The Tour du Mont-Blanc is the most famous inn-to-inn route in the Alps, and is a fantastic multi-day run. Leading over mountain trails from France, to Italy, to Switzerland and back into France, the course includes some of the most iconic mountain terrain anywhere. While top runners might race around Mont Blanc in about 24 hours, we’ll take our time and run the highlights of the course in 8 running days, covering about 15 miles and one mountain pass, each day. Our overnights will include a mix of remote mountain inns, high huts, and comfortable hotels in Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy. Please note due to limited availability, the single room supplement is for a single room in Chamonix and Courmayeur only – 5 of the 9 nights – and rooms will be shared other nights. Check out our partners at Run the Alps on our unforgettable TMB trail running adventures.
Our route differs slightly from the race route. Where the race course takes less scenic routes, we diverge for better views and more enjoyable running. As an added bonus, the August tour will overnight in Courmayeur on the evening that TMB runners pass through the village, so there will be a unique opportunity to cheer on some of the world’s best mountain runners.
Our typical day on the Tour du Mont Blanc Run starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our inn, and soon we’ll be out on the trail. With many passes to cross, the hiking and running is often strenuous, but there will also be opportunities for easier days. Our tour will go counter-clockwise around Mont Blanc, starting south-east from Chamonix, then up through Italy and into Switzerland, before coming back down to Chamonix, and will include a few short transfers to get us to and from the best running trails.
Most of these stages can be hiked in a full day or run in half a day, and we should finish each day with plenty of time to wash up and relax. Luggage will be transferred separately everywhere (1 bag, weight limit, 15 kg), and extra luggage can be stored at our hotel in Chamonix. In the evening we’ll enjoy dinner together at our inn or a nearby restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, often featuring local French and Swiss specialties, and will definitely be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. We will leave one dinner in Courmayeur free, where you will have a chance to explore on your own.
Chamonix – Arrive in Geneva, and transfer to Chamonix, the world-famous resort and mountaineering center in France.
Airport pickup is included, making this an easy and relaxing hour and half journey. Enjoy your first impressive views of Mont Blanc, with perhaps time to relax at the pool and outdoor patio of our charming Chamonix hotel before meeting the group for dinner.
Our warm-up run on our Mont Blanc tour leads us through some of the many excellent trails in the Chamonix valley, as we get oriented and take in the views. We’ll run one of Chamonix’s dramatic “balconies,” with views of Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges natural preserve.
Afterwards, stroll the streets of Chamonix with a chance to do any last-minute gear shopping at one of the many outdoor stores in town.
les Contamines – An undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, over the Tricot pass and through the quiet and quaint Miage valley on one of the prettiest corners of the TMB.
Passing through a tiny hamlet of stone houses where cows and horses graze peacefully surrounded by hanging glaciers, we’ll run to the small village of les Contamines and stay in a cozy hiker’s inn. Our luggage will meet us here.
les Mottets – Following an old Roman trail, we continue our TMB run with a long, steady ascent across two lofty passes, Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and Col du Bonhomme. Even very good runners will most likely be fast-hiking on the steeper uphill stretches.
After a break and a chance to fuel up near the pass (at the nearby Col de la Croix du Bonhomme hut), we’ll run down into the Valle de Glaciers, and stay in a popular mountain inn along the valley floor, with a charming dining room, all-you-can-eat family-style meals, and new 4-person dorms.
Courmayeur – Leaving France, a steady ascent through quiet alp pastures leads to the Col de la Seigne and into Italy. Here you’re greeted by an amazing view into the Veny valley and the Mont Blanc range.
The Aiguille Noire de Peuterey is particularly impressive from this vantage point, and Mont Blanc itself dominates the view ahead of you. The mellow trail leading down into the valley is great for stretching your legs out on a very enjoyable run. An optional additional run rises along a high ridge for fantastic views. We’ll finish the day in the medieval village of Courmayeur, with narrow, cobblestoned alleyways and a lively, pedestrian-only core.
Courmayeur – After one of our favorite breakfasts, a second day in Courmayeur gives you a chance to either rest up or take an optional run high above town. Courmayeur is an extremely atmospheric village, with cafes, bakeries, gelaterias, and stylish shops. It’s great for people-watching and spending a leisurely day. If you feel like relaxing, you can enjoy a day at the local hot springs in nearby Pre St Didier, or take the cable car high above the valley to the upper reaches of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian) for close-up views of the highest peaks in the alps.
For those who want to run the full tour, a loop run up to Bonatti hut in the Italian Val Ferret is an important part of the circuit and a memorable day. Our August departure will have a chance to watch some of the world’s top ultra racers pass through on their circuit of Mont Blanc, giving us a chance to take part in the festivities and cheer them on. Dinner will be on your own tonight in Courmayeur.
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. Today, we’ll say goodbye to Courmayeur, and head up to Rifugio Bertone, overlooking the beautiful Val Ferret. From there, we’ll run some of the best single track on the tour, stopping at the stunning Rifugio Bonatti for lunch.
We’ll then tackle the ascent of Grand Col Ferret, one of our highest points on the trip, on the Italian-Swiss border. From here, we’ll run beautiful, rolling green single track filled with some very contented cows. We’ll descend to the quiet village of la Fouly, where we’ll settle in for a quiet night at the end of the Swiss Val Ferret. Our luggage will be transferred here from Courmayeur.
Forclaz – Today’s run leads us along the Ferret river and through quiet Alp hamlets, finally climbing to the pretty lakeside village of Champex, where we’ll enjoy a lunch break. Next, it’s through woods and meadows and past farms, as we climb to a height of land with views of Switzerland’s Rhône valley and the historic city of Martigny, far below. We’ll enjoy a break at a high mountain cafe before descending to our evening at Col de la Forclaz.
An optional Swiss PostBus to Champex will shorten the day for those who prefer a shorter day.
Chamonix – Our final run 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.
Alternately, we may follow the race route into Vallorcine before turning to Chamonix. Finish with a run along the valley floor, or with bus ride back to Chamonix, where we enjoy a delicious celebratory dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
depart – Today we say au revoir, and depart for our post-Mont Blanc destinations. A shuttle will meet you at your hotel and take you back to the Geneva airport.
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