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Complete Tour du Mont Blanc Trek
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Highlights

  • Complete Europe's classic long distance trek
  • Superb mountain views at every turn of the trail
  • Three countries on one trek; France, Italy & Switzerland
  • Delicious meals featuring the local specialities of each country
  • Stay in spectacularly located mountain refuges

Walk the complete Tour du Mont Blanc, through France, Italy and Switzerland staying in mountain huts and hotels. For the serious walker with a sense of aesthetic there really is no other option for the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Although not for everyone, staying in mountain huts allows you to stay high in the mountains and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow TMB’ers, which is just one aspect of the trek which makes the Tour du Mont Blanc so special. If you would prefer more privacy then our Complete Tour du Mont Blanc in Comfort would be a better option.

Your trek starts and finishes in Les Houches (with the last night in Chamonix) and covers all of the trail so that you won’t miss a single step of this fabulous walk.

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


Walk via Chalets de Miage: 18km, 7.5 Hours, 1500m ascent, 1300m 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 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, 1300m Ascent, 950m Descent, 7 – 8 Hours.


Walk to Refuge des Mottetts via Col des Fours: 20km, 1600m Ascent, 900m 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: (possible to reduce by 4km using shuttle bus) 27km, 1500m Ascent, 900m Descent, 9-10 Hours


Walk from Refuge des Mottets: 23km, 1300m Ascent, 900m Descent, 8 – 9 Hours


Alternative: This is a really long day if you prefer we can arrange for you to stay in Courmayeur tonight, skipping the section of the route over Col Chécroui by catching the bus from Col Chécroui. This takes at least two hours off the walk today and an hour or more off tomorrow’s walk.


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: Maison Vielle to Rifugio Bonatti

Your day begins with a steep descent to the Italian village of Courmayeur by a pretty forrest path of cable car. In good weather the walk to Refugio Bonatti is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable of your Tour du Mont Blanc. Once in Courmayeur you make your way up to the Refuge Bertone before taking the main route contours around the flank of 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.


Walk: 18.5km, 990m Ascent, 860m descent, 8 hours. 


Dinner & Overnight: Rifugio Bonatti



Widely regarded as one of the best refuges in the Alps the priavetly owned Rifugio Bonatti is a treat in every way.


Day 6: Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly

The day begins with a glorious contouring walk from Rifugio 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, 7 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: 15 km, 5 Hours, Ascent: 450m, Descent: 550m


Dinner & Overnight: Gite 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 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, 750m Ascent: 950 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  or La Hotel Grande Ourse- Trient


Nestled deep in the valley Trient is always bursting with walkers on the Tour du Mont Blanc and Walkers Haut Route and both of these hostelries are the most basic accommodations on the itinerary. 


Day 9: Trient to 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, 1050m Ascent, 950m Descent, 6 Hours


Dinner & Overnight: Refuge Boerne, Tré le Champ or Le Tour


Day 10: Tré le Champ to Planpraz

The next two days are a real highlight of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The views across the Chamonix Valley to the Mont Blanc Massif are outstanding throughout. From your hotel 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.



You continue to climb to Lac Blanc, a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic. Another hour of descent brings you to the cable car station at Le Flégère, continue past the cable car and take the 'Balcon Sud' route traversing across the mountainside with stunning views of Mont Blanc as you go. The balcony route arrives at Planpraz where you can take the cable car down to the centre of Chamonix.



Walk: 11.5 km, 6-7 Hours, Ascent: 1300m, Descent: 530m


Alternative: For those who don’t like heights there is a variation which avoids the ladders and takes the same time.


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 11: Planpraz to Les Houches

Begin your day by catching the cable car back up to Planpraz. 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 Col du Brevant & the rocky pedestal of the le Brévent (2525m). Mont Blanc seems within touching distance on the opposite side of the valley. Descend past Lac Brevent and traverse onwards to Bel Lachat before making the descent to Les Houches and a short bus or train ride will take you back to Chamonix. This day can be shortened at several points. Chamonix is the centre of mountaineering in the French Alps and always a hive of activity and is the perfect place to celebrate the end of your walk around Mont Blanc.



Walk: 11km, 430m Ascent, 1530m Descent, 6 Hours



Overnight: 3* Hotel l’Arve, Chamonix


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.

Accommodation

Our Complete Tour du Mont Blanc huts package includes 4 nights' accommodation is small hotels in twin/double rooms and 7 nights in mountain huts, refuges and gîtes in 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.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

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.


Meals

11 breakfasts and 9 evening meals (Chamonix not included) are included. Evening meals are social occasions and definitely 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 per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.


Baggage Transfer

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 transferred to Refugio Bonatti, due to the inaccessibility 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.


Navigation

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 and a comprehensive guidebook 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.

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 'short cut' 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 short cuts.


The Plan Praz cable car will run until the 15th of September 2019. If you are travelling when
it is not running, you will need to descend from Planpraz to Chamonix on
foot on Day 10 and reascend on foot on Day 11 (approx 900m
ascent/descent).


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This tour is not available to solo walkers and single rooms are available in Les Houches, Les Contamines, Courmayeur and Chamonix
. 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 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.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

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!


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.
On this particular itinerary, your bags cannot be transfered to Refugio
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.


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.

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 and then catch the Mont Blanc Express service to Les Houches. 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 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).



Travel during the walk

The following transfers are necessary during your walk. You should allow about €40 for these transfers.


Day 10: Cable car from La Flégère to Chamonix


Day 11: Cable car from Chamonix to La Flégère

Included

  • 3 Nights in small hotels on a twin/double share basis
  • 8 Nights in mountain huts/refuges/gîtes in dormitories
  • Bag transfer (with the exception of Rifugio Bonatti and Refuge du Lac Blanc)
  • 11 Breakfasts
  • 9 Dinners during the walk (Chamonix not included)
  • Detailed maps, information pack, route notes, GPX tracks and access to the Macs Adventure navigation app
  • Organisational assistance and emergency backup

Excluded

  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Chamonix and from Le Fayet
  • Lunches (allow 10 Euro per day)
  • 1 Dinners
  • 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. On this particular itinerary, your bags cannot be transfered to Refugio Bonatti (night 5) or to Refuge du Lac Blanc (night 10), 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.

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.

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.

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