Tour du Mont Blanc
11 stages . 13 nights . French, Italian and Swiss Alps
Tour du Mont Blanc self guided trips
Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Blanc
11 stages . 1 rest day . 13 nights

Tour du Mont Blanc
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information Summer 2024

Start: Les Houches after night in Chamonix
End: Les Houches for night in Chamonix
Season dates: 1 July to 15 Sept 2024
Length: 11 days' walking, 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 1,850 per person

The Tour du Mont Blanc is arguably one of the best and most popular hiking trips in Europe. It’s a trek of superlatives, forming a circuit of Western Europe's highest mountain: Mont Blanc (4,808m). Our Tour comprises 11 stages and 1 rest day in Courmayeur.

Hikers are treated to grandstand views of the Mont Blanc massif from most angles, crossing from France into Italy, then into Switzerland and finally back into France. The combination of high mountain passes, pastoral valleys, charming villages and typical Savoyard and Valaisian food, make for an unusually rounded 2-week walking holiday. Our classic schedule stays in four mountain huts, a part of the way of life in Alpine hiking.

Our routecards follow the main Tour du Mont Blanc route, plus optional variants such as that to Lac Blanc for direct views across to Mont Blanc and the Aiguille Verte. The route variants let you to make this trip your own, by picking your preferred route each day. We build in one rest day, in Courmayeur after 4 stages, to rest your legs and enjoy the charm of this Italian mountain town. We walk every step of the Tour without the need to use transport, completing the full circuit in one satisfying fortnight.


Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip?
Guided TMB - walk the trail with one of our guides
TMB North - 7 stages, 8 nights
TMB South - 4 stages, 5 nights
TMB Highlights - 6 stages, 7 nights
Our popular 11-stage trip with 1 rest day allows a complete hike of the Tour du Mont Blanc without any unduly 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 11-stage hike can be made quicker, for strong walkers, taking 10 or even 9 stages. This must involve at least one long stage. It's hard to recommend 8 stages or fewer for a full TMB due to the length of the days and spacing of accommodation along the trail. Please let us know if you’d like a shorter trip and we'll be happy to discuss options. Alternatively, we have the 4-stage TMB South or 7-stage TMB North which are superb trips in their own right. Generally we recommend trekking the normal stages, but fewer of them, than rushing over the TMB. Then complete the rest on a subsequent trip!

Make the trip longer
For those who have more time or simply prefer to walk at a less challenging pace, we can recommend ways to make the trip 12 or 13 stages in total. As the Southern section from Les Houches to Courmayeur is often considered the more strenuous, one option is to add a night at Refuge des Mottets, between Refuge Bonhomme and Rifugio Elisabetta. We can also add a night at Rif. Elena between Rif. Bonatti and La Fouly, for 13 stages in all. (A rest day in Champex or Argentiere is also a great option to extend your trip length, as below.) We suggest that there are limits to how easy the full TMB can be made and that the same terrain needs to be crossed whatever the schedule, so please ask us about your preferred approach and we'll be glad to advise.

Add rest days
As standard we include a rest day in Courmayeur, and this is very much recommended. Courmayeur is a sweet Italian town with some excellent restaurants, bars and gelateria on its pedestrianised high street. Courmayeur also provides a 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.) If you would like to add a second rest day, we would recommend taking one in Champex; situated on a lake it provides a peaceful location for a rest day. If a third appeals then Argentiere in the Chamonix valley would be our suggested option. 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 which we run at the start and end of Summer.
Tour du Mont Blanc
1 July to 15 Sept 2024
Hutty Classic Comfy
9 stages
(10 nights)

GBP 1,570
Singles 145
GBP 1,655
Singles 230
GBP 1,830
Singles 375
10 stages
1 rest day
(12 nights)
GBP 1,680
Singles 175
GBP 1,785
Singles 290
GBP 1,990
Singles 435
11 stages
1 rest day
(13 nights)
GBP 1,740
Singles 175
GBP 1,850
Singles 320
Main Trip
GBP 2,070
Singles 480
12 stages
2 rest days
(15 nights)
GBP 1,870
Singles 200
GBP 1,990
Singles 390
GBP 2,230
Singles 350
11 stages, 1 rest day
(13 nights)
Group of 4
GBP 3,170
Singles 175
GBP 3,280
Singles 320
GBP 3,500
Singles 480
11 stages, 1 rest day
(13 nights)
Other group sizes

Please ask us
Scheduled guided trips Please see our Tour du Mont Blanc Guided page for full details.
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Where we stay
Our classic mix of accommodation aims to give an enticing taste of Alpine life. We mix good family-run hotels in the villages with the auberges and huts that fit the route. As standard our classic trip includes 4 nights in huts, 1 night in an auberge and the remaining 8 nights in 2* and 3* hotels. We have known the huts and hotels for many years, and have come to know some very comfy, friendly and accommodating places to stay.

Mountain huts
2 out of the 4 huts (Rif Bonatti and Rif Elisabetta) on our classic 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 these two nights and we will try our best to accommodate that request. The other two huts (Ref Bonhomme and Ref Flegere) offer shared dormitory rooms only. Each room is composed of bunk beds and single beds, usually in 8-12 person dormitories. We suggest staying in all 4 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.

Sleeping platforms
It's important to note that the large dormitory room at Rifugio Elisabetta, 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 entirely is possible, and would involve – at the first hut - walking further along the trail to an auberge in les Chapieux, or a taxi ride off-route to nearby Bourg-St-Maurice to stay in a hotel. It is also possible to avoid the last hut by taking a cable car off-route to Chamonix, staying in a hotel in the valley. If Rif. Bonatti and Rif. Elisabetta are 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.

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 6 nights. We would also swap Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme for an auberge in Les Chapieux as standard, and we swap Refuge de la Flegere to a night in a hotel in Chamonix (reachable by cable car) as standard. You would still stay in mountain huts on 2 nights, where we will try to book private rooms if available. To avoid the huts completely is a little more involved, with travel required to take you off the route (please see above about avoiding dorms). Please ask if you’d like more details.

Our ‘Hutty’ mix of accommodation offers a more basic and economical trip. We include 5 nights in huts (we add Refuge de Miage in place of Les Contamines) plus 3 nights in auberges (we swap your hotel La Fouly to an auberge, and swap Argentiere for an auberge in Tre-le-Champ) and 5 nights in mostly 2* hotels. There are surprisingly few huts that fit within a well-paced TMB, but the route passes some charming auberges that have the character of a hut but are located lower down the mountain. As a result of staying in more huts and auberges, evening meals are included on 8 of the 13 nights, instead of the 6 we include on the classic mix of accommodation.

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

Our routecards stick to the generally accepted Tour du Mont Blanc route, with some small and scenic diversions recommended such as that to Lac Blanc for views across to Mont Blanc, and the higher Mont de la Saxe variant between Courmayeur and Rifugio Bonatti. We have been walking the route regularly since our first visit in 2005 and we think that these 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 route covers every step of the TMB, from Les Houches back to Les Houches, without the need to use public transport in normal circumstances. As standard, we build in a rest day in Courmayeur after a tough first 4 stages giving you the chance to rest, or indeed you may choose not to do that and instead keep exploring!

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
Alpine Exploratory's 2022 research on the Tour du Mont Blanc was led by Dan and Rob in July

The 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 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 often longer and less scenic. 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 1 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.

A level of self-sufficiency on the TMB is necessary as transfer bags (an optional extra) cannot be delivered to the huts. On the nights you’ll stay in huts, you’ll need to carry with you everything you need for that day’s walk and the day after, as your transfer bags will be moved ahead to your next hotel. Not too much food need be carried; there are plenty of huts and chalets along the way. Our routecards show cafes and shops on the trail.

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 three sections on the standard route, all on the two final stages above the Chamonix valley, where metal ladders or steps have been installed to make the route easier across rocky ground. The hardest two of these sections can be avoided by alternative routes, but none of them should 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 villages and huts 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.
  • Bespoke accommodation and Itinerary, tailored to your preferences
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the huts and in Les Contamines, La Fouly, Trient and Champex (on 8 nights for our main trip, classic trip)
  • Detailed Routecards TMB1-11 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 3 French/Italian topographical maps needed (1:25,000)
  • 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 during the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in other the towns (this would be 5 nights on our main trip)
  • 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, to all stops except the huts. At the huts your bag will simply be transferred to your next hotel.

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 the Alps.
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, 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.

Tour du Mont Blanc 2024 enquiry form

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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

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