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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Switzerland > From the French to the Swiss Alps

From the French to the Swiss Alps

A thrilling ten-night Alpine experience
Starting point:

Les Gentianettes, in La Chapelle d'Abondance, for your first two nights.

Day 1
Circular route via Chalet de Trébentaz: 14km, 5hrs 30mins; 870m ascent/descent

During your day in La Chapelle d’Abondance, we recommend a route whose high point is a classic alpine walker’s refuge at Chalet de Trébentaz with wonderful views from the terrace; the walk takes in the Abondance river, waterfalls, deep mixed forest and high open country, returning via a series of mountain hamlets.

Day 2
La Chapelle d'Abondance to Châtel: 15km, 6hrs; 850m ascent/750m descent

The route to Châtel follows quiet paths through varied terrain to reach Lac Arvouin; though it features a steady ascent, this walk is one of the highlights of the holiday. There's a sense of complete isolation as you pass through ancient forest and flower-filled meadows, with exceptional views of nearby Mont de Grange and, in the distance, the white glimmer of Mont Blanc floating on the horizon. Beyond the lake, a long traverse takes in high Alpine pasture and forest as you gently descend to the pretty village of Châtel where you spend two nights at the Hotel Macchi.

Day 3
Circular route via Chalets du Mouet: 10km, 3hrs 30mins; 380m ascent (plus chairlift)/800m descent
Circular route via Mont de Grange: 15km, 5hrs; 900m ascent/descent

You can take advantage of the ski lifts to access a stunning ridge walk where you literally have one foot in Switzerland and the other in France, walking via the Chalets du Mouet restaurant to enjoy views towards Lake Geneva and much of the western Alps.
Another circuit offers an exploration of the nature reserve on the eastern flanks of Mont de Grange. You may be lucky enough to spot ibex and mouflon grazing on the rocky upper slopes before you descend beside a stream leading to the Cascades de l’Essert waterfall.

Day 4
Travel to Leysin & circular route around Leysin: 9km, 3hrs 30mins; 450m ascent/descent

Today you take a taxi to the railway station in Aigle and catch the train to Leysin where you stay one night at Hotel Le Grand Chalet.
After you arrive, there's time to enjoy a circular walk which traverses the woodland and pastures above the village, and which offers some wonderful views both over the Leysin valley and towards Lake Geneva, the Rhône plain and the Dents du Midi.

Day 5
Leysin to Le Sépey, ascending by cable car: 12km, 4hrs; 150m ascent/1100m descent
Longer option, ascending on foot: 14.5km, 5hrs 30mins; 650m ascent/900m descent

Today's walk crosses open meadows framed by cliffs and high peaks before descending through woods to the small village of Le Sépey. To get to Lake Ai at 1,890 metres, you have a choice of taking the lift (pay locally) or making the strenuous ascent on foot. You stay in the Hotel du Cerf, Le Sépey.

Day 6
Le Sépey to Les Diablerets: 14km, 5hrs; 400m ascent/600m descent

From Le Sépey, it's a short bus ride (pay locally) to the start of the walk, from where you climb through woods to reach a series of pretty farming hamlets. As you traverse the south-facing slopes, you are rewarded with views of the mighty glacier-topped Diablerets Massif which dominates the region and whose eponymous village below is your destination. Your hotel for two nights is the Hotel du Pillon in Les Diablerets.

Day 7
Glacier 3000 option: 20km, 7hrs; 1000m ascent/descent
Shorter option via Lake Retaud: 13km, 4hrs 30mins; 600m ascent/1000m descent

You may choose to visit the famous Glacier 3000 above Les Diablerets for a truly impressive view over much of the Western Alps. Follow the marked trail across the glacier, or cross the ‘Peak Walk’ suspension bridge between two summits for the ultimate views.
Alternatively, we suggest a walk that rises steadily through forest and flower-filled pastures past the Cascade du Dar waterfall and up to Lake Retaud before tackling the Voré and Andérets passes and on to the 2170-metre peak of La Palette, descending via picturesque villages or by gondola back to your base. Walking in Les Diablerets and neighbouring Villars is made all the more easy with the included Free Access Pass, entitling you to free use of some of the local cable cars (although not up to the Glacier), bus and train services – excellent for shortening some of the walks.

Day 8
Les Diablerets to Villars-sur-Ollon: 20km, 7hrs; 850m ascent/800m descent
Shorter option from Col de la Croix: 7.5km, 3hrs; 250m ascent/800m descent

Today’s varied walk starts with a shady forested climb (which can be shortened by taking the bus to Col de la Croix) before crossing the Chaux Ronde, enjoying quintessential Alpine views while traversing south-facing slopes towards the Col de Brettaye. Descend from here by mountain railway or through forest and meadow into the village of Villars. You spend your last two nights at Hotel Alpe Fleurie in Villars-sur-Ollon.

Day 9
Circular walk via Taveyanne Nature Reserve: up to 15km, 5hrs 45mins; 720m ascent/1040m descent
Circular walk from Solalex: 14km, 5hrs; 760m ascent/descent

The walking options from Villars are extensive. We suggest two very different routes, both accessed by bus. The first is a gentle tour of the Taveyanne Nature Reserve to reach a perfectly preserved high mountain village with a renowned restaurant.
Alternatively, an adventurous circuit explores the famous rock-climbing massif of the Arête de l’Argentine. Starting from the village of Solalex, you climb into high-Alpine terrain and over a pass before looping south and west to cross two dramatic ridges to arrive back at your starting point.

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