Winter walking vacation in Italy

“Enjoy a wonderfully scenic winter walking vacation based in Cogne, heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park in the majestic Graian Alps.”

Highlights

Gran Paradiso National Park | Graian Alps | Cogne | Lillaz | Optional skiing | Gerard Dayne house | Aosta | Epinel | Valnontey |

Travel Team

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Date
Price
Basis
11 Jan 2020
US $1545
excluding flights
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25 Jan 2020
US $1545
excluding flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Jan 2020 departure
08 Feb 2020
US $1705
excluding flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 08 Feb 2020 departure
07 Mar 2020
US $1675
excluding flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 07 Mar 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Winter walking vacation in Italy

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend the nights in a locally owned boutique hotel, where they employ local staff and use local produce for meals provided. This ensures that our money spent stays within the community, economically benefitting them. The hotel is also known for its private spa, La Baita, where they utilise solar panels to heat up the spa. When meals are not provided, our local guides encourage and recommend clients to visit local restaurants and cafes to try local specialties.

Activity:
Walking trips have very little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents. The flexibility of traveling by foot also allows easy access to the local population, shops and restaurants facilitating cultural exploration. Whenever possible we use public buses to travel to different towns thereby supporting local facilities and providing employment for the locals. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, however this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants and purchase traditional gifts and souvenirs to support local craft especially in villages of Cogne and Valnontey.

During the trip, clients get to enjoy a free day where they can engage in optional activities such as cross country or downhill skiing, or to just admire the traditional local architecture and iron mine museum. Cross country skiing requires no ski lifts or groomed pistes and leaves no impact apart from tracks in the fresh snow. Other optional activities like downhill skiing are equally eco-friendly. By visiting this remote area, we offer mountain communities alternative low impact forms of winter tourism and provide economic support to these communities.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help clients understand how they can help reduce their impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from our visit.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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