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WALKING ALONG THE VIA SPLUGA (SPLÜGEN): FROM SWITZERLAND TO ITALY

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHT WALKING TOUR

 

 

 

The Via Spluga is a cultural hiking trail in the Central Alps that since two centuries unites the towns of Swiss towns of Chur and Thusis with the Italian town of Chiavenna. It is a very suggestive route through a beautiful mountainous landscape with pastures, brooklets, waterfalls and lakes. The Splügen Pass (2115m) has played a central role in the history of trade and communication between the two sides of the Alps : it is also the most direct connection between Southern Germany and Northern Italy. Already during Roman times goods were transported by pack animals or with small carts. You will walk along trails and well preserved mule tracks. The route starts in the Swiss town of Thusis and passes Zillis, Andeer and Splügen. Then it start to climb towards the Splügen Pass at 2115m. Now you enter Italy and start your descend with great views to Isola and Chiavenna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Programme

 

Day 1

Arrival in Thusis (CH)

Upon check-in, you will be given an additional information pack (one per room) that will also contain vouchers for entrance to the points of interest that you will come across en-route and the parking pass. Thusis is situated 720 m above sea level and is the main centre of the Hinterrhein district, in the Canton of Graubünden, at the northern exit of the Gorge of Viamala, at the confluence of Nolla with the River Hinterrhein. Just like Chiavenna, Thusis is the gateway to some of the most important Alpine passes of which the most important ones are San Bernardino and Splügen.

 

Day 2 

Thusis - Andeer (CH).

Today's route will bring you to Andeer passing the stunning Viamala Gorge. You can visit the Church and Museum of Zillis and have a well deserved relax in the Termal bath of Andeer. The village of Andeer (982 M a.s.l.l) developed mainly after the improvement of the Viamala road in 1473, which was very important for trade of goods from Germany to Italy. Because of the presence of thermal waters it became an important tourist centre.  In 1982, a thermal establishment was opened (with waters at 34°). The establishment includes an indoor swimming-pool, an outdoor swimming-pool and, of course, a therapy area.  

Thusis – Verlorenes Loch – Zillis – Andeer Ascent-Descent: +1100m – 720m; distance 15,5 km/9,6 miles; walking time about 5-6 hrs

Or

Thusis/ Sils – Traversina – Zillis – Andeer Ascent-Descent: +1240m – 880m; distance 18 km/11,2 miles; walking time about 6-7 hrs

 

Day 3 

 

Andeer – Splügen (CH).

Today again beautiful views of the surrounding mountains will accompany you. Highlight of the today's is the Roffla Gorge, like the Viamala modelled by the river Hinterrhein over millions of years, digging two deep gorges into the rock. The Roffla Gorge (Rofflaschlucht) is between Sufers and Andeer. The Roffla Gorge is extremely interesting, even if less impressive than the Viamala. Christian Pitschen-Melchior, the owner of an inn, started to dig a path into the rock, leading to the heart of the gorge, next to the waterfall. It took him 7 winters of hard work, but satisfied the Roffla Gorge was finally accessible and more and more visitors started to come.

You will have an overnight in the beautiful village of Splügen (1457 m), which has a very important role within the itinerary of the Via Spluga: the pass and the path have been named after it. Originally it was inhabited by Romansh settlers; then, at the end of the 13th century, the Walsers came and brought their typical architecture which can still be seen in part of the village. From the second half of the 20th century, it became an important tourist destination, especially for winter sports, above all after the construction of the highway tunnel of San Bernardino (1967). In Splügen there is also the Ethnographic Museum Rheinwald (Heimatmuseum Rheinwald), which tells the history of traffic and transit on Alpine passes of Spluga and San Bernardino .

Ascent-Descent: + 530m/-170m; distance 14,5 km/9 miles; walking time about 5-6 hrs

 

Day 4 

 

Splügen Way – Isola (IT). 

Today you start the climb towards the Splügen pass. Then you descend and reach Montespluga (1908 m), just situated just below the pass of Splügen, upstream from the homonymous artificial lake (the biggest of the valley, formed in 1931 at the end of the construction of the dam). The small centre still preserves its ancient structure, with houses in row along the main street (that leads up to the Pass) and the little church dedicated to Saint Francis. Today's walk ends in Isola (as well as Montespluga) is part of the Madesimo Municipality (the only one in the valley which is not touched by the path of the Via Spluga). Isola (1268 m) is situated upstream from the homonymous artificial lake. In the past, it played an important role along the Via Spluga, because it is located where the Gorge of Cardinello starts, a strategic point on the ancient path that crossed the Spluga Pass.

Ascent-Descent: + 700m/-900m; distance 17 km/10,6 miles; walking time about 6 hrs

 

Day 5 

 

Isola Way – Chiavenna (IT).

Today you descend to Chiavenna. A nice stop along the route is MUVIS, the museum of the Via Spluga in Campodolcino. The town of Chiavenna is situated in the heart of Valchiavenna: named Clavenna by the Romans, it was a strategic transit point towards northern Europe since the times of Emperor Augustus. In the historic centre of Chiavenna, there are two churches which are worth a visit: the church of San Bartolomeo and church of Santa Maria. The piazza Rodolfo Pestalozzi is very beautiful: ancient Cantón, the most elegant part of Chiavenna.

Ascent-Descent: + 160m/-1080m; distance 18 km/11,2 miles; walking time about 6-6˝  hrs

 

Day 6 

 

Chiavenna

Today you have a free day in Chiavenna. You could visit the monuments in the centre of town, visit the Bottonera mill, Palazzo Vertemate Franchi (1,5 km from Chiavenna) and after it the Acquafraggia waterfalls or make a beautiful ring walk in the national park 'Parco Marmitte dei Giganti'.

 

Day 7  

Departure after breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

The walking holiday include:

  • 6 Overnight stays in hotel in cat A or B (double room, B&B) 

  • 4 Packed lunch

  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel (1 bag maximum 15 kg)

  • 1 trekking map

  • tracks for gps

  • 1 entry to the Rofla Gorge

  • 1 entry to the Via Mala Gorge 

  • 1 entry to the St. Martino Church and the regional museum in Zillis

  • 1 entry to thermal bath of Andeer (max. 2 hours)

  • 1 entry to Museo of the Via Spluga in Campodolcino

  • 1 entry to Mill of Bottonera in Chiavenna

  • 1 entry to Palazzo Vertemate Franchi in Piuro

  • tour information

 

Period

Daily from 10 June till 22 October

Level 3

The tour is only suitable for fit and trained walkers. It requires basic experience in walking in high mountains terrain with now and then narrow trails and significant differences in altitude. Not suitable for children under 12 Daily distances between 14,5 and 20 km (9-12 miles). Route is well postmarked.  Total kilometres (miles): 68 km

Price p.p. 2017

Category B

Sharing a double room with breakfast € 575,00

In single room  € 730,00

Travelling alone  € 730,00

Category A

Sharing a double room with breakfast € 690,00

In single room  € 860,00

Travelling alone  € 860,00

Half Board supplement (6 dinners)   € 155,00

Dogs € 12,00 per night

Extra packet lunch € 12,00

Participants

Minimum one person