NEW: Grand Traverse of the Alps hiking tour: Chamonix to the Mediterranean

  • 12 Days, 11 nights
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Luggage transfer included
Mont Blanc with wildflower meadows
Mont Blanc, Chamonix to Côte d’Azur

Breathe in the Alpine air during our Grand Traverse of the Alps hiking tour: Your lungs have never felt this refreshed, even as you catch your breath. The flowing valley below holds endless wonder and intrigue. You stand where ibexes roam free, eagles soar, and Olympians have tested their mettle. Journey over dazzling jagged peaks, past shockingly blue lakes, through wildflower-pocked meadows, and medieval stone villages. Every day—every hour—brings a new adventure.

Forget museums, baguettes, and pain au chocolate. This is the real France. Though Hannibal conquered the Alps over 2,000 years ago, and legions of skiers and snowboarders flock here every winter, there are still vast, little-trekked territories waiting to be discovered. Step by step, we’ll make our way up, down, and around, peak by peak, village by village. Our epic journey will take us from the foot of Mont Blanc to the sun-kissed beaches of the Côte d’Azur.

Redefine everything you know about France with this trip. Experience six to eight hours of hiking per day through Technicolor landscapes, each inch mesmerising. Taste exquisite meals and rest in elegant hotels and mountain inns. Join us in the French Alps for a journey like no other.


Detailed itinerary Grand Traverse of the Alps hiking tour

Arrival Day at Chamonix, France

Meet your guide for a welcome dinner on the foot of Mont Blanc. You will get all the details for the tour.

Night at Hotel in Chamonix

Day 1:

Bienvenue à la grande traversée! From Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, we’ll grab our day packs and depart for Megève, where we begin the ascent over the grassy slopes of the Mont de Vores. From the wide-open summit we’ll make a long traverse in the shadow of the aptly named Aiguille Croche, or Eighth Needle, to reach the Col de Véry. Its sweeping views of the entire Mont Blanc range includes the summit of the massif itself-the views are unforgettable.

In the afternoon we hike down to the picturesque mountain town of Hauteluce, with its Baroque chapel and wooden chalets, then transfer to Beaufort-birthplace of the eponymous raw-milk cheese, a delicacy since Roman times-for the night and a well-earned evening feast to celebrate our first day together.

Hike: 10 miles, 7 hours, 2,977′ gain

Night at Hotel in Beaufort

Day 2:

Say a hearty bonjour to the cerulean blue waters of Lac de Roseland. Our trailhead this morning overlooks the winding path along the ridge of Le Mont des Acres toward the base of the Giant’s Tooth peak of the Pierra Menta. At the Col du Couvercle, we get panoramic views of the southern edge of the Mont Blanc range and the summits of the Vanoise – another unspeakably stunning view on a trip full of them.

Later we descend into the Trantaise valley, erstwhile capital of the pre-Roman Centrones tribe, past the surging the Isère river. We’ll transfer to Landry village to spend the night in comfort.

Hike: 7,5miles, 6.5hours, 2,925’we6” gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Landry

Day 3:

Today we enter the Vanoise National Park. Be on the lookout for ibexes and marmots wandering among the park’s dramatic jagged peaks. We’ll stop to admire the crimson-veined marble, fossils preserved in limestone, and 1,000-plus different types of flora as we start our ascent to the Col de Plan Sery. Up here, the meadows are carpeted with Edelweiss flowers and the feeling is pure Alps majesty. At the foot of the Bellecote summit, we’ll hike down to the valley of Champagny, then transfer to the village of Pralognan for the night.

Hike: 10.5miles, 8hours, 3’850′ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Pralognan

Day 4:

After a short transfer to Le Post de la Peche, we start hiking over smooth, rolling hills until we reach the Alpine farming area of Le Ritord. Local artisans here continue to honor centuries-old cheese-making traditions; we’ll stop in for a taste.

Stepping off the main trail, we head to Col d’Aussois, the highest we’ll cross on our entire traverse. The pass is wedged between the ridge of la Pointe de l’Echelle (11,227 ft) and the southern tips of the Domes de la Vanoise and the Dent Parrachée (12,129 ft). After crossing the col, we’ll begin our descent through fields of grazing ibex to the lake of Le Plan d’Amont, its cool turquoise waters teeming with rainbow trout. For the evening we transfer to Aussois, famous for its “land-art trail” of outdoor sculptures by local artists.

Hike: 10.6 miles, 8.5 hours, 3,933’ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Aussois

Day 5:

Today we start with a transfer to Modane, across the Maurienne Valley. From the small ski resort of Val Fréjus, we’ll begin an easy and scenic ascent toward the open Col of Vallée Etroite. From our vantage point in this narrow valley at the foot of Mount Thabor, a borderland area that retains a strong Italian flavor, there are glorious views of the summits of the Vanoise region. Our descent takes us along wild streams and through alpine meadows to the huts of the Vallée Etroite. From here we’ll continue over the Col des Thures and down to the luminous Vallée de la Clarée. We spend tonight in Briançon.

Hike: 13.5 miles, 7.5 hours, 3,669’ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Briancon

Day 6:

This morning, we transfer to Villard St Pancrace, then hike into Queyras National Park. Famous for its dramatic rock formations and beautiful meadows, we’ll marvel at the towering spires cutting above the trees. Our hike begins in the hamlet of Chalets des Ayes, and continues up a forested stream to a summer farming region just beneath the Col des Ayes. In the afternoon, we make our way up to the exquisite hamlet of Clapeyto and enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley below. We’ll continue down to the village of Brunissard, then transfer to St Véran for the evening.

Hike: 8 miles, 6.5 hours, 3,336’ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in St Véran

Day 7:

Enjoy a rest day, French Alps style in the highest Village of France!

Night at Hotel in St Véran

Day 8:

Our hike today begins at the Chapelle de Clausis and continues to the hut at La Blanche, a quiet mountain lake. The short climb to Col Blanchet allows us to set foot in Italy—since Roman times, this area has been the conduit for trans-Alpine invasions. It’s back to France via the wide and scenic Col Longet. The descent from here is long and gentle, passing through Alpine meadows and along the Ubaye river valley to Maljesset. We’ll spend tonight in Barcelonnette.

Hike: 14 miles, 8.5 hours, 2,491’ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Barcelonnette

Day 9:

We’ll drive to the end of the Boreon Valley to start our trek trough Mercantour National park. Get ready to enter the home of ermine, chamois, ibex and eagles. Starting from the stone barns at Vacherie du Boreon, we’ll pass trough groves of larch trees toward shimmering Trecolpas Lake, then continue to the Pas de Ladres, our pass for today. Our descent will take us to the Madone de Fenestre, a 14th century high altar made of Lebanese cedar nestled at the end of the valley. Peaceful.

Hike: 7 miles, 6 hours, 1,596′ gain/loss

Night at Hotel at St.Martin Vésubie

Day 10:

We depart early from Camp d’Argent today. As we follow the GR5 trail along the ridge between the Roya and Bavaria valleys we’re greeted by the heady fragrances of the world-famous herbes de Provence – rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram, and savoury-which grow abundantly along our route. Next, we’ll approach the medieval village of Sospel, famous for its baroque church, newly renovated town square, and 13th-century toll bridge, one of the last of its kind in the world.

Hike: 11,5miles, 7 hours, 1,590′ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Sospel

Day 11:

Our final trek begins the following day. A hike to the Grand Mont will give us one last panoramic view of the mountains. Then we’ll march triumphantly down to the Mediterranean village of Castelbar, its citrus-and sunshine-colored houses perch on the side of a steep slope overlooking the sea.

A short transfer takes us back to our hotel in Menton, where we’ll mark the end of our journey by dipping our toes into the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Only a few miles from the Italian border, Menton is the warmest and most dolce vita of the Côte d’Azur resorts. The perfect spot for us to celebrate the end of our grand traverse.

Hike: 7.5miles, 6.5hours, 2,428′ gain/loss

Night at Hotel in Menton


Map:

Route in yellow

Map of Grand Traverse of the Alps with Patagoniatiptop

Who is this Grand Traverse of the Alps hiking tour for

If you’re ready to explore some of the world’s premier hiking trails, and also get a taste of village life in the Alps, this trip is for you. We’ll hike through sparsely populated valleys, and explore protected lands throughout the French Alps, finishing with a swim in the Mediterranean sea. It doesn’t get better than this.


Activity Level for the Grand Traverse of the Alps hiking tour: Moderate

This trek is accessible for most age levels who maintain good physical fitness, have previous hiking experience, and are prepared for the demands of hiking in remote areas. Each day we walk 5 to 7 hours, with elevation gains between 1,500 and 4,000 feet. We stick mostly to established trails, at times making use of off-piste routes.


How We Travel

In style! This is a fully supported hike led by experienced local guides. Our nights are spent at elegant, comfortable lodges and hotels. We carry lightweight day packs, while the rest of our gear is transferred between accommodations. We’ll have gourmet picnic lunches, with breakfast and dinner at village restaurants.


Where we sleep during our Grand traverse of the Alps hiking tour

From Alpine lodges to Mediterranean resorts, we strike the perfect balance between luxury and intimacy. 


Price per person based on double occupancy:
  • From Euro 6,500

WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE? Eleven nights at unique mountain village accommodations; private minibus for luggage transfers between all hotels; certified trekking guides to accompany all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; entrance fees; all breakfasts, lunches and most dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuities for local staff.

WHAT DOES THE PRICE NOT INCLUDE? Roundtrip airfare to/from France; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s meeting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; lodge incidentals including room service, laundry, etc; personal gear; gratuity for tour leader.

Make the Grand Traverse of the Alps hiking tour Private

We understand that certain dates can work better than others, or sometimes a more private experience is more appealing. We’d be happy to modify this departure so it fits the needs of you and your group.


Questions?

HOW DIFFICULT IS THIS? This is considered a moderate hiking adventure. You will be carrying a day pack each day, with your own water and daily supplies, while the rest of our luggage is transferred by vehicle between hotels and lodges. We’ll follow well-maintained paths but sometimes go off-trail, and sleep in hotels and lodges every night. On this adventure there will be an average of 5-7 hours of walking per day. We strongly recommend that participants have a good level of fitness and are well prepared. While this trek is ideal for all skill levels, some hiking experience would also be of benefit.

WHAT ARE THE ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DETAILS? We recommend arriving in Chamonix, France before the Arrival day giving you plenty of time to acclimate, relax and refresh before the adventure begins. There are several options for arrival airports including the Geneva Airport (GVA) and the Chambery Airport (CMF) and transferring via train or airport shuttle to Chamonix. On our last day, we will organize a complimentary group transfer to the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) in Nice, France. Your flight should depart no sooner than 1pm.

WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE? We will be sleeping and dining at mountain hotels and lodges every night.  

DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE? We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. 

Please check our terms and conditions before booking.


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