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Classic Tour du Mont Blanc walking holiday

The Natural Adventure Company | Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe & Walking Tours in Europe

Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe

Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

Overview for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is by no doubt one of the most beautiful massifs of the Alps, and the Tour du Mont Blanc has become one of the most iconic walks in the world. Our classic Tour du Mont Blanc walking holiday will lead you from France to Italy and Switzerland, taking in the best sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit. The scenery is breath-taking with multiple alpine peaks and stunning glaciers surrounding the impressive Mont Blanc massif always visible in the background. The majestic beauty of the  scenery is best appreciated on foot as you walk point-to-point each day, staying in nice hotels and mountain huts at night. Your main baggage is transported for you, and using our comprehensive route notes you will follow the well-marked trails across the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. In the evenings, you will enjoy delicious French and Italian meals, paired with a hearty serving of Swiss hospitality in the traditional alpine villages you will stay in.

If you prefer to spend all nights in private rooms, most of them with en-suite facilities, you should consider our Tour du Mont Blanc in Comfort itinerary.


Itinerary for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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Day 1: Arrival to Les Contamines

Welcome to the charming, traditional village of Les Contamines.  A short warm-up walk is possible depending on your arrival time.

  • Overnight at a nice 2-star hotel, half-board.

Day 2: Les Contamines – Les Chapieux

A short car transfer to Notre Dame de la Gorge. Climb over the Col du Bonhomme and the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme leading to the Chapieux valley. Over the Aiguille des Glaciers, you will enjoy some splendid sights.

  • Walking for the day:  6-7h ↑1,200m ↓900m
  • Overnight in a dormitory room in La Nova mountain lodge or Les Chambres du Soleil, half-board.

Day 3: Les Chapieux – Refuge Elena

Walk over the Col de la Seigne to the Italian side of the border. On this walk, you will again take in some spectacular views. Descent into Val Ferret and take the bus from La Cantine de la Visaille to Courmayeur. Enjoy the great panoramic view over the Grandes Jorasses. Then, you are off to rifugio Elena, close to the Pré de Bar glacier.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7h ↑950m ↓1,000m
  • Overnight at Elena refuge, dormitory rooms, half-board.

Day 4: Refuge Elena – Champex (Val d’Arpette)

Cross the Grand Col Ferret and arrive in the quaint but beautiful village of La Fouly in Switzerland. Take in the exceptional views over the massif of Combins in the east and on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Short transfer by postal bus to Champex, a Swiss village boasting a beautiful lake. The lodge-hotel in Val D’Arpette, Relais d’Arpette, is some 45 min further by foot.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6h ↑600m ↓1,000m
  • Overnight at Val D’Arpette, dormitory rooms, half-board.

Day 5: Champex (Val d’Arpette) – La Forclaz (or Trient)

The highest point of the walk is reached today as you climb over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2,750 m). Take in the breath-taking views while you go down alongside the Trient glacier. In case of bad weather, there is an alternative, shorter itinerary via the Cold de Bovine pass.

  • Walking for the day: 8-9h ↑1,050m ↓1,385m, or 5-6h ↑800m ↓1,135m (shorter option)
  • Overnight in a mountain hut in Col de La Forclaz or in Trient, dormitory rooms, half board.

Day 6: La Forclaz (or Trient) – Le Tour

Walking over the Col de la Balme and back to France with fantastic views of the Mont Blanc and Aiguille Verte, you will have the option of two alternative routes for the descent to Le Tour.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7h ↑1,000 m ↓1,050m
  • Overnight in Caf de Tour refuge, dormitory rooms, half board.

Day 7: Le Tour – Chamonix

Enjoy the wonderful Balcon des Aiguilles Rouges, before a climb to Lake Blanc. Take in all the beautiful scenery that follows: Aiguille Verte, Les Drus, La Mer de glace, Aiguilles de Chamonix, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Aiguille du Goûter, and last but not least, Mont Blanc iself! Descend to Chamonix by Le Praz. You can also opt to take the cableway at La Flégère or even by bus (transfers not included in the price).

  • Walking for the day:  Choice of 24, 16 or 8 km with ↑900, ↑ 500 or ↑400m elevation gains
  • Overnight at a nice 2-star hotel in Chamonix, en-suite rooms, bed&breakfast.

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Hotels for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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Accommodation is in lodges in dormitories with shared facilities (showers and toilets) except the first night in a hotel in Les Contamines** and last night in Chamonix**. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on 7 days and dinner is included on 6 days. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your accommodation the night before.

Travel for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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Our recommended arrival airport  for this holiday is Geneva.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking. 

Transfers to/from Airports

  • By own / rental car

Free but not guarded parking in les Contamines. At the end of the tour, to go from Chamonix to les Contamines: by Bus SAT Mont Blanc or by Taxi Besson.

  • By train

St Gervais – Le Fayet railway station and then taxi or bus to Les Contamines. Please inform us if you would like for us to book the taxi or if you need up-to-date information about the bus schedules.

  • By Bus

SAT Mont Blanc, www.sat-montlblanc.com; Tel +33 (0) 4 50 78 05 33 ; about 35 mn

Taxi Besson www.taxi-montblanc.com; Tel +33 (04) 50 93 61 47 (Mini-buses with 8 or 6 seats are also available), about € 70 / transfer 1-4 pers (Le Fayet – Contamines or Chamonix – Contamines).

Return via Chamonix Mont Blanc Railway Station.

From Chamonix to Le Fayet : by train, about 40 mn.

  • By taxi

From Geneva airport to les Contamines about: €220 per way; on Sunday, bank holidays or after 6pm: €295 per way. Taxi 2 – 4 persons.


Private Transfers

Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 15 kg per person).

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on Switzerland is available here.

Up-to-date travel advice on Italy is available here.

Up-to-date travel advice on France is available here.

Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires a very good level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available on any date from 15 June (first starting date) till 15 September (last starting date).

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

Weather

Regularly updated weather forecasts for the area are available here and here. Detailed month-by-month climate info is available here.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 15 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots with ankle-support
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket / Goretex jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
  • A sheet or a sleeping bag sheet / liner to use in dormitories

Included for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (IGN TOP 25 maps 1:25 000, N° 3630 OT Chamonix and 3531 OT St Gervais-Les Bains)
  • 2 nights in 2-star hotels (private en-suite rooms) and 5 nights in mountain huts (dormitory rooms with shared facilities)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • Private transfer on Day 2
  • 24/7 assistance by phone

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement: available only on first and last night, add £80 to standard trip price
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Eventual (optional) bus transfers (Courmayeur, Champex, Chamonix) and cableways

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • The bus transfer on Day 3 La Nova – Seloge
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the program

Extensions, Upgrades and Optional Extras

  • Extra night in a 2-star hotel in Les Contamines before the holiday – Hotel La Gélinotte or similar, half-board accommodation.
  • Extra night in a 2-star hotel in Chamonix after the holiday, half-board accommodation.
  • Luggage Transfers Opt-Out – if you prefer to carry all your luggage rather than have it transferred by us, this will reduce your price by £80 per person.
  • Hotel Upgrade – if you prefer to spend all nights in private double/twin rooms, most of them with en-suite facilities – please consider this itinerary.

Gallery for Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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