On our Tour du Mont Blanc Western Section seven-day itinerary you will walk in counter-clockwise direction the western part of the complete tour from Bourg Saint-Maurice to Martigny in Switzerland and stay in comfortable private en-suite rooms on all nights, all luggage transfers included.
The trip starts in the beautiful village of Bourg Saint-Maurice in France. From here, you follow the Tour Mont Blanc route via the alpine hotspot of Chamonix. You conquer countless mountain passes, enjoy the views on sparkling glacial lakes and will be enchanted by the views of the vast mountain valleys.
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Day 1: Arrival Martigny
The little town of Martigny lies in an idyllic spot close to the river Rhône. Go for a walk and visit the castle La Batiaz or indulge yourself in one of the many local restaurants.
- Accommodation: Hotel Vatel or similar
Day 2: Trient – Argentière | 15 km
Early in the morning, by bus or private transfer (depending on the season), you reach Trient. Your first hiking day starts by climbing the Col de Balme (2191 m) pass, where you can have a short rest in a quaint mountain lodge. It offers fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley. You will then descend into the grassy Sattel, where you can see grazing livestock and mountain pastures. The impressive Kammweg (ridgeway) over the summit of Aiguillette des Posettes will now take you through rocky terrain with a panoramic view of the surrounding glaciers. You will cope with the descent on a steep trail, which later takes you along the mountain stream to your destination.
- Walking for the day: 15 km, 5-6 h ↑1100 m ↓1000 m
- Accommodation: Hotel Le Dahu or similar
Day 3: Argentière – Chamonix | 14 km
Day 3 is the most spectacular leg of the Mont Blanc tour: on well-secured ladders, you will climb steep rocks to reach the light-blue shining mountain lake called Lac Blanc. In the afternoon, the path across the “Grand Balcon”, a tremendous alpine route, will take you along the mountain slope and through blueberry fields to Plan Praz, which has a café at an altitude of 2000 m! Here you can take the cable car and glide down to the legendary mountaineering hub of Chamonix. A stroll through the magnificent pedestrian area with colourfully decorated houses is a treat for the eyes!
- Walking for the day: 14 km, 5-6 h ↑1050 m ↓3500 m (easier option by cable cars/funicular: ↑350 m ↓600 m)
- Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet or similar
Day 4: Chamonix – Les Houches | 12 km
On day 4, you will ride the cable car to climb up to 2000 m. You are not very far from pass Col du Brévent (2368 m), from where you will climb the impressive boulders of the panoramic peak of Brévent. From the viewing platform, which is known as the “best lookout post on Mont Blanc”, you can take in amazing views of the glaciers and the peaks. A beautiful hiking trail passes the bizarre shaped mountain lake of Lac du Brévent and descends into Bel-Lachat’s shelter. You can take some rest here before resuming the steep climb, which will take you past the Alpine Wildpark Merlet through the forest and into the valley. You will stay the night in one of the many small hamlets in the municipality of Les Houches situated in the valley of the river Arve, which gets its water from the glaciers.
- Walking for the day: 12 km, 5 h ↑500 m ↓1500 m
- Accommodation: Hotel du Bois or similar
Day 5: Les Houches – Les Contamines | 10-18 km
Experience the famous “Mont Blanc tram” from close quarters and walk along its tracks for a stretch of the hike. From Bellevue, you can view the imposing end station of the daringly constructed rack railway next to the ice field. An alpine path guides you to an adventurous suspension bridge that you need to cross to walk over a rustling glacial stream. You will then hike through mountain meadows to the Col de Tricot (2120 m) pass and climb down to the Miage huts. After a further climb, you will reach the cosy resting destination of Truc-Alpe. Grab a bite while listening to the bells of grazing cows. Your goal, Les Contamines, is situated in the Montjoie valley, which is famous for its delicious cheeses from the numerous surrounding alpine pastures. Don’t forget to visit one of the cheese dairies and taste the Savoy cheese with red wine and a fresh baguette.
- Walking for the day: 18 km, 7-8 h ↑1350 m ↓1150 m (easier option by cable cars/funicular: 10 km, 4-5 h ↑550 m ↓1150 m)
- Accommodation: Chalet-Hôtel La Chemenaz or similar
Day 6: Les Contamines – Les Chapieux – Bourg Saint-Maurice | 17 km
Today you will hike on the paths tread by Romans over gurgling ravines, see stone types of varied colours, get views of glacial lakes and climb two high pass crossings. The trail passes the southernmost point of the Mont Blanc massif, where you can enjoy unending vistas of the southern part of the mountain massif of the French Alps. You will first walk leisurely along the river to the baroque pilgrimage church Notre Dame de la Gorge, from where you can start with the long climb to the top of the passes: on a rocky alpine path from Col du Bonhomme (2329 m) to pass Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2450 m). Replenish yourself at Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme, a traditional shelter of the French Alpine Club. The last descent across alpine pastures with mountain brooks flowing through them leads you to Vallée des Glaciers (valley of glaciers) to the small hamlet of Les Chapieux. A short transfer from Les Chapieux will bring you down to your overnight accommodation location – Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
- Walking for the day: 17 km, 7-8h ↑1300m ↓900m
- Accommodation: Hotel Arolla or similar
Day 7: Departure
Departure or extra nights in Bourg Saint-Maurice. We recommend a walk through the typically French Alps location, a ride on the funicular into the hiking region of Arcs and a visit to the Isère river before heading back home.
What to Expect
Accommodation is in 3-star hotels and guesthouses in private en-suite double/twin rooms. 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.
All breakfasts are included. Lunch packs for the next day can be pre-ordered at each accommodation. For dinner, you can visit one of the restaurants in the villages or order from the a la carte menu in your accommodation.
Difficulty & terrain
This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers and requires an excellent level of fitness; you will walk 5-6 hours a day (up to 8 hours on some days). There are some exposed sections – enduring sure-footedness, and head for heights are a must (read more about difficulty grades).
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 July till beginning of September. 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 Mont-Blanc Marathon (24 – 27 June 2022) & UTMB (23 – 29 August 2022).
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Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva (GVA).
By train or bus
- The direct train journey takes 1.5 hours from Geneva. From Zurich, it is approximately 2.5–3 hours via Visp. Limited amount of parking spaces close to the railway station in Martigny are available, CHF 10.- per day.
- Martigny is easily reachable from London by train, journey time is about 8.5 hours (see more details or use the Omio planner above).
- 6 nights in a mix of 3-star hotels and comfortable guesthouses (private en-suite rooms)
- 6 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
- Private transfers as listed in the itinerary
- Detailed holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (1 set per room)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Eventual bus transfers and cable cars to shorten the walks
- 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
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- Extra nights in Martigny and Bourg-Saint-Maurice