CIPRA representatives:

Personal tools

  Search filter  

Via Alpina

May 22, 2014
The Via Alpina is a border-crossing hiking route through all eight Alpine countries from Trieste/I to Monaco. It is composed of five long-distance hiking trails (red, blue, yellow, violet, green) which are meeting places and experience paths that showcase Alpine living and nature spaces, and constitutes a physical link between the Alpine countries.
Image caption:
(c) Matthieu Chambaud - Slow Rando

The Via Alpina was created in the year 2000 by a group of alpine associations and public authorities led by the French association Grande Traversée des Alpes (GTA). CIPRA International has taken over the co-ordination in 2014 aiming to develop an hiking offer that integrates the features of sustainable development.

The Via Alpina…

  •  goes through Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco
  • comprises a total of 342 day stages over its five trails
  • has a total length of 5‘000 kilometres
  • was established on existing trails using signposts and information panels
  • leads from the Mediterranean coast (gulf of Trieste, Côte d’Azur) up to 3000 metres altitude (in the Ötztal Alps)
  • crosses some 200 municipalities on the way
  • has the motto “Discover the Alps!”
  • invites to go on an hiking adventure for a day, a week or several months
  • emphasizes the diversity of the Alps
  • creates added ecological, economic and social value for the regions crossed.

An exhaustive online guidebook in five languages provides information about the route, accommodation, nature and culture and gives important advice. In addition, the guidebook  contains important tips and experience reports from previous "Via Alpinists".

Beyond the tourist product, the Via Alpina is also a tangible symbol for the common Alpine identity and a platform for the realisation of trans-border initiatives for the sustainable development of the Alps. The Via Alpina has given rise to many pilot projects, such as an international quality guide for long-distance trails, an academic impact evaluation or a handbook about hiking as an instrument for the environmental education of the youth. The Via Alpina is also officially involved in the implementation of projects promoted by  the Alpine Convention.  In 2017, new strategic orientations were developed for the Via Alpina, which are now to be implemented jointly with all partners.

Hardly any other mountain region in the world is as rich in contrast as the Alps. We see the Via Alpina as a red thread between existing long-distance hiking initiatives and as a perfect showcase for the positive and also negative developments in the Alps. On foot the impressions are more numerous and formative than on fast journeys. Hikers to the north of the Via Alpina, for example, will notice the still impressive but shrinking glaciers as well as the ever-growing ski resort infrastructure, while in the southern part of the Via Alpina they will often walk through deserted valleys. A hike along the Via Alpina makes problems throughout the Alps tangible:   climate change, mass tourism, rural exodus, energy revolution, land degradation, social inequality. Yet a sheer unbelievable beauty and diversity of nature, culture and languages still exist in the Alps. This is the most important reason for a hike along the Via Alpina.