Self-guided Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

France, Italy, Switzerland Inn-to-inn

For a quick trip to the Mont Blanc region, this half-TMB tour is a fantastic 7-night hike from Courmayeur through Switzerland to Chamonix.

Self-Guided Tour

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  • Length
  • 8 days, 7 nights
  • Departure Dates
  • Jun 15 – Sep 20, 2021
  • Tour Cost
  • $2590 per person
    $550 single room
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More options for this tour

Guided Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

Small group guided tour with guaranteed departures

Private Guided Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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

Description

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the best hiking tours in the world.  For those without time for the full circuit, we’ve designed this shorter hiking tour from Courmayeur to Chamonix across the northern half of the tour.   This has always been our favorite stretch of the TMB.   You see all three countries, visit both Courmayeur and Chamonix, and enjoy an evening at the unforgettable Bonatti hut.  Meet hikers from around the world, stroll through postcard-perfect Champex, perhaps tackle the daunting Fenetre d’Arpette pass (your choice), and finish with the exhilarating views of Mont Blanc from the Balme pass as you hike into France.

Yes, you can express your way through the whole circuit in a week, by skipping a Bonatti here and a la Fouly there, but that requires prioritizing passes over highlights.  This isn’t that.  You won’t see the southern half of the TMB on this tour, and you won’t miss it.  This trip is fantastic, moving at the right pace and leaving time for the most important sights and best hikes.  You will love it.  With years of personal experience on this route, we’ll use our expertise and attention to detail to help you savor one of the world’s classic hikes.

What makes this tour unique?

  • Great options for easier to moderate hiking days
  • A moderate inn-to-inn with 6 stops in 7 nights
  • Geneva transfers to your hotel included, luggage 6 nights
  • Slow down and enjoy!  Don’t skip Courmayeur and Bonatti hut
  • The highest peaks in the Alps, Mont Blanc, Grandes Jorasses and more
  • The northern half of the classic Tour du Mont Blanc circuit
Map of Self-guided Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

Itinerary

Day 1

Courmayeur – Although you’re starting your Tour du Mont Blanc in Courmayeur, it’s best to fly to Geneva.  We’ll arrange your private transfer to the medieval village of Courmayeur in Italy, just over 2 hrs from Geneva but a world away, where you stay in a pleasant and friendly hotel near the center of town.

There is plenty to do in the village, cable cars take you up to high vantage points, or there are great dayhikes near town. The nearby Pre St Didier spa is also a great way to relax if you arrive early.  Courmayeur is a beautiful village, with cobblestoned pedestrian-only alleyways filled with comfortable cafes and stylish shops.  Dinner included in a local restaurant.

  • Hotel Bouton d'Or or similar
  • D

Day 2

Courmayeur – For your first hiking day, one great option is the hike to the top of Mont Chétif, the steep pyramidal peak that guards the entrance to Val Veny on the southern end of Courmayeur.  This hike along this ridge is one of the highlights of the southern half of the TMB, and an extra day in Courmayeur allows you time to explore here.

This is a grand panoramic hike and is a stunning introduction to the Mont Blanc region.  Stop at the atmospheric Maison Vielle restaurant, and perhaps hike back in the valley to the Elisabetta hut, before descending back to Courmayeur for a second night.  Dinner on your own tonight.

  • Hotel Bouton d'Or or similar
  • B
  • hike: 5-7 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 3920 ft. up, 3150 ft. down

Day 3

Rifugio Bonatti – Perhaps our absolute favorite hike of the TMB is the high traverse of Mont de la Saxe above Courmayeur.  You have to work hard for a couple hours to gain the ridge, but are rewarded with incredible views of Mont Blanc and the towering Grandes Jorasses as you hike to the comfortable Bonatti hut.  Mont de la Saxe is a big hike, but there is a more moderate option as well, an undulating traverse just above tree line directly to the hut.

Enjoy sunset views of Mont Blanc from the patio as you settle in with other TMB hikers for your final night in Italy. Double rooms are available but very limited at the hut, and our tours always include a room if available, and dorm otherwise.  If needed, the overnight at the hut can be skipped and you can hike to Bonatti as a day hike from Courmayeur instead.

  • Bonatti hut
  • B / D
  • hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 5250 ft. up, 2560 ft. down

Day 4

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.  The Grand Col Ferret is a modest pass, with grassy meadows great for a mid-day break and a picnic lunch.  You savor views back toward Mont Blanc while you contemplate the trail ahead.

When you’re ready to leave, you’ll descend through tidy green fields with high cliffs and glaciers reaching down from the heights.  Walk in to the tiny village of la Fouly, one of the quieter corners of the Tour du Mont Blanc.   Stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel.

  • Hotel Edelweiss, Col du Fenetre or similar
  • B / D
  • hike: 6-8 hours, 12.5 miles; Elevation: 3360 ft. up, 4830 ft. down

Day 5

Champex – Today is a nice, easy day.  One of the mellower hikes on the Mont Blanc tour takes you on a valley walk through woods and up to the pretty village of Champex.  Champex is a very pleasant little town, astride a beautiful small lake, and surrounded by flowers, babbling streams and hiking trails.

For strong hikers looking for a bigger day, we have a great option today.  A much more strenuous alternate route leads over a high pass to a hut perched along the edge of the Orny Glacier.  Gets those legs moving and head up for a true alpine experience in the ice and snow, and stop in at the hut before descending to Champex.  Stay in a comfortable 3-star village hotel.

  • Hotel Mont Lac, Glacier or similar
  • B / D
  • hike: 4-6 hours, 9.5 miles; Elevation: 1380 ft. up, 1790 ft. down

Day 6

Col de la Forclaz/Trient – You’ll have two great options today, the easier Bovine route or the much steeper route over the Fenetre d’Arpetta pass.  If you’re keeping it mellow, an undulating trail known as the Bovine route leads through pine forests and alpine pastures and plenty of cows).  Stop at a small cafe enroute for lunch or a drink, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley.

Weather and energy permitting, a more rigorous possibility leads up to the high pass of Fenetre d’Arpette, a tiny notch in a rocky ridge, and one of the highest points along the tour.  The steep descent is accompanied by incredible views of the Trient Glacier.  Finish the day at a small hiker’s inn in Trient or at the nearby Col de la Forclaz.  Double rooms are typically available, but limited.  Book early if you can.

  • hiker's inn at Forclaz or Grand Ourse in Trient
  • 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 7

Chamonix – Your final hiking day of the tour is a great one.  Hike up and over the Col de Balme pass into France, where you’re greeted with spectacular views of Mont Blanc, Aiguille de Tour, Aiguille Verte and the entire Chamonix Valley.  Truly a classic view and a great capstone to your tour.

If you’re looking for a shorter day, there is a gondola that can take you down from the pass.  Otherwise, we send you on a beautiful side trail through alpenrose and wild blueberries with the brilliant glaciers of Mont Blanc ahead in the distance.  Hike down to the village of le Tour where you catch a bus to Chamonix.  Dinner is included at one of our favorite restaurants in Chamonix tonight.

  • Hotel Aiglons, Oustalet or similar
  • B / D
  • hike: 6-8 hours, 10.5 miles; Elevation: 2890 ft. up, 3120 ft. down

Day 8

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

  • B
Included 5 nights village hotels
1 night hiker's inn with private rooms
1 night mountain inn with dormitory

also included:
7 breakfasts, 6 dinners
Geneva airport transfers
luggage transfers between villages
(no luggage at Bonatti)
topo maps
detailed route descriptions
sightseeing suggestions
local contact for questions

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