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Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva & Annecy

  • Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva & Annecy
  • Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva & Annecy
  • Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva & Annecy

Rising in a great wall of granite and schist between France, Switzerland and Italy, the glorious, awe inspiring beauty of the Alps attracted Europe’s first “tourists” almost three centuries ago. Personalise Your Holiday Helicopter Flight Over the Alps Soar like an eagle in the only vehicle capable of affording you the stunning birds eye vista of the Mont Blanc Massif - a state of the art helicopter. This, one the most world famous mountain ranges, containing Europe's highest peak, is magnificent enough when seen from the ground, but from the air it truly is one of the most awe-inspiring displays of Mother Nature's treasures which you will ever behold. Such an abundance of peaks, mountains and granite aiguilles punching their way sharply through the glistening snow. More varied that any other group in the Alps, this flight is sure to delight any who dare to take to the skies. Rides last 20 minutes. More information is available upon request.   Price from £149 per person. Minimum numbers are required. This cannot be booked online, please call us to pre-book this optional experience.   Complimentary Guided Walk An increasing number of you want to stretch your legs whilst away so you may want to join a complimentary walk today. It’s not arduous, though it is best to have walking shoes or good trainers. Our walk starts in Chamonix and we choose a route to suit our group and the weather. We will walk through the forest and across rivers, giving you a chance to immerse yourself in the area’s beautiful alpine scenery. There are stunning mountain views along the route and our local walking guide will tell us all we need to know about the area, its history and the flora and fauna. We will then return to Chamonix. Our walk can take up to four hours. It’s a leisurely walk but places are strictly limited and must be pre-booked. This is not bookable online so please contact our reservations department for more information or to book.   Please note: This walk usually takes place on day 2 (afternoon), although this will be confirmed by your tour manager in resort. Riviera Travel » code: MB » id: 31634

8 Days from £999 per passenger

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Travelling to...

 

  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Europe
  • Western Europe
  • Central Europe
 

Day 1

 

Fly or take the Eurostar and TGV High Speed Train to Geneva then transfer to the iconic mountain town of Chamonix. Arrival is a feast for the eyes - awe inspiringly above is the snow-capped, glacier strewn father of them all - Mont Blanc, at 4,810 metres (15,780 feet) Europe’s highest peak. Even before you set foot in your hotel, there’s nothing quite like that first gulp of the crisp, fresh alpine air telling you, you’ve arrived! We stay seven nights at either the hotel Aiglon or Mercure, both four-star and centrally located with breakfast, two dinners in your hotel and two in carefully selected local restaurants.

 

Day 2

 

Those wonderfully buttery croissants and rich steaming coffees are always something to look forward to in France, so thus fortified, we commence our exploration of this astonishingly beautiful region. Firstly we join the narrow gauge “rack” railway grinding its way nearly 900 metres (3000 feet) from the valley floor to Montenver’s alpine meadows. Tortuously climbing through the gorgeously pine scented forests, across viaducts, over plunging meltwater streams and through cavernous tunnels, an amazing sense of anticipation mounts throughout the journey. Astonishingly, the magnificent snout of Europe’s longest glacier, the ‘Mer de Glace’ majestically appears. 7 km of Mont Blanc’s ice and snow converge here forming the ‘Sea of Ice’ you amazingly see before you. Then transfer to a cable car for the spectacular ride towards the glacier surface. A cave is carved into the ice and on touching the sides you really understand why glaciers promote so much erosion. The adjacient Glaciorum is a fascinating exhibition where glaciation is explained in detail. Also in this alpine paradise look out for Nutcrackers and Black Woodpeckers, deer, mountain goats and perhaps the Ibex. This afternoon is free to explore Chamonix.

 

Day 3

 

Enjoy yet more glorious views as we drive to medieval Annecy, firstly having a guided walk discovering the fascinating history and culture of this utterly charming lakeside town. For a real sense of ‘getting away from it all’, stroll amongst its pastel coloured, flower bedecked houses, through twisting streets and alleys along its narrow peaceful canals. Dominating the scene are the magnificent turrets and towers of its 12th century, classic medieval castle once the Counts of Geneva’s court and contains fascinating Alpine art and period furniture. Annecy has no shortage of welcoming cafes and restaurants but for lunch perhaps picnic on local cheeses, hams and pates by the impossibly turquoise waters of the lake. Indeed it is to the water that our attention turns next, taking a scenic cruise on what is said to be Europe’s purest lake. Journeying home, keep an eye out for the many red and white Savoyard Cross flags and “Savoie Libre” painted on the rocky valley sides – a reminder that this passionately independent region only became French in 1860, retaining a strong Savoyard identity to this day!

 

Day 4

 

Today epitomises Chamonix’s raison d’être! Heading high – and then even higher - soaring up the valley to the very top of the peaks above – to a land of blindingly white, snowcapped summits with jagged, iron red pinnacles. We are on a cable car whisking you over 3,842 metres (12,568 feet) to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, towering far above almost every other surrounding mountain. The upper section spans almost a vertical mile above the tumbling ice of the Pelerins glacier and the steep upper rock face of the Aiguille itself – note the climbers making the ascent the hard way! This is Europe’s highest point without climbing yourself! Nature at its most awe-inspiring, the views are just breathtaking. Marvel at the snowclad slopes of adjacent Mont Blanc, the surrounding French, Swiss, Italian Alps and on a clear day the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa 80 kilometres away. You can take lunch at Europe’s highest restaurant too, but there is one surprise left of this incredible engineering feat -“step into the void”. A walk onto a clear glass floor hanging high above the steep rock for a truly dramatic perspective! Eventually it’s time to drag yourself away from all the drama of the high mountains, rediscovering the reality of “normal” life back in the valley and some free time to explore as you wish.

 

Day 5

 

A change of style today on the shores of the tranquil Lake Geneva, firstly discovering wonderfully picturesque, 14th century Yvoire, one of the “most beautiful villages in France”.  A lovely tangle of alleys lined with superb balconied medieval houses with billowing displays of wisteria dominated by a turreted castle and onion shaped church steeple. There are a splendid array of family restaurants plus a host of tasteful art galleries in which to linger.. The former kitchen garden of Yvore’s castle is now the evocative Garden of the Five Senses. Nearby is the opulent spa town of Evian Les Bains, where in the 19th century its waters were held to be a ‘cure all’ for kidneys, and taking into account the French fascination with wine and cognac – this was big news! These newly discovered medicinal qualities promoted rapid transformation becoming one of the ‘Belle Epoque’ periods most fashionable destinations, enhanced by regular visits from socialites and royalty including Marcel Proust, the Aga Khan and George V. The world first film makers, the Lumiere brothers built a classic example of grandiose spa architecture here, now hosting outstanding cultural exhibitions, but the jewel in Evian’s crown is its art nouveau masterpiece Promenade. Take a stroll along here then take the water, filtered through the Alps for 15 years, at the Source Cachat.

 

Day 6

 

Today we encounter yet another engineering masterpiece, 11km of Europe’s longest tunnel under Mont Blanc itself, emerging in Italy. It’s astonishing that such a short journey reveals such change in architectural style, people and climate, let alone the language and overall culture. We soon arrive at an undiscovered gem, Aosta, a remarkable mix of ancient culture and yet more spectacular scenery. Its very name evolving from Augustus Praetoria to Aosta betrays its Roman origins and we have a guided walk of their extensive legacies. Once the towns entrance, an incredible arch still retains some of its original marble facing which in all our thirty plus years of tour operating to similar sites, we have not come across elsewhere. There is an amphitheatre too, a still in use bridge, series of archways, plus much more. Its medieval heritage is evident too with a lovely cathedral and convent to see. Most enjoyable though, is to simply wander absorbing the ambience of typical Italian street life and during the short journey back to France, just contemplate how all this variety can be so readily adjacent.

 

Day 7

 

Today we drive through the Mont Blanc range, winding down the many hairpins to the fledgling River Rhone, before crossing into Switzerland to Chateau Chillon on Lake Geneva – inspiration for Byron’s “Prisoner of Chillon”. Almost perfectly preserved, this medieval castle is Switzerland’s most visited monument with a host of original features, including coats of arms, iron fireplaces and much of the original wooden structure and interior decoration. This being Switzerland, the castle’s medieval clock still works! Entrance fees to the Chateau Chillon are included. We then drive along the lake to Montreux, a picturesque resort town surrounded by vineyards and nestled against the Alps. You have free time to wander, so perhaps enjoy a peaceful stroll along the promenade, lined with colourful flowers, Mediterranean trees and belle-époque buildings. Look out for the bronze statue of Freddie Mercury, who fell in love with Montreux and settled here – if you’re a fan, you may wish to try the Queen Studio Experience in the renowned casino. A short walk away from the lake is the Old Town filled with cafés and restaurants, where you can sit and watch the world go by.

 

Day 8

 

Today at the appropriate time you will returned to Geneva for your homeward journey.

 

The price of this holiday is per person, based on 2 people sharing a twin room. The price includes return flights, 7 nights in a 4-star accommodation with breakfast and two dinners in your hotel plus two in local restaurants. All tours as mentioned, the Aiguille du Midi cable car, Montenvers cog railway to the Mer de Glace, guided walk of Annecy, guided walk of Aosta and a Guided tour of Chateau de Chillon. Not included Helicopter flights over the Alps. From £69 per person - See Hand-Picked For You section for details.

 

Return scheduled flights from Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Liverpool, Luton or Manchester or standard class Eurostar and TGV (French high speed train)  Seven nights in four-star accommodation, with breakfast Two dinners in your selected hotel plus two dinners at carefully selected, quality restaurants  Take the iconic Montenvers cog railway to the 40 km long, Mer de Glace, Europe’s longest glacier Guided walk of medieval Annecy – the ‘Venice of Savoie’, resplendent in one of the Alps most remarkable landscapes plus enjoy a cruise of Europe’s purest lake Experience Europe’s highest cable car 3,788 metres (12,312 feet) to the astonishing Aiguille du Midi, the jagged peak opposite Mont Blanc itself dominating an eerie landscape of astonishing barren peaks and glaciers with utterly spectacular views of France, Italy and Switzerland Visit ‘belle époque’ Evian, famous for its waters and medieval Yvoire nestling on Lake Geneva Take the Mont Blanc Tunnel under the Alps to Italy, for a guided walk of Aosta’s remarkable Roman legacy, Take the stunning passes Col des Montets and Col de la Forclaz into Switzerland Visit the superbly preserved castle, Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland’s most visited monument 'Personalise Your Holiday' Helicopter flights over the Alps, enjoy the dramatic view of magnificent Mont Blanc, one of the most awe-inspiring displays of Mother Nature’s treasures. Call us to pre-book this optional experience. Relax in lakeside Montreux at the heart of the Swiss Riviera Escorted by an experienced Tour Manager

Mercure

 

The four star rated Mercure is in two facing buildings, reflecting Alpine style featuring extensive use of local wood thoughout. Outside there is a gorgeous terrace with views of Mont Blanc where it’s ideal to relax with a drink after sightseeing. The spacious rooms have balconies and all the features you would expect of a four star rating plus with breakfast being a lavish affair with numerous hot and cold options plus a cooking station for omelets and crepes made fresh to order. The restaurant serves good quality local dishes with international favourites in a contemporary setting and the excellent facilities of this well-managed hotel are completed by a relaxing bar.

 

Aiglon

 

The four-star Aiglon, next to the Aguille du Midi cable car with its superb wonderful terrace, outdoor pool and amazing Mont Blanc views. The contemporary lounge and very good quality restaurant both feature alpine views from panoramic windows. The rooms themselves are exceptionally comfortable, with balconies. Both hotels have extremely pleasant staff and are privately owned.