Italy: The Tour of the Giants

Spectacular Trails and Peaks of the Val D’Aosta


If you love the mountains, you’ll love our challenging hiking journey on what our extraordinary team of Europe Trip Leaders call the Roof of Europe. This “hiker’s hike” brings us across the craggy ridges and cols of Italy’s dramatic Val d’Aosta and through enchanting villages of the intriguing Walser culture. We hike right below unforgettable panoramas of the giants of the Alps—the iconic Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Mont Blanc, and the glaciated peaks of Gran Paradiso National Park. We'll follow sections of the famed Alta Via, the rugged long-distance trail circling the heights of the Val d’Aosta, and parts of the famous Tor des Geants (Tour of the Giants). Cable cars and gondolas whisk us up onto the flanks of the highest mountains in Europe for our stunning hikes, beginning with the dramatic Matterhorn and followed in turn by Monte Rosa, the “Queen of the Alps,” the peaks and valleys of Gran Paradiso National Park, and—the jewel in the crown—mighty Mont Blanc (15,771’), the highest of them all. At night, we are welcomed into cozy hotels in small villages. And we’ll enjoy the cuisine of this beguiling corner of Italy, famous for its culinary traditions—spicy Bosses ham, lard d’Arnad (bacon conserved with local herbs), Fontina cheese, honey from the town of Châtillon, and rennet apples, used in many regional dishes. We’ll top it off with a glass of Genepi, the local herbal liqueur traditionally sipped from a wooden goblet. This is adventure in style! Join us on this wonderfully fun, dramatic, and rewarding journey to the heights of Europe!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Aosta, Val d’Aosta / Breuil-Cervinia

From the car-free village of Buisson, a cable car brings us to Chamois for our hike on the Grand Balconeta of the Matterhorn, a fantastic trail with great views of the breathtaking spire of the Matterhorn (known as Monte Cervino in Italy). The lovely mountain town of Aosta is the site of ancient Roman ruins, including a triumphal arch and portions of an amphitheater.

Duca D'Aosta Hotel
Aosta, Italy
Day 1 (1 night)
Hotel Europa, Breuil-Cervinia
Breuil-Cervinia, Italy
Days 2 to 3 (2 nights)
Days 4-7
Cervinia / Gressoney-La-Trinité

Hiking the Tour de Monte Rosa trail, we enter the glacier-carved Val d’Ayas, an alpine paradise framed by the superb backdrop of the Breithorn, the Matterhorn’s snowy neighbor. Other hikes lead along the Alta Via, a rugged trail encircling the Val d’Aosta, and up to the Rifugio Quintino Sella (11,762'), set on the flanks of Monte Rosa (15,203'), the “Queen of the Alps.” We pass among the unique Walser villages, settled by Germanic peoples in the 10th and 11th centuries who have preserved their language, culture, and traditions.

Hotel Castor
Champoluc, Italy
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Hotel Lo Scoiattolo: Gressoney-la-Trinite
Gressoney-la-Trinite, Italy
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
Days 8-9
Gran Paradiso National Park

A magnificent landscape of snow-covered peaks, glacial cirques, alpine lakes, and traditional villages graces Gran Paradiso. One of our hikes leads up to the Col de Fenêtre (9,318') and down into the town of Lillaz, famous for its beautiful waterfalls. Our trails follow ancient royal hunting roads built for King Vittorio Emanuele II, who donated this vast holding to the newly unified country in 1860. We may be lucky enough to see ibex or chamoix along the way.

Hotel Miramonti
Cogne, Italy
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)
Days 10-12
Courmayeur / Mont Chétif / Glacier Hike

From Courmayeur, we catch a cable car to Rifugio Maison Vieille (6,417') for our hike up Mont Chétif, a peak below Mont Blanc. A spectacular cable car ride brings us to Pointe Helbronner (11,371') on Mont Blanc for a thrilling hike on the Glacier du Géant (gear provided, no experience necessary). The views across the “Roof of Europe” are amazing! Depart on Day 12 via Torino.

Hotel Lo Scoiattolo: Courmayeur
Courmayeur, Italy
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights)



Enjoy exhilarating hikes beneath the giants of the Alps—the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and Mont Blanc
A true “hiker’s hike” in a mountain realm, shorter options on many days, glacier hike on Col du Géant
Sample the delicious mountain cuisine of Italy’s Val d’Aosta
Discover tiny villages with distinctive Walser architecture and traditions


Length: 12 days
Cost From: $6395  
Arrive: Torino, Italy
Depart: Torino, Italy
Lodging: 11 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

11 hiking days, choice of moderate to steep trails, 4-6 hours a day, altitudes between 8,000-11,700 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

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