Alta Via trails are among the most beautiful trails to be found in the Alps. They compose a round circuit around the Aosta Valley on the height, for a distance of 330 km. This summer we offer new program that enable you to go through all or selected sections on Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2. Check out Marta's Top 5 of Alta Via!
You can even download printable brochures (Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2). In the meantime, we present very special choice of 5 highlights of Alta Via.
1. Walser village of Cuneaz and the Rifugio Aroula
Hidden in the small valley, at the end of the cable car from Champoluc, Cuneaz is located at 2032 m, at the foot of the Mount Crest. It is invisible at first glance and looks like a small town with many old, adorable wooden houses. Although, it is a Walser pearl.
The Walser came probably from the Wallis (Valais) region, the uppermost Rhône River valley where they lived in the middle ages. During so-called Walser migrations in the 12th and 13th century they moved to other parts of Alps: in Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Ancient Walser architecture and traditions shaped the cultural and natural landscapes of the Aosta Valley, where you can find many small Walser villages and places. Cuneaz is the finest on the Alta Via trail.
Nowadays, Cuneaz is charming touristic destination both in summer and winter with the Torrent de Cuneaz river below. It used to be the highest located town in Italy. At the beginning of the 20th century around 100 people inhabited Cuneaz. They could live in the village, often isolated during winters, thanks to warehouses with bread oven, among others. Cuneaz had a chapel, a school, even a mill, but as many similar places experiences depopulating processes and many buildings were menaced by gong to ruin. Fortunately, the village was renovated and has become a holiday attraction in the isolated, calm valley.
You will find there one of our favorite Rifugios, L’Aroula established in 2008. The owners follow the tradition and restored a little hamlet and changed it into the most charming place where you can rest and enjoy delicious local cuisine.
2. Lakes Pinter and the view of the Monte Rosa range
One of the most beautiful hikes in Monterosa that can be started in Champoluc through Crest and Cuneaz. Located at 2689 m Pinter lakes offer amazing view over Mount Rosa range and the waterfalls on the west side.
Read about our excursion to Pinter Lakes!
3. Hotel Bellvue in Cogne
This old mountain hotel is one of its kinds. Located in Cogne, with a view over the Gran Paradiso Glacier and in the Meadows of Sant’Orso, Hotel Bellevue was founded in 1925 by Leone Cesariano Cunéaz whose family runs still the place. During these years it kept its unique character of the 1920s. It hosted many distinguished guests and families from genoa, Milan, Turin, among others. The Hotel has an amazing art collection and is a member of Local Storici d’Italia (Historic Places of Italy). It offers spa and restaurant that has been mentioned in the Michelin Guide many times and awarded the star in 2003.
4. Rifugio Ferraro in the Resy Valley
In Resy Village in Ayas Valley, not so far away from Valtournenche, you will find extremely cozy Rifugio Ferraro with family atmosphere and great food. It is located by 45-minute-long walk from Saint Jacques. Ferraro Hut is an example of the Walser architecture. Rifugio was built in 1590 and you can see typical signs on the main entrance that are characteristic for Walser buildings. Stelio, the owner, tells that his grandfather lived in the building when Resy was a flourishing village with a school for 40 kids. It was when people lived more often here at 2000 m than down in the valley, due to the fact that the sun reaches much better here than in Champoluc in wintertime. Fausta, Stelios wife, is known not only for her cheering humor but also for her Himalayan expeditions. All flags and decorations inside, as well as many of the pictures of the Himalayan mountains, are her own souvenirs from Asian trekking adventures.
It is a great place to stay on Alta Via 1 trail!
5. Trek sections Rhems-Eaux Rousses-Cogne wilderness
If there is an area in the Alps where to look after the big animals as Ibex and Chamois, this is the Gran Paradiso National Park in this section of the Alta Via 2.
Established in 1922 it is the oldest national park in Italy. Located between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions. The park was initially established to protect Ibex when in the early 19th century species was endangered. Nowadays, the Gran Paradiso National Park protects other animals in the area of over 700 square km.
The long history of the Park makes it cool for animals to come near us humans, without fear of being killed for the furs and the meat, or even worse for “pleasure”.
This part of the Alta Via does not have so many facilities and the landscape has not been influenced by man’s presence here as much as in other places in the Alps, where agriculture, mining and water basins have often distorted the territory to supply often remote areas in Italy and not even been of benefice for the local population.