So those of you who follow me on Instagram already know about my summer trip to Aosta Valley. Those tiny Italian towns with the backdrop of the alps, the lush green valleys, those stunning views of the Mont Blanc and picture perfect scenery at literally every step! And if that is not enough to convince you to visit this gorgeous and might I add, affordable section of the alps, then the promise of amazing cheese and freshly baked bread might just do it. And in this post I’m going to tell you all you need to know if Aosta Valley has now made it to your list..so read on!
During my seven day visit to the region, I stayed in the picturesque town of Charvensod for the first three nights and then moved to the city of Aosta for the remainder of my stay. Charvensod is a small town located just above the city of Aosta and boasts of agri-tourism. Everyone living in this town grows their own fruit, vegetable and herbs during the summer months. So you’re guaranteed, simple, yet the freshest and tastiest meals around. There’s not much else to do in this village though. But it makes the perfect destination for those wanting to get away from a stressful city life. Aosta on the other hand, is the capital of the region. It is the biggest town around, making it the perfect place for those who would like to do day trips to the various valleys and natural parks this region has to offer.
Bionaz & Lago di Place-Moulin
Among all the little towns that are dotted throughout the alps, the first town I visited was the minuscule town of Bionaz. This town with just 240 inhabitants is probably the smallest I have ever visited! What it lacked in inhabitants, it more than made up in stunning 360 degree mountain views and the fresh and unpolluted mountain air. The town has literally only one bar, one pretty church, a public library and expanses of greenery all around. I took the day to read, click some lovely pictures, relax and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
The main reason I visited the town though was to find a route to get to the Lake of Place-Moulin. It is situated close to the Swiss border. But due to the lack of public transportation to the lake, I soon had to give up on that plan. So if you are planning to rent a car during your visit to this region, make sure to add this lake to your list. Even though the lake is a man-made one, it looks like it is the dreamiest one in this region.
Courmayeur is the biggest ski town of the region on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc. This was where I headed to twice during my trip to Aosta Valley. From here, you can get a bus into Val Ferret and Val Veny (tickets can be bought on the bus). Those are the two scenic Valleys with stunning views of the Mont Blanc to add magic to your hike. I did an easy hike by the river as I was not sure if I could handle the more difficult ones alone.
The other attraction here is the Sky Way Monte Bianco. It is a cable car that takes you up to the height of 3,466 meters. You can choose to go right up to Point Helbronner, or stay at Pavillon, which is the first stop at 2,173 meters.
Courmayer – Pavillon: 28 euro Courmayer – Point Helbronner: 52 euro(Reduced early bird tickets can be booked here)
Chamonix is the town on the French side of the Mont Blanc. It can be reached through one of the most scenic cable cars in the world! This runs from Point Helbronner on the Italian side to Pavillon du Mont Fréty on the French side. The cable car runs over the alps at a height of 3,466 meters ascending to 2,200 meters. The views from the scenic cable car ride are the most overwhelming views over the alps. It is definitely an experience of a lifetime! You can check more videos and pictures of this experience on my Aosta Valley story highlight on Instagram.
Round-trip Price: Point Helbronner – Chamonix: 31 euro (More details here)
Cogne and Parco Gran Paradiso
Cogne is easily accessible from Aosta by the local bus service. Tickets for the same can be bought on board. This town is situated bordering the Gran Paradiso National Park. So it is definitely worth visiting for the gorgeous landscapes and never ending expanses of greenery and the prettiest flora and fauna.
During my visit to Cogne, I opted to hike from the town of Cogne to the small village of Lillaz. The village has a beautiful waterfall that is a 15 minute hike from the village. I would have liked to hike more and explore more, but had to give up for the lack of time. Make sure to visit the Tourist office in the city center of Cogne though to figure out what hiking trails are suitable for you. The staff there is extremely helpful and also do speak English. You could also check for events and other details on their website here.
While above I’ve mentioned everything I did during my visit to the region, there are some things I missed out on due to the lack of time. But I live in Italy and I’m definitely going to head back there at some point. Going to list those out down below for those who are considering visiting the area as they all sound amazing anyway.
Castel Savoia and Gressoney Saint Jean
I tried twice getting to these two, but unfortunately couldn’t make it even though Castel Savoia looks soo dreamy. But I figured out the best way to get there using public transportation. And I’m going to tell you don’t have to skip it just because google does not know how you could reach there without a car.
Get the bus from Aosta to Pont Sant Martin from where you could get another bus to Gressoney Saint Jean. You could check for the timetable for each at the bus station in Aosta, or on the savda website. It’s a long journey, but that castle and Gressoney Valley are absolutely gorgeous and worth it!
Spa Day at QC Terme Pré Saint Didier Spa & Resort, Pré Saint Didier
This place looks absolutely wonderful, but it definitely is pricey which is why I gave it a skip. You can check out the price list here before deciding to visit.
St. Bernards Pass and St. Bernard Lake
The St, Bernard Pass is what connects Italy with Switzerland and is supposed to be absolutely scenic. I wanted to visit the lake, which is accessible only during the summers, but couldn’t make it. Also, the St, Bernard Dogs are from the region. I was actually looking forward to finding some there, playing with them and maybe smuggling one home :p.
Skiing, Snowboarding during the winter
The winter season in the valley is filled with skiing and snowboarding activities. So make sure to check out the aperiskis during the winter and maybe try out skiing and snowboarding if you haven’t already.
While in the Valley, here’s the food you absolutely must try:
The local Fontina Cheese:
This is the typical cheese of the region and can be found easily in the shops around and in different local dishes in restaurants.
This is a local dish of stewed meat with wine, onions and spices. It is generally served with polenta which is a dish of boiled cornmeal found in the northern and central parts of Italy
This is the local version of the polenta which is cooked with extravagant amounts of melted fontina cheese.
Also, make sure to try the local wines from the region. Italian wines never disappoint.
And that’s all I have on the valley folks! For more videos and images, you could check out my story highlight on Aosta Valley to relive my best moments from the trip. And, if you do have any other doubts, feel free to reach out to me via email or Instagram and I promise to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge!
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