Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc: 9 day Express

France, Italy, Switzerland Inn-to-inn

A shorter, express TMB hiking through 3 countries - France, Italy, and Switzerland - hits all the highlights of the full tour

Self-Guided Tour

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  • Length
  • 9 days, 8 nights
  • Departure Dates
  • Jun 15 – Sep 20, 2017
  • Tour Cost
  • $2690 per person
    $400 single supplement
Reserve this Tour

More options for this tour

Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc

A longer, 11-night self-guided TMB itinerary

Guided Tour du Mont Blanc

Small group guided tour with guaranteed departures, max size 14 people.

Private guided Tour du Mont Blanc

Make it private! Your companions, your dates, your tour - we do the rest.

Description

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is one of the finest hiking tours in the world. On this self-guided tour, you’ll hike through 3 countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland – stopping at beautiful inns and enjoying an unequaled variety of cultures, views, and hikes as you circumnavigate the Mont Blanc massif, featuring many of the highest peaks in the Alps. If you’re an independent hiker, a self-guided TMB tour is the perfect way to hike around Mont Blanc at your own pace with assurance of knowing that every detail of your tour is well-planned. With optional luggage transfers and a numerous itinerary options, we’ll help you choose the best way for you to hike Mont Blanc and experience one of the world’s classic hikes.

On this express version of the TMB, we’ve dropped the extra nights in Chamonix and Courmayeur (nights 2 and 6 of the full tour), as well as the night in la Fouly (night 8 of the full tour). Instead you’ll take a bus from la Fouly to Champex, skipping the easier valley walk there. If you don’t have time for the full 12-day tour, this 9-day tour is a great option for hiking virtually the entire circuit.

On our Express 8-night Mont Blanc tour, you’ll have 5 nights in village hotels with private bathroom, and 3 nights in simpler mountain inns.  Showers are available all nights. Private rooms are often available for the 3 nights in remote huts and inns, but space is limited, and if private rooms are not available, there are somewhat larger communal sleeping rooms. They’re wonderful places with a lively and convivial dining atmosphere and are the stops where you’re most likely to meet other TMB hikers.  Starting and finishing in Chamonix, this tour includes airport pickup and dropoff in Geneva.  There are many alternate versions of the Tour du Mont Blanc as well – longer or shorter tours are very possible, we can arrange 4-star upgrades in Chamonix or Courmayeur with private rooms and luggage every night for a luxury TMB – so please ask if you’re interested in varying this itinerary.

What about luggage transfers? The self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc Express includes luggage transport (1 bag/person, 15 kg max). On the 8-night tour, we include luggage transfers to all stops except la Nova and Bonatti hut (you’ll have it 6 of the 8 nights). You can hike around Mont Blanc with very little in your pack, and larger, extra luggage can be stored at your hotel in Chamonix. If you want drop luggage transfers, or to send additional bags, or to have luggage more often, we can make that happen for you. Please ask for more info on these options.

Your typical day on the TMB starts with a continental buffet breakfast at your hotel or inn, giving you the energy needed for a big day of hiking. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Most of the hotels and mountain inns will sell picnic lunches if they are ordered the night before. Reminders will be included in your route notes. Soon, you’ll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours. With a several passes to cross, Tour du Mont Blanc is often strenuous, but there will also be opportunities for easier days.

You should finish each daily hike around 4-5 pm, sometimes earlier on the shorter days, giving you time to wash up, relax, and gaze upon Mont Blanc and the surrounding scenery. After that, enjoy a delicious dinner at your inn or on your own in town. These are multi-course feasts, featuring delicious local French and Italian specialties. A hearty meal provides a satisfying end to your day. Our standard self-guided TMB includes dinner on 6 nights (dinner is inlucded the first night, but otherwise not included in Chamonix or Courmayeur, where there are numerous great restaurants to choose from). We normally reserve top 3-star hotels in all the villages and private rooms whereever available in the remote inns. Upgrades to superb 4-star hotels are available in Chamonix and Courmayeur if you would prefer a more deluxe Mont Blanc experience.

With 3 countries worth of soaring, beautiful mountains, lofty passes, and gorgeous trails, the self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc is an exhilarating trek that lives up to its world-class reputation.

Map of Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc: 9 day Express

Itinerary

Day 1

Chamonix – For the Tour du Mont Blanc, it’s best to fly to Geneva, and we’ll arrange your transfer to Chamonix, the world-famous resort and mountaineering center at the foot of Mont Blanc.

Enjoy the ambiance of this beautiful village with impressive views of Mont Blanc. Stay in a comfortable hotel in town.

  • 3-star hotel

Day 2

les Contamines – Leaving Chamonix, your Mont Blanc circuit starts with a cablecar above the scenic Voza pass to the lovely Bionnassay valley, a wooded region with impressive glaciers and waterfalls, and capped by blinding peaks.

An optional ascent leads over the higher Tricot pass to the Miage valley, before descending to the quaint village of les Contamines.

  • village hotel
  • B / D
  • hike: 6-8 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 1660 ft up, 2730 ft down

Day 3

les Chapieux – Today the tour du Mont Blanc route leads you on a long ascent across two high passes, Col du Bonhomme and Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, on one of the longest days of the tour.

Descend to the tiny hamlet of les Chapieux and stay the night in a rustic mountain inn. Double rooms available but limited at the 2 inns at the head of this quiet valley, Auberge de la Nova and les Chambres du Soleil.

  • alpine inn
  • B / D
  • hike: 7-9 hours, 11.5 miles; Elevation: 4320 ft up, 3050 ft down

Day 4

Courmayeur – Leaving les Chapieux, a gradual 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. Continue down valley and into the medieval village of Courmayeur, where you stay in a pleasant 3-star hotel or a nearby B&B in an historic home. Courmayeur is a beautiful village, with cobblestoned pedestrian-only alleyways filled with comfortable cafes and stylish shops.

  • 3-star hotel
  • B
  • hike: 7-9 hours, 12 miles; Elevation: 3270 ft up, 2910 ft down

Day 5

Rifugio Bonatti – One of the highlights of the tour is the high traverse of Mont de la Saxe above Courmayeur, with incredible views of Mont Blanc and the towering Grandes Jorasses as you hike to the comfortable Bonatti hut.

Enjoy sunset views of Mont Blanc from the patio as you settle in for your final night in Italy. Double rooms available but limited.  We love staying high in the mountains at Bonatti, but this night can easily be dropped from the itinerary, and either hiked as a day hike from Courmayeur, or skipped entirely.

  • alpine inn
  • B / D
  • hike: 6-8 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 3480 ft up, 860 ft down

Day 6

Champex – Hiking to the back of the Italian Val Ferret, you’ll enjoy more great views while crossing the Grand Col Ferret and into Switzerland. Descend through tidy green fields with high cliffs and glaciers reaching down from the heights, to the tiny village of la Fouly, a quiet stop along the Tour du Mont Blanc.

From la Fouly you’ll transfer by local bus to the pretty, lakeside village of Champex. Stay in a comfortable village hotel.

  • 3-star hotel
  • B / D
  • hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3120 ft up, 4520 ft down

Day 7

Col de la Forclaz – An undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley.

Weather permitting, a more rigorous possibility leads up to the high pass of Fenetre d’Arpette, one of the highest points along the tour and along the Trient glacier. Finish the day at a small hiker’s inn at Forclaz. Double rooms available, but not guaranteed for all dates.

  • alpine inn
  • B / D
  • hike: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2460 ft up, 2260 ft down (Bovine) or 7-9 hours, 9.5 miles; Elevation: 3940 ft up, 3740 ft down (Fenetre d’Arpette)

Day 8

Chamonix – On your final hiking day of the tour, cross the Col de Balme into France, coming back full circle to sweeping views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.

A possible side-trip to the nearby Posettes ridge leads to even greater views, with a delightful trail leading down to the valley floor. Spend your last night of the Mont Blanc tour celebrating in Chamonix.

  • 3-star hotel
  • B
  • hike: 6-8 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 2890 ft up, 3120 ft down

Day 9

depart – Today you say au revoir, and depart for your post-Mont Blanc destinations.

  • B
Included 8 nights prepaid hotels and inns
8 breakfasts, 5 dinners
Geneva airport transfers
luggage transfers between villages
topo maps
detailed route descriptions
sightseeing suggestions
local contact for questions

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