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Alps: Maira Valley’s hiking paradise

€1115 per person

Tucked away in the Southern Italian Alps near the French border, lies the beautiful Val Maira with its tranquil villages, chapels and churches settled in an uncontaminated landscape. Maira Valley is now slowly being discovered as a walker’s paradise. You will not find busy roads, ski slopes and mass tourism, but pristine mountain scenery, lots of sun, small charming accommodation and delicious food. Traditionally, the inhabitants of the Val Maira had more contact with France as the border is only a few hours walk away and is easily reached via the mountain passes, while the route to the Italian plains and Po Valley was difficult and went through a rocky gorge. Only when the road was built, more Italians arrived and the first language remains Occitan, a romance language also spoken in southern France. The second language is French and then Italian.

  • Destination
  • Duration
    8 Days I Level: 3/4 (of 5)
  • What is included
    Accommodation in farmhouses in private rooms, including breakfast, 5x picnic lunches (days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and 7x dinners; Luggage transfers when changing accommodations (1 piece - up to 15kg/person); People transfers on days 1, 4, 5 and 8 as per program; Detailed roadbook (in English) and map (incl. access to GPS tracks); Emergency hotline;
  • What is not included
    Tourist residence tax “tassa di soggiorno” to be paid locally in cash; drinks and other meals; travel insurance
  • Best period
    June, July, August, September
1
Day 1. San Michele Prazzo
Arrive in the village of San Michele Prazzo at 1370m altitude and take some time to visit the beautifully painted Parish Church (check the "Rates & Remarks" tab for tips on how to get there). You will be picked up from the bus stop and transferred to the first accommodation.
* It is possible to pre-book a transfer from Torino Airport or Cuneo to the first accommodation (contact us for details).
2
Day 2. Lou Viol Dal Genesté: San Michele round walk(10km, 4hrs, +565m/-600m)
The day’s walk is on the southern slopes above San Michele and follows part of the “Lou Viol Dal Genestè". This circular route takes you into contact with nature, from forests of larch and spruce to grasslands and rocky crags, and Genestè (growing broom). Along the trail it’s easy to spot a variety of wildlife native to the area.
3
Day 3. San Michele - Ponte Maira (17km, 6,30hrs, +1050m/-990m)
A challenging hike high above the valley with beautiful views.The walk goes through woods and meadows and you will encounter only a few tiny hamlets. Arrive at the accommodation in Acceglio and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this place.
4
Day 4. Chiappera round walk (10km, 4hrs, +910m/-725m)
A short morning transfer will lead you to Chiappera, the lastrestored village of Val Maira at 1620m altitude, where the day’swalk starts. The village has a bar and a beautiful church withfrescoes. The initial climb to the striking Rocca Provenzale is tough, but after Colle Greguri (2309m) it becomes a leisurely walk back to Chiappera, where you will be picked up and taken back to your accommodation.
5
Day 5. Ponte Maira round walk (13-16km, 6hrs, +945m/-950m)
Another short transfer in the morning will lead you this time to Sorgente Maira where today’s walk on the Sentiero Frassati starts. This itinerary goes past a few smaller and larger mountain lakes, such as the deep blue Lago Apzoi at 2300m altitude, as well as a series of bunkers that Mussolini had built on the border with France. It is possible to walk back to Ponte Maira or you can take a transfer from Sorgenti Maira (to be paid on the spot).
6
Day 6. Ponte Maira - Viviere (9km, 5hrs, +610m/-510m)
Today you leave Ponte Maira for the tiny mountain village of Viviere, located in the cool and more forested northern slope of the Val Maira. A long climb brings you to Colle Ciarbonet (2206m), then you start descending to Viviere where you will be staying in a cozy welcoming hut.
7
Day 7. Viviere - Colle Oserot - Viviere (13km, 5hrs, +1010m/-880m)
This final stage takes you up to Colle Oserot (highest point: 2640m). This is a very nice walk along steep limestone cliffs and green meadows with great panoramic views. You can also make a small trip to Rifugio Gardetta (at 2380 m), situated on the Plateau Gardetta.
8
Day 8. Departure day
From Viviere you will be brought to the bus stop in Acceglio. Onward travel.
* It is possible to pre-book a transfer from Viviere to Cuneo (contact us for details).

TOUR LOCATION

Price
1115 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01-09/06; 16/09-05/10)
1165 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (10/06-15/09)
* Triple rooms for odd number of travelers available upon request (contact us for details)
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement: 395 Euro
Solo Traveler supplement: 535 Euro (incl. also sgl. room supplement)
Accommodation
You stay in renovated colourful and cozy farmhouses located in quiet little villages, all with spacious rooms with private bathroom. The accommodation in Viviere is a lovely hut and has a few rooms. If there is no availability there, we book a room in the village of Chialvetta that is 2 km and 200m lower than Viviere. Day 1 & 2: San Michele Prazzo; Day 3, 4 & 5: Ponte Maira; Day 6 & 7: Viviere. Breakfast is included everywhere. Lunchpacks are provided by the accommodations  for days 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Dinner is included on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.
Tips
Daily departures from the beginning of June till the end of September. The walks are over mountain meadows, woodland trails, dirt tracks, stony paths and inevitable pieces of asphalt roads in the villages. Some of the walks are long and more demanding as the ascents can be quite steep. All the paths are well marked and regularly maintained. Getting there and away: The best airports to flight into are Turin and Nice airports. While the closer train station is Cuneo. From Torino airport: Take the train to Torino Porta Nuova (city center) and change there for the train to Cuneo. From Nice (Nizza) airport: Take the shuttle bus to the Nice-Ville station and and then get on the Train des Merveille to Cuneo. From Cuneo to the first accommodation: There are only a few direct busses from Cuneo to Prazzo. So you have to take a bus to Dronero (20 km) and change here for a bus to to Prazzo Inferiore (30km) where you will be picked up and taken to the first accommodation in San Michele (5 km). It is possible to pre-book a transfer from Cuneo or Dronero to the accommodation (contact us for details).

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