A relaxed and inspiring journey traversing the spectacular mountain alps across France, Italy and Switzerland.
Discover a trekking experience like no other, combining breathtaking vistas, delightfully quaint historic villages, and warm and inviting locals offering deliciously hearty and hospitable nourishment at the end of each day. This journey – wandering over mountain trails connecting France, Italy and Switzerland – takes in some of the most iconic mountain terrain anywhere in the world – and is uniquely designed to be entertaining, inspiring and relaxing, including a full day of relaxation at the renowned Pré Didier Spa and a gourmet celebration in French cuisine at La Maison Carrier. Experience thermal pools, stunning lakes, spectacular mountain passes, easy transportation, regular rest stops, delicious local food and so much more.
Trek the Alps is your ticket into the spectacular walking trails that meander through the iconic mountain ranges of France, Italy and Switzerland.
Relaxed, inspiring trekking
Our journey takes us counter-clockwise around Mont Blanc, starting southeast from Chamonix, then through Italy and into Switzerland, before coming back down to Chamonix. This journey is about finding the perfect balance between walking and discovering, so most days will begin with a continental buffet breakfast at our inn, followed by a day of relaxed trekking, with plenty of opportunities to stop along the way and enjoy the captivating views, explore local villages or refuel at a local alpine café. In the evening we’ll come together to enjoy dinner at our inn or a nearby restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, often featuring local French, Italian and Swiss specialties, and will definitely be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious.
Chamonix – the epicentre for trail hiking
We begin our epic journey at Chamonix – the home to mountain trekking for more than 150 years. We’ll give you a day to settle into this famous mountain town at the base of 15,777-foot tall Mont Blanc, and Day Two will begin with an introductory hike to the spectacular Lac Blanc. This high-mountain lake sits in the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Preserve, a rugged ridge across the valley from Mont Blanc, and commands one of the greatest mountain views anywhere. We’ll make good use of local cable cars to enjoy more time hiking near the lake, and keep an eye open for bouquetin – a mountain goat with long curved horns frequently sighted in this region.
On Day Three we begin our journey south. Starting at the steps of the old church in Chamonix, we’ll pass through undulating trail that leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, over the Tricot pass and through the quaint Miage Valley, one of the prettiest corners of the Tour du Mont Blanc. Passing through a tiny hamlet of stone houses where cows and horses graze peacefully surrounded by hanging glaciers, we’ll hike to the small village of les Contamines.
Day Four sees us following an old Roman trail, with a long, steady ascent across Col du Bonhomme. After lunch near the pass, we’ll descend into the Valle de Glaciers and stay in a popular hikers’ inn, Refuge des Mottets.
We leave France on Day Five, with a gradual ascent through quiet alp pastures that leads to the Col de la Seigne and into Italy. Here you’re greeted by an amazing view into the Veny Valley and the Mont Blanc range. We’ll continue down into the medieval village of Courmayeur, with narrow, cobblestoned alleyways and a lively, pedestrian-only core.
A day of relaxation and rejuvenation
Just to prove this journey is about relaxation as much as inspiration, Day Six will be spent in Courmayeur, giving you a chance to soak in the hot spring spas at nearby Pré Saint Didier, where thermal waters flow from the heart of the mountains. Relax tired muscles with over forty different treatments, including hydro massages, wellness treatments and sensory pools. Or simply enjoy this atmospheric village with cafés, bakeries, gelaterias, and no shortage of sidewalk cafés. A skyway cable car ascends high above the valley to the upper reaches of Mont Blanc for stunning views.
‘Roughing it’ in the famous Refuge Bonatti
Rejuvenated from a day of relaxation, we’ll take our time leaving Courmayeur on Day Seven, passing through forests and high pastures to Col Sapin, with its striking views of the Mont Blanc massif. We’ll then descend to one of the most famous mountain huts in all the Alps, Refuge Bonatti— a cozy stone building in bucolic Val Ferret, which offers hearty local meals and a lively, fun ambience. We’ll ‘rough it’ tonight, staying in dorm spaces without our baggage.
A week into our epic adventure, Day Eight will lead us to the Italian side of Mont Blanc, where the Grand Jorasses rivals Mont Blanc as the focal point of our views. Today is a full day, as we’ll tackle the challenging Grand Col Ferret, one of our highest points of the trip, on the Italian-Swiss border. From here, we’ll meander through beautiful, rolling green hills, home to contented cows and on to the quiet village of la Fouly. We finish with a gentle climb up to the quiet Swiss village of Champex.
Return to the magnificent Mont Blanc
Day Nine leads us through woods, meadows and farms, as we climb to the height of land above Champex, with views of Switzerland’s Rhône valley and the historic city of Martigny, below. We’ll enjoy a break at a high mountain buvette, or café, before descending to our evening at Col de la Forclaz and the small mountain village of Trient.
Our last day of hiking around Mont Blanc is a classic, as we climb to the Col de Balme pass on the border with France. Enjoy gorgeous views of Mont Blanc and the entire Chamonix valley as we cross the pass and descend to la Tour. Alternately, we can follow the Ultra-Trail Mont-Blanc running route through the Vallorcine valley and through the Aiguilles Rouge Nature Preserve. We finish as thousands of runners and hikers have in the past century, by running through the Chamonix valley to the steps of the church where our adventure started.
You made it!
Day Eleven and the hard work of trekking is over! It’s time to enjoy a rest day in lively Chamonix, riding two trams to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi, the highest mountain peak served by a lift. Upon return, we can visit the Mountain House and learn about Mont Blanc, view the rich alpine history of the region in the Alpine Museum, or simply enjoy taking time at one of the many cafés that line the car-free streets of Chamonix. We’ll conclude the day with our group celebration dinner at Maison Carrier, enjoying stunning French cuisine while we relive our adventure through three countries over 12 days!
Adieu to the Alps…Via Dubai!
Day Twelve is our time to bid adieu to the Alps. We’ll leave Chamonix for the short shuttle bus ride back to Geneva airport, to begin our journey home. And for a complete contrast to the rolling hills and serenity of the Alps, we’re taking you home via a two-day stopover in Dubai, for a completely different cultural experience, complete with amazing shopping and nightlife.