MONT BLANC WALKING HOLIDAYS
WALKING IN THE MONT BLANC REGION
About Mont Blanc
Sitting on the Italian and French border is Europe’s highest mountain – Mont Blanc. At 4810m, some underestimate the scale of Mont Blanc and the other 4000m+ peaks in this region of the European Alps. Whether standing on the valley floor, or crossing a panoramic pass, the magnitude and beauty of this wilderness region will definitely leave an impression on you.
Mont Blanc is permanently covered in snow and ice, hence it’s name. The literal translation for Mont Blanc is ‘White Mountain’. In French, the mountain is often referred to as La Dame blanche ("the White Lady") and in Italian Mont Blanc is often referred to as Il Bianco ("the White One").
The Mont Blanc massif was first climbed in 1786, and the ascent gave birth to modern day mountaineering. It is not only a region for climbers however, walking in Mont Blanc has become so popular that the regions is now the third most visited natural site in the world. Anyone who travels here will soon see why.
MONT BLANC WALKS: Circumnavigate it, or enjoy leisurely sections with the kids
Few will capture the true beauty of the European Alps’ highest peak and surrounding mountains with a fleeting visit to famous towns such as Chamonix. To truly do justice with the picture postcard views of spectacular mountain vistas and alpine landscapes a walk in the Mont Blanc region is a must.
There are a number of trails open to walkers of various fitness levels. Without doubt the most famous walk is the classic Tour du Mont Blanc, however families and walkers of various abilities can choose a trail to suit their fitness level.
UTracks offers a number of treks and walks around sections of Mont Blanc, as well as the full circumnavigation. You can walk as part of a guided Mont Blanc walk or choose to travel from hut to hut on your own on a Mont Blanc self guided walk.
WHEN TO WALK IN MONT BLANC
The most pleasant Mont Blanc walking experiences are backed up with comfortable mountain hut accommodations. Part of the appeal of walking in the Mont Blanc region is the refuges, or mountain huts. These refuges are only open in summer (typically June to September) and hence this is the best time of year to walk.
Alpine weather can be very unpredictable, so the shelter, hot food and in some cases hot showers are a welcome retreat after a splendid days walking.
GUIDED AND SELF GUIDED MONT BLANC WALKING HOLIDAYS WITH UTRACKS
UTracks has a wide range of guided and self guided Mont Blanc walking holidays ranging from moderate to challenging forays to more gentle rambles suitable for families and those who prefer to slow down and ‘smell the roses’.
All of our Mont Blanc walking tours, guided or self guided, include luggage transfers, meals on the trail, accommodation at gite hostels or refuges on a multishare bases (upgrades to double rooms maybe available, ask us to learn more). Self guided travellers will receive route maps and of course guided trips come with an experienced guide.
Discover our full range of hiking holidays in Mont Blanc or talk to our experienced team to learn more.
This year, we are pleased to announce that UTracks and Sherpa Expeditions have joined forces to bring you the most exciting and extensive range of active European holidays available, all at great value.
What this new alliance means for you is that soon you will have access to over 300 active itineraries covering more than 25 European countries, from Iceland to Malta and from Ireland to Cyprus.
Founded in 1973, Sherpa Expeditions specialise in self guided and escorted holidays to Europe and across the globe.
The company offers a range of self guided inn to inn walking & cycling tours, escorted walks and expeditions, Himalayan Tours as well as Walker's Britain, a pioneering collection of over 20 British walking tours which include the Coast to Coast Trail and Hadrian’s Wall.
Sherpa has refined self guided holidays to an art.
Over many years their leaders, local representatives and clients have all contributed to the detailed trail notes provided to walkers, making them the definitive guide to the areas they visit, which includes 16 iconic European walking destinations such as France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and much more.
Cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land or sea – UTracks and Sherpa Expeditions can help you explore Europe exactly the way you want.
To many, Jon Millen (pictured above) has one of the best jobs in the world. For over 17 years he has scaled Europe’s most spectacular, popular, and off-the-beaten track trails researching new walking trips and updating route notes.
So, what are his five favourite walks in Europe? We asked him.
1. The Alpine Pass Route - Switzerland
This sensational walk cuts right through the highland heart of Switzerland. There is some tough walking but you are compensated by incredible views and comfortable accommodations at the end of the day.
The flowers in July especially are amazing and it is always novel watching local farmers often using hand tools: rakes and scythes, to cut the hay in the smaller fields. There are aspects of the trip which are more like a mountain journey rather than a walk, so only the fit need apply!
This walk has been a staple trip for me since 1997 when I first escorted a group of Australians there!
The weather has generally been beaut providing luminous skies, clear long views and it has been interesting to see how the villages have changed over time. This is a trip of scenic contrasts, cultural and historic interests and impressive natural features. It is also highly photogenic!
The self guided Walking in Haute Provence - Small Mountains and Big Gorges departs between 1 May and 15 October.
Part of the longer Camino de Compostela, this beautiful walk in France is an entity unto itself.
Le Puy and Conques were points of pilgrimage in themselves and are simply beautiful places that everyone must experience once. Again it’s the journey feel to the trip I love. I was surprised how the landscape unfolded like a map each day: rolling hills, sweeping valleys, forests and high moor. The walk ‘joins the dots’ alighting at points which were there for pilgrims 500-1000 years ago.
Join a self guided trip along The Way of St James depart between 1 May and 31 October.
Being English, how could I leave this off the list? The Coast to Coast is another mountain journey par excellence.
Wainwright’s classic is in my mind a masterpiece which keeps a lot of the smaller villages that you’ll visit alive. In reasonable weather there is a huge variety of scenery and although we do not have time zones in the U.K you cross through about seven beer zones as the different breweries become more prominent in the different locations!
There is a camaraderie and sense of achievement on this tour which few walks will have. You might not have the three National Parks to yourself, but you can go for long periods without seeing a soul.
Walk it all, cycle it or try a smaller section - view the complete range of trips along the Coast to Coast Walk.
The tougher of our central Tuscan walks, on this tour you can feel how merchants and soldiers would have walked between the mediaeval hill towns, many remarkably well preserved.
There is normally a lot of exposure to sun on this trip as you are walking on the high ‘cretes’ or chalky ridges, but once you have sorted that with the right hat and clothing, things are fine.
The hill towns are of course fascinating, but equally as interesting are coming across tiny chapels and vineyards. The views are sweeping, and if you can afford the Brunello wines, get one, they are to die for.
Discover our entire range of walks in Tuscany.
Below are UTracks General Manager, and mother of two, Kate Baker’s Top 5 Family travel ideas with UTracks.
Our 8 day multi-activity Croatia Family Adventure, which explores the spectacular islands of Southern Dalmatia, will entertain even the most discerning teenager.
Kids will lap up the swimming, kayaking, cycling and some of Europe’s best gelato, giving parent’s a chance to relax. There’s even some supervision of the kids allowing you time to explore the historic harbour towns, amazing scenery and enjoy the easy cycling & walking
Suitable for ages two and up.
Mont Blanc Family Walk – France to Italy
This specially tailored Alps walking itinerary around Mont Blanc provides kids with ample reasons to get excited. They’ll help take care of the donkeys, delight at crossing the French/Italian border on foot, enjoy snowball fights and boot skiing down small snow patches, play games at the refuges each night with other kids and be able to boast to their friends that they walked 60kms in one of the world’s great mountain ranges.
You’ll enjoy the simple pleasures the relaxed pace allows such as soaking in the views, bonding with the kids and enjoying good wine and good food whilst talking to like-minded people along the way.
The tour is suitable for active seven years olds and above. It’s ideal for 10-16 year olds. Older teens with previous mountain walking experience can join our Mont Blanc Guided Walk as the pace on this trip is relaxed.
Loire Valley Cycle – 8 days
France’s ‘playground of the Kings’ is also a playground for the kids. Our Loire Valley cycle tour is very family friendly as is the maze at Chenonceaux and the grounds of Chateaux Clos Lucé which also features to scale models of Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions.
For you, there are the fabulous hotels, magnificent Chateaux, great French food and wines and intriguing history. Our tip, explore Amboise on day three instead of doing the suggested cycle - the kids will love it! There is even a public swimming pool for those hotter days.
Hiring a bike trailer means this trip is suitable for ages 2 and up.
Italy’s spectacular, traffic freeLigurian coastline dishes up something for everyone in the tribe.
The centre based apartment trip means unpacking only once and allows you to create your very own Italian village home for the week.
The kids will easily be motivated by the yummy gelatos and dips in the Mediterranean as well as interacting with other kids walking the trails freeing you to soak in the superb scenery, local wines and great walking.
Suitable for ages six and up, or if you are up to it take the baby in a backpack well shaded from the sun.
The Danube by Bike & Boat
Why wait until the kids move out to experience the highlights of the Danube?
Travelling by an old world style comfortable boat means you don’t need to repack each day. Everyone will appreciate the great scenery and towns visited en-route and cycling on the easy dedicated cycle trails.
Ankle biters will be pleasantly distracted by castles and interesting museums as well as the Ferris wheel in Vienna. For you, there’s the Wachau wine area and the cultural treasures of Vienna.
Suitable for ages two and up (smaller kids in trailer or trail-a-bike, kids bikes also available).
EVEN MORE FAMILY OPTIONS
With over 25 dedicated family and family friendly itineraries it’s not easy to narrow it down to a list of five. The kids will also enjoy our Provence Backroads in France, or Bernese Oberland for Families. View our entire family friendly range online.
Still looking for summer holiday ideas? Look no further - we've got plenty of biking, hiking and family-friendly multi-activity inspiration for you.
Check out our Late Availability - June departures. Guided, or self-guided, whatever your choice, make sure you get booking now - places are filling up fast!
- The Danube by Bike & Boat
Austria, Germany, Slovakia - guided 22, 30 Jun
- Northern GR 20
Corsica, guided walking - 30 Jun
- Mt Blanc Guided Walk
France, Switzerland, Italy - 23 Jun
- Around Ijssel Lake
Holland, guided bike & barge - 29 Jun
- Veneto Bike & Boat
Italy - 22, 29 Jun
- Southern GR 20
(Corsica) guided walk - 22 Jun
- Holland Family Barge & Bike