The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the finest hiking tours in the world, but what to do if you don’t have time to hike the full route? For those who would like a shorter inn-to-inn hike, we always like to recommend the northern half of the TMB route. On this guided tour, you’ll still hike through all 3 countries – Italy, Switzerland, and France – stopping at beautiful inns each night. It’s a fairly moderate tour, with multiple passes to cross and plenty of alternate, strenuous options, but always with a good main route of 7-10 miles and 2000-3000 ft of elevation change each day. Our tour includes Geneva airport transfers to Courmayeur and back to Geneva from Courmayeur, as well as luggage transfers and numerous itinerary options. With years of personal experience on this route, we have the expertise and attention to detail to help you choose the best way for you to hike Mont Blanc and experience one of the world’s classic hikes.
Our typical day on the Tour du Mont Blanc starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our inn, and soon we’ll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours of inn-to-inn hiking. With many passes to cross, the hiking is often strenuous, but there will also be opportunities for easier days. Our tour will go counter-clockwise around Mont Blanc, starting from Courmayeur, Italy, hiking up into Switzerland, before circling around to Chamonix, France.
We should finish our daily hikes around 4-5 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, and enjoy views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding scenery. After that, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our inn or a local restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, featuring delicious local Italian, Swiss and French specialties. A hearty meal and good conversation provide a satisfying end to our day.
With 3 countries filled with soaring mountains, lofty passes, and gorgeous trails, the Tour du Mont Blanc, North is a wonderful one-week trek that covers many of the highlights of the full route.
Courmayeur – For the Tour du Mont Blanc North, it’s best to fly to Geneva, and we’ll arrange your private transfer to the medieval village of Courmayeur in Italy, where you’ll stay in a pleasant and friendly hotel near the center of town. Courmayeur is just over 2 hrs from Geneva.
There is plenty to do in the village, cable cars take you up to high vantage points, or there are great dayhikes near town. The nearby Pre St Didier spa is also a great way to relax if you arrive early. Courmayeur is a beautiful village, with cobblestoned pedestrian-only alleyways filled with comfortable cafes and stylish shops. You’ll meet your guide and group for dinner tonight.
Courmayeur – After one of our favorite breakfasts, you’ll head out on a dayhike high above town.
Courmayeur is an extremely atmospheric village, with cafes, bakeries, gelaterias, and stylish shops. To start your tour perhaps we’ll hike to the top of Mont Chétif, the steep pyramidal peak that guards the entrance to Val Veny on the southern end of Courmayeur. This is a grand panoramic hike but only one of the many options that start from this unique mountain village. If you’re still having trouble adjusting to the time difference Courmayeur is also great for people-watching and relaxing, perhaps even taking a short trip on your own down to the Pre St. Didier Spa with its renowned natural mineral baths. You’ll again have dinner with your group in Courmayeur tonight and discuss the following day’s hike to Rifugio Bonatti.
Rifugio Bonatti – One of the highlights of the TMB is the high traverse of Mont de la Saxe ridge above Courmayeur, with incredible views of Mont Blanc and the towering Grandes Jorasses as you hike to the Bonatti hut. A more moderate hike follows an undulating traverse just above treeline directly to the hut.
While the ridge itself is a strenuous hike, a more moderate option follows a mid-level traverse of the ridge accompanied by incredible views throughout the day. High cliffs draped with glaciers accompany us along the route to Bonatti hut, a beautiful inn perched high in the mountains with small dorm rooms. Dinners here are simple but hearty and offer a warm atmosphere where you can meet fellow hikers and exchange exciting stories of your travels and hikes.
la Fouly – The Italian side of Mont Blanc is steep and rocky, and the Grand Jorasses rivals Mont Blanc as the focal point of our views.
On this stage of the TMB, we’ll cross the Grand Col Ferret and into Switzerland, with rolling green meadows filled with happy cows. We’ll descend to la Fouly, and tiny village at the end of a quiet valley in Switzerland. Our luggage will be transferred here from Courmayeur.
Champex – An easier day today takes us through the Swiss Ferret valley.
Waterfalls cascade down mountains as we hike down-valley and then up to the pretty lakeside village of Champex, a beautiful place to spend an afternoon on a terrace overlooking the lake. Our luggage be waiting at our 3-star village hotel.
la Forclaz – The next stage on the TMB takes us through woods and farms with sweeping views of the Rhone valley.
Weather permitting, a more rigorous possibility leads to the Fenetre d’Arpette with famous views to the Trient glacier, a popular variant on the traditional TMB route. We’ll stay in the popular hiker’s inn at Col de la Forclaz.
Chamonix – The final hike on our Mont Blanc tour leads us through woods and meadows to the Balme pass on the border with France.
Enjoy gorgeous views of Mont Blanc and the entire Chamonix valley as we cross the pass and descend to la Tour. Finish with a bus ride back to Chamonix, where we meet up with our luggage once again, and enjoy a delicious celebratory dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
depart – Today we say au revoir, and depart for our post-Mont Blanc destinations.