The fourth and final stage of the viaSpluga, the 65 km long classic cultural and long-distance hiking trail, takes you from Isola through the San Giacomo Valley to Chiavenna. The village of Chiavenna, which sits at the exit from the Val San Giacomo and Val Bregaglia valleys, was regarded as an important stopping-off point back in Roman times. It enchants visitors from all corners, exuding a charm more akin to the countries of the south.
Distance 20.6 km
Highest point1,281 m
Lowest point311 m
The viaSpluga is a cultural and long-distance hiking trail in the central Alps which has linked the peoples ofthe German, Romansh, French and Italian-speaking regions, as well as the villages of Thusis and Chiavenna. The Via Spluga mainly follows historic mule tracks, whose original structures have largely beenpreserved or restored. The Via Spluga stretches for a total distance of about 65 km.
Stage 4 / Isola-Chiavenna: We descend into the valley in the direction of Portarezza-Campodolcino. You will want to stop and linger at the small plain in the middle of the steep mountain valley. The two pilgrimage churches, San Guglielmo and Santuario di Gallivaggio, remind us that the Splügen Pass was more than just a trading route, it was also well trodden by pilgrims. The viaSpluga trail reaches its conclusion in the village of Chiavenna. Back in Roman times, Chiavenna was an important stopping-off point on the routes from Italy over the Alps. (Splügen, Septimer, Maloja and Julier) Sights worth visiting in Chiavenna include the "centro storico", with its cobbled alleys, walkways and squares, stone bridges and fountains, churches, chapels and stately town houses. And if you've had enough of walking, th wines from the neighbouring Valtellina taste particularly good in the many crotti and trattorie.
It is worth making a detour to the Museo della viaSpluga e della Val San Giacomo in Campodolcino, which documents the history of the valley and of the transit route. The rocky slopes of the hamlet of Vho contain the so-called "Scribaìta" - an 8 x 12.5 metre gneiss slab with puzzling, rectangular, step-like recesses (Attention! It is not signposted). The pilgrimage church of Gallivaggio with the highest church tower in the valley is visible from far and wide. The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to two girls at this place in 1492. The historic centre of Chiavenna, with its characteristic narrow alleys, exudes an enchanting southern charm.
The viaSpluga is marked throughout from Thusis to Chiavenna as regional hiking trail No. 50, as well as with brown viaSpluga signposts.
Stage 4: Isola-Chiavenna: Following the course of the Liro through the shady chestnut forests of the San Giacomo Valley into Chiavenna with its air of southern charm. Leaving Isola, a country track runs along the left-hand side of the balancing reservoir to the dam wall. There is a rather steep descent down to the Liro. Keep to the left at all times until you get to the Ponte Granda Rossa. Continue along the right bank of the river, past Campodolcino (we recommend that you visit the viaSpluga Museum) and the balancing reservoir in Prestone and through one of the first large deciduous forests to the hamlet of Vho. After the plain in Vho, cross the Liro and switch river bank for a short time until Cimagangda. From here, the route continues along the right bank of the river as far as San GiacomoFilippo. Cross through the village of San Giacomo Filippo and, at the upper end of the village, rejoin the trail which rises once again to the end. Now take the high route from here via Bette to Chiavenna. The last section affords beautiful views of the town.
all notes on protected areas
Southbound by Rhaetian Railway to Thusis and by postbus to Splügen. Then by Italian bus over the Splügen Pass to Isola (Italy), Paese. Northbound by rail to Bellinzona and by postbus to Splügen, Post Office. Then by Italian bus to Isola (Italy). www.postauto.ch (Switzerland) www.stps.it (Italy)
Southbound on the A13/E43, in the direction of San Bernardino, "Splügen/Splügenpass" exit, via the Splügen-Pass road to Isola. Northbound to Chiavenna and the Splügen-Pass road to Isola.
Isola: there is a public car park to the rear of the village: Via alla Piota.
32T 525455 5143347
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Appropriate, weather-proof equipment is strongly recommended.
Basic Equipment for Hiking
Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
Layered, moisture wicking clothing
Rucksack (with rain cover)
Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
First aid kit
Kit para bolhas
Bivy / survival bag
Navigation equipment / map and compass
Emergency contact details
The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.