(Tour du Mont Blanc) Walkers in front of the Aiguille Verte
TOUR DU MONT BLANC (GUIDED)   11 stages . 13 nights . French, Italian, and Swiss Alps   Booking

Tour du Mont Blanc
Guided trekking holiday


+ Alpine scenery from the grand to the tranquil
+ Trek a full circuit of Mont Blanc
+ Led by our International Mountain Leaders


Latest news June 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We still have good availability during our 2019 season. Thank you.

The Tour du Mont Blanc leaves the Chamonix valley to make a spectacular circuit of Western Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc (4,808m). Trekkers return after 11 days of superb walking having visited Italy and Switzerland en route.

Alpine Exploratory groups walk the full Tour du Mont Blanc route. We don't skip any sections - it's all too good to miss, and we seek the satisfaction of completing the trek in full. We link up the pleasant hamlets and huts that sit along the TMB, as well as stopping in the larger villages and towns of Les Contamines, Courmayeur, Champex and Argentiere.

Trek in the company of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader (IML). Each day the group decides its route based on the weather and energy levels; many stages have alternative trails such as that to Lac Blanc in the Aiguilles Rouges. One rest day is built in, in Courmayeur, letting the group relax after a hard first 4 stages.

Trek in the company of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader (IML). Each day the group decides its route based on the weather and energy levels.


Map


Map showing the route of Alpine Exploratory's Tour du Mont Blanc guided walking holiday

Prices


Alpine Exploratory
TMBg Tour du Mont Blanc (Guided)
7 July to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Scheduled guided trips
11 stages
1 rest day
(13 nights)
Private trips only 2,150
Singles 250
Main TMB
Private trips only
Private guided trips
11 stages
1 rest day
(13 nights)
1,960
Singles 160
2,150
Singles 250
2,290
Singles 300
11 stages
2 rest days
(14 nights)
2,180
Singles 180
2,270
Singles 275

2,420
Singles 330
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
1,840
Singles 160
2,030
Singles 225

2,160
Singles 270
Options
Baggage transfer 160

Itinerary

Here is our normal schedule of 11 stages and 1 rest day:


Arrival day: Arrive in Chamonix
Your trip starts on arriving at your hotel in Chamonix. This is an Alpine centre like no other, bustling in Summer with trekkers, mountaineers and tourists passing through. The group dines out at a restaurant.
Hotel in Chamonix

Stage 1: Les Houches to Les Contamines
Blue3 grade, 19km with 890m ascent, 790m descent
On the first day on trek there is time to make last-minute adjustments to kit and to buy food for the day ahead. Take the local bus or train to Les Houches where the TMB meets the valley. Start with a stiff climb up to Col de Voza (with optional cable cars). The normal TMB route drops through Val Montjoie, but an optional high route takes wilder paths over Col de Tricot. Arrive in the French resort village of Les Contamines.
Hotel in Les Contamines

Stage 2: Les Contamines to Refuge Bonhomme
Red3 grade, 15.5km with 1390m ascent, 60m descent
Today's stage is reasonably tough with an ascent to Col de la Croix du Bonhomme at 2,483m. The ascent is gradual to a first col, after which we traverse to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme. These slopes often hold early Summer snow. The Bonhomme refuge is a sociable one just beyond the col. It overlooks the valleys of the Beaufort area.
Mountain hut

Stage 3: Refuge Bonhomme to Rifugio Elisabetta
Red3 grade, 21.5km with 1085m ascent, 1360m descent
The main TMB route drops to les Chapieux then climbs through the Vallée des Glaciers. An alternative in the absence of snow is by Col des Fours. The routes meet at the Refuge des Mottets and begin the climb to the Col de la Seigne on the Italian border. We descend to Rifugio Elisabetta (Italy) walking towards the best views of the route so far, obliquely across the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif.
Mountain hut

Stage 4: Rifugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur
Red3 grade, 17km with 500m ascent, 1500m descent
The route to Courmayeur is now straightforward but involves a surprising, short uphill section to gain a terrace path. This gives high views of what is now called Monte Bianco. From Maison Vieille we drop steeply to the stone village of Dolonne and then Courmayeur. This is in some ways the Italian equivalent of Chamonix with an Italian holidaymaking atmosphere.
Hotel in Courmayeur

Rest day in Courmayeur
Many options exist for sight-seeing, taking cable cars via Chamonix, or activities such as mountain biking. Good day-walks explore the surrounding hillsides.
Hotel in Courmayeur

Stage 5: Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti
Red3 grade, 14km with 1720m ascent, 890m descent
There is a feel of a new section of the trek beginning as you leave Courmayeur. The goal is Rifugio Bonatti. Today offers a long day over Mont de la Saxe, the longest TMB day and with the most ascent, or the normal TMB route which is a fine traverse of the hillside. The Bonatti hut is an unusually well-equipped and modern building on a terrace opposite the Grandes Jorasses.
Mountain hut

Stage 6: Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly
Red3 grade, 19km with 970m ascent, 1400m descent
Switzerland beckons today! Our challenge is the Grand Col Ferret, often holding snow, and then a long descent into the Swiss Val Ferret. We cross another linguistic and cultural frontier. Once in the valley we reach the small village of La Fouly.
Hotel in La Fouly

Stage 7: La Fouly to Champex
Red2 grade, 15.5km with 450m ascent, 570m descent
Today's stage is relatively easy for the TMB, running through the valley towards Champex and without any cols to cross. The Tour is now well inside Switzerland, with ready transport links to the Rhone valley to the North instead of deeper into France or Italy to the South. Flower meadows and forests characterise this stage, though interrupted by some narrow sections of path.
Hotel in Champex

Stage 8: Champex to Trient
Red3 grade, 18.5km with 740m ascent, 880m descent
Walk among meadows and woods to Trient, taking the option past Bovine Alp. This is one of the most scenic stages with long views to the Rhone valley. We pass Col de la Forclaz and drop to Trient, now within striking distance of the Chamonix valley.
Auberge in Trient

Stage 9: Trient to Argentiere
Red3 grade, 15km with 1100m ascent, 1160m descent
The highlight of today's walk is reaching the Col de Balme from where there should be views of Mont Blanc (weather permitting) and a great stretch of the Chamonix valley. The end is in sight! Descend from the Col to climb Aiguillette des Posettes before dropping into the Arve valley at Montroc. We detour from the TMB to the busy village of Argentière.
Hotel in Argentiere

Stage 10: Argentiere to La Flegere
Red3 grade, 10km with 1140m ascent, 510m descent
We keep going for the Tour du Mont Blanc's final two days, with hopefully some exhilarating views across to Mont Blanc. The route traverses the hillside on the North side of the valley. We can visit the famously picturesque Lac Blanc with its view of Mont Blanc.
(Special note for 2019: Please see the details below about La Flegere's closure in 2019 and our good options instead.)
Mountain hut

Stage 11: La Flegere to Les Houches
Red3 grade, 15.5km with 720m ascent, 1570m descent
The aim today is Les Houches and the end of the Tour du Mont Blanc. Along the way some of the Tour's best views unfold on the climb to Le Brévent before the long descent to the valley. At Les Houches it is then a short bus ride to Chamonix to celebrate in style! We base your last night in Chamonix, despite it being off the TMB route, in order that you can enjoy the largest and most vibrant base in the valley.
Hotel in Chamonix

Departure day: Depart from Chamonix
Relax over breakfast, see more of Chamonix and depart for Geneva Airport. If embarking on further travels please ask us to advise whether Switzerland and elsewhere in the Alps. Congratulations on the TMB!


Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.


Refuges du Lac Blanc and de la Flegere 2019

Refuge de la Flegere and the Flegere cable car, which we normally use as the break point of the two stages above Chamonix, will be closed for building works for the whole of Summer 2019.

However, we are pleased that both the Planpraz cable car and Refuge du Lac Blanc will be open for the 2019 season. This gives two options, of which for our guided trips we opt to walk beyond La Flegere to Planpraz and take the Planpraz cable car to Chamonix. The group then stays the night in Chamonix, before re-ascending the next morning to pick up the route. This gives the most even split of stage lengths and is our recommendation.

On a private guided trip it would be possible, as an alternative, to stay at Refuge du Lac Blanc. Please ask us for more details or to discuss the options.


Baggage transfer

On all our guided TMBs, everyone can opt for baggage transfer or not, as they choose. The service gives drops at all stops except the huts. It's good to have the choice; some of our trekkers like baggage transfer and others prefer not. There is not too much to carry on this route - please ask us for more info.


Options

If you join us as a private group instead of joining our scheduled treks, then we can adjust your TMB in various ways.

+ Spend more time over the initial stages, to ease in
+ Shorten the trek to 9 or 10 stages, or add rest days
+ Trek just half on our North or South routes of one week each
+ Favour auberges or huts or up the comfort with our best hotels

Of course, on a private trip you can come on the dates that suit you. Except for the composition of the group and the dates, everything else is the same as on our scheduled treks.


Why Alpine Exploratory for your guided trek?

We trek the full route, missing nothing
On completing this trek you'll have walked every step of the Mont Blanc circuit. It's definitely something to write home about! Cable cars, buses and trains are available in places, and the group can use them if needed, but the plan is to trek continuously. No part of the TMB is worth cutting out; even the more valley-based sections have huge interest.

Expert knowledge of the route
The same careful research that goes into our self-guided TMBs informs our guided treks too. We keep on top of changes to the route and we place a lot of emphasis on good relations with our hotels and huts. They know us well!

Flexible, personal planning
As per our general ethos, even on our scheduled guided trips we like to be flexible. Single rooms are no problem, except at huts and some auberges where they're unavailable. (The single supplement takes this into account.) If you'd like extra nights in Chamonix before or after the trek, please just ask us.

Small groups expertly led
Alpine Exploratory follows best practice in the mountains. Our leaders are all International Mountain Leaders and we keep to a maximum group size of 8 clients. The aim is a small, tightly knit group with an engaging leader, completing the TMB with safety, proficiency and fun.

About us - more about what makes us tick


The route

Our approach to the TMB
Our route sticks to the generally accepted Tour du Mont Blanc route, with some small and scenic diversions such as that to Lac Blanc for views across to Mont Blanc. One rest day is also built in. Our standard schedule walks the Tour in the popular anti-clockwise direction.

Terrain
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a very popular trail in summer and the good solid footpaths reflect this. The terrain in these parts of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps is sometimes steep but mostly the uphill sections are long gradual tests of stamina. There are wide tracks through forests, the odd country lane, zig-zagging hillside paths and some rockier sections. In a small number of places on the trail you meet sections with ladders and other aids to progress. These should not present a problem to regular mountain walkers and are not via ferrata or climbing sections. All such sections can be avoided by following alternative routes given in your routecards. In early or late summer there is a good chance of snow patches lying on the higher paths, but the lower paths are likely to be snow-free.


How to get there

Your holiday starts and ends in the major resort of Chamonix, one of the best-linked in the Alps. The most convenient airport is Geneva with several transfer options available by minibus or scenic Swiss trains; Zurich and Basel airports also work.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.


Key information Summer 2019

Trip name: Tour du Mont Blanc
Guided or self-guided? Guided
Trip code: TMBg
Route: TMB Tour du Mont Blanc
(See our background page on the TMB)
(Prefer Self-guided, North, South or Weekend?)
Group size: 4 to 8 people
Length: 11 days' trekking, 1 rest day
Start: Les Houches after night in Chamonix
End: Les Houches for night in Chamonix
Typical walk: 16km, 1,000m ascent
Total distance: 180km or 112 miles
Highest altitude: 2,584m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)



Dates Summer 2019

Scheduled trips 2019
Please join our 3 guided trips:

TMBg1 6 to 19 July 2019
Guided by Jonty Mills
Book (Spaces, Guaranteed)
Leaders at Alpine Exploratory

TMBg3 10 to 23 August 2019
Guided by Rob Gale
Book (Spaces, Guaranteed)
Leaders at Alpine Exploratory

TMBg4 1 to 14 September 2019
Guided by Pete Ellis
Book (Full)
Leaders at Alpine Exploratory

Private trips 2019
Please join us any time in our season from
7 July to 15 September 2019

2020
Scheduled trips: Starting 4, 18 July, 1, 30 Aug
Season: 5 July to 18 September 2020



Research Summer 2019

People at Alpine ExploratoryPeople at Alpine Exploratory People at Alpine Exploratory



Alpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Tour du Mont Blanc will be led by:
Hannah Wright in June
Kathy Grindrod in June
Rob Gale in June

Recces 2019

Happy TMBers
Happy TMBers (Photo gallery)


Alpine Exploratory's service

Accommodation
13 nights, staying in:
3-star hotels (6)
1-star hotels (2)
Auberge (1)
Mountain huts (4)

Included
Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts and 6 evening meals
Guided trekking with your IML

The UIMLA logo An IML leads your trek

The IML is the award needed to lead treks on the Tour du Mont Blanc

The IML award

Vallee des Glaciers
Vallee des Glaciers (Photo gallery)



The TMB in the Alps

Map of the TMB within the Alps

Our city information included in your info pack:
Geneva, Bern, Zurich

City breaks after trekking



Find out more

About our walking holidays Our FAQs page covering equipment, weather, insurance and more about how our trips work

Walking guides Our TMB background page

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Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.
About us