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Walking in the French & Swiss Alps Overview
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Walk through France and Switzerland to discover the natural beauty of the Alps
Hugging eight European countries, the 1,200-km-stretch of the Alps is a year-round playground for adventure seekers and R&R experts alike. Whether you stroll, hike or saunter around this incredible landscape, prepare yourself for incredibly picturesque views that must be seen to be believed. Ambling through quaint towns, navigating sleek glaciers and gaping at the haunting mountains of this region, you might just feel like you’ve entered a scene from a postcard that never ends. With a banquet of snow and adventure sports on offer, boutique shopping to be done and a hot chocolate always on the boil, the Alps are home to a distinctive and unbeatable cultural identity.
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Walking in the French & Swiss Alps SummaryAdd to Shortlist
Bienvenu (welcome) to Europe’s mountaineering capital, Chamonix. Home to the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924, this is a snow lover's paradise. Explore the snowy slopes by foot, skis or board; otherwise, take a more relaxed approach and catch a ride on the highest cable car in the world. Shadowed by mighty Mont Blanc, wander winding cobbled streets, people watch in a French cafe or seek the thrill of the mountain by bike or paraglider.
Discover this beautiful alpine area on a walk up Col du Balme. The long walk is worth it for the jaw-dropping 360-degree view of the Alps in its totality. Bask in the success of your first climb with a packed lunch and an extraordinary view. From there, stroll a wide, rocky trail to Vallorcine before catching a bus back to Chamonix to refuel at a fine French bistro.
With a pass that allows unlimited access to this amazing valley for two days, it is time to get better acquainted with this mountainside and start exploring it by foot and chairlift. With bearings gathered, venture to the summit of Brevent for a spectacular outlook of the entire valley. Then follow the rolling Grand Balcon Sud path to La Flegere on one of the most popular walks in the region due to its striking mountain view.
Today give those legs a rest and relax in Chamonix - or move around the mountainside by cable car. Chug along the railway tracks on a historic train to the bottom of Mer de Glace to explore the largest glacier in France. At 7 km long and 200 m thick, take an ice cave adventure into the heart of this man-made ice grotto. Walk the 6 km trail to Aiguille de Midi and see if you can spot the Matterhorn in the distance. Jump on another cable car and take in the full perspective of the valley from the top of the rugged mountain to the base of the glaciers.
It is rest, relax and recover time in Switzerland’s most sun-blessed town, Sion. Explore one of Switzerland’s oldest cities, from the triumphantly towering hilltop castles to the quaint medieval town below. Then journey to Zermatt and visit the most photographed mountain in the world, the Matterhorn. Sitting at 4,800 m, this monster towers over the modest township below, creating a picturesque scene to remember.
Time to discover Switzerland by foot. The hills will come alive as you stroll through the idyllic meadows and rolling green hills of the region. In the shadow of the Matterhorn, cross a glacier river on the round trip back to Zermatt, but not before discovering the old world lifestyle of some small hamlets of the area.
Before bidding farewell to the Alps, spend a few free days discovering the Zermatt Valley region. Understand the immense danger of the Matterhorn by visiting the Mountaineers’ Cemetery and the town’s museum. Jump on the Gornergrat Bahn for more glorious mountain scenery, or find your way to the top of any of the observation towers interconnected by cable cars for a spectacular view of the Matterhorn. Otherwise, relax in one of the many rustic mountain restaurants, put your feet up and succumb to the delicious cuisine.
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