View of Cheserys lake/Lac De Cheserys
9-day adventure

Best of the Haute Route - Lite

France
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Code: FRTOHH

9 days
Challenging

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our UK team

Our local team

Our team in the Alps are based in Chamonix and are managed by Quentin Beauvy. They organise dynamic, challenging and beautifully scenic treks for small groups. Our team work with passionate and professional guides who live year round in this alpine arena. They will take you along iconic treks such as the Tour du Mont Blanc and Haute Route or help you to scale new heights up Gran Paradiso in Italy. Your safety and the quality of your trips is...
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Kandoo's view

Discover Alpine Switzerland in all its magnificent glory, from the morning calls of resident marmots to crystal clear glacial rivers and the jagged, rocky peaks of the Alpine summits. A route at the foot of the high peaks of Mont Blanc de Cheillon, the Pigne d'Arola and the Weisshorn, blanketed with their majestic glaciers. Embark on an awe-inspiring trek from Chamonix to Zermatt, passing ice-capped peaks and alpine meadows, take in the breath taking views at the top of the Dixence and Moiry dams. Spend your evenings in the quaint villages and experience the warm welcome of traditional, chalet style accommodation. Before culminating the trip in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn at 4478m, which flaunts its remarkable geometry: an almost perfect pyramid. On our 'Kandoo Lite' trips your service will end once you leave the group at the end of your trek, providing with you with more flexibility in your travels.

Trip highlights

  • Embark on a world famous trekking route.
  • Experience amazing views of the iconic Matterhorn.
  • Trek through outstanding alpine scenery as you pass from France into Switzerland.
  • Comfortable hotel and lodge accommodation.

Experiences

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Gallery

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Welcome to Chamonix

    Arrive into Chamonix and meet your group in time for the pre-trek briefing. This will be held in the evening at your hotel.

    • Accomodation: Hotel
  • Day 2

    Grand Balcon Sud

    Today will be your first day on the Haute Route, starting off with a short transfer to Les Praz village. From here, you’ll be flying high as you ride the cable car up to La Flegere, sitting at 1813m. Not only does this provide unbeatable views of the Mer de Glace glacier and the glorious surrounding landscapes, but also cuts out a difficult and tiring climb. The trek then begins on a stunning path which climbs gently towards the glacial blue hues of the Lac Blanc. On a calm day, the glass-like water mirrors the unparalleled views of the surrounding peaks. Like razor-sharp needles the skyline of the Aiguille du Dru, Aiguille Verte, Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc can all be admired from this incredible vantage point. Stop for a picnic lunch and enjoy the view before heading down through one of the region’s most beautiful trails bordering Lacs des Cheserys. Tonight will be spent in a peaceful hotel in the Argentiere valley – the perfect spot to rest up for another exciting day tomorrow.

    • Hiking time: 6 hours
    • Ascent: 475 m
    • Descent: 1150 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Day 3

    Col de Balme to Switzerland

    After a scenic train ride up the valley to Les Frasserands, we begin by climbing steeply to the Aiguillette de Posettes, the 'bébé' of the Chamonix skyline, where a panoramic 360⁰ view includes a picturesque Mont Blanc. We will then descend a little before heading along the delightful high alpine paths, weaving their way through alluring green flora and fauna, towards the Col de Balme. Here we cross the border from France to Switzerland. After a hearty lunch, we will descend to the small hamlet of Trient for the night, taking in the amazing views of the Aiguille d'Argentière and the Aiguille du Tour. Keep an eye out for Trient's unique pink church!

    • Hiking time: 7 - 8 hours
    • Ascent: 1100 m
    • Descent: 1200 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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Trip information

Difficulty

The Haute Route is given the name "the high route" for good reason; there is a lot of steep ascent and descent on this trek, so your legs will be getting a good workout. Yet, whilst a high level of fitness will make the days a lot easier it by no means requires super human fitness. A solid training plan will allow you to better prepare for the hikes and enjoy yourself when you're on the trail. You will need to reach particular points on the trail each night so you may find the pace of walking to be a little faster than on Kilimanjaro, for example. This is by no means a sprint, however a good level of fitness will ensure you have a positive experience. 


Trekking poles are also a lifesaver, especially on the steep Alpine passes! If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m over consecutive days then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on the route.  Think of it as climbing Snowdon or Ben Nevis every day for a week! If you can do this then there is no reason why you can't complete the entire Haute Route. We find that all successful hikers share a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination.

Food & drink

This trip is on a full board basis except for meals on Day 1 and an evening meal on Day 9. If you have a dietary requirement or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can plan a suitable menu.


The hotels provide hearty, traditional and generous meals. Drinks are not included with dinner, so please make sure you have some Euros and Swiss Francs with you. 


Packed lunches will be produced by your guide and include local meats and cheeses, crusty bread and fresh seasonal vegetables. The lunch items will be shared between all of the group for carrying each day. Remember to bring your favourite snacks (cereal or energy bars, dried fruits, chocolate) with you to keep you going through the day.


Tap water is typically safe to drink in France and Switzerland so you can fill up your water bottle each morning at the hotel. On the trek itself, you will be passing many refuges where you will also be able to top up your water if needed.

Accommodation

You will spend the 8 nights on the trek in 3-star hotels or lodges in twin rooms, with an evening meal (except on Day 1) included.

Hotels will be comfortable twin or double rooms with en-suite bathrooms. 

Lodges are simple hotels with shared toilets and bathrooms - twin rooms will be booked where possible, however, please be aware that due to the interest in this route, this may not always be possible and on these nights shared dormitory accommodation may be used. 

Your guide

Your guide will be an English speaking, experienced International Mountain Guide.

Transport

During your trek, you will use public trains and buses as well as cable cars and private transfer buses. All transport on the itinerary is included in the cost.
On our "Lite" Trips, airport transfer are not included, so you will need to make your own arrangements to Chamonix and onwards from Zermatt.

Luggage

You will need two bags for this trip. One travel bag for your replacement clothes which will be transferred between locations by vehicle (max 10kg). Please note: Do not leave computers, tablets, cameras and valuable objects in your travel bag. One 30-40L rucksack with a large chest strap that you will carry during the day.  You will carry your own personal equipment (spare warm clothes, waterproofs, water bottle, camera and sun screen) and valuables, as well as your packed lunch in your rucksack.

How do I get there?

For travellers based in the UK or the US, it is best to fly to Geneva International Airport (GVA). Lots of airlines fly to Geneva from all of the major UK airports, and many of the larger US international airports as well. The drive to Chamonix takes roughly one and a half hours from Geneva. 

There are lots of companies offering transfers from Geneva to Chamonix. The cheapest options tend to be with Alpybus or Chambus who provide regular shared transfers allocated by arrival time. 
You will meet the group at the pre-trek hotel in Chamonix.
At the end of the trip you will need to arrange your own onwards transport from Zermatt. Please be aware that Zermatt is a car-free town. 

Travelling Responsibly
Alternatively if you wish to travel more responsibly, then there are other ways to reach Chamonix. Flixbus and BlablaCar offer routes from London to Chamonix with a change in Paris. These take around 22 hours and tend to cost between £75-120 each way.  The other option is to travel by train. This is a much quicker option taking between 10-12hrs London - Chamonix, with changes at Paris and Chambery, however this does come at an increased cost. Expect to pay around £250-300 each way on an advance ticket. Tickets can be found at Rail Europe. 
If you choose to travel via train or bus, get in touch and let us know because we like to reward our responsible travellers!


Budget & change

The currency in France and Italy is the Euro (EUR) and in Switzerland the Swiss Franc (CHF).  For the latest exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Euros are accepted in Switzerland although the exchange rate will not be very good. However, if you are only likely to be buying the odd drink or snack while you are in Switzerland, this would probably be easier that exchanging money into Francs. Foreign money can be exchanged at the Global Exchange in Geneva airport on arrival or you can bring money already exchanged with you, as both these are open currencies.  We would recommend the latter as it is no longer possible to exchange foreign currency notes in banks in France, so you may find it difficult to exchange your money after leaving the airport. The only places that exchange foreign banknotes are bureau-de-change which can be found in large cities. You will, however, be able to withdraw money from ATMs in Chamonix on Day 1 of your trip.

The simplest way to pay for things in the Alps is to use an international credit card or debit card. Visa and Mastercard are accepted everywhere alongside standard travel cards such as Monzo and Revolut. You may wish to have some Euros to hand, to pay for smaller items or souvenirs in case the trader does not accept cards. Credit and debit cards are also not accepted at the mountain refuges so you will need to carry enough cash for snacks, drinks and any personal expenses. 

The average cost of a meal for 2 in Chamonix is around €50 ($55). Its not a cheap place to eat out, however it makes up for this by offering free public transport all around the town. If you are wanting to buy some souvenirs to take home then these generally cost anywhere between €5 ($6) for small items to €500 ($550) for larger more bespoke gifts. Don't forget you will also need to budget for drinks whilst in the refuges too. Therefore, our recommended guidance for spending budget in the Alps would be roughly €220 on top of any tips, to give you ample souvenir spending money. 

Tips

Tipping customs vary all over the world and can be very confusing when travelling to a new country. There is not a strong culture for tipping in France, but that said, anything you wish to give your guide in appreciation of his services will be welcome. You may wish to buy him a drink in the refuge or hotel.
Tips are not a substitute for good wages: our guides are all well paid and well looked after. Tipping is completely voluntary, and at your discretion. If you are unsure of how much to tip, a general guide of €10 per person for the entire trip should suffice. On the other hand, if you receive bad service or have not been treated well, you would not be expected to tip at all.

Formalities & health

Passport

Most travellers will require a passport valid for at least 6 months after your return date. It is your responsibility to confirm your specific requirements and please be aware that proof of onward travel may be required.

Visa

Travelling to France is visa free for up to 90 days, for UK and US citizens

Vaccinations

There are no specific health risks in the Mont Blanc region. However, you should ensure that your routine vaccinations and boosters are up to date, such as tetanus and MMR.

Insurance

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses. Many insurance policies will have a maximum altitude limit, if you are climbing Mont Blanc or Gran Paradiso you should ensure you are covered for climbing up to 5000m. We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf.

Medication

Remember to bring any personal medication with you and inform your guide of this (if necessary) during your pre-trek briefing.
In addition, your guide will have a first aid kit containing: 
  • Painkillers.
  • An anti-inflammatory (tablets and gel).
  • An anti-diarrheal
  • A disinfectant, dressings (various sizes) and "double skin"
  • A survival blanket

Equipment & clothing

Clothing to bring

  • A pair of waterproof hiking boots with ankle support
  • A warm hat and a cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Breathable T-shirts
  • A light fleece
  • A warm jacket
  • A waterproof and breathable jacket
  • A pair of gloves
  • Shorts
  • Mountain pants
  • Waterproof trousers
  • A change of clothes
  • A change of shoes 

Equipment to bring

  • 1 hiking bagpack of around 30L to carry your day's belongings
  • 1 flexible travel bag weighing 15kg maximum for your spare belongings
  • Telescopic walking sticks (strongly recommended)
  • Sun protection (cream and stick)
  • A water bottle of at least 2L
  • Your personal medication
  • Toilet paper
  • A pocket knife, a spoon and a plastic box for lunches
  • A sheet-sack for the night (only necessary in refuges and certain lodges)
  • A torch
  • A toiletries bag and a towel
  • Recommended extras: ear plugs.

Dates & prices

From To Price Availability Book Enquire
30/06/2024 08/07/2024 $3,765 £2,899
Available
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21/07/2024 29/07/2024 $3,765 £2,899
Available
Book now Enquire now
18/08/2024 26/08/2024 $3,765 £2,899
Available
Book now Enquire now

Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

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Price includes

  • 7 nights accomodation in hotels and lodges
  • Luggage transfer between hotels
  • Service of our qualified mountain guide
  • Private transfers and public transport on the trek as indicated
  • Full board except for breakfast in Chamonix and evening meal in Zermatt
  • Chamonix - La Flégère cable car (day 1)

Price does not include

  • Airfares and departure taxes unless stated
  • Items of a personal nature 
  • Tips for your guide
  • Personal travel insurance (trekking up to 3000m)
  • Personal hiking and climbing gear 
  • Snacks or personal medicine 
  • Entry visa for France if required
  • Meals and drinks not specified
  • Accomodation prior to or after trek
  • Airport transfers
  • Transfer from Zermatt to Chamonix

Options

We can help you to arrange the following should you wish us to:
  • A night's stay in Chamonix or Zermatt, prior to or after your trek
  • A return transfer from  Zermatt to Chamonix

Please speak to one of our staff if you would like to add this to your trip.