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The GR5: Lake Geneva to Chamonix

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.9 Read 10 reviews
  • Walk the first Alpine section of the GR5 trail from Lake Geneva to Chamonix
  • Enjoy views of the Dents Blanches, Dents du Midi and the Mont Blanc massif
  • Summit Le Brévent for superlative views of Mont Blanc
  • Feast on rich cheese fondue, a hearty Savoyard speciality
  • Experience buzzing Chamonix, France’s mountaineering capital
Experience true Alpine hiking on this inn to inn walking holiday along the GR5 trail from the glistening shores of Lake Geneva to the foot of the Mont Blanc. Start in the glamorous Swiss Riviera town of Montreux from where you will be transferred to the small hamlet of Novel, across the water to the French Alps, to start your hike. Ascend through peaceful Alpine meadows and through countless traditional dairy farms; the sound of cow bells never far away. Take in the views of the jagged mountain ranges of the Dents Blanches, Dents du Midi and finally the mighty Mont Blanc Massif, as you criss-cross between France and Switzerland. Finish on the summit of Le Brévent at 2525m with the most stupendous views of the Mont Blanc, your reward for this challenging yet beautiful trek. Hop on the cable car and descend to Chamonix, a busy Alpine town, considered to be France’s outdoor capital.
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What To Expect

This trek on France’s GR5 trail is perfect for those looking for challenging Alpine hiking with some added comfort. Rated moderate to strenuous, prepare for some long days with significant ascent and descent and some light scrambling to Le Brévent. Bag transfer is included, helping to lighten the load. Stay in comfortable 3* hotels and atmospheric mountain huts. A free day in Chamonix allows you to relax and reflect on your rewarding hike.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Multi-Generational, Avid Adventurers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Personal Growth
  • National Parks & Trails
  • Mountains

Inspiration:

  • Most Popular
  • Classic

Grade & Terrain

This trip is graded moderate to strenuous with average daily distance being  18km. Each day has significant ascent and descent and the paths are a mixture of woodland trails, rocky mountain paths, gravel tracks and some tarmac country road walking (going into La Chapelle and Samoëns).  The last day of walking involves some light scrambling, metal ladders (2 with 11 rungs each) and footholds secured to the rock face so you should be sure footed and have a head for heights. To get the most of this trip, you should be in good physical shape and be an experienced walker, ideally having already done some Alpine walking. 

Navigation

The GR5 trail is generally well way-marked, although some sections more so than others. You will be provided with a map and route notes and  you will also have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone's GPS so you will have no problems finding the way

Accommodation Information

Stay 5 nights in comfortable 3* hotels, 1 night in a private room in a mountain hut (shared bathrooms) and 1 night in a mixed-sex dorm in a mountain hut (shared bathrooms). This trip allows you to experience the atmosphere and camaraderie of a mountain hut while being interspersed with comfortable 3* hotels, which we believe is the perfect balance for fans of Alpine walking who are looking for a bit of added comfort!

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers as some of the walks are remote. Single rooms are available in the hotels (not in the mountain huts) on request and a single room supplement is payable.

Alternate Accommodation

We will always try and accommodate you at the hotels listed. However, if those listed are unavailable, alternative accommodation of the same or better standard than those described will be provided.

Meals

Breakfasts are included each day. Breakfast in the hotels is a buffet selection with lots of sweet treats like pastries, homemade jams fruit and cereals. Savoury tastes are also catered for with bread, cheese, ham and eggs available. Breakfasts in the huts tend to be very basic; bread, butter, jams, coffee, tea and orange juice.  If you prefer something more substantial before walking, we recommend carrying a few energy bars with you each day and supplement your breakfast with one of these. Packed lunch items can be bought locally from supermarkets or the local boulangerie. If you are staying in a hut, order packed lunch with them upon arrival.

In the mountain huts, dinner is included. These tend to be a convivial affair, and you will be seated with the other guests. Meal times are a real highlight in the huts, and you can enjoy the company of people from all over the world while you dine on good honest home-cooked food. Dinner is typically soup with bread, a main course consisting of meat and rice or pasta, a side salad or vegetables, followed by dessert or cheese. If you have any dietary requirements, please tell us upon booking and we can arrange this with the huts. On other nights dinner is not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Savoyard specialities are mostly based on cheese. Dishes which shouldn’t be missed include fondue, tartiflette and raclette.

Included
  • 5 nights in 3* hotels, 1 night in a mountain hut in a private room and 1 night in a mountain hut in a dorm
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 2 Dinners
  • Transfers and bag transfers as per the itinerary
  • Detailed information pack, route notes and maps
  • GPX tracks and access to our GPS Macs Adventure smartphone app
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Montreux and from Chamonix
  • Lunches & 5 Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
Extras
  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk

When To Go

This trip is available to start any day of the week, from the end of June to mid-September, subject to availability. Any time during this period is ideal for hiking, in late June/early July you can experience Alpine flowers at their finest while in bloom. August can be busy as this is the main holiday making a month for the French and indeed many other European countries.

At the start of the season and towards the end, there may still be some lying snow at the highest passes. This won't normally require specialist equipment like crampons, but we will always keep you informed of any unusual weather conditions.  

Availability in Montreux can be tricky around the time of the Montreux Jazz festival (usually in July). Availability in Chamonix can be scarce around the time of the famous UTMB races which are usually during the last week of August. 

Getting to the Start

The closest and most convenient airport to fly into is Geneva. From here you can catch a direct train to Montreux which takes about 1 hour 20 mins. For more information please check www.sbb.ch

Getting from the End

From Chamonix it is about 1 hour 10 minutes transfer time to Geneva airport. The best option is to take a pre-booked shuttle through a company such as Mountain Dropoffs. Your Destination Specialist will be happy to book this for you.

Baggage Transfer

Bag transfer is included in this trip. We ask that you limit your baggage to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 20kg per person. Your bags cannot be transferred to Refuge de Chésery or Refuge de Moëde d’Anterne due to the remoteness of the huts. You will need to carry your overnight things on these days and you will be reunited with your main bag the following day.

General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Montreux and overnight Day 2 Transfer to Novel and walk to La Chapelle d’Abondance 10 miles / 16 km Day 3 Walk from La Chapelle d’Abondance to Refuge de Chésery 15 miles / 24 km Day 4 Walk from Refuge de Chésery to Samoëns 15.5 miles / 25 km Day 5 Transfer to Le Fay, walk to Refuge de Moëde d’Anterne 10.5 miles / 17 km Day 6 Walk from Refuge de Moëde d’Anterne to Le Brévent. Cable car to Chamonix 7.5 miles / 11.5 km Day 7 Free Day Chamonix or choice of walks Day 8 Onward Travel

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