Hiking in Europe
Read all about the hikes I did in Switzerland, France, Italy and others
The second stage of the GR5 shares about 40 km of trail with the Tour du Mont Blanc. After two days I was happy to leave this more than slightly crowded trail, turning South into the Beaufortin. There I crossed the Col du Bresson, another highlight of the GR5.
The first 5 days of the GR5 involved a long and steep initial ascent into the Alps and unexpected and extraordinary scenery. I also met a number of other solo hikers. Within a few days a we formed a more or less loose group, hiking and camping together most of the time. Getting to know these wonderful people has enriched my experience on the GR5 tremendously.
In the summer of 2023 I hiked 14 days on the GR5 (Grande Randonnée 5). While the complete GR5 starts in my home country (the Netherlands), I hiked the part that crosses the French Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. As two weeks are not enough to hike the complete route to the sea, I hiked halfway to the city of Briançon.
During our final section of the Alta Via 1 we saw the most amazing sunset at Coldai and walked below the impressive ‘Wall of Walls’ of Civetta. After Rifugio Vazzoler we exited the trail to Listolade where a bus drove us to Belluno.
Day 4 and 5 of the Alta Via 1 held high passes and spectacular rocks in store for us. Sometimes steep and challenging, we were always rewarded with dramatic views. Due to impending storms we changed our plans in order to arrive at the rifugio’s before thunder and lightning began.
The first three days of the Alta Via 1 started with a steep climb up to Rifugio Biella and continued along various mountain huts offering stunning views of the Dolomites. On the third night we slept at Rifugio Scotoni, just off the official Alta Via trail, avoiding the the defiantly high Lagazuoi hut.
The Alta Via 1 is a 120 km (75 miles) hike through the South Tyrolean Dolomites. The trailhead to this hike happens to sit at one of the most beautiful lakes of Europe: the Lago di Braies. Before Christine and I started the Alta Via 1 we stayed in the magnificent Hotel at the lake. The 3 days at the trailhead became a fantastic holiday in itself.
In the summer of 2022 Christine and I will hike the Alta Via 1. The AV1 is one of the classic European thru hikes. Hiking this 120 km (75 miles) trail in twelve days, we will exclusively spend the nights in mountain refuges. After all, camping is not allowed nearly anywhere on this trail. The AV1 is traditionally meant to be experienced as a hut tour anyway.
The final part of the Kesch Bergell Trek was mainly a downhill hike, after the initial ascent to the Grevasalvas pass. From the pass I descended to an elevation of almost 2.000 m lower at my final destination in the village of Promontogno.
Ending the Kesch Trek in Bergün, now the third stretch of my thru hike started. Hiking up to the Ela Hut, to Alp Flix and finishing at the Julier Pass, I traversed the entire Parc Ela in 3 days, with one of the most spectaculair passes of all: the Fuorcla digl Leget.