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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Italy & its Islands > Alps > Piedmont's Magical Valley

Piedmont's Magical Valley

Valle Maira - an Occitan paradise
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We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, since 2 October 2015 we have included a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we now publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

Dr J Porter  Cockermouth September 2017

This was an excellent holiday - our fourth with Inntravel and certainly the one with the most spectacular scenery. The autumn colours were really stunning, and the walks varied and very enjoyable - a good mix of stunning mountain scenery and interesting villages. We saw lots of wildlife too (and cute baby goats!). The three bases were all very good, with comfortable, well-equipped cosy rooms. All of the hoteliers were really friendly and helpful and all managed to provide good veggie food. The dinners produced by Valerie at Lou Pitavin in Finello were simply wonderful! An area we must return to!

Mrs S Collier  Salisbury September 2017

One of Inntravel's best tough walking trips. The Valle de Maira is a real find, with fantastic, varied and stimulating walks, history, local culture, food and wine.

Ms A McGregor  Glasgow August 2017

This was a fantastic holiday. The scenery, walking and food were outstanding but above all the charming friendly hosts at the accommodation made this one of the best hiking holidays we have been on.

Andrew from Snodland, Kent   August 2017

Everything about this holiday was excellent. We were able to walk at high levels with expansive views of many alpine peaks, virtually on our own and with no ski equipment scarring the landscape. We took advantage of the cloudless skies to do the short detours suggested in the walk notes to reach the summits of both Mt Chersogno and Mt Soubeyran; the cautions in the walk notes about these peaks were accurate so they will not suit everyone but, as the notes indicate, the views from the summits are incredible and well worth the extra effort. There was imaginative use of transfers by the reliable Sherpabus company to enable good walks on the two days where we changed hotels and transfers by hotel staff on other days. Several options on offer enabled us to take a more relaxed walk the day before we ascended one of the peaks. The valley has extremely steep sides so lots of narrow twisting roads ... which possibly explains why no coach party was sighted all week despite it being high season. The walks are well signposted, the map and notes are both good and the terrain under foot is better than on many walks, even at high altitudes. The 3 hotels are all very different but the food at each was really good quality and the usual charming Italian hospitality was evident at them all. An observation to note is that all 3 hotels appear to get fully booked quite a long way in advance in high season (speaking with a few other travellers who shared where they were staying) and so we would suggest booking early for this particular walk. This is our 12th Inntravel holiday and it is in our top 2, if not top. Indeed, this walk is so good that we may do it again in a few years time. 

Anon   August 2017

This was a great holiday, and one that we were particularly pleased to have Inntravel organise for us! Good variety of walks in wonderful scenery, for which the high quality map and walking notes provided were extremely useful. Very friendly accommodation with some outstanding cooking. We had 7 days of glorious sunshine. Although meadows were past their peak in August, there were still plenty of flowers at high altitude, and butterflies everywhere. Don't worry if (like us) your Italian is almost non-existent - there were English-speaking staff at all the hotels.

Amanda  London July 2017
We thought this was a fabulous holiday. We have been on many Inntravel walking holidays including most of the Grade 3 walks but we thought this one probably comes out tops. The walking was mostly spectacular - high and challenging in the beautiful Occitaine Alps. Hefty ascents and descents but worth it for the breath-taking views and glacial lakes, glacial remains, marmots and birds of prey. And the silence - a rarity these days. The scenery is wild and dramatic, more so than the more Northern Alps we have walked in. The region is mostly undeveloped consisting of small hamlets of houses with perhaps a church but nothing else. Few shops or hotels in the Valley Maira and walking is the only main activity detectable. The larger villages or small towns are at the valley bottom but even these offer little for the tourist passing through. This holiday is more like refuge walking than other Inntravel holidays and the accommodation is in a sort of upgraded refuge form. At Allemandi the agriturismo is basic but comfortable and the people who run it are charming and can't do enough for you. The food is authentic simple Italian and you choose your wine of a shelf. It was a fun place to stay and one night an impromptu folk music evening took place with the family playing local folk music and Papa singing in Occitan. La Scuola at Chiappera calls itself a refuge but it is a very posh one. We stayed in a lovely characterful and well renovated room in the village and ate at La Scuola a few minutes away. The food was good and generous and the dining room is lovely and modern and looks more like a trendy restaurant from Hoxton. Again the people who ran this place were charming and helpful and had even employed a young woman to speak English to us (no other English people there and few speak it). It was a lovely memorable place to stay. The final accommodation at Finello was a cross-between a refuge and a hotel with multi-bed rooms and large tables for walking groups plus more conventional hotel rooms. We had a nice characterful room and ate on our own table. The food was good and sometimes very good. Good wine and a lovely garden to loll about in after a walk. The Sherpabus system was very good and reliable. Overall a somewhat different but thoroughly enjoyable holiday and we would definitely go back to the region for more walking.
Tips As this is a remote region we found we needed to use a compass and the map - but it is very good as it shows the major walking trails. It may be 30 degrees in the valley in the day but when we were there (late July) it was cool in the mornings and evenings - eating or drinking outside took a thick fleece and strong constitution. We wore fleeces and a hat on more than one occasion when up high in the mountains. But the weather was perfect for walking. I just wished I had taken jeans for the evenings rather than linen trousers. We could have done with a pack of cards or films on the iplayer as there is not much to do when at your accommodation and perhaps after dinner (at La Scuola it is at 7 for everyone).
Ms B Londergan  USA July 2017

Overall, we were extremely, excessively delighted with the Piedmont hike. 

We had a tiny bit of a problem with the room selections at first, but it was nicely resolved. I should have made certain that we requested a room with windows, light and as much of a view as possible.... we had given that information last year, but I probably should have re-made that request.

The Ötztal Alps were not as exciting, remote or uniformly challenging -- and that was slightly disappointing after the glorious time we had in Piedmont. Four light days and 2 really, really long ones -- but almost always on a gravel track and in sight of towns, roads, automobiles, etc. but I think perhaps that is just the way that part of the country is ... and if you are staying in hotels every night, it's hard to get further out into the backcountry... who knows?

Anyhow... Piedmont was SO special. Just amazing! 

INNTRAVEL NOTE: These customers combined out Piedmont's Magical Valley holiday with The High Alpine Way

Mrs S Pugh  Ipswich July 2017

Walking in the Piedmont Alps was definitely a five star holiday! We normally arrange our own walking holidays and this was our first 'self guided' one with Inntravel. It introduced us to an area which we would never have discovered on our own. The choice of routes was excellent and took us through a wonderful variety of paths and scenery from lush meadows to craggy mountains. Any doubts that we had about whether the walks would be sufficiently challenging were unfounded! The flowers and butterflies in early July were beautiful and all three hotels served us excellent food and made us feel very welcome.

Dr M H Michie  Middlesbrough July 2017

How come this magnificent centre for mountain walking (and great eating and drinking) is so unknown? Don't tell too many people....

Anon   June 2017

This was an excellent holiday, well put together in a beautiful and relatively undeveloped alpine valley. Interesting and challenging walks in spectacular mountain scenery with lots of interesting flora and fauna. Paths were well-marked and notes easy to follow. Accommodation was in small and very hospitable guest houses with top quality non-tourist meals. Little English spoken but we got by with limited French and Italian. Daily picnics lacking imagination - ham and/or cheese sarnies every day.

Bleausard   June 2017

A really spectacular holiday - fantastic scenery, great places to stay and friendly people. Some of the walks do require a very good level of fitness, as you might expect from a grade 3 walk in the mountains, but there are options for some that can "ease the strain". We were very lucky with the weather, so didn't need our waterproofs much, but it is worth stressing that conditions can change very quickly here - we did our first walk in good weather and were back at Allemandi before the storm hit, as advised by the team at the Agriturismo (who tend to be more accurate than many of the forecasts!). The food was excellent everywhere, especially at Lou Pitavin where there is an excellent choice - well done if you can manage all 5 courses, including the pasta! The transfers by Sherpabus were very reliable, and if you need to amend times of pick up points they are extremely flexible; if their schedule can accommodate your requests, they will deliver! All in all a really worthwhile trip, and a great set of memories.

Mr E Thompson  Otley June 2017

A wonderful holiday in a lovely, relatively quiet part of the world. The flowers and butterflies were beautiful and the scenery was superb.  Even the thunderstorms were amazing to watch!

Anon   June 2017

The grand mountain backdrops, abundance of flowers, birdlife and sightings of marmots, chamois and stambeggi and challenging walks all made for a memorable and refreshing holiday. We rate the walk among our top 4 out of 13 so far! And Turin really exceeded our expectations, helped by the long porticoed streets in the centre which provided welcome shade.


INNTRAVEL NOTE: These customers combined Piedmont's Magical Valley with our Turin city add-on

Anon   May 2017

The three guest houses were nicely contrasting and all the hosts were exceptionally welcoming.  It is worth mentioning that very little English is spoken in Valle Maira and none of the hosts spoke English easily with the exception of Marco at Lou Pitavin. However most people speak good French as it's so near the French border, and we managed very well with our rusty O level French at Al Chersogno and La Scuola. So if you are not an Italian speaker, French is the language to brush up on before you go!

The food was absolutely delicious. Don't miss Pasqualina's panna cotta with home-produced honey at Al Chersogno!

All the walks were spectacular - we have hiked in the Alps before but this was the best yet for scenery, flora and fauna. The history and culture of the Valle are also of great interest.



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