Tour del Gran Paradiso
Tour del Gran Paradiso
Tour del Gran Paradiso
Tour del Gran Paradiso
Tour del Gran Paradiso
Tour del Gran Paradiso

Tour del Gran Paradiso


Trip Overview

This is a stunning circular hiking trip taking in the best of the Gran Paradiso National Park. A week of staying in high mountain rifugios and cosy hotels, while enjoying sunsets, tasty traditional Italian food, a 'glass' on the terrace watching the wildlife. All designed to give you that wonderful sense of well-being that comes from a good day of exercise. 

If this appeals to you then join us for this tour of the Gran Paradiso National Park, it's a gem of a trip. The Gran Paradiso offers some of Italy's finest trails in a spectacular setting. It is an area rich in flora and fauna thanks to its protected status and where large herds of alpine ibex and chamois are to be found grazing in the flower meadows. 

Highlights

  • Six days of challenging high mountain trekking
  • Stunning views and a feeling of remoteness
  • Glaciers, summits, tumbling rivers and wilderness
  • Wildlife heaven with herds of ibex and chamois
  • Excellent Italian food, hospitality and culture
  • An unspoiled, less frequented alpine area

The area, which lies between the Aosta valley and the Italian Piedmont region, was named as a paradise (paradiso) for good reason! It was here in 1856 that King Vittorio Emauele II established a royal hunting reserve, saving the wild ibex from extinction. Today the Park is very much evolved in ecology and conservation. Wildlife to be found here include the ibex which is the symbol of the Park, chamois, marmot, mountain hare, badgers, foxes, martens, and weasels. Birds include the golden eagle, the bearded vulture which has recently returned to nest in the Park, as well as buzzards, kestrels and other birds of prey.


Food was great and varied, accommodation always ready and each landlord was welcoming. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the area, which enabled you to learn something new along the way. Lindsay was easy going yet able to judge the groups’ ability/dynamics well and cater to the needs of everyone throughout the trip. Seeing the ibex in the wild was great.

Excellent guide, very friendly and knowledgeable with wonderful information of the area, outdoors, weather, kept us up to date, willing to help/answer questions anytime. Thank you for an amazing experience.

Itinerary

  • house
  • point
  • airport
  • This evening you will meet your guide at your accommodation in Chamonix, France. We choose to meet in Chamonix as it is easily reached from Geneva airport, in Switzerland, and then it is simply a matter of driving through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the starting point of the Tour del Gran Paradiso in Italy. The aim is to make it easier for you to join this trip. 

    Chamonix lies beneath Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, and offers plenty of shops for any last minute trekking needs. Please contact us if you'd like extra nights at either the start or end of your tour.

  • We begin our day with a drive through the historic Mont Blanc tunnel , which opened on 1965, representing a major feat of engineering. The tunnel passes almost exactly under the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. At this spot, it lies 2480 metres (8140 ft) beneath the surface, making it the world's second deepest operational tunnel.

    After 11.6km (7 miles) of tunnel we enter the Aosta Valley, and shortly after we take a mountain road into Valsavarenche. The spectacular twists and turns take us high into the valley to the tiny hamlet of Pont, at 1952m (6402ft). This is our starting point for our circuit of the Gran Paradiso National Park. Pont is lovely, with traditional houses scattered around the flower meadows. After an Italian coffee, the first of many this trip, we begin our climb to reach the Col Grand Collet at 2832m (9288ft). Rock spires and ridges soar above us as we climb and you have your first taste of this beautiful landscape, often herds of ibex are 'chilling out' at the pass. After a rest at the Col, and our lunch, we head down under the Pointe de la Roley, eventually arriving at the large meadow and marshlands which surround the Laghi del Nivolet, 'the lake of the snow'. We pass the lake and make our way to our historic rifugio at Chivasso which sits at 2603m (8537ft). Here we are spoilt by the stunning views and we even have a library where you can browse the collection of mountaineering and skiing books. 

    Ascent: 1185m (3886ft) Descent: 857m (2810ft) Distance: 11km (6.8 miles) Duration: 6h00-7h00

     

  • From the Rifugio Chivasso we set off through grassy meadows rich in alpine flowers, and make our way to the lakes of Lago Leyta and Lago Rosset. The views of the valley and the surrounding peaks are stunning as we climb steadily towards the Col Rosset at 3025m (9922ft). Look out for the iconic edelweiss here! On our climb we pass between rocky cliff bands as the terrain becomes steadily wilder, and the feeling of remoteness grows. There are marmots in quantity beside the path, and the youngsters have been know to collide with the guides legs in their haste to rush back home! From the Col we descend steeply at first as we traverse across the mountain side to reach the Rifugio Benevelo at 2287m (7501ft), our accommodation for the night. The 'Rifugio Gian Federico Benevelo' was built in 1930 and is a traditional Italian mountain hut. It was recently renovated and now has hot showers! Of an evening it's a cosy and characterful place to spend the night surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. There is usually a 'tame' fox who likes to visit the hut in the evening, probably as part of its patrol of its territory. 

    Ascent: 685m (2246ft) Descent: 960m (3148ft) Distance: 12km (7.5 miles) Duration: 6h00-7h00

  • We leave our cosy rifugio, heading out of the door and straight up the mountain this morning as we climb steadily to the Col Bassac Dere at 3085m (10,118ft). There are edelweiss to be found growing on this slope, and a photo opportunity not to be missed! It is a relatively rare flower and not to be found on all walking routes. The flower is said to signify deep love and devotion whereby men harvest the flower on daring steep and sometimes fatal climbs to prove their love and devotion to their partner. 

    Today is another day of wild, glaciated terrain as we hike past the Lac de Golette and the glacier of the same name. On this trip we are often walking very close to the glaciers which gives a true feeling of high, wild mountains, without the need for any of the technical equipment used to hike actually 'on' the glacier - a real bonus. Once at the Col we are greeted with distant views to the peak of Grand Sassiere, and the immense rocky ridgeline ahead. If conditions allow it is possible from the Col to climb a little further to the summit of the Becca della Traversiere, but we will need good weather for this. Our descent into Valgrisenche provides another wild valley with ribbons of streams and torrents cascading from the surrounding mountains. We spend the night at the Rifugio Mario Bezzi, at 2279m (9115ft). The rifugio has an interesting history and is named after Mario Bezzi (1868-1927) who was a grammar teacher, and professor of zoology at the University of Turin. He was also director of the Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin. Even today he is considered one of the world's leading entomologists, specialising in studying flies and mosquitoes.

    Ascent: 980m (3214ft) Descent: 987m (3237ft) Distance: 12km (7.5 miles) Duration: 7h00-8h30

     

  • Today begins with a relatively easy start from the Rifugio Bezzi as we take a high traversing mountain path and begin our journey towards the quaint Italian village of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame.  We have an easier day in terms of ascent as we wind our way in and out of gully lines with fine views the length of Valgrisenche as we head for the Chalet de l'Epee. We usually arrive here around lunchtime and if the guardian is in residence we will stop here for something to eat. After lunch we have a steady and relatively easy climb that follows the valley up to the Colle Finestra de Torrent at 2875m (9430ft). Watch out for the chamois and Gran Paradiso icon, the ibex here on this section as there are usually herds to be found in this remote valley! A short, but steep descent leads us down from the Col to reach Rhêmes-Notre-Dame where we will spend the night. 

    The high Val di Rhêmes, now the parish and municipality of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, only became a popular hikers destination a few decades ago due to its extraordinary beauty and remarkable preservation of its ancient architectural heritage. Indeed, it wasn't until after WWII that a proper road was built and only since the late 1960s has it been possible to keep the road open for much of the winter. Rhêmes-Notre-Dame is the only community in Italy with twice as many hotel beds as residents! 

    Ascent: 1360m (4460ft) Descent: 1690m (5543ft) Distance: 19km (11.8 miles) Duration: 8h00-9h00

     

  • Leaving the lovely village of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame we set off for the high pass of Col d'Entrelor which sits at 3007m (9862ft). We leave the ancient buildings clustered around the heart of the village, and enter the larch forests for the beginning of our climb. Many of the local houses will have been constructed from larch as it is a more durable wood than pine. However, it is also more expensive and it is said that if you have clearly built your house from larch you are signalling that you are more affluent than your neighbours. Eventually we rise above the larch and pine forests and reach several alpine meadows at Plan de Feya where there are several ancient shepherd huts. The trail becomes rocky here with a short section of chain that helps us gain the our Col. It is at this point that you will realise that we have come full circle and that once again we are looking down into  Valsavarenche where we began our journey. Here we are rewarded with fine views of Italy's highest peak, the Gran Paradiso with its summit at 4061m (13,320ft). The Gran Paradiso is the highest mountain in Italy with its summit entirely 'in' Italy. Its competitor is Mont Blanc which is the highest mountain in Western Europe with a summit that is shared by Italy and France. Though it is often disputed as to who has the highest point of Mont Blanc! We spend the afternoon descending and traversing the mountain side via lakes and more high summer meadows to reach the village of Eau Rousse and our hotel for the night. Eau Rousse means 'red water, and it takes its name from the nearby waterfall where the iron in the rock has been released by the water and has coloured the rock a rich red. 

    Ascent: 1300m (4264ft) Descent: 1345m (4411ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles) Duration: 8h00-9h00

     

     

  • After a hearty breakfast in our characterful Hostellerie du Paradis, we head off for a final but spectacular day into the shadow of the Gran Paradiso itself. We climb easily through the larch woods to the Rifugio Ferdico Chabod at 2750m (9020ft), arriving around mid-day. We often wander past herds of chamois and ibex as many of these mountain animals are to be found grazing above the rifugio. The Grand Paradiso National Park was in fact set up to protect and conserve the herds of Ibex, and today they thrive in relatively large numbers. The rifugio, built in the 1970's, is used as one of the starting points for the summit bid on the Gran Paradiso, and offers us spectacular lunchtime views. It's likely we will see climbers returning from their ascent, often looking rather tired! We spend the afternoon traversing the mountainside towards the other starting point for the summit, the space-age looking Rigufio Vittorio Emanuele. We then descend from the Emanuele through the forest to our starting point at Pont. On way down there are great photo opportunities of the mountains through which we have spent the week walking. A well earned Italian hot chocolate or beer awaits in the cafe at the bottom of the trail, where we will be picked up and driven back to Chamonix, in France, a transfer of approximately 2h30. NB: Please note that unessential items for today's walk can be stowed at the hotel in Eau Rousse ensuring a lighter rucksack for your final day. 

    Ascent: 1350m (4428ft) Descent: 1250m (4100ft) Distance: 17km (10.6 miles) Duration: 7h00-9h00

     

  • Today is your departure day. Chamonix is an excellent base for further hiking. If you would like to add on extra days to your itinerary please let us know.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. In many cases we have known the management for years, and it’s like visiting friends. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

On the Tour del Gran Paradiso you will spend four nights in a hotel/chalet based on twin rooms, and three nights will be in traditional mountain rifugios. The rifugios on this tour are remote and in some cases only offer non-segregated dormitory style rooms. The rifugios tend to be full of character and serve tasty local dishes. They are nearly always situated in stunning locations and the chance to enjoy a beer or glass of wine while watching the sun go down and the ibex playing on the mountain-side can be a really special mountain moment. All of the rifugios offer fresh drinkable running water and 2 or 3 of them have hot showers. For many of our guests the rifugios literally prove to be a highpoint of the trip. It is normal in the Alps to share accommodation in dormitories whilst in remote locations in the mountains.

Due to the nature of the accommodation on this trip we cannot offer a single supplement.

Yeti Lodge, Summer

Chalet

This gorgeous chalet which has recently been renovated has a sauna, hot tub and views of Mont Blanc. The bedrooms are twins, and these will either be with en suite facilities or shared bathrooms depending on availability. The accommodation is half board; with breakfast and dinner. Chalets are limited in terms of the number of bedrooms and for this reason single rooms are not available. 

 

The chalet is approximately 8km (5 miles) from the centre of Chamonix town. There is free bus and train travel up and down the valley. To take advantage of the free travel you should request a Guest Card from the chalet staff.

You also have the use of the comfortable lounge area which has satellite TV & DVD and free WIFI.

 

Rifugio Chivasso

Refuge

Beautifully positioned on the Colle del Nivolet, the Rifugio Città di Chivasso is an ideal place to take in the views and enjoy the feeling of being up high at 2604m (8541ft). This wonderful old rifugio was built in 1938 for the military, but today welcomes hikers from around the world. The guardian Alessandro, is something of a 'character' and will no about engage you in conversation!

The rifugio has showers, and also a library of mountaineering reference books in a number of languages. The accommodation is dormitory style. The rifugio is a popular stopping point for skiers in winter, as well as summer hikers. 

Rifugio Benevelo

Refuge

The Rifugio Benevelo is situated at the end of Rhêmes Notre Dame valley bordering the Gran Paradiso National Park. First opened in 1930, the rifugio was built by the Italian Alpine Club of Turin, in memory of Gian Federico Benevolo, a mountaineer who had died in 1927 on Bionassay pass near Mont Blanc. In 2013 the hut changed hands and renovation work was done to install toilets, and showers. 

As with many of these high mountain huts it has an interesting history and In the last years of World War II, it was seriously damaged by the Nazi-Fascist armies. Today it is a lovely place to stay and the surroundings are wonderful, high snowy glaciated peaks, alpine meadows and waterfalls.

 

Rifugio Mario Bezzi

Refuge

The Rifugio Bezzi is a lovely place to spend the night, high in a meadow at 2282m (7484ft) in the mountains with a lake nearby, and surrounded by wild peaks. There is a cosy bar where you can enjoy excellent cappuccino, or local wines from the Aosta valley. There are also showers which are always welcome! The accommodation is dormitory style. 

The rifugio has an interesting history and is named after Mario Bezzi (1868-1927) who was a grammar teacher, and professor of zoology at the University of Turin. He was also director of the Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin. Even today he is considered one of the world's leading entomologists, specialising in studying flies and mosquitoes.

The rifugio was started in 1925 as a mountaineering and military support and completed in 1927, and was built as a replica of the nearby Rifugio Benevelo which is located at the same altitude. In 1982 the Bezzi was taken over by the Barrel family who then bought it in 1991, and extended it to its current size. 

 

Albergo Galisia, Rhemes-Notre-Dame

Auberge

Tonight we stay in the tiny village of Rhêmes-notre-Dame with its traditional buildings and a population of only 120 souls. The Albergo Galisia is a comfortable and cosy albergo, which is situated right in the heart of the village. 'Albergo' is simply the Italian term of an 'inn', or small hotel. The Galisia serves good tasty local dishes, and has a sunny corner to enjoy a drink. 

Tonight your accommodation will be in bedrooms, with ensuite facilities. 

Hostellerie du Paradis, Eau Rousse

Hotel

The Hostellerie du Paradis has been welcoming mountaineers, and hikers for generations. It sits right at the end of our trail and our first stop is often the terrace for a 'refreshment'. It is very traditional in terms of decor and style and a cosy overnight stop. The bedrooms are comfortable and en suite, and dinner is very Italian.

 

The name of the hotel 'Paradis' represents a long tradition of hospitality started in the last century by the manager of the old hotel, that tradition was continued by his son who was the builder of the present hotel in 1932. Completed after the war by his heirs it re-opened as the Hostellerie du Paradis. We love staying here. 


  • This trip starts and ends in Chamonix, France, but the walking is in Italy. The reason we meet in Chamonix is because it is easy to get there, and we can then transfer through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to the start of our trip in Italy which is in a rather remote location. 

    Chamonix, France is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. Geneva is the closest international airport, only 75 minutes away by road, making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange.

    For more information on how to reach Chamonix you can visit www.chamonix.com. There are numerous airport transfer companies running between the airport and Chamonix throughout the day, such as Mountain Drop-Offs.  Please note that transfers are subject to availability and your flight details are required a minimum of 72 hours before your arrival in Geneva. Please contact us if you need further advice on your specific travel requirements.

  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you to take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip for whatever reason. NB: The insurance referred to below should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed that your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    For ease of reference the clause relating to Insurance as set out in our Terms and Conditions is given below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency event shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres, except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m. You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • This trip will run once a minimum number of 5 clients have booked. We will take a maximum of 10 clients. We advise you not to make your travel arrangements until the trip is guaranteed to run.

  • This trip involves carrying a few basic extra items of clothing and comforts for your overnight stays. Please do not be put off by the fact this trip does not include the daily transfer of luggage, as in reality it is simply a case of spare trousers, top, small wash kit, some antibacterial hand gel, headtorch, sheet sleeping bag, hut slippers if preferred, a small towel, clean socks and underwear! Walking poles are highly recommended due to the possibility of snow patches left over from the winter, and steeper paths. It is a very satisfying experience to complete a trip 'pure' like this, carrying everything you need. Any extra luggage/spare clothes can be left at the starting hotel in Chamonix. 

    Please note that although this trip occurs in peak summer season, we can as mentioned above still encounter old and new snow patches at the passes (cols), so pack appropriately. A kit list will be sent to you upon booking. 

    Do contact us if you need further advice on the conditions.

  • Summer mountain weather can vary considerably. It is generally good in the Alps with lovely days, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. You can read our full policy here.

  • Due to the specialised nature of many of our holidays, we co-sell a number of our trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped to book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 

     


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sat 27 Jul - Sat 03 Aug
Code: TGP1 19
Price: £1195 Book
Sat 17 Aug - Sat 24 Aug
Code: TGP2 19
Price: £1195 Book

What's Included

  • An experienced, professional English-speaking International Mountain Leader
  • Four nights half board; breakfast and dinner in 2* hotel or similar, based on two people sharing
  • Three nights half board; breakfast and dinner in mountain huts based on dormitories
  • Return transfers from Chamonix, France to the start/end of the trek in Italy

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Snack food and drinks
  • Picnic lunches

Food was great and varied, accommodation always ready and each landlord was welcoming. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the area, which enabled you to learn something new along the way. Lindsay was easy going yet able to judge the groups’ ability/dynamics well and cater to the needs of everyone throughout the trip. Seeing the ibex in the wild was great.

Excellent guide, very friendly and knowledgeable with wonderful information of the area, outdoors, weather, kept us up to date, willing to help/answer questions anytime. Thank you for an amazing experience.

Return to Search

Grade: Demanding

READ GRADE DESCRIPTION

At a Glance

From Price £1195
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 3336m (10,942ft)
Countries Visited Italy
Meet In Chamonix, France
View all Walking Holidays

Wildlife of the Gran Paradiso National Park