(Inn-to-inn hiking tour)
Length: 11 days, 10 nights
Hike Rating: Strenuous
|2014 Departures:|| July 20-30 |
| August 5-15 |
| September 1-11 |
|Tour Cost: ||$3995 per person |
|$450 single supplement |
|Included: ||5 nights 3-star hotels |
|2 nights inns with private rooms |
|3 nights mountain inns with dormitory|
|all breakfasts and lunches, 9 dinners |
|guided hikes daily |
|all transfers to/from trailheads|
|luggage transfers between villages|
|Geneva-Chamonix airport transfers|
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 three 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 6 of the ten nights. Note, the single room supplement is for a single room on 6 nights only, nights 1,3,5,6,8 and 10.
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. In contrast to many guided tours of Mont Blanc, our tour will go clockwise, hiking from Chamonix first into Switzerland and then south through Italy before coming back up to Chamonix. This allows us to start out with some of the easier days first, with the second half of the trip featuring slightly longer, more strenuous hikes.
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.
With 3 countries filled with soaring mountains, lofty passes, and gorgeous trails, the Tour du Mont Blanc is an exhilarating trek that lives up to its world-class reputation.
Day 1 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 the pool and outdoor patio of our charming Chamonix hotel before meeting the group for dinner. (Hotel les Aiglons)
Day 2 We'll begin our Mont Blanc tour with a hike above Chamonix to the Voza pass and the lovely Bionnassay valley, a wooded region with impressive glaciers and waterfalls, capped by blinding peaks. This valley is one of the hidden gems of the Mont Blanc region, quiet and pastoral, filled with waterfalls and a distinctly off-the-beaten-path feel. Overnight at the simple and friendly Bionnassay inn. (auberge Bionnassay)
Day 3 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. (Hotel la Gelinotte)
Day 4 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. (refuge les Mottets)
Day 5 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. (Hotel Bouton d'Or)
Day 6 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 cablecar 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! Dinner will be on your own tonight in Courmayeur. (Hotel Bouton d'Or)
Day 7 The second half of the Tour du Mont Blanc is slightly less rugged, with easier passes, and only one night in a mountain inn. 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. (rifugio Bonatti)
Day 8 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 transfer from there 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. (Hotel Glacier)
Day 9 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 the popular hiker's inn at Col Forclaz. (Hotel Col de la Forclaz)
Day 10 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. (Hotel les Aiglons)
Day 11 Today we say au revoir, and depart for our post-Mont Blanc destinations.
|Arrive:|| Plan to arrive the day your tour starts at the latest (flights from the US usually depart the day before). The closest airport is Geneva. This tour includes airport pickup in Geneva. We can arrange extra nights in Chamonix before or after the trip. |
|Depart:|| Plan departure for the day the tour ends at the earliest. Since the Geneva airport is only 1 hour away by airport shuttle, it is possible to leave the day the tour ends. |
See our Mont Blanc photo gallery
Check out our similar Bernese Oberland Traverse or Haute Route inn-to-inn tours. Or ask about a self-guided TMB tour or a private guided tour.
See our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc and self-guided Mont Blanc Highlights pages.
Read Josh Roberts in USA Today recap his guided Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpinehikers in 2003.
||7 nights 3-star hotels, 4 nights 1 mountain inns, 6 dinners, airport transfers
If you're an independent hiker and prefer to go at your own pace, or have travel dates that don't match up with our guided tours, you may prefer to arrange the Tour du Mont Blanc as a self-guided hiking tour. The self-guided tour price is per person based on two people sharing a standard double room, and the itinerary is different than our guided tour itinerary.
This self-guided tour includes prepaid hotels with breakfast each morning and 6 dinners, airport pickup and dropoff, hiking maps, detailed route descriptions, and lots of useful information that will help your trip run smoothly.
This tour can be customized to fit your needs. If you'd like to lengthen or shorten the tour, upgrade hotels (or go rustic), add luggage transfers, or create a customized tour from scratch, let us know. We have extensive experience across the Alps, and will be happy to work with you to build the hiking vacation that best suits your needs.
See our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc page