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. We offer optional 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.
On our 11-night Classic Mont Blanc tour, you’ll have 8 nights in village hotels with private bathroom, and 3 nights in simpler mountain inns where private rooms are often available but not assured. 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. We always book private rooms if possible, and early booking gives you a better chance to have private rooms all nights. Showers are available all nights.
What about luggage transfers? Our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc includes luggage transport (1 bag/person, 15 kg max weight). On the 11-night tour, you’ll have luggage transfers to all stops except les Chapieux and Bonatti (you’ll have it 9 of the 11 nights). Since you have bedding and meals provided each night, you can hike around Mont Blanc with very little in your pack, and if you have larger extra luggage, this can be stored at your hotel in Chamonix. If you don’t need luggage at all, or not every night, we can drop this from the tour and reduce your price. Please ask for more info on these options.
Starting and finishing in Chamonix, we’ve included a couple of our favorite scenic detours to maximize your TMB experience, as well as a welcome rest day in Courmayeur in the middle of the tour. There are many alternate versions of the Tour du Mont Blanc – longer or shorter tours are very possible, more or fewer nights in huts and mountain inns, or 4 or 5-star upgrades in Chamonix or Courmayeur for a luxury TMB. We’ve tried to create the itinerary we would want to do ourselves, with airport shuttles and luggage transfers included in our base price, hotels chosen for their quality and service, dinners in favorite local restaurants, and plenty of time in the main hubs of Chamonix and Courmayeur. We think you’ll notice the difference.
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 self-guided TMB includes dinner on 9 nights – not included 1 night each in Chamonix or Courmayeur, where there are numerous great restaurants to choose from.
For those without the time to devote to the full Tour of Mont Blanc, we can arrange a half-tour or partial TMB. The self-guided TMB South starts in Chamonix and leads through remote landscapes on the way to Courmayeur. It’s a beautiful route, and is a good choice for strong hikers who want a fairly strenuous experience. The self-guided TMB North begins in Courmayeur and crosses through Switzerland before dropping down to Chamonix. This is a better choice for people who would like a more moderate inn-to-inn experience. Both stand alone as a beautiful tour in their own right, with plenty of great hiking, wonderful views, and pleasant surprises along the way.
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 3-star hotel in town. Dinner will be included tonight in one of our favorite local restaurants.
Chamonix – One of the classic hikes in the region leads to Lac Blanc for an introductory dayhike. This high-mountain lake sits in the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Preserve, a rugged ridge across the valley from Mont Blanc, and commands one of the greatest mountain views anywhere. Make good use of local cable cars to enjoy more time hiking near the lake, and keep an eye open for bouquetin – a mountain goat with long curved horns that are frequently sighted in this region.
This hike is essentially the Argientiere to refuge lac Blanc stage that you will see on many itineraries, but it’s so close to Chamonix, we prefer to stay there a 2nd night, in the heart of this thriving, fun village. Dinner will be on your own tonight (we’ll give suggestions).
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. If they have availability for your dates, we’ll book you at the Gai Soleil, a friendly oasis with wonderful meals.
les Mottets/les Chapieux – Today the tour du Mont Blanc route leads you on a long ascent across two lofty passes, Col du Bonhomme and Col de la Croix du Bonhomme.
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 the valley, la Nova and les Chambres du Soleil. We like to stay at the Refuge les Mottets a bit higher up the valley, a simple but convivial hiker’s inn, with newer private rooms and small 4-person dorms, and a charming dining hall.
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.
You might stop at the Elisabetta hut for lunch and have your choice is either the long high route to Col Checrouit, and continue down valley to a bus stop and finish early. You’ll stay the next 2 nights in the medieval village of Courmayeur, in a pleasant and friendly 3-star hotel. Dinner included in a local restaurant tonight.
Courmayeur – A second day in Courmayeur is a great way to break up the Tour du Mont Blanc. There is plenty to do in the village, cable cars take you up to high vantage points, or there are great dayhikes near town. If you didn’t hike via Checrouit yesterday, that’s a very scenic option.
If you’d prefer not to hike today, the nearby Pre St Didier spa is a great way to unwind half-way through your tour, or take the cable car up to Monte Bianco for high glacier views. Even easier… spend some time in town. Courmayeur is a beautiful village, with cobblestoned pedestrian-only alleyways filled with comfortable cafes and stylish shops. Dinner will be on your own tonight.
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. This hike is sometimes skipped on shorter itineraries because it’s easy to skip, but it’s one of our favorite stages of the trip, and we think you’ll love it.
Enjoy sunset views of Mont Blanc from the patio as you settle in for your final night in Italy. Bonatti is a popular hut and a great place to meet other hikers at their communal dinner tables. Double rooms available but are very limited. If having a private room every night is important, we suggest adding another night in Courmayeur and doing this hike as a dayhike instead. There is a bus stop in the valley below that makes it easy to get back to town.
La Fouly – 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. For those who need to shorten their trip, we often recommend skipping this night and taking a bus to Champex instead. Stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Champex – One of the easier hikes on your Mont Blanc tour takes you through woods and up to the pretty, lakeside village of Champex. This is a nice moderate day passing pretty waterfalls and tiny villages. Champex is an inviting place to arrive early and relax along the lake.
If you’re up for a challenge though, a much more strenuous alternate route leads over a high pass, to a hut perched along the edge of the Orny glacier, before descending to Champex. We’ll give you directions for this adventurous detour as well. Stay in a comfortable 3-star village hotel.
Col de la Forclaz/Trient – An undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley. Stop at the rustic Bovine barn for a drink or snack along the way.
Weather permitting, we’ll also give you a more rigorous possibility leading up to the high pass of Fenetre d’Arpette, one of the highest points along the tour. Descend a steep trail along the Trient glacier and finish the day at a small hiker’s inn at Forclaz or in nearby Trient. Double rooms available, but fill quickly as the hiking season approaches.
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 delightful side-trip to the nearby Posettes ridge leads to even greater views, with a meandering trail leading down through blueberries and alpenrose to the valley floor. Take a local bus for the short transfer back to Chamonix, and spend your last night of the Mont Blanc tour celebrating in there. Dinner included in a local restaurant.
depart – Today you say au revoir, and depart for your post-Mont Blanc destinations.
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