For years, American mountaineer Mitch dreamed of making a road trip through the Alps, so he and his girlfriend Allison hopped in an Indie van and headed for Europe's legendary mountain range. We have a road trip itinerary of his Alpine highlights, together with 5 tips on hiking and road tripping the Alps from this seasoned hiker:
Being able to road-trip through the Alps, to be right there and park your van at a campsite right in the middle
Alps Road Trip Itinerary
Route: Lyon – Zürich/Milan
5. 535km Cinque Terre, Italy
1840km Milan, Italy
We started out in an off-the-beaten-path spot, which was in Vanoise National Park in France. You see so many pictures of Matterhorn, but you can't really find out much about that national park, even these days. We'd seen some pictures and knew we wanted to check it out.
We landed in Lyon, France, drove a couple of hours and, boom, we were there. It was this fantastic valley and we had it all to ourselves on our sunrise hike. That was special, because in much of the Alps its hard to find solitude.
We wanted to see the Matterhorn so badly, but during our two-and-a-half day there it just rained the whole time so we had to move on.
After a few days in
We were most excited about visiting Lauterbrunnen. You're just surrounded by beauty there. It's a very nice drive up the valley and our campsite was right at the very base of the massive waterfall. We were coming off two-and-a-half day of heavy rain in Zermatt and we weren't able to see the Matterhorn; spirits were kind of low. We pulled up at a campsite and there's this beautiful waterfall. When we woke up in the morning we opened the door of the van and looked out, there was even more of that [beauty].
We ended staying there 4 nights of our
One of those places where a lot of those pins started popping up on our Google Map was in this one little valley. It has these steep walls, it's really tight in there, and it's filled with little mountain huts. It's a spot we knew we wanted to go to. On
Being able to go to that region was pretty special. Just road tripping and enjoying the view from the road. I love driving, and some of the passes we went over were very exciting. The fact that the van could go up those so easily! I'd bring the van anywhere.
On our last day it was raining again, so we figured, hey, let's drive down to Cinque Terra! A lot of the Europeans we talked to thought we were crazy, but 6 hours in a car isn't a whole lot for us. We just got up in the morning, drove down there and had our last day on the Italian Riviera, just because we could!
Want to get your share of mountain air? Start your road trip in Lyon! Also, maximize your time in the mountains with Mitch' Alpine tips: