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Mountaineering villages: from the Western Alps to the Mediterranean Sea

Jul 05, 2021 / Caroline Begle, CIPRA International
The “Mountaineering Villages” initiative unites small communities in the Alpine region that focus on gentle tourism and nature conservation. Now there are six new members from Italy, Austria and, for the first time, Switzerland.
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"Less, but better" is the motto of the mountaineering villages. Their focus is on an authentic experience of nature, regional added value and living customs. They also provide an impetus for sustainable Alpine tourism that will conserve resources while preserving nature and the landscape. Selection is made according to strict criteria: for example, the villages are to be small, the village itself and the landscape must be intact and without sizable winter sports facilities, and there should exist a tradition of nature-oriented mountain sports. Thanks to its underlying values, the Mountaineering Villages Initiative is a recognised implementation project of the Alpine Convention, which was launched by the Austrian Alpine Association in 2008 and extended to other Alpine countries in 2016.

The year 2021 has seen new additions in Austria, Italy and, for the first time, Switzerland. The Austrian Alpine Club has included Göriach in Lungau and Steinberg am Rofan, the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) has expanded into the Western Alps with the successful nomination of the villages of Balme in Piedmont and Triora and, with St. Antönien and Lavin, Guarda and Ardez, the Swiss Alpine Club SAC has launched the initiative in Graubünden. "The mountaineering villages fit perfectly with the values of the SAC and we are delighted to be part of this network", enthuses SAC President Françoise Jaquet. The international network of mountaineering villages forms the basis for exchanges that will allow the villages to inspire each other with fresh ideas and support each other's experiences. The mountaineering villages can furthermore achieve visibility both at the national and international level and reach over 2.5 million members through the Alpine clubs involved.


Source and further information: (de)