Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

Classic Tour du Mont Blanc


Trip Overview

Highlights

  • The Classic Panoramic Tour of Mont Blanc
  • High quality hotel accommodation
  • 10 Days trekking through 3 Alpine countries - France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Hike to Lac Blanc for views of Mont Blanc
  • Experience a night in the unforgettable Bonatti Refuge
  • Luggage transfers provided
  • Cross the Fenêtre d'Arpette & reach the Brevent Summit
  • International Mountain Leader.

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is one of the world's classic trekking journeys, covering 166km and around 10,000m of up and down. At the heart of the European Alps, the massif of Mont Blanc straddles the borders of France, Italy and Switzerland and includes some spectacular mountain scenery.

With its rich mountaineering history and unsurpassed cultural diversity, this corner of Europe has been an irresistible attraction for the world’s adventurers, climbers and hikers. Mont Blanc itself, at 4810 metres (15,781 feet), is the high point of the range and the highest peak in Western Europe. When viewed from the French town of Chamonix, the capital of world mountaineering, the snowy bulk of this commanding peak exerts a strange fascination.

Streams of cloud trailing from its summit bear witness to the fact that Mont Blanc stands high above the surrounding, and in some respects more dramatic, rocky peaks. The trekker and mountain walker is spoiled for choice in this part of the world, but one obvious challenge is to complete a circuit of the Mont Blanc massif. The well-known long distance walk (or Grand Randonée) known as the Tour du Mont Blanc does just that.


The trip was truly memorable! I loved every aspect of it! The views were spectacular, the guide was exceptional in her leadership and knowledge of the area and the physical challenge was just right. I felt safe and in good hands throughout! I have nothing but rave reviews about the whole experience. Thank you very much, "Tracks and Trails"

Thank you so very much for putting together such a wonderful trip! Hiking in the Alps was truly an unforgettable experience. I liked all accommodations...And our guide Nicole was the true highlight of the trip - just an extraordinary person: passionate about her work, patient, knowledgeable, attentive and kind, very funny, and so strong! 

Just want to say what happy memories I have our holiday at the beginning of the year, then to my surprise, Moya said that she has been in touch to say what a positive experience it was for her. Well, there was me feeling guilty for dragging her out on the snow!! I am of course delighted. It was a fantastic holiday and I feel privileged to been in the position of being able to learn so much from you. It will be interesting for me to see how I get on in the snowy wastes of northern Canada.

Many thanks for a wonderful time. Our guide was knowledgeable, caring, safety conscious and fun to be with - in short a great leader. Having assessed the weather conditions she was able to find the sun and the best snowshoeing for each day. This was our first snowshoeing experience. We had a fabulous three days around Chamonix and would highly recommend Tracks and Trails. We will be back. Many thanks until the next time.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our trip, you are an excellent guide and teacher, and made it feel more like a bespoke trip rather than a group package. We intend to come back to do more, both skiing and possibly snow shoeing, we'll be back in touch when we do. 

I just wanted to say thank you again for such a brilliant week in Chamonix. In a way I'd say the holiday was exactly as I expected - there's loads of details on the Tracks & Trails website, and the week panned out pretty much as described. But it also totally exceeded my expectations - the quality of coaching/expertise from all of you guys, the motivation gained from meeting and chatting to some truly inspirational people, plus everyone was just so friendly and nice.

I just wanted to thank you again for a very memorable tour. It was certainly the toughest I have done but left me with a real sense of achievement. This would not have been possible without your leadership and guidance.

We had a wonderful trip with you and hope to return soon. You were an excellent guide and I do not think that our family would have been able to complete the trek without your help. Thanks for all of the memories that will last a lifetime! 

It was such a nice trip organized by your company and it was a wonderful experience for all of us. The personal touch given by you and the way you handled all of us for the 6 days was amazing. I was touched by your compassion and generosity along with professionalism. Once again thank you for this lovely experience.

​Fran, our guide, was great!  Tammi and the kids would've re-thought this 'walk' if she weren't there.  Will is a more seasoned hiker and wouldn't have needed a guide, but she helped pull the family in when the walk was tough.  Absolutely no complaints about accommodations, or meals.  Was nice there was always vegetarian options, and wine for dinner was priced fair. A great trip!

A HUGE thank you for the most BRILLIANT holiday. We just loved it. We weren’t quite sure what we were letting ourselves in for, but it surpassed all expectations. We really felt we achieved something. Thank you Julia for making it all a success – we were so lucky to have you as our guide and we really appreciated your skills and expertise – and knowing when to stop for ice creams or hot chocolates.

Thank you Lindsay and Kathy for such a special holiday. Rob and I loved it and cannot thank you enough for all the great effort and organization you put in, without you both it would not have been so memorable.  As a group we all had so much fun and hopefully will come on another trip soon. Missing you both and wish you all the best in the future.

Itinerary

  • Your trip starts in the famous mountain town of Chamonix. Hotel rooms are usually available from around 4pm onwards, so if you arrive early you’ll be able to leave your bags at the hotel and easily explore the town. Your trek leader will come to your hotel at 6pm for a trip briefing and to answer any questions you have about the trip. Your accommodation is in a 3* hotel in the heart of the town. The group package services begin with the evening meal.

  • Starting in Les Houches, we ease into the trip with a cable car ride to reach Bellevue. After taking in the view of the Chamonix Valley, we begin the hike in earnest to reach the start of the Bionnassay Glacier with the Aiguille de Bionnassay towering above. Crossing the torrent via an impressive suspension bridge, we climb easily to reach our first ‘Col’ or mountain pass - the Col de Tricot at 2120m. Ahead lies the mighty Dômes de Miage, and below us is the idyllic summer hamlet of the Chalet de Miage. We make a fairly steep descent to reach Miage and enjoy a welcome drink. To complete our day we make a short climb, followed by an easy descent into the colourful village of Les Contamines for the night.

    Distance 15.6km. Total Ascent 840m. Total Descent 1517m. Approx walking time 6 hours.

  • We begin today with an easy riverside trail to the impressive Notre Dame de la Gorge chapel. Leaving the river, our route then climbs steeply for a short section following the ‘paved’ Roman road to reach a Roman bridge. Our trail then eases as we pass through meadows and pastures of grazing cows to reach the refuge at La Balme, perfectly located for refreshments before the climb to the col du Bonhomme. This long, steady climb often has snow patches early in the season. At 2469m, this is considerably higher than the Col de Tricot, and offers wonderful views further into France including the Vanoise National Park. With the main climb complete we can enjoy traversing around and just slightly further up to our second col for today, the Croix du Bonhomme. We then descend steadily to the sleepy settlement of Les Chapieux (1553m), where we stay in a charming family run auberge.

    Distance 19km. Total Ascent 1350m. Total Descent 960m. Approx walking time 7-8 hours.

  • Today starts with a short bus transfer along the tarmacked road to reach the ‘Ville des Glaciers’. In winter, this entire valley is cut off by snow, but in the summer offers some of the finest grazing ground for cows to produce delightful mountain cheeses. The trail then takes us towards the refuge Les Mottets, which doubles as a donkey and mule sanctuary. Many of these animals earn their keep by transporting baggage to our next high point, at the col de la Seigne (2516m). This is a significant col as we take our first steps into Italy! The panoramic views from the col are unforgettable as we can see not only the impressive Brenva face of Mont Blanc, but all the way to Switzerland and the next white peak of the Grand Combin. We enjoy an easy descent past the Elizabetta Refuge under the awesome ridge of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey. After lunch we walk down the Val Veny valley to reach La Visaille, where we can take a bus down to the vibrant town and mountaineering centre of Courmayeur. We stay in a family run hotel in the town centre.

    Distance 17.2km. Total Ascent 870m. Total Descent 1015m. Approx walking time 5-6 hours.

  • Leaving Courmayeur, we climb a fairly steep but steady track to reach the Bertone hut. Here we make time for a morning cappuccino and soak up the views back down to Courmayeur, before commencing the next part of our climb - up to the Mont de la Saxe ridge. This exceptional trail is a highlight in anyone’s walking career, but should only be considered in good weather and when the trails are snow free. Once up on the ridge we are rewarded with first-class views of many famous peaks of the Mont Blanc massif; the Grandes Jorasses, Dent du Geant, Mont Dolent and of course the mighty Mont Blanc or ‘Monte Bianco’! Our trail leads us over the Tête de la Tronche and then steeply down to the Col Sapin. We then have a short descent, followed by yet another climb to the Col Entre Deux Sauts, before reaching the delightful Rifugio Bonatti for our overnight in the mountains. We can enjoy an ‘apero’ whilst watching the beautiful sunset behind Mont Blanc. Tonight is the only night of the trip without access to your luggage.

    Distance 17km. Total Ascent 1585m. Total Descent 940m. Approx walking time 7 hours.

  • Leaving the Rifugio, we start along an easy balcony trail enjoying views both back to France and on towards our next destination, Switzerland. We descend down to Arnuva and climb up to the Refugio Elena for our final Italian coffee, before embarking on the Grand Col Ferret (one of the highest cols on the trip at 2537m) and the border of Italy and Switzerland. Here we are rewarded with stunning views of the Val Ferret, the Grand Combin and Mont Dolent (the summit of which is the only one bordering France, Switzerland and Italy). If we’re doing well for time we might stop for second refreshments at La Peule. Here we leave the signposted TMB and head to La Fouly via a higher balcony path used by the farmers. La Fouly is an alpine village with traditional Swiss “chocolate box” chalets. We are reunited with our bags as we check into a hotel in the village centre.

    Distance 20.3km. Total Ascent 1128m. Total Descent 1580m. Approx walking time 6 hours.

  • An easier day today, but still with charming views. We start off with a gentle walk downhill through woodland, meadows and along the riverside. We pass through typical Swiss mountain villages and farm buildings before making a climb up and along the ‘Sentier de Champignons’ (mushroom trail) to make an early arrival to the delightful lakeside village of Champex. Here we stay in a traditional hotel, with simple rooms and wonderful food.

    Distance 17.2km. Total Ascent 710m. Total Descent 855m. Approx walking time 5 hours.

  • There are 2 routes between Champex and Trient. If we are going well and the weather/ conditions allow we can climb to the pass known as the Fenêtre d’Arpette – the highest col on the Tour of Mont Blanc. At 2670m, the Fenêtre d’Arpette is perhaps one of the most demanding days of the tour, but there are compensations. On reaching the rocky col, the spectacular view across the Trient Glacier is quite breath taking. We take our time here to fully appreciate this unique position, looking down towards a veritable sea of seracs and crevasses. We then descend into the Trient valley and stay either at the Col de la Forclaz or Trient itself.

    Distance 15.4km. Ascent 1480m. Descent 1760m. Approx walking time 6-7 hours.

    Please note that in summer 2015 there was a landslide which affected this route, and it is not always possible. If we want to be a little more relaxed, or if the weather dictates, we can take the normal TMB route via the Alpage known as the Bovine – a gem of a route with different views but looking along the Rhone valley. The highlight of this route is stopping to visit Nathalie and family at the alpage to sample her homemade cakes! Both routes then continue down to the Trient valley, our Swiss base for the night.

    Distance 15km. Ascent 570m. Descent 570m. Approx walking time 5-6 hours. The leader will decide which route we take.

  • Leaving Trient, we have two options to reach our next high point at the Col de Balme. We prefer to go via the quieter trail of Les Grands, since this allows us to savour views of the Trient Glacier and better appreciate the exposed position of the Fenêtre d’Arpette from the previous day. On reaching the Col de Balme (2191m), we cross the border back into France and see the Chamonix valley below us, dominated by the Aiguille Verte at one end and Mont Blanc at the other. We descend from the Col de Balme to Argentière via the hamlet of Tré-le -Champ to our accommodation for the night.

    Distance 18 km. Total Ascent 1200m. Total Descent 1500m. Approx walking time 6 hours.

  • We start our hike from the middle of Argentiere village, heading towards the Cheserys climbing area. This is one of the most stunning walks in the Chamonix valley! Your guide will choose which is the best route to take, but if conditions allow, we plan to use a series of easy, short ladders and handrails to skirt the rocky landscape. This is straightforward and nothing to worry about, and is in fact often a highlight of the tour for many. We then make our way to the Lac des Cheserys, which is a truly beautiful spot for our picnic lunch. Then it's a short climb to the fabulous Lac Blanc with some of the most famous views in the world. We then make our way down the path to the Flégère cable car where we descend to Les Praz, and stroll into town along the riverbank. A lovely end to another stunning day.

    Distance 12km. Total Ascent 1260m. Total Descent 650m. Approx walking time 6-7 hours.

  • A fabulous finale to our trip today: saving some of the best to last! We complete our Tour du Mont Blanc by taking the cable car up to the mid station of Planpraz, before climbing all the way up to the Col du Brévent, where ibex can often be seen playing on the rocks. Then it's up to the Brévent summit and the perfect photo opportunity for shots of Mont Blanc and all its glaciers and jagged rock spires. The walk along the ridge provides a stunning panorama of the Mont Blanc glaciers, more so than at any other time on the trip. You will feel as though you can almost 'touch' the ice! After enjoying the skyline ridge, we descend via the spectacularly located Refuge Belachat to the Merlet animal park before reaching the valley floor at Les Houches, the starting point of our trip. We take a transfer back to our Chamonix hotel for a second night, and enjoy a celebratory meal to mark the completion of our tour.

    Distance 14.8km. Total Ascent 870m. Total Descent 1776m. Approx walking time 7-8 hours.

  • The holiday package ends after breakfast. Please contact us if you’d like any extra days added to your trip.

We always aim to complete the proposed itinerary, however it may be necessary for our guides to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. In most cases we have known the management for many years, and it’s like visiting friends. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured hotel/hotels and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

However, on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee. We recommend booking as early as possible to secure a single room as these are always limited in number. Please contact us for details.

Due to the nature of the accommodation on this trip; we use small hotels, in often tiny villages and one remote mountain hut. If you are booking as a couple you can expect to be in a twin or double room, normally with en suite facilities. In some smaller hotels it's possible we may need to share the bathrooms. Depending on availability we may have to use larger rooms for one night at Les Chapieux where accommodation is very limited. At the Rifugio Bonatti we may be able to book bedrooms, rather than dormitory rooms, but this relies on early booking on the trip. Those guests who book first will be allocated rooms when they are available. If you are a solo traveller and would like to book a single room in the hotels this may be possible for a supplement. However, it will not be possible to have a single room at the Rifugio Bonatti.

Chambres du Soleil, Les Chapieux

Auberge

The Chambres du Soleil guest house is located in the heart of the Les Chapieux valley in France. A warm welcome and memorable stay is assured here thanks to Céline and Pierre, who offer comfortable rooms and excellent homemade food.

Hotel Edelweiss, Courmayeur

Hotel

Located in the centre of Courmayeur, Italy, the Hotel Edelweiss offers rooms and services both for sport vacations and relaxing stays at the foot of Mont Blanc.

Bonatti Refuge

Refuge

Built in memory of the world renowned Italian mountaineer and photographer, Walter Bonatti, the Bonatti Refuge is positioned above the picturesque Italian Val Ferret. With stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif and welcoming hosts, it's a real Italian mountain treat. Dormitory-style (some limited twin rooms available), with showers and excellent food!


  • Chamonix is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. For suggested travel links, please refer to our FAQs for further details. Geneva is the closest international airport being only 75 minutes away by road, making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange. Please contact us if you need further advise on your specific travel requirements.

    More information on how to reach Chamonix at www.chamonix.com Please do not hesitate to get in touch to chat through the details. Once you have booked we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for the trek. Group transfers are available from around 25 Euros per person each way. We recommend ChamExpress and Mountain Drop Offs. Please note that transfers are subject to availability and your flight details are required a minimum of 72 hours before your arrival in Geneva. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your joining instructions 3 to 4 weeks prior to departure.

  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. For further details, please ensure you have carefully read the Insurance section of our website.

  • This trip will run once a minimum number of 4 clients have booked. We will take a maximum of 10 clients. We advise you not to make your travel arrangements until the trip is guaranteed to run.

  • This classic walking route is all on good trails. The average daily distance covered each day is 15 kilometres (9.5 miles) with approximately 1000m of ascent and descent so this trip is suitable for regular hikers or those with a good level of fitness. Your luggage will be transferred between hotels, except to the Bonatti Refuge, which means that you need carry no more than a small daypack. Carrying only a daypack and staying in comfortable valley hotels, makes this trip quite relaxed for its DEMANDING grade.

  • On each trekking day, except the day to the Refugio Bonnati, there will be vehicle support to carry your luggage to the next overnight stop. To make things efficient during the luggage transfer process, and to prevent any losses, please keep luggage to a minimum i.e. a day sac whilst walking and one bag of about 15kg clearly labelled with your name. Please be aware that many hotels do not have lifts, so please make sure you can carry your bag!

  • Summer mountain weather can vary considerably. It is generally good in the Alps with lovely days, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F ) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

  • Due to the specialised nature of our trips, we work with a select number of partners to help ensure your trip reaches its minimum group size to be guaranteed to run. The companies we work with reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. 

    As our niche trips such as the Classic Tour du Mont Blanc are of a specialised nature we work with our partner companies to attract sufficient clients to reach the minimum number of participants to allow these trips to go ahead, meaning you are more likely to have your chosen holiday 'guaranteed'. Tracks and Trails in these instances may, in collaborating with our associates, make use of their guiding services. If you have any queries with regard to this please contact us.


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sat 22 Jun - Wed 03 Jul
Code: CTM1 19
Price: £1995 Book
Sat 06 Jul - Wed 17 Jul
Code: CTM2 19
Price: £1995 Book
Sun 28 Jul - Wed 07 Aug
Code: CTM3 19
Price: £1995 Book
Sat 17 Aug - Wed 28 Aug
Code: CTM4 19
Price: £1995 Book
Sat 07 Sep - Wed 18 Sep
Code: CTM5 19
Price: £1995 Book

What's Included

  • Services of a professionally qualified, English-speaking International Mountain Leader
  • Quality hotel accommodation for 9 nights based on twin or double rooms including the first and last nights in Chamonix
  • 1 night at Les Chapieux in an "auberge" and 1 night at the Bonatti Refugio (traditional mountain style accommodation)
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • All transfers and cable cars as part of the itinerary
  • Baggage support every day, except the night in the Bonatti Refuge
  • Tracks and Trails souvenir

What's Not Included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Lunches
  • Transfers and cable cars not part of the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, alcohol, souvenirs etc.

The trip was truly memorable! I loved every aspect of it! The views were spectacular, the guide was exceptional in her leadership and knowledge of the area and the physical challenge was just right. I felt safe and in good hands throughout! I have nothing but rave reviews about the whole experience. Thank you very much, "Tracks and Trails"

Thank you so very much for putting together such a wonderful trip! Hiking in the Alps was truly an unforgettable experience. I liked all accommodations...And our guide Nicole was the true highlight of the trip - just an extraordinary person: passionate about her work, patient, knowledgeable, attentive and kind, very funny, and so strong! 

Just want to say what happy memories I have our holiday at the beginning of the year, then to my surprise, Moya said that she has been in touch to say what a positive experience it was for her. Well, there was me feeling guilty for dragging her out on the snow!! I am of course delighted. It was a fantastic holiday and I feel privileged to been in the position of being able to learn so much from you. It will be interesting for me to see how I get on in the snowy wastes of northern Canada.

Many thanks for a wonderful time. Our guide was knowledgeable, caring, safety conscious and fun to be with - in short a great leader. Having assessed the weather conditions she was able to find the sun and the best snowshoeing for each day. This was our first snowshoeing experience. We had a fabulous three days around Chamonix and would highly recommend Tracks and Trails. We will be back. Many thanks until the next time.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our trip, you are an excellent guide and teacher, and made it feel more like a bespoke trip rather than a group package. We intend to come back to do more, both skiing and possibly snow shoeing, we'll be back in touch when we do. 

I just wanted to say thank you again for such a brilliant week in Chamonix. In a way I'd say the holiday was exactly as I expected - there's loads of details on the Tracks & Trails website, and the week panned out pretty much as described. But it also totally exceeded my expectations - the quality of coaching/expertise from all of you guys, the motivation gained from meeting and chatting to some truly inspirational people, plus everyone was just so friendly and nice.

I just wanted to thank you again for a very memorable tour. It was certainly the toughest I have done but left me with a real sense of achievement. This would not have been possible without your leadership and guidance.

We had a wonderful trip with you and hope to return soon. You were an excellent guide and I do not think that our family would have been able to complete the trek without your help. Thanks for all of the memories that will last a lifetime! 

It was such a nice trip organized by your company and it was a wonderful experience for all of us. The personal touch given by you and the way you handled all of us for the 6 days was amazing. I was touched by your compassion and generosity along with professionalism. Once again thank you for this lovely experience.

​Fran, our guide, was great!  Tammi and the kids would've re-thought this 'walk' if she weren't there.  Will is a more seasoned hiker and wouldn't have needed a guide, but she helped pull the family in when the walk was tough.  Absolutely no complaints about accommodations, or meals.  Was nice there was always vegetarian options, and wine for dinner was priced fair. A great trip!

A HUGE thank you for the most BRILLIANT holiday. We just loved it. We weren’t quite sure what we were letting ourselves in for, but it surpassed all expectations. We really felt we achieved something. Thank you Julia for making it all a success – we were so lucky to have you as our guide and we really appreciated your skills and expertise – and knowing when to stop for ice creams or hot chocolates.

Thank you Lindsay and Kathy for such a special holiday. Rob and I loved it and cannot thank you enough for all the great effort and organization you put in, without you both it would not have been so memorable.  As a group we all had so much fun and hopefully will come on another trip soon. Missing you both and wish you all the best in the future.

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Grade: Demanding

READ GRADE DESCRIPTION

At a Glance

From Price £1995
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 12 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 2670m
Countries Visited Italy, France, Switzerland
Meet In Chamonix, France
View all Walking Holidays

Tour du Mont Blanc history