The Aravis massif is a hidden gem, rising between the lower terrain of the Rhône Valley to the West and the towering Mont Blanc range to the East. The range is footed by old farming villages, famous among the locals for their artisanal cheese production. The upkeep of old traditions gives an extra dimension to the area, adding to its air of authentic Alpine charm. The tour ends with a beautiful arrival at Lake Annecy, one of the most spectacular panoramas in the Alps!
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Day 1: Arrival Saint Jean de Sixt
Your journey begins in the authentic village of the Aravis. Accommodation in a 3* hotel with a swimming pool in Saint Jean de Sixt. Depending on your arrival time, you can take a walk and visit the village.
Accommodation: Hôtel Beau Site *** or similar
Day 2: Saint Jean de Sixt – Les Confins | 4-7 h
The route takes you up to The Plateau des Confins. Here you can choose between two itineraries:
- Option 1: A longer version by the Pointe de Beauregard and the pass of the Aravis with walking distance up to 7 h
- Option 2: 4 hrs walk by the Mouilles de la Perrière and the top of Tete de Danay (1731 m) with a stunning panorama on the chain of Aravis in the East and on the Mount Lachat de Chatillon and the valley of Bouchet.
- Walking for the day: 4 to 7 hours, ↑1220/750 m (21 km) ↓830/350 m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Bellachat ** or similar
Day 3: Plateau des Confins – Chinaillon | 5-6 h
In the morning, you will walk by the pass of Annes (1721 m), passing by the bottom of the Aravis’s summit: the Pointe Percée (2750 m). After the high mountain pastures of the Confins plateau, you will reach the Bouchet valley in the beautiful corrie, under the Pointe Percée (2750m) and the Pointe du Roulletaz (2077 m). The path by-passes some sides of the mountain to easily cross the pass of Borneronde and the pass of Annes (1721 m). Have a lunch break at the cottage at the pass of Annes. Then descend to the hamlet of Chinaillon under the ridges of the Pointes d’Almet, Grande Combe and the Pointe de Deux Heures.
- Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 15 km, ↑800/600 m ↓850/650 m
- Accommodation: Hôtel L’Alpage *** or similar
Day 4: Pointe de Balafrasse or Tête d’Auferrand | 4-6 h
Leaving Chinaillon behind, you will climb to the chalets of Guillery and then to the Col de la Colombière (1607 m). From the pass, there are two options:
- Option 1: The Pointe de Balafrasse: Climb to the heart of the Bargy range, first to the Peyre lake and then to the Balafrasse pass, and Pointe de Balafrasse (2296 m), from where you can enjoy a beautiful panorama before going back down by the same route to Chinaillon.
- Option 2: La tête d’Auferrand: Walk up just under the Pointe de la Botte to enjoy the alpine pastures of the Tête d’Auferrand (1981 m). Hike by the ridge, to the combe des Fours and then descend to reach the itinerary that will lead you back to Chinaillon.
- Walking for the day – Option 1: 4-6 hours, 13 km, ↑1000 m ↓1000 m
- Walking for the day – Option 2: 4-6 hours, 13 km, ↑700 m ↓700 m
- Accommodation: Hôtel L’Alpage *** or similar
Day 5: Chinaillon – Grand Bornand | 4-7 h
Today, climb by Aiguille Verte’s ridge (2000 m) and the Lessy Lake. The view from the Aiguille Verte to the summit of the Aravis (Pointe Percée) is splendid, after that, you will cross the pass of Forclaz and go down to the hamlet of Mayse (sheepfold, cottage, drinks, snacks). The stage continues with a climb to the pass of Planay between the Roc des Tours and the Roc des Charmieux and descent to reach the itinerary that will lead you to the Mouilles, Tannaz and the Grand Bornan. You can picnic in the chalet of Mayse.
- Walking for the day (shorter option available): 4-7 hours, 14/18 km, ↑470/1070 m ↓650/1450 m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Les Glaïeuls ** or similar
Day 6: Grand Bornand – Annecy | 4-6 h
Early transfer to Montremont (18 km). Ascension to the foot of Tourette by the Col de Nantes pass (1426 m) with simply breathtaking views over the lake of Annecy. Descent to the bottom of the Lanfon by the path around the lake. Reach the Talloires near the lake and then take a boat around the lake to reach Annecy by Doussard and Duingt. Overnight in Annecy.
- Walking for the day (3 options available): 4-6 hours, ↑600/850 m ↓1000/1270 m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Mercure City **** or similar
Day 7: Departure or Extension
Departure on your own or extension upon request.
What to Expect
Accommodation in 2/3-star hotels in Saint Jean de Sixt, 3/4-star hotel in Annecy. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
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*Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel (from the ones pictured above) is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Accommodation is on a half-board basis (breakfasts and dinners included). Picnic lunches are optional at an extra charge and can be pre-ordered, or products for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying. Dinner is not included on Day 6 in Annecy, where you will have plenty of options to dine in one of the many restaurants in the old town.
Difficulty & terrain
The walking sections require good fitness level; there are no steep descents and ascents. You walk on hiking paths or forest trails, and some sections – on asphalt. Daily walking times are not more than 6 hours (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from June till September. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but, in the June-September period, the daily averages are 20 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain.
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Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva (GVA).
By train or bus
- From Geneva, there are bus and train connections to Annecy (duration approx. 2-3 hours). For further information, timetables and tickets, visit SBB or use the Omio planner above. From Annecy to St Jean de Sixt you can take a bus for a 50 minutes journey (July and August only) with Voyages CROLARD.
- By train: Saint Jean de Sixt is less than 8 hours by train from London St Pancras (see details).
- By car: Free parking is available at the starting hotel.
- 6 nights accommodation in private en-suite rooms
- 6 breakfasts and 5 dinners
- Luggage transfers on walking days (1 piece per person up to 15 kg)
- Transfer on Day 6
- Boat fare to Annecy on Day 6
- Detailed digital route descriptions, travel and tour documents via our Navigation App (no hard copy materials included, but can be requested for an extra charge – IGN TOP 25 maps 1:25 000 & N° 3430 ET la Clusaz and 3431 OT Lac d’Annecy – approx. 30 GBP, to be delivered at the first accommodation)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinner in Annecy, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras & supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- Extra nights are available upon request
- Picnic lunches