After four days on the TMB, lots of climbing and lots of descending I deserved a day of rest in Courmayeur. My base was the small family-run hotel Lo Champagnar in the suburb of Dolonne. A great choice in regards of the hotel but a bad one in location. To catch up with my hiking friends in the center of Courmayeur I had to walk about 1 km to the center. I should walk this same distance seven (!) times in total over the next couple of days!
Skyway Monte Bianco to Punta Helbronner (3644m)
When we first met on day 2 at the Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme Devon and I had already planned to spend our day off in Courmayeur together. We both wanted to take the cable car up the mountain to Punta Helbronner. Kailtlin and Dell two fellow hikers from Florida joined us for our little off-trail adventure.
After a phantastic breakfast at the hotel I walked for the third time into the center of Courmayeur to meet the others in front of their hotel. As it was a four star hotel they provided private transport for us to the valley station of the cable car Skyway Monte Bianco.
We paid 49 Euros each for the round-trip to Punta Helbronner. It sounds much but the cable car is brand new and needs to be financed! And the trip itself is also worth the price. I got up to 3466m and didn’t have to climb! 🙂
Enjoy the photos!
The station at Punta Helbronner
The cable car station at Punta Helbronner is an impressive building made of steel, wood and glass. The highlight is a panorama terrace on the roof where you can enjoy 360-Degree-views if the weather allows it. You can also find an exhibition about cristals as well as of course a restaurant. Or you can step on some glass with the mountains underneath you – just as I did!
Europe’s highest botanical garden
On our way down we jumped off at the middle station “the pavillon” and explored Europe’s highest botanical garden. You can see plants from all kinds of alpine areas there! Next to the garden is a big modern playground for kids (some of us had to play a little bit) and there’s also a wine cave on site. Unfortunately it was closed due to a private event.
All in all the Skyway Monte Bianco and Punta Helbronner were definitely worth a visit and we ended our day off at a nice Italian restaurant called “La Terrazza” in Courmayeur.
When I walked back to the hotel afterwards it was already the sixth time on that section through Dolonne for me. One more time tomorrow morning to the trailhead and I am gone!
–> next post: Courmayeur to Chalet Val Ferret
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