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Courmayeur: Hiking at the feet of Mont Blanc

June 29, 2009


Courmayeur - View on the Mont-Blanc

I love the mountains. In all seasons. In winter, when everything is white and I slide on the snow with my skis. In spring, when flowers are blooming. In summer, when the mountains offer a great shelter from the crowd and the heat. In fall, when the landscape is dominated by the coulours of the autums, and explosion of yellow, red and brown.

One of my favorite places is Courmayeur, the last town before entering the Mont Blanc tunnel and reaching France. During the ski season, Courmayeur is one of the most fashionable ski resort in Italy, crowded with wealthy people from Milan and Torino having one of their holiday houses. It’s nice but the best time to fully enjoy the mountains is from May to November. There are plenty of beautiful hikes to discover, some very easy, other more challenging. Tracks for every taste. And if you are looking for mountaineering adventure, you can rely on the expert guides of the Società Guide Alpine Courmayeur.

In the beautiful Val Ferret, you can admire the Mont Blanc, the Grandes Jorasses and the glaciers. Val Ferret is at its best from mid-June to approx. mid July, when rhododendrons are blooming, colouring the fields with beautiful fucsia spots. In August, Val Ferret traffic is regulated but there is a bus shuttle service connecting Courmayeur woth the main starting points of the hikes. For a closer look to the glaciers you can also take the cable car from the village La Palud, riding you up to the Aiguille du Midi from where you can enjoy spectacular views on the alps. We recommend however this journey only to people in good physical shape, because you reach a 3,400 meters altitude, and some might suffer from Mountain Sickness.


If you want a change, you can go to Val Vény. It is particularly indicated for families, offering a great green area along the river where kids can run and play and rest under the trees with no danger. Besides, also Val Vény offers beautiful hikes, with closer views of the Mont Blanc.

If you are simply not willing to walk but would like to enjoy an enchanting scenery, I advise you to go to the Restaurant Baita Ermitage, which you can reach by car. Baita Ermitage is a characteristic mountain restaurant offering local traditional dishes and a beautiful view on the Mont Blanc. To rest and have some sunbathing, you can enjoy the deckchairs on the terrace. But you can also opt for a traditional dinner (reservation strongly recommended).

Courmayeur is one of the halts of the famous Tour du Mont Blanc, the circular trail that is generally started in Courmayeur or in Chamonix and can be completed in 7 to 8 days. There is clearly far more besides hiking. Other sports activities include mountain biking, rafting, golf, riding.

There are plenty of accomodations, from simple but cosy hotels to luxury ones. You can also experience mountains resorts but better reserve during peak season because they are the obvious choice of the trekkers making the Tour du Mont Blanc. A last glance to restaurants and local food. Most of them offer  the traditional dishes of the Aosta Valley (polenta, mocetta, lardo, cotoletta valdostana) but you can also find more elaborated ones. For a good traditional lunch or dinner I suggest “Le vieux pommier”. Instead, if you are looking for a high standing restaurant try “La Clotze” and the restaurant of the “Villa Novecento Hotel”.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2009 12:21 pm

    Thanks for dropping me a line, I love the mountains as well which is why we picked a location for our holiday gite that was close enough to the Pyrenees to allow us to go skiing when we are not busy with guests.

    I also love the fact that we are only just over an hour from the Mediterranean as well, talk about the best of both worlds.

    Nice blog by the way some really good stuff in here.

    • waitinginthedark permalink*
      July 21, 2009 12:29 pm

      Thanks a lot Brian. It’ nice to get in touch with people sharing some of our passions. Hope we’ll stay in touch and continue sharing our respective experiences.

  2. January 18, 2010 9:07 pm

    I was looking at the information about Courmayeur in Spring. Summer and Autumn on the display outside the Tourist Office. I also noted that there is a camping site close to one of the lift stations / restaurants and was thinking it would make a beautiful place to stay in Summer.
    I also love the mountains in Summer the sound of cow bells, Alpine meadows and the fruits of the forest (wild raspberries, strawberries, blueberries etc). Of course Mont Blanc and Les Grands Jorasses make a breathtaking background.

    • waitinginthedark permalink*
      January 19, 2010 12:54 am

      Courmayeur is beautiful at any season, at least to me. The camping site you mentioned is located in awesome Val Ferret, with a superb view on the Grandes Jorasses. From there, you can do lots of beautiful hikes on both sides of the valley, from simples one to more difficult and enduring trails.
      I love that place!


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