Route mapping

Maps needed

The sequence given follows the route in an anti-clockwise direction. Map titles are bracketed if they have already been quoted (the return track is sometimes close enough to the outgoing track to appear on the same map).

Map numbers are coded with the following prefixes:

  • 'K' - Kompass walking maps 1:50k titles
  • 'IGC' - Istituto Geografico Centrale (IGC) 1:50k titles
  • 'IGN' - French Institut Geographique (IGN) National 1:50k and 1:25k titles
  • 'S' - Swisstopo 1:50k titles
  • 'FB' - Freytag & Berndt 1:50k titles
  • 'SAC' - Slovenian Alpine Club / Planinska Zveza Slovenije 1:50k titles

In several countries I've chosen digital mapping if this is cheaper. Swiss paper maps are very expensive, as unfortunately is their digital mapping. Swisstopo publish titles with the same references, but without a 'T' suffix that offer the same cartography with no path overprint - these are half the price, but much less useful. Digital mapping is not available for Italy, however Italian cartography by IGC and Kompass is good.

Overview mapping

The route covers such a big area that one needs overview maps to grasp where places are.

FB The Alps 1:500k: This is a route finding map for motorists with no topography, which shows roads, towns, borders and water features. It is double-sided and one needs both sides. I bought two copies so I could see the route without always flipping the map, and marked up the whole route.

Detail mapping

The Via Alpina site has schematic mapping for the entire route. Compared with 1:50k maps, there are significant differences of cartography, distance and elevation.

Even using digital mapping, 43 paper maps are needed, which is a major expense. The weight and volume of these preclude using them on the trail without an elaborate poste restante scheme. Furthermore, maps are often unavailable locally so I definitely favour buying maps before setting off.

My experience of European poste restante is patchy - items sometimes arrive quickly, and if they are not collected within a short time, they are returned to sender. Sometimes one ends up waiting for them to arrive, and sometimes they are returned to sender months after sending them. I read with envy how our American friends rely on 'bounce boxes' for long walks, and I cannot recommend poste restante for anything vital.

My choice was to buy all the titles, then scan and mark up all map sections needed, then to double side print the map sections onto lightweight A4 paper.

The five digital mapping products yielded similar map strips and the entire route was condensed to 144 double-sided sheets. As the reprint cost of the route is then low, I can afford to send multiple copies of route sections to await my arrival. Moreover, the map weight per 100km walked is reduced five fold.

  • France
  • K640 Nice-Monaco-San Remo
  • Italy
  • IGC14 San Remo Imperia Monte Carlo
  • IGC15 Albenga Alassio Savona
  • IGC8 Alpi Marittime e Liguri
  • IGC7 Valli Maira Grana Stura
  • IGC6 Monviso
  • IGC1 Valli di Susa
  • IGC2 Valli di Lanzo e Moncenisio
  • IGC 3 Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso
  • IGC 9 Ivrea Biella Bassa Valle d'Aosta
  • IGC10 Monte Rosa Alagna e Macugnaga
  • Swiss-Italian borders
  • K117 Zermatt - Saas Fee
  • IGC11 Domodossola et Val Formazza
  • K110 Valle Maggia - Val Verzasca
  • S267T San Bernardino
  • K92 Chiavenna - Val Bregaglia
  • K93 Bernina - Sondrio
  • K96 Bormio - Livigno
  • K52 Vinschgau - Val Venosta
  • K98 Unterengadin
  • Austria
  • Bundesamt fur Eich und Vermessungswesen (BEV) Austrian Map Fly (digital mapping)
  • Italy
  • K53 Meran und umgebung/Merano e dintorni
  • K54 Bozen/Bolzano
  • K55 Cortina d'Ampezzo
  • K58 Sextner Dolomiten/Dolomiti di Sesto
  • Austria
  • (BEV Austrian digital mapping)
  • Slovenia
  • FB WK141 Julische Alpen
  • SAC9 Karavanke: central Area
  • Austria
  • BEV Austrian digital mapping
  • K221 Grazer Bergland
  • K210 Wiener Hausberge-Rax-Schneeberg
  • K212 Hochschwab Mariazell
  • K69 Gesause-Pyhrn-Eisenerz
  • Germany
  • Bayeriches Landesvermessungsamt Bayern Sud digital mapping: poor quality but usable.
  • Liechtenstein
  • K21 Feldkirch-Vaduz
  • Switzerland
  • S247T Sardona
  • S246T Klausenpass
  • K116 Vierwaldstatter See-Luzern
  • K108 Gotthard-Grimsel-Susten-Furka-Oberalp
  • K84 Jungfrau region, Thuner See-Brienzer See
  • K114 Saanenland-Simmental-Gstaad
  • K115 Val d'Anniviers-Val d'Herens-Crans Montana
  • S272T St Maurice
  • France
  • IGN 3530ET Samoens 1:25k
  • Switzerland
  • S282T Martigny
  • Italy
  • K85 Mont Blanc
  • (IGC 3 Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso)
  • France
  • CartoExploreur 73 Est Savoie (IGN digital mapping)
  • CartoExploreur 05 Nord Hautes Alpes (IGN digital mapping)
  • Rando Editions Ecrins 1:50k (GR54 extension)
  • France/Italian borders
  • (IGC No. 6)
  • (IGC No. 7)
  • France
  • CartoExploreur 06 Nord Alpes Maritimes (IGN digital mapping)
  • (K640 Nice-Monaco-San Remo)