Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights

Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights


Trip Overview

This is the 'best of' one of the most famous walks in the Alps, the Tour du Mont Blanc, passing through three countries and three cultures. We meet in Chamonix, the mountaineering capital of the world, and begin a journey of discovery which takes in the history, culture, folklore and wildlife of the mountains. From remote farms and refuges to ancient Roman towns and beautiful lakeside mountain villages, it's all here!

Highlights

  • 7 days of hiking around the highest peak in the Alps
  • Visit three countries - Italy, Switzerland and France
  • Stay in the famous and fabulous Rifugio Bonatti
  • Hike to Lac Blanc for views of Mont Blanc
  • Hotel-based tour with full luggage support
  • Highly experienced and knowledgeable guide
  • Walk the spectacular Mont de la Saxe ridge
  • A night in the lovely Italian town of Courmayeur

For those with limited time, this one-week version of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers superb trekking in France, Italy and Switzerland, along with a wealth of unforgettable Alpine experiences.


From our whole group, thank you so much for an absolutely wonderful week! We could not imagine having a better guide. How lucky we were with the weather. The drenching on day one made all the following days even more appreciated and nothing could have been better than the clear views of Mont Blanc on the last day. In the meantime we are treasuring our memories and pictures of the TMB. 

Itinerary

  • house
  • airport
  • We meet at the group hotel in Chamonix, France. Lying beneath the stunning north face of Mont Blanc, the views are amazing from the start! Before dinner, you will meet your trip leader to have an informal chat about the days ahead and check out your clothing and gear to decide if you will need to pick up any further items of equipment before setting out in the morning.

  • We start immediately with stunning views of the Mont Blanc range - its glaciers, jagged spires and peaks, and an introduction to the history of the Tour du Mont Blanc. We will take the historic Mont Blanc Express train towards the Swiss frontier, alighting at the hamlet of Montroc where we begin our hike. We take the excellent zig zag alpine trail climbing towards the ridge line high above Chamonix. En route there are lots of wild flowers, granite outcrops, and often Chamois or Ibex grazing by the trail as we make our way to the Lacs des Cheserys, a great spot for our picnic lunch. This is one of the best walks in the Chamonix valley, and on very hot days we have even been known to have a swim! We can then climb higher to enjoy the truly spectacular views from Lac Blanc - voted the 'Best short walk in the world'. After the obligatory photo 'op' we descend to the mid-station at La Flégère, and return to Chamonix by cable car.

    Distance 8.5km. Total Ascent 987m. Total Descent 450m. Approx walking time 6 hours.

  • This morning we take our private taxi to Les Contamines and then Notre Dame de la Gorge where we begin our day of steady climbs. Leaving the river our route follows the ‘paved’ Roman road thought to have been a route taken by Hannibal. Our first stop is at the Le Balme refuge, a good place to contemplate the climb to the Col du Bonhomme and enjoy a morning coffee. The route to the Col at 2469m is a long, steady climb and the pass itself often has snow patches early in the season. Arriving at the Col we have views right into the Beaufortain region and thankfully the climbing is almost over for the day as we traverse round to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme. We then drop steeply down to our auberge at Les Chapieux. If you need fuel we can always stop for cake at the Refuge before our descent!

    Distance 17km. Total Ascent 1350m. Total Descent 960m. Approx walking time 6-7 hours.

  • We leave Les Chapieux, taking a short transfer to Ville des Glaciers where Bernard, the farmer, is usually on hand to sell us some farm produced cheese. It's great to stop and chat about his Tarine cows who make the famous Beaufort cheese. There's nothing like locally produced and 'tasted' Beaufort! We then stroll along the valley heading for the high point of our day at the Col de la Seigne (2513m). This is a significant Col bordering France and Italy, and as we descend gives superlative views of the infamous Peutery Ridge on Mont Blanc. An easy descent takes us past the Elizabetta Refuge and down into Val Veny. We then take the local bus, always good fun with lots of gesticulating 'locals', and descend to the vibrant town and mountaineering centre of Courmayeur.

    Distance 17.2 km. Total Ascent 867m. Total Descent 1015m. Approx walking time 5-6 hours.

  • Leaving Courmayeur we climb through the hamlets towards the Monte de la Saxe Ridge. This is a spectacular grass ridge which provides fantastic views of the Italian side of Mont Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses. After a steep ascent through the larch forests we arrive at the Rifugio Bertone, perched high above the valley. A morning coffee stop is usually on the agenda, and sometimes we even indulge in some cake! We then climb until we reach the spectacular Monte de la Saxe ridge. This is not a nerve wracking rock ridge, but instead a beautiful rounded grassy ridge offering truly spectacular views of the Mont Blanc range. It is not to be missed! We take in the Tete de la Tronche summit, pause for lunch, then drop down to the Col Sapin. From here we descend further through the lovely Armina valley to cruise round to the Rifugio Bonatti, our stunning overnight accommodation. The view from the terrace, where you can enjoy a cold drink as the sun goes down is one of life's 'golden moments'.

    Distance 17km. Total Ascent 1584m. Total Descent 940m. Approx walking time 7 hours.

  • This morning we enjoy breakfast with views to the glaciers and mountains. After sufficient coffee has been consumed, we set off on a lovely traversing path which leads us to a morning coffee/cake stop at the Rifugio Elena. From here we climb steeply to the Grand Col Ferret at 2537m. From this pass, there are views of the snow-capped Grand Combin (4090m) and also Mont Dolent, the summit of which is shared by France, Switzerland and Italy. Beyond the pass, we enter Switzerland and the terrain changes to become less rugged as we descend to La Fouly. Here we catch our private taxi transfer to our overnight halt in the beautiful lakeside Swiss village of Champex.

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

  • Today we have two options and your guide will make a decision on the best route given the group and weather. The climb up to the pass known as the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2670m) is 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 to its seracs and crevasses is quite breathtaking. In summer 2015 there was a landslide which has affected this route and it is now not always possible.

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

    Alternatively, we take the beautiful Bovine trail through the high meadows where the famous Swiss fighting cows spend the summer months. After a steep ascent to the meadows, we aim to stop at the farm for coffee and a chance to chat with the cow herder. This route offers fantastic views down the Rhone Valley and on to the Bernese Oberland. It is very different from the Arpette, but is by no means 'second best'. We love it! We overnight at the Col de la Forclaz or Trient village.

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

  • We begin by dropping down to the Trient Valley, which is where we start the climb up through fine woodland to reach the frontier between Switzerland and France. Our route to the pass can vary to take account of the prevailing weather conditions. The preferred route, via Les Tseppes, allows us to linger over views of the Trient Glacier and of the rocky skyline ridge of the Fenetre d'Arpette. On reaching the frontier we cross the border back into France where below us lies the Chamonix valley, dominated by the Aiguille Verte at one end and Mont Blanc at the other. We descend to Chamonix along the mountainside below the Aiguillette des Posettes ridge with stunning views leading us every onwards to our accommodation for the night.

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

  • Today is departure day, services end after breakfast.

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 many cases we have known the management for 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 venues 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, often in 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. A single room may be available for solo travellers, but will incur a supplement and is dependent on early booking as the number of single rooms is limited. However, it will not be possible to have a single room at the Rifugio Bonatti.

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!

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.


  • 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 pages for further details. Geneva is the closest international airport, 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. Once you have booked we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for the trek.

  • 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 journey picks out the best of the daily stages and links them by short vehicle transfers. Please be aware this does not mean it is 'easier' than the full 10 day version of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The trip takes in the highlights, while leaving out the easier valley walks. Our route will tackle several major pass crossings, such as the Col de Bonhomme, and the Col de la Seigne. We also spend a day on the stunning Mont de la Saxe ridge, followed by a night at the world famous Rifugio Bonatti, dedicated to the legendary Italian photographer and mountaineer, Walter Bonatti.

  • On each trekking day, there will be vehicle support to carry your main luggage to the next overnight stop so you just carry a day pack. 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 labelled clearly to transfer. Please make sure you can carry your own bag as many hotels do not have 'lifts'. You will have one night with no access to your luggage, this is when we stay at the lovely Rifugio Bonatti. You only need to carry a few extra items and it really is not a problem.

  • 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. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sat 22 Jun - Sun 30 Jun
Code: MBH1 19
Price: £1595 Book
Sat 29 Jun - Sun 07 Jul
Code: MBH2 19
Price: £1595 Book
Sat 13 Jul - Sun 21 Jul
Code: MBH3 19
Price: £1595 Book
Sat 03 Aug - Sun 11 Aug
Code: MBH4 19
Price: £1595 Book
Sat 10 Aug - Sun 18 Aug
Code: MBH5 19
Price: £1595 Book
Sat 17 Aug - Sun 25 Aug
Code: MBH6 19
Price: £1595 Book
Sat 07 Sep - Sun 15 Sep
Code: MBH7 19
Price: £1595 Book

What's Included

  • The guiding services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Hotel or gîte accommodation (based on twin rooms)
  • Breakfast and dinner each day
  • Transfers and cable cars involved in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers each day to your accommodation, apart from the one night in the Rifugio Bonatti where there is no vehicle access

What's Not Included

  • Flights*
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers*
  • Snack food
  • Transfers and cable cars which are not part of the itinerary
  • Personal expenses – beer, souvenirs etc.
  • Lunches are not included as we find that our guests enjoy buying local food, or you can easily order a picnic from our accommodation for between 10-12 Euros

*We are happy to advise on the best options for airport transfers and flights.

From our whole group, thank you so much for an absolutely wonderful week! We could not imagine having a better guide. How lucky we were with the weather. The drenching on day one made all the following days even more appreciated and nothing could have been better than the clear views of Mont Blanc on the last day. In the meantime we are treasuring our memories and pictures of the TMB. 

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At a Glance

From Price £1595
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 9 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