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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance

Independent Walking Holidays
  • Alpine Adventure: Lake Geneva to Chamonix

  • (Part 1 of a trek from Lake Geneva to Nice along the length of the French Alps)

Dates for 2023
  • Depatures Tuesday to Saturday (subject to availability) from 17 June to 10 September
Price (with luggage transport)
  • From £935 per person
  • From €1035 per person
  • Option of booking night at Chamonix at end of walk (not in above price)
  • Prices based on a party of 2
Price (without luggage transport)
  • From £695 per person
  • From €765 per person
  • Prices based on a party of 2
  • challenging walking in the Mercantour France
  • 6 nights, 6 days self-guided mountain walking moving between gites and refuges
  • 1st leg of a trek along the full length of the French Alps from Lake Geneva to Nice
  • Superb panoramic views of Mont Blanc
  • The rich green alpine meadows of the Savoy
  • A landscape that changes with each day as you head south through the Chablais mountains
  • Traditional alpine hamlets
Accommodation and Meals
  • You’ll be staying in private rooms in simple gites and refuges with shared bathrooms for the most part. One night in dormitory. You’ll be served wholesome local cuisine. All evening meals are included in your holiday price.
What's included
  • 6 night’s half board accommodation in gites and refuges with private rooms (except one night); taxi transfers on day 1, and 2 other days; detailed walking notes and walking maps, transport of luggage between accommodation (except on days 3 and 6).
What's not included
  • Travel to Evian at start of walking holiday and from Chamonix at end of holiday; drinks with evening meals, lunches, Brevent cable car charge, travel insurance, anything else not listed above

Alpine Adventure - Lake Geneva to Chamonix

This is the first stage of a mythical walk which follows the GR 5 long-distance trail from the shores of Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean coast at Nice, following the entire length of the French Alps. We have split the walk into several self-guided walking holidays, although it would be possible to combine them. Our holidays include luggage transfers so that you can enjoy the amazing scenery with only a light day pack.

Your trail starts near Lake Geneva (largest lake in the Alps) and crosses the alpine meadows of the Abondance Valley before meandering along the foot hills of the Chablais mountains heading towards the ever-present profile of Mont Blanc. You’ll spend one night in Switzerland at the foot of the beautiful mountain of Dents du Midi before descending to Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc.

The traverse of the French Alps is a truly unforgettable experience as you head south passing by the majestic summits of the Mont Blanc range before passing through the Vanoise and Mercantour National Parks. Your wonderful trail passes through a variety of landscapes, wildlife habitats and historic sites including the green alpine pastures of the Savoy, rocky deserts in the Queyras, beautiful perched villages of the Roya, snowy peaks of the Mont Blanc and ibex in the Mercantour.

Walking Profile

6 days self-guided walking between accommodation. Walks per day amounts to an average of 5 - 6hrs walking and 800m of ascent and descent. Maximum altitude gain: 1100m. The walk follows the GR5 for the most part, but there are also different options proposed in the notes. The walks take place on paths, although they are mountainous and rocky in nature. You should have a reasonable level of fitness and be comfortable with walking on mountainous terrain with a good head for heights.

map location alpine trek lake geneva to chamonix France

Day 1: Arrival

Pick up at Evian train station. Dinner and night at hotel in St Paul in Chablais mountains

Day 2: Bernex (1206m) - Chapelle d'Abondance (1021m)

There are two options for your first day.

Option 1 : Transfer to chalets de Bise: This option allows you to discover the north face of Mont Chauffe and its alpine meadows. Your day starts by climbing Pas de la Bosse at 1815m, passing by chamois on the northern slopes of Cornettes. You'll then traverse towards Mont Chauffe, crossing the Col d'Ubine and descending to Chapelle d'Abondance with magnificent views down the length of the Chatel Valley. + 690 m ; - 1080 m; 13 km; 5hr 30

Option 2 : Transfer to Bernex: This is a longer option that allows you to start closer to Lake Geneva. You'll begin at the foot of Dent d'Oche, the most recognisable summit in the area, before crossing two mountain passes. You'll then pass Lake Darbon which you'll only discover at the last moment before crossing a vast alpine meadow dominated by the summit of Cornettes de Bise. After a third mountain pass you'll descend to Chapelle d’Abondance. + 1220 m ; - 1310 m; 16km; 6hr 30

Day 3: Chapelle d'Abondance (1021m) - Les Tinderets (1491m)

Your day takes place in the Abondance Valley, famous for its alpine meadows and its cheese. Its highest mountain is Mont de Grange (2432m) which you'll discover during a beautiful day's walking. Climb to Col des Mattes (1930m) then traverse along a balcony trail facing several summits which you'll see time and again during the next few days, including the Dents du Midi at 3257m. + 1230 m ; - 740 m; 15km; 6hr

Day 4: Les Tinderets (1491m) - Les Mines d’Or (1350 m)

You'll cross the Col de Chesery (1992m) to cross the border into Switzerland in the middle of alpine meadows. Lake Vert makes a great spot for a rest before you cross into the Val d'Illiez. Your descent is dominated by the impressive walls of Dents du Midi. From the col de Cou (1920 m) you descend into the Manche Valley and its gold mines! + 980 m ; - 1120 m; 18 km; 6hr30

Day 5: Les Mines d’Or (1350 m) - Samoens (1096m)

This passage close to the France and Switzerland border is known for its history of smuggling as well as being a place to study the migration of birds. You'll then discover the immense 600m cliffs of Terres Maudites before climbing to Col de la Golese (1660m). You'll then reach Samoens by the vallee des Allamands. +550 m ; - 1200 m; 14km; 5hr 30

Day 6: Samoens (1096m) - Moede-Anterne (2002m)

10 minute transfer to Sixt before a long and varied climb to Col d'Anterne (2257m) starting by a forest trail passing waterfalls, followed by a passage at the foot of the imposing cliffs of Pointe de Salles (2500m). You'll then cross the Anterne mountain, a vast limestone plateau with a lake. From the next pass you'll have an amazing panoramic view of the Mont Blanc mountain range, before a short descent to the refuge. On this day you'll need to carry your clothes and washbag for overnight and the next day. +1100 m ; - 300m; 10km; 5hr 30

Day 7: Moede-Anterne (2002m) - Chamonix (1034m)

Your descent to Pont d'Arleve is unforgetable as you enter one of the last parts of Haute Savoie where the original vegetation remains. After crossing Diosaz Gorge you'll climb to the Col du Brevent, a spectacular balcony facing Mont Blanc. You can either climb to the summit of Brevent (2525m) and then descend by two cable cars to reach Chamonix or descend to Planpraz and take the second cable car or gondola to reach Chamonix. +770 m or +925m; - 740m or -410m; 10km; 5hr 30

Holiday ends after walk on day 7 or book extra night's accommodation in Chamonix. Also possible to book the next leg of the walking holiday from Chamonix to Briancon to continue the trek.


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Accommodation & Meals

You’ll be staying in a mixture of simple gites and refuges in private rooms for 2 with the exception of 1 night in a dormitory. The first night has a private bathroom, whilst all the others have a shared bathroom. Good wholesome mountain food.

Name Type Details Rating  
Gite Les Fermes de Vercland Gite This gite, located at 800m is made up of 5 chalets converted from two former Savoy farms. Located in the hamlet of Vercland.    
Travel Options

Travel Options

Meeting point at Evian train station at the start of the holiday. Transfer to your first accommodation included in holiday price.

By Train

Eurostar trains run services from London St Pancras to Paris. Take RER to Paris Gare de Lyon and take a TGV train to Bellegarde. Change for local TER train to Evian. Example of train times (as of late 2015): Paris 12h58 - Evian 19h10. Please check train times with SNCF. Then minibus from station to first accommodation. Please let us know your expected time of arrival. Return trains from Chamonix to Bellegarde and change for Paris. Example: Chamonix 16h14 - 21h52 Paris (TER + TGV via Bellegarde).


By Air and rail

Fly to Geneva Airport (regular services from lots of UK airports) and then take the train to Lausanne and then the boat across the lake from Lausanne to Evian.

Please contact us for assistance in organising your travel arrangements

By Car

If arriving by car the best solution is to park at Bellegarde train station and take the train to Evian. The car park is a pay and display parking. Train at 17h12 - 19h10 Evian. At the end of the walking holiday take train from Chamonix to Bellegarde (as there are no longer any trains from Chamonix to Evian).


DFDS Seaways






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