Day 1: Arrive Les Houches
The pretty Alpine village of Les Houches is easily accessible by either train or shuttle from Geneva Airport in just over an hour. On arrival you can settle into your comfortable three star hotel, stroll through the town and get ready for your adventure on the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Dinner & Overnight: Hotel Du Bois***, Les Houches
Enjoying a wonderful outlook the 3* Hotel du Bois offers comfortable rooms, great food and has a sauna and swimming pool.
Day 2: Les Houches - Col de Voza – Les Contamines
Your trek starts with climb from Les Houches out of the Chamonix Valley to Col de Voza (1652m) or a quick 10 minute ride on the Bellevue telepherique. Your first morning of walking is dominated by the Dôme du Goûter and Aiguille de Bionnassay as you pass just beneath the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay on your way over the Col de Tricot (2120m).After passing the idyllic Chalet de Miage there is just one more short climb before you descend all the way to Les Contamines.
Alternatively you can take the easier alternative which goes via Bionnassay and cuts down on the ascent and descent considerably.
Walk: 18km, 7 – 8 Hours: 1478m Ascent: 1318m Descent
Walk: (via Bionnassay) 16km, 5 – 5.5 Hours, 646m Ascent, 633m Descent
Dinner & Overnight: Refuge Nant Borrant Contamines, Les Contamines
Idyllically located in a peaceful Alpine meadow, right on the Tour du Mont Blanc, just after 1 km after Notre Dame de la Gorge this small refuge is a perfect overnight stop.
Day 3: Les Contamines – Col Bonhomme (2329m) – Les Chapieux or Refuge des Mottets
Leaving Les Contamines the path turns upwards and climbs steadily on the Chemin Roman through the Contamines Montjoie Nature Reserve towards the distant Col du Bonhomme.
A steady climb reveals increasingly rugged views of the high peaks and you quickly reach the rugged landscapes of the Col du Bonhomme (2329 m). A further hour on rough and rocky ground brings up the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme.
If you are staying in Les Chapieux you descend past the spectacularly located Refuge Col de la Croix du Bonhomme all the way to the valley below.
Those staying at Refuge des Mottets have the choice of either descending to Les Chapieux and then catching the shuttle to Les Mottets or connoisseurs will love the climb to the Col des Fours (2665m), which promises clear views of Mont Blanc before descending into the remote and beautiful Valle des Glaciers.
Walk to Les Chapieux: 18km, 1316m Ascent, 929m Descent, 7 – 7.5 Hours.
Walk to Refuge des Mottetts via Col des Fours: 18km, 1579m Ascent, 876m Descent, 7.5 - 8 Hours.
Dinner & Overnight: Either Auberge de La Nova
The friendly and comfortable Auberge de la Nova serves a great beer and even better grub.
Or Refuge des Mottets which is idyllically situated in the Ville des Glaciers with over 50 beds and great food.
Day 4: Les Chapieux / Refuges des Mottets to Col Chécrouit
If you have stayed in Les Chapieux you can either walk the 5km up the road or catch the local shuttle to Refuge des Mottets. The Col de la Seigne (2516m) and lies a steep 750m above the Refuge des Mottets and is where you leave France for Italy. Just wait until you see the view! Stupendous!
The trail descends through high alpine meadows past refuge Elisabetta into the Val Veni. But the best views of the day lie ahead.
As you reach the snout of the huge Glacier du Miage you climb again onto the southern slopes of the Val Veni.
The steep southern side of the Mont Blanc Massif, made up of jagged peaks, hanging glaciers and plunging waterfalls seems close enough to touch. Marmots and marigolds are common on this section and the scenery will have you reaching for your camera every few yards. The trail from Col de la Seigne to Col Chécrouit really must be one of the world’s finest walks.
Walk from Les Chapieux: 26km, 1454m Ascent, 480m Descent, 7.5-8 Hours
Walk from Refuge des Mottets: 21km, 1050m Ascent, 480m Descent, 6.5 – 7 Hours
Dinner & Overnight: Gîte Maison Vieille offers simple dormitory accommodation but has a great atmosphere and traditional mountain food is a forte of this gîte which enjoys a fabulous position.
Day 5: Col Chécroui to Refugio Bonatti
Your day begins with a steep descent to the Italian village of Courmayeur by a pretty forest path or optional cable car. Take some time out to enjoy the atmosphere in the capital of the Italian Alps or perhaps just enjoy a cappuccino on the main square before you continue.
In good weather the next stage is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable of your Tour du Mont Blanc. Choose from three variations for the next section, all of which start with a steep climb from Courmayeur.
The main route then contours around the flank of Mont de la Saxe on an undulating path giving you plenty of time to take in the dramatic icy panorama of the Mont Blanc Massif and Grand Jorasses across the valley.
The variants via Col Sapin or Mont de la Saxe include more climbing but the views are arguably better.
Whichever route you choose Refugio Bonatti, the crème de la crème of alpine refuges, marks the end of your day.
Walk: 18km, 910m Ascent, 1431m descent, 6 – 5.5 hours. 5.5 hours (Can be
reduced 1.5 hours by taking cable car from Col Chécrouit or increased
by 2 hours by taking the variants to Refugio Bonatti)
Dinner & Overnight: Refugio Bonatti
Widely regarded as one of the best refuges in the Alps the priavetly owned Refugio Bonatti is a treat in every way.
Day 6: Refugio Bonatti – Grand col Ferret – La Fouly
The day begins with a glorious contouring walk from Refugio Bonatti before descending into Val Ferret, where the climb of Grand col Ferret begins. The top of the col brings up Switzerland.
Descending through picture book scenes of chalets, grazing cattle and fabulous alpine views you soon reach La Fouly, an idyllic alpine village of wooden chalets overflowing with flowers.
Walk: 20 km, 895m Ascent, 1410m Descent, 6 – 6.5 Hours
Dinner & Overnight: Hotel Edelweiss, La Fouly (Dorm)
Hotel Edelweiss is a comfortable mountain chalet style hotel which also has dormitory accommodation. You can upgrade to double/twin rooms for a small additional supplement if you would prefer a little more comfort half way through your trip.
Day 7: La Fouly to Champex
Walking through the Val Ferret with its patchwork of peaceful forests and green pastures is balm for the body and soul as this is the easiest stage of the TMB. On the way to Champex you will be walking on some of the quietest trails in the Mont Blanc Massif. The village of Les Arlaches, made up of traditional wooden Swiss Chalets, seems to have leapt from a postcard and is a highlight of the day. Your overnight stop is the lakeside town of Champex.
Walk: 4.5 Hours, Ascent: 450m, Descent: 550m
Overnight: Pension Plein Air, Champex
Day 8: Champex to Trient
The official route goes via Alp Bovine, a splendid walk through pine and larch forests interspersed with alpine meadows and wonderful views down the Rhône Valley.
Alternatively the demanding variant goes via the spectacular Fenêtre d’Arpette to the Trient Valley. Climbing to 2665m it’s a challenging and exposed route but worth every step.
Whichever route you choose you will end the day by descending right to the valley floor to the small village of Trient.
Walk via Alp Bovine: 17.5km, 742m Ascent: 900 m Descent, 5.5 Hours.
Walk via Fenêtre d’Arpette: 15.5km, 1200m Ascent, 1450m descent, 7 Hours
Dinner & Overnight: Auberge Relais du Mont Blanc
Day 9: Trient - Col de La Balme – Tré le Champ
From Trient, you climb to reach the French border at Col de Balme (2191 m). From the col the entire Mont Blanc Massif stretches ahead; the Chamonix Valley, the summit of Mont Blanc, the Aiguilles, the Mer de Glace and the Argentière glaciers!
The route then continues via the Col des Posettes and Aiguillette des Posettes, with wonderful views throughout, before descending into the Chamonix Valley at Tré le Champ.
Walk: 11.5km, 1069m Ascent, 950m Descent, 5 Hours
Dinner & Overnight: Refuge Boerne, Tré le Champ or Le Tour
Day 10: Tré le Champ – Lac Blanc
The next two days are in my opinion the highlight of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The views across the Chamonix Valley to the Mont Blanc Massif are outstanding throughout. From Tré le Champ the trail climbs via Aiguillette de Argentière to the Grand Balcon Sud of the Aiguilles Rouges, taking in a few fixed ladders on the way. You are now in the Aiguilles Rouge Nature Reserve and sightings of Ibex, Marmot and many other furry creatures are common.
The refuge at the beautiful Lac Blanc is surrounded by high peaks and gives a grand view of Mont Blanc across the valley.
Walk: 7km, 4 Hours, Ascent: 900m, Descent: 100m
Dinner & Overnight: Refuge Lac Blanc
boasts the finest location and views of any refuge on the TMB. Modern
facilities combined with great food and atmosphere make for a memorable
final night in the mountains.
Day 11: Lac Blanc to Les Houches
For your last day on the Tour du Mont Blanc you have several options. The toughest, but most rewarding takes you all the way to Les Houches via the rocky pedestal of Le Brévent (2525m). Mont Blanc seems within touching distance on the opposite side of the valley. Then it is just the long descent to Les Houches in the valley and a short bus or train ride to Chamonix.
This day can be shortened at several points. You can catch the cable car from La Flégère (1 hour), Plan Praz (3 hours) or Le Brévent (4.5 – 5 hours). All of which cut out the long descent from Le Brévent to Les Houches and deliver you right to Chamonix.
Chamonix is the centre of mountaineering in the French Alps and always a hive of activity. The perfect place to celebrate the end of your walk around Mont Blanc.
Walk: 19km, 772m Ascent, 2021m Descent, 7 – 8 Hours, (1, 3 or 5 hours if using the cable cars for descent)
Overnight: Hotel l’Arve***, Chamonix
Enjoying a quiet location with great views, despite being so close to
the centre of Chamonix, the hotel l'Arve has 37 comfortable rooms and a
friendly welcoming atmosphere.
Day 12: Onward Travel
Chamonix is a great base to spend a couple of days and we would recommend that you add extra nights here. You can enjoy some fabulous walking in the Aiguilles Rouge Park, take the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi at 3795m or perhaps the train to the Montenvers on the Mer de Glace.
If you are heading home there are numerous shuttles, buses and trains back to Geneva and throughout France.
Our Complete Tour du Mont Blanc huts package includes 2 night's accommodation is in 3* hotels on the first and last nights of your trek and 9 nights in mountain huts, refuges and gîtes in dormitories on the other.
If you would like to add a couple more hotels/private rooms into the mix just let us know and we can put a tailor made quote together for you.
Mountain huts are spectacularly located and allow you to stay high in the mountains each night rather than dropping down into the valleys. The detailed itinerary has links to the huts and hotels we use.
This trip is not available to solo walkers and single rooms are not available except on the first and last nights. A supplement is payable.
11 breakfasts and 10 evening meals (Chamonix not included) are included. Evening meals are social occasions and definietly one of the highlights of the day. Dinner is normally a simple, but delicious, three course meal featuring local specialities. Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop on the way. Allow about 10 Euro per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.
Is available as an optional extra if you would prefer to walk with just a day pack on most days. If you book luggage transfer your main luggage (maximum 20kg) will be transferred between your accommodation each night (except night 4, 5 & 10 where there is no road access). If you have additional bags we can store these for you at no extra charge.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is comprehensively waymarked at all junctions and by regular paint marks along the trail. We supply you with detailed 1:25 000 IGN maps, a comprehensive guidebook and personal route cards so you should have absolutely no problem following the route. That said the walk does cross high mountain passes and the weather can change quickly. You
should be able to navigate with a map and compass in poor visibility and
be experienced in the mountains.
Experience & Fitness
As this is a self guided trek you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. The route averages about a 1000m of ascent and descent each day so you should have a good level of walking fitness. If not then you must engage in a fitness programme prior to the trip.
Our pre-departure information pack (and the supplied guidebook) have detailed advice and a kit list on what to take on your Tour du Mont Blanc trek. This includes warm and waterprrof gear, hats and gloves, a sleeping sheet and lots of other useful bits and bobs. Walking poles are highly recommended as the TMB is tough on the knees.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.