Via Francigena Stage 1: Bourg St Pierre-St Martin

8 Days & 7 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • Crossing the high mountain pass of Great St Bernard famed for its rescue dogs
  • Discovering your quaint agriturismo, set amongst pretty vineyards
  • Staggering Alpine views and a backdrop of mountain scenery as you walk
  • Following the “Chemins de Vignobles” a local wine trail
  • Wandering through the ancient streets of Aosta, an old Roman city
A superb week of walking that begins in the heart of the Alps, crosses the border from Switzerland into Italy and traverses the high mountain pass of Great St Bernard. En route you will be surrounded by a backdrop of magnificent mountain peaks and follow trails through pretty vineyards and orchards. Explore Bourg St Pierre's medieval remains before setting off to cross the international border and ascending to the Great St Bernard Pass. Here you will see a hostel that was founded over 1,000 years ago to shelter travellers and pilgrims. After enjoying the superb mountain scenery of the pass you then reach Rhémy des Bosses, famed for its ham cured with mountain herbs, and Aosta, the principal city of the Aosta Valley. Follow the “Chemins de Vignobles” a vineyard trail and along which you will encounter many castles and stone houses, wooded hillsides and apple orchards. Pont St Martin, your finishing point, is a small village located on the frontier between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont and lends its name to a photogenic ancient stone bridge.
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What To Expect

Complete this section of the pilgrimage route in its own right, or add further stages at the same time. This particular section is graded as moderate to strenuous. You walk through the Alps and across the Great St Bernard Pass, hence the rating. You will have a backdrop of mountain peaks surrounding you and you will also walk through vineyards and the Aosta Valley which is full of thick woods and glorious pastures.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Pilgrim Trail | You will follow a historic pilgrimage trail, in the footsteps of generations of travelers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

Spiritual Journeys, Historical Journeys, Alpine & Mountains

Activity Level & Terrain

This walking holiday is graded moderate overall. However the daily distances vary quite a lot between shorter and a lot longer ones, so you must be capable of also walking the longer distances. You need to be in good physical shape to complete the full Via Francigena as there are also some elevation gains and losses along the way.

Navigation

You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. As always when walking you should be able to read a map and use a compass in case of bad weather. The trail is also marked by the official red and white signs of the Via Francigena, which have a picture of a yellow pilgrim on them. However these waymarks will not appear all along the way but intermittently. 

Unlike many of the more well-established Caminos, the Via Francigena has seen a relatively recent resurgence in popularity, meaning that trail marking is intermittent (not every region has invested in consistently waymarking the trail), and you should be confident in navigating with a compass and map, as well as using the route notes that we will provide you with. A few of the original sections of the Via Francigena are now (fairly busy) roads, and where necessary you may either follow these roads for a short time, or divert away from the traditional route to enjoy a more relaxed walk.

Accommodations

During your Via Francigena self-guided walking tour in Italy you will stay in a variety of accommodations. The properties range from private rooms in pilgrim's hostels, 2, 3 and 4* hotels as well as B&Bs and guesthouses. At times you will be staying in remote towns and villages, therefore the accommodation in these places are the best that these particular areas have to offer.

Alternate accommodation

During the high season you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. If those listed are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome and again a supplement is payable.

Meals

Daily breakfasts are included. Breakfasts are usually continental or Italian-style with a choice of breads, croissants, meats and cheeses. Sometimes it is possible to order packed lunches at your hotel or B&B the evening before or you can buy lunch in groceries, cafes and restaurants en route.You can opt to include dinners as well if you wish.

Included
  • Overnights in a variety of accommodations
  • Breakfasts included
  • Detailed maps and routes notes and a comprehensive information pack
  • Emergency telephone assistance from our team in Italy and our UK office if required
Excluded
  • Travel to and from the start and finish points
  • Public transportation where mentioned in the itinerary
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Drinks & snacks
  • Any additional travel en route, should you wish to miss a day's walking
  • Baggage transfers
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
Extras
  • Additional nights before, after or during the trip
  • Baggage Transfers
  • Half board supplement

When To Go

This trip is best enjoyed from mid-June onwards as the first section crosses the Alps and snow can still be on the ground up until July. Summer is a wonderful time to do the trip but it will be hot in August. Autumn is a lovely time of time of year as the colours start to change and the heat of the summer has subsided. Available from mid-June to mid-September.

Getting to the Start

The best airport to fly into in order to reach Bourg St Pierre is Geneva. This airport is served by many airlines from the UK and from further afield. From Geneva Airport it is possible to take a direct train to Martigny and then a bus from the train station in Martigny to Bourg St Pierre. You will find information regarding train schedules and fares at the Swiss National Rail or Trenitalia website.

Getting from the End

Take a train from Pont St Martin to either Turin Airport or Milan Malpensa Airport. The journey from Pont St Martin to Turin Porto Nuovo Station takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and from Pont St Martin to Milan Central Station (with several changes) around 2 and a half hours. Upon arrival in these cities you would then need to take an airport bus or train shuttle. You will find information regarding train schedules and fares at the Trenitalia website.

Luggage Transfer

Baggage transfers are not included as standard, however you can pay an additional fee for this service. If you choose to include baggage transfers we request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.

General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Bourg-Saint-Pierre Day 2 Bourg-Saint-Pierre to Great St Bernard Pass 7 miles / 12 km Day 3 Great St Bernard Pass to Etroubles 8 miles / 13 km Day 4 Etroubles to Aosta 10 miles / 16 km Day 5 Aosta to Chambave 17 miles / 28 km Day 6 Chambave to Verres 17 miles / 27 km Day 7 Verres to Pont-Saint-Martin 9 miles / 15 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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