While the Via Alpina is one of the most spectacularly beautiful, culturally interesting, and historically significant hiking trails in the world – it is not the most physically challenging. There are plenty of very tall peaks with the possibility of altitude sickness for less-than-physically fit people, but with a little bit of reasonable preparation and the proper knowledge and gear, anyone can have a marvellous journey on the Via Alpina. Below are some of the most vital tips for having a great hike.
Seasons to Hike the Via Alpina
Let’s begin with when to go: the prime hiking season in the Alps usually starts in May and ends by late September. Be aware that will this is the best time to go weather-wise; that also means it is the worst time to go if you want solitude. The trails are very popular with hikers from all over the world during the peak summer months, most especially. Summer temperatures are typically a perfect 59ºF to 75ºF but conditions and be cooler and wet during summer storms at altitude.
Equipment for the Via Alpina
As far as what to bring with you on your trek, that is largely a matter of choice. There are campsites along the trail, but since there are so many alternative route options that lead to towns and villages, the trail is hardly remote in most places. Re-supplying with food and water is almost always easy even if you don’t carry a full back-packing rig. Besides, sampling the local cuisines is a huge bonus of Alps travel, and most huts have kitchen facilities if you want to cook your own food.
A simple sleeping bag should be more than comfortable when lodging even at the more Spartan huts. In the early and late-season summer months, there is almost always plenty of space available in the hut systems along the Via Alpina. At worst, you might not get your first choice if you failed to make reservations. However, in July and August, particularly if you’re hiking with a group, it’s crucial to plan ahead and secure reservations… else you might not all be able to stay together. The official Via Alpina web site at www.via-alpina.org lists a lot of information for huts, lodges, chalets, and hotels for each stage of the trail. You’ll even have access to WiFi internet and wireless phone service in a lot of places, especially hotels!