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. On our Tour du Mont Blanc from Les Houches itinerary, you will walk almost the full tour (skipping the asphalt sections) in the standard counter-clockwise direction.
The scenery’s majestic beauty 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 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 most nights in private rooms, most of them with en-suite facilities, you should consider our Tour du Mont Blanc from Les Houches in Comfort itinerary.
- Les Houches
- Les Contamines – jewel at the heart of the Mont Blanc region
- Chamonix – one of the oldest ski resorts in France
- Champex at the foot of the Mont Blanc Massif
- Mont Blanc massif
- The two valleys Val Ferret
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival in Les Houches
Welcome to the charming village of Les Houches.
- Accommodation: Hotel du Bois*** (or similar), half-board
Day 2: Les Houches – Les Contamines | 4-5h
Walk from Les Houches to the traditional village of Les Contamines. You take the cable car to Bellevue, making for an easier first day, cutting out the first ascent. The TMB path contours through the forest high above the Bionnassay Valley while passing through pretty Alpine hamlets with excellent views of Mont Blanc and across the foothills of the Alps. The Dôme du Gouter and Aiguille de Bionnassay dominate the views with the impressive glacier between them. Then climb up the Col de Tricot and start the descent following a series of switchbacks to Chalet de Miage. Following a riverside path will make for a very pleasing approach into Les Contamines at the end of the day.
- Walking for the day: 4-5h, approx. 11km, ↑640m ↓1,275m
- Accommodation: Hôtel La Gélinotte** (or similar), half-board
Day 3: Les Contamines – Les Chapieux | 6-7h
Optional 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, approx. 16km, ↑1,200m ↓900m (with transfer) / 8-9h without transfer
- Accommodation: Mountain lodge Auberge La Nova (dormitory rooms), half-board
*If no accommodation in Les Chapieux is available, we will accommodate you at a hotel in Bourg St Maurice instead. Depending on the availability, the hotel would be either a 2* hotel with dinner included, or a 3* hotel with breakfast only. A supplement of 28 EUR per person will be required. You will need to take the bus from Les Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice and return in the morning (approx. 4-6 EUR fare). If arriving before 25th June and after 27th August, private transfers will be required as the shuttle doesn’t run in low season. Supplement will be 190 EUR in total for both transfers on Days 3 and 4.
Day 4: Les Chapieux – Refuge Elisabetta | 5h
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. Descend enjoying great views of the Aiguilles of Peuterey and the Mont Blanc of Courmayeur.
Note: luggage transfer not possible on this day, your main luggage will be transported directly from Les Chapieux to Refuge Elena where you spend the next overnight.
- Walking for the day: 5h, approx. 10km, ↑730m ↓315m
- Accommodation: Refuge Elisabetta (dormitory rooms), half-board
Day 5: Refuge Elisabetta – Courmayeur; Val Ferret – Refuge Elena | 6h
Hike up on one the most beautiful balconies of the tour, until you reach the pass of Chécroui, then descend to
Courmayeur either by walking or with the cable car. In Courmayeur, take the bus to the Val Ferret. From here, it is 1h of walking to reach refuge Elena.
- Walking for the day: 6h, approx. 18km, ↑800m ↓980m
- Accommodation: Elena refuge (dormitory rooms), half-board
Day 6: Refuge Elena – La Fouly | 4-5h
Cross the Grand Col Ferret and arrive at the quaint but beautiful village of La Fouly in Switzerland. Take in the exceptional views over the massif of Combins in the East and the Italian side of Mont Blanc.
- Walking for the day: 4-5h, approx. 12km, ↑475m ↓930m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Edelweiss*** (or similar), dormitory rooms, half-board
Day 7: La Fouly – Champex (Val d’Arpette) | 5-6h
A bucolic hike through one of the most beautiful valleys of Valais. Admire the quaint villages and their typical architecture. Hike up to the village of Champex and its lake and continue until you reach Val d’Arpette.
- Walking for the day: 5-6h, approx. 17km, ↑600m ↓500m
- Accommodation: Le Relais Arpette (or similar), dormitory rooms, half-board
Day 8: Champex (Val d’Arpette) – La Forclaz (or Trient) | 8-9h
The highest point of the walk is reached today as you climb over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2,750m). Take in the breath-taking views while you go down alongside the Trient glacier. There is an alternative, shorter itinerary via the Cold de Bovine pass.
- Walking for the day: 8-9h, approx. 14km, ↑1,050m ↓1,385m, or 5-6h ↑800m ↓1,135m (shorter option via the Cold de Bovine pass, strongly recommended in case of bad weather)
- Accommodation: Mountain hut La Forclaz (or similar), dormitory rooms, half board
Day 9: La Forclaz (or Trient) – Le Tour | 6-7h
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, approx. 15km, ↑1,000m ↓1,050m
- Accommodation: Caf de Tour refuge (dormitory rooms), half board
Day 10: Le Tour – Chamonix | 6h
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 cable car at La Flégère or the local bus (transfers not included in the price).
- Walking for the day: 6h, approx. 20km, ↑900m, ↓1,100m
- Accommodation: Hotel du Clocher*** (or similar), bed&breakfast
Day 11: Chamonix – Les Houches | 6-7h
If the weather is good and is not the beginning of the season (because of the risk of snow), you can take the cable car from Chamonix to Planpraz and walk to Les Houches by the Col du Brevent. Or (possible only after end-June) take a cable car from Plan Praz to le Brevent and then go down to Les Houches. Then take the train or bus from Les Houches back to Chamonix. Or you can call it a rest day and stroll the streets of Chamonix.
- Walking for the day: 6-7h, approx. 13km, ↑515m ↓1,540m
- Accommodation: Hotel du Clocher*** (or similar), bed&breakfast
Day 12: Departure, Extra Nights or Onward Travel
Chamonix is a great base to spend a couple of days, and we would recommend that you add some extra nights here. You can enjoy some fabulous walking in the Aiguilles Rouge Park, take the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi at 3,795m or the train to the Montenvers on the Mer de Glace.
What to expect
Accommodation on 7 nights is in mountain lodges in dormitories with shared facilities (showers and toilets) and 4 nights in hotels (in Les Houches, Les Contamines and 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.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel du Clocher***
- Elena refuge
- Mountain lodge Auberge La Nova
- Mountain hut La Forclaz
- Hôtel Edelweiss*** (in dorms)
- Hôtel La Gélinotte**
*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.
Half board with breakfast and dinner is included in every accommodation except Chamonix (breakfast only). Lunch packs for next day can be pre-ordered at each accommodation.
Difficulty and terrain
This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers and requires an excellent level of fitness; you will walk 5-7h a day (up to 9h on some days if you do not use the shorter alternatives) (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never 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 mid-June till mid-September. Regularly updated weather forecasts for the area are available here and here. Detailed month-by-month climate info is available here. 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.
Please note that availability may be limited during big events such as the Marathon du Mont-Blanc at the end of June and the UTMB trail running event at the end of August.
FCO up-to-date travel advice on Switzerland, France and Italy.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva (GVA).
By train or bus
- By own/rental car: Very easy access to Les Houches and Praz de Chamonix via Highway A40 to St Gervais-Le Fayet and expressway (4 lanes) to Servoz and Les Houches.
- By train: St Gervais-Le Fayet TGV station is at 7km from Servoz and at 17km from Les Houches. Then bus from St Gervais le Fayet to les Houches or St Gervais / Les Houches by train.
- By Bus: SAT Mont Blanc, +33 (0) 4 50 78 05 33; about 45min. Taxi Besson, +33 (04) 50 93 61 47 (Mini-buses with 8 or 6 seats are also available), about € 70 / transfer 1-4 persons (Le Fayet – Contamines or Chamonix – Contamines).
- Return via Chamonix Mont Blanc Railway Station. From Chamonix to Le Fayet: by train, approx. 40min.
- By taxi: From Geneva airport to Les Houches about €280 one way on weekdays and before 6 pm. Taxi 2 – 4 persons.
- 3 nights in 3-star hotels, 1 night in a 2-star hotel (private en-suite rooms) and 7 nights in mountain huts (dormitory rooms with shared facilities)
- 11 breakfasts
- 9 dinners
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days except on Day 4 – your main luggage will be transferred directly from the Day 3 to the Day 5 accommodation
- Private transfer on Day 3
- Detailed holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked (provided only digitally as access to our Navigation app; printed documents available at extra cost)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners on Days 10 and 11, drinks and snacks
- Luggage transfer on Day 4
- Eventual bus transfers and cable cars to shorten the walks (Courmayeur, Champex, Chamonix)
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
- If staying in Bourg St Maurice on Day 2 before 25th June and after 27th August, private return transfer will be required with a supplement of 190 EUR in total.
- If staying in Bourg St Maurice on Day 2, accommodation supplement of 28 EUR per person will be required.
Options, extras and supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room– only possible for 4 nights when accommodated in hotels (Houches / Contamines / Chamonix)
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- Extra nights in Les Houches or Chamonix
- Printed pre-departure materials
- If you prefer to spend all nights in private double/twin rooms, most of them with en-suite facilities – please consider this itinerary.