Tour du Mont Blanc - Highlights
7 stages . 8 nights . French, Italian and Swiss Alps
Tour du Mont Blanc self guided trips
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
7 stages . 8 nights

Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Self-guided walking holiday


Key information

Start: Les Houches after night in Chamonix
End: Chamonix
Season dates: 1 July to 15 Sept 2024 and 1 July to 14 Sept 2025
Length: 7 days' walking (or 6 days' walking with 1 rest day)
Typical walk: 16km, 1,000m ascent
Total distance: 180km or 112 miles
Highest altitude: 2,580m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 1,380 per person for 2024

The Tour du Mont Blanc has long been one of the best and most popular hiking trips in Europe. It's easy to see why - the TMB trail circumnavigates Western Europe's highest mountain (Mont Blanc, 4808m), passing through France, Italy and Switzerland to take in some of the most varied and spectacular scenery in the Alps. Views range from ice-capped mountains, tumbling glaciers and rocky spires to remote valleys, pristine lakes and rural, quaint villages.

For those looking for a shorter break than the full 13-night Tour, our Highlights trip condenses the best sections of the whole TMB trail into an 8-night trekking holiday, using local buses, cable cars and taxis to skip some longer or slightly less scenic stages. Hike through awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes, spending the night in family-run hotels in charming villages and small towns, with hearty regional food and warm hospitality.

Our routecards follow the main Tour du Mont Blanc trail, while describing the best optional variants such as that to the famous Lac Blanc, for spectacular views across the valley to the dramatic peaks and needles above Chamonix and to Mont Blanc itself. The route variants let you to make this self-guided trip your own, by allowing you to pick your preferred route each day.



Map

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip?
Full TMB - walk the full trail in 11 stages (13 nights)
TMB North - 7 stages, 8 nights
TMB South - 4 stages, 5 nights
Options
Our main 7-stage trip gives a spectacular and varied experience of the Tour du Mont Blanc route. The choice of accommodation along the way allows for many variants and trip lengths. We provide some of the options below and welcome you to ask if you would like more details!

Make the trip longer
For those who have more time, we can recommend ways to make the trip 8 stages in total. One option could be to spend a second night in Chamonix at the end of the trip, allowing for another day of hiking between Planpraz and Les Houches (the official end of the TMB). Another, dependent on the availability of accommodation in the small village of Trient, could be to hike the stage between Trient and Argentiere, adding the crossing of the Swiss-French border at the Col de Balme. Pease ask us if you have a particular section of the full TMB you'd like to include on your highlights trip, and we'll be glad to advise.

Add rest days
We book two nights in Courmayeur on our Highlights trip as standard, allowing for you to take a rest day if you'd prefer this rather than hiking stage 4. If you'd like to do both, we're happy to book a third night in Courmayeur for you! You may wish to catch the local bus to the Helbronner cable car, which is well worth a trip providing the weather is favourable! (This goes over the Vallee Blanche to the Aiguille du Midi and down to Chamonix for a return through the tunnel.) We are also glad to add additional nights in Chamonix before or after your trip. Please ask us for details.

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and arrangements taken care of. If your group would like a leader, please get in touch for more details. Alternatively you might like to join our scheduled 8-person Tour du Mont Blanc (guided) trips along the full trail, which we run at the start and end of Summer.
2024 Prices
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
1 July to 15 Sept 2024
Classic Comfy
Self-guided
7 stages (or 6 stages and 1 rest day)
(8 nights)
GBP 1,380
Singles 420
Main Trip
GBP 1,485
Singles 535
7 stages
1 rest day
(9 nights)
GBP 1,465
Singles 465
GBP 1,570
Singles 580
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

2025 Prices
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
1 July to 14 Sept 2025
Classic Comfy
Self-guided
7 stages (or 6 stages and 1 rest day)
(8 nights)
GBP 1,580
Singles 420
Main Trip
GBP 1,685
Singles 535
7 stages
1 rest day
(9 nights)
GBP 1,665
Singles 465
GBP 1,770
Singles 580
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Accommodation
Where we stay
Our classic mix of accommodation aims to give an enticing taste of Alpine life, staying in good family-run hotels along the trail (or potentially slightly off-route, depending on availability), and a rustic auberge in Les Chapieux. As standard our classic trip includes 7 nights in 2* and 3* hotels, and 1 night in an auberge (like a basic hotel) which offers a mix of private rooms and dormitory accommodation. We can swap the auberge for another night in a hotel, arranging a taxi off-route to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. We have worked with the hotels for many years, and have come to know some very comfy, friendly and accommodating places to stay.

Mountain huts
It can be difficult to include any mountain huts on our Highlights trip, as our shorter itinerary mainly stays in towns and villages rather than high in the mountains to allow access to public transport. Please ask us if you'd like to modify the itinerary to include any huts and we can advise on options, most likely by extending the trip by a night. One option might be to add an extra hiking stage either before or after Courmayeur, and a night at one of the four huts on the Italian side of the TMB trail.

Avoiding dormitories
Avoiding dormitories entirely on our Highlights trip is very straightfoward – if there are no private rooms available at the Auberge in Les Chapieux, you can take a taxi to nearby Bourg-St-Maurice to a hotel off route. All other nights on our Highlights trip are in hotels.

Comfy
For a touch of luxury whilst you trek, our ‘Comfy’ mix of accommodation upgrades your hotels from 2* or 3* to 3* or 4* on 5 nights (we book the same hotel in Courmayeur as our first choice on both schedules). If there are no private rooms in Les Chapieux, we would book a hotel in Bourg-Saint-Maurice as standard on our 'Comfy' trip, rather than booking dormitory accommodation in Les Chapieux. Please ask if you’d like more details.

Single Room Supplement
If you would like to stay in single rooms rather than sharing a double, twin or triple room we add our single room supplement. This covers the additional cost of booking single occupancy rooms. The single supplement is only applied to nights where single rooms are available; in the auberge, we may be able to book single rooms or if not, we will book the smallest room available.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. If you are still interested in this trip, we do have availability on our guided trips.

Route
Ladders next to Aiguillette d'Argentiere
Ladders on the ascent to Lac Blanc, stage 7

Our routecards stick 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. We have been walking the route regularly since our first visit in 2005 and we think that many of the variants are worthwhile additions to a Tour. Multiple options are outlined on your daily routecards, allowing you to pick your preferred route as you go, depending on weather conditions and how you feel on the day.

Our normal Tour is arranged in the classic anti-clockwise direction, and we prefer this, although over the years we have arranged several clockwise Tours, with the caveat that our routecards are written in the opposite direction! Please ask if this is of interest.

People at Alpine ExploratoryPeople at Alpine Exploratory
Latest research on the Tour du Mont Blanc by Alpine Exploratory's Rob Gale and Evie.

The Terrain
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a very popular trail in Summer, and the quality of the footpaths reflects this. The terrain covered can sometimes be steep and rocky, but mostly the uphill sections are long gradual tests of stamina on good trails. This is complemented by the more relaxing sections of wide tracks through forests, country lanes and zig-zagging hillside paths with some rockier sections to keep you entertained.

There are some small sections of steep, loose ground requiring care, and in a small number of places on the trail you meet with ladders and other aids, such as fixed chains. These should not present a problem to regular mountain walkers and are not via ferrata or climbing sections. All such areas can be avoided by following alternative routes given in your routecards, though these alternatives are sometimes longer. In early or late summer, there is a good chance of snow patches lying on the higher paths which will require care, but the lower paths are likely to be snow-free. We provide as much information as we can on snow in our pre-Summer Season Update.

Is it for me?
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a famous trail, often classed as one of the best long-distance hiking trails in the world, and understandably so. The route has a varied mix of accommodation suiting most tastes. It has high rocky passes for a high mountain feel, its villages are characterful, it offers hearty food and it gives delightful walking in the most grand scenery. The result is a tough yet enjoyable holiday and a true taste of Alpine life.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is good for those who have a good overall fitness, some experience of multi-day hikes in the mountains, and the ability to walk for up to 8 hours per day over rocky and sometimes exposed ground. If you are very fit and active day-to-day, then the TMB can also be suitable for those new to multi-day trekking, but good walking experience is still needed. The main challenge of the TMB, aside from the daily distance, is the amount of ascent and descent. Most days comprise a steady ascent to a mountain pass, followed by a descent to the valley bottom and your home for the night.

The route is generally well signposted and waymarked, aiding navigation, although a map and compass will be needed for navigation in case of bad weather, such as low cloud. It is essential that at least one person in each group can navigate with a map and compass. We provide you with our routecards, providing detailed descriptions of each days’ walk, along with the topographical maps for the full route.

Difficulty
We grade the Tour du Mont Blanc as a Red 3. The TMB is first and foremost a walk and there is no glacier crossing, via ferrata or rock climbing. There are, however a few sections of steep and rocky ground which require steady foot placement and, at times, an ability to cope with walking along some narrow and possibly exposed paths. In particular there are sections on the standard route, all on the final stage above the Chamonix valley, where metal ladders or steps have been installed to make the route easier across rocky ground. These sections can be avoided by alternative routes, but should not present problems to regular hillwalkers.

We explain in your routecards the relative difficulties of the route and the variants. (We try to show relative difficulty so that hikers can make the right choices.) As noted above, beside the distance walked each day, the main challenge is the ascent and descent. Although it is possible to shorten some days by selecting different stopping points, the distances are generally dictated by the location of the accommodation along the trail. Some days can be shortened by taking buses and cable cars and your routecards advise where this is possible. Please ask us for more details!

Tour du Mont Blanc Walking Guide - more about the trail
The making of our Tour du Mont Blanc - photos from our research trips

How to get there
Mont Blanc Express from Martigny to Chamonix
Mont Blanc Express between Chamonix and Martigny


Your holiday starts and ends in the major Alpine resort of Chamonix, one of the best-linked in the Alps. The most convenient airport is Geneva. Several minibus companies offer transfers from the airport in about 1h 30m, or take the coach or (longer) the scenic Swiss trains via Martigny. Also from the Swiss side, Zurich and Basel airports work but with longer train journeys.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price, and we leave you to arrange your transfers individually. We do however take care to give the most useful notes possible about all travel options. We supply these both on booking in your Trip Notes, and in your info pack which we send out prior to your trip. We also offer personalised tips based on our extensive travels across Europe; please ask us for advice and we'll be happy to help.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation and Itinerary, tailored to your preferences
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner in Les Contamines, Les Chapieux, and Champex (3 nights on our 7-stage 'classic' trip)
  • Detailed Routecards from our Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • Taxi journeys from Trient to Argentiere and from Les Chapieux to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, if needed
  • The 3 French/Italian topographical maps needed (1:25,000)
  • Downloadable GPX Tracks covering the route
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive Season Update following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (9am until 9pm in the Alps)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Buses, cable cars and any other local transport on the trip not specified above
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in the other towns
  • Baggage transfer (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Let us move your bags along the route for you. We offer a baggage transfer service on the Tour du Mont Blanc as an extra.

Alternatively we can drop your bags only at certain stops, and we can advise on leaving luggage in Chamonix while you hike. This is a popular option if spending longer in Europe.
Got questions about the Tour du Mont Blanc?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Rob, Evie, Ben and Amy will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and, more broadly, exploring ski and hiking trails around the world, so do feel free to ask anything at all.


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Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights Self-guided

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The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Hiking along the Grand Balcon Sud on the Tour du Mont Blanc
  View of Mont Blanc from the Grand Balcon Sud    Photos from the Tour du Mont Blanc


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.

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