Switzerland travel advice

Andrew Appleyard from our specialist operator Exodus has accompanied many small group walking vacations in the Swiss Alps:

Challenge and camping

“I would say that walking the Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, Chamonix to Zermatt, a classic haut route, is significantly beyond your introductory Mont Blanc circuit trip. It does require more ability in remote higher altitude areas and so it’s somewhere that you will find experienced trekkers, you’re likely to encounter snow in the further reaches even as early as late August and early September. It’s a challenging grade 5 route, but it takes you through a really quite stunning area. You do a lot of camping on this trip – most of it is done for you, but there is a participatory element to it too.”

Terrain

“The Mont Blanc circuit is one of our most popular Switzerland walking vacations and for good reason. You do need high quality boots, with ankle support essential. Trails are well marked but loose terrain is not uncommon. I’ve seen people wearing trainers really struggle, especially on the descents. Having once sniffed at walking poles, I borrowed a pair and now I swear by them.”

Drinking water

“It’s incredibly clean up there in the Swiss Alps, so following the Leave No Trace principles is very important. There is a drive towards going plastic-free on vacation now which is a great thing, but you do need to be careful when it comes to refilling water bottles. I have seen people filling up with glacial melt water, and I’ve seen whole groups get ill from it. There are mineral particles in the water which can give you stomach upsets, and of course there are lots of animals up there in the alpine pastures too, doing their business in streams. So always fill up at taps in designated areas, rather than streams however tempting the water might look.”

Mont Blanc Circuit

“I’ve done the Mont Blanc circuit both clockwise and anti-clockwise, and always recommend the clockwise route as easier and more enjoyable with the undulations that way round from Chamonix.”

Tips from our travelers in Switzerland

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Switzerland travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
The terrain for the walks is very very rough (rocks). You really must have proper mountain walking boots. My high class 'Hokka' trail running shoes were completely 'finished' after the week.
– Michael Cooke on a Mont Blanc walking vacation
“This is a fabulous sightseeing trip go enjoy. Suitable for all levels of cyclists. Great, energetic, peaceful, wonderful scenery. We covered a lot of miles but bikes were easy to ride. Hotels we stayed in were very good, comfortable and generally good food. Highly recommend this vacation.” – Marieanna Howard on a self-guided cycling vacation in Switzerland

Our top Switzerland Vacation

Mont Blanc vacation, Tour du Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc vacation, Tour du Mont Blanc

The best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

From US $899 to US $1099 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 24 Aug, 14 Sep, 21 Sep, 28 Sep, 5 Oct
2020: 16 May, 23 May, 30 May, 6 Jun, 13 Jun, 20 Jun, 27 Jun, 4 Jul, 11 Jul, 18 Jul, 25 Jul, 1 Aug, 8 Aug, 15 Aug, 22 Aug, 29 Aug, 5 Sep, 12 Sep, 19 Sep, 26 Sep, 3 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Switzerland or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Noel Reynolds] [Andrew Appleyard advice: Dino Reichmuth] [Michael Cooke quote: Chris Holgersson]
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