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The Aosta Valley

In less than 1 hour drive from Turin you can easily reach the area of the Western Alps. A unique place, with a typical alpine scenery, deep valleys, lakes, summits crowned with castles and the beautiful villages of the valley.

The Aosta Valley has many interesting landmarks such as Mont Blanc, the highest point in the Alps and of Europe, and other major mountains like Monte Rosa (4,683 meters), the Matterhorn (from 4810 meters) or Gran Paradiso (4,061 m) at the Gran Paradiso National Park. This was the first italian natural park, which was created to protect the alpine ibex -a symbol of the park- and other alpine species. Here are around 2000 different species of vegetation amongst the 5,600 varieties cataloged of the entire Italian flora.

Cows are the queens of the valley. If visiting in spring and fall, sure you'll be there to witness the "Bataille de Reines" exhibits (battle of queens), that farmers organize in the region to establish the reign of these cattle, which is decorated with bouquets of flowers to distinguish her from the others. It is a fascinating spectacle that locals and tourists enjoy.

We were lucky to happen to be there for a Sunday's battle of queens in the pretty village of Cogne, at the foot of Gran Paradiso. Thousands of people come this far to enjoy a nice day outdoors and admire closely these animals. It's a little shocking of a show for outside but it is a bloodless event for animals.

These cows produce Fontina, a cheese with denomination of origin in the valley. Another typical food of the region is the motzetta, served thinly sliced ​​as an appetizer, accompanied by rye bread. Or the jambon de Bosses, which is seasoned with herbs de Provence.

The Aosta Valley is a place of myths and legends, with magnificent castles that dot the whole place. It has a rich heritage that boasts over 100 structures from medieval castles, watchtowers or churches that can be visited.

And as of the first of November, the ski season opens in the tracks of Cervinia and Valtournenche. Cervinia is known as the "land of many waters" by the many rivers and lakes that surround it. It is also one of the most famous ski destinations in the Italian Alps.

Also Chamois, that happens to be the highest village in Europe, at 1815 meters. A pretty village between idyllic landscapes, with a nearby alpine resort. It has five ski slopes and alpine hiking trails of striking beauty.

One of the most frequent visits made in the Aosta Valley is the ascent of Mont Blanc, starting from the village of La Palud. A funicular ride somewhat intimidating for those who suffer from vertigo, but it's worth to have a 360 ° view over the entire Alps. The ride has two stops: one at 2000 meters, where you have a restaurant to test their culinary specialties in a pleasant terrace. You can also visit the alpine botanical garden. The second stop is the Torino refuge, at 3,375 meters. From the cable car stop, you still have to climb a very steep metal stairs and if you're lucky and the sky is clear, you can enjoy the magnificent views of the snowy mountains.

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!

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Father Christmas also lives in Switzerland

Did you know that you don't need to travel to Lapland to visit Father Christmas? That's one of the things that makes him so magical - he has the gift of being in more than one place at once! From the end of November to 24 December you can also find him in the charming town of Montreux, in Switzerland, just over one hour by train from Geneva Airport (allow a little more if you're travelling by flying sleigh).

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Monte dei Cappuccini

On the right of Po’s bridge and near Piazza Vittorio Veneto lies Monte dei Cappuccini , a hill from where you can admire the wonderfulviews Turin has to offer. Of great importance to the Capuchin friars that are in Santa Maria del Monte’s convent, it has also been since ancient times a pilgrimage destination for the more spiritual ones.

Initially built for defensive purposes, the convent building dates back to the thirteenth century. In 1988 was built a funicular railway, but bombings during the war had destroyed it, although the walk well worth it, about 15 minutes from the Church of the Gran Madre di Dio will be enough to get there, and if you are lucky and you have a clear day, you can spot the Alps.

If you still need any more reasons to go to Turin and up to this beautiful hill, the Museo Nazionale della Montagna is another reason that may finally convince you.

Picture: Geobia

Why not take a trip to Turín? Have a look at our flights here!

 

 

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Skiing in Europe

For those of you who love winter sports... The ski season has begun! Step out of your comfort zone this year and find new challenges in new places. Top quality snow, modern facilities, stunning scenery and, last but not least, a great après-ski atmosphere! Here is a selection of the best ski resorts in Europe:

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