Les Houches, France
With its route around Europe’s highest point, the legendary Mont Blanc Circuit is one of the world’s great treks, a single itinerary that combines an ongoing series of breathtaking Alpine panoramas with the distinct cultures of France, Italy, and Switzerland. Walking between mountain inns, you’ll discover a landscape of soaring rock spires and glittering glaciers that frame riotously colored, wildflower-strewn meadows and classic Alpine villages.Take sky-high paths and ancient Roman roads to towns like Courmayeur, whose sidewalk cafés serve gelato and other treats after you’ve lunched on cured meats and cheeses at a local trattoria. Imposing views of summits like Aiguille Verte and Aiguilles Rouges lead to Grand Col Ferret and Heidi country, where rustic chalets with geranium-filled window boxes beckon. Take in the celebrated mountain reflections on the still waters of the secret Chéserys lakes and enjoy a refreshing beer and lemonade panaché in Les Chapieux. Then ride La Flégère cable car into Chamonix Valley for a leisurely jaunt along the Arve River, where the Mont Blanc massif seems almost close enough to touch.