If you are a serious hiker, then the experience to hike around Europe’s highest mountain is no doubt on your bucket list. Now with Hooked on Walking, you can enjoy this exhilarating hike walking through magnificent nature with stunning landscapes of dramatic snow-capped peaks, picture-perfect alpine pastures and idyllic meadows seemingly all around you. During this self-guided hike around Europe’s highest mountain, you shall cross through France, Italy and Switzerland. On each section, you will experience unique architecture and cuisine as you cross borders. If you enjoy seeing rich fauna you shall see an abundance of different varieties of flowers which seem to bloom through spring and summer. For wildlife lovers, you are sure to come across chamois, marmots and many mountain species.
You shall start your hike in the Chamonix valley where you walk across the Alps and into Italy, then you head down to Courmayeur and again enter into Switzerland. You then return to France and the upper end of the Chamonix Valley where you will overnight in beautifully located mountain huts. The walks are on well-marked trails are satisfyingly long but never over exhausting.
The walks will follow well-marked trails and paths. The routes will sometimes involve steep ascents and descents but all manageable with a reasonable level of fitness. There is no scrambling required on this trip but a head for heights is best to enjoy this trip to the full as the views on offer are stunning!
This tour has a mixture of Hotels, Guest Houses and Mountain Refuges, bringing you closer to nature and the local life in the remote townships. Some of the more remote accommodations will have shared facilities.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Walking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
During the course of the day you can arrive in Chamonix and spend some time wandering through the streets of this beautiful city, alive with atmosphere. Maybe a little retail therapy in the many shops or spoil yourself and relax in the spa ahead of the hike.
Today starts with a bus from Chamonix to Les Houches followed by a cable car (Bellevue) up to 1800m. Here you will start today’s walk by following the edge of the mountain to the Col de Voza before you start the descent into the valley. Here you will see the traditional way that the locals make the roofs of the houses in the mountains using large flat stones. Continuing your walk through many quaint mountain villages on the valley floor, keep an eye out for Mont Blanc making an appearance dominating the skyline above. The last part of today’s walk is the trail along the Bon Nant river to Les Contamines.
You then continue, using the ancient Roman path and one of the most famous trails in Europe to cross the blooming meadows and stunning woodland to the refuge for the night.
The walk today takes you through the Plan des Dames and up the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) the up a little further to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2479m). A peculiar collection of stones marking the summit of the climb, it is worth a stop here to take in the magnificent views of the surrounding valleys that stretch out for miles around! From here you start the long descent through the open meadows of the Vallee des Chapieux, crossing small brooks and passing multiple mountain huts before reaching the tiny village of Les Chapieux.
Now for the longest and most demanding day of the holiday but definitely the most scenic, with very surprising landscapes all the way! After the last 2 days spent in France, it is now time to traverse the Col de la Seigne (2516m) into Italy through the Val Veny. The day starts off with a climb surrounded by pastures up the deep gorge with a lunar-like a backdrop. Looming large and dominant in the background, the Col de le Seigne and the Aiguille des Glaciers marking the border between Switzerland and Italy. Once at the top of the pass you will descend into the Val Veny Valley on the opposite side of Mont Blanc from where you can take in the magnificent views of the snow-capped peaks.
Today starts with a steep ascent followed by a generally flat walk through the woods and meadows to Val Ferret. Along the way passing many small brooks always with the impressive silhouette of the Grand Jorasses looming large. If you wish as an alternative you can spend time looking around Courmayeur and take the bus direct to Val Ferret (option until the middle of September).
This morning’s walk takes you uphill past ruined farmhouses, the marks the start of your journey into Switzerland. The first 4 km’s or so are a gradual 150m ascent along a surfaced road. Should you wish to avoid this section, you can take a bus directly from outside the hotel. From waypoint 4 a steep and rewarding climb takes you up to Rifugio Elena and then onto the border crossing to Switzerland at the top of the Col du Gran Ferret (2537m). From here you have views of the imposing Triolet and Pre de Bar and the receding Glacier. The descent that will follow is very wide and open with very little sign of human habitation, some mountain huts dot the trail as you go. You will then pass through the small hamlet of Ferret and onto La Fouly, where you will spend the night.
After the last few days of intense walking, today offers an easier walk. Although the route is quite long the elevation changes are not so pronounced. Starting from La Fouly, you will follow the river valley through many pastures and woodland, only interrupted by cliff walls and small streams. Then you will walk through the meadows to reach the stunning hamlet of Les Arlaches, with its many traditional houses made of both wood and stone. The last section is a long winding climb, not to steep giving a good chance to take in the views along the way. You then descend to the village of Champex-Lac by the lake, where you spend the night.
Leaving Champex-Lac for Trient you will walk over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2665m) from where you will descend along the Glacier du Trient. Trient (1300m) is a village on the pass road between Martigny and Chamonix. In the event of bad weather, there is an alternative route from Arpette to Trient via Champex-d’en Haut. This route takes in cool forests and beautiful alpine meadows that take you to the Col de la Forclaz, another important link between Switzerland and France. On this walk, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views as it reaches 2050m.
The last views of Mont Blanc are afforded today as you walk to Argentière. You are above the ski resort of Le Tour, from here you will hike to 2271m and Lake Charamillon. Continuing towards France along the immense Glacier du Tour is an exhilarating rocky trail along the mountain crest allows you to make the most of the views over the Glacier and the surrounding valleys. As you reach the border between Switzerland and France, you will see Mont Blanc shining white and dominating the skyline, especially on bright and sunny days. Descending the pastures on the last section of the walk, you arrive in Argentière.
Today’s walk is quite long, so start early! Beginning the walk, you will pass through the pretty village of Les Frasserands with the typical wooden houses of the French Alps. After the stunning botanical edged path, you start the ascent into the Aiguilles Rouges Natural Park. Here you have the choice whether you wish to continue the climb up to Lac Blanc (it does involve climbing an iron ladder, best not to do if you do not have a head for heights) or descend into La Flegere. The route is very panoramic, in front of you views of the Mont Blanc massif, with the Aiguille Verte, the Drus, the Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Blanc to name but a few! When you arrive in Planpraz a cable car will take you down to Chamonix, (bear in mind the last one is at 5pm!). If you are tired or short of time you can also take the cable car at La Flegere so, please take due consideration of the time.
There are 2 options for today’s walk:
Option 1: The slightly shorter option at 17.5km is expected to take around 8 hours to complete. You will ascend 1443m and descend 789m.
Option 2: This is longer at 19.5km and it takes about 9 hours to complete. You will ascend 1500m and descend 1380m.
The tour completes after breakfast unless you have booked extra nights with us.
BY TRAIN FROM PARIS – If you are flying into Paris you can take a train from Paris to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet and change to a local train to Les Houches/ Chamonix. The journey time from Paris Gare de Lyon is around 8 hours.
FROM GENEVA – It is possible to take a train from Geneva to Chamonix, but it is not recommended. It takes 3 hours and you need to get to a train station on the other side (you must change countries) of Geneva.
BY AIR – Your closest airport is Geneva Airport which is around 1.5 hours from Chamonix. There are normally several buses a day from the airport to Chamonix.
2021 Prices – For complete tour price breakdown please click the book now button and select your holiday tour date. Prices will then be listed.
|Tour Code||Prices From (per person)||Book Now|
|MBlanc (10 Nights)||from £1417||Book Now|
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