EF Tours for Graduating Seniors: Hike Europe: The Alps
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EF Tours for Graduating Seniors: Hike the Alps

11 Days  •  4 Cities
Travel Style:

Why Go?

You’ll visit three countries, hike through vineyards, by glaciers, and up some of Europe’s most famous mountains. You might even see a cow or two. Because this trip is all about the great outdoors. Where the air is cleaner, the sounds are calming, and you can eat endless amounts of Swiss chocolate or cheese to counteract all the calories you’re going to burn.

What are the top highlights?

  • Sweat it out during hikes in Switzerland, France, and Italy
  • Hike through Lavaux Vineyard Terraces that overlook Lake Geneva
  • Look up—way up—at Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps, and one of the tallest in Europe (15,781 feet)
  • Climb towards the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn mountain, passing by the Black Lake in the Zermatt region of Switzerland
  • Ride the rapids of the Arve river with your fellow travelers in France

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Tour Director & local hiking guides
  • 6 days of hiking through the Alps
  • 9 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • Daily breakfast & dinner included

Accommodations

You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for our travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Flights

  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights

Itinerary

Day 1: Overnight Flight to Geneva

Hop on the plane, do some light calisthenics in the aisle to warm up your legs, and try to sleep as much as possible. You’re in for a full-throttle hiking adventure.

Day 2: Arrive in Lausanne

Sitting on the Northern shore of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is Switzerland’s fourth-largest city with views of the lake and surrounding mountains that will leave you speechless.

Today's Highlights:

  • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
  • Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
  • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
  • Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.

Day 3: Explore Lavaux Vineyard Terraces via St. Saphorin

Walks through Swiss vineyards alongside Lake Geneva are better. Today will be your first adventure—and it’s a relatively easy one. You’ll start in St. Saphorin, a micro town to the east of Lausanne, with a population of 393. From the town you’ll walk to the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evidence of these terraces date back to the 11th century. Breathe in the fresh air, and get ready for a beautiful day.

Hike Stats:

Time: 4 hours

Distance: 6.8 miles

Ascent: Flat

Difficulty: Hard

Today's Highlights:

  • Begin your hike through the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a beautiful 18-mile stretch of vines that produce some of the best wine in Switzerland.
  • Admire the combination of nature and human ingenuity that went into making the vineyard what it is today.

Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

Day 4: Travel to Zermatt Region via Montreux

Continue around Lake Geneva to Montreux, a town that has one of the most stunning lake walks in the world as well as one of the most famous Jazz festivals. Stroll through the town (looking for chocolate), followed by a scenic hike down from Rochers de Nayes (working off the chocolate) with more epic views of the lake down below and the Swiss and French Alps high above. Then it’s on to the Zermatt Region of Switzerland, where the world-famous Matterhorn mountain awaits.

Hike Stats:

Time: 5 hours

Distance: 8 miles

Ascent: 820 feet

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Today's Highlights:

  • Get those legs moving again for a hike around the surrounding mountainside.
  • Reach the summit of Rochers-de-Naye, and enjoy the sprawling views of the lake below.
  • Wave goodbye to big, beautiful Lake Geneva, and make your way to the Zermatt region, where you’ll feel even more surrounded by the Alps. Because you are.

Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

Day 5: Hike to the Matterhorn's Hornlihutte at 10,695ft

Today’s your day to tackle the Matterhorn. Start in Zermatt, hop in your gondola, and gawk at the mountain’s almost symmetrical natural pyramid that stands 14,692 feet tall. From gondola station, you’ll have the opportunity to hike higher and closer to the Matterhorn. Today's destination is the Hornlihutte, a high altitude hut (10,695 feet) that climbers' of the Matterhorn use as a final staging point for their ascent. So far this is the most epic hike of the trip!

Hike Stats:

Time: 6 hours

Distance: 5.2 miles

Ascent: 2,221 feet

Difficulty: Hard

Today's Highlights:

  • Hop aboard a gondola (not the boat kind), head 8,373 feet above sea level, and check out the Matterhorn (you can’t miss it).
  • Continue upwards, over fairly steep terrain, to Hornlihutte (Matterhorn basecamp). If you’re not feeling this hike, hang out by the Black Lake or head back to Zermatt on your own.
  • Watch in awe as hikers prepare to ascend the Matterhorn.
  • Grab a high altitude lunch at Hornlihutte (on your own).
  • Put those hamstrings to use as you hike back down to where you started in Zermatt (or take the gondola back down #noshame).

Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

Day 6: Travel to Aosta Region via Martigny

Give your legs a rest today—it’s time for a puppy break. Martigny, Switzerland is home to the St. Bernard Museum and numerous kennels where these gentle giants are bred. Once you’ve had your puppy fix, head to the Aosta region in northwestern Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the country. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise, with hiking opportunities galore.

Today's Highlights:

  • Warm up your dominant petting hand; St. Bernards are near.
  • Visit the St. Bernard Museum, and snap the perfect picture with any of the dogs romping around nearby.
  • Cross the border from Switzerland to Italy, saying goodbye to chocolate, and hello to pasta (and realistically, more chocolate if you want it).
  • Walk through the town with your Tour Director, passing by ancient ruins with the Italian Alps in the background.
  • Picture yourself living the serene mountain life (just need to learn some Italian).

Day 7: Hike Gran Paradiso

Today enjoy the playground of Kings - or at least the last King of Italy. Hike in a tremendously beautiful and protected setting, teeming with ibex. It's another unforgettable day, this time under the Italian sky.

Hike Stats:

Time: 5 hours

Distance: 5.1 miles

Ascent: 1,800 feet

Difficulty: Medium

Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

Day 8: White Water Rafting in Chamonix

Next up: France. You’ve got really tall mountains and a whole lot of adventure at your fingertips. Give your legs a break during an adrenaline-pumping Arve river adventure. Hop in a raft with a local river guide, and work together to navigate the rapids. Experience Alpine wilderness from a new perspective.

Today's Highlights:

  • Travel from Italy to France, crossing a third country off your list.
  • Let your jaw drop and your eyes widen as you stand in awe of Mont Blanc.
  • Get extreme(ly wet) during a white water rafting trip.

Day 9: Hike Aiguilles Rouges

Hike the mountain where the first Winter Olympics took place in 1924. While today is all about you and the mountain, back then, 16 countries battled it out in a variety of snowy events like curling, ice hockey, and Military patrol. While you try and guess what Military patrol is, spend the day hiking and visiting a lake near the peak of Aiguilles Rouges, or “Red Peaks.”

Hike Stats:

Time: 6 hours

Distance: 6.8 miles

Ascent: 1,640 feet

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Today's Highlights:

  • Join a local hiking expert for a full day hike and exploration of Chamonix.
  • Take a cable car partway up the mountain to around 6,500 feet.
  • Hop in the lakes (weather dependent), and take in the views from a different perspective.
  • Stop by the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, where, if you’re lucky (and quiet), you could see groundhogs, wild goats, and plenty of bird species.

Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

Day 10: Hike High above Chamonix

Another day, another hike, amirite? Today, you’ll get a little bit of everything, from hiking next to a glacier to getting over your fear of heights and stepping into a glass box at 12,000 feet (NBD). This is your last big hiking day. So live it up.

Hike Stats:

Time: 4 hours

Distance: 4 miles

Ascent: 900 feet

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Today's Highlights:

  • Start the day by stepping into a glass room (floor and all) at the Aiguille du Midi mountain peak, where over 3,000 feet of nothingness stands between you and the rocks below.
  • Make your way to Montenvers, a nearby town, where you’ll hike to a glacier.
  • Head back down to Chamonix, or continue up on your own via cable car (small fee) to the highest elevation of the trip: 12,391 ft.
  • Wipe the sweat from your palms and take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking mountain scenery at 12,391 feet.

Please note: All outdoor and hiking activities are weather dependent and may be adjusted on tour due to local conditions.

Farewell Dinner
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.

Day 11: Fly Home

Au revoir les amis!
Translation: Goodbye, friends! Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

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