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Piedmont's Magical Valley

Valle Maira - an Occitan paradise
 
Take challenging, high mountain routes along ancient paths, past stunning lakes and fresh springs, walking the highlights of the ‘Percorsi Occitani’ while your luggage is transported. Along the way, stay in cosy mountain retreats, enjoying dinners of regional specialities.
Piedmont's Magical Valley . 8 nights
Piedmont's Magical Valley . 8 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Valle Maira

In Piedmont’s remote and rugged Valle Maira, which occupies an enchanting fold of the Cottian Alps close to the French border, the Occitan language still lives on – often in song – and formerly deserted mountain villages are being born again, thanks to the renovation of a network of ancient paths which circumnavigate the valley, known as the ‘Percorsi Occitani’.
Linking picturesque hamlets and villages that adhere to age-old traditions, many of the paths criss-crossing this extraordinarily beautiful high valley are paved in stone at lower levels – where mixed forest is interspersed with Mediterranean vegetation – and are often bordered by crumbling dry-stone walls, while the rocky alpine landscape of the higher slopes is dotted with plentiful springs and lakes.
It’s not that long ago that glaciers shrouded the highest of the north faces, and the summits, though mostly free of snow in high summer, are impressive. Taking in some of the high peaks which are accessible to walkers, this is a varied, challenging holiday, with significant ascents and descents each day as you explore the well-signed paths and tracks. Our carefully planned routes and quality hotels converted from old mountain dwellings – as well as a number of included transfers – allow you to enjoy this wonderful area and its magnificent views to the full, savouring warm hospitality and delicious Occitan cuisine each evening.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 2 2 6 9 14 18 21 21 17 12 6 3
    mm 48 38 57 111 134 89 63 51 83 99 100 50
  • Arrival in Allemandi
    Night 1: at Al Chersogno (the first of three nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Choice of walks around Allemandi: 5km to 18km
    Allemandi is located on the north side of the valley, high above the River Maira. Offering wide-ranging views, our recommended walks from the village provide an excellent introduction to this unique valley.

    Circular ‘Broom Walk’: 5km, 2hrs; ascent / descent 300m
    For a (relatively) gentle first day, the ‘Broom Walk’ traverses forest to reach a rocky outlook from where seven of the valley’s nine districts are visible. Then comes a steep descent to follow an ancient path of dry-stone construction – used in times gone by for transporting timber – before crossing a hillside which flowers spectacularly with broom in spring (hence its name) and fragrantly with lavender later in the year.

    Circular walk via Gardetta Pass: 10km, 3.5hrs; ascent 480m / descent 895m
    Longer option with detour to Lago Camoscere: up to 18km, 7hrs; ascent up to 1190m / descent up to 1605m
    If you’re ready for the big walk of the area, you could head via the Gardetta Pass. The route starts with a transfer (pay locally) then takes you past the imposing peak of Chersogno. Though this 3,024-metre summit looks impregnable, a rocky path leads from the pass right to the top, within the scope of walkers with a head for heights who are confident on paths of loose rock (this adds 2.5km/2hrs to the route). The reward is a 360-degree panorama in a league of its own. Even without the detour, this is an impressive and varied walk, with a further option to divert to Lake Camoscere, before returning via a grassy whaleback ridge – a highlight in itself – to Allemandi.
    Circular ‘Broom Walk’: 5km
    Circular walk via Gardetta Pass: 10km
    The peak of Chersogno, on the circular route via the Gardetta Pass
    Longer option with detour to Lago Camoscere: up to 18km
  • Linear walk from Allemandi to Elva, returning by taxi: 17km, 6.5hrs; ascent 885m / descent 990m
    Today’s walk explores the Elva Valley to the east of Allemandi, crossing the San Michele pass before descending through shady forest to reach Elva. This village, though remote, is home to an impressively frescoed medieval church, as well as a Museum of Hair documenting the region’s central role in the booming early-20th-century trade in human hair. The walk then climbs two passes to reach the ancient village of San Martino Superiore from where you return to Allemandi by pre-arranged taxi (pay locally).
    Linear walk from Allemandi to Elva, returning by taxi: 17km
  • Allemandi to Acceglio via Serasin Pass: 16.5km, 6.5hrs; ascent 1050m / descent 1350m; lower option: 15.5km, 5.5hrs; ascent 690m / descent 990m
    Follow a section of the Percorsi Occitani through the beautiful village of Castiglione and out of the San Michele Valley. To reach Acceglio, Valle Maira’s main village, you have the choice of an easier route that descends to follow the River Maira, or a more demanding option that climbs past ancient hamlets to the spectacular Serasin Pass before descending open country and then forest. However you arrive in Acceglio, you are collected by taxi for the short transfer to La Scuola di Chiappera at the head of the valley, your base for the next three nights.
    The route from Allemandi to Chiappera
    Allemandi to Acceglio via Serasin Pass: 16.5km
    Allemandi to Acceglio via Serasin Pass lower option: 15.5km
  • Choice of walks around Chiappera: 10.5km to 21.5km
    You have a choice of three walks for your two days in Chiappera.

    Circular walk via Rocca Provenzale: 10.5km, 4hrs; ascent / descent 650m
    Chiappera is dominated by the Rocca Provenzale, a scarcely believable fin of rock which towers over the village. This excellent route around the Rocca involves a stiff but well graded climb to the Greguri Pass and an atmospheric WWII bunker, with views northwards over the French border and beyond. The route then loops down and round to follow the river beneath the spectacular Cascate de Stroppia and back to Chiappera.

    Circular walk via Lake Roure: 16.5km, 6hrs; ascent 790m / descent 1130m; via Col de Marinet: 21.5km, 8hrs; ascent 1140m / descent 1480m
    This walk begins with a short transfer (pay locally) before rising steadily through the beautiful Maurin Valley to Col de Maurin. Two options continue north into France through recently glaciated terrain: a short out-and-back detour to Lake Roure or a climb to Col de Marinet and descent via the stunning Marinet lakes, looping back up the beautiful Vallon de Mary before retracing your steps back down into Italy and on to Chiappera.

    Circular walk via Passo della Cavalla: 18km, 7.5hrs; ascent / descent 1270m
    To the south of Chiappera are many high lakes and spectacular peaks. After a gentle start, you climb out of the forest and into high, rugged country, passing not just bunkers and crumbling barracks, but skeins of barbed wire tracing the contours of these otherwise untouched hillsides – rusting relics marking the contested boundary between France and Italy in WWII. From Passo della Cavalla you can, for a challenge and sweeping views, climb Mont Soubeyran , or simply continue beneath it to then descend below the imposing north face of ‘Auto Vallonasso’ to the dramatic (and swimmable) Lake Visaisa, set in a cirque. The path then descends through forest back to Chiappera.

     
    Lac de Marinet on the circular route via Lake Roure
    Circular walk via Rocca Provenzale: 10.5km
    Circular walk via Col de Marinet: 21.5km
    Circular walk via Lake Roure: 16.5km
    Circular walk via Passo della Cavalla: 18km
  • Chiappera to Finello (starting and finishing by taxi): 15km, 6hrs; ascent 940m / descent 1010m
    After a short transfer, you follow an ancient way through a hamlet and along the pretty Unerzio Valley. The ascent to the Passo della Gardetta passes multiple gun emplacements and bunkers, blended into the rocky hillside but still intact more than 70 years later. The view from the pass is one of the classics of the Valle Maira, sweeping east across the high Gardetta Valley to the prominent peak of Rocca la Meja in the distance. The gentle descent over high grasslands to the Preit col takes you past a rifugio where you can pause for a drink or lunch before the brief final climb across the lower slopes of La Meja. The route ends with a steady descent to Preit, from where a taxi transfers you to the Locanda Lou Pitavin in Finello for your final two nights.
    Chiappera to Finello (starting and finishing by taxi): 15km
    The route from Chiappera to Finello
  • Circular walk around Finello: 7.5km, 3hrs; ascent / descent 440m
    This is an easier circuit on paths, tracks and deserted mountain roads through the most picturesque hamlets of the lush, wooded Marmora valley. There’s plenty of time to hunt down the many frescoes which adorn the walls of private houses and churches along the way, and to explore Vernetti, the last and largest village on the route, before returning to Finello for a sumptuous final dinner.
    Circular walk around Finello: 7.5km
    The route from Finello
 

Accommodation

We have found three friendly, well-located places to stay.
 

Extend your stay

 

Prices for 2020

We are in the process of updating our prices for 2020. If you’d like to book now, please contact us – we’ll be happy to provide a quotation.
Get in touch >
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 8 nights: 01 June 2019 - 06 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 14 Jun 2019 £1080 £260
    15 Jun - 31 Aug 2019 £1125 £265
    1 - 28 Sep 2019 £1080 £260
    3rd & 4th person discount -£20
    Single traveller supplement £20

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Al Chersogno, Allemandi (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Jun - 06 Oct 2019 £85 £110
    La Scuola, Chiappera (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Jun - 06 Oct 2019 £90 £116
    Locanda Lou Pitavin, Finello (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Jun - 06 Oct 2019 £95 £132
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Turin or Genoa

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Milan Malpensa.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Turin (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Turin (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Birmingham - Turin (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Genova (Genoa) easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Genova (Genoa) (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Genova (Genoa) British Airways 
    Gatwick - Turin British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Genova (Genoa) easyJet 
    Luton - Turin Blue Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Genova (Genoa) Ryanair 
    Stansted - Turin Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Genova (Genoa) easyJet 
    Manchester - Genova (Genoa) (via Paris) Air France 
    Manchester - Turin jet2 
    Manchester - Turin (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Manchester - Turin (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Turin (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Turin (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Genova (Genoa) (via Paris) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Milan Malpensa.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Genoa

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Genoa P.P. to Cuneo (3h20-3h30), taxi Cuneo to hotel (1h30) £62 1400
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi Hotel to Cuneo (1h15), rail Cuneo to Genoa P.P. (3h15-3h30) £62 1530

    Connecting travel options - flying via Turin

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Turin airport to hotel (2h30) £86 flexible
    rail Turin P.N. to Cuneo (1h30), taxi - Cuneo to hotel (1h30) £50 1630
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Turin airport (2h30) £86 flexible
    taxi hotel to Cuneo (1h15), rail Cuneo to Turin P.N. (1h30) £50 1300
What is included
  • 8 nights
  • 8 dinners
    6 picnics
    8 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfers on Days 3 & 6
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
Last fetch time is : 10/19/2019 4:52:55 PM