5 Star Review: Walking the Via Francigena from Lausanne to Ivrea

5 Star Review: Walking the Via Francigena from Lausanne to Ivrea

 
We are grateful to Markus, a traveller from Germany, who wrote this stellar review of his experience walking the first stage of Italy's Via Francigena in July, 2021. Read on to discover the review of his journey that took him from Lausanne and the Great St Bernard Pass in Switerzland, over to Ivrea in Italy. Find the affordable self guided walking tour here.
 

 
My four friends from the US and I decided to use UTracks for our self-guided walk along the Via Francigena from Lausanne to Ivrea this summer, after our plan to do the walk in 2020 was thwarted by the pandemic and our original agent withdrew the itinerary for 2021. 
 
Mountain views are superb on the Via Francigena near Ivrea
 
UTracks arranged a bespoke walk for us, arranging  accommodation which ranged from 4* hotels to agriturismos, after we asked that no stage should be longer than 25km. (In 2019 we were caught out by the heatwave in France and often struggled with some of the very long stages.) The logistics of the tour worked very well: luggage transfers all went off without a hitch, and every hotel had our reservations. The mix of hotels was interesting, too, and all had clean rooms and bathrooms where everything worked. 

Walking the Francigena Way in Switzerland to the infamous Great St Bernard Pass on the border of Italy |  <i>Stephane Engler</i>
 
As for the walk itself, it was simply stunningly beautiful, and even my friends from Colorado, who have walked the Tour de Mont Blanc, were impressed by this section of the Via Francigena. There was good signposting everywhere, and we also had our route apps, as well as maps and route guides supplied by UTracks. Moreover, unlike our experience in France, we always found opportunities to stop for water and refreshments along the way. 
 
The historic Great St Bernard Pass refuge nestled between a lake and soaring mountains on the Via Francigena in Switzerland |  <i>Stephane Engler</i>
 
The Via Francigena is much less well travelled than the Camino de Santiago, and often the path is no more than a narrow track. Over the whole fortnight we encountered only four other pilgrims walking the VF! However, we found that the deeper we walked into Italy the more like the Camino the walk became: signs became larger and more evident, and the locals more appreciative and supportive. Some sections have the reputation for being ‘difficult’: our experience was that it was all manageable but we were indeed grateful for waterproof boots and walking poles. 
 

 
This walk is very highly recommended, and UTracks did a great job for us. Given the uncertainties surrounding all aspects of travel this summer, due to the pandemic and countries introducing quarantines, vaccination certificates, locator forms etc, UTracks were as flexible and helpful as anyone could ask for. Right up until a few weeks before the start date of our trip it was still unclear whether travellers from the US would be allowed into Europe this year, yet UTracks accommodated us. Thank you, Gordon and Nicola! 
 
In the end, we were never asked to produce a vaccination certificate, nor to fill out a locator form nor check in to a single restaurant. Europe is open for travellers.
 
 

There are multiple ways to discover the Via Francigena in Switzerland and Italy with UTracks. 
 
Are you interested in walking the Via Francigena, Italy's version of the Camino? Let us know in the comment section below!
  
 
Via Francigena, Lausanne walking tour, Ivrea walking tour, Lausanne to Ivrea walking tour, Great St Bernard Pass walking tour, Via Francigena self guided walking tour

Comments (9)

Ellen

You mention doing the Camino on foot or by bike but is there an option to cover any of it on horseback like you can on the other Caminos?
I ask because I can ride, and care for an equine having been a horse owner for many years, and due to the fact that I have hypermobility syndrome. I fear that I will never get to ever complete or even partially complete a Camino due to the physical attributes needed for such a journey. The Via Francigena is my choosen path (Italy has stolen my heart and never returned it) though, I'm unsure of it's grading in terms of ability. I'm sure that I have read it's difficult in places and I corresponded with a South African lady a few years back who in her 70s and without any prior or particular fittening regime, managed through the help of a company. At the moment, I'm just at the thought stage, though I've been here for quite some years now. I would appreciate any feedback to help me realise and fulfill my dream. Thank you, from Ellen, England.

last month
Ellen

You mention doing the Camino on foot or by bike but is there an option to cover any of it on horseback like you can on the other Caminos?
I ask because I can ride, and care for an equine having been a horse owner for many years, and due to the fact that I have hypermobility syndrome. I fear that I will never get to ever complete or even partially complete a Camino due to the physical attributes needed for such a journey. The Via Francigena is my choosen path (Italy has stolen my heart and never returned it) though, I'm unsure of it's grading in terms of ability. I'm sure that I have read it's difficult in places and I corresponded with a South African lady a few years back who in her 70s and without any prior or particular fittening regime, managed through the help of a company. At the moment, I'm just at the thought stage, though I've been here for quite some years now. I would appreciate any feedback to help me realise and fulfill my dream. Thank you, from Ellen, England.

last month
William from UTracks

Hi Ellen,

Thanks for getting in touch and it's great to hear you're interested in completing the Via Francigena on horseback. While you can experience the Camino de Santiago by horse, we're actually not sure about the Via Francigena (not our forte, unfortunately). Someone from our team will reach out to you by email.

All the best with achieving your dreams of exploring Italy and the Via Francigena.

Cheers,
Will from UTracks.

last month
Liz

Interested in this trail for sometime 2022. Lets keep in touch.

last month
William from UTracks

You've chosen a magnificent trail to keep your eye on, Liz. Alpine views, ancient history, and the spirit of the Camino. We'll be in touch to help you organise your trip.
Cheers,
William from UTracks

last month
Sue Kennedy

I absolutely have this route firmly in my future travel plans for Sept 2022. I have very itchy feet right now😉

last month
William from UTracks

You're not wrong, there are a lot of itchy feet at the moment, Sue! This is a great route, all we can say is that good things come to those who wait. Do let us know how we can help you make this trip happen.
Cheers,
William from UTracks.

last month
Jo lyns

I am interested in this walking route

last month
William from UTracks

Hi Jo,
That's great to hear! This section of the Via Francigena is gorgeous - as you can tell by Markus' review. One of our friendly team will be in touch with you to help you organise this walk.
Cheers,
William.

last month
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