Tour du Mont Blanc North
7 stages . 8 nights . French, Italian and Swiss Alps
(Tour du Mont Blanc North) View of Mont Dolent on the stage to Champex
Alpine flowers by Mont Dolent on the Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Blanc North
TMB North
7 stages . 8 nights

Tour du Mont Blanc North
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information

Start: Courmayeur after night in Courmayeur
End: Les Houches for night in Chamonix
Season dates: 1 July to 15 Sept 2024 and 1 July to 18 Sept 2025
Length: 7 days' walking
Typical walk: 16km, 1,000m ascent
Total distance: 108km or 67.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,537m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 1,310 per person for 2025

The Tour du Mont Blanc North showcases the best of the full 11-stage Tour du Mont Blanc in just 7 days, from Courmayeur to Chamonix. Covering the 3 countries of Italy, France and Switzerland, this section of the route gives you a real flavour of hiking in the Alps in one exciting week, with some of the best views on the trail.

Starting in the Italian Val Ferret near Courmayeur, the route climbs high above the valley to the crossing of the Grand Col Ferret, before dropping into Switzerland for some pretty walking in lush pastures amid pastoral valley scenes. The trek finishes by climbing again into France at Col de Balme, culminating in the best views of Mont Blanc and the excitement of the Chamonix valley. The route tends to climb each day to a high point, often a mountain pass offering panoramic views, before dropping into the valley where you will find a characterful hotel or auberge and your home for the night. Our standard route includes two nights in mountain huts, complementing the route and giving a classic Alpine hiking experience. The terrain on the Tour du Mont Blanc North is slightly easier than its Southern counterpart, however this is still a challenging trek overall.

Our routecards follow the main Tour du Mont Blanc route, with some optional variants such as the Mont de la Saxe high level route on your first day from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti, the spectacular Fenetre d’Arpette on the stage from Champex to Trient, and a later excursion to Lac Blanc for some of the most expansive views of the Mont Blanc Massif. This hike is one of the best in Europe and you won’t be disappointed!


Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Guided TMB - supported by one of our amazing guides
Full TMB - 11 stages, 1 rest day, 13 nights
TMB South - 4 stages, 5 nights
TMB Highlights - 6 stages, 7 nights
Our popular 7 stage trip allows a complete hike of the Northern section of the Tour du Mont Blanc, without any unnecessarily long days and with time to relax. 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 shorter
Making the trip shorter is very possible, walking the route in 6 or even 5 stages. One option is to miss out a day, by catching a bus from Courmayeur up-valley and then walking to La Fouly the same day, thus missing the first stage to Rifugio Bonatti. Similarly, it is possible to miss the final day from La Flegere to Les Houches by simply taking the cable car down into Chamonix from La Flegere or Planpraz, 90 minutes further along the trail. Alternatively, for a quick dash covering the full TMB North route, our 6-stage schedule condenses the last 3 stages into 2, making for 2 longer days. Or, at our normal pacing, join in La Fouly (Switzerland) and follow the last 5 stages to Les Houches.

Make the trip longer
For those who have more time, or simply prefer to walk at a more leisurely pace, why not split the day from Rif. Bonatti to La Fouly, with a stay at Rif. Elena. This makes 2 short days either side, and would suit those who wish to linger in the Val Ferret and are happy with an extra hut night. A rest day in Champex is also a great option, for those who have the time and might appreciate a day to relax in this pretty lakeside village. If you are interested in extending your holiday, or walking the trail in even more stages, please let us know and we can provide you with the various options in more detail.

Add a rest day
As standard, we don't include a rest day on our TMB North trip. However, if you would like to add in a rest day, we would recommend taking one in Champex; situated on a lake it provides a peaceful location for a rest day. We are also happy to add additional nights in Courmayeur before your trek or in Chamonix at the end. Please do just 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 guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details or view our scheduled guided trips.

2025 Prices
Tour du Mont Blanc North
1 July to 18 Sept 2025
Hutty Classic Comfy
6 stages
(7 nights)
GBP 1,185
Singles 135
GBP 1,255
Singles 375
GBP 1,365
Singles 4930
7 stages
(8 nights)
GBP 1,240
Singles 135
GBP 1,310
Singles 375
Main Trip
GBP 1,420
Singles 490
7 stages
1 rest day
(9 nights)
GBP 1,330
Singles 180
GBP 1,420
Singles 445
GBP 1,530
Singles 560
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Where we stay
Our Classic mix of accommodation aims to give a good mix of friendly family-run hotels in the villages and characterful huts in the mountains, striking a good balance between comfort and the true Alpine hiking experience. As standard our TMB North trip includes 2 nights in huts, 1 night in an auberge and 5 nights in 2* and 3* hotels.

Mountain huts
Rifugio Bonatti and Rifugio Elena, the huts at the end of the first hiking stage on our usual schedule, offer a handful of private rooms as well as shared dormitory rooms. Please let us know if you'd prefer to sleep in a private room on this night and we will try our best to accommodate that request. The other hut, Refuge de la Flegere, offers shared dormitory rooms only. Each room is composed of bunk beds and single beds usually in 8-12 person dormitories.

Sleeping platforms
It's important to note that the large dormitory room at Rifugio Bonatti and Auberge du Mont Blanc in Trient offer sleeping platforms in their dormitories instead of individual bunk beds. Sleeping platforms are shared with other travellers outside of your group (see photo). We try our best to avoid the sleeping platforms when possible but this is of course dependent on availability at the time of booking.

Avoiding dormitories
Avoiding dormitories on the TMB North is possible and involves some additional walking, cable cars and buses. For example, to avoid the last hut you can take a cable car off-route to Chamonix, staying in a hotel in the valley. If Rif. Bonatti is unable to offer private rooms on your preferred dates, you may need to walk further along the trail to alternative accommodation, or walk off-route slightly to catch a bus into Courmayeur. We suggest staying in both huts if possible, as they contribute to the overall Alpine experience and are the natural stopping points along the route. They also offer a wonderful communal spirit, and are situated in fine high locations.

Our Comfy mix of accommodation upgrades your hotels on 3 nights, from 2 or 3* to 3 or 4*. We also swap the second hut, Ref. Flegere, for an additional hotel night in Chamonix, reached by cable car right next to the hut. Ordinarily you would still stay in Rif. Bonatti or Rif. Elena (in a private room if available), however other options are available if a hut stay doesn’t appeal. Please do ask for details and we’d be happy to provide more information.

Our Hutty mix of accommodation gives 2 nights in dormitories in the huts, and we swap 2 of the hotels to auberges, leaving 3 nights in 2 or 3* hotels in Courmayeur, Champex and Chamonix. This makes 2 huts, 3 auberges and 3 hotel nights in total. The Hutty mix gives a more basic and economical trip and is great for those who prefer to stay in more communal environments. In addition, you will have an extra 2 evening meals included in the auberges, making 5 evening meals in total.

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, and is not applied to hut nights which do not offer single rooms. In the auberges, 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.

Refuge Bonatti Dorm
Rifugio Bonatti sleeping platforms
Ladders next to Aiguillette d'Argentiere
Ladders on the ascent to Lac Blanc, stage 10

Our approach to the Tour du Mont Blanc North
This walking holiday takes you on the Tour du Mont Blanc stages around the Northern side of Mont Blanc, starting in Courmayeur and finishing in the Chamonix valley. On the way, you cover all of the Swiss stages and complete the sections in the Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix, hopefully with some of the best views of Mont Blanc. We follow the recognised Tour du Mont Blanc Route with a few optional variants described, such as the high-level Fenetre d’Arpette and a small detour to Lac Blanc above Chamonix (well worth a visit). Each variant is described in your routecards, allowing you to pick and choose your route as you go. We walk every step of the way without the need for any public transport under normal circumstances, providing a great sense of achievement.

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 popular trail in summer and the good solid footpaths reflect this. The terrain in these parts of the Alps is varied; sometimes steep and rocky requiring careful footing and, at others, the route simply follows wide tracks through forests, the odd country lane and zig-zagging hillside paths.

On the final 2 stages above Chamonix there are a few small sections of ladders, which can be easily 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 requiring special care, but the lower paths are likely to be snow-free.

Is it for me?
The Tour du Mont Blanc North is a hike of great contrasts, from high passes to lush valleys and flower meadows. This trip has something for everyone in a single week-long trip and is enjoyed by many each year. The distances are not too great, however the ability to walk for up to 8 hours a day over rocky and sometimes exposed ground is essential. One of the main challenges on this trail is not the distance walked, but the amount of ascent and descent involved each day. Most days comprise of a steady uphill ascent to a mountain pass, followed by a descent to the valley bottom and your home for the night.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is perfect for those who have a good overall level of fitness and some experience of multi-day trekking in the mountains. The route is generally well signposted and waymarked, aiding navigation, though a map and compass is essential for navigation in bad weather. We provide all of the maps needed, along with our detailed routecards. Harder alternatives, such as the Mont de la Saxe variant on the stage between Courmayeur and Rif. Bonatti, and the Fenetre d’Arpette variant between Champex and Trient, are also available for those looking for more of a challenge, but can also be avoided for those looking for a more leisurely hike.

A level of self-sufficiency on the TMB is necessary as transfer bags (optional) cannot be delivered to the huts, requiring you to pack your overnight things in your day pack for these nights. There are however plenty of huts along the route for you to restock your food and water provisions!

The TMB is first and foremost a walk; there are no glacier crossings, via ferrata or rock climbing, however there are a few sections of steep and rocky ground. We grade this route as a Red 3, reflecting the sections of steep and loose ground requiring careful foot placement, the length of time walking each day and the navigation skills required in poor weather.

Most stages are not too tough or technically challenging. Some of the rockier sections, such as the Fenetre d’Arpette variant (which we grade as Black 3), can be easily avoided by taking an alternative route on this day. Further sections to note are the small runs of metal ladders, all on the two stages above the Chamonix valley, which are used to aid ascent on some rocky sections of the trail. The hardest of these two sections can be avoided by alternative routes, but none of them should present problems to regular hillwalkers.

We explain the relative difficulties of the route and the variants in your routecards, giving you the freedom each day to choose your route and tailor it to your ability. Although it is possible to shorten some days by selecting different stopping points, the distances are generally dictated by the location of the villages and huts along the trail. Some days (but not all) can be shortened or skipped by taking buses and cable cars and your routecards advise where this is possible. Please do 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 in the charming Italian town of Courmayeur. The most convenient airport to fly into is Geneva, with several transfer options available by minibus, coach or scenic Swiss trains to Chamonix. The next step is to take one of the regular buses through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Courmayeur. Alternatively, you can take a private transfer from Geneva airport direct to Courmayeur. Zurich and Basel airports also work, with longer transfer times, so they are harder to recommend over Geneva. It is also feasible to reach Courmayeur via buses from Turin or Milan.

On the return, Geneva again is the most convenient airport to fly out of with easy and regular connecting buses direct from Chamonix.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We do however take care to give the most useful notes possible about all of the available travel options. We supply these both on booking in your Trip Notes and in your info pack. We also offer personalised tips at any point; please do just ask us for advice and we’d be happy to help.
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the huts and in La Fouly, Champex and Trient (5 nights, on our 'classic' 7-stage trip)
  • Detailed Routecards TMB5-11 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 3 topographical maps needed
  • 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
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in the towns (this would be 3 nights on our 'classic' 7-stage trip)
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Let us move your bags for you! We offer a baggage transfer service to all stops except the 2 hut nights. When staying at the huts, your bag simply goes ahead to the next hotel. Please contact us for a price, or feel free to ask questions about baggage transfer on the route.
Got questions about the Tour du Mont Blanc North?
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 North Self-guided

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The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Col du Balme view on the Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpine Exploratory
  View towards the Aiguilles Rouges from Col du Balme, Stage 9    Photos from the Tour du Mont Blanc

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