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Tour du Mont Blanc from Les Houches in Comfort

Tour du Mont Blanc from Les Houches in Comfort

Overview

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) and stay on most nights in comfortable en-suite rooms in 2 and 3-star hotels.

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 dormitories, you should consider our Tour du Mont Blanc Hut to Hut itinerary.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Les Houches

Welcome to the charming village of Les Houches.

Day 2: Les Houches – Les Contamines | 4-5 h

Walk from Les Houches to the traditional village of Les Contamines. You can optionally 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: 4-5 h, ↑640m ↓1275m
  • Accommodation: Hôtel La Gélinotte** (or similar), half-board

Day 3: Les Contamines – Les Chapieux | 6-9 h

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:  6-7 h ↑1200 m ↓900 m (with transfer) / 8-9 h without transfer
  • Accommodation: Private room at mountain lodge Auberge La Nova (or similar), half-board

Day 4: Les Chapieux – Refuge Elisabetta | 5 h

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 Courmayeur where you spend the next overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 5 h ↑730 m ↓315 m
  • Accommodation: Refuge Elisabetta in dormitory rooms, half-board (no option for private rooms here)

Day 5: Refuge Elisabetta – Courmayeur | 4-5 h

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.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5h ↑550m ↓980m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Bouton d’Or*** (or similar) in Courmayeur, bed&breakfast

Day 6: Val Ferret – La Fouly | 5-6 h

In Courmayeur, take the bus to the Val Ferret. 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: 5-6 h ↑725m ↓930m
  • Accommodation: Hôtel Edelweiss*** (or similar) in La Fouly, half-board

Day 7: La Fouly – Champex (Val d’Arpette) | 5-6 h

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: 5-6 h ↑600 m ↓500 m
  • Accommodation: Le Relais Arpette, private rooms, half-board

Day 8: Champex (Val d’Arpette) – La Forclaz (or Trient) | 8-9 h

The walk’s highest point is reached today as you climb over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2750m). 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: 8-9 h ↑1050 m ↓1385 m, or 5-6h ↑800 m ↓1135 m (shorter option via the Cold de Bovine pass, strongly recommended in case of bad weather)
  • Accommodation: Mountain hut La Forclaz (or similar), private rooms, half board

Day 9: La Forclaz (or Trient) – Argentière | 6-7 h

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 Argentière.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 h ↑1,000 m ↓1,050m
  • Accommodation: Hôtel de La Couronne*** (or similar) in Argentières, half-board

Day 10: Argentière – Chamonix | 6 h

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: 6 h, ↑900 m, ↓1,100 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel du Clocher*** (or similar), bed&breakfast

Day 11: Chamonix – Les Houches | 6-7 h

If the weather is good and is not the beginning of the season (because of 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 23 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: 6-7 h ↑515 m ↓1540 m
  • 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 3795m or the train to the Montenvers on the Mer de Glace.

What to expect

Accommodations

Accommodation in double en-suite rooms in hotels in 3-star hotels in Les Houches, Courmayeur, La Fouly, Argentières and Chamonix*** and 2-star hotel in Les Contamines. Accommodation in double rooms in lodges in Les Chapieux, Arpette (or Trient), with an en-suite bathroom (en-suite bathrooms in the lodges, however, cannot be guaranteed and the price will not be reduced in case there is no en-suite available). One night in a dormitory at Elisabetta Refuge with shared facilities. 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

*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

Half board with breakfast and dinner is included in every accommodation except Chamonix and Courmayeur (B&B). Lunch packs for next day can be pre-ordered at each accommodation.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers and requires an excellent level of fitness; you will walk 5-7 hours a day (up to 9 hours 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 15 June till 1 September (last starting date). 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 UTMB trail running event at the end of August.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice on Switzerland, France and Italy.

Click to view travel options

By plane

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 45 min. 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. 40 min.
  • By taxi: From Geneva airport to Les Houches about €280 one way on weekdays and before 6 pm. Taxi 2 – 4 persons.

Inclusions

Included

  • Detailed 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)
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 8 dinners
  • 6 nights in 3-star hotels, 1 night in a 2-star hotel (private en-suite rooms), 3 nights in private rooms in mountain huts (with or without en suite facilities), 1 night in a dormitory room with shared facilities
  • 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
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners on Days 5, 10&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

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room – available only on first and last night
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers; solo travellers, however, can book the hut to hut version of the tour
  • Extra nights in Les Houches or Chamonix

Gallery

Reviews

Average rating:    from 1 reviews

Maria G

We are a retired couple of 73 and 70 years old. We enjoyed the trip very much. The trip was well organised; all went smooth, the accommodation was comfortable and adequate on occasions where "comfort" was impossible to provide. The food was satisfactory - better in some places simpler in others. The trail is well worn so it was easy to follow - in parts very busy as it was holidays time in mid-July. The warnings were well justified as we did come across some snow patches which can be dangerous. The trail is challenging at times but the difficult parts could be omitted if that was the preference. We are slow walkers so it typically took us about an hour or two over the stipulated time but we are prepared for that so we never arrived past 6 pm. at the hotel. The views were spectacular and deeply emotionally charged - looking such grand Nature straight in the eyes was humbling and often overwhelming. It is a fine walk but shared with many. It was our first walk with The Natural Adventure Company and possibly not last (if our legs hold!). The pre-trip communication with Yana was very professional, clear and helpful as well. Recommended!