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 the Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights itinerary you will walk in the standard counter-clockwise direction and use lifts and public transport to skip some parts of the complete trail so that you can take in the very best sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc within 6 days of walking.
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 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 Highlights in Comfort itinerary.
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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.
- Accommodation: Hôtel La Gélinotte** (or similar), half-board
Day 2: Les Contamines – Les Chapieux | 6-7 h
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: 6-7 h ↑1,200 m ↓900 m
- 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 2 & 3.
Day 3: Les Chapieux – Refuge Elena | 6-7 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. 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: 6-7 h ↑950 m ↓1,000 m
- Accommodation: Elena refuge (dormitory rooms), half-board
Day 4: Refuge Elena – Champex (Val d’Arpette) | 5-6 h
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: 5-6 h ↑600 m ↓1,000 m
- Accommodation: Le Relais Arpette (or similar) in dormitory rooms, half-board
Day 5: Champex (Val d’Arpette) – La Forclaz (or Trient) | 5-9 h
The walk’s highest point 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. There is an alternative, shorter itinerary via the Cold de Bovine pass in case of bad weather.
- Walking for the day: 8-9 h ↑1,050 m ↓1,385 m, or 5-6h ↑800 m ↓1,135 m (shorter option)
- Accommodation: Mountain hut La Forclaz (or similar) in dormitory rooms, half board
Day 6: La Forclaz (or Trient) – Le Tour | 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 Le Tour.
- Walking for the day: 6-7 h ↑1,000 m ↓1,050 m
- Accommodation: Caf de Tour refuge (dormitory rooms), half board
Day 7: Le Tour – 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 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 ↑400 m elevation gains
- Accommodation: Hotel du Clocher*** (or similar), bed&breakfast
Day 8: Departure 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 3795 m or the train to the Montenvers on the Mer de Glace.
What to expect
Accommodation is in lodges in dormitories with shared facilities (showers and toilets) except the first night in a 2-star hotel in Les Contamines and last night in a 3-star hotel 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.
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*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.
Breakfast is included on 7 days, and dinner is included on 6 days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your accommodation the night before.
Difficulty & terrain
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). 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 15 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 Marathon du Mont-Blanc at the end of June and the UTMB trail running event at the end of August.
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Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva (GVA).
By train or bus
- 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: Bus SAT Mont Blanc or 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 us to book you a taxi or need up-to-date information about the bus schedules.
- By Bus: SAT Mont Blanc (+33 (0) 4 50 78 05 33) – about 35 min. Taxi Besson (+33 (04) 50 93 61 47) (Mini-buses with 8 or 6 seats are also available), about € 120 / transfer 1-3 pers (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 Contamines about €300 one way on weekdays and before 6 pm. Taxi 2 – 4 persons.
- 2 nights in 2/3-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
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including access to navigation app, GPS tracks, 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)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinner on Day 7, drinks and snacks
- The bus transfer on Day 3 La Nova – Seloge
- 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 & 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
- Extra nights in Les Contamines or Chamonix
- Luggage Transfers Opt-Out: if you prefer to carry all your luggage rather than have it transferred by us, this will reduce your price. Please note this option has to be selected for all travellers in the booking.
- If you prefer to spend all nights in private double/twin rooms, most of them with en-suite facilities – please consider this itinerary.