Tucked away in the Southern Italian Alps near the French border, lies the beautiful Val Maira with its tranquil villages, chapels and churches settled in an uncontaminated landscape. Val Maira is now slowly being discovered as a walker's paradise. You will not find busy roads, ski slopes and mass tourism, but pristine mountain scenery, lots of sun, small charming accommodation and delicious food.
Traditionally, the inhabitants of the Val Maira had more contact with France as the border is only a few hours walk away and is easily reached via the mountain passes, while the route to the Italian plains and Po Valley was difficult and went through a rocky gorge. Only when the road was built, more Italians arrived and the first language remains Occitan, a romance language also spoken in southern France. The second language is French and then Italian.
Arrive in the village of San Michele Prazzo at 1370m altitude and take some time to visit the beautifully painted Parish Church. You will be picked up from the bus stop and transferred to the first accommodation.
The day’s walk is on the southern slopes above San Michele and follows part of the “Lou Viol Dal Genestè". This circular route takes you into contact with nature, from forests of larch and spruce to grasslands and rocky crags, and Genestè (growing broom). Along the trail it’s easy to spot a variety of wildlife native to the area.
A challenging hike high above the valley with beautiful views. The walk goes through woods and meadows and you will encounter only a few tiny hamlets. Arrive at the accommodation in Acceglio and enjoy the peacefull atmosphere of this place.
A short morning transfer will lead you to Chiappera, the last restored village of Val Maira at 1620m altitude, where the day’s walk starts. The village has a bar and a beautiful church with frescoes. The initial climb to the striking Rocca Provenzale is tough, but after Colle Greguri (2309m) it becomes a leisurely walk back to Chiappera, where you will be picked up and taken back to the accommodation.
Another short transfer in the morning will lead you this time to Sorgente Maira where today’s walk on the Sentiero Frassati starts. This itinerary goes past a few smaller and larger mountain lakes, such as the deep blue Lago Apzoi at 2300m altitude, as well as a series of bunkers that Mussolini had built on the border with France. At the end of the walk you will be picked up and taken back to the accommodation.
Today you leave Ponte Maira for the tiny mountain village of Viviere, located in the cool and more forested northern slope of the Val Maira. A long climb brings you to Colle Ciarbonet (2206m), then you start descending to Viviere where you will be staying in a cozy welcoming hut.
This final stage takes you up to Colle Oserot (highest point 2640m). This is a very nice walk along steep limestone cliffs and green meadows with great panoramic views. You can also make a small trip to Rifugio Gardetta (at 2380 m), situated on the Plateau Gardetta.
The trip and our services end after breakfast, unless you have booked other nights of services with us. From Viviere you will be brought to the bus stop in Acceglio.
7 Nights in double rooms in mountains huts with breakfast
In Occitan, “la tano di Grich” means “the crickets’ burrow” and it is located in the High Maira Valley, the most intact of all the valleys in the Province of Cuneo. The building is dating back to the XIX century and it offers rooms, lodges and apartment with kitchenette, fireplace, private bathroom. The inn proposes very good typical dishes. Owners are courteous and welcoming.
The inn Mistral is situated at 1400 meters above sea level in the relaxing atmosphere of a cosy farmer's house of the 19th century. Rooms are well-furnished, welcoming and comfortable. The kitchen proposes specialties from the Maira Valleyand the staff is very courteous. Rooms have woody furniture with a private bathroom and balcony. Homemade breakfast is very good.
This mountain hut offers accommodations with mountain style, all of wood, comfortable and welcoming with private bathroom. The structure also offers finnish sauna and two scandinavian hot tubs. The restaurant offers occitan and from Piedmonts typical dishes.
From either Torino airport (TRN), reach the train station Torino Porta Nuova and take a train to Cuneo.
From Nice airport (NCE), reach the Nice-Ville train station and get on the Train des Merveille to Cuneo.
From Cuneo, there are only few direct connections to Prazzo: you need to reach Prazzo Inferiore by bus (with change in Dronero). In Prazzo Inferiore, you wil be picked up and taken to you accommodation.
Check train timetables on:
GPS tracks are available on request.
The price included:
· 7 Nights in double rooms in mountains huts with breakfast
· 4 dinner and 3 packet lunch
· People and luggage transfer bus stop Prazzo-San Michele
· Luggage transfer San Michele-Ponte Maira; Ponte Maira-Chiappera;Chiappera-Ponte Maira; Ponte Maira-Sorgente Maira; Sorgente Maira-Ponte Maira; Ponte Maira-Acceglio.
· People and luggage transfer Acceglio-bus stop in Acceglio
· Map every booking Chaminar en Val Maira (di Bruno Rosano), scale 1:20.000
The price not included:
· Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
· lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated.
· visits and entrance fees - tips
· personal expense
· everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
· Single room supplement
· People and luggage transfer Cuneo train station-San Michele; Viviere-Torino airport; Viviere-Cuneo trains station; Torino airport-San Michele.