The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most impressive multi-day tours in the Alps. The route is characterised by the unique backdrop of the Mont Blanc massif with its huge rock towers and imposing glaciers. Covering a distance of around 170 kilometers in 10 days the Tour du Mont Blanc is not just a great challenge but also one of the most scenic long distance walks in the world!
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France, Italy, Switzerland
Day 1: From Chamonix to Les Contamines
Youâ€™ll get picked up in the morning at your accommodation in Chamonix and driven to Les Houches (Bellevue cable car station) from where you will start your 10-day Tour du Mont Blanc adventure. Even before hiking, youâ€™ll take the cable car up to Bellevue the official start point of the TMB and a great viewpoint with the first amazing views over the Chamonix valley.
From Bellevue, an interesting hike through alpine meadows and a nice forest brings you very close to the Bionassay glacier with the first highlight of the TMB the famous suspension bridge over a wild glacier stream. After crossing the suspension bridge a nice trail leads up to the Col du Tricot. Up there youâ€™ll take a short break and get ready for the short but steep descent to the Chalets du Miage. At the Chalets du Miage there is definitely some time to take a rest and to enjoy our homemade lunch packs. For those who want there is the opportunity to taste one of the best blueberry cakes on the entire trip.
With fresh, energy youâ€™ll be ready for the last climb of the first stage up to the Col du Truc. From there, an easy and nice trail is leading down to the small French mountain village Les Contamines where youâ€™ll spend the night.
Day 2: From Les Contamines to Les Chapieux
After a cosy night youâ€™ll walk along the river on an easy path to the end of the village to the famous Notre Dame de la Gorge church, the official start point of the second stage of the TMB. From the church, an interesting and diverse hike is leading up to the famous Col du Bonhomme. Along the way up youâ€™ll pass alpine meadows, farms, typical mountain huts, sheep and rugged rocky terrain. About half-way up to the Col du Bonhomme there is a nice resting area and the possibility to fill up your water reserves. Once you reach the Col du Bonhomme, anice traverse is leading over to the famous Croix de la Bonhomme mountain hut.
At the hut, itâ€™s definitely worth to plan a short break to try their homemade cake. From there youâ€™ll descend over open meadows down to the small alpine village Les Chapieux. Once you reach Les Chapieux there is enough time to try some local cheese & sausages or to cool down with a cold drink.
Day 3: From Les Chapieux to Cabane du Combal
The third stage of the TMB and it is already time for Italy. After the breakfast, youâ€™ll start your trek directly in the Les Chapieux valley and climb up to the Col de la Seigne the border between France and Italy. From the Col de la Seigne youâ€™ll have the first great views on the Mont Blanc and the ongoing TMB trip. With good weather conditions, you can even see over to Switzerland and the great Grand Combin massif. On the way down youâ€™ll pass the so called Casermetta, a mountain museum with a huge 3-D relief map of the entire Mont Blanc Massif and the TMB. Furthermore you can learn many interesting facts about the wildlive and the human impacts on the area.
Further down youâ€™ll pass by the Rifugio Elisabetta a typical Italian mountain hut with great food and Italian coffee. Why not stopping there for a strong Italian coffee or delicious Polenta?
Youâ€™ll end the third stage of the TMB at the Cabane du Combal, a nice and modern mountain hut in a great location. In the afternoon there is the possibility to go swimming in a natural glacier lake and to see ibex very close.
Day 4: From Cabane du Combal to Courmayeur
A nice stage is waiting for you with great views over the whole Mont Blanc range. From the Cabane du Combal a short but steep climb brings you up to the south terrace. On the way up youâ€™ll enjoy the sound of a mountain stream, the music of the cowbells and the whistles of the marmots far in the distance. Once you reach the top, youâ€™ll get rewarded with magnificent views over the steep and sheer south side of the Mont Blanc range. If the weather conditions allow, youâ€™ll get a sneak preview of the ongoing route of the TMB further towards Switzerland.
After a relaxing break and a few great photos later, youâ€™ll walk down to the next waypoint of the stage. A nice traverse brings you to the Maison Vieille, a nice place for lunch with great views. If the lunch break tired you out, there is the option to take a cable car down to Courmayeur. Otherwise youâ€™ll descend on the steep and dusty trail down to the small hamlet Dolonne, before you reach the picturesque Italian town Courmayeur at the foot of Mont Blanc.
In Courmayeur, youâ€™ll stay in a hotel close to the center. After the check-in youâ€™ll have time to explore the village for a bit and to try a real Italian gelato. In the evening your guide will take you to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 5: From Courmayeur to Val Ferret (Arpnuova)
The last full day in Italy is waiting for you. A nice hike up along the Val Ferret takes you from Courmayeur over the Rifugio Bertone and Rifugio Bonatti, two very famous and nice mountain huts to the Italian Val Ferret. Youâ€™ll start your day with an easy but steep ascent to the upper end of Courmayeur. On the way up you can admire the beautiful and very typical architecture. Once you left Courmayeur the trail is leading further uphill through a dense forest. The trail is steep and you have to work hard to reach the Rifugio Bertone, but hey the views are worth it!
At the Rifugio Bertone there is the perfect opportunity to refill your water bottles and to stop for another Italian Coffee. Behind the hut there is an amazing viewpoint, offering views on the sheer south side of the Mont Blanc and the famous Skyway (= recently built cable car). The second part of your hike is rather easy and youâ€™ll follow the nice traverse high up over the Val Ferret towards the Rifugio W. Bonatti where you will stay overnight.
For those who are still energized at the end of the day, there are some beautiful extra loops to discover behind the hut and your guide is happy to show you those secret spots!
Day 6: From Val Ferret to La Fouly
In the morning youâ€™ll continue the traverse further to the end of the Italian Val Ferret. At the end of the traverse youâ€™ll reach the Chalet Val Ferret, a perfect spot to enjoy one of the last Italian coffees of the trip in the morning sun.
From Arpnuova (Chalet Val Ferret) youâ€™ll climb up the steep but nice slopes to the Swiss border and the Grand Col Ferret. During your ascent, youâ€™ll have magnificent views over the massive Grande Jorasses and the Mont Dolent with its impressive glacier. After the first big climb of the morning, youâ€™ll pass by the Rifugio Elena, a welcoming stop for to refill your water reservoirs and for a snack, so that youâ€™ll have enough energy to climb the second part up to the top. From the Rifugio the trail winds up in steep serpentines towards the saddle. Once you reach the the mountain pass youâ€™ll enter into Switzerland over the Grand Col Ferret (which will also be the highest point of the entire tour unless youâ€™ll take the FenĂŞtre dâ€™Arpette variant later on the tour).
From the Grand Col Ferret, there is the possibility to add a small extra loop with a few extra meters of ascent with the aim to climb the TĂŞte de Ferret peak. On the second part of the day youâ€™ll be descending into the Swiss Val Ferret towards La Fouly. Half-way down there is the Alpage de la Peule, a really nice farm with great Swiss style food, cold drinks and locally made cheese to try. Youâ€™ll end your day in the small mountain village La Fouly. Of course youâ€™ll have the opportunity to buy some well deserved Swiss chocolate after a long day!
Day 7: From La Fouly to Champex-Lac
An easy day is waiting for you. On this stage, youâ€™ll experience many nice alpine meadows, beautiful Swiss villages and youâ€™ll pass the probably most photographed and unexpected object along the TMB. The day is full of â€śswissnessâ€ť and you can learn a lot about the history, the so called forts (underground bunkers from WWII) and of course the nature.
Youâ€™ll reach Champex-Lac (also called â€žlittle Canadaâ€ś), a picturesque Swiss village with a beautiful lake. At the end of the day youâ€™ll enjoy an ice cream at the lake where you can go swimming, stand up paddling. Youâ€™ll stay overnight either in the village or in the beautiful Arpette Valley!
Day 8: From Champex-Lac to Trient
From Champex-Lac a very nice and great hike is leading over to the small and picturesque village of Trient. The day starts easily through the lower part of the village and along open meadows. Youâ€™ll be able to admire typical Swiss chalets and to listen to some interesting stories about local life. The way up to the Bovine is steep and challenging but definitively worth it, especially when you keep the best cake on the entire TMB which you can get at Bovine in your mind.
After a nice stop at the Bovine mountain hut, youâ€™ll take your way down to the Col de la Forclaz (an important mountain pass and part of the Tour de France 2016). From the Col de la Forclaz youâ€™ll take a nice trail down to Trient where youâ€™ll spend your last night in Switzerland.
FenĂŞtre dâ€™Arpette variant:
If the group fitness and the weather conditions allow you might also tackle the tough and difficult trail over the FenĂŞtre dâ€™Arpette to reach Trient. Instead of strolling along meadows youâ€™ll accept the challenge and hike up the steep, remote and rugged Arpette valley. Shortly before youâ€™ll reach the pass the trail gets very rocky and a little bit of scrambling brings you to this exceptional mountain pass.
From the top youâ€™ll see the impressive Trient Glacier and with good weather conditions youâ€™ll be able to see the Matterhorn in the far distance. After a rest youâ€™ll tackle the still steep and difficult descent towards Trient. The trail is long and it winds along a huge glacier moraine towards Trient. At the end of the difficulties youâ€™ll reach the Chalet du Glacier, a welcoming buvette where youâ€™ll stop for a cold drink and a snack. The rest of the way into Trient is short and easy.
Day 9: From Trient to ArgentiĂ¨re
Your second last day of the Tour du Mont Blanc brings you over the Col de Balme back to France. Youâ€™ll start your day early in the morning and climb up to the Col de Balme. From up there youâ€™ll have the most amazing views of the Mont Blanc.
From the Col de Balme, youâ€™ll take the trail back down to Le Tour. If the group is fit there is the possibility to include the Col des Possettes and the Aiguillette des Possettes peak. Once you reach Le Tour youâ€™ll walk along some nice meadows to ArgentiĂ¨re. In ArgentiĂ¨re youâ€™ll have some time to discover the pretty village and to go for an ApĂ©ro before dinner.
Day 10: From ArgentiĂ¨re to Chamonix
The last day of the TMB is full of highlights again. If you are up for it you can climb up to the famous Lac Blanc over some nice and adventurous ladders or take the normal way up there. Best panoramic views and the ultimate photography spots wonâ€™t be missed. If you feel tired there is the option of taking the cable car from FlĂ©gĂ¨re back down to Chamonix.
|A rich and healthy lunch pack on each stage|
|Accommodation (shared bedroom / dormitory)|
|All planned transportation according to the itinerary|
|Full qualified international mountain leader (IML)|
|Half-Board (breakfast, 3 course dinner)|
|Luggage Transfer (max. 15kg per unit)|
|Pre- / post-trek accommodation|
|Private expenses (souvenirs, drinks, etc.)|
|Personal travel insurance (very important)|