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Photo of Gran Paradiso National Park

Visit Gran Paradiso National Park

The Gran Paradiso National Park is to the south-west of the Valle dAosta region of north-west Italy. It was the first National Park to be established in Italy, in 1922 and based on a region deignated for the protection of ibex in 1856.

The highest point in the park, at an altitide of 4061 metres, is the summit of Gran Paradiso mountain.

Explore the Gran Paradiso National park

It is the wilderness and beauty of the Gran Paradiso National Park that is the main attraction - it contains a great deal of stunning mountain and valley scenery, interrupted by glaciers, flower-strewn meadows and crashing streams.


The variety of landscapes is also fascinating, with and agricultural land and woodlands (both coniferous and deciduous woodlands are found here) in the valleys giving way to alpine meadows, high mountains and numerous glaciers as you increase in altitude.

The park is broadly in three valleys - Cogne, Valsavarenche and Val di Rhemes. All three of these have visitor centres* and it is the first - Valle di Cogne - which is most accessible to visitors and the most popular with walkers. The other valleys in the Gran Paradiso Park are called Orco and Soana.

* These visitor centres are helpful and have a great deal of information, both to help you make the most of your visit, and about the natural environment - be sure to visit the one closest to you before you set off exploring, since they have recommendations about the best trails to follow etc.


Several short walks leave from Cogne, and guided walks that introduce the incredible range of flora and fauna in the Gran Paradiso National Park are also available. We enjoyed the short walk that leads to the scenic waterfall at Lillaz, a little way east of Cogne. The region around Valnontey to the south of Cogne also has short walks offering easy access to the dramatic scenery.

One particular noteworthy feature of the park, between Cogne and Valnontey, is the Paradisia alpine garden. When we visited in mid-summer the range of plants and flowers was quite astonishing and a highlight of our visit.

Along with the other wildlife in the park there are also thousands of ibex, which are the 'trademark' wildlife in Gran Paradiso, although for much of the year these remain above the treeline and you may not encounter them during a visit if you remain in the valleys, although walking quietly through the higher meadows and pastures they are quite a common sight.

View of mountains from meadow in Gran Paradiso National Park

Other common wildlife include marmots and eagles.

The most popular activities in the Gran Paradiso National Park are hiking, climbing and, in the colder months, cross-country skiing. Note that if you wish to climb Gran Paradiso itself you should start at Pont in the Vasavarenche valley.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Aosta valley guide.

See also: 

Map of Gran Paradiso National Park and places to visit


Gran Paradiso National Park places to visit

Fortress of Bard

Fortress of Bard

Both the medieval village and its renowned fortress make Bard a very interesting destination

Fortress of Bard guide
Great Saint Bernard Pass

Great Saint Bernard Pass

The Great Saint Bernard Pass, near the border with Switzerland, is a great place to enjoy stunning Alpine scenery

Great Saint Bernard Pass guide


Ivrea has much to discover including the cathedral and some ancient Roman ruins

Ivrea guide
Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and surrounded by various ski resorts and a great deal of outstanding scenery

Mont Blanc guide


Susa is visited for the ancient Roman monuments and for the proximity to very lovely mountain scenery

Susa guide


Highlights in Avigliana include the Egyptian museum and the nearby Abbey Sacra di San Michelle

Avigliana guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Aosta valley

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