If you're fed up with walking in the UK and want to hike abroad, there is no better place than looking at The Alps and it's extensive mountain range across Europe.
The area covers approximately 750 Miles of mountains and land across eight Alpine countries from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Within this area you have mountain covered with snow, extensive countryside for walking or hiking.
If you're wanting to get involved with mountain climbing then The Alps has this covered given that it contains Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain with a summit of 15,780Ft, however there are over one-hundred peaks that are higher than 13,000Ft that offer a good range of mountains to climb should you wish. If you're not into climbing mountains but do want to do some walking, the area offer thousands of different routes with a number of different grades attached to them. Apart from the countryside, the area is home to 14 million people and has a full tourist industry that attracts over 100 million people to the area to enjoy the countryside.
How To Get To The Alps?
Given that the internet is the number one source for information on walking in the Alpine region and nearly all the Italian, Swiss, French maps can be ordered online in the UK, planning, getting to and walking in the Alps for a few days is very easy to organise. The best way to get there is to fly into Geneva Airport as it's the number one hub, which provides transport links to France, Switzerland, and Italy. Geneva Airport receives hundreds of incoming flights every day from all over the UK. Hence, you are sure to find plenty of minibus companies in Geneva who will offer you competitive prices to take you up to the mountains.
What's Walking Like in The Alps?
Honestly it's fantastic and the whole experience is worth doing more than once. Personally we have been going to the Alps for the last 25 years and really enjoy finding new routes today. Winters are cold and we have had times on the mountains where it's been -30 degrees, however generally in the winter its sub-zero and the summer in the mid-twenties, though its not uncommon for thunderstorms to form the afternoon often bring about a deluge of water down the side of the mountain. Walking in the area is beautiful and the Alpine trails can be exciting and exhilarating.
Do You Need Specialist Equipment?
If you're planning to do day walks in the summer, you can easily get away with a day rucksack with a few items in such as water, lightweight waterproof clothing, sun cream and trekking poles, however if you're planning to do any extensive or more difficult routes, it's advisable that you take precautions. Firstly, and especially if you have flown to the area, take a day to acclimatize to the area and lower oxygen supply as this will really help you when you start getting into the mountains, as some of the trails may be as high as 3000 meters.
It is drier and warmer than the UK weather however whilst the weather is better than the UK, we would still recommend that you took some basic navigation equipment as it's not uncommon to get lost and even though most routes are marked with signposts and directions, you are still required to know how to use a map and a compass. It is important to keep alert all the time, as while walking on glacial moraines, you might just miss a junction in the path. Alternatively, the clouds may cast a shadow and hide various path junctions. It is imperative that you focus on the paint spots that indicate distance. Early in the morning, north facing slopes might have remnants of ice and snow. However, there is no reason to fret as most trails have railing to hold on to in case of a thunderstorm.
If you are nervous about the walk, you can opt for the helicopter rescue insurance. The EHIC UK medical insurance card will cover you in the Swiss Alps as well. So if you have any medical issues during the trail you can be protected by helicopter rescue.
A opportunity for the hikers to stay in the mountain huts of the Alps should not be missed. If you are carrying a heavy rucksack and want to stop for a break in the alpine hut, you are sure to find plenty along the trail. If you want, the huts are available to you during the summers as well. However, during this time, they are usually filled up. It is better to phone and pre book the huts. When you arrive there, you will be welcomed with a hearty three-course meal. A lavish breakfast, a packed lunch, and some wine to help you quench your thirst. The huts are normally dormitories for the most part. Recently some huts have introduced the twin sharing and double rooms system along with a shower facility as well. These however tend to be more expensive.
When's The Best Time To Go To The Alps
The ideal time to go on Alpine trails is during the months of June, July, and September. This is the period, when the Alpine Flowers are in full bloom .The various continental holiday’s make the middle of July and the starting of August extremely hectic meaning that if you want to catch the best time to experience the Alpine wildlife, it is better to go in beginning of July or late August or early in September. You can arrange for these trips online in the UK, however you do need to note that any walking guides that you book across Europe hold the International Mountain Leader qualification meaning that they are qualified to conduct tours in the area.
Top Walks in the Alpine Region
Monte Rosa Tour: The Monte Rosa tour is one of the most grueling walks of the Alps. The Monte Rosa massif lies in the Pennine Alps in between Italy and Switzerland. It extends over seven summits and is above 4000 meters high. It includes the Dufourspitze, which is the second highest peak in the Alpine mountains. You can travel through ancient paths, hidden valleys, and pine forests. From the Monte Rosa trial, you can experience the beautiful Weiss horn and the Matterhorn as well as the Dom. The tour de Monte Rosa is set to become the Europe’s favorite long distance walks in the Alps.
Mont Blanc Tour: The Mont Blanc route consist of a class long distance walk through the Grandes Randonnees , which is the highest mountain in Western Europe . While taking this walk, you can easily experience the cultures from three different countries, Italy, France, and Switzerland.
Tour de Grand Paradiso: The sensational trip consists of a long distance walk through the snow covered mountain peaks and the high meadows which will give you a glimpse of paradise . A six-day trip, you can experience the green serene waters of the mountain lakes, snowcapped glaciers, and a flowery countryside. The very name of the place conjures up an image of paradise in the travelers mind.
Haute Route: This is one of the most popular trips in the Alps. You start at Chamonix in France and end in Zermatt Switzerland. The home of the Matterhorn is sure to regale your senses with exquisite views of the Mont Blanc Mountains.
Tour Des Fiz: To experience true alpine beauty, you must pass through the nature reserves in the rocky mountain ridges of Tour Des Fiz . This mountain ridge dominates the entire skyline around the area.