Tour du Mont Blanc Short Break5 Days & 4 Nights
- A taste of Europe's classic long distance trek over 5 days
- Hike from Les Houches in France to Courmayeur in Italy
- Take in glorious Alpine views of the famous Mont Blanc Massif
- Sample delicious Savoyard mountain food including locally made cheeses
- Stay in comfortable 3* hotels and one traditional mountain hut
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Multi-Generational, Groups > 10
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- National Parks & Trails
- Alpine Hiking
- Most Popular
Activity Level & 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 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. The terrain is mountainous, rocky and rough underfoot. There are two sections that include the use of fixed ladders and footholds, and require some very light scrambling. This is on the Grand Balcon du Sud route between Tré-le-Champ and Lac Blanc/Le Flègére on Day 10 and again between Col du Brévent and Le Brévent on Day 11. Both sections can be avoided by taking an alternative route. These will be detailed in your route notes.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is comprehensively way marked at all junctions and by regular paint marks along the trail. We supply you with detailed 1:25 000 IGN maps 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!
You will spend three nights in charming, high-quality 3* hotels, most of which are family-run. One night is spent in an atmospheric mountain hut in private twin/double rooms with shared bathroom facilties. Private rooms in huts are very popular therefore we cannot guarantee that a private room will be available when you book. In this case you will be offered a dorm room with a small reduction in price. To ensure a private room in the mountain huts we encourage you to book as far in advance as possible. If you are a solo walker, you will be booked into a dorm in the mountain hut as single rooms are not available in mountain huts. The solo walker price has been calculated with this discount already take into account.
If you require single rooms within a party a limited number are available, although a supplement is payable. Single rooms are not available in mountain huts.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is available to solo walkers who are experienced and confident hiking in Alpine terrain. While the TMB has become increasingly popular over the past few years, it should not be underestimated. You will be walking in high-Alpine terrain subject to rain, fog, thunder/lightning storms and snow at any time of year. You must be confident walking alone on difficult terrain, over snow fields and navigating in poor visibility/weather conditions. Whilst this is a challenging walk, because of its popularity, there are more often than not other walkers in close proximity, which is why we can offer this tour to solo walkers. However, if you are a first-time Alpine solo walker, we recommend an alternative tour. We have a range of Alpine tours that would be more suitable for you. Please contact us for more information. If you are a solo walker, you will be booked into a dorm in the mountain hut as single rooms are not available in mountain huts. The solo walker price has been calculated with this discount already take into account.
Breakfast in the 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. Allow about €10 per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.
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 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.
- 3 Nights in 3* hotels
- 1 Night in a mountain hut in a private room (dorm for solo walkers)
- Bag transfer
- 3 Dinners
- Access to maps, GPX tracks and daily route information with the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
- All your trip documents provided digitally through your online Macs “My Account”
- 24/7 telephone support from our UK office
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to Les Houches and from Courmayeur
- Lunches (allow approx.10 Euro per day)
- Dinner in Courmayeur
- Public transport such as cable cars/ski lifts/buses
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
- Accommodation upgrade at any point on the trek
When To Go
The season for the Tour du Mont Blanc runs from the start of July to mid September. Please note that public transport in the area in the shoulder month of September is limited. This means that certain 'short cut' options will not be at your disposal during this month. 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 short cuts.
The last weekend of August sees Chamonix hosting the famous Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc race. We recommend avoiding the TMB at this time as the area is extremely busy and most accommodations full.
Getting to the Start
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. Your Destination & Adventure Specialist will be happy to give you more information about this. By Rail: TGV to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet. www.voyages-sncf.com For the return, there are regular trains between Chamonix and St Gervais les Bains Le Fayet. By Road: Highway A40-E25 Mont Blanc-Chamonix, exit Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet. More information at www.viamichelin.fr Parking: In Les Houches you can park for free at the Bellevue Cable Car station. In Chamonix, free parking at the Aiguille du Midi & the parking Planards (Montenvers station).
Getting from the EndFrom Courmayeur, you can take a public bus through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Chamonix, from where you can take a shared shuttle (as mentioned in the Getting to the Start section) back to Geneva Airport. Chamonix also has a train station should you prefer to take the train to another destination in France. If there you are a more than 2 people travelling, it may be worthwhile to take a private taxi transfer from Courmayeur directly to Geneva airport. Please contact us for prices if you are interested in this.
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.
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.
The closest airport is Geneva which is served by flights from throughout Europe and around the world.
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.
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.
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. On this particular itinerary, your bags cannot be transfered to Refugio Bonatti (night 5), due to the inaccessibilty of the accommodation. You will need to carry your overnight things on these days and you will be reunited with your main bag the following day.
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.
The season for the Tour du Mont Blanc runs from the start of July to mid September. Anytime during this season is ideal for walking. August is by far the most popular month and we recommend avoiding the period around the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc race which is usually held in the last week of August.
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.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Les Houches
The pretty 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 hotel, stroll through the town and get ready for your adventure on the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Hotel du Bois is a comfortable 3 star hotel on the main street in Les Houches. The hotel has typical chalet style rooms, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, large garden with views of the Mont Blanc Massif and a bar and restaurant.
A 2 Star Chalet Hotel, Campanules punches well above its weight with great views of Mont Blanc and Aiguille du Midi, fantastic service and comfortable rooms.
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 (recommended).
At Bellevue you have the option of taking the challenging 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 1 - via Bionnassay, 17.3km, 6 Hours Ascent/Descent: 1036m/853m
Walk 2 - via Chalets de Miage, 18km, 7.5 Hours Ascent/Descent:1440m/1262m
Optional Cable Car: Reduces both routes by 2 hours and 900m of ascent
Enjoying a peaceful location this family run chalet style hotel has 38 bedrooms, an outside swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, large garden, a restaurant and bar.
The charming Hotel Gai Soleil was once the owner’s family’s farm in the mountains. It has been renovated with care and furnished with an aim to preserve all its rustic character and warmth. You can relax among the various flowering trees and wild berries growing in the summer and enjoy the warmth of the full sun on the terrace in winter. From the hotel you’ll find a spectacular view of the Montjoie valley.
A gentle start from Les Contamines for the first 5km along the valley floor to the chapel at Notre Dame de la Gorge (shuttle transfer possible). Here 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. Here you can either climb over the Col des Fours (2665m) and descend steeply to Refuge des Mottets or alternatively descend to Les Chapieux.
Walk 1 - Walk to Refuge des Mottets, 19.5km, 7.5 Hours Ascent/Descent: 1621m/893m
Walk 2 - Walk to Les Chapieux, 19km, 7 Hours Ascent/Descent: 1335m/933m
Extensively refurbished in 2010 the Refuge Mottets maintains a wonderful atmosphere. The original farm buildings and new sleeping accommodation include dormitory and private rooms, while meals are taken in the atmospheric main building.
A small family run hotel in the village of Les Chapieux with only 3 rooms, first opened in 1856, and run by Celine and Pierre. The scenery here is spectacular, you will be surrounded by upland pasturelands and have excellent views of the Mont Blanc Massif.
The Auberge de la Nova is a friendly mountain hotel in a lovely location, serving hearty mountain food and cold beer. The auberge is a simple mountain lodge and has private rooms and dormitory accommodation. Bathrooms are shared. There is a small farm shop next door, which is a good option for a picnic.
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 steep southern side of the Mont Blanc Massif, made up of jagged peaks, hanging glaciers and plunging waterfalls, seems close enough to touch. The trail descends through high alpine meadows past refuge Elisabetta into the Val Veni.
Here you must choose either the tough option which climbs via Col Chécrouit to Courmayeur or the easy option of continuing past the snout of the huge Glacier du Miage to Visaille, where you catch the shuttle bus into Courmayeur.
Walk 1 - Via La Visaille, 28.6km, 9.5 Hours Ascent/Descent: 1041m/1381m
Walk 2 - Via La visaille and Col de la Seigne, 20.1km, 6.5hours Ascent/Descent: 969/858m
Walk 3 - Via Col de la Seigne, 23.6km, 8.5hours Ascent/Descent: 1169m/1808m
Located just a few minutes from the pedestrianised centre of Courmayeur the family run Hotel Bouton d’Or is wonderfully friendly and has a calm garden and terrace in which to relax.
The Crampon is a charming family run 3 * hotel. It has been entirely renovated and offers the guests a warm and friendly atmosphere between modernity and tradition.
Courmayeur is a great base to spend a couple of days, and we recommend that you add an extra night here so you can choose from local hikes, a relaxing cappuccino and people watching on the piazza or perhaps take the cable car to Refugio Torino and the Punta Helbronner (3462m), where you can enjoy the most spectacular views of the Mont Blanc Massif.
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