The 74.095ha Majella National Park, located in the Italian Abruzzo region, is an impressive limestone massif with over 25.500ha of wilderness; it is a little unknown area not far from Rome and the Adriatic coast suitable for nature lovers and families alike. Clear streams, mountain meadow with flocks of sheep, endless beech forests, ancient attractive villages, Romanesque monasteries and solitary hermitages fill the scenery.
In the Majella National Park you can still find wildlife that has become rare elsewhere in Europe. Otters play in the clear water while brown bears, wolves, lynx, Apennine Chamois, red deer and roe deer still wonder through their natural habitat while the Royal Eagle soars above. The Majella National Park is a unique example of mountainous wilderness in the heart of the Apennine range and consists mainly of a limestone massif with hundreds of caves, gorges and rivers and 30 peaks above 2000m. The park is home to 22% of all European flora and lies at a crossroads of climates making it the most Southern Alpine range with over 2.100 different plant species of which 140 are endemic.
Arrive in Pescara Airport or Chieti train station and take a public bus to Pretoro, unless you have pre-booked an optional transfer. If you arrive early, take a stroll in the tiny streets of this nice medieval village, located at 600m altitude on the slopes of the Majella Massif. Enjoy having a glass of wine sitting on the bench of the panoramic terrace in front of the accommodation.
Today's walk takes you into the deep wooded Foro Valley. Along steep cliffs you reach an undulating terrain with overgrown land (meadows, fields and orchards). From this semi-open area, you have a great views of the Majella and Gran Sasso Peaks (2912m), which is the highest peak in Italy outside the Alps. On your way back to Pretoro, stop at the Wolf Study and Environmental Education Centre "Il Grande Faggio", where you are given an introduction of 1.5-2 hours on the flora and fauna that live in the Park.
From Petrorio, walk up the village (or optional transfer) and begins a steep climb (first through half-open terrain, then through a dense forest). The route is well marked but the trail is sometimes hard to see. You come out on an open level with great views of the Maiella Mountains. Arrive in Passo Lanciano, a small ski hamlet in the beech woods. At sunset, faunal observation with local expert guide near Passo Lanciano, This guided excursion takes about 1,5-2 hours.
The walk today is beautiful but can only be done with good visibility. You start with a climb (or optional transfer) to Mamma Rosa at 1800m altitude, overlooking the Orfento Valley with the highest the Monte Amaro (highest peak of the Majella) at the back (2793m altitude). The day's walk can be extended with a visit to the Hermit cave of San Giovanni (one hour extra).
In case of bad weather you can walk from Mamma Rosa to Decontra through the valley. You can extend this walk with a visit of the Santo Spirito Sanctuary that you encounter along the way and, at the end, with the visit of the San Bartolomeo Hermitage, undoubtedly the most beautiful of the Majella National Park. Today's destination is the mountain hamlet of Decontra, a charming and magical place that seems unaffected by time.
Through scenic trails, you plunge into the deep and narrow Orfento Valley, formed by the erosive action of the homonymous river through the millennia, that has contributed to the creation of one of the most singular and spectacular areas in the Apennines, both from an aesthetic and naturalistic point of view. Because of its natural characteristics, the valley is a protected and restricted area. Climbing up the valley, you reach Caramanico Terme, the well know spa town. Here you can stop for lunch and for a visit of the Park Information Centre. In the afternoon walk up back to Decontra.
A short transfer takes you to the start of the walk in the village of Sant'Eufemia or, if you want to shorten the walk, in Lama Bianca or Passo San Leonardo. The walk is a gradual climb predominated by the spectacular views of and from the Morrone Mountain that sits majestically behind Caramanico Terme.
All along the walk, on forest trails and mountain pastures, you have magnificent views of soaring peaks of the Majella massif, the Gran Sasso (2800m), the highest mountains outside the Italian Alps and the Monti della Laga. Once over the San Leonardo Pass the steep descent down to the tower filled medieval village of Pacentro offers great views on the mountains of the Abruzzo National Park and the town of Sulmona.
The trip and our services end after breakfast. Make your own way to the airport by public transports unless you have pre-booked a private transfer with us.
6 nights in double rooms in 3* hotels, B&B and agriturismi with breakfast and 3 dinner
B&B Casa Milà is located in Majella National Park at 602 meters above sea level. Rooms are clean, well-furnished and welcoming with private bathroom, free Wifi and TV. Breakfast is very good both savoury and sweet. Owners are kind and courteous.
Hotel La Maielletta is centrally located in Majella National Park in Passolanciano area and 100 meters from the Panoramic ski slopes. Rooms have a mountain style with a simple furniture. These aren't spacious. Breakfast is good. The Hotel has a SPA too. Staff is courteous.
Agriturismo Pietrantica is an organic farmhouse since 2000 promotes a local development project with sustainability in the Majella National Park. Rooms are spacious, bright and relaxing. The cuisine proposes dishes from Abruzzo and breakfast offers natural products. Staff is welcoming and kind.
This B&B is centrally located in Pacentro. It offers clean, quiet and comfortable rooms with TV, free Wifi. Owners are very welcoming and helpful. Breakfast is served on panoramic terrace on warmer months and it's rich and various.
Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Rome Ciampino (CIA) airports are 240km from Pretoro. If you fly to Rome (Fiumicino FCO or Ciampino CIA), take a train to Rome Termini train station and then a train to Chieti Scalo. In Chieti get on the bus to Pretoro.
Pescara airport (PSR) is 40km from Pretoro and 70km from Sulmona. If you fly to Pescara Airport (PSR), take a bus to Pescara train station and then a train to Chieti Scalo. In Chieti get the bus to Pretoro.
From Pacentro take a taxi or a public bus to Sulmona and from Sulmona you can travel by train or public bus to Pescara or Rome airports. For more information please visit www.trenitalia.com.
GPS tracks are available on request.
What is included:
· 6 nights in double rooms in 3* hotels, B&B and agriturismi with breakfast and 3 dinner
· Packet lunch on Day 3
· Luggage transfer
· Map of the Majella National Park
· People transfer Passo Lanciano-Piane di Tarica-Passo Lanciano for faunal observation
· Faunal observation at sunset
· People transfer Decontra-start of the walk and luggage to Pacentro
· Telephone support 24 hours
· Maps and detailed itinerary
What is not included:
· Journey to the place of arrival and departure
· Lunches and dinners, except where otherwise noted
· Visits and entrance fees - tips
· possible sojourn taxes
· Anything not specified under "The price includes"
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
· Single room supplement
· Any transfer to get to the starting point or to return from the point of arrival, which can be quoted on request.