Dates: Mid June to late September
11- days programme
The Tour du Mont Blanc, a complete circuit of the Mont Blanc, is the ultimate long distance mountain walk, and has some of the most stunning scenery.
The TMB is a 168km route that passes through France, Italy and Switzerland. The track offers cultural delights, picture book Alpine villages, the vibrant towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur, and mountain huts with majestic views. Almost each night we stay in a different location. Accommodation varies from small family run village hotels, auberges and mountain huts.
Independent travel to Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley (hourly buses from Geneva airport)
Dinner and night at the hotel in Les Houches
Day 1: Les Houches (1007m) to Les Contamines (1167m)
Cable car ride up to Bellevue and ascent to Col de Tricot. A great lunch waits for you after a steep descent to the alpine village Chalets du Miage. You pass the Refuge de Truc and finish the day in Les Contamines.
Night in Hotel in Les Contamines
• total ascent 400m
• distance 14km
Day 2: Les Contamines (1167m) to Les Chapieux (1554m).
Over an old Roman bridge and trough a alpine cow pasture you make the beautiful ascent to the Col de la Bonhomme (2329m). Than you traverse the hillside to the slightly higher Col de Croix de Bonhomme before a descent to the hamlet of Les Chapieux.
Night at les Chapieux or village du Glacier
• total ascent 1320 m
• total distance 20 km
Day 3: Village du Glacier (1554m) to Courmayeur.
You follow the well marked route up to Col de la Seigne (2516m) where you cross the border into Italy. From the Col you descend slightly down to Val Veny and take a bus to the alpine city of Courmayeur.
Night in Courmayeur
• total ascent 1000 m
• distance 15 km
Day 4: Courmayeur (1226m) – Rest day.
Today you have a rest day in Courmayeur. There are great shops, cafes and bars. We also suggest a trip up the brand-new cable car to point Helbronner. Fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the glaciers of the valley blanche.
Night in Hotel in Courmayeur
Day 5: Courmayeur (1226m) to Refugio Ferret.
You head up the Mont de la Saxe Ridge and the Bertone Refuge for a coffee. Then along the ridge with some of the finest views of the Mont Blanc range, to the guesthouse Chalet Ferret(2025m). A peaceful mountain guest house next to a mountain stream.
Night at Chalet Ferret
• ascent 860m
• distance 12 km
Day 6: Chalet Ferret (2025m) to La Fouly (1610m).
A gentle traverse of the mountainside to the Rifugio Elena for a morning coffee followed by a climb up to the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) where you cross the border into Switzerland. Down through the flower meadows to the small village of La Fouly.
Night in a Hotel in La Fouly.
• total ascent 900 m
• distance 20km
Day 7: La Fouly (1610m) to Champex (1466m).
An easier day as you follow a Swiss mountain valley before a short ascent to Champex, a picture book Alpine village.
Night in a Pension in Champex.
• total ascent 420m
• distance 15km
Day 8: Champex (1466m) to Trient (1279m).
You walk along the Bovine trail up to the Bovinette alpage where you can enjoy a delicious apple pie or a home made soup. Enjoy stunning views down to the Roman town of Martigny and the Rhone valley as you walk to Trient for the night.
Night in a Pension in Trient
• total ascent 750m
Day 9: Trient (1279m) to Argentière (1252m).
The last Col of the tour… The hike over the Col de Balme brings you back into the Chamonix valley and down to Argentière.
Night at Hotel in Argentière
• total ascent 1100m
• distance 13km
Day 10: Argentière (1252m) to Chamonix (1000m).
From the Col des Montets you walk through the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve to the famous Lac Blanc which provides a magnificent view of the Mont Blanc Massif. Your last walk down of the tour to La Flégere (1875m) and than a cable car down back to Chamonix.
Last night in a Hotel in Chamonix
• asscent 1100m
• distance 8km
This is a challenging route with an accumulated height gain and loss of over 9,000M. The route crosses from valley to valley via mountain passes, with long and some steep ascents and descents. This tour is ideal for regular walkers that are physically fit. The terrain on this trail is diverse with country lanes, forest trails, rocky mountain paths, and high mountain meadows. In early season you might have to walk over a few snow patches. We can arrange a luggage transfer between accommodations to make the tour easier for you.
$2,505 CHF per person, double occupancy
$355 CHF single supplement
Included in the price:
Organisation, guide-book, 10 nights with breakfast in nice hotels and guest houses, 6 dinners, detailed route directions, detailed French IGN Topo maps, 1;25,000 scale, covering the route, complete listing of all hotels with contact information, bus schedules, and nearby emergency medical contacts, pre-trip information with gear list, Pre-trip telephone support with an experienced hiking guide to answer your questions
Not included in the price: lunches, transportations, luggage transfer (we are happy to organize that for you), meals that are not listed above, personal insurance (accident, travel, annulation etc.), drinks
Self guided hiking trips:
Do you have the experience and skills to hike a route on your own, but may lack the time or expertise to plan a hiking itinerary in a foreign country? Our self-guided hiking tours are for those independently-minded hikers and walkers who would like the freedom, flexibility and adventure of hiking on their own. We are happy to arrange self-guided hiking trips for single travelers as well as families and groups of up to 12 or more.
10 Reasons why you should hike the Tour du Mont Blanc
By Matt Guenther
The Tour du Mont Blanc features 105 of the most breathtaking backcountry miles in the world!
There is a never-ending battle over which city or region is truly the best “mountain town,” “trail city” or “outdoor heaven.” East versus West, mountain access versus desert singletrack, dense forest versus world-class crags, even the local craft-brew scene comes into the debate. Europe doesn’t have this problem—there’s a clear winner.
Chamonix, France is nestled at around 3,000 feet at the base of the picturesque Mont Blanc Massif and is about as close to a true outdoor heaven as a town can possibly be. Dozens of paragliders constantly fly high over town, gear shops are plentiful and diverse, buses provide abundant space for riders to stash mountain bikes, the streets are always bustling with serious mountaineers and outdoor athletes, and world-class trails are available just a few minutes from the city center. This list could go on forever and isn’t only relevant in the summer—winter snow turns the town into the world capital of big mountain skiing (but that’s another story).
Chamonix’s crowning attraction for adventure-seekers, though, is its location along the Tour du Mont Blanc, a 170 kilometer (105-mile) circuit that observes the massif from all sides through three countries. More of a shrine to the Alps than a simple walk in the mountains, the TMB is the definition of a Bucket List Hike.
So, why should you stick the TMB on top of your list? Here are a few good reasons.
1. The Difficulty
Never-ending panoramas along the Tour du Mont Blanc. Matt Guenther
The trail acts as a rite of passage for those addicted to serene alpine environments, climbing to 2,500 meters five times and totaling somewhere around 30,000 feet of total elevation gain. Each section of trail is comprised of a major uphill slog, usually followed by an almost equally brutal descent. It’s certainly no walk in the park, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
2. The Scenery
This one is a no-brainer. With hardly any forest cover, the mountain views are panoramic and never-ending. From almost any point along the trail there are million-dollar views of the massif’s glaciers and of Mont Blanc itself. You’ll want to keep your camera handy!
3. The Food
The TMB gives hikers the option to forego the “just add water” meals and incessant food daydreams that usually characterize a lengthy backpacking trip. Villages with stores and bakeries can be found almost daily, and more than 50 trail refuges offer semi-reasonable prices for hot food. Don’t worry, the physical demands of the hike will erase any guilt you might have about culinary indulgences. When in Europe, right?
4. The Accessibility
Many people shy away from backcountry trips that take longer than 2-3 days, the standard time/distance threshold where the risk goes up and the ability to bail goes way down. One of the most appealing characteristics of the Tour du Mont Blanc is how accessible and well marked the trail is. The path winds around some of the most sought-after terrain in Europe, so people are always nearby and help is readily available if needed. There are plenty of points to get on or off the trail, giving hikers the flexibility to create their own itineraries.
5. The Prestige
The trail is famous for its beauty, but this fame extends far beyond some pretty pictures in a magazine. For over a decade now, Chamonix and the TMB have hosted thousands of trail runners each August for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which has developed into one of the most prestigious and influential ultra races in the world. Hundreds of the fastest mountain athletes flock to Chamonix weeks before the event to train for what may be their biggest race of the year. The UTMB follows the TMB counterclockwise starting and ending in Chamonix, and the fastest runners finish in under 24 hours.
6. The People
One of the best aspects of any popular hiking destination is the people that you meet on the trail. The fact that the Tour du Mont Blanc is such a global attraction elevates this to a whole new level. On any thru-hike it would not be unusual to hear ten different languages being spoken and to see an incredible age range of people using the trail. The trail is also open to mountain bikes, so it’s common to see cyclists resting on the trail’s high-elevation cols before an exhilarating descent. Swapping trail stories is even more fun when your campfire pals are from all over the world.
7. The History
Most high mountain areas have a history of adventure, and the Mont Blanc Massif is no different. The first ascent of Mont Blanc was in the late 1700’s, not too long after the first circumnavigation of the massif itself roughly along the Tour du Mont Blanc’s path. Some of the trails that comprise today’s TMB route are even older than this, though, because they follow old trade and transportation routes used for many centuries between mountain villages—some dating as far back to the days of the Roman Empire.
8. The Culture
In international travel, getting from Point A to B efficiently can sometimes restrict cultural immersion. Hiking is the perfect way to reverse that. As the trail wanders through quaint and historic hamlets in France, Italy, and Switzerland, hikers are able to gain an intimate look into local life and culture at their own pace without the distractions of modern transportation.
9. The Distance
Backpacking over mountainous terrain is tough, especially for the first few days. When a hiker is able to continue working through the soreness and discomfort on a longer trek, a new world of empowered enjoyment can be found. A thru-hike of the TMB takes 9-12 days for most hikers, giving anyone plenty of time to adapt to the terrain and to thrive in the mountains. This is the perfect distance for an international trip that calls for a full-scale adventure in a compact timeline.