Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
This is the 'best of' one of the most famous classic walks in the Alps, the Tour du Mont Blanc, passing through three countries and three cultures. We meet in Chamonix, the mountaineering capital of the world, and begin a journey of discovery which takes in the history, culture, folklore and wildlife of the mountains. From remote farms and refuges, to ancient Roman towns and beautiful lakeside mountain villages - it's all here!
- 7 days of hiking - Tour the highest peak in the Alps
- Visit three countries - Italy, Switzerland and France
- Stay in the famous and fabulous Rifugio Bonatti
- Hike to Lac Blanc for views of Mont Blanc
- Hotel-based tour with full luggage support
- Highly experienced and knowledgeable guide
- Walk the spectacular Mont de la Saxe
- A night in the lovely Italian town of Courmayeur
This classic journey picks out the best of the daily stages and links them by short vehicle transfers. Our route will tackle several major pass crossings, such as the Col de Bonhomme, and the Col de la Seigne. We also spend a day on the stunning Mont de la Saxe ridge, followed by a night at the world famous Rifugio Bonatti, which is decicated to the photographer and mountaineer, Walter Bonatti.
The trip provides stunning views across the Chamonix valley to Mont Blanc. For those with limited time, this one-week version of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers superb trekking in France, Italy and Switzerland, as well as a wealth of unforgettable Alpine experiences.
|Trip||Departure date||End date||Price||Status|
|MBH1 17||Sat 24 June 17||Sun 2 July 17||£1495||Trip Guaranteed | Make a Booking|
|MBH2 17||Sat 1 July 17||Sun 9 July 17||£1495||Places available | Make a Booking|
|MBH3 17||Sat 15 July 17||Sun 23 July 17||£1495||Places available | Make a Booking|
|MBH4 17||Sat 5 August 17||Sun 13 August 17||£1495||Places available | Make a Booking|
|MBH5 17||Sat 26 August 17||Sun 3 September 17||£1495||Places available | Make a Booking|
|MBH6 17||Sat 9 September 17||Sun 17 September 17||£1495||Places available | Make a Booking|
Dates do not suit you?
All our trips are available for private groups. If you would like to travel on different dates, or with family or friends on a bespoke trip, then please get in touch giving your preferred dates and itinerary.
We always aim to complete the itinerary as outlined below, however, the following itinerary will be followed only when conditions and weather make it appropriate, both in terms of safety and enjoyment. Your guide will make a decision on your destination based on those conditions.
Day 1 Arrival in Chamonix Valley
We meet at the group hotel in Chamonix, France. Lying beneath the stunning north face of Mont Blanc, the views are amazing from the start! Before dinner, you will meet your trip leader to have an informal chat about the days ahead and have the chance to check out your clothing and gear and to decide if you will need to pick up any further items of equipment, before setting out in the morning.
Day 2 Lac Blanc & Mont Blanc views
We begin with a day of stunning views of the Mont Blanc range, glaciers, jagged spires and peaks, and an introduction to the Tour du Mont Blanc and it's history. We will take the historic Mont Blanc Express train towards the Swiss frontier, alighting at the hamlet of Montroc where we begin our hike. We take the excellent zig zag alpine trail which climbs towards the ridge line high above Chamonix. En route there are lots of wild flowers, granite outcrops, and often Chamois or Ibex grazing by the trail as we make our way to the Lacs des Cheserys which offer a great spot for our picnic lunch. This is one of the best walks in the Chamonix valley. On a very hot day we have even been known to have a swim! We can then climb higher to enjoy the truly spectacular views from Lac Blanc - voted the 'Best short walk in the world'. After the obligatory photo 'op' we descend to the mid-station at La Flégère and back down to Chamonix by cable car.
Distance 8.5km. Total Ascent 900m. Total Descent 400m. Approx walking time 6 hours.
Day 3 Col du Bonhomme to Les Chapieux
This morning we take our private taxi to Les Contamines and Notre Dame de la Gorge our start point for a day of steady climbs. Leaving the river our route follows the ‘paved’ Roman road thought to have been a route taken by Hannibal. Our first stop is at the refuge at Le Balme, a good place to contemplate the climb to the Col du Bonhomme and enjoy a morning coffee. The route to the Col at 2469m is a long, steady climb and the pass itself often has snow patches early in the season. Arriving at the Col we have views right into the Beaufortain region and thankfully the climbing is almost over for the day as we traverse round to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme before dropping steeply down to our auberge at Les Chapieux. If you need fuel we can always stop for cake at the Refuge before our descent!
Distance 17km. Total Ascent 1350m. Total Descent 960m. Approx walking time 6-7 hours.
Day 4 Les Chapieux to Courmayeur
We leave Les Chapieux, taking a short transfer to Ville des Glaciers where Bernard, the farmer, is usually on hand to sell us some farm produced cheese. It's great to stop and chat about his Tarine cows who make the famous Beaufort cheese. There's nothing like locally produced and 'tasted' Beaufort! We then stroll along the valley heading for the high point of our day at the Col de la Seigne 2513m. This is a significant col on the border between France and Italy and as we descend gives superlative views of the infamous Peutery Ridge on Mont Blanc. An easy descent takes us past the Elizabetta Refuge and down into Val Veny. We then take the local bus, always good fun with lots of gesticulating 'locals', and descend to the vibrant town and mountaineering centre of Courmayeur. Ascent: 970m
Distance 17.2 km. Total Ascent 867m. Total Descent 1015m. Approx walking time 5-6 hours.
Day 5 Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti - a true highlight!
Leaving Courmayeur we climb through the hamlets towards the Monte de la Saxe Ridge. This is a spectacular grass ridge which provides fantastic views of the Italian side of Mont Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses. After a steep ascent through the larch forests we arrive at the Rifugio Bertone which is perched high above the valley. A morning coffee stop is usually on the agenda, and sometimes we even indulge in some cake! We then climb till we reach the spectacular Monte de la Saxe ridge. This is not a nerve wracking rock ridge, but instead a beautiful rounded grassy ridge which offers truly spectacular views of the Mont Blanc range. It is not to be missed! We take in a summit on the Tete de la Tronche, lunch spot, then drop down to the Col Sapin and the lovely Armina valley and cruise round to the Rifugio Bonatti our stunning overnight accommodation. The view from the terrace, where you can enjoy a cold drink as the sun goes down is one of life's 'golden moments'.
Distance 17km. Total Ascent 1584m. Total Descent 940m. Approx walking time 7 hours.
Day 6 Rifugio Bonatti to Champex
This morning we enjoy breakfast with views to the glaciers and mountains. After sufficient coffee has been consumed we set offon a really lovely traversing path which leads us to a morning coffee/cake stop at the Rifugio Elena. From here we climb steeply to the Grand Col Ferret at 2537m. From this pass, there are views of the snow-capped Grand Combin 4090m and also Mont Dolent, the summit of which is shared by France, Switzerland and Italy. Beyond the pass, we have entered Switzerland and the terrain is very different, less rugged, as we descend to La Fouly. Here we catch our private taxi transfer to our overnight halt in the beautiful lakeside Swiss village of Champex.
Distance 20.3km. Total Ascent 1128m. Total Descent 1580m. Approx walking time 6 hours.
Day 7 Champex to Forclaz
Today we have two options and your guide will make a decision on the best route given the group and weather. The climb up to the pass known as the Fenêtre d’Arpette 2670m is one of the most demanding days of the tour, but there are compensations. On reaching the rocky col the spectacular view across the Trient Glacier to its seracs and crevasses is quite breathtaking. In summer 2015 there was a landslide which has affected this route and it is now not always possible. Distance 15.4km. Ascent 1480m. Descent 1760m. Approx walking time 6-7 hours.
Alternatively, we take the beautiful Bovine trail through the high meadows where the famous Swiss fighting cows spend the summer months. After a steep ascent to the meadows we aim to stop at the farm for coffee and a chance to chat with the cow herder. This route offers fantastic views down the Rhone Valley and on to the Bernese Oberland. It is very different from the Arpette, but is by no means 'second best'. We love it! We overnight at the Col de la Forclaz.
Distance 15km. Ascent 570m. Descent 570m. Approx walking time 5-6 hours. The leader will decide which route we take.
Day 8 Forclaz to Chamonix
We begin with dropping down to the Trient Valley which is where we start the climb up through fine woodland to reach the frontier between Switzerland and France. Our route to the pass can be varied to take account of the prevailing weather conditions. The preferred route, via Les Tseppes, allows us to linger over views of the Trient Glacier and of the rocky skyline ridge of the Fenetre d'Arpette. On reaching the frontier we cross the border back into France where below us lies the Chamonix valley, dominated by the Aiguille Verte at one end and Mont Blanc at the other. We descend Chamonix along the mountainside below the Aiguillette des Posettes ridge with stunning views leading us every onwards to our accommodation for the night.
Distance 18km. Total Ascent 1200m. Total Descent 1500m. Approx walking time 6 hours.
Day 9 Departure
Today is departure day, services end after breakfast.
Included: The guiding services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader, hotel or gîte accommodation (based on twin rooms), breakfast and dinner each day, transfers and cable cars involved in the itinerary. Transfers of luggage each day to your accommodation, apart from the one night in the Rifugio Bonatti where there is no vehicle access.
Not included: Flights, travel Insurance, airport transfers, snack food, transfers and cable cars which are not part of the itinerary, personal expenses – beer, souvenirs etc. We are happy to advise on the best options for airport transfers and flights. Lunches are not included as we find that our guests enjoy buying local food, or you can easily order a picnic from our accommodation for between 10-12 Euros.
Due to the nature of the accommodation on this trip; we use small hotels, in often tiny villages and one remote mountain hut. If you are booking as a couple you can expect to be in a twin or double room, normally with en suite facilities. In some smaller hotels it's possible we may need to share the bathrooms. Depending on availability we may have to use larger rooms for one night at Les Chapieux where accommodation is very limited. At the Rifugio Bonatti we always aim to book bedrooms or small bunkrooms, rather than dormitory although this depends on early booking. If you are a solo traveller and would like to book a single room this may be possible for a supplement upon early booking.
In mountainous terrain the weather can vary considerably. Temperatures can reach over 30°c in the height of the summer (July/August), but can be as low as 5°c on the passes. It is often sunny with good clear days but it can rain and snow (even in July or August) so you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°c in the valleys and 5-15°c on the passes.
On each trekking day, there will be vehicle support to carry your main luggage to the next overnight stop so you just carry a day pack. To make things efficient during the luggage transfer process, and to prevent any losses, please keep luggage to a minimum i.e. a day sac whilst walking and one bag labelled clearly to transfer. Please make sure you can carry your own bag as many hotels do not have 'lifts'. You will have one night with no access to your luggage, this is when we stay at the lovely Rifugio Bonatti. You only need to carry a few extra items and it really is not a problem.
There are cash machines in Chamonix, Les Contamines, Courmayeur, La Fouly, Champex and Argentière. Mountain huts do not normally accept cards, but most of the hotels do. Pre packed lunches cost about 10-15 Euros per day if we order them in the hotels, but we can stop at shops en-route to make our own lunches for considerably less. A coffee or soft drink costs around 3 Euros, and a beer around 5 Euros. Bottled water can be expensive but we can usually fill up with tap water. Part of this trip is in Switzerland, so it could be useful to have some Swiss francs, or you can use the cashpoint in La Fouly. These can also be spent at Geneva Airport. It is also possible to use Euros in Switzerland, but you will normally receive your change in Francs, and it won’t be a very good exchange rate. Around 200-250 Euros per person should be enough to cover your personal expenses but it does depend how many coffees, beers and wines you consume! We recommend that you also consider bringing a few trekking snacks with you to supplement your lunches with.
Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be trekking in the mountains you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.
This trip will run once a minimum number of 4 clients have booked. We will take a maximum of 10 clients. We advise you not to make your travel arrangements until the trip is guaranteed to run.
Chamonix is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details. Geneva is the closest international airport, only 75 minutes away by road, making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange. Please contact us if you need further advise on your specific travel requirements. Once you have booked we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for the trek.
As our niche trips such as the Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights are of a specialised nature we work with our partner companies to attract sufficient clients to reach the minimum number of participants to allow these trips to go ahead, meaning you are more likely to have your chosen holiday 'guaranteed'. Tracks and Trails in these instances may, in collaborating with our associates, make use of their guiding services. If you have any queries with regard to this please contact us.
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