OVERVIEW

Complete the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc, trekking through France, Italy and Switzerland, spending each night in hotels. On this variation of the tour, you will spend 2 nights in Courmayeur, utilising public transport that will enable you to complete this incredible alpine adventure in comfort.

Following a historic mountain route through flower filled meadows and historic villages, 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 (2515m) into Italy and hike in Switzerland over the Grand Col Ferret (2530m). Stay in the charming Swiss lakeside village of Champex and return to France by way of the Col de Balme at the head of Chamonix Valley. Throughout the trek, 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!

  • Complete Europe’s most popular long-distance trek, ‘Tour du Mont Blanc’
  • Traverse the high alps of France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Spend each night in a comfortable hotel located in the heart of historic alpine villages and towns
  • Walk through La Vallée de Glacier and meet local Beaufort cheese makers
  • Spot scurrying marmots and nimble mountain goats
  • Hike rugged trails, crossing the Col de la Seigne (2513m) and Grand Col Ferret (2563m) into Switzerland
  • Discover the rich mountaineering history of Chamonix and Courmayeur
  • Private rooms and luggage transfer included

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
12 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate to Challenging

Grade 4 - Moderate to Challenging

Distances are longer up to 20km. Steep hill sections and rough surfaces. Walking experience and active lifestyle necessary.

PRICE FROM
$ 3395

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 950

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

  • 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 1
Arrive Chamonix

Bustling with outdoor enthusiasts, the French Alpine town of Chamonix is only a 90-minute transfer from Geneva Airport. From the garden of your hotel, relax under the incredible Mont Blanc massif before further exploring the streets, pavement cafes and bars of this famous alpine town.

Accommodation: Hotel 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
Walk to Les Contamines

Today we’d suggest taking the cable car up to Bellevue (1802m) at the western end of the Chamonix Valley. From Bellevue you have a choice of two routes to Les Contamines; Hike over the Col du Tricot (2102m), under the shadow of the Bionnassay and Aiguille de Bionnassay glaciers and onwards to the picture postcard Chalet de Miage (famed for their blueberry tart). Alternatively, trek through high alpine pastures and enchanting woodland via the hamlets of Bionnassay and Le Champel to the peaceful village of Les Contamines.

Trek via the Col du Tricot: 18km
Ascent: 1450m
Descent: 1250m

Trek via Bionnassay & Le Champel: 17km
Ascent: 1050m
Descent: 850m

By using the cable from Bellevue either walk is reduced by approx. 2 hours and around 700-800m 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
Walk to Les Chapieux (or Refuge Mottets)

Begin the day by walking south from Les Contamines along the River Bonnant to the 17th century church of Notre-Dame, which marks the start of the mountain path to Col du Bonhomme (2329m). The road gives way to a steep and roughly paved road, which climbs to Refuge La Balme (a very well-timed rest!). From here the, rocky path climbs over the Col du Bonhomme and onto Col du Croix Bonhomme (2383m). If conditions (and legs) permit, there is an option to hike over the spectacular Col des Fours (2655m), before descending directly into Vallee des Glacier and your overnight accommodation.

Trek to Les Chapieux: 18.5km
Ascent: 1350m
Descent: 950m

Trek via Col des Fours to Mottets: 19.5km
Ascent: 1600m
Descent: 900m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Auberge de la Nova
A friendly auberge that provides a warm welcome to hikers. Serving up simple and delicious dishes, this accommodation is simple and offers comfortable private rooms being en-suite. On arrival it’s worth grabbing a refreshing beer and kicking back to relax in the gardens before dinner.

Refuge Mottets
Located at the foot of the climb to Col de la Seigne, Refuge Mottets is a cosy mountain refuge, offering simple, private en-suite rooms. Included dinners are typically hearty dishes of beef bourguignonne and on occasion the local staff play folk music during the evening. Staying at the Refuge Mottets is wonderful, authentic mountain experience

DAY 4
Walk to Courmayeur

From the La Vallee des Glacier it’s a steady well carved track that winds up to Col de la Seigne (2513m). At the pass, straddle the border between France and Italy and soak up views from the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif where the landscape changes in dramatic, jagged peaks. On the descent into Courmayeur stop at the Rifugio Elisabetta below the tumbling Glacier de la Lee Blanche for a sweet, creamy panna cotta. Descending into Val Veni you can continue the journey by public bus into Courmayeur or ascend to Col Checrouit where there are some of the best views of the Mont Blanc on all of the circuit.

Trek from Les Chapieux to La Visaille (bus onto Courmayeur)
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 970m
Descent: 850m
The distance can be reduced by 5km by taking the valley shuttle bus.

Trek from Refuge Mottets
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 850m
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 the enjoyable stay.

DAY 5
Walk to Rifugio Bonatti, return to Courmayeur

Leave Courmayeur town on foot and ascend onto the steep forested slopes of La Montagne de la Saxe. After arriving at Rifugio Bertone, follow the ‘Balcony Route’ which gives incredible unbroken views across the Val Ferret to Mont Blanc and Grand Jorasses. On reaching Rifugio Walter Bonatti, the picnic terrace is perfect spot for lunch before taking the short descent to the valley floor and returning to Courmayeur by bus (approx. 30mins).

Distance: 12.5km
Ascent: 1250m
Descent: 280m
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 6
Walk to La Fouly

Begin the day with a scenic bus ride (30mins) back along the impressive Val Ferret. At Arnuva, the head of the valley, a straightforward but steep climb winds up to the Grand Col Ferret (2563m). Along the way, enjoy taking a break at the perfectly placed Rifugio Elena for café latte and panoramic views back down Val Ferret. Crossing the col, views extend to the peak of Mount Dolent, which is shared between France, Italy and Switzerland. Descending from the col, pass typical Swiss chalets and flower filled gardens to the hamlet of La Fouly where you will spend the night.

Distance: 15km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 1100m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Edelweiss
The Baumeler family have run the Hotel Edelweiss since 1956. This chocolate box wooden chalet has retained its typical Swiss design but in recent years, the interior has been upgraded with contemporary mountain décor. With great views of Mount Dolent from terrace, this is a great spot to relax with a cool beer on arrival.

DAY 7
Walk to Champex

A day of chocolate box villages and flower filled Swiss gardens begins by following the river gently downhill. One of the easiest stages of the circuit, the routes passes through the timeless village of Arlaches. Its medieval wooden buildings adorned with neatly packed flower boxes is a window into a bygone era of this region. Climbing out of the valley to Lac Champex, the picturesque waterside cafes and bars are definitely worth a stop before heading to your hotel.

Distance: 15km
Ascent: 600m
Descent: 600m
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 en-suite 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 8
Walk to Trient

A choice of 2 stunning routes today. The official route follows the Bovine Trail which ascends through pine forests, over glacial rivers and across high alpine pastures where the famous ‘Swiss fighting cows’ graze throughout summer. Mid-way be sure to stop off at the Bovine Hut which serves delicious homemade apple cake (along with excellent views over to Swiss Bernese Alps).

The alternative route 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. A day of real mountain adventure!

Trek the Bovine Route: 18km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 950m

Trek via Fenetre d’Arpette: 15km
Ascent: 1200m
Descent: 1400m

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 9
Trient to Argentiere

It’s back into France today as a sharp but relatively short climb heads over the Col de Balme (2192m). On the approach to the col, you’ll be rewarded with extensive views over Chamonix Valley and the familiar snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc. From here you can choose to relax on the terrace of the Col de Balme hut and take a direct descent to the valley. Alternatively, tackle one last short ascent onto the fertile ridge of Aiguillette des Posettes, to be rewarded with glorious views of the Mont Blanc Massif and Aiguille Rouge. Descending to the valley, enjoy a short journey to Chamonix aboard the Mont-Blanc express train.

Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1150m
Descent: 1000m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel de la Couronne
Built in 1865 for visiting mountaineers, this 3* hotel has been welcoming guests for 150 years. Comfortable rooms have traditional décor along with an en-suite bathroom. Adjacent to the hotel is a one of the Argentiere’s most popular restaurants and after a day of walking means you’re only a short walk from the bar.

DAY 10
Argentiere (Tre-le-Champ), Lac Blanc to Plan Praz

A spectacular day of mountain walking begins with an ascent across forested slopes and onto steeper ground to the foot of a short section of fixed ladders. Being steeper ground means there are excellent chances to see agile Ibex mountain goats. Now, deep into the Aiguille Rouge Nature reserve, follow the trail to the idyllic setting of Refuge Lac Blanc overlooking the cobalt waters of the lake. Descending on rocky paths, the path narrows into the famous ‘Balcony Trail’ where you’ll enjoy largely unbroken vistas across to Mont Blanc range until you reach the cable car station of Plan Praz. Here, descend by cable car to your hotel in Chamonix.

Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1300m
Descent: 800m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet

DAY 11
Walk to Les Houches

The last day of trekking starts by returning to Plan Praz by cable car. Re-joining the trail, you have several options, which include hiking up to the Col du Brevent and onto Le Brevent (2525m). At the mountain top restaurant, snow-capped peaks and glaciers seem within touching distance. From here, if you prefer to take the day a little easier, descend to Chamonix on the Brevent cable car. Alternatively, continue by foot, descending into alpine woodland and the village of Les Houches. Return to Chamonix via the mountain train (or bus). With an abundance of traditional and global dining options, Chamonix is a great place to reflect and celebrate the completion of one of the world’s greatest treks.

Distance: 12km
Ascent: 600m
Descent: 1550m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet

DAY 12
Onward Travel

Depending on your onward travel arrangements, take a walk around Chamonix or indulge in a morning of freshly baked patisserie cakes and coffee before your departure.

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
  • 11 nights accommodation in 3* hotels, simple hotels and/or mountain refuges
  • 11 breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • Maps, guidebook, GPX tracks and daily route summary
  • 24/7 telephone support
  • Itineraries can please flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Rest days can be added if you would like to further explore the region
  • Enjoy worry free navigation with Auswalk’s authored comprehensive tack notes and maps

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

During this tour you will stay in 3* hotels, small family run hotels, mountain auberges (small simple hotels). With the exception of night 8 all rooms are private en-suite, on night 8 the accommodation is limited in Treint and therefore bathrooms are shared, but from our experience they are always clean with a plentiful supply of hot water!

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 twin room, please note it is the norm in Switzerland for two separate mattresses, with individual bed linen to be pushed or together or even placed into one large bed frame.

Single Rooms
The alpine trekking season is very short and therefore accommodation is very busy. Single rooms may not always be possible in every overnight stay, very often single rooms are not available in mountain refuges. We will endeavour to always try and meet your requirements. If you are travelling with family and/or friends but would like single rooms we would advise booking as soon as your plans are finalised to secure your rooming preferences.

Dining
You will be provided with 11 breakfasts and 6 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 many 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 speciality 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 is 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.

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

Moderate to Challenging – Tracks and trails on this tour will have prolonged ascents and descents along sections of rough surface and steps. You may find some sections have narrow footpaths and for your guidance on some 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 being an experienced walker makes the journey enjoyable. We would suggest an exercise regime of 3 to 4 times a week in addition to your usual weekly walks.

You will be walking around 20km 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 are 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 way marked for each of your walks, you will be provided with guidebook, 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.

Geneva Airport (or city) to Chamonix
There are a number of regular private bus transfer services to Chamonix Valley from Geneva Airport. We’d recommend Mountain Drop Offs. Upon receipt of your booking confirmation, we’ll supply you with a discount code for you to pre-book your required transfers to and from Geneva Airport with Mountain Drop Offs. If we can assist you with any airport transfers required, we’d be happy to do so.

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

MAP

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jul 2020 - 30 Sep 2020
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $3395

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $950
Overview

OVERVIEW

Complete the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc, trekking through France, Italy and Switzerland, spending each night in hotels. On this variation of the tour, you will spend 2 nights in Courmayeur, utilising public transport that will enable you to complete this incredible alpine adventure in comfort.

Following a historic mountain route through flower filled meadows and historic villages, 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 (2515m) into Italy and hike in Switzerland over the Grand Col Ferret (2530m). Stay in the charming Swiss lakeside village of Champex and return to France by way of the Col de Balme at the head of Chamonix Valley. Throughout the trek, 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!

  • Complete Europe’s most popular long-distance trek, ‘Tour du Mont Blanc’
  • Traverse the high alps of France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Spend each night in a comfortable hotel located in the heart of historic alpine villages and towns
  • Walk through La Vallée de Glacier and meet local Beaufort cheese makers
  • Spot scurrying marmots and nimble mountain goats
  • Hike rugged trails, crossing the Col de la Seigne (2513m) and Grand Col Ferret (2563m) into Switzerland
  • Discover the rich mountaineering history of Chamonix and Courmayeur
  • Private rooms and luggage transfer included

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
12 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate to Challenging

Grade 4 - Moderate to Challenging

Distances are longer up to 20km. Steep hill sections and rough surfaces. Walking experience and active lifestyle necessary.

PRICE FROM
$ 3395

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 950

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 1
Arrive Chamonix

Bustling with outdoor enthusiasts, the French Alpine town of Chamonix is only a 90-minute transfer from Geneva Airport. From the garden of your hotel, relax under the incredible Mont Blanc massif before further exploring the streets, pavement cafes and bars of this famous alpine town.

Accommodation: Hotel 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
Walk to Les Contamines

Today we’d suggest taking the cable car up to Bellevue (1802m) at the western end of the Chamonix Valley. From Bellevue you have a choice of two routes to Les Contamines; Hike over the Col du Tricot (2102m), under the shadow of the Bionnassay and Aiguille de Bionnassay glaciers and onwards to the picture postcard Chalet de Miage (famed for their blueberry tart). Alternatively, trek through high alpine pastures and enchanting woodland via the hamlets of Bionnassay and Le Champel to the peaceful village of Les Contamines.

Trek via the Col du Tricot: 18km
Ascent: 1450m
Descent: 1250m

Trek via Bionnassay & Le Champel: 17km
Ascent: 1050m
Descent: 850m

By using the cable from Bellevue either walk is reduced by approx. 2 hours and around 700-800m 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
Walk to Les Chapieux (or Refuge Mottets)

Begin the day by walking south from Les Contamines along the River Bonnant to the 17th century church of Notre-Dame, which marks the start of the mountain path to Col du Bonhomme (2329m). The road gives way to a steep and roughly paved road, which climbs to Refuge La Balme (a very well-timed rest!). From here the, rocky path climbs over the Col du Bonhomme and onto Col du Croix Bonhomme (2383m). If conditions (and legs) permit, there is an option to hike over the spectacular Col des Fours (2655m), before descending directly into Vallee des Glacier and your overnight accommodation.

Trek to Les Chapieux: 18.5km
Ascent: 1350m
Descent: 950m

Trek via Col des Fours to Mottets: 19.5km
Ascent: 1600m
Descent: 900m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Auberge de la Nova
A friendly auberge that provides a warm welcome to hikers. Serving up simple and delicious dishes, this accommodation is simple and offers comfortable private rooms being en-suite. On arrival it’s worth grabbing a refreshing beer and kicking back to relax in the gardens before dinner.

Refuge Mottets
Located at the foot of the climb to Col de la Seigne, Refuge Mottets is a cosy mountain refuge, offering simple, private en-suite rooms. Included dinners are typically hearty dishes of beef bourguignonne and on occasion the local staff play folk music during the evening. Staying at the Refuge Mottets is wonderful, authentic mountain experience

DAY 4
Walk to Courmayeur

From the La Vallee des Glacier it’s a steady well carved track that winds up to Col de la Seigne (2513m). At the pass, straddle the border between France and Italy and soak up views from the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif where the landscape changes in dramatic, jagged peaks. On the descent into Courmayeur stop at the Rifugio Elisabetta below the tumbling Glacier de la Lee Blanche for a sweet, creamy panna cotta. Descending into Val Veni you can continue the journey by public bus into Courmayeur or ascend to Col Checrouit where there are some of the best views of the Mont Blanc on all of the circuit.

Trek from Les Chapieux to La Visaille (bus onto Courmayeur)
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 970m
Descent: 850m
The distance can be reduced by 5km by taking the valley shuttle bus.

Trek from Refuge Mottets
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 850m
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 the enjoyable stay.

DAY 5
Walk to Rifugio Bonatti, return to Courmayeur

Leave Courmayeur town on foot and ascend onto the steep forested slopes of La Montagne de la Saxe. After arriving at Rifugio Bertone, follow the ‘Balcony Route’ which gives incredible unbroken views across the Val Ferret to Mont Blanc and Grand Jorasses. On reaching Rifugio Walter Bonatti, the picnic terrace is perfect spot for lunch before taking the short descent to the valley floor and returning to Courmayeur by bus (approx. 30mins).

Distance: 12.5km
Ascent: 1250m
Descent: 280m
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 6
Walk to La Fouly

Begin the day with a scenic bus ride (30mins) back along the impressive Val Ferret. At Arnuva, the head of the valley, a straightforward but steep climb winds up to the Grand Col Ferret (2563m). Along the way, enjoy taking a break at the perfectly placed Rifugio Elena for café latte and panoramic views back down Val Ferret. Crossing the col, views extend to the peak of Mount Dolent, which is shared between France, Italy and Switzerland. Descending from the col, pass typical Swiss chalets and flower filled gardens to the hamlet of La Fouly where you will spend the night.

Distance: 15km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 1100m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Edelweiss
The Baumeler family have run the Hotel Edelweiss since 1956. This chocolate box wooden chalet has retained its typical Swiss design but in recent years, the interior has been upgraded with contemporary mountain décor. With great views of Mount Dolent from terrace, this is a great spot to relax with a cool beer on arrival.

DAY 7
Walk to Champex

A day of chocolate box villages and flower filled Swiss gardens begins by following the river gently downhill. One of the easiest stages of the circuit, the routes passes through the timeless village of Arlaches. Its medieval wooden buildings adorned with neatly packed flower boxes is a window into a bygone era of this region. Climbing out of the valley to Lac Champex, the picturesque waterside cafes and bars are definitely worth a stop before heading to your hotel.

Distance: 15km
Ascent: 600m
Descent: 600m
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 en-suite 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 8
Walk to Trient

A choice of 2 stunning routes today. The official route follows the Bovine Trail which ascends through pine forests, over glacial rivers and across high alpine pastures where the famous ‘Swiss fighting cows’ graze throughout summer. Mid-way be sure to stop off at the Bovine Hut which serves delicious homemade apple cake (along with excellent views over to Swiss Bernese Alps).

The alternative route 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. A day of real mountain adventure!

Trek the Bovine Route: 18km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 950m

Trek via Fenetre d’Arpette: 15km
Ascent: 1200m
Descent: 1400m

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 9
Trient to Argentiere

It’s back into France today as a sharp but relatively short climb heads over the Col de Balme (2192m). On the approach to the col, you’ll be rewarded with extensive views over Chamonix Valley and the familiar snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc. From here you can choose to relax on the terrace of the Col de Balme hut and take a direct descent to the valley. Alternatively, tackle one last short ascent onto the fertile ridge of Aiguillette des Posettes, to be rewarded with glorious views of the Mont Blanc Massif and Aiguille Rouge. Descending to the valley, enjoy a short journey to Chamonix aboard the Mont-Blanc express train.

Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1150m
Descent: 1000m
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel de la Couronne
Built in 1865 for visiting mountaineers, this 3* hotel has been welcoming guests for 150 years. Comfortable rooms have traditional décor along with an en-suite bathroom. Adjacent to the hotel is a one of the Argentiere’s most popular restaurants and after a day of walking means you’re only a short walk from the bar.

DAY 10
Argentiere (Tre-le-Champ), Lac Blanc to Plan Praz

A spectacular day of mountain walking begins with an ascent across forested slopes and onto steeper ground to the foot of a short section of fixed ladders. Being steeper ground means there are excellent chances to see agile Ibex mountain goats. Now, deep into the Aiguille Rouge Nature reserve, follow the trail to the idyllic setting of Refuge Lac Blanc overlooking the cobalt waters of the lake. Descending on rocky paths, the path narrows into the famous ‘Balcony Trail’ where you’ll enjoy largely unbroken vistas across to Mont Blanc range until you reach the cable car station of Plan Praz. Here, descend by cable car to your hotel in Chamonix.

Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1300m
Descent: 800m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet

DAY 11
Walk to Les Houches

The last day of trekking starts by returning to Plan Praz by cable car. Re-joining the trail, you have several options, which include hiking up to the Col du Brevent and onto Le Brevent (2525m). At the mountain top restaurant, snow-capped peaks and glaciers seem within touching distance. From here, if you prefer to take the day a little easier, descend to Chamonix on the Brevent cable car. Alternatively, continue by foot, descending into alpine woodland and the village of Les Houches. Return to Chamonix via the mountain train (or bus). With an abundance of traditional and global dining options, Chamonix is a great place to reflect and celebrate the completion of one of the world’s greatest treks.

Distance: 12km
Ascent: 600m
Descent: 1550m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet

DAY 12
Onward Travel

Depending on your onward travel arrangements, take a walk around Chamonix or indulge in a morning of freshly baked patisserie cakes and coffee before your departure.

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
  • 11 nights accommodation in 3* hotels, simple hotels and/or mountain refuges
  • 11 breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • Maps, guidebook, GPX tracks and daily route summary
  • 24/7 telephone support
  • Itineraries can please flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Rest days can be added if you would like to further explore the region
  • Enjoy worry free navigation with Auswalk’s authored comprehensive tack notes and maps
Accommodation & Dining

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

During this tour you will stay in 3* hotels, small family run hotels, mountain auberges (small simple hotels). With the exception of night 8 all rooms are private en-suite, on night 8 the accommodation is limited in Treint and therefore bathrooms are shared, but from our experience they are always clean with a plentiful supply of hot water!

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 twin room, please note it is the norm in Switzerland for two separate mattresses, with individual bed linen to be pushed or together or even placed into one large bed frame.

Single Rooms
The alpine trekking season is very short and therefore accommodation is very busy. Single rooms may not always be possible in every overnight stay, very often single rooms are not available in mountain refuges. We will endeavour to always try and meet your requirements. If you are travelling with family and/or friends but would like single rooms we would advise booking as soon as your plans are finalised to secure your rooming preferences.

Dining
You will be provided with 11 breakfasts and 6 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 many 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 speciality 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 is 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.

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

Moderate to Challenging – Tracks and trails on this tour will have prolonged ascents and descents along sections of rough surface and steps. You may find some sections have narrow footpaths and for your guidance on some 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 being an experienced walker makes the journey enjoyable. We would suggest an exercise regime of 3 to 4 times a week in addition to your usual weekly walks.

You will be walking around 20km 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 are 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 way marked for each of your walks, you will be provided with guidebook, 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.

Geneva Airport (or city) to Chamonix
There are a number of regular private bus transfer services to Chamonix Valley from Geneva Airport. We’d recommend Mountain Drop Offs. Upon receipt of your booking confirmation, we’ll supply you with a discount code for you to pre-book your required transfers to and from Geneva Airport with Mountain Drop Offs. If we can assist you with any airport transfers required, we’d be happy to do so.

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

Map

MAP

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Departure Dates

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jul 2020 - 30 Sep 2020
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $3395

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $950

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