The Tour du Mont Blanc is THE trek to do in Europe – three countries, seven valleys, remote high passes, and stunning views of highest mountain in Western Europe. This is the classic hike to do in the Alps. Normally done over ten days, we’ve squeezed the whole trip into a week’s holiday with some careful use of buses and a cable car. This is one epic week’s holiday with Sunday transfers included from Geneva airport. And if you want to stay longer in Chamonix we’ve made the transfers flexible, so you can arrive earlier or leave later.
As this trip is sold as a package, specific terms and conditions apply in addition to the general White Marmotte terms and conditions. You also have extra rights under EU and French Package Travel rules.
Day 1: Pick up from Genva Airport and transfer to your hotel in Chamonix
Day 2: Bus to Les Houches, trek to Les Contamines
Day 3: Les Contamines to Vallée des Glaciers
Day 4: Vallée des Glaciers to Val Veny and Courmayeur
Day 5: Bus up Val Ferret, trek to La Fouly, taxi to Champex Lac
Day 6: Champex Lac to Trient
Day 7: Trient to Chamonix
Day 8: Transfer from your hotel to Geneva airport
Suitability: The TMB is a challenging hike, suitable for fit, regular hill walkers. We will be out for about 9 hours each day, with up to 1600m height gain. Altitude is not generally a problem, however, we will climb to over 2650m on a couple of occasions. Most people will feel some shortness of breath if they are not used to being this high. The trip is not suitable for children under 16, and we ask the 16-17 year olds are accompanied by an adult.
Accommodation: The first, middle, and last nights will be in hotels. The remaining four nights will be dormitory accommodation in a mixture of gites, auberges and mountain refuges.
Meals: All breakfasts and dinners are included in the price, but lunches are not included. We will either stop at a refuge or mountain restaurant at lunchtime, or purchase packed lunches from the overnight accommodation.
Transport: We will arrange individual shared transfers to meet your flight into Geneva airport, and to get to the airport in good time for your departure. We also provide transport as required during the trek, including the Bellevue cable car, buses around Courmayeur, and the taxi between La Fouly and Champex.
Group Size: 4-8
Have a look at the photo gallery for more pictures of the trip.
This itinerary gives the planned route in good weather. Several days offer multiple options, so we’ll make a final decision each day based on the weather, trail conditions and energy levels of the group. The trekking guide leading the trip will have the final say on route choice.
We’ll arrange a shared transfer to pick you up at Geneva Airport and bring you to your hotel in Chamonix. Depending on flight time you might have to wait an hour or so as the minibus might be meeting people from several flights. In Chamonix we’ll stay in the historic Croix Blanche or a similar hotel.
Our one week Tour du Mont Blanc takes the classic approach. For this, we’ll start in Les Houches and trek anti-clockwise. Leaving the hotel in Chamonix after breakfast, we’ll take short ride on the public bus to Les Houches. Then we’ll catch the Bellevue cable car to 1706m ready to start the trek to Les Contamines. At the top station, we leave the Chamonix valley and head towards the Bionnassey glacier. A short descent leads to a spectacular suspension bridge over a glacial torrent before we climb steadily to the magnificent Col du Tricot. Entering the Montjoie valley you can look ahead to the following day’s walk as we descend to the Chalet Miages – a great lunch stop. Carrying on down to Les Contamines, a short walk up the valley will bring us to Les Pontets Gite where we’ll spend the night in convivial surroundings.
Altitude Gain: 710m
Altitude Loss: 1320m
Maximum Altitude: 2120m
The second day’s hiking is one of the bigger days, so we’ll allow plenty of time to get to the Mottets refuge. Leaving Pontets and Les Contamines, we follow an ancient Roman Road up towards the head of the valley. We’ll pass an impressive Roman bridge as well as a fantastic cake stop at the Chalet de Balme. The old Roman salt trading route continues up to the Col du Bonhomme, quickly followed by the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme. If conditions are good, we can take a steep path over the Col des Fours and descend directly to the Ville des Glaciers. A short walk up the valley brings us to the Mottets refuge, near the head of the Vallée des Glaciers. Alternatively, we can make an easier descent to Les Chapieux and take the bus up the valley to Mottets.
The Mottets refuge is a beautiful place to spend the evening – an old alpine farm serving real local food with a great ambience. Please note though, that due to the remote location there is neither wifi nor mobile network coverage in the Vallée des Glaciers.
Accommodation: Mountain refuge
Altitude Gain: 1600m
Altitude Loss: 900m
Maximum Altitude: 2665m
Today starts with a stiff climb to the Col de la Seigne to wake us up, before saying au revoir to France and buongiorno to Italy as we step over the border. We’ll descend to the Casermetta – an unexpected museum and visitor centre in a remote spot. Here we can take a left to thread around the Pyramides Calcaires (Limestone Pyramids) that sit beneath the granite walls of Mont Blanc, getting close to the glaciers before we descend past the Elisabetta refuge. From here we’ll follow the old military road across the unique alpine wetland of Lac Combal and on to the bus stop at La Visaille. The Val Veny bus service runs into the centre of Courmayeur where we’ll find our hotel.
There are a couple of alternative options for this day. We could skip the Limestone Pyramids for a short day and arrive at the hotel earlier in the afternoon. Or, if people are feeling energetic, we can cross over the Col de Chercuit and walk all the way into Courmayeur.
Altitude Gain: 940m
Altitude Loss: 1140m
Maximum Altitude: 2574m
We’ll start the day with a short bus ride into the spectacular Italian Val Ferret. This is another day with a few options, depending on weather conditions and energy levels as we enter the second half of the trip. Getting off the bus, we’ll hike to the head of the valley on either the valley floor or a higher path, then climb to the Rifugio Elena. After a last opportunity to sample a real Italian espresso, we’ll continue the climb to the Swiss Border at the Grand Col Ferret. Looking back from here, we get some fantastic views along the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Range. You’ll see Mont Dolent with its steep summit in three countries, the impressive ridge of the Grandes Jorasses, and of course Mont Blanc itself.
Dropping into Switzerland the countryside changes again. The Swiss Val Ferret is an unspoilt slice of rural Switzerland with green pastures, roaming dairy herds and tiny farming villages that have barely changed in centuries.
A long easy descent leads to La Peule alpage and on to La Fouly, where we’ll meet a taxi to our next accommodation – the Relais d’Arpette in Champex. This refuge is pure Swiss Alps, typically serving cheese fondue or venison stew in a beautiful wooden chalet.
Accommodation: Mountain refuge
Altitude Gain: 900-1150m
Altitude Loss: 1000-1250m
Maximum Altitude: 2537m
The most technical and highest day of the week takes us over the Fenêtre d’Arpette at 2665m. The Fenêtre (window) is a small notch between mountains, reached by a steep scramble over scree and moraine. Looking down the steep slopes, the views on both sides are breath-taking. Entering the Trient valley, the path demands attention as we zig-zag down to the Glacier du Trient buvette. In centuries past, ice mined from the glacier here was taken to the Col du Forclaz along a horse-drawn railway, before being transported to eating houses in Paris and Zurich. Today, there is a delightful mountain café where we can linger for a few moments before the final stroll down to Trient.
The stats below might make this look like a short day, but in reality it’s slow going on tough terrain. As an alternative day, we can take the easier Bovine Alpage route which is longer with less climbing. The lower level route winds through picturesque forests and Alpine pastures with a cake stop at the famous Bovine farm, before crossing the Col du Forclaz to reach Trient.
Accommodation: Auberge or refuge
Altitude Gain: 990m
Altitude Loss: 1390m
Maximum Altitude: 2665m
The final day starts with a moderate climb to the Col de Balme and the French Border. This crossing point was once a major route between the two countries before the construction of a stagecoach track and eventually the modern road. We can take a break at the refuge on the col, then head across to the Col des Possettes and the airy Possettes ridge. The Aiguillette des Possettes at the summit offers a great vantage point over the Chamonix valley, a real high note to finish on. The ridge continues down into the forest where we’ll make our way into the valley and the village of Argentière. A short bus ride will take us to Chamonix and our hotel for the last night.
As with other days, we can take a shorter route in case of bad weather or tired legs, or walk all the way to Chamonix if people have enough energy.
Altitude Gain: 1200m
Altitude Loss: 1130m
Maximum Altitude: 2201m
After breakfast in the hotel, you’ll be picked up for a minibus transfer to Geneva airport depending on your flight time. Please note that we can’t guarantee breakfast will be available if you have an early flight.
We’ll be staying in refuges and hotels so you don’t have to carry too much. There are always opportunities to fill your water bottles and buy lunches and snacks. However, you’ll still have to carry enough kit for a week’s hiking. Pack light and aim to keep the weight well under ten kilos. We ask that you bring the following:-
If you have any questions or concerns about equipment, just ask and we’ll be happy to advise you.
Click the button on the right to book online, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information.
Please note that specific terms and conditions apply to this trip, so make sure you read these before booking.
Yes, your transfers can be arranged for different dates if you want to arrive early or leave late and stay a few days in Chamonix. There are plenty of accommodation options in the town, from campsites to five-star hotels. There is an extensive bus and train network, so it is easy to get around the valley without a car.
If are not flying from Geneva we can offer a small discount as we won’t need to book the return transfers. Get in touch for details.
We can arrange transfers to meet flights scheduled to land before 9pm on arrival day, and after 10am on departure day. Please note that we can’t guarantee you’ll get breakfast at the hotel if you need to catch an early flight (a 10am flight typicaly means a pickup between 5am and 7am).
While you don’t need to be an ultratrail runner, we’ll be hiking on uneven terrain for about nine hours per day. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a mountainous route around some of the highest points in Europe and we can cover 15-20km with up to 1600m of ascent in a day. To put this in context, it’s a little like hiking up Scafell in the Lake District and Snowdon in North Wales several days running. If you are not used to walking in the mountains, we recommend that you get some practice beforehand – it is very different from walking on the flat.
We do not recommend that you come on this trip if you have a condition that could lead to a life-threatening emergency, e.g. severe allergies, severe diabetes or severe uncontrolled epilepsy. This is because much of the trip is in remote terrain with no vehicle access. Evacuation is only possible by helicopter and may entail a long wait, particularly at night or in adverse weather conditions.
We reserve the right to refuse to take you on the trip or to ask for a letter from a physician before accepting your booking if you have a medical condition of this type.
We also would not recommend this trip if you have any condition which impacts your ability to perform moderately strenuous exercise for long period or to walk safely on uneven terrain.
We find Decathlon is great for picking up these items at a reasonable cost. If you have any difficulty finding something, let us know and we’ll see what we can organise for you.
On this trip you’ll find the accommodation is a mixture of hotels, mountain refuges, and auberges or gites. The first, last and middle nights are spent in hotels with a mixture of double, twin and triple rooms. If you’ve booked on your own, we’ll match you up with someone else in the group for these nights (let us know if you’d prefer us to book you a private room). The rest of the nights are spent in refuges, auberges or gites in mixed dormitories. Expect to be sharing a room with the rest of the group as well as with other people.
In the refuges, expect a set menu with good hiking food. There will be a bar to relax with a drink before dinner, and generally a great ambiance exchanging stories with fellow trekkers. Showers are normally available but hot water can be limited.
Please note that credit cards are often not accepted and there may be no wi-fi or mobile phone signal.
We aim to have a between four and eight people in a group. However, we will commit to running a trip from the first booking, so even if only one or two people book we will guarantee to run the trip. If you are the only person to book, we’ll give you the option of coming on your own (with private guiding), transferring the booking to another White Marmotte product, or cancelling for a full refund.
If you arrive late on the first day, or have any other transport issues, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will do our best to organise for you to join the group as early as we can, however there may be additional transport and/or accommodation costs which you would have to cover.
We don’t offer luggage transfers for environmental reasons. We try to keep our trips as sustainable as possible and we’re just not comfortable with the amount of baggage being driven huge distances around the TMB each summer. The road transfers are much further than the hiking distance, and the steep access roads burn a lot of fuel.
We can arrange to store a bag from Monday morning until Saturday evening if there are items you’d like to have with you in Chamonix but not carry on the trek.
Yes, you’ll be able to charge your electronics, but in the refuges and gites you may have to take turns to use a limited number of power outlets. In the hotels this won’t be a problem.
If you have a charger with a two-pin European plug, this will work everywhere. Otherwise, a European adaptor will work in France and Italy, but most power outlets in Switzerland are the recessed hexagonal type that needs a specific adaptor for three pin plugs.
This is a full Tour du Mont Blanc in the sense that we trek the majority of the route, starting and finishing in the Chamonix valley. It isn’t a mini- or half-TMB like our four-day TMB West as we come much closer to trekking the whole route. The parts we miss are also missed by many other trekking companies on their full Tour du Mont Blanc treks, so it’s comparable to our competitors’ offerings. Here is a full list of the bits we don’t hike out of the official 160km TMB route:-
Insurance is not included in the cost of this course, so you’ll need to have your own insurance which covers search and rescue, including by helicopter, and emergency medical care in both France and Switzerland. This is a mandatory requirement in order to protect both you and us in the event of an emergency.
If you’re a French resident, you can purchase a suitable policy at www.sport.lycea.fr.
Please read the specific terms and conditions that apply to this trip before booking.
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