Overlooking The Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Swiss Alps aerial view - mountains

The Swiss Alps

Barreling through parts of Switzerland, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein and Slovenia, the Alps are Europe’s premier mountain range. Though Mont Blanc is the tallest, there’s far more to this rich mountain range than the graceful, snowy peak of Mont Blanc. The snow-capped mountains and rugged landscapes of the Alps have always played an important role in the cultures that are contained within them. Mountain passes doubling for trade routes through these Alpine peaks have encouraged the castles, settlements, villages, towns and roads that sit within their harried shadows. In the past century or so, the majestic slopes of the Alps have given life to some of the top ski resorts and destinations, such as Chamonix, Megeve, Aosta, Cogne, Innsbruck, Zermatt, Interlaken, and so many more. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the pristine air and utter remoteness of the Alps were appreciated by wealthy Europeans looking for long holidays abroad to ‘improve their health’ who often chose resorts and villages in the Alps, usually preferring Switzerland. The Alps contain some of the original European ski resorts, and it has only been in recent years, however, that the Alps have been widely appreciated by both travellers and the tourism industry as a summer destination, building up summer infrastructure for hiking and mountain biking paths, zip-lines, horse-riding, swimming in Alpine lakes, Alpine summer cuisine, local artisans and crafts, and more. Switzerland has some of the most well-known peaks, top resorts and most adorable Alpine villages  and valleys and is therefore recognised as the all-around Capital of the Alps.


Where Should I Visit in the Alps and Pre-Alps?
  1. Chamonix, France
  2. Megeve, France
  3. Innsbruck, Austria
  4. Aosta Valley, Italy
  5. Cogne and the Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy
  6. Col Vert, France

 

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Col Vert, French Alps

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View from the top of Col Vert, French Alps

Hiking is generally a pleasant, self-inspiring, soul-searching kind of gruelling challenge. Summit-ting a mountain is even more rewarding, especially when this kind of view and this kind of lunch awaits you at the top. On a solo trip through France, I was determined to spend a day hiking, though being a woman travelling alone who didn’t happen to speak much French, doing anything too crazy seemed a bad idea. This is the summit of Col-Vert (1766m) in the Pre-Alps. I hiked a trail leaving from the small village, Villard-de-Lans recommended to me by the helpful guides at the mountaineering office in Grenoble because it is a safe, well-traversed area that also affords amazing views. It turned out to be one of the most amazing days full of great people, great views, great food, and great challenges. On the way, I bought local bread and cheese at the outdoor market, and the rest of my picnic I picked up at the grocery store for one delicious picnic with an unforgettable view! As a side note, to the left just outside the frame is the infamous Mount Blanc.