Valmalenco has a wealth of trails and refuges and offers something for everyone, from families with young trampers to experienced hikers who have higher goals in their sights, like Rifugio Marco Rosa at 3,600 metres above sea level, the starting point for climbing to the summit of Bernina.
One of the easiest trails for children departs from the Barchi hamlet, which is accessible by car and is a good starting point if you are staying in one of the many charming traditional baita mountain houses in the area. The 30-45-minute walk culminates at Lago Palù, a beautiful mountain lake.
Make the most of the long June evenings to walk around the lake and enjoy a delicious traditional meal at Rifugio Lago Palù. Their eggs with polenta and cheese is divine! Getting there is easy: take the aerial cable car from Chiesa in Valmalenco to Alpe Palù and walk 10 mins to the agriturismo restaurant. Prior booking is essential.
Instead of taking a trail to Alpe Palù, you could walk or drive from San Giuseppe to the small village of Chiareggio, which is only inhabited in summer. The village is the starting point for a host of magnificent walks, such as the trail to Rifugio Gerli Porro. This refuge also offers local dishes, ranging from tagliatelle with mushrooms, pizzoccheri and walnut tart, which is a specialty of the house.
Another option is the short trail to Rifugio Tartaglioni, where you can enjoy delicious apple fritters for afternoon tea. On the way home, stop for dinner at Hotel Chiareggio, which combines innovative modern dishes with traditional cuisine at reasonable prices.
Local products are a great way to remember a special holiday and Valmalenco offers plenty of choice, like fresh Alpine cheese, butter, milk and cream from Fattoria Lenatti, a couple of turns up the hill from San Giuseppe. The grocery store at San Giuseppe also has local delicacies such as venison salami and rye bread.
Are you an experienced Alpine adventurer? If so, you’ll love the glacier circuit above the Campo Moro dams. You can leave the car at the dams and set out on a 3–4-hour hike to the spectacular setting of the Fellaria glacier, which features giant blocks of ice that can break off and fall into the Alpine lake. Harder options include the climb up Sasso Nero (from Alpe Palù), which offers views of Bernina, or the climb up to Cima Scerscen (3,000 m alt.) from the hamlet of Bracciascia.