Exciting high level walking; easy-to-follow footpaths, excellent signposting, superb value
Awe-inspiring views of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Dents du Midi and Swiss Alps
Spectacular Alpine flora: over 1,200 varieties of wild flowers
Traditional mountain villages; comfortable valley hotels, great regional cuisine
Look out for wildlife;Ibex, chamois, mouflon, red deer, eagles and falcons
At a glance...
10 nights, hotel-to-hotel
Departs Every two days from 14 Jun '14 to 10 Sep '14
Continental breakfast and all evening meals
Sustainability rating: 74%
Route notes and maps provided
Varied routes for nature lovers and botanists.
Destinations with bird watching opportunities.
Perfect for couples.
Explore the high peaks.
High Alps Walk
This is a real Alpine walkers' holiday, offering exciting self-guided walks at a safe altitude but with an 'Haute Montagne' feel, plus the luxury of comfortable hotel accommodation every night. En route you can 'bag' the two highest peaks in the Chablais (both 2432m and both wildlife reserves). The mountain scenery here is staggering with awesome views of snow-capped peaks in one wonderful geography lesson: Mont Blanc, the Dents du Midi, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, the central Swiss Alps, Lake Geneva, the Jura, the Rhone valley...
Amazingly, most of the Chablais is little frequented by walkers. The countryside is a mosaic of colourful Alpine meadows, mixed woodland and glacial tarns, crowned by dramatic rocky mountain peaks. Flora enthusiasts are well catered for, there are wild flowers everywhere: 1,200 species, including gentian, orchids and edelweiss, and plenty of alpine wildlife too.
The footpaths are easy to follow, with excellent signposting, and there is virtually no road walking. Part of your route follows the classic Alpine long-distance footpath (GR5), and part follows old smugglers' trails high up along the Swiss border.
Not quite what you're looking for - then why not take a look at some of our similar holidays?
A taxi transfer from Geneva to Les Gets, then time to explore this charming alpine village or take a swim in the pool before enjoying M Hominal's delicious cuisine.
Day 2 - Les Gets to Lac de Montriond 20km/13mi/7.5hr
A well-marked path takes you to the summit of Mont Chery (1826m) for fabulous views of the Les Gets valley. There's a fantastic panorama from the top, including Mont Blanc, before you descend through a flower-filled meadow to Col de l'Encrenaz. Skirt below the jagged peaks of the Pain de Sucre and the Pic de la Dollaz and descend to Montriond. Then it's a pretty riverside walk up to our chalet hotel beside the Lac de Montriond.
Day 3 - At Lac de Montriond
Excellent choice of local walks from a gentle stroll around the picturesque lake to an exhilarating ridge walk via the Ardent Waterfall up to the bustling village of Les Lindarets and then along the Super-Morzine ridge: fantastic 3600 views. Full walking route notes provided.
Day 4 - Lac de Montriond to Chatel 17km/11mi/6hr or 21km/13mi/9hr
The highlight of today's walk is the magnificent limestone pyramid of Mont de Grange (2432m), a wildlife reserve. Around 500 chamois live here, along with mouflons and red deer. From the summit you see a huge Alpine panorama as far as Italy and central Switzerland. Then down to Chatel - breathtaking views and excellent regional cuisine.
Day 5 - At Chatel
Lots of choice of well-signed footpaths in the mountains here, and only a short walk into Switzerland is the pretty village of Morgins. Perhaps stay in Chatel and potter round the village market.
Day 6 - Chatel to La Chapelle d'Abondance 17km/11mi/7hr
From Le Morclan (1970m) you feel you can reach out and touch the jagged teeth of the Dents du Midi, with Mont Blanc to the south and a sweeping view east of the Bernese Alps. You follow the old smugglers' route high up along the Swiss border. Down through lush Alpine meadows thick with campanula, daisies and gentian to the pretty village of La Chapelle with its famous onion-domed church.
Day 7 - At La Chapelle d'Abondance
If you're up to the challenge, the Cornettes de Bise is a must. As high as the Mont de Grange (2432m), this is one of France's few ibex reserves, with 400 in the area at the last census. Or perhaps just go as far as the beautifully secluded Lac d'Arvouin, you'll still be rewarded by spectacular views. Or if you're feeling lazy, wander round the pretty village and relax by the hotel swimming pool.
Day 8 - La Chapelle d'Abondance to Abondance 14km/9mi/5hr or 16km/11mi/6.5hr
From the Pointe de Lachau (1962m) you can see the Matterhorn, 80km away! Down to the gorgeous hamlet of Ubine, where old chalets huddle round a tiny C17 chapel under the sheer wall of Mont Chauffe. The afternoon's almost all downhill, and you're soon relaxing in the hotel's private sauna and jacuzzi.
Day 9 - At Abondance
Opposite the hotel is the C12 Abbaye de l'Assomption. The church (1275) is impressive, but it is the C14 Gothic cloister with C15 murals by Giacomo Jaquerio which steals the show. Why not also take a day trip to the 'seaside' town of Thonon and a boat ride on Lake Geneva?
Day 10 - Abondance to St Jean d'Aulps 14km/9mi/5hr or 15km/10mi/5hr
A choice of two very different walks today. The less energetic takes you to the Pointe des Follys, a great picnic spot for a relaxed end to your holiday. Or, weather permitting, you could climb to the wonderfully isolated tarn, Lac de Tavaneuse, with magnificent views as you go over the Col de Tavaneuse at 2000m. We meet you in St Jean d'Aulps for a ride back to Les Gets.
Day 11 - Leave Les Gets
Please note In July and August ski lifts can be used to gain altitude on Days 2,4 and 6 (pay locally). The Day 10 Lac de Tavaneuse option is often not possible until July. Please note also that many shops and mountain restaurants don't open until late June/early July.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
Hotel Alpina, Les Gets (3 Star)
Hotel Alpina is our base hotel for the High Alps Walk. M Hominal and his team will make you feel very welcome in this chalet style hotel.
The rooms are beautifully furnished with intricately carved wooden panelling. Most rooms have balconies.
The hotel has excellent facilities with a covered, heated pool, jacuzzi and sauna.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
Hotel St Louis, St Omer ((2 star))
A traditional hotel recently modernised in the town centre - very convenient for the channel ports and also for exploring St Omer itself - an aristocratic town that boasts the finest Cathedral in Northern France.
The hotel has two restaurants. One of these has an airy modern feel, the other is more intimate with low lighting and a brick 'cellar' feel. There is also a residents' bar: le Flo.
The rooms are furnished in a simple but appealing style and all have an en suite bathrooms.
The hotel also has private parking for its guests.
The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.
The hotel has its own small bar - adorned with photographs of eminent artists, being in the heart of the artists' quarter - plus a reading room with complimentary internet access.
Breakfast is taken in the basement, where you'll find a copious buffet of viennoiseries, cereals, fruit salad, ham, cheese, bread, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit juices, tea or coffee. If you prefer, you can have a continental breakfast served to your room at no extra charge.
Le Senat is perfectly located on a quiet side street just a stone's throw away from the Luxembourg Gardens and metro, and a 5 minute walk from the vibrant Latin quarter, where you'll find a plethora of restaurants to suit all budgets.
Transfers included from Geneva airport at 12:45, and back to Geneva airport at 10:30. Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Reviewed by Mrs Pogson on 17/09/2014
This was a fantastic holiday - all the walks are interesting & varied with spectacular views. We were very lucky to have good weather everyday. The accommodation was excellent throughout - can't fault a thing.
Reviewed by Mrs Henry on 02/09/2014
This holiday was one of the best holidays I have ever had, the scenery was absolutely wonderful once you were up the top of the mountains, and so peaceful, you need to be very fit to do this holiday, but the views and tranquillity was worth all the hard work.
Reviewed by Mr Graham on 23/07/2014
Sensible daily itineraries; good, comfortable hotels; efficient transfers, accurate guide notes; good value for money.
Reviewed by Mr Asteriades on 24/09/2013
The toughest Headwater walking holiday we have been on - particularly the first few days.
Great walking routes, stunning views, good hotels. We particularly liked Le Renard with enormous portions of great food.
Reviewed by Mrs Hill on 17/07/2013
Excellent holiday that delivered exactly what was described - we had a wonderful time . Faultless organization with consistently high standards. Well worth the money
Reviewed by Mrs Frechette on 12/07/2013
We all had a great holiday. Having the extra day at each hotel gave us a chance to settle in and get a feel for the local area as well as relaxing if we wanted to.
Reviewed by Mrs Love-Fordham on 24/09/2012
The holiday was amazing! The countryside is pristine and absolutely beautiful! The walks were well planned to great destinations. We went at the end of the season which was good in that we rarely saw other hikers and no mountain bikers. BUT there were no ski lifts in operation and most restaurants and stores were closed. The closed businesses were not of concern to us since we don't shop for trinkets. BUT the closed ski lifts, in our opinion, makes this a much more difficult holiday than 3 boots because you start several mornings by climbing to the top of a ski lift for several hours. The Headwater notes suggest taking the ski lift cutting off hours of climbing - but this was not an option off season. It is doable (barely and you are exhausted by mid day). If the ski lifts had been operating, it would still have been a 3 boot holiday. Do not expect any flat walking paths. You are either ascending or descending. It is steep and often slippery. A great and fun challenge for those prepared. We would do it all again in an instant!!! Thank you Headwaters!!!
Reviewed by Mr Phillips on 13/09/2012
Excellent walking holiday with good accomodation in simple hotels.
Reviewed by Mr Baker on 05/09/2012
Definitely a "3 booter"!! Hard work but so rewarding with fabulous views, beautiful surroundings and lovely food. We're in our late fifties and only of average fitness so were glad of the options to use chair lifts and have relaxing days off - we would recommend others not to be put off by the ranking though day 1 threw us into the deep end!
Reviewed by Mr Neville on 07/08/2012
The overall organisation of the holiday was extremely good from the moment we arrived in Geneva where Marc met us and took us to Les Gets. On the whole we were very impressed with the hotels and it was amazing how our luggage was moved on so efficiently from one hotel to the next.
The intinerary was excellent with only a few minor few errors due to local signs etc. changing and there was no problem route finding.
We were very impressed by the amount of research and time that must have gone in to produce such excellent route notes.
Reviewed by Mrs Jamieson on 23/07/2012
Challenging, but quite satisfying. We felt that the 10 days could have been shrunk into 8. Some places we did not want to stay that long in.
Reviewed by Mrs Bedford on 30/06/2012
This is the best (of 4 Headwater holidays) holiday we have had
Reviewed by Mis Horkan on 24/09/2011
Superb! Best standard of accommodation and food of any Headwater holiday so far (>10). Great route notes.
Departure dates & prices
Self-guided walking, hotel-to-hotel. Managed remotely by Headwater employed rep.
Every two days from 14 Jun '14 to 10 Sep '14, for 11 days (10 nights). We are able to offer non standard departures for this holiday. Please call for details.