(Tour du Mont Blanc) Col de la Seigne on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif
TOUR DU MONT BLANC (SELF-GUIDED)   11 stages . 14 nights . French, Italian, and Swiss Alps   Booking  Prefer a guided trip?

Tour du Mont Blanc
Self-guided trekking holiday


+ Trek all the stages, completing the whole circuit
+ Start on any date you choose
+ Expert, unlimited advice on all the options


Latest news May 2019
Please ask us about a trip during our 2019 season. Thank you.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a trek of superlatives: the most famous trek in Europe, forming a circuit of Western Europe's highest mountain Mont Blanc (4,808m). Our circuit takes the standard 11 days, starting and finishing in the Chamonix valley.

Tour trekkers are treated to grandstand views of the Mont Blanc massif, but the route never strays from mountain walking terrain. Cross from France into Italy, then into Switzerland and finally back into France. On a typical day your route climbs up to reach a col with wide mountain views before dropping down to the next verdant valley. Here you find the hamlet, village or town that will be home for the night. Our normal schedule also stays in huts for three nights.

Our routecards follow the main Tour du Mont Blanc route, with some optional diversions such as that to Lac Blanc for views across to Mont Blanc. Two rest days are built in, based in Courmayeur and in the Chamonix valley with lots to explore. This holiday misses out nothing from the Tour and you will cover the whole circuit in one very satisfying fortnight.

Your accommodation reflects life as it's lived in these mountains and is a mix of comfy valley hotels and simple auberges, plus three huts, all chosen for their friendliness and location.


Map


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

Prices


Alpine Exploratory
TMBsg Tour du Mont Blanc (Self-guided)
7 July to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
12 stages
2 rest days
(15 nights)
1,300
Singles 180
1,520
Singles 275
1,670
Singles 330
11 stages
2 rest days
(14 nights)
1,240
Singles 160
1,450
Singles 250
Our main TMB
1,590
Singles 300
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
1,120
Singles 120
1,330
Singles 200
1,420
Singles 260
Specialised schedules
13 stages
2 rest days
(16 nights)
1,360
Singles 220
1,590
Singles 300
1,750
Singles 360
9 stages
(10 nights)

990
Singles 125
1,210
Singles 175
1,260
Singles 210
Options
Baggage transfer Please ask us

Baggage transfer

Let us move your bags between stops. Please contact us for a price. On the nights on which you stay in huts (4 nights on our normal TMB) your bag goes ahead to your next hotel. We don't suggest that the baggage service is necessary, and packing light (we advise!) can be the finest way to do the TMB. The service is there for all who'd like it.


Itinerary

Here is our normal 11-stage itinerary:

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. Enjoy dining out at restaurants in the town centre.
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, to Les Contamines.
Hotel in Les Contamines

Stage 2: Les Contamines to Refuge Bonhomme
Red3 grade, 21km with 1430m ascent, 980m 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 second col at which the Bonhomme refuge sits overlooking the valleys.
Mountain hut

Stage 3: Refuge Bonhomme to Rifugio Elisabetta
Red3 grade, 16km with 1045m ascent, 440m descent
The main route drops to les Chapieux then climbs up the Vallée des Glaciers; an alternative in the absence of snow is by Col des Fours. Then both routes climb to Col de la Seigne on the Italian frontier. We descend to Rifugio Elisabetta (Italy) walking towards the best views of the route so far.
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 with stunning views of what is now called Monte Bianco. Courmayeur is in some ways the Italian equivalent of Chamonix but has a very different atmosphere.
Hotel in Courmayeur

Rest day in Courmayeur
Many options exist for sight-seeing or activities such as mountain biking, or day-walks exploring the surrounding hillsides.
Hotel in Courmayeur

Stage 5: Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti
Red3 grade, 14km with 1720m ascent, 890m descent
There is a definite feel of a new stage of the trek beginning as you leave Courmayeur with the goal of Rifugio Bonatti. Today will be the longest day and with the most ascent, but with arguably the finest high-mountain views. The Bonatti hut is an unusually well-equipped and modern building.
Mountain hut

Stage 6: Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly
Red3 grade, 19km with 970m ascent, 1400m descent
Switzerland beckons today as you cross into the Swiss Val Ferret. Another linguistic and cultural frontier is passed! The goal is 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, running through the valley towards Champex. 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.
Hotel in Champex

Stage 8: Champex to Trient
Red3 grade, 18.5km with 740m ascent, 880m descent
Walk among meadows and woods to Trient past Col de la Forclaz, 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 undoubtedly 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 down into the Arve valley at Montroc and walking down to Argentière.
Hotel in Argentiere

Rest day in Argentiere
Today is a rest day in the Chamonix valley before the final two stages of the trek. Based near Argentière there are so many opportunities to visit places in the valley or try outdoor activities such as cable cars trips, mountain biking - or simply shopping in Chamonix.
Hotel in Argentiere

Stage 10: Argentiere to La Flegere
Red3 grade, 10km with 1140m ascent, 510m descent
The trip rejoins the Tour du Mont Blanc today for a final two days of hopefully some exhilarating views across to Mont Blanc. The route traverses the hillside on the North side of the valley and you 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 just 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 or further travels. We love to advise on Switzerland and elsewhere in the Alps. Congratulations on the TMB!

This itinerary is typical of our standard 11-day trek with 2 rest days, staying in a mix of hotels, auberges (basic hotels sometimes in dormitories) and mountain huts.

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


Refuges du Lac Blanc and de la Flegere 2019

As expected, Refuge de la Flegere, which we normally use to break up the section of the TMB above Chamonix, will be closed for the duration of the 2019 summer season along with the Flegere cable car. However, we are pleased to say that Refuge du Lac Blanc will be open for the 2019 season which gives two potential options for our hikers above Chamonix. Our standard option for 2019 will be to walk beyond La Flegere to Planpraz and take the Planpraz cable car to Chamonix. You would then stay 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 for most hikers. However, if you wish, you can opt to stay at Refuge du Lac Blanc instead. Please do ask us for more details or to discuss your options.


Options

We can adjust your TMB in various ways, as follows:

Faster treks
Each year many clients ask to complete their TMBs in fewer days. We can recommend itineraries of 9 or 10 stages, and sometimes fewer. Rest days can be skipped too. It's just as valid to take longer over the TMB, for shorter stages and more time to absorb the scenery.

More huts or auberges
As standard our TMBs have 3 hut nights; if you prefer more, we can readily book 5 or 6 nights in huts. It's tricky to complete the TMB entirely by staying in huts, because of their spacing, but with a slightly less even spread of stage lengths we can make your trek almost entirely based in huts or hut-like places. We can also make more use of auberges or dormitory accommodation, for a more basic trip. Please ask us for what you prefer.

Accommodation
Please let us know if you fancy a more comfortable or a more basic TMB. Our normal schedule is a good mix; at certain villages we can adjust your accommodation, booking more auberges or more smart hotels as you prefer. Our 'comfy' itinerary of mainly 3* hotels is a good starting point for many.

No dormitories
If you'd like to stay in fewer dorms, please let us know. We can usually book private rooms at at least one of your huts. To avoid dorms entirely means a hotel in place of at least one hut; we can advise.


Happy Clients

In Courmayeur: "Really great breakfasts, I mean amazing choices from fruit custard tarts, fruit salad, muesli, meats, cheeses. A perfect choice.

"A very well organised, efficient, helpful and reliable organisation. Whole trip very well researched and up to date. Great and useful route cards that allowed us choice depending on weather. Good maps. To be commended."

Nicki Spicer, UK
(Tour du Mont Blanc)

Key information Summer 2019

Trip name: Tour du Mont Blanc
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: TMBsg
Route: TMB Tour du Mont Blanc
(See our background page on the TMB)
(Prefer Guided, North, South or Weekend?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 11 days' trekking, 2 rest days
Start: Les Houches in France
End: Les Houches for night in Chamonix
Typical walk: 16km, 1,000m ascent
Highest altitude: 2,580m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)



Prices Summer 2019

11 stages and 2 rest days, per person:

TMBsg Hutty
GBP 1,240 (singles 160)
Book
Tour du Mont Blanc (self-guided)

TMBsg Classic
GBP 1,450 (singles 250)
Book
Tour du Mont Blanc (self-guided)

TMBsg Comfy
GBP 1,590 (singles 300)
Book
Tour du Mont Blanc (self-guided)



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

Crossing a rocky stream on the TMB
Crossing a rocky stream (Photo gallery)


Alpine Exploratory's service

Accommodation
14 nights, staying in:
3-star hotels (5)
2-star hotels (4)
Auberges (1)
Mountain huts (4)

Included
Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts and 6 evening meals
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards TMB1-11 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
7 July to 15 September 2019
5 July to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates


Rifugio Bonatti, a fine Italian hut on the Tour du Mont Blanc
Rifugio Bonatti (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

Holiday Notes Read our trip dossier,
    a 2-page PDF which is easy to print

Walking guides Our TMB background page

Contact us or use this form:


Rough month?         
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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.
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