8 days

Walking in the French & Swiss Alps

Walking in the French & Swiss Alps

Lac Blanc

Breathtaking view of Mont Blanc

Swiss chateaux

The Matterhorn

Trip rating
  • Your departure point in France’s mountaineering centre of the Chamonix Valley sets the tone for this walking journey through the Alps. The might of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn loom large as you walk up to 13 kilometres per day, but there still have plenty of time to take in the charming village life along the way.

    Why we love it

    • We stay in both Chamonix and Zermatt, the premier two must see destinations in the Alps.
    • Trek scenic trails under and around Mont Blanc, Europe’s tallest mountain
    • Walk below the Matterhorn, in my view the most iconic and striking mountain in the world’s
    • Comfortable hotels, culture, good food and expert leaders.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Chamonix

    • Your trip will start today upon arrival in Chamonix, a charming old mountain town that lies right at the foot of Mont Blanc (4810m) - the highest mountain in Western Europe.
    • No activities are planned so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel (details are in your travel documents), which is centrally located right in the heart of town.
    • Chamonix has been a climbing and skiing centre for over 100 years and is considered the mountaineering capital of Europe. It has a wonderful atmosphere and a well-preserved Old Town, with cobbled streets full of lively sidewalk cafes.
    • In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6 pm, but you will be advised as to the exact place and time in a notice placed near the reception at our hotel), where you will be given a briefing of what lies ahead on the tour.
    Park Hotel Suisse or similar
    Dinner

    Day 2 - Stunning views from the Col du Balme - Chamonix

    • Today you will be transferred to the head of the valley at 1350 metres. The aim is to reach Col du Balme (2200 m) via Aiguillettes des Possettes (2180 m).
    • Looking at the altitudes it seems like a long climb, but the path is a steady and well-graded trail that rises out of the valley under the shade of alpine forests. As you climb further up and above the tree line, your view down the valley towards Mont Blanc opens out into a truly spectacular vista.
    • From Aiguillettes des Possettes, a small peak that you reach en route, you will enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the Alps. Steady contouring paths take you to Col du Balme itself - the perfect place to enjoy a packed lunch. Your decent to Vallorcine (1260 m) is on a wide and easy trail.
    • From there you will be transferred a short distance back to Chamonix. (Walking distance: 10 km)
    Park Hotel Suisse or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 3 - The classic Grand Balcon Sud (South facing balcony walk) - Chamonix

    • Many say this is the best walk in the Chamonix valley. Starting from the Col de Montets (1461m) you will gain height quickly on a steady switchback path leading to the Balcony route that scribes the Chamonix Valley at a middling altitude.
    • If youe're lucky you will see Ibex and Chamois as well as birds of prey circling overhead as this area is part of the Aiguilles Rouge Nature Reserve. The views; across the valley are peak after peak of glaciated summits, huge cliff faces, countless needle sharp spires, Mont Blanc itself and slicing and dicing this whole vista steep sided tributary valleys filled with crevassed and fractured glaciers. It’s simply stunning.
    • Depending on time you will either climb again to the beautiful and photogenic Lac Blanc (2352m) or follow a more direct route to La Flegérè and take a cable car* to the valley floor.
    • *The cable will not be running for the September departures and you will take a steady descending path off the mountain instead. (Walking distance: 9 km)
    Park Hotel Suisse or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 4 - A busy free day - Chamonix

    • There are many excellent options for your free day in Chamonix, if the weather is clear, this is the best of them -
    • hop aboard the historic Montenvers cog railway and ascend to Montenvers (1630 m), a mid-level viewing station over the Mer de Glace Glacier. From here you can actually go inside the glacier and view up-close this mammoth river of ice.
    • Either descend back to the valley floor by cog railway and onto the Aiguille du Midi cable car base station or walk an undulating six kilometre path to the mid station (2290 m).
    • From here it’s a quick but spectacular ride up to 3842 metres to view the glaciers and higher slopes of Mont Blanc - a truly breath-taking sight.
    • Then back to the valley by cable car to treat yourself to a refreshing drink in a pavement café and soak up the buzz of Chamonix life.
    Park Hotel Suisse or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Sion - Zermatt

    • Today is a relaxing day and a chance to rest your legs. The private coach will pick you up in the morning and take you on a very scenic trip through the valleys into Switzerland.
    • You will stop en route in Sion, a charming Swiss town with alleyways that wind through a medieval quarter and an 11th century and 13th century château.
    • After a short visit to Sion, you will on to Zermatt (1630 m) and the second iconic mountain of the Alps - the Matterhorn.
    Jaegerhof or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 6 - Zermatt Valley

    • Today you will enjoy a beautiful walk designed to see the Matterhorn in its best light.
    • The Matterhorn is no normal mountain! At 4478m, it is a looming pyramidal fang of rock that forms a back wall to the Zermatt valley. Its four almost vertical sides were abraded flat by scrapping glaciers; the summit protruded above, and is now kinked like a broken nose. It is magnificent and attractive from all distances, all sides and all altitudes.
    • That said we will see it from a scenic path that winds up from Zermatt 1620m in the valley to Tufteren 2215m (not a bad place for a slice of apple strudel) and onto Sunnegga Paradise 2288m.
    • The walk can be lengthened or shortened on the day to meet the wishes of the group. (Walking distance 10 km)
    Jaegerhof or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 7 - Zermatt

    • You will start the day following traversing a specially constructed walkway clinging to the walls of the steep sided Gorner Gorge, which was scoured and etched from the valley floor by erosion from powerful post ice age melt water.
    • Out from the gorge you will head past old hamlets that were once upon a time the summer farms of the region. If time allows we will follow the path as it climbs gently through the meadows and then under the north face of the Matterhorn.
    • As the forests become thinner the trail turns on its heal and you will cross the glacial river at 2220 metres before heading back towards Zermatt on the northern side of the valley, passing through a final hamlet called Zmutt, which is renowned for making great cheese. (Walking distance 13 km).
    • The afternoon will be free in the Zermatt Valley to make your own discoveries. There are a number of attractions on offer in the valley and your tour leader will be at hand to offer advice on the various options available to you. (Walking distance: 14 km)
    Jaegerhof or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 8 - Zermatt

    • Your trip will come to an end this morning after breakfast in Zermatt.
    • Zermatt is well connected by train to onward destinations in Switzerland, including direct connections to Geneva Airport and Zurich Airport.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader
    • 7 nights accommodation in comfortable hotels
    • Spectacular and exhilarating day walks in the Chamonix and Zermatt Valley
    • Visit to the medieval Swiss town of Sion
    • Some of the best mountain landscapes and views you'll ever experience

    Not Included

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    There’s no feedback available on this trip yet. If you’ve been on this trip and would like to contribute a review, rating or simply make a comment then please get in touch.

  • From our Blog

    Feast cookalong: Lemon brulee tart

    I’ll be totally honest – this tart was absolutely delicious, but it was despite me, not because of me. Which says a lot about the robustness of Matthew’s recipes. Let me explain – I had three baking projects on the go as I was cooking this tart: a chocolate cake for a helpful...

    Read on...

    How to eat and drink like a European

    All around the world people observe traditions when it comes to eating and drinking. In Europe, every country seems to have one custom or ritual that stands out. Master this one thing, and you'll feel like a local in no time.

    Ordering coffee in Italy
    If you want to stand out like the...

    Read on...

    Europe's Top 5 unique architectural secrets

    It's no secret that Europe is home to some of the world's most incredible architecture - The Colosseum, Notre-Dame de Paris, Sagrada Família among others. But you don't need to be an expert to enjoy some of the lesser known marvels.

    Take a look at these five examples of some of...

    Read on...

    5 best picnic spots in Paris

    Renowned Parisian blogger and cookbook author Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate and Zucchini reveals her favourite picnic spots and food shops in her iconic city:

    Parisians would be reaping gold if picnicking was an Olympic sport. At the first glimmer of sunshine, they head outdoors with blankets,...

    Read on...

    French comfort food: The ultimate feast

    When the temperature drops, the temptation to hibernate kicks in. Ugg boots, open fires, blankets, classic movies and a belly full of good food can be all it takes to convince you to stay indoors for the weekend.

    Why not spend this weekend whipping up a feast of French comfort food. Start with...

    Read on...
From US $2600
*Per Person, Twin Share

Select a trip date below

Trip Start Dates
Trip Duration
Guaranteed Departure Start Date
Trip Selected:
Price: US $
Start:
End:
Discount price: US $

*Please note: To receive the discounted price for this departure, please enter the Promo Code at Step 4 of the booking form.

No Code available
View all departures

Trip at a glance

Trip Code PEWA
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Chamonix, Rhône-Alpes, France
End City: Zermatt
Style: Small Group

What to know

You'll need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours, with some up-and-down, and on varied terrain, from well-defined paths to rocky trails.

Contact an expert

1-800-663-5132We'll call you

Simply enter your details and we'll call you back within the next business day.