Our Journeys

Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso National Park with Sierra Club – September 2024
September 1 - 12, 2024

$

French and Italian Alps: Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso with Sierra Club – September 2024

This hiking trip samples some of the best that the French and Italian Alps have to offer. We begin our trip in the French resort town of Annecy and then spend four days in the Mont Blanc area. Mont Blanc (15,777 feet) is the highest mountain in Western Europe and one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. We explore the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc Massif from various places, including the charming town of Chamonix and even enjoy a view from Switzerland.

After crossing from France to Italy (through a 7-mile tunnel), we’ll visit Gran Paradiso national park, the quiet side of the Alps. The park is in the Val d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), which has a population of about 130,000 and is the least densely populated region of Italy. A unique experience will be to visit quaint Val d’Ayas, the least visited area of our trip. From there, on a clear day, we’ll have a good view of the beautiful Monte Rosa Massif, the second-highest mountain range of the Alps.

While this is a hiking trip, we’ll also experience local French and Italian culture and food. We’ll visit the city of Aosta, with its impressive architectural heritage from its Roman and medieval past. Local guides will lead our hikes and tours, further enhancing our adventure, and our travel will be by private bus. Our trip ends in Turin, Italy.


MAP



ITINERARY


*Please click on each day to view daily itinerary.

DAY 0

Fly from the USA to Geneve

DAY 1: Annecy

Our tour starts in the French town of Annecy. In the early evening we will meet for an orientation talk and a welcome dinner to meet your travel companions. Overnight in Annecy..

DAY 2: Lac d’Annecy

For the first hike of the trip, we’ll hike along the shores of the beautiful alpine lake, Lac d’Annecy. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the heart of Annecy’s old quarters with its fascinating history. Total hiking time: 3 hours, with an elevation gain of approximately 1,200 feet.In the late afternoon, we leave Annecy and drive to Chamonix, where we'll spend the next four nights. Overnight in Chamonix..

DAY 3: Lac Blanc and Chamonix

Today we visit one of the world’s most famous ice caves. We’ll take Chamonix’s famous rack and pinion railway to get to Montenvers that sits at 6,276 feet. From there, we can admire the gorgeous panorama of the Mer de Glace glacier, the Drus and the Grandes Jorrasses. From there we go down (480 steps) into the very heart of the glacier, the Grotte de Glace and learn about its erosion over the past century. After a traditional alpine meal, we’ll take a short but steep hike to another gorgeous viewpoint where we can enjoy the view of Grands Montets, Aiguille des Grands Charmoz, and Aiguille de la République. Hiking time to Signal Forbes and back is about 2 hours with 1,100 feet elevation gain, plus visiting time at the Grotto (with 480 steps to get to the entrance of the cave). Overnight in Chamonix.

DAY 4: Lac Blanc and Chamonix

Insert your content

DAY 5: Switzerland; Lac d’Emosson

To get a different view of the majestic Mont Blanc Massif, we cross the border to Switzerland. Our destination is Lac d’Emosson, a reservoir in the canton of Valais, which has been producing hydroelectric power for the surrounding area since 1925. This impressive civil engineering project, perched high above the France-Swiss border, forms a large blue lake with walking paths and forest all around it. Overnight in Chamonix

DAY 6: Aiguilles du Midi and Skyway to Italy

Today, we take the two stage Aiguille du Midi panoramic gondola to one of the most breathtaking viewpoints of the Alps. From the summit terrace of Aiguilles du Midi, at 12,604 feet, we will enjoy the 360-degree view of the Italian, French, and Swiss Alps. After exploring the French side, we take the Skyway Gondola (3 miles long) to Italy to explore the Italian side of the Alps. Overnight in Cogne.

DAY 7: Rifugio Bonati

Our first hike in Italian Alps is the first leg of the “Tour Du Mont-Blanc.

DAY 8: Hike Gimillan to Grausson; Great Views of Gran Paradiso Mountain

After a short drive from Cogne we reach the trailhead at the village of Gimillan. The uphill hike follows the Grausson Creek with great views. We’ll have a picnic lunch above the tiny village of Grausson Inferiore. The hike is about 7 miles round trip with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. After the hike we take our bus to the quaint village of Antagnod, our home for the next two nights. Overnight in Antagnod.

DAY 9: Gran Paradiso National Park -Lillaz Waterfalls to Valnontey

Gran Paradiso, established in 1922, was the first national park of Italy, but previously it was the private hunting ground of King Victor Emanuel II. Nowadays, the park protects the Alpine ibex and other wildlife. The park is named after the glaciated Gran Paradiso Mountain, which is a prominent feature of the park.

Our forest hike today is from the Lillaz Waterfalls to Valnontey. During the hike we’ll see variety of plants and maybe some mushrooms. After the hike we will drive to Antagnod, where we will stay for the next two nights. Overnight in Antagnod.

DAY 10: Lago Blu Loop Hike

The village of Antagnod is in the quaint Val d’Ayas, which is of one the least touristy area of the Alps. From there, on a clear day, we’ll have a good view of the beautiful Monte Rosa. Our day starts with a drive to the trailhead in the village of Saint Jacques, which is the starting point of many trails in this area. Our destination is Lago Blu (the Blue Lake), which is more turquoise than blue, and is very beautiful. We will take a long break to enjoy the this enchanted lake. The round-trip hike is about 9 miles with 2,200 feet of elevation gain. Overnight in Antagnod.

DAY 11: Aosta Tour

The city of Aosta, an important Roman outpost, is today’s capital of the Italian region Val d’Aosta. You will be surprised by the lesser-known beauties of this dramatic region and the impressive architectural heritage from its Roman and medieval past. We’ll visit one of the many castles in the area as well as Bard, a medieval village. Overnight near Turin airport.

DAY 12: Turin, Departure Day

After breakfast, you can catch a flight back to the U.S. or go to other destinations in Italy. You may consider spending a day or two touring the underrated, but interesting, city of Turin.



INFORMATION


Trip Details:
2 nights in Annecy
4 nights in Chamonix
2 nights in Cogne
2 nights in Antagnod
1 nights in Turin
Total: 11 nights – 12 days

Price:
$5,445 per person, in double room – min 12 people – max 15

What is included in the trip

  • Accommodation in carefully selected, centrally located and well appointed hotels
  • All group transportation in a deluxe air-conditioned private bus
  • All breakfasts and 1 main meal per day, including wine
  • Tastings and visits as per itinerary
  • Entrance fee to castles and attractions as per itinerary
  • Cable rides as per itinerary
  • Arrival and departure airport transfer
  • The services of a professional tour leader (Alessandra) and professional guides

What is not included

  • International airfare from and to the Switzerland and Italy
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Travel and Cancellation insurance (please ask us for more info)

MORE INFO

    New website coming soon!

    Hi Friends & Travelers,

    Big changes to our website are on the way this year! At times, our website might be down or some pages may be “under construction”. If you have any questions on itineraries or other materials, feel free to email us at info@customizedjourneys.com. We can send you full copies of itineraries and answer any other questions you may have.

    Looking foward to seeing you on an upcoming or future trip!!

    The Customized Journeys Team