Gran Paradiso National Park – the quiet side of the Alps
Getting away from it all in the Alps can sometimes seem harder than it should. While we love the buzz and activity of popular mountain destinations like Chamonix, there is something to be said for finding a quiet hiking trail in the Alps. If this is what you are looking for, The Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy’s Aosta Valley should be on your list of hiking destinations.
Designated a hunting reserve by King Victor Emmanuel II in 1856 to protect the Alpine Ibex population from extinction (and to ensure a continued supply of Ibex for his hunting excursions!) the area became a national park in 1922 and is Italy’s first and therefore oldest national park. It’s a great destination for wildlife fans.
The park’s mascot is undoubtedly the Alpine Ibex, which lives in abundance here and has done so continuously since the late 19th Century. Ibex from the park are regularly used to reintroduce ibex in other mountainous areas where they have become extinct. Your chance of catching glimpses of ibex, chamois and marmots while on the trails here is promising.
The park is noticeably free from cable cars and chair lifts, meaning stunning, uninterrupted landscapes and a definite lack of crowds of visitors. The people who do visit here are all looking for the same thing; peaceful and calm hiking in beautiful Alpine scenery combined with unique Valdôtain-Italian culture and food.
We offer two self-guided walking tours in Gran Paradiso, a challenging point to point hike from the foot of Gran Paradiso to the foot of Mont Blanc, or a more relaxed twin-centre tour taking in the idyllic valleys of Valsavarenche, Valnontey and Cogne. Whichever one you choose, it will be an unforgettable adventure through the quiet side of the Alps.