Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc trek
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Highlights

  • Walking Europe's classic long distance trek
  • Stupendous mountain views at every turn of the trail
  • Experience Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak from all sides
  • Three countries on one trek; France, Italy & Switzerland
  • Included bag transfer, allowing you to walk with just a light day pack each day

Since The Tour du Mont Blanc was inaugurated as a GR in 1952 it has gained a reputation as one of the world’s classic treks. This route around Mont Blanc goes through France, Switzerland and Italy takes in the very best sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Walking in the standard anti-clockwise direction you will cover 6 days of the best walking of the trail, using ski lifts and public transport to skip some sections so that you can spend your time on the very best sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Stay in a mixture of private rooms and dormitories and enjoy the freedom of walking unencumbered while your main bag is transferred to your next accommodation.

For all the information you could possibly need on the Tour du Mont Blanc, please visit our Online Tour du Mont Blanc Information Page, or download our free Tour du Mont Blanc Guide

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 or two star hotel, stroll through the town and get ready for your adventure on the Tour du Mont Blanc.


Dinner & Overnight: Chalet Hotel Les Campanules**, Les Houches



Enjoying wonderful views the 2 star Chalet Hotel Campanules punches well above its weight with great views, service and comfortable rooms.


or: 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 to Les Contamines


Your Tour du Mont Blanc starts with either a climb from Les Houches out of the Chamonix Valley to Bellevue (1801m) or a quick 10 minute ride on the Bellevue telepherique.



At Bellevue you have the option of taking the tough route via Chalet de Miage, which is dominated by the Dôme du Goûter and Aiguille de Bionnasay as you pass just beneath the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay. After passing the idyllic Chalet de Miage you descend to Les Contamines.


The easier option winds through beautiful forests and through alpine pastures via Bionnassay to Les Contamines.


Walk via Bionnassay: 16km, 5 Hours, 650m Ascent, 630m Descent


Walk via Chalets de Miage: 18km, 7.5 Hours, 1500m ascent, 1320m descent


Optional Cable Car: Reduces both routes by 2 hours and 900m of ascent.


Dinner & Overnight: Hotel Christiania**, Les Contamines


Located on the main street this traditional 2* hotel is the perfect base in Les Contamines. (Twin room)


Day 3:
Les Contamines to Les Chapieux/Refuge des Mottets

A lovely day of walking starts with a 5km riverside walk to Notre Dame de la Gorge. The route follows an old Roman Road as it 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 very quickly you 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 (operates July & August only) 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, 7.5 Hours, 1300m Ascent, 930m Descent


Walk to Refuge des Mottetts via Col des Fours: 20km, 1600m Ascent, 880m Descent, 8 Hours.


Optional shuttle: Taking an optional shuttle from Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge reduces the distance by 5km and time by an hour.


Dinner & Overnight: Either Refuge des Mottets, which is an idyllically located mountain refuge that was refurbished recently and has comfortable private rooms and is well known for its hearty evening meals.


Or: Refuge de la Nova in Les Chapieux. This is a friendly mountain hotel in a lovely location and the next morning you simply take the shuttle bus up to Refuge des Mottets.


Day 4:
Les Chapieux / Refuges des Mottets to Courmayeur

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 (doesn't run in September). The Col de la Seigne (2516m) 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 Rifugio Elisabetta into the Val Veni with wonderful views of the steep southern side of the Mont Blanc Massif, made up of jagged peaks, hanging glaciers and plunging waterfalls.


At Lac Combal you leave the TMB for a couple of kilometres to follow the valley floor to la Visaille, where you catch the local bus to Courmayeur.


Walk from Les Chapieux: (possible to reduce by 5km using shuttle) 22km, 6-7 Hours, 1000m Ascent, 800m Descent, 9-10 Hours


Walk from Refuge des Mottets: 17km, 750m Ascent, 800m Descent, 5-6 Hours


Overnight: Hotel Edelweiss** , Courmayeur.


A simple chalet style hotel close to the old part of Courmayeur with a warm welcome and comfortable rooms. (Twin room)


Day 5:
Courmayeur to Champex

From Courmayeur you catch a local bus or taxi (transfer not included) to Arnuva, in the heart of the beautiful Val Ferret, in the Grandes Jorasses.


Back on your own two feet you ascend Grand Col Ferret (2,537 m), you are in Switzerland! Descent to La Fouly (1740 m) where you catch the local bus to the lakeside village of Champex.


Walk: 15km, 5.5 Hours, 895m Ascent, 1125m, Descent


Dinner & Overnight: Bon Abri, Champex


Located in woodland just outside Champex the pleasant family run Bon Abri has a welcoming atmosphere and great home cooked food.


Day 6:
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. Descending right to the valley floor in Trient (1280 m) you can look forward to a good meal.


Walk via Alp Bovine: 17km, 5 - 6 Hours, Ascent: 700 m, Descent: 900 m.


Walk via Fenêtre d’Arpette: Ascent: 1200 m, Descent: 1400 m Hours: 7-8


Dinner & Overnight: La Grand Ourse, Trient


La Grand Ourse has been recently renovated and now provides auberge style accommodation for walkers. It is the most basic accommodation on your itinerary.


Or: Auberge Relais du Mont Blanc


The Relais du Mont Blanc is also very basic.


Day 7:
Trient to Chamonix

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! A suitable high to end your Tour du Mont Blanc on!


The route then follows then continues via the Col des Posettes and Aiguillette des Posettes, with wonderful views throughout, before descending into the Chamonix Valley at Montroc. Here you catch the train or local bus 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: 15km, 4h00, Ascent: 1100 m, Descent: 1200 m. Hours: 6-7


Overnight: 3* 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 8:
Onward Travel


Chamonix is a great base to spend a couple of days. You can enjoy some fabulous walking in the Aiguilles Rouge Park, take the cable car to the Aiguilles 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.

Accommodation

Your first, second, fourth and last nights are in a private room (twin/double share) in small hotels and the other three nights on the trail are in mountain refuges/huts in shared mixed sex dormitories.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This tour is not available to solo walkers and single rooms are not available except on the first and last nights. A supplement is payable.


Meals

7 Breakfasts and 5 dinners are included (Courmayeur & Chamonix not included).  Breakfast in the 2/3* hotels is a buffet selection with lots of sweet treats like pastries, home made jams fruit and cereals. Savoury tastes are also catered for with bread, cheese, ham and eggs available.


Breakfasts in the mountain hotels and huts tend to be very basic; bread, butter, jams, coffee, tea and orange juice.  If you prefer something more substantial before walking, we recommend carrying a few energy bars with you each day and supplement your breakfast with one of these.


Packed lunch items can be bought locally from supermarkets or the local boulangerie. If you are staying in a hut or remote accommodation, order a packed lunch with them upon arrival.


Dinner in the hotels will be at least three courses chosen from a fixed menu, and sometimes there is a choice available. Dinner in the mountain huts tend to be a convivial affair, and you will be seated with the other guests. Meal times are a real highlight in the huts, and you can enjoy the company of people from all over the world while you dine on good honest home cooked food. Dinner is typically soup with bread, a main course consisting of meat and rice or pasta, a side salad or vegetables, followed by a simple dessert or cheese. If you have any dietary requirements, please tell us upon booking and we can arrange this with the accommodations.


In Chamonix and Courmayeur dinner is not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Savoyard specialities are mostly based on cheese. Dishes which shouldn’t be missed include fondue, tartiflette and raclette.




Time of Year

The season for the Tour du Mont Blanc runs from the start of July to mid-September. The trail is sometimes closed until the first week of July due to snow, in which case your tour would need to be rescheduled or cancelled. Please note that public transport in the area in the shoulder month of September is limited. This means that certain 'shortcut' options will not be at your disposal during these months. Those hiking in these months should be prepared to walk the full distances each day. In the itinerary description, you will find the daily distances both with and without any possible shortcuts.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This tour is not available to solo walkers and single rooms are not available except on the first and last nights. A supplement is payable.


Grade & Terrain

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a tough trek with considerable ascent and descent on each day. We would suggest that you are an experienced walker who is looking for a challenge. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme. The terrain is mountainous, rocky and rough underfoot.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

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 route notes so you should have absolutely no problem following the route. We also provide you with access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App, which you can use to navigate. We strongly recommend using this App, or at least having it on your phone ready to use should you ever be in any doubt about your direction. You should also polish up on your map and compass skills prior to departing, as weather and visibility can change very quickly in the mountains, and these kinds of skills never go out of fashion!


Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfer is included as standard, allowing you to enjoy the
trek with just a light day bag on your back. We ask that you limit your
baggage to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg per person.


If you would prefer not to have bag transfer, and prefer to carry
everything on your back as you walk, this can also be arranged. Just ask
one of your Destination and Adventure specialists for more
information.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Travel during the walk

In order to focus on the best sections of the TMB you will skip some stages of the walk using public transport and lifts. These are very reliable and easy to catch. We include full details, fares and timetables in your information pack so it couldn’t be easier. You will need to pay for these locally.


Day 2: Optional Telepherique from Les Houches to Bellevue (1801m)


Day 3: Optional shuttle from Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge. Optional shuttle from Les Chapieux to Ville des Glaciers


Day 4: Local bus or taxi from la Visaille to Courmayeur


Day 5: Local bus or taxi from Courmayeur to Arnuva; Swiss Postal Bus Ferret - Champex via Orsières.


Day 7: Optional ski lift from Col de La Balme – Le Tour


Getting to Les Houches / From Chamonix

By Air: Geneva is the best airport for the Chamonix valley.  From here you catch a train if you wish , but the best option is to take a pre-booked shuttle through a company such as Mountain Dropoffs, for which we can provide you with a promo code to receive a small discount on bookings.


By Rail: TGV to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet- www.voyages-sncf.com-and then Mont Blanc Express to Les Houches. For the return, they are regular trains between Chamonix and St Gervais les Bains Le Fayet.


By Road: Highway A40-E25 Mont Blanc-Chamonix, exit Les Houches. More information at www.viamichelin.fr


Parking: At Les Houches you can park at the Bellevue Telepherique base station. In Chamonix, free parking at the Aiguille du Midi & the parking Planards (Montenvers station).


Travel during the walk

In order to focus on the best sections of the TMB you will skip some stages of the walk using public transport and lifts. These are very realiable and easy to catch. We include full details, fares and timetables in your information pack so it couldn’t be easier. You will need to pay for these locally.


Day 2: Optional Telepherique from Les Houches to Bellevue


Day 3: Optional shuttle from Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge. Optional shuttle from Les Chapieux to Ville des Glaciers


Day 4: Local bus or taxi from la Visaille to Courmayeur


Day 5: Local bus or taxi from Courmayeur to Arnuva; Swiss Postal Bus Ferret - Champex via Orsières.


Day 7: Optional ski lift from Col de La Balme – Le Tour.

Included

  • 4 Nights in a mix of two and three star hotels on a twin share basis
  • 3 Nights in mountain huts/refuges in dormitories
  • Daily bag transfer
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 5 Dinners (Courmayeur & Chamonix excluded)
  • Detailed maps, information pack, route notes, guidebook, GPX tracks and access to the Macs Adventure navigation app
  • Emergency support and backup from our team.

Excluded

  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Les Houches and from Chamonix
  • Lunches
  • Local transfers and ski lifts
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Accommodation upgrade at any point on the trek
  • Single room supplement if required.

How fit do I need to be?

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a tough trek with considerable ascent and descent on each day. We would suggest that you are an experienced walker who is looking for a challenge. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

The closest airport is Geneva which is served by flights from throughout Europe and around the world.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised. This is a very popular hiking area with a short season. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, sleeping sheet, a day pack and hats/gloves etc. A detailed kit list is included in your information pack.

How do the baggage transfers work? 

Baggage transfer is included as standard, allowing you to enjoy the trek with just a light day bag on your back. We ask that you limit your baggage to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg per person.

If you would prefer not to have bag transfer, and prefer to carry everything on your back as you walk, this can also be arranged. Just ask one of your Destination and Adventure specialists for more information.

When is the best time of year?

The season for the Tour du Mont Blanc runs from mid June to mid September. The trail is sometimes closed until the last week of June due to snow, in which case your tour would need to be rescheduled or cancelled.

Are public transport transfer costs included in the price?

This particular itinerary makes use of public transport to allow you to cover more ground on a shorter itinerary, or you have the option to make some walks easier/shorter by using ski-lifts/buses etc. The cost for these transfers are not included and are payable locally. Please note that in the shoulder season on the TMB, June and September, that not all public transport services are yet/still in operation. If you have any concerns about this then please contact us for more information.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

Some sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc are very easy to skip with the use of public transport, while others are very difficult, time consuming and expensive. We provide you with a handy 'Public Transport and Bad Weather Guide' to the TMB before you leave and will help you in any way possible should you be unable to walk a stage.

Fantastic trip

5

Loved the convenience of having the route mapped out, the accommodation booked and the luggage transfers worked perfectly. All accommodation was fine but I might stick to the hotels and auberge next time: the huts were fun as an experience but I'm getting too old to appreciate other peoples smelly socks and snoring in the dorms! (And the auberges really were first rate!)

Skipper

Portsmouth

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Stunning!

5

Great trip. Physically challenging. Stunning views. Great accommodations. We had some issues with the APP taking us towards trails that do not exist. Stick to the signs available along the route.

Dave

Vancouver, Canada

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Awesome hiking, exceeding expectations

5

Peace of mind with all logistics covered including comprehensive advice about bad weather options. Most details were very well covered. Excellent and prompt support from Minna. One bit of advice though. Don't depend on finding food when you want it. Buy the packed lunches from accommodation; they were excellent.

Hutchins family

New Zealand

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Excellent 6 day hut based Tour du Mont Blanc Trek

5

Very well organised trek around fantastic scenic location. just challenging enough and enjoyable at all time. Macs provided very good information in advance and were helpful and available during the trek. Will definitely recommend!

George & Christine

Guildford

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Beautiful adventure in the Alps

5

Our Tour du Mt Blanc tour, which was the Highlights tour/huts was a joy! The information packet covered all the bases and helped us feel safe and organized. Our accommodations had a nice variety, with huts and hotels being alternated to give both comfort and a sense of remote adventure. Our bags were always at the accommodation when we arrived. I do highly recommend spending the extra money to have the bags transferred. Those hills are steep and hauling a backpack would have been really tough! A great trip! Thank you, Macs Adventure!

Dot

North Carolina, USA

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Highly recommend Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights trek

4

Tour itinerary was well chosen to hit the right highlights. The transfers were very easy. One suggestion for improvement - in the accommodation details maybe a little more narrative for directions from the end of the day's hike to the accommodation.

Larry S

New York

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Macs is great!

5

Macs put together an excellent tour for our family planned for early July 2014. The hikes were quite strenuous but we all made it each day tired but energized from the beautiful scenery. On day two we did not make it to the planned refuge, so stopped at Col de la Croix du Bonhomme where with the help of the refuge and staff at Macs, we changed our booking with no problems. We had bad weather for the first few days so skipped the third day of hiking, but managed to use the trains and buses to get to our next stopover. On the last day of hiking we walked from Campex Lac to Trient via the Fenetre d'Arpette under beautiful sunny skies. A truly memorable hiking trip.

TSJ&T

Atlanta

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Fantastic walk

5

Superb snapshot of European Alps with steep rugged mountains, glaciers and lush green valleys. Unique views of remote mountain farms and refuges. Well organised and all went without a hitch including bag transfers. The various bus transfers were painless. Mountain huts were good fun. Refuge des Mottets and Chalet du Bon Abri in Champex were excellent. Relais du Mont Blanc in Trient was not so good with too many crowded into dormitory and too few showers and toilets. Hotel Vallee Blanche in Chamonix was outstanding. An extra day or two in Chamonix is worthwhile and the cable car from Aiguille du Midi to Helbronner is worth the expense.

David and Ria

Sydney, Australia

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Highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc in Huts

4.9 8

100.0

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