Summer Fun in the Heart of the Alps

The smallest region of Italy boasting spectacular scenery and world-class skiing, Aosta Valley, becomes a life-size playground during summer.

From mountaineering with several peaks over 4,000 m to simple walks with a varied offer of hikes for all levels featuring beautiful chapels, delightful hamlets, alpine nature and spectacular mountain vistas, Aosta is also a destination of choice for mountain biking enthusiasts, with dedicated tracks and numerous stations offering bikes parks and downhill circuits, such as Pila, La Thuile or Breuil-Cervinia. Not to mention the many golf courses, water sports such as canyoning, rafting or canoeing and even summer skiing. Here is our top picks for summer activities to do in Aosta:

Visit The Saussurea Alpine Botanical Garden: one of the world’s highest natural gardens, Saussurea gets its name from the Saussurea alpine flower, named in honour of the Geneva-born scientist Horace Benedict de Saussure who, among other things, promoted the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. The garden covers 6,500 square meters and hosts a selection of alpine plants from mountain chains around the world. The more than 900 species are displayed in rockeries, and divided up on the basis of geographical origin and high-altitude natural environments. Flowering usually begins in July and lasts until the end of September. The garden is accessible by cable car or by foot; about 2 hours walk from La Palud (difference in altitude 803 m). Read more.

Cycle through the extensive network of the valley: enjoy one of many cycling itineraries covering a total of over 1,000 kms of dirt tracks and paved trails. Those who love road cycling, for example, can try their hand at various scenic routes– some more accessible, such as the cycle path of the valley floor among vineyards and castles, and other more challenging, with climbs and descents along the great Alpine hills – while wooded paths, mule tracks and farm roads will be perfect for those who prefer mountain bike adventures. The region’s peaked and vertical area makes it also an ideal place for downhill, freeride or cross country. Various bike parks and enduro routes can be reached via chairlifts suitable for taking cyclists to the top along with their bikes. Read more.

Hike the Camino Balteo: this is a circular itinerary of under 220 miles with an altitude between 500 and 1900 meters above sea level. The circuit which can be taken in both directions is divided into 23 stages of about 4-6 hours each and takes you through more than 40 municipalities of the Aosta Valley region. A journey into the innermost heart of the territory and the local community, where human history has left the most evident signs of its passage, to discover the architecture of the villages as well as local traditions, still alive and deeply rooted, but also the rural landscape: pastures, vineyards, cellars and creameries. Cammino Balteo is a route that thrills in the presence of Roman and medieval history, but which also becomes an immersion in nature: lakes, waterfalls, nature reserves and wooded areas. The route is suitable to different seasons and thematic interests which allows everyone to adapt it to their own needs and time available. Read more.