Tour du Mont Blanc South
4 stages . 5 nights . French and Italian Alps
Glacier de Bionnassay on the Tour du Mont Blanc wiht Alpine Exploratory
Tour du Mont Blanc South
TMB South
4 stages . 5 nights

Tour du Mont Blanc South
Self-guided trekking holiday


Key information

Start: Les Houches after night in Chamonix
End: Courmayeur for night in Courmayeur
Season dates: 1 July to 15 Sept 2024 and 1 July to 18 Sept 2025
Length: 4 days' walking
Typical walk: 17km, 1,100m ascent
Total distance: 73km or 45.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,584m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 880 per person for 2024

The Tour du Mont Blanc South is a short yet exhilarating walking holiday, offering some of the best trekking in the Alps in just 4 days. This 4-stage, 5-night trip passes from France into Italy, crossing a number of high cols with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc Massif and the surrounding mountains. There is a reason this trip often features as one of the best hikes in Europe!

We start in Les Houches near Chamonix, walking around the South of the Mont Blanc Massif and finishing in Courmayeur, on the Italian side of Mont Blanc itself. This part of the trail takes you over the high mountain passes of Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and Col de la Seigne, with the optional extras of Col de Tricot and Col des Fours depending on which variant you take on those days. The views are wide and the scenery dramatic. The terrain on the Tour du Mont Blanc South means that the walking is slightly tougher overall than its northern counterpart, however you are rewarded with some of the best views on the whole tour. Our normal schedule stays in 2 mountain huts, adding some quintessential Alpine charm and character to your hike.

Our routecards follow the main Tour du Mont Blanc route, with optional variants on 2 stages allowing you the opportunity to adjust the difficulty to best suit your group. The route ends in the pretty Italian town of Courmayeur, where a comfy bed and some delicious food await.



Map

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Guided TMB - walk the trail with one of our guides
Full TMB - 11 stages, 1 rest day, 13 nights
TMB North - 7 stages, 8 nights
TMB Weekend - 3 stages, 4 nights
TMB Highlights - 7 stages, 8 nights. The best of the TMB.
Options
Our 4 stage trip allows a complete hike of the Southern stages 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
Our normal 4-stage trek can be made quicker, for strong walkers only, by merging the middle 2 stages into 1 with an overnight at Refuge des Mottets. This is a notably tough hike with 3 long days, so we tend to recommend our classic 4-stage trip to most clients.

Make the trip longer
Making a trip longer is certainly possible and we can do this in a few ways. Perhaps the most popular is to add a stage at the end by walking from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti, and either spending the night there or dropping down to the road and catching the bus back to Courmayeur. This would make a great 5-stage trek. Alternatively, you could break up the long and solidly uphill stage from Les Contamines to Les Chapieux with a night at Refuge de la Balme. Both options work well so please let us know your preferences. If you are looking for an even longer trip, why not have a look at our 7-stage Tour du Mont Blanc North or Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights trips?

Add a rest day
We don’t normally recommend taking a rest day on this trip, due to the remote nature of the Southern part of the Tour du Mont Blanc trail. Many of our clients enjoy spending additional nights in Chamonix or Courmayeur before or after their hike, so please do just let us know if you’d like to do the same.

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.

2024 Prices
Tour du Mont Blanc South
1 July to 15 Sept 2024
Hutty Classic Comfy
Self-guided
4 stages
(5 nights)
GBP 780
Singles 90
GBP 880
Singles 135
Main Trip
GBP 1,050
Singles 220
5 stages
(6 nights)

GBP 845
Singles 90
GBP 945
Singles 145
GBP 1,115
Singles 220
Options
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

2025 Prices
Tour du Mont Blanc South
1 July to 18 Sept 2025
Hutty Classic Comfy
Self-guided
4 stages
(5 nights)
GBP 880
Singles 90
GBP 980
Singles 135
Main Trip
GBP 1,150
Singles 220
Options
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Accommodation
Where we stay
Our Classic mix of accommodation gives a great mix of family-run hotels in the towns and villages with characterful huts in the mountains, striking a good balance between comfort and the authentic hut-to-hut Alpine trekking experience. As standard, our TMB South trip has 1 hut night, 1 night in an auberge (simple hotel) and 3 nights in 2 and 3* hotels.

Mountain huts
Rifugio Elisabetta offers 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. It's important to note that the large dormitory room at Rifugio Elisabetta offers a sleeping platform, instead of individual bunk beds. Sleeping platforms are shared with other travellers outside of your group. 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
There are 2 nights where private rooms are limited on the Tour du Mont Blanc South - at the auberge and in the mountain hut. If private rooms are not available here and you want to avoid dormitories, it is possible to stay in hotels throughout by travelling off route. From Les Chapieux you can take a taxi ride to hotel in nearby Bourg-St-Maurice, and from Rif. Elisabetta you can walk a little further along the trail to catch a bus into Courmayeur for a hotel night.

Comfy
Our Comfy mix of accommodation upgrades your hotels in Chamonix and Les Contamines from 2 and 3* to 3 and 4*. Instead of Rifugio Elisabetta we suggest an alternative hut, Cabane du Combal. Skipping the huts entirely is possible with travel off the route, so please do ask for details.

Hutty
Our Hutty mix of accommodation gives 3 nights in huts (we add Refuge de Miage in place of Les Contamines and Refuge de la Croix de Bonhomme instead of Les Chapieux), all in dormitories as standard, plus 2 nights in 2* hotels at the beginning and end of your trip. This gives a more basic and economical trip and is great for those who prefer to stay high in the mountains for more nights. In addition, one more evening meal is included at Refuge de Miage, making 4 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.
Route
Stream crossing on the TMB
Himalayan style bridge over a stream, stage 1

Our approach to the Tour du Mont Blanc South
This walking holiday takes you on a 4-day adventure around the Southern edge of the Mont Blanc Massif, starting in Les Houches near Chamonix and finishing in Courmayeur, crossing 3 high mountain passes along the way. Our routecards stick to the generally accepted Tour du Mont Blanc route, with some optional variants such as that which crosses the Col des Fours between Col du Bonhomme and Col de la Seigne. These variants are described on your daily routecards, allowing you to pick your route as you go. For those with limited time this is an excellent introduction to the full Tour du Mont Blanc, and many clients will come back another year to walk the Northern section, from Courmayeur back round to Les Houches.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's latesy research on the Tour du Mont Blanc was led by Rob Gale

The Terrain
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a very popular trail in summer and the good solid footpaths reflect this. The trail itself is quite varied, comprising wide tracks through forests, the odd country lane, zig-zagging hillside paths and some rockier sections.

The Tour du Mont Blanc South takes you to some higher and more remote locations, where the trail becomes rockier and in places quite exposed, than on the Northern part of the trail. This requires a head for heights and some steady footwork, particularly in descent. In early or late summer there is a good chance of snow patches lying on the higher paths requiring care, but the lower paths are likely to be snow-free.

Is it for me?
The route is generally well signposted and waymarked, aiding navigation, though a map and compass will be needed for navigation in bad weather and it is essential that at least one person can navigate using a map and compass. We provide all of the maps needed, along with our detailed routecards.

A level of self-sufficiency on the TMB is necessary as transfer bags (optional) cannot be delivered to the huts, requiring you to carry everything you’ll need for 2 days on your back. Please do ask us for more detailed information about the options available to you.

Difficulty
We grade our Tour du Mont Blanc South as a Red 3. If comparing the Southern and Northern parts of the TMB, we would say that this Southern section is a little harder, with longer days and more time spent in higher and more remote areas. There are no glacier crossings, via ferrata or rock climbing, however there are a few sections of steep and rocky ground. There is one Himalayan-style wire bridge on the Col de Tricot alternative on the first stage, easily avoided by taking the main route described on your routecard that day.

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 and ends in the lively town of Chamonix in France; a hot spot for hikers, mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts. The most convenient airport is Geneva with several transfer options available by minibus, coach or scenic Swiss trains; Zurich and Basel airports also work.

On the return, there are regular buses which run through the Mont Blanc tunnel from Courmayeur to Chamonix, again meaning that Geneva is the most convenient airport to fly out of. From Courmayeur it is also feasible to take buses through the Aosta valley to Turin and onwards to Milan.

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.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the huts and auberges and in Les Contamines (3 nights on our 4-stage 'classic' trip)
  • Detailed Routecards TMB1-4 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 2 topographical maps needed
  • GPX tracks covering our main 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 Chamonix and Courmayeur (this would be 2 nights on our 4-stage 'classic' trip)
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Let us move your bags for you! We offer a partial baggage transfer service on the Tour du Mont Blanc South, as an extra, to all stops except the huts. Whilst at the huts, we will transfer your bag to your next hotel. Please contact us for a price or for advice on baggage transfer.
Got questions about the Tour du Mont Blanc South?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Dan and Rob 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.


Enquiry Form
Tour du Mont Blanc South Self-guided

Your name


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Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!


Your intended arrival date on the Tour du Mont Blanc? (This helps us give you an idea of availability and doesn't need to be exact)


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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
Australia 02 8319 2266
Canada 416-548-4819
New Zealand 04 889 4515
USA 646-757-1102

Open to the world
Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

Keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, and our Blog for photos and updates from our own travels and clients' trips.

Cabane du Combal on the Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpine Exploratory
  Cabane du Combal at the end of Stage 4    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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