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Val d’Aosta what to do during the weekend

Val d’Aosta what to do during the weekend

At the beginning of our first hike, P asked me, “Do you prefer the beaches or mountains?” And I observed these magnificent snowy peaks I could not answer because it is a question that can’t be answered; You have to dive in the moment and enjoy it all the way down. Because the sea is beautiful, but there’s no comparison to the feeling of awakeness of chill mountain air…  And you: do you prefer the beaches or the mountains?


From April till September

Val d’Ayas – Provincia di Aosta

A weekend in the Aosta valley, filled by sun and nature

I must admit that for me the Aosta Valley is not half-way a usual destination when I plan to escape for a weekend from Turin, but it’s really the perfect one. Just an hour drive from the city you will find yourself completely immersed in nature. A perfect spot if you love hiking and relaxing in nature.

In the specific, we went to Val’Ayas, the valley that is closest to Piedmont (as we couldn’t really leave Piedmontese land too much!) and at the foot of Monte Rosa. Numerous are the hiking paths that start at every turn of the street. We suggest you ask at the hotel or follow my advice! But I have to warn you, I’m not one who likes light walks …!

Day One: Hiking to the Blue Lake

After a big breakfast in a room that was flooded with light, we searched for a ‘serious’ hike, one that would really make us tired. And I found the perfect one: an excursion of about 3 hours that would allow us to climb a little altitude and arrive at a panoramic place: the Blue Lake.

The walk starts from Champoluc, a truly distinctive and very active village. The first stretch, uphill, can be done on the chairlift or on foot and lasts about 1 hour, going up to Crest, the start of many ski slopes. From here you continue on a mostly flat path in the woods to Resy, a small hamlet where you will find the delicious Ferraro shelter where I highly recommend you to stop for lunch because it is very well-known for its polenta. After the shelter you can continue the walk to the lake. From Resy the road is still flat and you can reach the Pian di Verra, a large even field. From here begins again the uphill, up to Lake Blu at 2211 of altitude. During summer on the lake there are some beautiful beaches; however, when we arrived the lake was frozen and seemed rather green than blue. It takes about three and a half hours to get there. So for the return instead of going back from the same road we cut to St. Jacques. We were really tired and after lunch we were desperately looking for something warm to drink. We didn’t find any until Saint Jacque, but here we could try Aosta Valley coffee in the famous friendship ‘grolla’. In short, a watchdog bomb: long coffee, genepi, rum, gin, orange, cinnamon and sugar.

The walk became much easier after this!

Miraculously still able to walk … we returned (tired, destroyed, but happy) to Champoluc where the car was waiting for us.

Day two: La Ru d’Arlaz

Because the first day has been so hard, we decided to take it much easier during the second day. As such we went for a walk, which the hotel manager has recommended us because kids and families could do it, that was starting right outside the doorstep of our hotel. After that we also planned to go to the Terme del Monterosa, a beautiful spa just nearby. Sounded like the perfect plan… but not all plans work out as they are supposed to!

rotterdam city break

The Ru d’Arlaz is a beautiful walk that follow the irrigation canals of Arlaz valley, a system of canals that in the past used to bring water to all the valley. The walk is 11 km in total and pass through beautiful villages, woods, pastures and even a waterfall. Along the walk you can also find some gym tools to train outdoor, in case the walk wasn’t hard-core enough for you!

After a while the walk pass by a little waterfall and from there to a mill, where the legend says a witch used to live. After this I suggest you to turn around a go back to your hotel, because we continued but had to walk another 2.5 hours before being able to find a place to eat! And then another 4 to go back to the hotel…! Not an easy day after all and no spa…

My tip: bring lunch in your backpack. And ANYWAY when you arrive at the mill turn around and go back to your hotel. At that point only a calm 2 hours walk keeps you apart from a beautiful afternoon at the spa!

What and how to eat in Val d’Aosta

The typical Aosta valley cuisine is… I have to be honest here… heavy! It is obvious that in this valley you eat to get strong and to warm yourself up. The queen of the kitchen is polenta (a porridge made with corn flour) together with stews, cheese and game meat. Fruit and vegetables are not in sight at any time on the table. Here you don’t eat to feed yourself of nutritious food; here you eat because you need to get strong for hiking and walking in the snow. However, it is really delicious and for just a weekend it’s possible to enjoy all the food that they will bring you. As such, I didn’t hesitate to order dish and dish of polenta with local blue cheese!

All images © 2017 Monica Pianosi

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