November 8, 2019

Aosta Valley Winter Holiday

Aosta Valley is the most appreciated region between northern Italy regions, and being such a place, there is a lot to see there!

As a strategically located Valley between the borders of France and Switzerland, this has long been a historically significant region. Aosta Valley is a true outdoor playground. Four of the Alps’ highest peaks lie within its bounds, offering space for a lot of adventure activities. With this and much more, Aosta remains a place waiting to be discovered.

The Aosta Valley has more to offer than mountains, skiing and mineral spas. There are also historic monuments from the Roman era and the town itself offers traces of these, along with primitive roads, fountains and historic buildings filled with medieval wonders. Monasteries and museums complete the scenery and depending on the time of year, there are festivals like Saint Orsa, when local traditional handicrafts and artwork are displayed during a communal celebration. 

Valdostani, as they call themselves, are also passionate about their regional kitchen specialties: from Fontina cheese to locally grown chestnuts. The natural alpine bounty is transformed by skilled chefs and knowledgeable mamas into superb dishes from the hearty and rustic to Michelin-star gastronomy. 

Below we are giving some suggestions on what to do while spending your holiday in Aosta Valley. Take a look at our list!

  • Walk across Aosta town area

Aosta is a very ancient city with a complex and charming history linked to the development and maximum expansion of the Roman Empire and trade, pilgrimage and journeys in the Middle Ages. 

For a more complete experience in the area, book a tour from professionals!  A qualified tour guide will show you the artistic excellence and curiosities, leading you through the historic center, reviewing the highlights pointing out the most secrets and suggestive corners. 

You can start your walk from the magnificent Porta Pretoria, the main gate of the Roman center. Then walk towards the stupefying facade of the Roman Theater and the amazing “criptoportico”, an underground gallery built to elevate the “Foro” temples. You will be passing by classic monuments and Medieval pieces of art such as “collegiata”, Sant’Orso cloister and the Cathedral with the two characteristic towers. 

The tour will end with a taste of typical products in a suggestive enogastronomic place of the center. An unedited itinerary all done on foot.

  • Monte Bianco on a cable Car

A spectacular excursion on Mont Blanc awaits you on board of the futuristic Skyway cable cars that lead from Courmayeur to Punta Helbronner station at an altitude of 3,500m. To enjoy it in its fullest, book a cable car tour. 

The rise is divided into two parts: the first one leads to 2.000 m of Pavillon du Mont Frety where lunch is expected at the return, while the second one instead reaches the highest point at Punta Helbronner. Where there are numerous panoramic terraces where you can admire Dente del Gigante, Cresta di Rochefort and the spectacular glaciers in the heart of the massif.

A day full of high-altitude emotions and top-level food and wine experiences in order to appreciate the extraordinary territory of the Tetto d’Europa.

You can choose to leave in the morning, go up to the highest point, go down to the Pavillon for lunch and then back to the meeting point. Alternatively, you can have lunch at the Pavillon and spend the afternoon at high altitude and get off at the cableway closure.

Don’t miss this spectacular experience!

Have you ever dreamed, as happens in fairy tales, of being inside a carriage immersed in white? Your dream can become reality.

A funny excursion in a horse-drawn carriage to safely enter and discovery the Gran Paradiso National Park, at an altitude of 1,680. The route goes into the wood inside the Park, offering to the participants the chance to observe the local flora and fauna, sighting the many mammals and rapacious that populate this corner of the Alps. 

Then take a short break with lunch on a farm with a typical tasting menu of the Aosta Valley in order to know the local specialties. This activity is suitable for couples and families with children of any age.

To experience the itinerary we just mentioned, book a horse-drawn carriage tour

The driver uses sleigh or horse-drawn carriage depending on the season and snow conditions. The itinerary and the duration of the activity do not change.

  • Relax at the famous QC Terme Spa

For those of you who enjoy a more relaxing way of life, visit the famous Spa in Pre-Saint-Didier.  The thermal waters always flow at a lovely temperature of 36 degrees and they are rich in iron.

The Spa has a huge outdoor area with a large jacuzzi pool offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. There are over 40 activities available, and a complimentary healthy snack buffet is included in the price.

Something Special: 

  • A full-day private tour Aosta Valley Castles

An exciting journey through time to discover the main medieval castles that characterize the Aosta Valley landscape, scattered in strategic positions along the central axis according to a brilliant defensive model that kept them in constant communication. 

On this private tour, you will be accompanied by an expert driver, who will take you to discover the six main castles of the Aosta Valley. You will have the opportunity to visit them inside and participate in the guided tour (in Italian) provided by the program conducted by the museum guides of the individual castles or you will be given a paper guide (in English) to learn about the history of these magnificent castles in your language. Between the visit to a castle and another, you will stop to enjoy a delicious lunch at the farmhouse and taste the typical products of the Aosta Valley.

  • Try Local Food

Of course, the part in which Italian are recognized everywhere cannot be missing in our what-to-do list. The food! Aosta is well known for cheese that locals produce but the area has a wonderful kitchen that is way wider in the tasting. You must give it a try!

Because of its mountainous terrain and cold winter climate, the food of the Aosta Valley is mainly based on hearty soups and filling dishes made with meat, sausages, and salumi (mostly from game, pork and beef) and sometimes, freshwater fish such as trout. Potatoes, polenta, bread (often rye bread), risotto, gnocchi and cheese are the other main staples!  In fact, this region is famous for its cheese, especially Fontina which is used in lots of recipes, as well as to make an Italian cheese fondue known as fondue.

Cheese and dairy products are used to enrich many recipes, much more than most other Italian regions. Apart from Fontina, there are quite a lot of different cheeses produced in the Aosta Valley. Most of these are cow’s milk cheese but there is also a small amount of goat cheese.

  • And… Pasta alla Valdostana

Pasta holds a special part in the local cuisine in Aosta Valley. You must try penne alla Valdostana and its heavenly taste. It is served immediately or baked the precooked pastaj and the sauce together for a short time before serving. Both ways are delicious!

They cook a number of different types of gnocchi dishes. The most well-known is gnocchi alla Bava, a dish in which gnocchi made with a mix of buckwheat and white flour are served with Fontina cheese, butter and nutmeg.

 

Well, Aosta is a fascinating place to visit and it offers the calmness that you need in your holiday. Pack your bag for a trip to Aosta Valley, and to make holiday better, we always suggest you to book a tour in the area. This way, you are free of problems that concern most of the tourists. An experienced guide, helps you understand the culture of the place you are visiting. Our professional guides will take you to the best places around and of course, you will have a great time!

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