ESSENTIAL ALPS – CLASSIC HIKES
Guided Day-Hikes in Chamonix, Zermatt, and Grindelwald

CUSTOM DAY-HIKES – ESSENTIAL ALPS

Day-hiking from the mountaineering capitals of the Alps – Chamonix, Grindelwald, Zermatt.

What better way see the Alps than to hike across flower-covered meadows, enjoy hearty meals in small alpine huts and see three of Europe’s most stunning mountain towns using environmentally friendly trains to link each destination. Chamonix, France, home to the Mont Blanc, Zermatt and the majestic Matterhorn towering above it and Grindelwald, in the shadow of one of the most impressive North Faces in the Alps, the Eiger Norwand will be our three stops on this journey of discovery.
Spending three nights in each of these mountaineering and hiking epicentres, our Essential Alps Discovery trip brings you to the heart of where the action is. With years of experience guiding in the Alps, we have honed this trip to include only the very best of what the Alps have to offer; splendid Alpine vistas, well-maintained trails leading to picture-post-card-perfect lunch spots and great camaraderie when the day is over enjoying all the comforts of gourmet dinning and comfortable mountain inns and hotels. Our local, certified guides will provide tremendous in-depth knowledge, exposing you to the rich history of these mountain towns and hamlets and what hidden secrets they may still hold.This trip is also available as a self-guided version.

LOCATION
FRance – SWITZERLAND
LENGTH OF TRIP
3-14 DAYS
PRICE RANGE – This Itinerary

USD $ 5,400
CAD $ 7,100
*Pricing based on three hikers

Day 1: ARRIVAL DAY, CHAMONIX
Trip Briefing and Welcome Dinner in Chamonix.

Hotel in Chamonix
Dinner included

Day 2: CHAMONIX DAY-HIKE: AIGUILLE DU MIDI – MONTENVERS
A short transfer by train will bring us to the bottom station of the Aiguille du Midi, one of the most impressive cable car systems in the world. Two cable cars take us to 3807m, where the domain of the mountaineer begins. Stunning views out to Mont Blanc, Les Grandes Jorasses, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and many more giants of the Alps.
After taking the cable car down to the mid-station, we begin a gentle hike under the famed Chamonix Needles, jagged spires of granite, which have been coveted prizes for climbers over the centuries. This warm-up hike will allow us to soak up the views, with ample time to stop for photographs or to simply contemplate the beauty at hand. We take lunch at the Montenvers train station, a majestic hotel sitting on the edge of the Mer de Glace, one of Chamonix’ most impressive glaciers. After lunch, we head back to Chamonix via the cog railway built in 1909 and still one of the highlights of any visit to Chamonix.

Hotel in Chamonix
Breakfast / Dinner included
Distance: 6km (3.75m), 2-3 hours, up: 150m (500ft)

Day 3: CHAMONIX DAY-HIKE: LAC BLANC
An Alpine start as we head to the Flégère cable car and take a short lift up to the mid-station, where we begin a gentle ascent to one of the best vantage points in the Chamonix valley: Lac Blanc.
Today’s walk takes place opposite the Mont Blanc Range, giving us some of the classic views of Mont Blanc and the other peaks in the area, meandering along hillsides covered in rhododendron and skirting alpine lakes.
Our lunch spot is the Refuge du Lac Blanc, where hearty meals of Crôute Savoyarde (baked cheese and bread casserole, infused with white wine) are served up fresh, along with fruit tarts and other delicious desserts. We return via the same trail, using the cable car to save nearly 1000m of descent.
Hotel in Les Praz, dinner in Chamonix.

Hotel in Chamonix
Breakfast / Dinner included
Distance: 6km (3.75m), 4-5 hours, up 475m (1570ft), down 475m (1570ft)

Day 4: TRANSFER TO ZERMATT

We have an early start, as we transfer to Zermatt.
Leaving directly from our hotel in Chamonix, we will need roughly 4,5 hours by train to make our way to Zermatt, first taking the spectacular Mont Blanc Express, then the St. Bernard Express, which allow us to reach the Rhône Valley.

From Martigny, we head towards the Mattertal, and eventually Zermatt, Switzerland’s most photographed village.

Hotel in Zermatt
Breakfast / Dinner included
Transfer to Zermatt, 2.5 hours

Day 5: ZERMATT DAY-HIKE: HÖHBALMEN, TRIFT
Leaving right from the hotel’s front door, we begin one of the more arduous hikes of the trip, with nearly 1100 metres of vertical gain. Our hike takes us steeply up the Trift Gorge where at the top, a lovingly restored hotel and refuge welcomes the weary climber and hiker alike.
Hugo, mountain guide and owner of the Trift Hotel serves wonderful home-made pies and other delights. With the sound of his Alphorn echoing in the distance, we carry on along the Höhbalmen trail with some of the best views in the Alps.
Monte Rosa, the second highest peak in the Alps unfolds before us, as do some of the other giants such as the Breithorn, Liskam, and of course, the huge North Face of the Matterhorn itself, symbol of the Alps.
Our trail winds back down to the valley floor through pleasant haying fields. If the weather is good, we will have a drink in the tiny hamlet of Zmutt, before heading back to Zermatt’s main street. Dinner on your own in Zermatt.

Hotel in Zermatt
Breakfast included
  Distance:
22km (13m), 6-7 hours, up/down 1125m (3690sft)

Day 6: ZERMATT DAY-HIKE: GÖRNERGRAT

Today, most of the climbing will be done by the Görnergrat Bahn (cog train). Its maiden voyage was made in 1898 and this electric train has hardly changed since. Taking about an hour to reach the top station, you will have ample time to admire the staggering beauty of the Alps above Zermatt, as they unfold before you. Our walk will begin with a short climb, lasting about two hours as we hike along the lateral moraine of the Görner Glacier, stopping just short of the glacier’s snout.
Time for a snack and then a descent on a well-marked trail back to the train station below the Görnergrat. Lunch will be taken along the way on one of our preferred picnic spots looking out towards the Breithorn. Train ride back to Zermatt and the remainder of the afternoon free for you to explore the town.

Hotel in Zermatt
Breakfast / Dinner included
  Distance:
13km (8m), 4 hours, up 300m (1500ft)

Day 7: TRANSFER TO GRINDELWALD
An early morning train ride out of Zermatt, as we head to the Bernese Oberland and the charming town of Grindelwald. Getting into Grindelwald at about 12:30 pm will give us time to take in the views, have lunch on your own, and explore this very Swiss town.
Dinner at our hotel, overnight in Grindelwald.

Hotel in Grindelwald
Breakfast / Dinner included
  Transfer to Grindelwald, 2.5 hours

Day 8: GRINDELWALD DAY-HIKE: JUNGFRAUJOCH
If the morning sky is clear and the forecast good, we will head up to one of the most magnificent vantage points in all of the Alps: The Jungfraujoch at 3454 metres. From Grindelwald, we take a cog train to Kleine Scheidegg and then change trains to head up to the Jungfraujoch. If clouds do not obscure our views, there is no reason to head down quickly, and lunch will be taken at the top, where the beauty and majesty of the Bernese Oberland unfolds.

Afternoon train ride back to Grindelwald, Dinner on your own and overnight in Grindelwald.

Hotel in Grindelwald
Breakfast included
  Distance: 1.6km (1m), 3hours, up / down 260m (858ft)

Day 9: GRINDELWALD DAY-HIKE: THE EIGER TRAIL
The Eiger Trail, one of the newest trails in the area, was inaugurated in 1996 and winds its way beneath the impressive Eiger North Face. This is our destination for the day. We once again take the cog train from Grindelwald and then change trains, stopping at the Eigergletscher Station, the starting point for mountaineers attempting the awesome North Face. Hiking beneath this face can only enhance the respect we all have for the early climbing pioneers who helped push the limits of modern mountaineering. Once we leave the mineral world of the high mountains, our trail winds gently down, crossing pastures and slowly making its way back to Grindelwald.

Hotel in Grindelwald
Breakfast / Dinner included
  Distance: 6 km (3.75m), 2-3hours, up 140m (460ft) / down 800m (2640ft)

Day 10: DEPARTURE
After a leisurely breakfast, take time and enjoy Zermatt, before leaving.

Breakfast included

Here’s a list of everything you can customize for your group of travellers:

ITINERARY – OPTIONS

Chamonix
There are so many great hikes in the Chamonix Valley and nearby Vallorcine, our home for 10 years before moving to Canada. If you are a strong hiker and would like to challenge yourself, why not summit the Mont Buet (3095m)  10, 216,’ one of the best vantage points to see as far as Zermatt, the Monte Rosa group and also towards the Swiss Jura. There are also a great variety of easier hikes with excellent views and gentle trails. It’s only a questions of choice.

If you fancy a half-day on a glacier, why not have us arrange  a mountain guide to take you on the Mer de Glace, one of the longest glaciers in the Alps. Safely guided, you can explore this incredible glacier with the use of crampons and ice-axe.

Helicopter tour: Having used CMBH, a local helicopter company to build our house in Vallorcine, we strongly recommend a helicopter tour of the Chamonix Valley. The owner, Pascal Brun, one of the most respected rescue pilots in France has been flying for over 30 years and will certainly give you an unique experience, flying low over glaciers and scraping the tops of the Alpine giants.

Zermatt
Zermatt is a very compact town with a multitude of cable-cars, cog trains and endless trails to discover making choosing the best hikes very difficult. That said, we certainly would not miss hiking to the Hörnli Hut (3260m)  10,758′ just under the north face of the Matterhorn or taking the Trift Gorge hike for home-made tea and apple pie at the Hôtel du Trift. But Zermatt is much more than just mountain activities. If are feeling tired after your hiking in Chamonix, why not enjoy some of the best spa treatments of any mountain town in Zermatt. You can also take in the excellent Alpine Museum and venture to the border with  Italy by using the Kleine Matterhorn lift, the highest of all 3S cable-car systems in Europe topping out at (3883m)  12,800.’

Grindelwald
With over 300kms of trails, Grindelwald is truly a hiker’s paradise. Choosing the best hikes is not an easy task made more difficult by the fact that there are so many nearby mountain villages such as Wengen and Mürren, each with unique views and excellent restaurants. One of our favourite hikes is from Grindelwald-First cable-car along to the Bachanalpsee and then to the Hotel Faulhorn. An easy trail with moderate climbing and stunning vistas with a great place for lunch  at the Hotel Faulhorn, serving meals since 1830!

Another amazing hike is the Kleine Scheidegg hike to the Eiger Trail and then to Alpiglen and then loop back. This is an intermediate hike which takes roughly 5 hours to complete the entire circuit with about (750m) 2500′ feet of up and down.

 

ACCOMMODATION

We are staying in carefully chosen, upscale three-star and four-star hotels, and there are a variety of choices. Family friendly hotels as well as some mountain huts are an option, it all depends on your preferences.

WHAT IS ALWAYS INCLUDED

  • Hiking guide (we only hire certified International Mountain Leaders and IFMGA Mountain Guides)
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Local transfers and lifts
  • Detailed information package including day-to-day itinerary with elevation gains/descents, and hiking maps.

OPTIONAL SERVICES

  • Lunches, Dinners

This trip can be any difficulty between MODERATE and DIFFICULT.

Moderate walking on well-marked trails, with some steep and rocky sections with little to no exposure.
Roughly 500m of vertical gain on some days. Day-pack with hiking essentials, water and snacks.

This is the perfect trip for those of you who may be intimidated by a through hike or are beginners to multi-day hiking. We use cable-cars, funiculars and trains whenever possible saving your knees on the steep descent and maximizing time where you really want to be- up high in the mountains.

The itineraries can be made more challenging for people who would like to hike longer days.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Nearest airport to get to Chamonix is Geneva (GVA), but an alternative option would be Zurich (ZRH). Minibus shuttles exist from Geneva airport to the Chamonix valley, with transfer straight to your hotel. For more information on how to get there, hotel, restaurants, etc, please have a look at our travel resources.

The Essential Alps trip can easily be done self-guided, if the day-hike itineraries match the experience of the group of hikers. We are happy to provide numerous itineraries to make sure you get the most from this trip. As it is hotel-based, it’s easier to sit out a bad weather day, or if the visibility is bad.

We are here to make your dream holiday come true
About Alpine Interface
Alpine Interface is a small, family-run organization, specializing in guided hiking tours, in the Alps, Europe, and the Canadian Rockies.

The company is owned and operated by Karin Stubenvoll and Louis Marino.

Louis is the owner of the company and the lead guide. He is responsible for the smooth operation and high quality of all our guided hiking trips, new itineraries, and our special customer care, which is the main reason why we have so many returning clients. Karin is the Office Manager and does all the work!

In 2005, Karin and Louis moved from Chamonix in the French Alps to the Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies in order to explore the wilderness of the Canadian west. It also provides better customer service, being in North America.

Imagine letting Alpine Interface tailor your private dream holidays for your family and friends. Celebrating our 20th anniversary in business this year has given us vast experience when it comes to the details of trip preparation. Let us take you to the majestic trails of the European Alps, to Provençal markets, the historic D-Day beaches of Normandy, and the jagged limestone spires of the Dolomites.

  • All guides are certified professionals with adequate work permits
  • Exceptional customer care and service
  • Fully customized itineraries catering to your group
  • Safe travelling with family & friends only

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