Complete Tour du Mont Blanc in Huts

12 Days & 11 Nights 4.8 Read 34 reviews
  • 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.

What To Expect

Although not for everyone, staying in huts allows you to stay high in the mountains and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow TMB’ers. If you would prefer more privacy then our Tour du Mont Blanc in Comfort itineraries would be a better option. The tour is rated moderate-strenuous and bag transfer is also included so you can walk with just a day pack.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Groups > 10

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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.

Navigation

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!

Accommodations

Most of your nights are in small hotels (generally 2/3*) and the rest are in montain 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.

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is not available to solo walkers. Single rooms are available on some nights and a single supplement is payable.

Meals

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.

Included
  • 4 Nights in small hotels on a twin/double share basis
  • 7 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, guidebook, GPX tracks, access to our navigation app
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our team.
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

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 2019) 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

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

Luggage 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. 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.

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.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Les Houches Day 2 Les Houches to Les Contamines 10.5 miles / 17 km Day 3 Les Contamines to Refuge des Mottets/Les Chapieux 12 miles / 19 km Day 4 Les Chapieux / Refuges des Mottets to Col Chécroui 11 miles / 17.5 km Day 5 Maison Vielle to Rifugio Bonatti 10.5 miles / 17 km Day 6 Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly 12 miles / 19 km Day 7 La Fouly to Champex 9 miles / 15 km Day 8 Champex to Trient 9 miles / 15 km Day 9 Trient to Tré le Champ 8 miles / 13 km Day 10 Tré le Champ to Planpraz 8 miles / 13.5 km Day 11 Planpraz to Les Houches 7.5 miles / 12 km Day 12 Onward Travel

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