Italian Alps Travel Guide

The scenic Italian Alps are a masterpiece of lush valleys and pine forests set against the backdrop of jagged white peaks that stretch through the clouds. Towns nestle in the valleys and ski chalets nuzzle in crevices offered by the generous mountains. Access to the area is provided by train or bus routes snaking through the Alps, but the international cable car connection over the mountains from Chamonix, in eastern France, is by far the most spectacular way to enter the region. Tourists flock to this famously beautiful wonderland, with its largely French influence.

The Gran Paradiso National Park is a sublime experience of waterfalls, cliffs and pristine vegetation. Hiking is a big attraction along the mountain trails that run for miles and are interrupted only by occasional mountain huts. The best months for walking are July to September, when most of the snow has melted into the thirsty soil.

Italy's best ski resorts are in the Valle d'Aosta, within the shadows of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Courmayer and Breuil-Cervinia are both world-class resorts and the skiing is augmented by the Italian's love for cuisine and fine wines. The Italian Alps ski resorts generally cater for all levels of experience.

The valleys and higher mountains of the Italian Alps experience different climates, both in winter and summer. In winter, the mountains are snow-covered but are generally sunny with surprisingly warm daytime temperatures, while the valleys are often foggy. In summer, the valleys experience warm, clear weather, while the mountains are covered in clouds. The altitude means that nighttime temperatures will always be quite cold, while summer tends to be the rainy season, with frequent thunderstorms. The warmest temperatures, in winter and summer, are found in the Italian Lakes region.