The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is one of the great hiking tours in the world. On this guided TMB tour, we’ll cross numerous passes and trek through 3 countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland – as we circumnavigate Mont Blanc, at 15,781 ft, the highest mountain in the Alps. We’ll hike through spectacular valleys and stay 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. In keeping with the adventurous nature of the tour, we’ve designed a spirited itinerary, and two of our nights will be spent in traditional gites with shared sleeping rooms, lively atmospheres, and a healthy sense of accomplishment. Showers are available every night, and our village hotels feature private rooms and bathrooms. Luggage is transported separately and you will have it with you for 9 of the 11 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. Everybody we will be in small dorms at les Mottets and Bonatti, and shared rooms at Forclaz/Trient.
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.
For those without the time to devote to the full Tour of Mont Blanc, you are welcome to join us for half the tour. The southern route, the 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 northern route, our 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 – 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.
le 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 hiker’s inn. Our luggage will meet us here.
les Mottets – A quick bus ride brings us to our trailhead at the Notre Dame de la Gorge chapel.
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 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, 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 an afternoon hiking to the comfortable outdoor restaurant terrace at Col Checrouit, with great food and unbeatable views. The options are plentiful!
Bonatti – The second half of the Tour du Mont Blanc is slightly less rugged, with easier passes, but just as beautiful.
One of the highlights of the TMB is stunning walk along the crest of the Mont de la Saxe ridge, with the vertical cliffs of Mont Blanc and the Grande Jorasses towering above us to the west. 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.
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/Trient – 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 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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