Walking and Hiking
Terra Alpina is a perfect base for walking and hiking in the Aosta Valley. One of the most historic paths in the Alps, the Via Francigena, goes right past the house - it is a 1000 year-old pilgrimage trail from Canterbury to Rome! Whether you want gentle walks through Alpine meadows or more strenuous paths up to 3500 metres, they are all easily accessible from the apartments.
Punta Chaligne: This is the mountain on which Terra Alpina sits. Above Gignod is a tiny village called Buthier. Just above Buthier there is a walking path to the peak at 2600 metres which takes about two hours to get to. The good news is that there is a big new restaurant and bar half way up (you cannot miss it) which makes a good lunch stop.
Becca di Viou: This is directly opposite Terra Alpina. You drive down to Aosta, then to the eastern suburb of St Christophe and drive to the village of Blavy. To get to the peak and back is about seven hours, but you can go as far as you like and then return - two hours will take you quite high and you can look back across the valley to Terra Alpina.
Pila: As well as mountain biking, there are some great walks at the top. Both the main cable car from Aosta and the Chamole skilift in Pila itself run through the summer, which take you up to 2600 metres. From there you can walk as far as you like past Lac Chamole and into the high mountains. If you are feeling adventurous, you can walk from the top of Chamole to Monte Emilius (about 2 hours) and then climb the peak metres), using a Via Ferrata - but you will need harnesses and carabiners to be safe. The top of Monte Emilius is an all-day expedition, and you will need to get the first lift up in the morning.
When we went up Monte Emilius, we went with a guide we know called Gianni Carbone. He is a qualified Mont Blanc Mountain Guide who knows the whole Aosta Valley and speaks excellent English.
Place Moulin: This is about 40 minutes drive, but the views make it well worth it. The start of the walk is a dam at the top of the Valpelline valley, just past Bionaz (north east of Gignod, very close to the Swiss border). The lake behind the dam is a spectacular turquoise colour and the path winds up above the lake to Lac Long (about 1.5 hours) and then on to Lac Mort (another 30 minutes). The views back down the Valpelline valley are spectacular.