult to narrow the trekking down to just a few routes. But below an overview of what we consider to be four of the best treks in Aosta Valley. We hope it inspires you to visit for a NW Italy trekking holiday!
The Aosta Valley is home to the infamous Alta Via Alps Trails. It is a 333 kilometre circular route which is considered to be one of the best treks in Europe. Located in the heart of the four highest peaks they can only be hiked during the summer. Beware, there are also Alta Via trails in the Dolomites (which are also very good).
The Alps Alta Via circuit crosses medium and high altitude terrain, through meadows and pasturelands, woodlands and over rocky outcrops. The average altitude is around 2,000 meters and you’ll often be close to 3,000. There are many places to stay along the way including huts, refuges, camp sites, hotels and hostels.
Known as Alta Via dei Giganti, or “the giants’ trail” this is undoubtedly one of the best treks in the Aosta region. It passes through incomparable scenery along the foothills of Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. The trail passes geological masterpieces such as the elegant pyramid peak of the Matterhorn which is known as Cervino in Italy.
The manmade structures are also interesting with traditional Walser buildings in the Gressoney Valley and the upper reaches of the Ayas Valley. The Alta Via 1 begins in Donnas and you hike 173km to Courmayeur. There are 17 daily stages with three to five hours hiking per day. It can be completed in 12 to 17 days.
Alta Via 2 heads in the opposite direction, so from Courmayeur to Donnas, but on a different route. The 14 stages cover 160 km requiring three to five hours hiking a day, but it can be completes in 11 days. Known as the Nature Trail, Alta Via 2 passes through wild areas of the Gran Paradiso National Park and the Mont Avic Regional Park making it one of the best Aosta treks.
Hikers will enjoy magnificent landscapes with abundant alpine flora and fauna including some rare species. You can admire the athleticism of a leaping chamois or the elegance of a golden eagle in flight. Perhaps you’ll find yourself surrounded by a herd of male ibex that graze in the valley grasslands below the moraines and the eternal snows as night approaches.
This is a circular trek of just under 220 miles with the altitude varying between 500 and 1900 meters. The trail can be enjoyed in either direction and is divided into 23 stages of about four to six hours. The route passes through more than 40 municipalities of the Aosta Valley region.
The Cammino Balteo is a journey into the innermost heart of Aosta to experience the local community. Long and complex human history is evident in the architecture, pastures, vineyards, cellars and creameries. Experience deeply rooted local traditions and a beautiful rural landscape.
The Cammino Balteo trail will delight those with an interest in Roman and medieval history. While still immersing you in nature with many lakes, waterfalls, nature reserves and wooded areas to enjoy. You can hike the trail in different seasons and for many different interests, which makes it versatile to almost any hikers needs and desires.
The last NW Italy trekking holiday on this list is perfect for a short break. Following the foothills of Mont Fallère (3,061 m) this circular trek is about 35 kilometres long with an elevation gain of 2,700 metres.
t’s recommended for those who enjoy hiking in the mountains without anything technically difficult but still want a fair physical workout. The three day Tour du Mont Fallère takes an average of five to six hours per day following easy and well-marked paths.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity to admire the beautiful surrounding landscape. And you will enjoy overnight stops in the very comfortable Mont Fallère and Chaligne huts on one of the best Aosta treks.
Aosta Valley delivers whether you want to experience the majesty of the giants of the Alps and wild national parks or easy trails with plenty of history and local community interest. In general, Aosta is not as busy as across the border in France. Life is at a slightly slower pace, the food is great, the welcomes warm and the prices are reasonable.
We hope you found this guide to 4 of the best treks in the Aosta Valley inspiring. For more information visit: www.aosta-valley.co.uk