Highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc in Huts8 Days & 7 Nights 4.9 Read 13 reviews
- 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
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 12 and again between Col du Brévent and Le Brévent on Day 13. 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, 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!
Your nights are in a mix of small hotels (generally 2/3*) and in mountain auberges/refuges in shared mixed-sex dormitories. 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 regularly use.
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.
Breakfast in the 2/3* hotels tend to be 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 usually 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 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.
- 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 our navigation app
- Emergency support and backup from our team.
- Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to Les Houches and from Chamonix
- Local transfers and ski lifts
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
- Accommodation upgrade at any point on the trek
- Single room supplement if required.
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. The Plan Praz cable car runs until approximately the 16th of September (timetables are not yet available for 2020) If you are travelling when it is not running, you will need to descend from Planpraz to Chamonix on foot on Day 12 and reascend on foot on Day 13 (approx 900mascent/descent).
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 book this for you. By Rail: TGV to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet and then catch the Mont Blanc Express service to Les Houches. www.voyages-sncf.com 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: In Les Houches there is free parking at the Bellevue Cableway station and parking is allowed and free in some surrounding streets close to your hotel. In Chamonix, free parking at the Aiguille du Midi & the parking Planards (Montenvers station).
Getting from the End
From Chamonix, take a pre-booked shuttle such as Mountain Dropoffs back to Geneva airport. Alternatively, if you are travelling elsewhere in France, Chamonix has a train station. Timetables and information can be found at sncf.com
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.
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. Please note that while staying at Refugio Bonatti and Refuge du Lac Blanc, your bags cannot be transfered 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.
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.
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 Rifugio Bonatti , 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.
ItineraryDay 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 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.
Le Saint Antoine, is located in the ski resort of Les Houches in the Mont Blanc region. Its spa has a hot tub, sauna and hamman (free access) and optional massage treatments. The rooms and suites have a flat-screen TV with cable TV channels and free Wi-Fi internet access.
Your trek 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) where you join the Tour du Mont Blanc.
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 1 - Via Bionnassay, 17.3km, 6.5hours Ascent/Descent: 1036m/853m
Walk 2 - Via Chalets de Miage, 18.1km, 7.5 hours Ascent/Descent: 1440/1262m
Optional Cable Car: Reduces both routes by 2 hours and 900m of ascent
A classic chalet style hotel with swimming pool and a restaurant the family run Le Christina is located right in the centre of the village.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Col de la Seigne (2516m) lies a steep 750m above the Refuge des Mottets and is where you leave France for Italy. The trail descends through high alpine meadows past refuge Elisabetta into the Val Veni. 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: 22km, 6-7 Hours, Ascent/Descent: 1000m/800m
Walk from Refuge des Mottets: 17km, 5-6 hours, Ascent/Descent: 750m/800m
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.
Hotel Edelweiss is a small family run chalet style hotel close to the centre of Courmayeur. The hotel has 30 ensuite rooms, a reading room with satellite TV, bar area with board games, free wi-fi in the common areas and a restaurant which is open in the summer.
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.
There are 50 beds at Bon Abri make this a friendly and lively stop of the TMB. The home cooked food is fabulous.
The Hotel Glacier has been in the Biselx family for over 100 years. The hotel enjoys lovely views from the terrace and garden.
Le Belvedere is a lively yet discreet little hotel with delicious home cooking which provides a warm welcome to its guests. Traditional styles are combined effortlessly with modern facilities as all rooms are in arolle wood; all are individually styled, and have cable TV, shower, bath and balcony
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 1: Via Alp Bovine, 17.5km, 6 Hours Ascent/Descent: 768m/946m
Walk 2: Via Fenêtre d’Arpette, 15km, 6 Hours Ascent/Descent: 1199m/1388m
This simple mountain accommodation was recently refurbished and offers both dormitory and private accommodation. Bathroom facilities will be shared.
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.
Ascent/Descent: 1100m/1200 m
Enjoying a quiet location with great views, despite being so close to the centre of Chamonix, the hotel has 37 comfortable rooms and a friendly welcoming atmosphere.
Le Refuge des Aiglons is a contemporary hotel with 107 guest rooms just a few steps from the Aiguille du Midi cable cars. The hotel boasts a large garden, spacious bar, good quality restaurant and genuine Mountain Spa.
Situated right in the heart of Chamonix this small three star hotel occupies a charming former mill and is a great base for exploring Chamonix.
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.
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