The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is one of the great hiking tours in the world. On our guided TMB tour, we’ll cross numerous passes and hike through 3 countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland – as we circumnavigate Mont Blanc, at 15,781 ft, the highest mountain in the Alps. We’ll pass through quiet valleys and over high passes, stopping in a combination of 3-star village hotels and remote inns. The Tour du Mont Blanc is truly an epic trek – a great opportunity to meet hikers from around the world and enjoy an rich variety of cultures, cuisines and views. We’ve designed our itinerary to allow for private rooms each night (although with very limited singles at the remote inns), and extra time in Chamonix and Courmayeur, the two fabulous villages anchoring each side of the tour. Showers are available every night, even at the remote inns, and our village hotels feature private rooms and bathrooms. Luggage is transported separately and you will have it with you for 9 of the 10 nights.
Note, single rooms are limited and the single supplement is for a single room on 8 nights only – in Chamonix, les Contamines, Courmayeur, la Fouly and Champex.
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, hiking south-east from Chamonix, then up through Italy and into Switzerland, before coming back down to Chamonix.
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 French and Italian specialties. A hearty meal and good conversation provide a satisfying end to our day. We will leave one dinner in Courmayeur free, giving you a chance to explore on your own.
Chamonix – Arrive in Geneva, and transfer to Chamonix, the world-famous resort and mountaineering center in France.
An 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 our charming Chamonix hotel before meeting the group for dinner.
Chamonix – One of the classic hikes in the region takes us to Lac Blanc, high above the village.
This high-mountain lake sits in the Aiguilles Rouges, across the valley from Mont Blanc, and commands one of the greatest mountain views anywhere. We’ll make good use of local cable cars so we can enjoy more time hiking near the lake. Return to Chamonix for a 2nd night.
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 stop in the small village of les Contamines for a night at a friendly local hotel. Our luggage will meet us here.
les Mottets – A quick bus ride or an easy valley walk brings us to our trailhead at Notre Dame de la Gorge, a small chapel at the very end of the valley rebuilt in 1699.
Hiking up along an old Roman road, we continue the TMB tour with a long, steady ascent across two lofty passes, Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and Col du Bonhomme. After lunch near the pass, we’ll descend into the Valle de Glaciers, and stay in a popular hiker’s inn along the valley floor, with a charming dining room, many private rooms and new 4-person dorms.
Courmayeur – Leaving France, 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, with narrow, cobblestoned alleyways and a lively, pedestrian-only core. Our luggage will be waiting for us at our 3-star village hotel.
Courmayeur – After one of our favorite breakfasts at our hotel, a second day in Courmayeur gives you a chance to either rest up or take an optional dayhike high above town.
Courmayeur is an extremely atmospheric village, with cafes, bakeries, gelaterias, and stylish shops. It’s great for people-watching and relaxing. 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. Or spend the day hiking along an unbeatable balcony walk to rifugio Bonatti. The options are plentiful!
la Fouly – The second half of the Tour du Mont Blanc is slightly less rugged, with easier passes, but just as beautiful. 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, on a pleasant path long the river with waterfalls cascading down mountains as we hike down-valley.
After a break for lunch, we hike up through forest 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/Trient – The next stage on the TMB takes us through woods and farms along the Bovine route 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 either the popular hiker’s inn at Col de la Forclaz or the Grand Ourse in nearby Trient.
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.
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