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A Guide to Walking in the Alps

  This majestic mountain chain, which arches across the heart of Europe, provides the ultimate backdrop for an adventure-filled walking holiday.... Read more
A Guide to Walking in the Alps


This majestic mountain chain, which arches across the heart of Europe, provides the ultimate backdrop for an adventure-filled walking holiday. Experienced or not, the Alps can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you’re looking for challenging trails, leisurely walking beneath towering peaks, exceptional cuisine or a rejuvenating escape with some of the purest air you'll ever breathe – the Alps stand as the ultimate destination for you to explore this year.

At KE we are firm believers that the Alps boast some of the most amazing and accessible walking trails in the world, an experience that every outdoor enthusiast should be able to enjoy. Hence, this article aims to offer a comprehensive guide to walking holidays in the Alps, catering to both seasoned visitors and newcomers alike.


About the Alps

Before we delve into the ins and outs of a walking holiday in the Alps It is important to understand a little bit about them. The Alps are one of Europe's most iconic and spectacular mountain ranges, stretching across multiple countries, including France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany and Slovenia covering almost 750 miles. The Alps are home to numerous majestic and world-renowned peaks such as Mont Blanc in France, the Matterhorn in Switzerland and the Grossglockner in Austria, three unmissable sights for your walking holiday in the Alps.


Why go walking in the Alps?

Whether your preference lies in exploring Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, or perhaps a combination of these Alpine destinations, embarking on a walking holiday allows you to fully embrace and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding landscapes. On foot, you have the opportunity to truly connect with and appreciate the following aspects of this remarkable part of the world.


Stunning Scenery

The Alps are renowned for their stunning and breathtaking scenery. Towering snow-capped peaks, verdant valleys, pristine alpine lakes and meadows filled with vibrant wildflowers create a mesmerising landscape. The play of light and shadow on these majestic mountains, especially during sunrise and sunset, adds an ethereal quality to the already picturesque surroundings. Whether you're gazing at the Matterhorn, touring around Mont Blanc, or relaxing by Lac Blanc near Chamonix, the Alps offer an awe-inspiring panorama at every turn.


The Culture

Immersing yourself in the culture of the Alps is undoubtedly one of the highlights of embarking on a walking holiday here. The Alpine communities proudly maintain a vibrant cultural identity with farming, cheesemaking and woodworking still going strong within the charming villages of the area. Although tourism has expanded to be the dominant industry, as you walk through the lesser-explored trails you will encounter a mélange of traditional influences and folklore. Alpine cuisine features hearty and delicious dishes, with cheese, especially fondue and raclette, being iconic staples. After a day of invigorating walking, there's nothing quite like unwinding with a delightful French wine whilst savouring the warm cheese that they're renowned for.


Sense of achievement

Walking in the Alps provides a substantial sense of accomplishment and a great physical workout. The rugged terrain, which ranges from gentle slopes to steep mountain passes, tests your physical endurance and determination. Climbing those challenging slopes and covering long distances not only improves your fitness but also fills you with a strong sense of personal achievement. This blend of physical effort and the satisfaction of reaching your hiking objectives serves as a potent motivator for those who wish to challenge themselves while enjoying the beauty of the Alps. Whether it's conquering a summit or completing an extended hiking journey, the Alps offer an ideal setting for those seeking a solid workout and a gratifying sense of accomplishment in the natural world.


What is the best time of year to visit?

The Alps offer thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts an avenue for adventure all year round. But getting the time of year right for your walking holiday can be crucial in what you get out of it. The pivotal question is when to transition from ski boots to walking boots and replace ski goggles with sunglasses, as you prepare to embark on your mountain explorations on foot.

In any case, although it is possible to walk in the Alps all year round, each month presents new experiences and challenges. We recommend waiting until the majority of the snow has melted to embark on your journey – unless you fancy a snowshoeing adventure, of course.



A walking holiday in the Alps in spring can be an enchanting experience. In the months of March and early April, higher-altitude trails may still bear traces of snow, with temperatures running quite low. Nonetheless, the crisp mountain air and the picturesque landscape crafted by the lingering snow offer a compelling charm for a walking holiday.

Come May, the scene transforms. The snow has melted, the air is considerably warmer and spring is bursting in all of its glory. The waterfalls are at their most magnificent and this time of year stands out as one of the prime opportunities to spot wildlife. Moreover, the busy summer periods are yet to start so you will be able to experience the beauty of the Alps all to yourself.



The summer months are a spectacular time for a walking holiday in the Alps. The combination of warm sunshine, crisp mountain air and amazing mountain landscapes, often with little cloud cover, unveil a breathtaking scene. Furthermore, all trekking paths are open at this time of year, and the glaciers have melted to reveal an incredible backdrop to the stunning passes beneath. On top of this, the longer days mean that you can enjoy the spectacular scenery for even longer.



A walking holiday in the Alps in Autumn is possibly the most underrated time of year to go. Although the forecast can be somewhat unpredictable, the peaks are already snowcapped, the temperatures are pleasant, and the array of autumnal colours that paint the landscape sets the stage for an idyllic alpine experience. What’s more, this time of year sees significantly fewer visitors, adding to the allure of a peaceful getaway in nature.


What is it like to stay in the Alps?

Walking holidays in the Alps make use of a variety of different accommodation options. Whether it’s comfortable hotels, traditional mountain huts, campsites or chalets, the accommodations that you will encounter will be charming and in harmony with the alpine ambience.



Staying in hotels during an Alpine walking holiday provides a blend of comfort and convenience. You can look forward to well-appointed rooms, many with breathtaking mountain views. You can expect warm and comfortable hospitality, all while serving as a convenient base for your daily adventures in the stunning Alpine surroundings.


Mountain Huts

Staying in mountain huts provides the opportunity to get off the beaten path and stay away from the crowds. These rustic lodgings, perched in pristine high-altitude locations, provide a sense of isolation and tranquillity. While the accommodation may be basic, the warm hospitality of the hut keepers and the camaraderie with fellow hikers create a unique and communal atmosphere. Waking up to panoramic mountain views and sharing tales of the trail over a hearty meal makes mountain huts an integral part of the Alpine adventure.



Camping during a walking holiday in the Alps is an immersive outdoor experience. You'll pitch your tent amidst breathtaking natural landscapes, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and lush meadows. The crisp mountain air and star-studded skies create an enchanting atmosphere for a night's rest. While it provides a more rustic experience, camping allows you to be one with nature and enjoy the serenity of the Alpine wilderness.



Staying in a chalet on a walking holiday in the Alps offers a simple yet authentic alpine experience. These wooden lodges exude a warm, alpine charm, often featuring comfortable living spaces, fireplaces, and stunning mountain views.



At KE, we offer walking holidays in the Alps that cater to all levels of experience and ability. Whether you’re looking to take on a low-level easier walk, tackle the Alps’ famous mountain passes on a mid-difficulty trek or you want to take on the toughest treks we offer to the top of Mont Blanc and Haute Route, KE has an array of options. Our walks are graded from 1 to 12 in terms of difficulty, with 1 being the easiest and 12 being the hardest, ensuring the perfect adventure awaits every type of traveller.


Lower Level, Easier Walks

Opting for a low-level or easier walk in the Alps has its distinct advantages. These walks offer an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stunning landscapes and scenic beauty of the region while maintaining a more accessible and relaxed pace. For travellers who may not possess the physical fitness or experience for high-altitude treks, low-level walks open the Alps up as a captivating destination. They are also perfect for families, providing a family-friendly and less physically demanding way to explore the Alpine environment. An example of this is our centre-based walking week in the Chamonix Valley, where you can explore the stunning glacial lakes, take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi on the Mont Blanc massif and walk some of the lower sections of the Mont Blanc Trail.


Mid-level Difficulty

Opting for a moderate level of difficulty on your walking holiday in the Alps allows you to experience a genuine sense of accomplishment by conquering challenging trails while at the same time striking a balance between adventure and accessibility. The medium level of difficulty allows for a comfortable pace, ensuring you can fully appreciate the stunning scenery, from lush valleys to snow-capped peaks, whilst also traversing some challenging mountain passes. Traversing these mountain passes offers a profound sense of accomplishment as you conquer inclines, navigate rocky terrain, and experience the changing microclimates within the range. Embark on our popular Best of the Tour Du Mont Blanc adventure to witness the beauty of the Alps with a terrain of middle-level difficulty.


Toughest Treks

Embarking on a challenging level walking holiday in the Alps, such as scaling Mont Blanc and traversing the iconic Haute Route, is an adventure for those seeking the ultimate in alpine exploration. These journeys offer an unparalleled opportunity to push your physical and mental limits while indulging in the sheer magnificence of the high-altitude landscapes. Climbing Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, presents an exceptional test of endurance, rewarding climbers with panoramic vistas that stretch across several countries. Meanwhile, the Haute Route, known as the "High Level Route," is a legendary trek connecting Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland, providing a thrilling, high-alpine experience. These challenging journeys not only offer a profound sense of accomplishment but also create lasting memories of conquering some of the most legendary peaks and trails in the world.


What are the trails like in the Alps?

Hiking in the Alps offers a rich tapestry of trail experiences. You'll amble through picturesque wildflower meadows as winter turns to spring. At times, you'll navigate over rugged terrain with loose rocks and scree, demanding your full attention and balance. And as you ascend, snow-capped peaks may emerge on the horizon, adding a majestic backdrop to your alpine adventure. As you venture into the high passes of the Alps, the trail experience takes on a new dimension. The trails in the high passes of the Alps can be quite demanding, with steep ascents, narrow pathways and exposure to rapidly changing weather conditions.


Alternatives to the Alps

If you're seeking an alternative to the renowned beauty of the Alps, Europe offers a captivating array of mountain ranges, each with its own distinct charm. The Dolomites in Italy, with their jagged peaks and dramatic rock formations, provide a unique alpine experience that's both exhilarating and visually stunning. The Pyrenees, straddling the border between France and Spain, offer a fusion of lush valleys and rugged summits, while the Julian Alps in Slovenia attract walkers with their pristine lakes and serene wilderness. Spain's Picos de Europa entice adventurers with their limestone towers and deep gorges, and the Tatras in Eastern Europe boast a rugged yet picturesque landscape. These alternatives to the Alps all offer a wide array of mountain experiences, each with its own character and allure.

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