hiking switzerland; hiking italy; st. bernard dogs; st, bernard pass

The St. Bernard Pass

For centuries, an 11th century hospice welcomed weary travelers and pilgrims who crossed the St. Bernard Pass on foot. Heading across the pass into Italy, we stop to walk with the St. Bernards who are still raised here. In ages past, these legendary heroes were trained to rescue stranded travelers.

Photo by Matt Griggs, Iris Kurschner

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Across the Grand St. Bernard Pass

From Switzerland’s Valais to Italy’s Gran Paradiso National Park

Across the Grand St. Bernard Pass route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5495  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Martigny, Switzerland
Depart: Torino, Italy
Lodging: 9 nights in historic hotels and inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 9 hiking days on moderate trails, some steep sections, 3-7 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike)


  • Best hikes in the Swiss Valais and Italy’s alpine Aosta Valley
  • Enjoy wine, cheese, and prosciutto tastings
  • Glaciers and high peaks of Gran Paradiso National Park
  • Delightful cuisines and Walser heritage of Switzerland and Italy
  • Charming hotels, including boutique inns on the sunny slopes of the Valais
  • Hike with the famed rescue dogs at the St. Bernard Pass

One of the best small group adventures I have ever been on.Verna K.—Naples, FL

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Two countries, two charming regions with strong cultural ties, and one incredibly historic pass linking them—welcome to Switzerland’s sunny Valais and Italy’s Val d’Aosta and our enchanting hiking adventure, named by Outside magazine as one of the Best Trips of 2014! From mountain villages in the heart of the Alps, you’ll hike the picturesque Val de Bagnes (the Swiss raclette capital), enjoy a walk with the famed rescue dogs atop the St. Bernard Pass, hike right across the border into Italy’s castle-dotted Aosta Valley, and revel in Gran Paradiso National Park’s stunning mountain-and-glacier scenery. Great food and wines abound on both sides of the pass, and you’ll sample the best while enjoying overnights in historic chalets in spectacular alpine settings including lovely Etroubles, one of the piu belli borghi d’Italia.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
Martigny, Switzerland / Val de Bagnes / Commeire

Our hikes bring you along the vineyards of the Valais, with wine tasting en route, and through the pastoral Val de Bagnes, home to pampered Hérens cows known as “the queens of the Valais.” At a local fromagerie, you’ll savor some of the region’s fragrant rustic cheeses, then hike right to our charming hotel in the tiny, well-preserved medieval village of Commeire.

Days 4-5
Champex / Grand St. Bernard Pass / Val d’Aosta, Italy / Gran Paradiso

From lakeside Champex, an alpine hike leads you to the Cabane d’Orny, just below the Orny Glacier, for breathtaking Mont Blanc views. At the remote Grand St. Bernard Pass (8,100’), traversed by centuries of travelers, portions of the Roman road still exist and you’ll walk in the footsteps of Caesar and Napoleon, visit the medieval pilgrim hospice, and enjoy a walk with the famed St. Bernard mountain dogs who were trained to rescue stranded travelers (these four-legged heroes are still raised here). A pilgrim trail brings you across the Alps and down to the beloved Val d’Aosta, home to ancient vineyards and some of the highest peaks in the Alps.

Days 6-10
Val d’Aosta / Gran Paradiso National Park

Our hikes bring you into the high meadows of Gran Paradiso National Park, with its backdrop of glaciers and craggy peaks, and through charming villages, including Gressoney-La-Trinité, one of the centers of German Walser culture. Depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 3+, Moderate to Strenuous. Our day hikes vary from 2-5 hours in length, with cable cars, gondolas, and chairlifts taking care of many of the steep ascents and descents. On many days, a choice of hiking options give us time for visiting small villages and other interesting places en route. Our support vehicle will transport the group’s luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (sweater, camera, water bottle), and you are always free to skip a day’s hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle. Hiking experience is recommended (no climbing or mountaineering experience is necessary), and all participants must be in good physical condition. Each evening we return to our comfortable hotels to sample the culinary delights that Switzerland and Italy have to offer.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jul 25-Aug 3, 2016  James Fuss
Aug 17-26, 2016  James Fuss

*There may be up to 3 leaders on any departure. Please call for details.

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$5495 (12-15 members)
$5795 (9-11 members)
$6195 (6-8 members)
Single supplement: $580
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Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader
  • Accommodations in hotels and inns
  • All meals included except 2 dinners
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner
  • Van support and luggage transfer
  • Cable cars and chairlifts to trailheads for scheduled hikes
  • Land transportation during the trip, transfers between overnight stops, airport transfer on Day 10

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, transportation to Martigny from Geneva, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation arriving to Geneva, Switzerland, and departing from Torino, Italy. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Martigny, Switzerland
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Geneva, Switzerland (airport code: GVA)
Suggested Flight Arrival Time: You should arrive in Switzerland at least one day before the trip begins.
Torino, Italy
Date: Day 10

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Torino, Italy (airport code: TRN)
Suggested Flight Departure Time: no earlier than 12:30 pm

Hotels in Verbier

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Verbier, Switzerland

In Verbier, we stay at one of the following properties:

Montagne Alternative

Montagne Alternative

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Commeire, Switzerland

This stylish and unique property in a small Swiss hamlet is made up of old chalets and farm houses that have been beautifully refurbished in an ...
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Hotel Beau Sejour

Hotel Beau Sejour

Day 5 (1 night), Etroubles, Italy

The Beau Sejour is an alpine-style hotel with well-kept rooms and a great restaurant featuring the northern Italian specialties of the Aosta ...
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Hotel Sant Orso

Hotel Sant Orso

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Cogne, Italy

In the off-the-beaten-path Italian mountain village of Cogne is the cozy, family-run  Hotel Sant’Orso, with well-appointed guest rooms, ...
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Hotel Lo Scoiattolo

Hotel Lo Scoiattolo

Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Gressoney-la-Trinite, Italy

Lo Scoiattolo is a very comfortable, friendly alpine-style hotel set at the foot of Monte Rosa with airy, spacious rooms, and a cozy bar with a log ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Gianluca Canalicchio

Gianluca Canalicchio was born and raised in Rome, where his parents moved in 1960 from Umbria, when they left their life of hard work on their farm in search of new opportunities. He has a degree in accounting, speaks four languages (Italian, Spanish, French, and English), and loves dancing, ...
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William Chicarelli

William Chicarelli is a native Brazilian, originally from Sao Paulo, where he studied Communication Sciences and worked as an adventure guide in the Rio Sao Paulo coastal area and Amazon. When not on a hiking trip, William works as a media professional and a director of documentary films. He ...
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James Fuss

Departure Dates: July 25-August 3, 2016, August 17-26, 2016

James Fuss is a trekking guide, photographer, cyclist, and chef extraordinaire. Born and raised in South Australia, James found his wanderlust early on family camping trips across Australia. His love of the culinary arts is deep-rooted as well, and as a young chef, he headed off to Europe to ...
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Tania Masi

Born in Florence, Italy, of an American mother and proud Florentine father, Tania Masi was raised with an appreciation for both American and European cultures. With nine languages and a Master of Geography under her belt—not to mention a career as a journalist and documentary film director ...
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Sergio Mastroberardino

Sergio Mastroberardino was born in the town of Avellino in southern Italy. He is a Certified Alpine Ski Instructor and during the winter season works full time with various ski schools and as a professional ski guide. Sergio has lived and taught skiing in Aspen, Colorado, Val D'Isere, France, and ...
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Stewart Wheelhouse

Stewart Wheelhouse, a Welshman by birth, has spent the past 23 years leading adventures and expeditions throughout the world. He has traveled the length of Africa, written guidebooks on cycling through Europe, and led expeditions in Asia and Australia. A wonderful storyteller and traveling ...
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