Hike Europe: The Alps | EF Ultimate Break
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EuropeHike Europe: The Alps

Hike Europe: The Alps

12 days, 4 cities33
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From $3699 with flightsPayments as low as $136

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Vaccination is currently required for this trip. Chat or call us with questions.

Why go?

A trip designed for those yearning for a European adventure, with a big emphasis on adventure. Fuel up on local chocolate, beer, and cheese and then conquer iconic hikes and earn unparalleled views of a stunning and vast region.

This is a physically demanding tour. You should be comfortable hiking at high inclines and altitudes for several hours. If needed, please begin training for this tour at least two months in advance.

Picture yourself

  • Summiting Rocher-de-Nayes for an unparalleled view of Lake Geneva

  • Climbing the world-famous Matterhorn’s Hornlihutte

  • Earning, and indulging in, Swiss delicacies like raclette and chocolate

  • White water rafting at the River Arves

  • Cooling off in the lakes of Aiguilles Rouge

What you'll get

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers

  • 10 nights in handpicked accommodations

  • 10 breakfasts

  • 2 dinners

  • Expert Tour Director

  • 24/7 support from our travel gurus

  • 6 guided hikes with a local expert

  • Entrance to the St. Bernard Museum

Full trip itinerary

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Overnight Flight

    Hop on the plane, do some light calisthenics in the aisle to warm up your legs, and try to sleep as much as possible. You’re in for a full-throttle hiking adventure.

  • Day 2: Arrive in Lausanne + Welcome Dinner

    Sitting on the Northern shore of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is Switzerland’s fourth largest city with views of the lake and surrounding mountains that will leave you speechless. But in the words of the Canadian rock band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    During your free time, enjoy Lausanne old town or hang out by Lake Geneva, the largest lake in Western Europe.

    In the evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner of local cuisine and drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Afterwards, you’re free to take the party elsewhere!

    Today's highlights:

    • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
    • Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
    • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
    • Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.
  • Day 3: Explore Lavaux Vineyard Terraces via St. Saphorin

    Vineyards are great. Walks through Swiss vineyards alongside Lake Geneva are better. Today will be your first adventure—and it’s a relatively easy one. You’ll start in St. Saphorin, a micro town to the east of Lausanne, with a population of 393. From the town you’ll walk to the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evidence of these terraces date back to the 11th century. Breathe in the fresh (and slightly wine-scented) air, and get ready for a beautiful day. You'll even get some wine.

    Hike Stats

    Time: 4 hours

    Distance: 7.2 miles

    Ascent: Slight ascent/descent

    Difficulty: Easy/Medium

    Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

    Today's highlights:

    • Begin your hike through the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a beautiful 18-mile stretch of vines that produce some of the best wine in Switzerland.
    • Admire the combination of nature and human ingenuity that went into making the vineyard what it is today.
    • Take a break for an included wine tasting because...why not?
    • Try and figure out what locals consider the "three suns" of Lavaux
    • After tasting the local wines, end in Lutry, another small town, for some free time to grab more Swiss eats (there will likely be cheese).
  • Day 4: Travel to Zermatt Region via Montreux

    Continue around Lake Geneva to Montreux, a town that has one of the most stunning lake walks in the world as well as one of the most famous Jazz festivals. Stroll through the town (looking for chocolate), followed by a scenic hike down from Rochers de Nayes (working off the chocolate) with more epic views of the lake down below and the Swiss and French Alps high above. Then it’s on to the Zermatt Region of Switzerland, where the world-famous Matterhorn mountain awaits.

    Hike Stats

    Time: 2 hours

    Distance: 2 miles

    Ascent: 820 feet

    Difficulty: Easy

    Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

    Today's highlights:

    • Get those legs moving again for a hike around the surrounding mountainside.
    • Reach the summit of Rochers-de-Naye, and enjoy the sprawling views of the lake below.
    • Say “more cowbell” as you hear that unmistakable noise from some of the thousands of cows in the area.
    • Wave goodbye to big, beautiful Lake Geneva, and make your way to the Zermatt region, where you’ll feel even more surrounded by the Alps. Because you are.
  • Day 5: Hike to the Matterhorn's Hornlihutte at 10,695ft

    Today’s your day to tackle the Matterhorn. (Not literally, it’s a mountain.) Start in Zermatt, hop in your gondola, and gawk at the mountain’s almost symmetrical natural pyramid that stands 14,692 feet tall. From gondola station, you’ll have the opportunity to hike higher and closer to the Matterhorn. Today's destination is the Hornlihutte, a high altitude hut (10,695 feet) that climbers' of the Matterhorn use as a final staging point for their ascent. So far this is the most epic hike of the trip!

    Hike Stats

    Time: 5 hours

    Distance: 3.7 miles

    Ascent: 2,191 feet

    Difficulty: Hard

    Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

    Today's highlights:

    • Hop aboard a gondola (not the boat kind), head 8,373 feet above sea level, and check out the Matterhorn (you can’t miss it).
    • Continue upwards, over fairly steep terrain, to Hornlihutte (Matterhorn basecamp). If you’re not feeling this hike, hang out by the Black Lake or head back to Zermatt on your own.
    • Watch in awe as hikers prepare to ascend the Matterhorn.
    • Grab a high altitude lunch at Hornlihutte (on your own).
    • Put those hamstrings to use as you hike back down to where you started in Zermatt (or take the gondola back down #noshame).
  • Day 6: Free Day in Zermatt Region

    You’ve got a free day in the Zermatt Region to do as you please. The views are incredible, the lifestyle is easy-going, and the opportunities to ice your hamstrings are ample.

    Free time suggestions

    Raclette: You haven’t had cheese until you’ve had it in the traditional Swiss fashion—melted and served in a mountain of gooey deliciousness.

    Bahnhofstrasse: Stroll the main shopping street of Zermatt, popping in and out of designer stores, bars, and cafés, sneaking a glance at the Matterhorn in the distance each time.

  • Day 7: Travel to Aosta Region via Martigny

    Give your legs a rest today—it’s time for a puppy break. Martigny, Switzerland is home to the St. Bernard Museum and numerous kennels where these gentle giants are bred. Once you’ve had your puppy fix, head to the Aosta region in northwestern Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the country. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise, with hiking opportunities galore.

    Today's highlights:

    • Warm up your dominant petting hand; St. Bernards are near.
    • Visit the St. Bernard Museum, and snap the perfect picture with any of the dogs romping around nearby.
    • Cross the border from Switzerland to Italy, saying goodbye to chocolate, and hello to pasta (and realistically, more chocolate if you want it).
    • Walk through the town with your Tour Director, passing by ancient ruins with the Italian Alps in the background.
    • Picture yourself living the serene mountain life (just need to learn some Italian).
  • Day 8: Hike Gran Paradiso

    Today enjoy the playground of Kings - or at least the last King of Italy. Hike in a tremendously beautiful and protected setting, teeming with ibex. It's another unforgettable day, this time under the Italian sky.

    Hike Stats

    Time: 8+ hours

    Distance: 6+ miles

    Ascent: Steep

    Difficulty: Hard

    Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

    Today's highlights:

    • Stretch your legs and prepare for an epic hike.
    • Yell as loud as you can like they do in the movies; you just crushed another intense hike .
  • Day 9: Travel to Chamonix + Optional White Water Rafting

    Next up: France. You’ve got really tall mountains and a whole lot of adventure at your fingertips. Today, you have a choice: relax on your own in the Chamonix region, or hit the water (not literally, water has feelings, too) during an optional white water rafting adventure.

    Today's highlights:

    • Travel from Italy to France, crossing a third country off your list.
    • Let your jaw drop and your eyes widen as you stand in awe of Mont Blanc.
    • Explore the surrounding area in Chamonix or get extreme(ly wet) during an optional white water rafting trip.

    White Water Rafting (extra cost)

    Give your legs a break during an adrenaline-pumping Arve river adventure. Hop in a raft with a local river guide, and work together to navigate the rapids. Experience Alpine wilderness from a new perspective.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

  • Day 10: Hike Aiguilles Rouges

    Hike the mountain where the first Winter Olympics took place in 1924. While today is all about you and the mountain, back then, 16 countries battled it out in a variety of snowy events like curling, ice hockey, and Military patrol. While you try and guess what Military patrol is, spend the day hiking and visiting a lake near the peak of Aiguilles Rouges, or “Red Peaks.”

    Hike Stats

    Time: 3 hours

    Distance: 4.3 miles

    Ascent: 1,640 feet

    Difficulty: Hard

    Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

    Today's highlights:

    • Join a local hiking expert for a full day hike and exploration of Chamonix.
    • Take a cable car part way up the mountain to around 6,500 feet.
    • Hop in the lakes (weather dependent), and take in the views from a different perspective.
    • Stop by the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, where, if you’re lucky (and quiet), you could see groundhogs, wild goats, and plenty of bird species.
  • Day 11: Hike High above Chamonix

    Another day, another hike, amirite? Today, you’ll get a little bit of everything, from hiking next to a glacier to getting over your fear of heights and stepping into a glass box at 12,000 feet (NBD). This is your last big hiking day. So live it up.

    Hike Stats

    Time: 4 hours

    Distance: 4.1 miles

    Ascent: 1,315 feet

    Difficulty: Medium

    Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

    Farewell Dinner
    Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.

    Today's highlights:

    • Start the day by stepping into a glass room (floor and all) at the Aiguille du Midi mountain peak, where over 3,000 feet of nothingness stands between you and the rocks below.
    • Grab lunch at a chalet near the midway cable car station of Plan de ‘Aiguille.
    • Make your way to Montenvers, a nearby town, where you’ll hike to a glacier.
    • Head back down to Chamonix, or continue up on your own via cable car (small fee) to the highest elevation of the trip: 12,391 ft.
    • Wipe the sweat from your palms and take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking mountain scenery at 12,391 feet.
  • Day 12: Fly Home

    Au revoir les amis!
    Translation: Goodbye, friends! Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

    –OR–

    EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS

    1. Double the fun
    A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.

    2. Go ahead or stay behind
    Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.

    Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

    Activities will take place rain or shine, however the hiking routes may change based on local conditions. Any changes are at the discretion of the guide.

Traveling with us helps the EF community plant trees, at no extra cost to you.

Reviews


Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Based on 33 authentic traveler reviews
  • I wish I can go back in time :’)

      Valeria, traveled Jul.. 2022

    One of the best trips of my life. Everything was well organized and the hotels were nice. I definitely walked a lot but nothing was too hard and it was sooo worth it. The Tour Guide was always very helpful and friendly. I wish I can go back in time and live this experience again.

  • BOOK THIS TRIP

      Barbara, traveled Jul.. 2022

    The trip of a lifetime! You cannot beat these views! I would recommend this trip if you are consistently active and enjoy being outdoors. Need to be able to hike long distances up and downhill. Our tour director Daniele was a gem. He made the trip so fun! Met some amazing, hilarious people! There are days where you get free time in the city as well, but be p... See more

  • Amazing towns, views and hikes

      Khadijah, traveled Jul.. 2022

    This trip has been everything!! My tour director Tyson was AMAZING!!!! He was so knowledgeable about every place we went, he had super good recommendations about optional excursions and we had the perfect balance between hiking and free time. I will say for anyone booking this trip just be aware there is hiking almost everyday with some steep inclines so jus... See more

  • Amazing!!!! 12/10

      Katie, traveled Jul.. 2022

    This was such an amazing trip! Tyson was the best. You see spectacular views and visit cities you probably wouldn’t have gone to on your own. The hikes can be difficult, but doable. If you’re even thinking about booking, just do it! It’s amazing! Added bonus- Tyson made sure my dietary accommodations (celiac) were taken care of. It gave me such peace of mi... See more

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