Bucket List: The Central Alps

The Alps Mountains

NOW we’re talking mountains!

Region: Central Alps – Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria and Southern Germany

Logistical Difficulty:  Moderately HIGH

Hiking Difficulty: HIGH

Degree of Risk: Moderate

Estimated time required (including travel and logistics): Two weeks

If you claim to be a hiker and can’t get up for the Alps…we don’t know what to do for you. This is the cradle of modern mountaineering. Excellent trails in an extraordinary region of the world, with great tourist infrastructure available en route. Sylvia and Brian have already completed one epic hike in this part of the world…the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Italy was our favorite section of the TMB

Why Hike Here?

  • It’s the Alps, stupid!
  • HUGE amount of scenic ‘bang for the buck’
  • The ability to stay in huts or villages along the way will mean a lighter pack weight
  • Eat and drink in cafes, hostels, hamlets
  • Most of the popular hikes stay below 10,000 feet, so elevation is only moderately a factor
  • Excellent, well marked trail systems
  • Getting lost here more of an inconvenience than a danger
  • Tourist/transportation infrastructure available to support hikers
  • Wonderful Alpine culture

But First Consider…

  • Most of the signature hikes here are long
  • Doing sections may be a viable alternative to full treks
  • Hiking here can be difficult; Alpine trails often VERY steep
  • Enormous amount of elevation gain and loss
  • Europe ain’t cheap
  • Quite easy to eat, drink and sleep yourself into destitution
  • Booking in huts can be a logistical nightmare
  • Short hiking season (July-September; MAYBE June)
  • Thunderstorms almost a clockwork event in summer
  • By American/Canadian standards, Europe isn’t as convenient as you might think
  • NOT wilderness; plenty of roads, villages, power lines…and cows


Europe is a great place to hike…and to eat, drink and merry yourself into the poor house

Hikes we have done in the Central Alps:

Hikes we want to do:

  • The Walkers Haute Route* (Sylvia’s #1 personal favorite!)
  • The Alpine High Pass Route (very long and difficult)

*On the BucketList!