The Alps have long been an elite, chic and outstanding destination for skiers and snowboarders from surrounding European countries. The off-piste attractions – spas, bars, designer boutiques, shops, restaurants and evening entertainment are naturally world class, with the continental appeal of Europe’s most treasured area of sublime natural beauty celebrated with extravagance and aplomb. In addition, the area is strictly protected, monitoring erosion, maintenance, and preventing any levels of expansion and development that could adversely compromise locals’ way of life.
Attracting thousands of tourists every winter, the fresh, bright, and surprisingly warm temperatures of the summer months are now seeing more walkers embark on the eleven day hike around the Mont Blanc massif, with organised tours arranging hearty accommodation and food to remove any issues of uncertainty.
The Tour du Mont Blanc takes place for hiking and scrambling enthusiasts in the summer months, and it is becoming an increasingly popular personal challenge for travellers of all ages and backgrounds. The 165km trail is championed within travel guide upon travel guide – and rightly so – it is regarded as one of the most beautiful treks on the planet. Just a short flight from the UK to nearby Geneva, guided or unguided circular tours are carefully organised for parties of curious friends to showcase the contrasting landscapes. From the highest, snow-capped mountains with the greenest of meadows, rich soils and historical architecture in the foreground, it creates a myriad of idyllic scenery to inspire all who witness this first hand. Winding ridges, cols and pathways include many landmarks, borders and stop-points that have been in use for many hundreds of years. Fully experienced guides lead the walkers through the most stunning sights the Alpine region can offer at average walking altitudes of 2000m. With endemic wildlife, flora and fauna around every corner, the famous mountain faces, glaciers, fresh flowing rivers, pastures and thick snow covered rock, the Tour du Mont Blanc begs a million fantastic photo opportunities to solidify the memory of all who embark on this incredible excursion.
The Tour du Mont Blanc requires a degree of basic stamina and fitness but this is an adventure that both gap year students or those in their autumnal years can certainly achieve. The numerous walking trails in the Pennines, Peak and Lake District are all great practice spots to warm up in preparation for the big trip to the continent.
Salamander Adventures pride themselves in extensive, organised, guided or unguided itineraries to cover the miles stretching around the French and Italian face of Mont Blanc. Beginning in Les Houches and Argentieres, the route provides full accommodation and luggage handling throughout the trip. From France, the trip makes a descent over the coming days to picture-perfect Champex, sampling rich, sumptuous Swiss cuisine, with locally produced cheeses and wines. Meandering up and down the ridges and cols, the Tour du Mont Blanc guide is fully qualified to ensure everyone is well-looked after. Crossing the border in to Italy, The Valle D’Aosta is a stunning area that welcomes determined trekkers to their laid-back way of life, combining perfectionism and superb hospitality to make this an adventure to remember. There is a chance to catch one’s breath in La Palud – with the seventh day appropriately chosen as the tour’s day of rest. Stopping in a tiny village on the outskirts of Courmayeur, La Palud offers visitors the chance to travel up in to the alpine heavens. The revolving, state of the art cable capsule offers the ride of a lifetime, taking members of the public to Pointe Helbronner, the highest public access point near to Mont Blanc’s summit – a staggering 3462m above sea level.
The outstanding, omniscient beauty of Mont Blanc awaits all who wish to take the challenge, with prices beginning at a crisp £999, which includes all accommodation. For more information, visit www.tourdumontblanc.com