On Foot in the Alps from France to Italy to Switzerland

Overview

Circling Mont Blanc on foot is one of the “Great Hikes of the World”—a delightful experience of the scenery, cultures, and culinary traditions of the three countries surrounding western Europe’s highest peak. We’ve honed our version of this great journey to utter perfection, with impeccably planned hiking days bringing you across the Alps from France to Italy and Switzerland. Each day you’ll revel in glorious mountain-and-glacier vistas, with overnights in cozy hotels and hiker’s inns, all topped by savory meals reflecting each region’s specialties. Our experienced guides are the best in the Alps, and they’ll share it with you in style!

We really enjoyed this tour. The route was excellent as was the level of activity, and the guides added to our overall enjoyment of the adventure. The location of the tour was the ultimate part of the experience.
— Liz S. Los Gatos, CA

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Chamonix / Les Contamines

In the mountaineer’s paradise of Chamonix, our warm-up hike brings you to the jagged needles of the Aiguilles Rouges and mountain-ringed Lac Blanc. Setting off on your journey, you’ll hike beside the vast Bionnassay Glacier, cross a pass with fine views of snow-covered peaks, and descend to charming Les Contamines.

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Days 3-4
Into Italy

Our challenging hike over two passes brings you to remote Les Chapieux, where we overnight at a family-run auberge. After visiting a local cheesemaker (superb Beaufort!), we hike across the border and enjoy fantastic vistas of Mont Blanc’s 11,000-foot-high southern face as we descend to the stylish town of Courmayeur. On one festive evening we may find ourselves passing the traditional grolla bowl (espresso and grappa—flambé!) to toast our day’s adventures.

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Days 5-6
Val Ferret, Switzerland / Champex / Trient Glacier / Col de la Forclaz

Our hike into Switzerland via the Grand Col Ferret traverses the Val Ferret, with its alpine meadows, fast-flowing streams, and traditional wooden chalets. From lakeside Champex, hike switchback trails up to the Fenêtre d’Arpette (8,750'), a dramatic pass overlooking the magnificent Trient Glacier, or take a lower elevation route and descend right along its edge to Col de la Forclaz.

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Days 7-8
Col de Balme / Chamonix

Climbing through larch forests to the Col de Balme, we cross the border from Switzerland back into France. Savor jaw-dropping views of Mont Blanc while descending into the Chamonix Valley—circuit complete! Depart on Day 8.

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Highlights

Highlights

One of the world’s classic hikes—and we do it in style!
Enjoy magnificent mountain and glacier views and hike across three international borders on foot
Delicious regional cuisine, from French tartiflette and Italian pasta to Swiss fondue
Overnights in mountain villages with great charm and character

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $4395  
Arrive: Chamonix, France
Depart: Chamonix, France
Lodging: 5 nights hotels, 2 nights small inns with semi-private rooms
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

7 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 6-8 hours a day, altitudes between 4,000-8,800 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.