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The route

The route is varied and beautiful. The hike goes from valley to valley, so the scenery changes often and most days are a rewarding hike. On the other hand, this also means that day hikes can be long. A 'normal' day on the route has about 1000 m ascent to the pass and a similar amount descent and a distance of 10-12 km, but on some days the altitude gain or loss is more than 1500m with a hiking distance distance of around 16 km. On such days, it pays off to start early. Also be mindful of the sun: in particular on longer days, the exposure can be tiring and it is a good idea to rest in the shade whenever possible.

Most of the route is not technical; sections near the mountain passes can be a little steep, or exposed, but no special safety equipment is needed. Before setting off on a long route like this, try a few day hikes or a weekend with one or two nights in the mountains to gain experience with the hiking, your equipment/outfit, etc.


Lodging varies from mountain huts and Posto Tappa to hotels that often offer special deals for GTA hikers. In our experience, it is not necessary to book lodging far in advance. However, it does make sense to plan a few days ahead, in particular around weekends and in busier valleys. In most places, the owner/host will be happy to help with reservations, calling ahead to the next town, and may be able to suggest alternatives if a place is fully booked. The cost of half-board accommodation is normally between 40 and 55 euros per person. In some places, you pay separately for the bed (10-20 euro per night) and for meals.

What to bring

There are many resources with in-depth discussions of hiking gear as well as advice for what to bring. Please look around and check what others have to say about this topic and adapt to your needs. Here is a short list of notes from our experience.

  • Clothing: besides your hiking outfit, bring at least one set of clean clothes for the evenings in the huts and a (fleece) sweater/vest as well as a rain jacket or poncho in case the weather turns bad
  • Foot wear: most huts don't allow hiking boots in the sleeping areas, so bring sandals, light shoes or some other form of indoor/evening footwear
  • Bedsheets/liner + (lightweight) towel for your stay in the huts
  • Water: most days, a 1.5l bottle will suffice; there are often springs or water fountains in mountain villages/farms along the route
  • Sun protection: sun screen is necessary; a hat is very useful on sunny days with long stretches above the tree line
  • Money/cash: always carry cash for 2-3 nights; most places accept card payments, but in remote locations cash can be the only option
  • Food: it is convenient to carry lunch items, so that you can stop and have some food when you like; plan ahead: there are stretches of 2-4 days without shops

Other resources

There are various other online and written resources about the GTA. We try to keep a somewhat complete list here, so feel free to suggest additions.


When hiking the GTA, having a guidebook is highly recommended. Recently, some Italian guidebooks have appeared, but there are also some excellent (and often older) guidebooks in other languages.

  • GTA Teil 1: der Norden and Teil 2: der Süden from Werner Bätzing. This is the original guidebook. It provides a lot of background information, but is also bit heavy to carry. Only in German and Italian.
  • Through the Itailian Alps by Gilian Price
    This is the guidebook that we used when hiking the trail. Nicely written and clear descriptions, with some interesting information about the regions etc. The maps are for overview only. This book describes the trail from south to north.
  • Rother Guide: GTA - Grande Traversata delle Alpi. Very detailed guide. Also describes variants in some locations. Available in English, German, French and Italian.

Online resources

These are some other websites about the GTA

  • Klingenfuss has the longest-standing webpresence about the GTA; some practical information available, but no GPS trails. Parts of the website have been translated to English and Italian
  • Official website of the GTA, maintained by the Regione Piemonte. Has a short description for every stage and photos/scans of the maps.
  • Ignace Fermont's website (in Dutch) gives a nice quick overview.

Other mountain hiking sites

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