Since 1995 the Alps, like the Pyrenees, has its own recognised long distance trail, the Via Alpina. Spanning approximately 5000 km it covers the whole range, starting from near Trieste in Slovenia then passing through Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Italy to end in France near Monaco. There are plenty of more manageable (!) holiday treks. You may wish to take up the challenge of a famous trail such as the Tour du Mont Blanc around the iconic Mont Blanc (4810m). Usually taking around eight days to walk, the majority of the trail is in France with a couple of days each in Switzerland and Italy. With a fantastic selection of way-marked and well-mapped trails, the French Alps offer endless permutations of trekking routes. There is also a huge variety of accommodation here for walkers to choose from ranging from the most basic mountain hut to pretty chalets, family-run guesthouses to swanky boutique hotels.
Part of France but distinctly different from the mainland is the island of Corsica. With shores lapped by the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean and a craggy mountainous interior it has long been a magnet for walkers and trekkers. The steep rocky terrain of the island provides a physical challenge but without the complexities of any serious altitude. Nevertheless, Corsica’s most famous trail, the GR20, is reputedly Europe’s toughest trek. The island’s coastal paths are a little easier on the legs and offer endless views of cliffs plunging down to the turquoise water below.