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Duration
14 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 11 nights in 2, 3 & 4* hotels
  • 1 night guesthouse
  • 1 night auberge
Meals
  • 6 Dinners
  • 13 Breakfasts

Price

$3160USD

 
 

Overview

Trip Code: JMB

Hotel-based Tour du Mont Blanc Trip highlights


  • Tick off Europe’s most iconic alpine mountain walk
  • Trek the classic, anti-clockwise itinerary
  • Experience 3 countries on one trip: France, Italy & Switzerland
  • Walk from alpine meadows to mountain passes, with snow-clad peaks in the background
  • Flexibility to walk individually or with other Walkers' Britain guests
  • Full circumnavigation of Western Europe's highest mountain
  • Ultimate comfort: Hotel-based tour, including 3 days for relaxing, more walking or sightseeing
  • Local team on hand 24/7
  • Single travellers have the option to share a twin room

The famous ‘Tour du Mont Blanc’, or ‘TMB’, is one of the world’s most classic alpine walks and our most popular Mont Blanc walk. On this classic, anti-clockwise Mont Blanc hiking itinerary you complete the full circumnavigation of Western Europe’s highest mountain. Trek over spectacular passes and through the valleys of three contrasting countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. Staying at a mix of hotels and with ample rest days, on this walking trip you will savour food and wine from the Alpine region and enjoy some of the finest mountain scenery in the world.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

Make your own way to Les Houches, a resort located 6 km/3.8 miles from Chamonix which nestles under the Mont Blanc massif. This evening a trip briefing is held by our local support team before enjoying your evening meal. Accommodation: Stay in a very comfortable 2* chalet-style hotel facing the Mont Blanc range. All rooms have bath/shower, WC and telephone. The hotel has a shaded garden and a lounge. Food is home made with seasonal products and regional specialties.

Meals:  D

Today will certainly get the legs and heart working. A steady climb from Les Houches (950m) via Col de Voza (1653 m) and below the tip of the Bionassay glacier to the Col de Tricot (2120 m). There is a very steep descent from the col to the Chalets de Miage (1550m), followed by a short climb over Truc before descending further through forest to Les Contamines (1170m). Les Contamines is a ski resort in winter and has several restaurants and bars, also a well-stocked supermarket. Many walkers start by taking the cable car up from Les Houches to Bellevue; this avoids the long trek and makes for a more enjoyable start to your Tour du Mont Blanc walking holiday. Accommodation: A modern 4* hotel with a swimming pool, bright restaurant and a welcoming lounge-bar area.

Meals:  B,D

Ascend to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and then traverse to the slightly higher Col de la Croix de Bonhomme (2479m) before descending to Les Chapieux. Les Chapieux is a tiny and remote settlement, 15 km/9 miles from the nearest village of Bourg St Maurice. There is a little shop in the hamlet where you may wish to purchase some Beaufort cheese for your lunch tomorrow. Accommodation: You'll stay at a very welcoming family-run guesthouse with a restaurant, an outdoor bar and a lovely garden. The evening meal is included accommodations and offers home-cooked, local specialities. Packed lunches are available. Due to limited options, you may stay in a hotel in Bourg St Maurice - this stay excludes dinner and includes a return taxi transfer from/to Les Chapieux. Luggage Transfer: Please carry overnight items with you as there is no luggage transfer to Les Chapieux today (bags will be stored securely and delivered to your accommodation in La Palud tomorrow).

Meals:  B,D

Today is the toughest day in terms of distance, and perhaps the most tiring one overall, but can be shortened considerably at both ends by using buses. There are about 3 options on the route today. It is an exceptionally scenic walk with, in good conditions, fantastic views of Mont Blanc, Mont Tiondu, Aiguille des Glaciers and Aiguille Noire de Peuterey amongst many others and of course some great glaciers dripping like candle wax from the mountains. These include Glacier des Glaciers, Glacier de la Lee Blanche, and glaciers Miage, Brouillard, Freney and Brenva. Your first objective of the day is to cross the Col de la Seigne (2516m) into Italy. The Elisabetta refuge is a popular lunch stop. There is a choice of routes onwards, a high route via Lac Checrouit or a shorter route via La Visaille. There is a local bus service along the Val Veni from Cantine de la Visaille to La Saxe and Courmayeur, reducing the distance by some 10km. From La Saxe or Courmayeur you can walk or catch the bus up to La Palud (1370m). The first 7km of the day can also be avoided by taking the local bus up towards Refuge des Mottets. Accommodation: You stay at a comfortable modern 3* hotel. All rooms have private facilities. There is a large terrace, a bar and a TV lounge. It is a short bus ride to the historic town and modern shopping centre of Courmayeur but it is also possible to walk to Courmayeur via La Saxe.

Meals:  B

A chance for a well-deserved rest. On a clear day you may like to take the cable car from La Palud to Pointe Heilbronner (3462m) on the crest of the Mont Blanc massif with impressive views across the Glacier du Geant. Alternatively, you can try one of the TMB variations, for instance from Courmayeur over Mont de la Saxe or Col Sapin, returning by bus from La Vachey or Pra Sec along Val Ferret to La Palud. Please note that this bus may not run before 1 July. Additional map will be required if you intend to do any of these TMB variations on the south side of the Italian Val Ferret. The 1:50,000 map ‘Pays du Mont Blanc’ published by Didier Richard covers this part of the route.

Meals:  B

Today you pass close by Mont Dolent and cross the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) to re-enter Switzerland. From Grand Col Ferret descend through alpine meadows past the summer pastures and barns of La Peula (refreshments available) and the tiny village of Ferret to our hotel in La Fouly (1595m). This walk can be shortened up to 10kmby taking the bus to La Vachey or Arnuva. Accommodation: Stay at a small, very comfortable 3* hotel. All rooms have private facilities.

Meals:  B

Follow the beautiful Swiss Val Ferret and pass through some pretty villages before leaving the valley to climb through woods to Champex in its picturesque lakeside setting. An easy day – in warm weather there is time to cool off in the open-air swimming pool. Champex-Lac is a little resort town at the northeastern end of the Mont Blanc range. Accommodation: a charming family-run 3* hotel, all rooms have ensuite facilities.

Meals:  B,D

A chance to stroll around the lake and visit the botanic gardens. Alternatively, there is an abundance of day walks from Champex. One of the most challenging walks is from La Breya (upper cable car station at 2198m) to the mountain hut at Cabane d’Orny (2811m). Good weather and a head for heights are needed for this walk. Another good walk from Champex-Lac is to follow the Val d’Arpette up towards the Fenetre d’Arpette. For art lovers it is possible to use this day for an excursion by bus and narrow gauge train to the neighbouring town of Martigny, where the renowned Pierre Gianadda Gallery hosts summer exhibitions. Matisse, Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir and Da Vinci have been on show in the past. In Champex, there is a good choice of restaurants with specialities such as raclette, lake trout and local fruit from the Valais. There is also a small shop in the town for picnic items.

Meals:  B

Ascend through woods to reach the barns of Bovine (1987m); food and drinks are usually available before you descend to the Col de la Forclaz (1526m); in season, try the local tarte aux myrtilles (blueberry pie). There is then the option of a walk to the Chalet du Glacier and a bit beyond for fine views of the Trient Glacier, before descending to the village of Trient. There is also a strenuous and challenging variation to today’s route, over the Fenetre d’Arpette (2665m), although we consider that the ‘Bovine’ route is so scenic that it should not be missed. Trient is a tiny village in the Val Trient. Accommodation: There is not much choice in accommodation and you stay at a very basic inn, more akin to a refuge, in two-bedded rooms without private facilities. Packed lunches are available.

Meals:  B,D

Cross into France via the Col de Balme (2191m) revealing the Chamonix Valley below and the Mont Blanc massif. The distance quoted is for the longest variant as there are a couple of shorter ones . On the way up to the col there is a longer but very scenic and satisfying alternative via Les Grands (head for heights is an advantage). The best way on from Col de Balme is via the spectacular and easy Posettes ridge, from the end of which there is a steep descent on good paths through forest to Tre le Champ and our hotel at Argentiere. For those who want a more leisurely day, a shorter (and still scenic) descent from Col de Balme to Argentiere is possible via Le Tour. Accommodation: Stay in a comfortable 3* hotel in the center of Argentiere. Newly renovated, the hotel has got a spa with sauna and hammam. There is also a cosy lounge area and large terrace.

Meals:  B

Climb via Tre le Champ (1417m) and Les Cheserys and make a detour to the scenic Lac Blanc (2352m) before rejoining the Grand Balcon route, which looks across the Chamonix valley towards Mont Blanc. From La Flegere (1877m) you can normally either descend to the valley at Les Praz de Chamonix on foot or by gondola and cable car. From Les Praz, you make your way to the hotel either by bus or by walking through the pleasant environs; or you can continue along the Grand Balcon for another 2 hours to Plan Praz, from where there is another cable car (or gondola) and another footpath down to Chamonix. Accommodation: Spend two nights in a comfortable 3* hotel. For your relaxation, the hotel has got a bar and a spa. All the rooms are fully ensuite.

Meals:  B

We recommend taking the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m). You can also catch the train to Montenvers and the Mer de Glace glacier or explore Chamonix and its surroundings. For those who might prefer something totally different from walking, Chamonix boasts an Olympic standard pool and aquatic centre, a summer luge course, paragliding, golf etc. There are also art galleries and a very interesting Alpine Museum.

Meals:  B

Rejoin the trail either at La Flegere, using the cable car from Les Praz de Chamonix, and continue along the Grand Balcon to Plan Praz or at Plan Praz via the Brevent cable car from Chamonix. From Plan Praz ascend to Col de Brevent and up to the peak of Le Brevent (2525m), one of the highest points of the tour. This day offers some of the finest views of the route. From Brevent you descend to Les Houches (1010m) and make your way to the hotel where we spend the last night. In case of bad weather or low cloud there are good low/medium level walks leading to Les Houches along the flanks of the Chamonix valley such as the ‘Petit Balcon’ and the ‘Rive d’Arve’. These named walks are well marked and signposted. End your Tour du Mont Blanc trek with dinner in the hotel's tastefully decorated restaurant. Accommodation: On your return to Les Houches, stay at the same comfortable hotel as on the first night of the tour.

Meals:  B,D

It's the end of your Tour du Mont Blanc walking holiday. Depart Les Houches for your onward journey.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 13 breakfasts, 6 dinners
  • 11 nights twin share accommodation in 2, 3 and 4-star hotels with ensuite facilities, 1 night guesthouse, 1 night auberge
  • Luggage transfer (except day 3) - maximum weight 15 kg
  • Information pack inluding route notes & maps
  • 24/7 Local emergency hotline
  • GPX files of the main walks will be emailed to you

  • 7 dinners, lunch & beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • Excess luggage
  • Guide: this is a self-guided hiking holiday

Accommodation


Grading

moderate to challenging  

We grade this tour as moderate to challenging (grade 4); anyone used to hill walking/mountain hiking with a daily height gain/loss of 3,300 feet (1000 metres) per day should find the tour within their capability walking an average of 6 to 7 hours per day. There are no vertigo-inducing sections on this walk provided you stick to the itinerary as described in the route notes and defined on the maps; and avoid the ‘variations’. We make it clear in the notes which alternate routes in our opinion do require a ‘head for heights’. Some of the walks can be shortened, if desired, by the use of cable cars or (in Italy) a local bus service. Notes: *There will normally be up to 15 travellers doing the walk on any date, you have a choice to walk together or individually on some or most days. *Unlike most of our other self guided treks, this tour operates on fixed dates in order to accommodate the logistics of baggage movement. We will normally have 2 members of staff in the area to carry out the baggage transfers and offer 24/7 local assistance. *This is a hotel-based Tour du Mont Blanc trek with a mixed selection of independent hotels that often have fantastic views of the European Alps. *If twin rooms are available, single travellers can be paired to save single supplement charges.


Departure dates


Notes

NB:
Due to limited options, you may stay in a hotel in Bourg St Maurice (breakfast only, return transfer included) instead of a guesthouse in Les Chapieux.
Note:
There is an 8-day version of this walk (trip code JEM).

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Priceper person from

$3160USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$1070
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

Walkers on the TMB can choose between different variants of this walk for some of the days. In its purist form you will complete the full circuit of Mont Blanc, starting and finishing in Les Houches. Note however that this will involve a couple of long road walking sections and most people will opt to cover a few miles of the walk on a local bus. There is an extra classic variant section, which is from La Palud to the refuges Bertone and Bonatti. You will be able to do much of this day as an optional walk on your free day in La Palud. However, as we don't overnight at both places you will have to return to La Palud.

If you are travelling to the Mont Blanc region from abroad, it is easiest to fly or train to Geneva Airport. From there, use a dedicated transfer company such as Mountain Drop offs to take you to Les Houches. It takes around 1 hour.

The baggage allowance is 15kg to be transported each day. You will have to carry any extra items during your walking days. However, if you are travelling with a lot of luggage you will be able to leave extra items at the first hotel to collect at the end of the holiday. There are a couple of days when you must carry overnight items as there is no baggage transfer on those days.

Exposure is a very subjective thing, if you suffer from severe vertigo you will not enjoy this walk. The most exposed sections are on the 'Fenetre d’Arpette' and on the 'Passage Dangereux' ladder variants of the TMB. Moderate and light sufferers of vertigo can enjoy their alpine walk by taking the variants of the route that are less exposed. Nevertheless, there are still some rocky sections on the normal variants including above the Col du Bonhomme.

The highest point reached on our regular Tour du Mont Blanc route is 2532m/8307ft at the Grand Col Ferret. At such altitudes you may feel a shortness of breath, but you are unlikely to be effected too much. Slow down and take it easy!

The Mont Blanc Massif is affected by Atlantic, Mediterranean and Continental weather influences. Combined with a massive height difference within a small area, this creates huge weather differences. The summer months tend to have periods of fine stable weather, but then Atlantic fronts can sweep in causing days of drizzle and can even produce snow on the higher passes of the walk. Even on fine days, there can be afternoon storms and short periods of intense rain reverting back to calm and bright conditions. When walking around Mont Blanc, you must be prepared for all such conditions and carry a good set of waterproofs, hat and gloves as well as anti sun clothing.

You will stay at a varied mix of handpicked, comfortable hotels with 2, 3 and 4* status as well as a basic mountain inn and a small mountain hotel. The majority of hotels have en-suite facilities, some a swimming pool, a sauna, and an outdoor area to relax after your day on the trails. It can be difficult to differentiate between the star ratings as these are often based on features and room size.


Hotel-based Tour du Mont Blanc Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

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With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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