Hidden paradise hike Dents Blanches, Switzerland & France

Tour around Dents Blanches, Mont Ruan and Dents du Midi between Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva
07. – 13. September 2020

This magnificent 7 day tour hidden paradise hike for experienced hikers leads us out of the ordinary and into the wild, romantic mountains between Switzerland and France. This little paradise has not been discovered by many hikers yet. We’ll discover the haut Giffre mountains and the Val d’Illiez and stay in cozy mountain huts/guest houses. We walk over passes and trough mountain meadows and dip in some of the many crystal blue mountain lakes.

We sleep in typical mountain guest houses in beautiful spots surrounded by mountains and mountain lakes. Delicious dinners will be cooked for us and a hot shower each night awaits after the hike. Dips in mountain lakes, alpine flowers, great views and local fauna – there will be a lot to explore!

Come join us on this hidden paradise hike!

  • 7 hiking days
  • 6 nights at mountain huts
alpine-wild-flowers
Hiking Itinerary “Hidden paradise hike”
Day 1: Martigny – Les Marecottes – Salanfe

We meet at Martigny train station in the morning. From there we take the Mont Blanc Express train to the lovely montain town of Les Marecottes. A cable car brings us up to the mountains where we can enjoy great views. Now we start our walk toward a beautiful alpage where we stop for lunch. From there we hike up towards our first pass of the tour, Col d’Emaney. The big mountain we see now is the Luisin and also de Dents du Midi come in sight. From here we can overlook Salanfe lake and can already see our Auberge for the night.

Night and dinner at Auberge de Salanfe at 1925m, double rooms or dorms, shower

  • +967m, -700m, 6hrs
Day 2: Salanfe – Barmaz

Our pass today is called Susanfe, squeezed in between Tour Salière and Dents du Midi. Our very charming guest house tonight is a beautifully located in the Alpages of Chambery at the Val d’Illiez.

Here, no power lines that distort the landscape, we self-produce our energy, a real return to nature! You will find yourself in the middle of pastures strewn with hundreds of flowers, crossed by the torrents surrounded by a green forest.

The majestic “Dents Blanches” (2756m) massif dominates this enchanting setting. And you can see in the distance the high alpine peaks of the “Dents du Midi” (3257m) as well as the eternal snows of the Ruans glacier.

Night and dinner at Cantine des Barmaz, double rooms available, shower

  • +750m, – 1200m, 6hrs
Day 3: Barmaz – Refuge de Bostan

We enjoy a nice breakfast this morning before getting ready for our walk into France today. We follow an old smugglers trail over Col du Cou. From here we walk down toward Samoëns area and to the Alpage de Bostan where our Refuge for the night stands.

Night at Refuge de Bostan 1763m, double rooms available, shower

  • + 750m, – 250m, 4hrs
Day 4: Refuge de Bostan – La Vogealle

We hike up to the small mountain lake Lac des Verdets for a snack stop. Trough the Natural Reserve of Sixt /Passy we reach Pas de Taurau. Now it’s nor far for our next lake, Lac de Vogealle and a refreshing swim. The refuge for tonight is just a short walk away.

Night at Refuge la Vogealle 1902m, in dorms, shower

  • +700m, -400m, 4hrs
Day 5: La Vogealle – Sixt Fer à Cheval – Refuge des Fonts

Trough the Pas du Boret with splendide views our trail winds down to the Chiffre valley and the impressive natural amphitheatre Cirque du Cheval. Now onward to the small town of Sixt For à Cheval. We enjoy a nice lunch here. Shortly after lunch we start our climb up to Refuge des Fonts situated in a natural Amphitheatre.

Night at refuge des Fonts 1380m, in dorms, shower

  • +600m, – 988m, 6hrs
Day 6: Refuge des Fonts – Refuge Moede Anterne 2000m

A magnificent day walking up towards the Fiz mountain range and the high plateau of refuge Wills. From here it’s not far to the beautiful Anterne lake. A jewel of a mountain lake where we’ll stop for picknick and maybe a swim. Onward over Anterne pass from where we’ll have an incredible view over the Mont Blanc mountain range. Short walk down to our Refuge.

Night at Refuge Moede Anterne 2000m, in dorms, no showers

  • +900m, – 250m, 5hrs
Day 7: Refuge Anterne – Brévent – Chamonix

Our last breakfast in the mountains. We start our walk with a gentle downhill to cross the Diosaz river on a bride before our last uphill to one of the best viewpoints in the Chamonix Valley. Brévent top station marks the end of our hiking tour. We can enjoy a lunch on the terrasse and take a cable car all the way down in to Chamonix in the afternoon.

  • +710m, -180m, 3hrs
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Ibex

Maps for hidden paradise hike

Costs

1298.00€ with a group of minimum 6 hikers and more

1633.00€ with a group of minimum 4 hikers

Included in the costs:

  • Organisation, 7 guided hiking days with a UIMLA mountain leader, all huts/guesthouses with half board (double room based where possible if not dorms), hot showers, 7 lunch packs, guides expenses

Not included in the costs:

  • Personal insurance, travel to Les Marecottes and back from Finhaut, Brévent cable car, personal equipment, drinks

Level requirement for hidden paradise hike

This tour is for fit and experienced hikers that are used to walk around 6hrs per day during 7 days. We climb about 1000m per day.


Accommodation and Food

We stay in mountain guest houses and “Refuges” during our trekking. Some offer double rooms and other shared dorms. You’ll able to take a hot shower each night. Lunches will be picnics with local products on most days. Somedays we will be able to eat in mountain restaurants. Warm dinners will be cooked for us in the huts.

picknick-in-the-mountains

How to get to Martigny where the tour starts

Martigny, originally an important roman city with a castle and a roman amphitheatre that you still can visit today. It lies in the French speaking part of the Swiss Valais and can easily be reached by train from Geneva or Zürich airport. Please find the train schedule here.

Our tour ends in Chamonix, France. From there it’s a 1hr mini van shuttle to Geneva Airport or a 1hr train ride back to Martigny, Switzerland on the Mont Blanc Express train.


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Best of Aosta valley hiking, Italian Alps

Dates: June – Middle of October

Hike wonderful alpine trails of the val d’Aosta beneath the highest peaks of the Alps – Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso.“

  • 8 exhilarating hiking days beneath the giants of the Alps
  • City tour Aosta, castle visit, wine tasting with local products
  • 11 nights in typical, handpicked Hotels
  • Culinary local highlights

This hiking tour brings us to the most beautiful spots of Val d’Aosta and through enchanting villages of the intriguing Walser culture. Our hikes take us right below unforgettable panoramas of the giants of the Alps—the iconic Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Mont Blanc, and the glaciated peaks of Gran Paradiso National Park. We’ll follow sections of the famed Tour de Monte Rosa and the Walser trail. Cable cars and gondolas whisk us up onto the flanks of the highest mountains in Europe for our stunning views. 

At night, we are welcomed into typical, cozy hotels and enjoy the cuisine of this beguiling corner of Italy. Famous for its culinary traditions – traditional Polenta, spicy Bosses ham, Fontina cheese, honey from Mascognez, and Rennet apples, used in many regional dishes. Aosta is famous for it’s wine and we make sure to tast some.

We to top it all off with a Genepi – coffee, the local herbal liqueur mixed with coffee. It’s served in a wooden goblet, called the friendship cup. 

This tour starts and finishes in Turin/Torino (ITA).

Aosta Valley hiking Itinerary – 11 day programme
Day 1: Torino – Aosta city tour – Courmayeur

Pick up at Torino airport (TRN) and drive 1 hour to the Rome of the Alps the town of Aosta. Interesting City tour to Roman sights. This ancient Savoy town has had great strategic importance for centuries. Once ancient “Augusta Praetoria,” named for Caesar Augustus, it was considered “the Rome of the Alps.” A triumphal Roman arch and portions of an amphitheater remain from the days of the empire. There is also some early medieval architecture in the churches and cloisters of the city to be found. A 45′ drive brings us to the town of Courmayeur. A fashionable ski resort in the winter and in summer a beautiful staging point for many hikes and climbs on the south face of Mont Blanc. 

The stunning south face of Mont Blanc and Courmayeur will be our home for two nights.

Night at Hotel in Courmayeur, welcome dinner in town

Day 2: Hike Val Ferret – Courmayeur – Mont Blanc explorer

We hike high above Courmayeur and onward on a beautiful balcony trail to Bonatti mountain hut and deep into the Val Ferret. This is a terrace walk with the best views to Mont Blanc’s South side. 

In the afternoon we take the new cable car skyway up to Monte Bianco and enjoy great views over Mont Blanc, the glaciers and the highest peaks of Italy, France and Switzerland.

Night at Hotel in Courmayeur

  • 8km, +400m, – 400m 
Day 3: Hike Courmayeur – Mount Chetif

We catch a cable car to Refuge Maison Vielle , an antique hamlet in the Val Veny. Our hike brings us up to the top of Mont Chetif, a peak just in front of Mont Blanc, which offers spectacular views of the massif. 

Night and dinner at Courmayeur 

  • 11km, + 390m, -390m 
Day 4: Hike Loiez mountain lake, Cogne 

We depart Courmayeur after breakfast and drive to Cogne and Lillaz, the gateway to the Grand Paradiso National Park. Shortly after our hiking start we can admire Lillaz waterfall. After we reach a high altitude alpine pastures near the Alpe Bardoney where they make an award winning cheese. Once at Loie lake, where the probability to spot chamois and ibex increases and the landscape becomes great we’ll have an unexpected window on the Mont Blanc massif. The descent in a mature woodland of coniferous trees may give us the opportunity to sight birds such as nut-crackers, crossbills,jays and many other animal species. There is the option of a shorter hike today.

Night and dinner at Hotel in Cogne

  • 11,7km + 900m, – 900m

Day 5: Hike Vittorio Sella Hut, Gran Paradiso national park

Our hike takes us to Sella mountain hut where we have our picnic with views to the Gran Paradiso. We stay in the superb Hotel, a historic family-run hotel set amongst lush pastures in the heart of the village. Afternoon tea is served daily, there is a wonderful terrace with views to the Gran Paradiso.

Night and dinner at Hotel in Cogne

  • 15km, +900m, – 900m
Day 6: Pila and night at Aosta

We drive back, down to Aosta and up to thevillage of Pila. A chairlift brings us up to Chamolé, our hiking start . Our hike leads into the Combe Valley and the Plan Fenêtre, giving us tremendous views of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. In the afternoon there will be some time to enjoy Aosta, stroll trough the narrow roads with the shops and coffee places and taste som local specialities.

Night and dinner at Hotel in Aosta

  • 6,5km + 200m, – 200m
Day 7: Castle and wine tasting with local products

We explore Aosta valleys cultural sights like roman bridges and an important castle today and taste a very special wine. The wine area that we visit has a long-standing tradition in wine-growing as is shown by a large number of historical documents, including one from 1214 and even Napoleon had the opportunity of tasting the wine in Donnas in May 1800

Our lunch place in a 500 year old house is especially prepared for us. 

Night and dinner at Hotel near Aosta

  • no hiking today, some walking
Day 8: Great balcony trail of Matterhorn, Chamois –Valtournenche

From the car-free village of Buisson, we board the cable car to Chamois and begin our hike on the “Grand Balconade of the Matterhorn,” a fantastic trail with great views of the breathtaking spire of the Matterhorn (14,691’—known as Monte Cervino in Italy). 

Night and dinner at hotel in the alpine resort of Breuil-Cervinia

  • 14km, +700m, -700m
Day 9: Cervinia to Champoluc on the foot of Matterhorn and Monte Rosa

From Cervinia, the cable car brings us up to the Cime Bianche station (9,288’), and we hike into the glacially carved Val d’Ayas. A serene paradise full of rivers, streams, and small villages surrounded by forests of spruce, pine, and larch. Our stunning hike—part of the Tour of Monte Rosa—skirts the Breithorn (13,661’), a glaciated giant straddling the border between Italy and Switzerland, and offers incredible views of the Matterhorn and the Dent d’Hérens (13,684’), as well as two mountain lakes known as the Laghi Cime Bianche. The charming Ayas valley with its quaint slate-roofed houses and its Walser tradition welcome us.

Night and dinner at Hotel in typical Walser Hamlet-Hotel in Val d’Ayas

  • 14km, + 150m, – 1300m
Day 10: Pian die Verra – Val d’Ayas Walser explorer day

Today we explore the remote Gressoney valley at the foot of the Monte Rosa mountain chain with its fascinating Walser heritage. We discover what the last ice age left behind while walking along the Verra high plateau deep in the Ayas valley. 

Also we learn about the Walser people and visit beautiful old hamlets along the Walser trail. The Walser is of Germanic origin from Alto Vallese, who started colonizing numerous areas in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and France around the start of the year 1000. They were searching for new pastures, crossing over alpine passes during relatively mild weather to settle in the higher zones at the head of the valleys. These colonies which were isolated in the harsh environment of the high mountain, drained and reclaimed vast areas of land for cultivation which at the time was uninhabited and created self-sufficient villages capable of surviving the long and severe winters. Ancient Walser heritage can still be seen in the building styles of chalets and their traditional dress. 

Night and dinner at Hotel at Val d’Ayas

  • 8.2km, +350m, – 450m
Day 11: Flight back home from Torino international airport (TRN)

After a nice breakfast we drive back to Torino where this trip ends. 


Costs for Aosta Valley hiking :
  • please ask for actual prices depending on the lodging that you prefer.

Included in the price:

Organisation, UIMLA mountain leader guide, nice, typical hotels with privat double rooms and ensuite bathroom, half board, privat transportation from Torino airport back to Torino airport, luggage transfer, Aosta city tour, entrance to a castle, wine tasting with local products, all cable cars mentioned in the program

Not included in the price:

Drinks, lunches on the hikes, personal insurances, personal equipment


Meeting point: 

Torino Airport (TRN), Italy 


Map of our Aosta Valley hiking tour

Languages spoken in the Aosta Valley – did you know?

Street signs are written both in Italian and in French. Almost all place names and local surnames are French in origin.

In 25 B.C., the Romans founded Augusta Praetoria, the town of Aosta and began the latinisation of the natives: the Salassi.

In 575, Pont-Saint-Martin became the border with the Franchi kingdom and the Aosta Valley was positioned beside the kingdom of Bourgogne (Gaul-Roman linguistic area), where Latin evolved into French-Provencal (the Patois, still spoken today in the Aosta Valley).

From 1200 on, latin was gradually replaced by French in the written language. In 1561, Duke Emanuel Filiberto of Savoy adopted the use of French to replace Latin, for all the public acts in the duke’s kingdom. From the XVII century, French was taught in the Collège Saint-Bénin in Aosta and in country schools, to the extent that, at the end of the nineteenth century, the illiteracy rate wasalmost non-existent.

In 1860, with the annexation of Savoia to France, the Aosta Valley was the only French speaking area in Italy. The diffusion of the Italian language began and reached its peak during the twenty years of Fascism, when the use and teaching of French were banned and place names were translated from French into Italian. In 1948, the special statutes of autonomy sanctioned parity between the Italian and French languages in the Aosta Valley.

Furthermore, in some municipalities of the Aosta Valley, the Walser population still speaks German based language the Titsch and Toitschu.


Short movie from our last Aosta Valley hiking trip:

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