6 days-5 nights
Gran Sasso, Abruzzo
8-12 km per day
200-600 m per day
The excursion is not particularly difficult on a technical level. You’ll need to be in good shape and capable of hiking between 7-14 each day with a pack on your back and gains of as much as 600m.
The best way to discover Abruzzo is to immerse yourself in its rugged, wild nature and let yourself be carried away by the fascination of discovery. Most of the region’s mountainous areas have been protected by parks and reserves for years. Standing out among these are two massifs that are close geographically, but radically different in appearance and habitats.
With the severe, imposing summit of the Corno Grande, the Gran Sasso massif jealously guards Europe’s southernmost glacier. Amongst its barren, vertical rock faces, the scenery is almost Alpine. This is the mountain of Abruzzo par excellence, bordered on the southern side by the high plateau of Campo Imperatore, a boundless karst plain of breath-taking beauty.
A little further south is the fascinating ridge of the Majella massif, the “mother mountain” for the people of Abruzzo, guardian of history, nature and man. It is the mountain of silence and spirituality, a land of shepherds, hermits and brigands, but also an extraordinary repository of nature, with a wealth of plant species and endemic flora.
An experience in a unique and enchanting area, characterised by magnificent scenery and reserved for those who love long days in nature. A combination of adventure, discovery, exertion and amazement.
Long days in nature, alternating with moments of relaxation, good food and delicious local wines in the authentic context of the Abruzzo hinterland
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.
DAY 1 – Calascio and the fortified stronghold
Meeting with guides in the charming village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Presentation of the programme and short transfer to Rocca Calascio. We visit the charming ancient stone-built village and the ruins of the castle, the natural set for the film Ladyhawke. On our return to Santo Stefano di Sessanio, we pass the picturesque octagonal church of Santa Maria della Pietà and wonderful fields of lentils and other pulses. Relaxation in the hotel and dinner.
3 hours’ walking – 150 m ascent – 150 m descent
DAY 2 – Discovering the Little Tibet
Breakfast, meeting with the guides and departure by e-bike to Campo Imperatore, discovering the immensity of the high karst plateau as we pedal. With the speed and wind in your face, you’ll feel like you’re flying through the Gran Sasso mountains! Lunch along the way with arrosticini, the famous grilled skewers of mutton. In the afternoon, arrival at Castel del Monte, short visit and relaxation. In the evening, return to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
4 hours – 400 m ascent – 400 m descent
DAY 3 – Cathedrals of stone
After breakfast, short transfer and departure for the long hike to the saddle of Monte Aquila (2,335 m) and Campo Pericoli at the foot of the Corno Grande (2,912 m). On the circular walk, we observe most of the peaks in the Gran Sasso massif. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon, relaxation and dinner with local products.
6 hours – 600 m ascent – 600 m descent
DAY 4 – The sources of the Tirino, Italy’s cleanest river
We leave Santo Stefano di Sessanio for Capestrano to admire the crystal-clear waters of the River Tirino, one of Europe’s clearest rivers. In canoes, we paddle through an environment of authentic charm. Lunch at the Terre di Solina agritourism and transfer to the Majella National Park. Short walk at sunset to discover the history of the “mother mountain”, once home to monks, hermits and shepherds. Back down to the valley, accommodation in B&B, dinner and overnight stay.
3 hours – 150 m ascent – 150 m descent
DAY 5 – Walking on the moon
Breakfast with local products and transfer by car to the Pomilio Refuge, from where we take the path to Monte Acquaviva (2737 m). After passing through dense dwarf mugo pine scrub, we come to the Tavole dei Briganti, then on up to the panoramic Fusco Bivouac and imposing rock amphitheatre of the Murelle. From there, the view extends over a barren, rocky, desolate environment. If you look carefully, you can see rare, endemic plant species that survive as if by miracle on the surface of this lunar landscape. On a clear day, you feel as though you could dive into the sea. Back down to the valley in the evening, dinner and overnight stay.
8 hours – 600 m ascent – 600 m descent
DAY 6 – Among hermitages and villages, a timeless charm
After breakfast, preparation of luggage and check out. The last day is dedicated to an easy walk in the Orfento Valley, a fairy-tale place shaped by the force of the water which has created soaring walls, caves and waterfalls across the limestone rock. All this is framed by dense green riparian vegetation, giving the water a distinctive colour. In the late morning, back down to the valley, lunch at the agritourism and departure of participants.
2 hours – 120 m ascent – 120 m descent
€ 1160 / per adult
Guide and organization
Accommodation half board treatment in a hotel
What is not included
Extra and personal expenses
Accommodation is offered in double rooms in a characteristic family-run hotel.
Breakfast is both sweet and savoury, with plenty of homemade cakes and good coffee. In the evening, we’ll enjoy dishes from the peasant and rural tradition, from soups made from pulses grown around Santo Stefano di Sessanio, to refined desserts with saffron from L’Aquila.
The region still produces many typical cheeses, such as “canestrato” from Castel del Monte, together with “mortadellina” cured pork sausage from Campotosto and the famous arrosticini. The various dishes will always be accompanied by a full-bodied Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine.
Lunches are not included, but every morning we’ll be able to buy a packed lunch from the local shops and bakeries, or we can stop at the mountain refuges to make the most of our days in the open air.
Requests for vegetarian, vegan or special dietary requirements can be accommodated, so please remember to indicate these preferences when booking.
When the snow has melted and the beech forests and boundless pastures are tinged with green again, the Abruzzo mountains become irresistible. We therefore recommend this trip between May and July, when the mild climate extends from the villages on the valley floor to the peaks of the Gran Sasso and Majella, letting us stay outside for most of the day.
Check availability on calendar dates.
Layered clothing is the smartest way to stay at just the right temperature, between the long pauses alternating with more intense hours of walking. Even at low altitudes, you’ll need warm, windproof clothing at dawn and sunset.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
Soft duffel bag or rucksack
Daypack (25+ litres)
Waterproof jacket with hood
Fleece jacket or similar
Lightweight trousers with pad
Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)
Water bottles or water bladder
E-bike Giant Fathom 29′
If your trip is cancelled due to Covid choose from free date changes, or a full refund.
Sure can! Over 30% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
This trip is especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.
Ask for a private tour if you need an exclusive experience. Send us an e mail and we’ll answer you back with the quotation.
Temperatures and sunset are agreeable in summertime: July and August. Obviously some day could be cold or rainy: our guides will study alternative propose to offer you the best experience. Be sure to be well equipped for each weather condition.
Our guides are registered at the list of Collegio Guide Alpine Abruzzo and subscribed a professional insurance.
We suggest you to book on line travel insurance with World Nomads. They offer insurances designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a little village on the bottom of Gran Sasso Mountain Range. You can reach it FROM ROME (Highway A24 Rome – L’Aquila) highway A24 until L’Aquila Est and keep following SS17 till Barisciano and Santo Stefano di Sessanio. FROM PESCARA (Highway A25 Roma – Pescara): from Pescara follow A25 till Bussi/Popoli. Keep following SS153 till Capestano and then SP7, crossing Calascio, you reach Santo Stefano.
It’s possible to reach Santo Stefano di Sessanio by bus from l’Aquila railway station. Check the timetable on Tuabruzzo. For those who come from Rome it is possible to check the timetable of Flixbus or Prontobus company that connects Roma and Ciampino airports to Abruzzo.