OVERVIEW

Complete the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc, trekking through France, Italy and Switzerland, and enjoy staying in very comfortable hotels each night. On this variation of the tour, you will spend 2 nights in Courmayeur, where public transport enables you to complete this incredible alpine adventure in comfort.

Trek along high alpine trails and soak up the panorama of snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Mont Blanc Massif. Cross the Col de la Seigne into Italy and hike in Switzerland over the Grand Col Ferret. Stay in the charming Swiss lakeside village of Champex and return to France by the head of Chamonix Valley. Experience a trio of cultures and cuisines that range from classic wood-fired pizza in Courmayeur to typical Savoyard dishes of cheese fondue or melted cheese raclette in France. The perfect way to round off the accomplishment of completing the Tour du Mont Blanc!

Please note: additional transfer fees may apply if our regular accommodation providers have no availability for your preferred departure date. Should this occur, the cost will be communicated to you prior to confirming the booking. If you choose to cancel as a result, your deposit will of course be refunded in full.

Highlights

  • Traverse the high alps of France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Walk through La Vallee de Glacier and meet local Beaufort cheesemakers
  • Spot scurrying marmots and nimble mountain goats
  • Hike rugged trails, crossing the Col de la Seigne and Grand Col Ferret into Switzerland
  • Discover the rich mountaineering history of Chamonix and Courmayeur
  • Stay in private rooms with ensuites located in the heart of historic alpine villages and towns (Trient shared bathroom)

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
13 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Challenging to Strenuous

Grade 6 - Challenging  to Strenuous 

Longer, tougher, steeper hill sections, rough surfaces and many steps. Active lifestyle, good fitness and walking experience required.

PRICE FROM
$ 4455

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 1440

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of a room when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12
  • Day 13

DAY 1
Arrive Chamonix

Bustling with outdoor enthusiasts, the French Alpine town of Chamonix is only a 90-minute transfer from Geneva Airport (see How to get there section on the website for conditions). Please supply flight details as soon as you can if you are arriving via Geneva. Relax in the garden of your hotel under the incredible Mont Blanc massif before exploring the streets, pavement cafes and bars of this famous alpine town.

Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet
Run by the Durban sisters, Agnes and Veronique’s 3* hotel is a typical timber alpine chalet located in the heart of Chamonix. From their spacious garden, relax poolside with exceptional views of the Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

Meals included: None

DAY 2
Les Houches to Les Contamines

Les Houches is the traditional start of the TMB. We suggest taking the cable car up to Bellevue (1802m) to start your walk. From Bellevue you have a choice of two routes to Les Contamines. Either take the high route over the Col du Tricot (2102m)  under the shadow of the Bionnassay Glacier to the picture-postcard Refuge de Miage (famed for their blueberry tart). Alternatively, take the low route through alpine pastures and enchanting woodlands via the hamlets of Bionnassay and Le Champel.

Trek via the Col du Tricot: 19km
Ascent: 1540m
Descent: 1390m

Trek via Bionnassay & Le Champel: 18km
Ascent: 1040m
Descent: 880m

By using the cable from Bellevue both route options are reduced by approx. 2 hours (6kms) and around 650m of ascent.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Gai Soleil
Built by a local farmer in 1823, the Hotel Gai Soleil became a family-run hotel around 1920. With a surge in climbers visiting the region, the Gai Soleil became a firm favourite with keen alpinists. Run by Valerie and David, they take immense pride in serving dishes created with local produce. In the warm summer evenings, dinner is often served in their peaceful garden.

DAY 3
Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Begin the day by walking south from Les Contamines along the River Bonnant to the 17th-century church of Notre-Dame de la Gorge, which marks the start of the mountain path. The road gives way to a steep and roughly paved track, which climbs to Refuge de la Balme (a very well-timed rest!). From here the steep rocky path climbs over the Col du Bonhomme (2383m) and contours around to pass over the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443m). Then descend to the small village of Les Chapieux and your accommodation for the night.

Trek to Les Chapieux: 20km
Ascent: 1340m
Descent: 950m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Le Chambres du Soleil
A friendly auberge run by Celine and Pierre Arpin who always provide a warm welcome to hikers. Serving up simple and delicious dishes, this accommodation offers comfortable private rooms with ensuites. On arrival, it’s worth grabbing a refreshing beverage and kicking back on the sunny terrace before dinner.

DAY 4
Les Chapieux to La Visaille (Val Veny)

Start gently from Les Chapieux to reach the village of La Ville des Glaciers. Then it’s a steady uphill on a winding track to Col de la Seigne (2516m). At the pass, straddle the border between France and Italy and soak up views of the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif with its dramatic, jagged peaks. Descend through the Vallon de la Lee Blanche to Rifugio Elisabetta, a fantastic spot for a rest break. Continue on under tumbling glaciers into Val Veny. From here you will leave the main TMB route for a few km to reach La Visaille for bus access to Courmayeur.

Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1130m
Descent: 1010m
The distance can be reduced by 5km by taking the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon
Run by the Grivel Di Addario family, this 3* hotel is located in a quiet street just a few minutes walk from the main centre. With a long heritage of mountaineers in the family, the hotel is well equipped to look after weary trekkers. A comfortable lounge, fireplace, a garden terrace and modest en-suite rooms all make for an enjoyable stay.

DAY 5
La Visaille (Val Veny) to Courmayeur

From La Visaille, rejoin the TMB near the Cabane du Combal. Follow the magnificent balcony trail to Rifugio Maison Vieille with many vantage points to soak up the stunning views over the Val Veny. Why not relax with a picnic lunch and look for marmots?  A long, steep descent to Courmayeur follows but you can save your knees by making use of the chairlifts and cable cars.

Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 850m
Descent: 1310m
Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 6
Courmayeur to Val Ferret

Leave Courmayeur on foot and ascend onto the steep forested slopes of La Montagne de la Saxe. After arriving at Rifugio Bertone, you have two choices. Either follow the standard ‘Balcony Route’, which gives incredible unbroken views across Val Ferret to Mont Blanc and Grand Jorasses. Or take the High Route which is more challenging, but provides some of the most epic views on the walk. On reaching Rifugio Bonatti, the picnic terrace is great for sampling the famous Bonatti hot chocolate and taking in the majesty of the mountains around you. Then descend to Val Ferret and return by bus (30mins) to Courmayeur for the night.

Distance: 14km or 17km
Ascent: 1080m or 1730m
Descent: 580m or 1250m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 7
Val Ferret to La Fouly

Begin the day with a bus ride back through the impressive Val Ferret. At Arnuva, the head of the valley, a straightforward but steep climb winds up to the Grand Col Ferret. Along the way, enjoy a break at the perfectly placed Rifugio Elena with a café latte and panoramic views back down Val Ferret. Crossing the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), you enter Switzerland. From this spot, views extend to the peak of Mont Dolent, which is shared between France, Italy and Switzerland. On your descent, pass typical Swiss chalets and flower-filled gardens as you enter the hamlet of La Fouly where you will spend the night.

Distance: 20km
Ascent: 980m
Descent: 1390m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Edelweiss
The Baumeler family have run the Hotel Edelweiss since 1956. This charming wooden chalet hotel has retained its typical Swiss design but in recent years, the interior has been upgraded with contemporary mountain décor. With great views of Mont Dolent from the terrace, this is a great spot to relax with a cool beer on arrival.

DAY 8
La Fouly to Champex

A day of chocolate-box Swiss villages and one of the easiest stages of the circuit. The route passes through the timeless village of Arlaches. The medieval wooden houses adorned with bright flower boxes provide a window into a bygone era. A steep climb from the valley up to Champex follows. The beautiful lake with its picturesque cafes and bars is definitely worth a stop before heading to your hotel.

Distance: 15km
Ascent: 510m
Descent: 650m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Glacier
The Bislex family have been welcoming walkers since 1895. Now in its fifth generation, the hotel has continued to provide comfortable ensuite rooms and an ever-changing menu of regional dishes to ensure trekkers are well fed. Located only a couple of minutes from the lakeside, its location is perfect for a post-dinner stroll.

DAY 9
Champex to Trient

A choice of two stunning routes today. The Standard Route follows the Bovine Trail which ascends steeply through pine forests to take you over glacial streams and across high alpine pastures where the famous ‘Swiss fighting cows’ graze through the summer. Mid-way be sure to stop off at the L’Alpage Bovine which serves delicious homemade apple cake (with excellent views over to the Swiss Bernese Alps).

The alternative is the High Route which heads over the challenging Fenetre d’Arpette (2665m). Considered by many as the toughest day on the circuit, the ascent and descent follows a steep, exposed rocky trail across boulder fields and scree slopes. Incredible views of the Trient Glacier and a day of real mountain adventure!

Trek the Bovine Route: 15.5km
Ascent: 850m
Descent: 1040m

Trek via Fenetre d’Arpette: 16km
Ascent: 1200m
Descent: 1390m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: La Grande Ourse
A typical Swiss trekker’s hotel, La Grande Ourse is simple, comfortable and located in the heart of Trient village. The private rooms and shared bathrooms are immaculate. Before dinner, enjoy an aperitif on the sun terrace with fellow trekkers

DAY 10
Trient to Chamonix

It’s back into France today with a choice of two routes to the border at Col de Balme (2192m). The Standard Route takes a steep but relatively short climb up to the Col. The alternative route features a bit more climbing but loops around via the Refuge Les Grandes and offers good views of the Trient Glacier. From the Col de Balme, you’ll be rewarded with extensive views over Chamonix Valley and the familiar snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc. Relax on the terrace of the Refuge du Col de Balme and enjoy some refreshments. Then either continue on the Standard Route and tackle another ascent to the ridge summit of Aiguillette des Posettes before a long steep descent, or take the direct route into the valley. End the day with a short bus or train ride into Chamonix to reach your accommodation for the night.

Distance: 14km
Ascent: 980m
Descent: 840m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 11
TreleChamp to La Flegere (with options for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)

A spectacular day of mountain walking. Begin with an ascent up forested slopes to the foot of a short section of fixed ladders. Continue upwards on steeper ground with a good chance of spotting small herds of agile Ibex (“bouquetin”). Deep into the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve at the Tete-aux-Ventes track junction, we recommend taking the trail up to the idyllic Lac Blanc where a charming refuge overlooks the cobalt waters of this much-photographed lake. From here there is the option of a short there-and-back walk to see stunning high alpine lake, Lac Perseverance. Continue on rocky trails to follow the famous “Grand Balcon Sud” path with its astounding vistas across the Chamonix valley to the Mont Blanc Range to the La Flegere cable car station. Descend by cable car to your hotel in Chamonix.

Distance: 8.5km (Add 3km for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)
Ascent: 730m
Descent: 270m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 12
La Flegere to Les Houches

The last day of trekking starts by returning to La Flegere by cable car. Re-joining the TMB, continue on the Grand Balcon walk to Plan Praz. A steep climb to the Col du Brevent and Le Brevent summit (2525m) follow. At the Le Brevent “Le Panoramic” mountain-top restaurant, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers across the valley seem within touching distance. From here, you can take the easier option and descend to Chamonix via the Le Brevent and Plan Praz cable cars. Or  continue on foot along rocky ridgelines before descending through alpine woodlands into the village of Les Houches. Return to Chamonix via train or bus. With its many cosmopolitan dining options, Chamonix is a great place to celebrate and reflect on your completion of one of the world’s greatest treks.

Distance: 18.5km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 1750m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 13
Onward Travel

Depending on your onward travel arrangements, take a walk around Chamonix village or indulge in a morning of freshly baked patisserie cakes and coffee before your departure. If you have time and the weather is clear, we highly recommend taking the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi.

Meals included: Breakfast

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation arranged for you
  • 12 nights accommodation in 3 star hotels or simple hotels
  • 12 breakfasts and 5 dinners
  • Maps, comprehensive Auswalk authored walk notes, GPX tracks and day-by-day summary
  • Transfers from Geneva airport – see General Information section
  • Itineraries can be flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)

VIDEOS

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

During this tour, you will stay in 3* hotels, small family-run hotels or mountain auberges (small simple hotels). With the exception of Night 9, all rooms are private en-suite. On Night 9 in Trient, accommodation options are limited and bathrooms are shared, but from our experience, they are always clean with a plentiful supply of hot water!  Importantly you will have your luggage with you every night. There will be no need to buy and carry sleep sheets or towels and worry about what to carry with you for an overnight without your luggage.

All the accommodations are accustomed to welcoming trekkers and very well equipped to make your stay comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. Typically, rooms are simple but very comfortable. As many of the overnight stays are in small villages or towns, on occasion, we may have to book another similar accommodation of equal standard. We will discuss these options with you during the booking process.

Should you also request a double room, please note it is the norm in Switzerland for two separate single beds with individual bed linen to be pushed together or even placed into one large bed frame.

Dining
You will be provided with 12 breakfasts and 5 dinners. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please let us know at the time of booking so we can let your hosts know. Should you have severe food allergies, it’s always worth bringing a few of your own snacks with you. Especially as ingredients and supplies can be hard to obtain in the mountains.

You will find in some of the smaller accommodations, dining is very often on communal tables with set mealtimes. This enables small kitchen teams to ensure everyone is fed on time and nobody is left hungry after a long day of trekking! Lunches can be purchased locally, which is a great part of the experience. The towns and villages you pass through are renowned for their specialty breads, cheeses and meats (many of which continue to be produced by hand). If you’re lucky enough to encounter a local farmers market, the choice and range of local foods are staggering. Many of your accommodations will also make a picnic lunch for you. A staff favourite is the Beaufort cheese from La Vallee des Glaciers, which you can purchase fresh from the farm. Within your daily walk notes, there are detailed suggestions of where to buy lunch each day.

  • NIGHT 1, 10, 11 & 12

  • NIGHT 2

  • NIGHT 3

  • NIGHT 4, 5 & 6

  • NIGHT 7

  • NIGHT 8

  • NIGHT 9

FITNESS GUIDE

It’s well worth investing some time and effort preparing for your walking holiday. The graph shows the average daily distance, elevation and terrain difficulty for your hike. The dotted line indicates the average across all our walks, which will give you a feel for how challenging your walk is compared to all – and the recommended type, and amount, of preparation needed.  Of course, you can adapt this according to your existing fitness levels and lifestyle.

The graph and the information below can be used in conjunction with the fitness guide to help you prepare for your walking adventure. Across all walks, average daily distance is 16.8km, average daily elevation is 448m, average terrain difficulty is 5/10.

ngraph

DISTANCE - ~AVERAGE

Distance training should be a consideration in your overall training program, so take every opportunity you can to walk. As you progress, incorporate longer walks into your training plan.

Schedule one or two long walks each week, gradually increasing the distance until you can comfortably cover 16km in a single day. Also include walks on consecutive days to help your body adapt to the demands of walking for multiple days in a row.

Ensure you can comfortably walk the average distance per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

ELEVATION - ABOVE AVERAGE

Elevation training is a major consideration in your overall training program. You must include walks with serious hill climbs.

If you do not have access to hills, it is essential to replicate the elevation level you will be undertaking in any way possible such as on a treadmill or stair climber. Walking up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand, or up and down small hills is incredibly useful. Also, prioritising resistance weight training will help you develop overall muscle strength.  Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems, opposed to distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking.

If high altitude is a factor, incorporate sessions at a higher altitude to acclimatise your body to reduced oxygen levels if you are able to. Ensure you can comfortably walk the average elevation per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

MOUNTAINOUS / UNDULATING TERRAIN

As terrain associated with mountain climbs is often somewhat uneven and rocky, balancing and core exercises are vital.

Try to also include some form of elevation in more than 50% of your walking and prioritise resistance training, whilst incorporating stairs anytime you can. Walking up mountains or hills, up and down stairs at work, or up and down at a local oval with a grandstand is incredibly useful. Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking. Concentrate on doing lots of squats and lunges to build your glute muscles.

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

In early July it is possible the trail might remain closed due to heavy snowfall. Should this happen we would do our very best to reschedule the tour for a later date (on occasion it is possible the tour might even be cancelled, but this is rare). Up until late July, some of the higher passes may still have snow on them (with the possibility of them being closed). Should this happen you will be provided with comprehensive information about taking an alternative route and/or local transport. In the event of any major route closures, we will contact you prior to travel and discuss the alternative walk options with you.

Towards the end of the season (early September) some transport options will have stopped operating for the season. You should therefore be prepared to walk the full distance every day. There is always the option of using a local taxi if necessary. Within your travel notes, advice will be given for all transport options to shorten or skip the walking for that specific day.

THE WALKING

Challenging – Tracks and trails on this tour will have prolonged ascents and descents along sections of rough surface and steps.  An average of 16km, 1061m ascent and 1052m descent each day. You may find some sections have narrow footpaths and for your guidance on very rare occasions on very short sections, safety cable lengths have been put in place for you to use as a handrail if needed. Having an active lifestyle and preparing or being an experienced walker will make the journey enjoyable. We would suggest an exercise regime that incorporates uphill walks at least 3 to 4 times weekly.

You will be walking around 16km a day with up to 1500m of ascent and descent. Trails are well-defined, well waymarked and cover a variety of terrains which include; forest tracks, high alpine pastures, rocky mountain paths and through mountain towns and villages. It is also possible you may have to cross some snowy patches on the ascent or descent of higher mountain cols, so good mountain footwear is required! On days 10 and 11 there are short sections of metal ladders, handrails and foot rungs bolted into the rock which is very straightforward to follow. However, if you suffer from vertigo, or have any further questions about these sections, we’d be happy to discuss the options to get around these walks.

Although the route is well waymarked for each of your walks, you will be provided with Auswalk authored comprehensive walk notes, a summary of daily walks, maps (and GPX tracks if you require to use for your own device). Mountain weather can change quickly so it is essential that at least one of your trekking party is confident in using a map and compass to navigate (should visibility drop). You should always be able to locate your whereabouts on a map.

HOW TO GET THERE

This walk starts and ends in Chamonix. The closest airport to Chamonix is Geneva Airport. There is also a train station in Chamonix if you wish to arrive by train from Paris for example.

Geneva Airport to Chamonix & Return
Included in your package is a transfer from Geneva Airport to Chamonix at the start of the walk and a transfer back to Geneva Airport from Chamonix at the end of the walk. Please note these transfers are shared and only operate between 10.00am and 7.30pm (Saturday to Wednesday) or 9.00pm ( Thursday and Friday nights only) – outside these times you will be responsible for your own transfer, we will reimburse you the cost of our included transfer only. Upon receipt of your booking confirmation, please advise your flight details as soon as possible so that we can book this transfer for you.

A useful planning tool for travel is Rome2Rio should you be travelling from or to other destinations.

LUGGAGE

Each morning it will be up to you to place your luggage at the designated luggage pick-up point within the hotel by 8.00 am. This generally will be at reception or where you pick up your luggage the night before. Please consult your hosts if any details. Bags must be less than 15kg (this is French legislation) and be Soft Bags (i.e. not hard cases).

Importantly, any excess kilos can be stored for free at the luggage transfer company.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate travel insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage.

For all trips that require international travel, you must have purchased travel insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage.

We also charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it to cover costs incurred from our suppliers and in the office.  See the FAQ section for more information.

MAP

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    PER PERSON
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jul 2024 - 5 Sep 2024
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $4455

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $1440

    High-season surcharge may apply in August

  • 1 Jul 2025 - 5 Sep 2025
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $4635

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $1500

    High-season surcharge may apply in August

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Overview

OVERVIEW

Complete the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc, trekking through France, Italy and Switzerland, and enjoy staying in very comfortable hotels each night. On this variation of the tour, you will spend 2 nights in Courmayeur, where public transport enables you to complete this incredible alpine adventure in comfort.

Trek along high alpine trails and soak up the panorama of snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Mont Blanc Massif. Cross the Col de la Seigne into Italy and hike in Switzerland over the Grand Col Ferret. Stay in the charming Swiss lakeside village of Champex and return to France by the head of Chamonix Valley. Experience a trio of cultures and cuisines that range from classic wood-fired pizza in Courmayeur to typical Savoyard dishes of cheese fondue or melted cheese raclette in France. The perfect way to round off the accomplishment of completing the Tour du Mont Blanc!

Please note: additional transfer fees may apply if our regular accommodation providers have no availability for your preferred departure date. Should this occur, the cost will be communicated to you prior to confirming the booking. If you choose to cancel as a result, your deposit will of course be refunded in full.

Highlights

  • Traverse the high alps of France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Walk through La Vallee de Glacier and meet local Beaufort cheesemakers
  • Spot scurrying marmots and nimble mountain goats
  • Hike rugged trails, crossing the Col de la Seigne and Grand Col Ferret into Switzerland
  • Discover the rich mountaineering history of Chamonix and Courmayeur
  • Stay in private rooms with ensuites located in the heart of historic alpine villages and towns (Trient shared bathroom)

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
13 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Challenging to Strenuous

Grade 6 - Challenging  to Strenuous 

Longer, tougher, steeper hill sections, rough surfaces and many steps. Active lifestyle, good fitness and walking experience required.

PRICE FROM
$ 4455

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 1440

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now
Itinerary

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12
  • Day 13

DAY 1
Arrive Chamonix

Bustling with outdoor enthusiasts, the French Alpine town of Chamonix is only a 90-minute transfer from Geneva Airport (see How to get there section on the website for conditions). Please supply flight details as soon as you can if you are arriving via Geneva. Relax in the garden of your hotel under the incredible Mont Blanc massif before exploring the streets, pavement cafes and bars of this famous alpine town.

Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet
Run by the Durban sisters, Agnes and Veronique’s 3* hotel is a typical timber alpine chalet located in the heart of Chamonix. From their spacious garden, relax poolside with exceptional views of the Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

Meals included: None

DAY 2
Les Houches to Les Contamines

Les Houches is the traditional start of the TMB. We suggest taking the cable car up to Bellevue (1802m) to start your walk. From Bellevue you have a choice of two routes to Les Contamines. Either take the high route over the Col du Tricot (2102m)  under the shadow of the Bionnassay Glacier to the picture-postcard Refuge de Miage (famed for their blueberry tart). Alternatively, take the low route through alpine pastures and enchanting woodlands via the hamlets of Bionnassay and Le Champel.

Trek via the Col du Tricot: 19km
Ascent: 1540m
Descent: 1390m

Trek via Bionnassay & Le Champel: 18km
Ascent: 1040m
Descent: 880m

By using the cable from Bellevue both route options are reduced by approx. 2 hours (6kms) and around 650m of ascent.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Gai Soleil
Built by a local farmer in 1823, the Hotel Gai Soleil became a family-run hotel around 1920. With a surge in climbers visiting the region, the Gai Soleil became a firm favourite with keen alpinists. Run by Valerie and David, they take immense pride in serving dishes created with local produce. In the warm summer evenings, dinner is often served in their peaceful garden.

DAY 3
Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Begin the day by walking south from Les Contamines along the River Bonnant to the 17th-century church of Notre-Dame de la Gorge, which marks the start of the mountain path. The road gives way to a steep and roughly paved track, which climbs to Refuge de la Balme (a very well-timed rest!). From here the steep rocky path climbs over the Col du Bonhomme (2383m) and contours around to pass over the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443m). Then descend to the small village of Les Chapieux and your accommodation for the night.

Trek to Les Chapieux: 20km
Ascent: 1340m
Descent: 950m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Le Chambres du Soleil
A friendly auberge run by Celine and Pierre Arpin who always provide a warm welcome to hikers. Serving up simple and delicious dishes, this accommodation offers comfortable private rooms with ensuites. On arrival, it’s worth grabbing a refreshing beverage and kicking back on the sunny terrace before dinner.

DAY 4
Les Chapieux to La Visaille (Val Veny)

Start gently from Les Chapieux to reach the village of La Ville des Glaciers. Then it’s a steady uphill on a winding track to Col de la Seigne (2516m). At the pass, straddle the border between France and Italy and soak up views of the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif with its dramatic, jagged peaks. Descend through the Vallon de la Lee Blanche to Rifugio Elisabetta, a fantastic spot for a rest break. Continue on under tumbling glaciers into Val Veny. From here you will leave the main TMB route for a few km to reach La Visaille for bus access to Courmayeur.

Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1130m
Descent: 1010m
The distance can be reduced by 5km by taking the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon
Run by the Grivel Di Addario family, this 3* hotel is located in a quiet street just a few minutes walk from the main centre. With a long heritage of mountaineers in the family, the hotel is well equipped to look after weary trekkers. A comfortable lounge, fireplace, a garden terrace and modest en-suite rooms all make for an enjoyable stay.

DAY 5
La Visaille (Val Veny) to Courmayeur

From La Visaille, rejoin the TMB near the Cabane du Combal. Follow the magnificent balcony trail to Rifugio Maison Vieille with many vantage points to soak up the stunning views over the Val Veny. Why not relax with a picnic lunch and look for marmots?  A long, steep descent to Courmayeur follows but you can save your knees by making use of the chairlifts and cable cars.

Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 850m
Descent: 1310m
Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 6
Courmayeur to Val Ferret

Leave Courmayeur on foot and ascend onto the steep forested slopes of La Montagne de la Saxe. After arriving at Rifugio Bertone, you have two choices. Either follow the standard ‘Balcony Route’, which gives incredible unbroken views across Val Ferret to Mont Blanc and Grand Jorasses. Or take the High Route which is more challenging, but provides some of the most epic views on the walk. On reaching Rifugio Bonatti, the picnic terrace is great for sampling the famous Bonatti hot chocolate and taking in the majesty of the mountains around you. Then descend to Val Ferret and return by bus (30mins) to Courmayeur for the night.

Distance: 14km or 17km
Ascent: 1080m or 1730m
Descent: 580m or 1250m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 7
Val Ferret to La Fouly

Begin the day with a bus ride back through the impressive Val Ferret. At Arnuva, the head of the valley, a straightforward but steep climb winds up to the Grand Col Ferret. Along the way, enjoy a break at the perfectly placed Rifugio Elena with a café latte and panoramic views back down Val Ferret. Crossing the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), you enter Switzerland. From this spot, views extend to the peak of Mont Dolent, which is shared between France, Italy and Switzerland. On your descent, pass typical Swiss chalets and flower-filled gardens as you enter the hamlet of La Fouly where you will spend the night.

Distance: 20km
Ascent: 980m
Descent: 1390m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Edelweiss
The Baumeler family have run the Hotel Edelweiss since 1956. This charming wooden chalet hotel has retained its typical Swiss design but in recent years, the interior has been upgraded with contemporary mountain décor. With great views of Mont Dolent from the terrace, this is a great spot to relax with a cool beer on arrival.

DAY 8
La Fouly to Champex

A day of chocolate-box Swiss villages and one of the easiest stages of the circuit. The route passes through the timeless village of Arlaches. The medieval wooden houses adorned with bright flower boxes provide a window into a bygone era. A steep climb from the valley up to Champex follows. The beautiful lake with its picturesque cafes and bars is definitely worth a stop before heading to your hotel.

Distance: 15km
Ascent: 510m
Descent: 650m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Glacier
The Bislex family have been welcoming walkers since 1895. Now in its fifth generation, the hotel has continued to provide comfortable ensuite rooms and an ever-changing menu of regional dishes to ensure trekkers are well fed. Located only a couple of minutes from the lakeside, its location is perfect for a post-dinner stroll.

DAY 9
Champex to Trient

A choice of two stunning routes today. The Standard Route follows the Bovine Trail which ascends steeply through pine forests to take you over glacial streams and across high alpine pastures where the famous ‘Swiss fighting cows’ graze through the summer. Mid-way be sure to stop off at the L’Alpage Bovine which serves delicious homemade apple cake (with excellent views over to the Swiss Bernese Alps).

The alternative is the High Route which heads over the challenging Fenetre d’Arpette (2665m). Considered by many as the toughest day on the circuit, the ascent and descent follows a steep, exposed rocky trail across boulder fields and scree slopes. Incredible views of the Trient Glacier and a day of real mountain adventure!

Trek the Bovine Route: 15.5km
Ascent: 850m
Descent: 1040m

Trek via Fenetre d’Arpette: 16km
Ascent: 1200m
Descent: 1390m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: La Grande Ourse
A typical Swiss trekker’s hotel, La Grande Ourse is simple, comfortable and located in the heart of Trient village. The private rooms and shared bathrooms are immaculate. Before dinner, enjoy an aperitif on the sun terrace with fellow trekkers

DAY 10
Trient to Chamonix

It’s back into France today with a choice of two routes to the border at Col de Balme (2192m). The Standard Route takes a steep but relatively short climb up to the Col. The alternative route features a bit more climbing but loops around via the Refuge Les Grandes and offers good views of the Trient Glacier. From the Col de Balme, you’ll be rewarded with extensive views over Chamonix Valley and the familiar snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc. Relax on the terrace of the Refuge du Col de Balme and enjoy some refreshments. Then either continue on the Standard Route and tackle another ascent to the ridge summit of Aiguillette des Posettes before a long steep descent, or take the direct route into the valley. End the day with a short bus or train ride into Chamonix to reach your accommodation for the night.

Distance: 14km
Ascent: 980m
Descent: 840m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 11
TreleChamp to La Flegere (with options for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)

A spectacular day of mountain walking. Begin with an ascent up forested slopes to the foot of a short section of fixed ladders. Continue upwards on steeper ground with a good chance of spotting small herds of agile Ibex (“bouquetin”). Deep into the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve at the Tete-aux-Ventes track junction, we recommend taking the trail up to the idyllic Lac Blanc where a charming refuge overlooks the cobalt waters of this much-photographed lake. From here there is the option of a short there-and-back walk to see stunning high alpine lake, Lac Perseverance. Continue on rocky trails to follow the famous “Grand Balcon Sud” path with its astounding vistas across the Chamonix valley to the Mont Blanc Range to the La Flegere cable car station. Descend by cable car to your hotel in Chamonix.

Distance: 8.5km (Add 3km for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)
Ascent: 730m
Descent: 270m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 12
La Flegere to Les Houches

The last day of trekking starts by returning to La Flegere by cable car. Re-joining the TMB, continue on the Grand Balcon walk to Plan Praz. A steep climb to the Col du Brevent and Le Brevent summit (2525m) follow. At the Le Brevent “Le Panoramic” mountain-top restaurant, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers across the valley seem within touching distance. From here, you can take the easier option and descend to Chamonix via the Le Brevent and Plan Praz cable cars. Or  continue on foot along rocky ridgelines before descending through alpine woodlands into the village of Les Houches. Return to Chamonix via train or bus. With its many cosmopolitan dining options, Chamonix is a great place to celebrate and reflect on your completion of one of the world’s greatest treks.

Distance: 18.5km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 1750m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 13
Onward Travel

Depending on your onward travel arrangements, take a walk around Chamonix village or indulge in a morning of freshly baked patisserie cakes and coffee before your departure. If you have time and the weather is clear, we highly recommend taking the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi.

Meals included: Breakfast

What’s Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation arranged for you
  • 12 nights accommodation in 3 star hotels or simple hotels
  • 12 breakfasts and 5 dinners
  • Maps, comprehensive Auswalk authored walk notes, GPX tracks and day-by-day summary
  • Transfers from Geneva airport – see General Information section
  • Itineraries can be flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)
Videos

VIDEOS

Accommodation & Dining

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

During this tour, you will stay in 3* hotels, small family-run hotels or mountain auberges (small simple hotels). With the exception of Night 9, all rooms are private en-suite. On Night 9 in Trient, accommodation options are limited and bathrooms are shared, but from our experience, they are always clean with a plentiful supply of hot water!  Importantly you will have your luggage with you every night. There will be no need to buy and carry sleep sheets or towels and worry about what to carry with you for an overnight without your luggage.

All the accommodations are accustomed to welcoming trekkers and very well equipped to make your stay comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. Typically, rooms are simple but very comfortable. As many of the overnight stays are in small villages or towns, on occasion, we may have to book another similar accommodation of equal standard. We will discuss these options with you during the booking process.

Should you also request a double room, please note it is the norm in Switzerland for two separate single beds with individual bed linen to be pushed together or even placed into one large bed frame.

Dining
You will be provided with 12 breakfasts and 5 dinners. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please let us know at the time of booking so we can let your hosts know. Should you have severe food allergies, it’s always worth bringing a few of your own snacks with you. Especially as ingredients and supplies can be hard to obtain in the mountains.

You will find in some of the smaller accommodations, dining is very often on communal tables with set mealtimes. This enables small kitchen teams to ensure everyone is fed on time and nobody is left hungry after a long day of trekking! Lunches can be purchased locally, which is a great part of the experience. The towns and villages you pass through are renowned for their specialty breads, cheeses and meats (many of which continue to be produced by hand). If you’re lucky enough to encounter a local farmers market, the choice and range of local foods are staggering. Many of your accommodations will also make a picnic lunch for you. A staff favourite is the Beaufort cheese from La Vallee des Glaciers, which you can purchase fresh from the farm. Within your daily walk notes, there are detailed suggestions of where to buy lunch each day.

  • NIGHT 1, 10, 11 & 12

  • NIGHT 2

  • NIGHT 3

  • NIGHT 4, 5 & 6

  • NIGHT 7

  • NIGHT 8

  • NIGHT 9

Fitness Guide

FITNESS GUIDE

It’s well worth investing some time and effort preparing for your walking holiday. The graph shows the average daily distance, elevation and terrain difficulty for your hike. The dotted line indicates the average across all our walks, which will give you a feel for how challenging your walk is compared to all – and the recommended type, and amount, of preparation needed.  Of course, you can adapt this according to your existing fitness levels and lifestyle.

The graph and the information below can be used in conjunction with the fitness guide to help you prepare for your walking adventure. Across all walks, average daily distance is 16.8km, average daily elevation is 448m, average terrain difficulty is 5/10.

ngraph

DISTANCE - ~AVERAGE

Distance training should be a consideration in your overall training program, so take every opportunity you can to walk. As you progress, incorporate longer walks into your training plan.

Schedule one or two long walks each week, gradually increasing the distance until you can comfortably cover 16km in a single day. Also include walks on consecutive days to help your body adapt to the demands of walking for multiple days in a row.

Ensure you can comfortably walk the average distance per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

ELEVATION - ABOVE AVERAGE

Elevation training is a major consideration in your overall training program. You must include walks with serious hill climbs.

If you do not have access to hills, it is essential to replicate the elevation level you will be undertaking in any way possible such as on a treadmill or stair climber. Walking up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand, or up and down small hills is incredibly useful. Also, prioritising resistance weight training will help you develop overall muscle strength.  Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems, opposed to distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking.

If high altitude is a factor, incorporate sessions at a higher altitude to acclimatise your body to reduced oxygen levels if you are able to. Ensure you can comfortably walk the average elevation per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

MOUNTAINOUS / UNDULATING TERRAIN

As terrain associated with mountain climbs is often somewhat uneven and rocky, balancing and core exercises are vital.

Try to also include some form of elevation in more than 50% of your walking and prioritise resistance training, whilst incorporating stairs anytime you can. Walking up mountains or hills, up and down stairs at work, or up and down at a local oval with a grandstand is incredibly useful. Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking. Concentrate on doing lots of squats and lunges to build your glute muscles.

General Info

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

In early July it is possible the trail might remain closed due to heavy snowfall. Should this happen we would do our very best to reschedule the tour for a later date (on occasion it is possible the tour might even be cancelled, but this is rare). Up until late July, some of the higher passes may still have snow on them (with the possibility of them being closed). Should this happen you will be provided with comprehensive information about taking an alternative route and/or local transport. In the event of any major route closures, we will contact you prior to travel and discuss the alternative walk options with you.

Towards the end of the season (early September) some transport options will have stopped operating for the season. You should therefore be prepared to walk the full distance every day. There is always the option of using a local taxi if necessary. Within your travel notes, advice will be given for all transport options to shorten or skip the walking for that specific day.

THE WALKING

Challenging – Tracks and trails on this tour will have prolonged ascents and descents along sections of rough surface and steps.  An average of 16km, 1061m ascent and 1052m descent each day. You may find some sections have narrow footpaths and for your guidance on very rare occasions on very short sections, safety cable lengths have been put in place for you to use as a handrail if needed. Having an active lifestyle and preparing or being an experienced walker will make the journey enjoyable. We would suggest an exercise regime that incorporates uphill walks at least 3 to 4 times weekly.

You will be walking around 16km a day with up to 1500m of ascent and descent. Trails are well-defined, well waymarked and cover a variety of terrains which include; forest tracks, high alpine pastures, rocky mountain paths and through mountain towns and villages. It is also possible you may have to cross some snowy patches on the ascent or descent of higher mountain cols, so good mountain footwear is required! On days 10 and 11 there are short sections of metal ladders, handrails and foot rungs bolted into the rock which is very straightforward to follow. However, if you suffer from vertigo, or have any further questions about these sections, we’d be happy to discuss the options to get around these walks.

Although the route is well waymarked for each of your walks, you will be provided with Auswalk authored comprehensive walk notes, a summary of daily walks, maps (and GPX tracks if you require to use for your own device). Mountain weather can change quickly so it is essential that at least one of your trekking party is confident in using a map and compass to navigate (should visibility drop). You should always be able to locate your whereabouts on a map.

HOW TO GET THERE

This walk starts and ends in Chamonix. The closest airport to Chamonix is Geneva Airport. There is also a train station in Chamonix if you wish to arrive by train from Paris for example.

Geneva Airport to Chamonix & Return
Included in your package is a transfer from Geneva Airport to Chamonix at the start of the walk and a transfer back to Geneva Airport from Chamonix at the end of the walk. Please note these transfers are shared and only operate between 10.00am and 7.30pm (Saturday to Wednesday) or 9.00pm ( Thursday and Friday nights only) – outside these times you will be responsible for your own transfer, we will reimburse you the cost of our included transfer only. Upon receipt of your booking confirmation, please advise your flight details as soon as possible so that we can book this transfer for you.

A useful planning tool for travel is Rome2Rio should you be travelling from or to other destinations.

LUGGAGE

Each morning it will be up to you to place your luggage at the designated luggage pick-up point within the hotel by 8.00 am. This generally will be at reception or where you pick up your luggage the night before. Please consult your hosts if any details. Bags must be less than 15kg (this is French legislation) and be Soft Bags (i.e. not hard cases).

Importantly, any excess kilos can be stored for free at the luggage transfer company.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate travel insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage.

For all trips that require international travel, you must have purchased travel insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage.

We also charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it to cover costs incurred from our suppliers and in the office.  See the FAQ section for more information.

Map

MAP

Departure Dates

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    PER PERSON
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jul 2024 - 5 Sep 2024
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $4455

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $1440
  • 1 Jul 2025 - 5 Sep 2025
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $4635

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $1500
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