The Mont Blanc cable car might not be the world's highest, but it's surely the most spectacular. This astounding piece of engineering reaches three-quarters of the way up Western Europe's highest mountain before heading across multiple glaciers into France. New stations, with glass surfaces and futuristic cantilevers, opened in summer 2015, along with the introduction of state-of-the-art 360-degree rotating cabins. It departs every 20 minutes from the village of La Palud, 15 minutes from Courmayeur's main square by a free bus.

First stop is the 2173m-high midstation Pavillon du Mt Fréty, while at the top of the ridge is Punta Helbronner (3462m). All three stations have restaurants and other facilities; there's a sparkling wine cellar and, in summer, the Giardino Botanico Alpino Saussurea and a crystal display at Helbronner. Take ample warm clothes and sunglasses for the blinding snow, and head up early in the morning to avoid the heavy weather that often descends in the early afternoon.

From Punta Helbronner another cable car (from late May to late September, depending on weather conditions, €33.50) takes you on a breathtaking 5km transglacial ride across the Italian border into France to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m), from where the world's highest cable car transports you down to Chamonix (€77). The return trip from Chamonix to Courmayeur by bus is €15. Not a cheap day out, but a spectacular one.