The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Mountains and bears and wolves! Oh my!
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 18240
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.
Gran Sasso ‘Large Rock’ in Italian accurate describes this region. The Gran Sasso National Park is home to the second largest mountain range in Italy, beaten only by the Alps.
Our two centre holiday starts in the typically rural Italian Caramanico Terme where many of our walks focus around the Majella and Gran Sasso National Parks and its high-altitude peaks of Monte Morrone and the impressive Voltigo Valley.
Rocca Calascio, our second centre offers rustic charm under the watchful and oddly securing gaze of the town’s mountain fortress perched high above. Along our walks the region offers possibilities to spot chamois, fox, golden eagles and we are lucky the possibility of the Apennine wolf and bear.
At the Refugio Della Rocca we now have the opportunity for you to share a Mixed Dormitory Room with Shared Facilities should you wish.
Our third centre moves onto our Explore Abruzzo holiday where we’ll spend our time walking through remote valleys, always accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide. On one day we will concentrate on the spectacular geology, on another look out for deer and chamois. From our remote walks we have the best chance of seeing signs of the wolves and bear that live in this remote valley.
From Pescasseroli we do not have to walk far to get back to nature and on one evening we will head out with our local guide to follow the Wolves howl. Basically, this tour has great walking, wildlife opportunities and can be combined with Hike Gran Sasso to make two great weeks in Italy's Upland Wilderness.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We fly into Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and transfer 2 ½ hours by road to the spa town of Caraminico Terme, deep in Majella National Park in the heart of the Apennines.
We start the day at the Bruno Pomilio mountain hut at Maielleta in the heart of the Majelleta National Park. At 1950m this allows us to begin the walk high up. From here our high-level ridge walk offers outstanding views of the Adriatic coast. On a clear day you can see all the way from Ancona in the north to the Gargano peninsula in Puglia. Looking west we can see where our walks on other days will take us. Initially the ridge is broad and grassy, with low mountain pine bushes. There are several peaks on the way; just past Monte Cavallo (2171m) we come to the Tavola dei Briganti. 200 years ago the brigands left engraved words and symbols describing their lives and beliefs. As we climb towards Monte Focalone the vegetation dies out as we enter the high-level world of rock and vast mountain landscapes.
This is a half day walk through a limestone gorge where wild flowers will be in abundance, particularly in spring. There are three bridging points to the river in the gorge and the walk goes out on the south side and returns on the north. The walk starts near the Majella Park information centre allowing us to explore the centre for 15-30 minutes before setting off. There is also an Otter sanctuary where they are preparing to re-introduce otters to the valley.
Back in Caramancio Terme we will have some time to independently explore the town. Later in the afternoon we will go for a second shorter walk to visit the hermitage of Santo Bartolomeo, a church constructed in a cave half way up the walls of a limestone gorge a short distance north of Orfano. The Abruzzese Pope, Celestino V, was a hermit here between 1274-1274 and rebuilt the church in the late C13th before he rejected and resigned as pontiff as a protest against the corruption in the church.
Our final day in the Majella National Park starts at Passo San Leonardo at just under 1300m. From here we climb to Monte Mileto, then follow a high level broad grassy ridge to the Rifugio Capoposto. On the way we pass ice houses and in the high pasture near the mountain hut wild Apennine spinach grows. The return route cuts back through beech forests to the Passo San Leonardo.
On the way to our second centre on the slopes of the Gran Sasso we walk in the impressive Voltigno valley between beech trees and across a karst plateau. The valley lies at some 1500m, a broad grassy plateau edged by forest. We will also get our first view of the vast high-level plateau of Campo Imperatore and be able to see across to the high mountains of the Grand Sasso. This is yet another area rich in wild flowers.
We continue to Rocca Calascio at 1464m, undoubtedly one of the most spectacularly situated and remarkable places in which you will ever stay.
Today we walk on the slopes of Monte Camicia, reaching the viewpoint on the summit of Monte Tremoggia to see Camicia’s north face rising 1200m almost vertically above the valley, giving it the nickname of the Eiger of the Apennines. You are likely to see swathes of stella alpina (Apennine edelweiss) and herds of chamois. Our walk starts and ends on the Campo Imperatore but on our return we will call at the mountain village of Castel del Monte (1300m), an ancient settlement whose houses have been built shoulder to shoulder around the hillside. There are no doors on the outside, just five gates that let you into the central part of the town. The village also has a local museum which portrays the story of transhumance between the mountains and Puglia.
Seasonal local conditions will determine which walk we do today. Corno Grande is the highest peak in the Apennines. This walk starts at the Albergo Campo Imperatore at 2138m. We ascend the west peak (highest) ‘Occidentale’; from the summit we can look along the knife edge ridge to the lesser 2903m east peak ‘Orientale’ a kilometre away. There is also a wonderful view north into the glacial bowl which contains the most southerly glacier in Europe and Corno Piccolo (2655m) beyond. This is a high level, rough mountain walk with short sections of scrambling.
If the weather is not good or the winter snows have not yet cleared to allow us to climb Corno Grande safely we will instead complete a circuit including Monte Aquila, the nearest major peak to Corno Grande, from where will can appreciate its impressive southern aspect.
After breakfast, we transfer to our Third Centre at Abruzzo and check into the Hotel Iris. There may be time for an orientation walk of the town before we meet for dinner.
Our walk from Pescassaroli starts in magnificent woods where trees take on fairy-like forms and we may well encounter foxes and roe deer. Once above the tree line we continue to the summit of Monte Tranquillo (1841m).
Our walk starts by climbing through beech forest from the small village of Civitella Alfedena. There are occasional clearing and the good quality pass makes the ascent less tiring. On reaching Passo Cavuto at 2002m we are rewarded with spectacular views – Monte Amaro to the north, Monte Petroso to the south, and also the wooded wildlife refuge of the Camosciara. Our descent takes us through the Val Risione and the Jannanghera beech forest whose name comes from the local word for a witch. On the way down there are great views over Lake Barrea. On returning to Civitella Alfedena we can have a look around the older parts of the village and visit the museum dedicated to the Apennine wolf.
Today we walk close to Pescassaroli in the Terraegna valley including the most ancient parts of the forest. A pleasant hike will bring us to an observation point, from where you can see the main peaks of the Central Apennines and admire the patches of old-growth forest of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. We continue downhill to the Terraegna cabin where we will take a relaxing break for lunch, surrounded by large expanses of meadow which are frequented by deer, foxes and wolves. In the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park scientists have found the oldest beech forests of Europe. It is a complex and very rich ecosystem, whose functioning we are just starting to understand. Our local guide will be only to happy to tell you more!
On our winter trips to the Abruzzo we have arranged an optional visit to the Abbey at Monte Cassino. We anticipate that a similar excursion will be available through our local guide on this holiday.
Today consist primarily in a visit to Scanno, the most historical and culturally fascinating town in the Abruzzo, combined with a short walk between the Hermitage of St Egidio and a magnificent viewpoint over Lake Scanno, known as the lake of the heart. Scanno still has palaces and fountains built in a bygone age. Its wealth came from herding lace-making and filigree jewellery, still in evidence today. Scanno’s location surrounded by mountains and its steep streets, archways and buildings huddled together form one of central Italy’s little-known gems.
This walk offers the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views and observe chamois amidst the rocky ridges and golden eagles in their natural setting. Lower down we may catch a glimpse of deer, and this is also the terrain of the Marsican bear (endangered and restricted to this area) and of course the Apennine wolf. Departing from Pianoro delle Forme we rise through beech forest, then emerge onto high-altitude plateaux once frequented by shepherds. The ascent from the Passo dei Monaci to the summit of Monte Meta (2241m), the highest point in the Mainarde mountain range, is optional but well worth the effort. From here the view extends over the three sides of the Abruzzo National Park and beyond, towards the Gran Sasso of Italy, the Maiella massif and, in optimal visibility conditions, towards Capri and Ischia. It is said to be the only place in Italy from where the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas are visible.
We leave the wilds of the Abruzzo for our return journey to Rome Fiumicino Airport and our flight back to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
29th May 2021 - 12th Jun 2021 (14 Nights)
12th Jun 2021 - 26th Jun 2021 (14 Nights)
11th Sep 2021 - 25th Sep 2021 (14 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
The three-star Hotel Ede is located in the thermal town of Caramanico Terme in the heart of the Majella National Park. It is the perfect location for nature lovers and walkers as it offers easy access to some great trails. The hotel's restaurant serves local cuisine, the wellness centre offers a jacuzzi, sauna and massage room and there is a bar. Rooms are all en suite with telephone, hairdryer, safety deposit box and TV. Complimentary wi-fi is available in public spaces.
The Hotel Eded is a short walk from the local village which has all the amentities you would expect including ATMs, Super mercato, Banks, shops and bars.
This is a truly magical place to stay. Situated in the village of Rocca Calascio perched just below the famous tower, the Rifugio della Rocca offers a characteristic restaurant and bar, and the “albergo diffuso”, a hotel whose lovingly restored rustic rooms, with its original decor, are placed in various buildings in this rural village.
This ancient and somewhat deserted village has lovely cobbled streets with no street lights so if you will definitely need to bring a torch to move around in the evening, even back from dinner. There are no shops with ATM's nearby so it suggested if you do need cash to get it on the walks.
Rooms are comfortable, with heating, some with fireplaces, all however are furnished to keep the characteristic and rustic style of the region. All are equipped with bed linen and towel.
This system of rooms offers a truly magnificent rural mountain village stay where waking up is simply wonderful: you wander up to the fortress at sunrise and the skyline in every direction stretches out to mountain ranges lit up by the early morning sun.
On the ground floor is the hotel reception, bar, large lounge area with sofas and a fireplace and a dining/breakfast room. The basement has a games room with billiard table.
Rooms have en-suite bathrooms, satellite TVs and some have balconies and great views of the surrounding mountains.
Typical cuisine from the Abruzzo region is served in the restaurant as well as a breakfast buffet each morning.Free Wi-Fi is available.
This is a Grade 6 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent with walks in remote areas. Paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 900m of ascent and descent. The maximum altitude for this holiday is 3,000 metres.
Please see the Proposed Itinerary section for more information.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Italy
The currency in Italy is the Euro.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
Our flight depart from London Heathrow to Rome Fumicino Airport with British Airways.
Once we land the transfer to our first hotel in Caramanico Terme will take around 2 hour 45 minutes. On days five and eight we will have an all day transfer from centre to centre as we will incorporate a walk making the day more than just a bus ride. At the end of two weeks it is back to Rome Fumicino Airport which from Pescasseroli will take around 2 hours 45 minutes.
Getting to and from our walks will take differing amounts of time which you will see in the itinerary but all will be by private transportation.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Torches / Headtorches
On this holiday you will find it extremely helpful to bring a head torch or hand held torch to assist you.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Italy
Electricity in Italy is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Italy
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Italy.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
Italian Laws & Customs
In some Italian towns and cities you may be fined for dropping litter and in some towns or cities it’s an offence to sit on monument steps or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of main churches, historic monuments and public buildings. It’s also an offence to enter or bathe in public fountains.
In May 2019, the Municipality of Capri introduced a law forbidding the use of any disposable plastic objects such as bags, cutlery, plates, cups, food packaging, trays, straws on the island of Capri. Violations can incur a fine of up to 500 euros.
Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities, particularly tourist cities like Florence, Venice and Rome. Don’t buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.
It is illegal to remove sand, shells or pebbles from coastal areas in Italy. Doing so may result in heavy fines. It’s also forbidden to collect various species of flowers, plants and herbs from mountain and wooded areas. For more information, check with the regional authorities of the area you’re visiting.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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