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July Trip

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July Trip

Hello we will be travelling with 2 children aged 6 and 9 in July from Milan airport and have not decided yet in which part of the Alps to go. We will have a car. What area do you suggest for good walks on the mountains, maybe some fun and also a good cheap self catering? Thanks

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: July Trip

I can only comment on Vallee d'Aosta because this is the area I know best. There are many spectacular walking trails all over the valleys and mountains but with small children I suggest you drive to locations where you can hike and have your car not too far away. A few suggestions:

1/ Val Ferret - Drive through Courmayeur and head up the road to this valley. It's relatively flat and the road runs along the tree line and along a nice stream with the toothy peaks of the Grand Jorasses above you. There are picnic spots and couple places to buy gelato. The gondola ride up the side of Monte Bianco at La Palud is amazing.

2/ Vetan - Head west from Aosta on the SS26 to Saint Pierre and turn right off the road to Saint Nicolas and onward up to the end of the road at Vetan. There are many trails in the alpine meadows and the views are spectacular. Your kids can see the grazing cattle. Couple nice restaurants up there too.

3/ Valgrisenche - The drive up this narrow high valley from Arvier feels more like a gorge at places. Drive all the way up to Bonne where you'll see a damn containing a dried up lake. Keep following the road as it turns above and parallel to the lake towards the far end of the valley to Surier. It's all on Google maps. There's a turn off to the right where you can park and hike up a short but steep road to a cluster of alpine barns. Follow the trail along the stream bed. This is where you can feel that you are touching the mountains in all their glory. Pack a picnic for your family.

3a/ Grand Haury is a nice diversion en route to Valgrisenche. Drive to the small parking lot and head up the single pedestrian street of the village looking for a sign on the right hand side for the Castello di Montmayeur. A short 15-20 minute walk to a spectacular medieval tower lookout. Hang on to your kids though as there are no security fences up there.

4/ Cogne - Many tourists go here in the summer because they can access the Gran Paradiso park and hike up to Vittoria Sella refugio. Nice restaurants, big mountains, and scenic.

There are too many wonderful walks to mention here but there are trails in all of the 11 or so valleys of Aosta.

I suggest you stick to trails and paths marked with yellow and black signs. Each trail sign is marked with the level of difficulty or expertise required for the trail. With children stick to the those trails marked E. Don't take those marked EE, that requires a level of alpine skill and can be very dangerous for some. Even trails marked E for excursionists can take you places where children should be supervised at all times. Also I might add that this Spring there has been a lot of rain and snow, mud slides and rock falls. Best to ask the locals about conditions before you head out just to be safe.

Best places to buy reasonably priced food and groceries for your self catering agenda would be the Carrefour and Gros Cidac stores in Aosta. These are the biggest. However the smaller Conad stores offer great choices and good quality foods as well. The Lidl in Aosta is probably the cheapest.

Enjoy your holiday.

2. Re: July Trip

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