View of Cheserys lake/Lac De Cheserys

Alps Travel Guide

Practical information

16:59:20
Language(s)
French
Currency
Euro
Time zone
GMT +2

Alpine History and Culture

There are traces of Neanderthal habitation in the Alps in 40,000 BCE, and again with the findings of 'Otzi the Ice man', humans can be traced to living here in 3200 BC. However, there are no historical accounts until the Romans invaded between 35 and 6 BC, gradually taking victory over the 46 tribes residing in these mountains. They subsequently constructed roads over the Alpine passes and linked the southern and northern Alps, eventually integrating the inhabitants of these areas into the Roman Empire. With the fall of the Roman Empire, regional power became prominent again, and Christianity lead the way, with diocese taking control of small areas. Then, during the late medieval period sheep were replaced by cattle and cattle farming became increasingly oriented toward long-range markets, making use of the passes and new trade routes. In the early 1500s, a number of wars were fought in the region and this caused the Alps to split into three significant political areas, Western Alps, Switzerland and Eastern Alps. Many of the valleys remained mainly shaped by agriculture until the late 1800s and, as population growth favoured an increase in corn, potato and cheese production, there became a defined split between the different areas. Inhabitants of the Western and Central Alps mainly ran small farming establishments whereas in the Eastern Alps the farms were developed on a much bigger scale.

Interest in the natural landscape of the Alps began to grow throughout Europe, bringing with it the first ascent of Mont Blanc by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard on 8th August 1786. The growth of the Alps as a travel destination laid the foundations for it's prominence in outdoor adventure today. At the turn of the twentieth century, the abundant water and steep slopes made the Alps an ideal environment for the production of hydroelectric power and new opportunities emerged for economic expansion. The introduction of ski lifts also diversified the flourishing tourism industry into winter seasons as well as summer. Now the Alps provides a haven for people seeking to be immersed in nature with it's dramatic landscapes and famously rich cuisine, it is a sought after destination. 

Time Zone

The time zone in France is GMT +1

Languages

French

The language in France is French

Useful Phrases

  • Bonjour/ Salut - Hello, Good morning
  • Au revoir - Goodbye
  • Oui - Yes
  • Non - No
  • Merci - Thank you
  • Merci beaucoup - Thank you very much
  • Fille - Girl
  • Garçon - Boy
  • S'il vous plait - Please
  • Est ce je peux avoir - Can I have...
  • Combien? - How much?
  • Ou est la toilette? - Where is the toilet?
  • Je voudrais - I would like...

Currency

Euro

The currency in France is the Euro (EUR).

For the latest exchange rates visit www.xe.com


ATM machines are available in Geneva and Chamonix but you will not be able to withdraw currency once you are in the mountains. Mountain huts may not accept credit / debit cards so it is advisable to carry some cash with you whilst trekking. 

USD
EUR

Electricity

For hiking in France there are two plug types: type C and type E. For Switzerland there are also two plug types: type C and type J. For Italy there are three plug types: type C, type F and type L. The good news is that a type C plug will work in all of the other sockets, so this is the best adaptor to take. Try to buy an adapter with a narrow hexagonal plug rather than a round plug, as this will fit the type J socket.  

All three countries operate on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

Weather

Summer hiking weather in the Alps, whether you're in Courmayeur, Switzerland or the Mont Blanc Range, is generally very pleasant. While you may walk in short sleeves under sunny skies on some days, we can almost certainly guarantee that there will also be some days that are cool and wet, especially at higher elevations. The mountains create a rain shadow. Temperatures can range from 4 °C at night to 26 °C during the day. Hikers can expect daytime temperatures around 21 °C in the valleys and 15 °C above 8000 feet—although it's not uncommon to have freezing rain or snow on the high trail one day, and T-shirt weather at the 9500-foot pass the next.

As for seasonality, the Alps are ideal for hiking or alpinism from mid-June through mid-September, with the high passes often snowbound until early July. We typically schedule our first  trips around the first week of June and finish by mid September. Wildflowers on the Tour du Mont Blanc are at their peak in late July and early August, and even earlier in Italy.

Safety and Security

Your safety and well-being is always the number one priority at Kandoo Adventures.


We operate all our travel destinations in accordance with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice, which publishes travel advisory notices for British nationals. We also closely follow the advice of ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents) which provides support to UK tour operators.  


In addition to this, our extensive, directly-managed operations in each of our destinations, provide us with detailed knowledge and up-to-date information, which enables us to make informed decisions and operate our trips safely.

We always recommend that you regularly check the FCDO's travel advice, in order to keep up to date about the country you are planning to visit.

If you are not a UK resident, we would recommend that you visit your government's travel advisory website for further information:



Alternatively, you may wish to visit our Travel Updates page or seek further information from the World Health Organisation.

Lost or delayed luggage

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage for your alpine trekking tour. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows: 

  • Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item
  • If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution
  • We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush. You will be able to find everything you need in Chamonix. 
We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed. Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.
Normal route to climb Mont Blanc

Geography

The Alps are the largest mountain range in western Europe and stretch for approximately 1200km through France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Monaco. The highest peak in the range is Mont Blanc (4810m) which sits on the border of France and Italy. The range contains 128 peaks over 4000m above sea level. 

The Alps were formed tens of millions of years ago by the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates. Sedimentary rock from the ocean floor was forced upwards to form the mountains we see today. Many of the peaks are comprised of a mix of rock from Africa, Europe and the ocean floor, mixed together as the land masses collided and folded over. The Alps are often divided into two sections, the Western Alps and Eastern Alps, defined by the Splügen Pass on the Swiss-Italian border, together with the Rhine to the north and Lake Como in the south. The Western Alps are higher while the Eastern range is much longer and broader.  


The Alps are currently experiencing the effects of climate change at an alarming rate, with glaciers receding by tens of metres a year, causing huge rockfalls and landslides in the uppermost reaches. Permafrost tends to be found above 2,500m in the Alps; it runs deep into cracks in the rock, helping to hold them together. As this melts the rocks become unattached from one another and the mountainsides can become unstable. This is adding an extra dimension to those wishing to climb on Alpine peaks. 

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