Pilgrimage #5

Switzerland, Italy, and France

Classic: July 25-August 15, 2021 (22 days) 

Section 1: July 25-August 4, 2021 (11 days) 

Section 2: August 4-15, 2021 (12 days)

Pilgrimage #5

Switzerland, Italy, and France

Classic: July 25-August 15, 2021 (22 days) 

Section 1: July 25-August 4, 2021 (11 days) 

Section 2: August 4-15, 2021 (12 days)


The coast of France, the mountains of Switzerland, and the beautiful cities of Italy are just some of the places included in this pilgrimage. We will be hiking, biking, rafting, and kayaking along the way. Some of our pilgrimage destinations include islands in the Mediterranean, high mountain passes between Switzerland and Italy, and, of course, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

“The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ”
– Pier Giorgio Frassati


The cultural sites listed are only those with an entrance fees included in the pilgrimage cost– we do not list all of the cultural sites we will be seeing for free. The outdoor adventure information is listed to give you a general idea of the difficulty level of the pilgrimage– please scroll down further for information on possible accommodations to lessen the activity level of the outdoor adventures.

The Island Abbey of Lerins (Days 1-3)

Kayak around the 5th century Abbey of Lerins on the island of Saint-Honorat in the Mediterranean. Experience the stillness of prayer with the monks and the stillness of the sea surrounding the island before kayaking back to the coast and heading towards the alps!


  • Kayaking: Two days of 2-4 hours each

The Alps (Days 3-10)

We have put together a wonderful alpine itinerary that allows you to experience some of the richest spiritual heritage of the alps while also enjoying some of its most beautiful hikes. Walk in the footsteps of St. John Paul II and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati while immersing yourself in the nature and culture of these majestic mountains. The Great St. Bernard and the Sacra San Michele are some highlights, and you will also have the chance to raft in the shadow of Europe’s highest mountain: Mont Blanc.


  • Hiking: Five days with an average of 3 or 4 hours per day. Amount of elevation change: High
  • Rafting: Intermediate
  • Climbing: (optional) Instead of one of the hikes you may do a via ferrata that reaches the same destination. This is not an official part of the pilgrimage. A via ferrata is a hiking/climbing route with a cable running along the whole way that you are constantly attached to. This particular via ferrata is rated as easy-intermediate for a via ferrata.
  • Sacra San Michele
  • Museum of St. John Paul II

The Italian Lakes (Days 10-13)

After all of our alpine hiking, we will rest on the beautiful Lago Maggiore at the foot of the alps. Visit the cliff-side Hermitage of St. Catherine before taking a ferry to the Borromean Islands and visiting the palace there with its stunning gardens. Kayak to an island on nearby Lago d’Orta to pray with a flourishing convent of nuns.


  • The Hermitage of St. Catherine [Classic, Section 2]
  • Borromean Palace and Gardens [Classic, Section 2]
  • Kayaking: 1-2 Hours [Classic, Section 2]

Frassati’s Alps (Days 13-17)

The Sanctuary of Oropa is large complex dedicated to Our Lady near Frassati’s summer home in Pollone where Pier Giorgio used to love to go to mass and hike. After hiking Mont Mucrone, and taking a dip in the lake if you like, we will also visit Pollone and all of the sites related to Pier Giorgio there as well as some other alps in the area.


  • Hiking: Two days with an average of 4 hours per day. Amount of elevation change: High

Cinque Terre (Days 17-20)

Enjoy a kayaking, a hiking, and a biking pilgrimage during this stay. Explore the colorful fishing villages, eat fresh seafood, and relax at our lodging at a sanctuary on a hill in the middle of a vineyard and olive grove overlooking the sea. Discover the rich spiritual tradition around the Cinque Terre that is often forgotten.


  • Hiking: 1.5 Hours per day on average; Amount of elevation change: High
  • Biking: 2 Hours; paved bike path; Amount of elevation change: Low
  • Kayaking: 5 Hours

Florence and Rome (Days 20-22)

The last portion of our pilgrimage visits two of Italy’s most beautiful cities: Florence and Rome. We will spend some time relaxing with the saints and beautiful art and architecture of Florence, and we will go to mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and visit the Vatican museums in Rome. In both places, we will enjoy the small streets, the beautiful piazzas, the musical Italian language, and some delicious food.


  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence
  • The Vatican Museum


Step 1. Sign up – Deadline: March 1, 2021. An extra fee may apply to late sign-ups. Max capacity: 30 people

Step 2. Registration – We will e-mail you the supplemental packet to fill out and ask that you complete it by March 1, 2021 or 7 days after signing up– whichever is later. No deposit is required for summer 2021 pilgrimages.

Step 3. Payment & Confirmation– The payment deadline is March 15, 2021. Payment is 100% refundable for COVID-19 cancellation reasons. Please wait to buy your plane tickets until you receive a confirmation from us.

Pilgrimage Details


  • Pilgrims must be at least 18 years old.
  • Pilgrims must be able to carry all their belongings in a backpack.
  • Only a basic level of fitness is required. Accommodations can be made, but you must discuss it with the staff before the trip. Some examples of accommodations may include: skipping activities, shortening routes, or taking an alternative mode of transportation like a gondola, train, or taxi.


Each pilgrim must have health insurance. We highly recommend purchasing travelers insurance as well.

Spiritual Formation

Daily Mass, morning prayer, evening prayer, and the rosary are all part of the trip. There will be a chaplain available for you and a spiritual reading packet provided based on the saints encountered on the trip.

Intellectual/Cultural Activity

Booklets with information for site visits and short readings will be distributed that will be presented and discussed by staff and pilgrims. The staff will be reading Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis this summer and discussing it informally. If you would like to join the conversation, read it yourself at home, on the plane, or during the pilgrimage!

Lodging in Religious Housing

Usually, you will have one or two roommates, sometimes more, and occasionally you may have a single room.

We do not have a standard single supplement fee because it is not always possible considering our unique accommodations in religious houses, but talk to us if this is something you are interested in.

It is possible that some rooms may only have a sink or a shower inside with a bathroom in the hall. We will stay in one alpine “refugio” high in the alps which will involve multiple bunk beds in one room for backpackers. We cannot guarantee these rooms will be separated by gender, but we will try our best.

Free Time

There is plenty of free time incorporated throughout the pilgrimage to relax, shop, explore, or whatever you might want to do.

Packing List

We will send you a detailed packing list when you are confirmed on the pilgrimage.


Staff will be at the airport on the morning of arrival day to greet you. The official pilgrimage start time is noon– please arrive before then. If you arrive before or after that day, you will need to make your own arrangements.

Classic and Section 1: July 25, 2021, Nice Cote d’Azur Airport (NCE)
Section 2: August 4, 2021, Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)


The official pilgrimage end time is 7 am on departure day. We will arrange transportation to the airport. If you are staying later, apart from the pilgrimage, or leaving early, you will need to make your own arrangements.
Section 1: August 4, 2021, Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Classic and Section 2: August 15, 2021, Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO)


This pilgrimage (Classic or Section 1 only) can be combined with, beforehand, Pilgrimage #4 France (Classic or Section 2 only). See the Pilgrimage #4 France page for trip details, and send us a message for the rest of the information.

Contact ALP

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