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Trek the Tour du Mont Blanc: The Full Circuit

Tackle the classic TMB route through Italy, France and Switzerland, hiking among epic landscapes on one of the world’s great hikes

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Trip Ref #9605

Trek the Tour du Mont Blanc: The Full Circuit

Tackle the classic TMB route through Italy, France and Switzerland, hiking among epic landscapes on one of the world’s great hikes

DURATION
9 nights
LOCATION
France, Italy, Switzerland
ANNUAL LEAVE
6-8 days off work
SEASON
Jun-Sep
GROUP SIZE
Up to 12 people
MEETING POINT
Central Chamonix
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Guesthouse · Mountain hut

OVERALL RATING

4.9

Based on 47 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

You’ll need to be in good shape and capable of hiking between 15-20km each day with a pack on your back and gains of as much as 1000m.

Trek across three countries and through the heart of the Alps as you circumnavigate the Mont Blanc massif

Experience rustic, mountain life – remote and authentic, it's the perfect first foray into long-distance trekking

Ride the cable car from Les Houches to Bellevue and see the Alps in all their glory laid out before you

Not quite got 10 days to spare? Then check out our shorter version of this trip, Trek the Tour du Mont Blanc in a Week

Day 1

Chamonix

View from Col du Voza

Hiking

7hrs · 16km · 730m up · 1300m down

Travel to the commune of Les Houches, the traditional starting point for the Tour du Mont Blanc and get your first view of the Chamonix Valley and the Mont Blanc Massif. Ride the cable car to Bellevue and hike to Col de Tricot, along the way crossing a suspension bridge over the waterfalls cascading from the Bionnassay Glacier. If there is adverse weather then the classic trail takes you through the more protected forest route and along the Contamines Valley. End the day in the French resort village of Les Contamines-Montjoie.

Day 2

France

Day 2

Hiking

9hrs · 20km · 1450m up · 1000m down

Take a moment to explore Notre Dame de la Gorge, an ancient church with a fascinating history dating back to the 14th century. Climb up the Col du Bonhomme and walk through the nature reserve and mountain pass of Savoie County. See the Roman bridge, beautiful mountain lakes and traditional farmhouses (Le Balme), then after lunch, descend to your alpine accommodation in the small hamlet of Les Chapieux, where you'll spend the night.

Day 3

Italy

Hiking

7-8hrs · 20km · 820m up · 100m down

Follow the river as it winds its way through Alpine valleys and climb up to the Col de la Seigne, 2516 meters above sea level and straddling the French-Italian border. From there, make your way back down to the Rifugio Monte Bianco, where you can rest up and take in the views.

Day 4

The high 4000’s

To La Palud

Hiking

3-4hrs · 9km · 350m up · 800m down

Experience some of the route’s most beautiful views (and that's saying something) as you trek from Rifugio Monte Bianco to Courmayeur. Fall silent as you see the range’s famous 4000-meter peaks and explore the village of Courmayeur, where you'll stay tonight.

Day 5

Refugio Walter Bonatti

Val Ferret

Hiking

6-7hrs · 13km · 1100m up · 300m down

Hike through the Val Ferret towards the Italy-Swiss border. See Mont Blanc, the Dent du Géants and the Grandes Jorasses massif towering above you, before arriving at your mountain hut, the famous Refugio Walter Bonatti with epic mountain views.

Day 6

The Grand Col Ferret

To La Fouly

Hiking

8-9hrs · 21km · 950m up · 1350m down

Start the day by traversing the High Balcon Val Ferret trail, then drop down to Chalet Ferret for that last sip of Italian coffee! You'll then climb 700m to the top of the Grand Col Ferret on the Italian-Swiss border before descending to the lovely village of La Fouly where you will spend the night

Day 7

Amble through La Fouly

Tour de Mont Blanc

Hiking

5-6hrs · 17km · 600m up · 700m down

Enjoy a (significantly) easier day as you walk through rolling, green valleys. See quaint villages and rustic farmhouses, before arriving in the picturesque Swiss mountain resort of Champex.

Day 8

Trient

Trient

Hiking

7-8hrs · 18km · 850m up · 1050m down

There are two options today: take the hard route over the Fenetre d’Arpette, or the slightly easier (official) one over Bovine. Both are beautiful, but the harder route takes you to the highest point so far with views to match. Whichever chosen by your guide, you’ll end the day in the small village of Trient where your accommodation awaits.

Day 9

The Col de Balme

Col de Balme

Hiking

5-6hrs · 15km · 980m up · 850m down

Travel to the Col de Balme marking the Swiss-French border at an altitude of 2190 meters. From L'Aiguilette des Possettes lose yourself in the views down the Chamonix Valley to the Aiguille du Midi and summit of Mont Blanc before descending to finish the day in Tré-le-Champ.

Day 10

Back to Chamonix

Lac Blanc

Hiking

7-8hrs · 17km · 1100m up · 1400m down

Trek over the Grand Balcon Sud and past the Lac Blanc, before heading to either Flégère or Planpraz. If you’re keen for more, hike back down to Chamonix, or alternatively ride the cable car one last time, before your epic trek comes to an end.

Included

Guides

Professional, experienced and friendly English-speaking IML certified guides

Accommodation

9 nights in remote mountain huts and guesthouses

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Equipment

Pillows and blankets are provided at the refuges. Trekking poles are available for hire.

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Visas where required

Travel to and from the start point

Day 1

Guesthouse · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Guesthouse · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6 – Day 7

Guesthouse · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Guesthouse · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfasts and dinners will be served at the refuges. Breakfasts always include coffee, bread, jam and butter. Depending on the refuge, they may also include orange juice, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, cheese and meats. Dinners are hearty and served in large portions – just what a hungry hiker needs! Typical meals include a soup starter, a main course of meat and veggies with a side of grains or pasta, and a dessert like vanilla pudding or creme brûlée. Picnic lunches will be provided each day, featuring a large main item like a sandwich or wrap, a salad, and a selection of fruit, muesli bars, chocolate, nuts, etc.

Vegetarian, vegan and most other dietary requirements (including gluten-free) can be catered for with advanced notice. Just let your host know when booking. Whilst dietary needs are sent to each refuge with the group reservations, please consider that the mountain refuges will have a limited range of choice to offer guests due to their remote locations. People with very specific dietary requirements typically choose to also bring some of their own snacks with them to ensure they have sufficient fuel for hiking up and down the beautiful mountain trails.

What is the accommodation like?

The Alps

You’ll stay in remote mountain refuges and traditional guesthouses.

  • Day 1: Gite Le Pontet (Les Contamines)
  • Day 2: Refuge Mottets, Chambres du Soleil, Base Camp Lodge or Auberge Nova (Les Chapieux, Bourg St Maurice)
  • Day 3: Rifugio Monte Bianco (Val Veny)
  • Day 4: Hotel Croux (Courmayeur)
  • Day 5: Rifugio Bonatti (Val Ferret)
  • Day 6: Auberge Maya Joie (La Fouly)
  • Day 7: Relais d'Arpette (Champex)
  • Day 8: Refuge Le Peuty or Hotel Forclaz (Trient)
  • Day 9: Gite le Moulin (Argentière)

The accommodation is simple, clean and comfortable. Groups typically sleep in mixed dormitory rooms of up to 20 persons, usually in bunk or single beds. They feature hot showers, running water, pillows and blankets, and a bar serving cold drinks. Most refuges also have outlets for charging your electronics, and some even have WiFi. Some refuges are more modern in style, others have a more traditional heritage, most are busy throughout the hiking season; it's the refuge's location and its remoteness that largely decides what comforts and conveniences are available. It's best to keep your expectations simple and enjoy the time on the trail to unplug from everyday life. Each of the mountain huts listed is the first choice option, but will be subject to availability. Where alternate accommodation is required, it will be of a similar style and standard.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Les Houches

09:00 on Day 1

Ends

Chamonix

17:00 on Day 10

Transfers

Your adventure will begin at 09:00 on Day 1 in Les Houches, at the TMB Archway next to the tourism office, the traditional starting point of the trail. Les Houches is easily reachable from central Chamonix using the local bus network, there is also a local train service which links the valley.

You should arrive any time the day before the start date and book a hotel of your choice in the Chamonix area. There are regular buses from Geneva Airport and Geneva Bus Station to Chamonix, which take around an hour. Your host will be able to recommend an airport transfer company. Alternatively, you could also fly to Milan Airport (LIN) about three hours from Chamonix.

Your adventure ends at Chamonix at 17:00. You are free to make your own way back to Geneva or Milan airports, or Geneva railway station for those travelling onwards by train. We advise that you book any onward trains from Geneva to depart after 19:30, and any flights from Geneva or Milan to depart after 20:30. You also have the option to stay additional nights in Chamonix.

Travel options

Air travellers can fly into Geneva Airport (GVA) which is approximately one hour from Chamonix. Alternatively, you can fly into Milan Airport (LIN) about three hours from Chamonix.

For those who wish to avoid flying, why not travel by train instead? Chamonix is accessible by train via the St. Gervais-les-Bains (Le Fayet) station at the base of the valley which connects to Chamonix Mont Blanc train station. For example, take the Eurostar from London to Paris and then connect to a number of direct lines or an overnight sleeper train from Paris to St. Gervais-les-Bains, then on to Chamonix Mont Blanc station.

You can also travel to Geneva by various train routes from other parts of Europe and travel on to Chamonix from there by bus. Geneva bus station is a 5-minute walk or short taxi ride from the central train station. There are various bus services from Geneva bus station to Chamonix, the quickest option taking 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's available to hire?

  • Trekking poles (see Optional Extras for prices)

What do I need to bring?

You'll be carrying all you need for the ten day trip on your back, so don't over pack but also don't skip the essentials. Hiking in the Alps even in the peak of summer you can have very mixed conditions, both hot and cold, especially when climbing over the high mountain passes.

KIT

  • 30-50L backpack with waist belt (plus a rain cover)
  • A Pack Liner or Dry Bag is also good protection in case of rain
  • Sleeping bag liner (cotton or silk). This is very important as it's a mandatory requirement at the mountain refuges. Pillows and blankets are provided by the refuges.
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen (SPF 50+ recommended due to altitude)
  • Hydration/Electrolyte tablets
  • Preferred snacks for the trail
  • Towel
  • 2L water bottle(s)
  • Toiletries and personal first aid items
  • Swim suit
  • Earplugs and Eye Mask (recommended)
  • Cash (EUR) for drinks, snacks along the trail, tips etc.
  • Plug adaptor and/or battery pack to charge electrical devices (note Switzerland uses a different standard to the rest of Europe)
  • Headlamp

CLOTHES

  • Waterproof Jacket (with hood) and Trousers
  • Primaloft or Down Jacket
  • Fleece or merino pullover or sweater
  • Synthetic or merino wool base layers
  • Warm hat and gloves (really important in mixed weather conditions)
  • Sunhat or cap
  • Synthetic shirts and trousers (zip-off preferable) for hiking
  • Comfortable shirt and trousers for the refuges
  • 2+ pairs of hiking socks, wool or synthetic
  • Sturdy hiking boots or shoes (worn in)
  • Comfortable light shoes for around the refuge
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Luggage Transfer - Single Bag, max 15kg

Payable Before Departure

Luggage Transfer - Single Bag, max 15kg

Trekking Poles

Payable In Resort

Trekking Poles

Mary

Anyone with good level of hiking fitness must do TMB. Amazing to view Mont Blanc Massif from different angles where it can be majestic or have dark beauty and experience the culture of three countries. Multiple questions arise so a knowledgeable guide is an asset. Accommodation in the mountains can be rustic but part of a great holiday.

Fiona

Highly recommend this trip, varied landscape and views day to day. Some days long but very manageable and nothing technically challenging. You get a chance to stock up on things a couple of times when you come into town. Refuges varied, some quite rustic but all clean and in good locations, sometimes with stunning views. Recommend to get bag transfer if you can.

Louis

Give this a go. Not easy but doable. We were very lucky with the sunshine and group that we set off with. Very well organised by MBA.

Samantha

Absolutely amazing trip. The scenery throughout was stunning, great company and the food was top notch. Fernando our guide was brilliant, he identified the different abilities in our group and planned the day so everyone was happy. The mountain huts were basic, but everything you needed after a long days hike, I always went to sleep with a full belly and what an experience these were. If you are a light sleeper I’d recommend ear plugs and any sleep aids you may need. I opted to carry my bag, with 2L water & following the kit list it was approx 9kg, but if you are not use to carrying any weight the luggage transfer is a great option, and if new to long distance hiking I’d deffo recommend some hill training/ long days out, your legs will thank you after the mega steep accents/ descents everyday! I highly recommend booking with MBA and will be booking another trip asap.

Kae

Without doubt one of the most life enriching treks I’ve done. Challenging but stunning. Our guide, Fernando, was simply the kindest, most obliging, most well informed and knowledgable people I’ve ever met. Another outstanding trip with MBA…

Katie

Awesome trip from start to finish. Our guide was fantastic and the group was brilliant fun. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend 10 days. Get fit, pack light and enjoy the awesome views with a glass of wine!

Kate

If you're thinking about doing this trip, definitely go for it! It was a trip of a lifetime. Train a lot, get the kit list in order, and then hike! The accommodations, food, directions - all of it was great. Our guide was knowledgeable, patient, great with our group, and made sure we were all safe and comfortable. Very glad to have chosen the fully guided option. While it was still a physical challenge to do the full hike, having a great guide and group made it a lot easier and more fun.

Connie

Absolutely incredible trip! Nick was the best guide I’ve ever had - fun, motivating and fantastic picnics! The group was brilliant and had a great time - we are already planning our next hike! The accommodation was either really nice or a fun experience (bring earplugs for the shared dorms), the food delicious and the trekking brilliant! Really can’t recommend it enough! One of the best things I’ve done! Really good value for money and don’t think I could have done it any cheaper myself. Would recommend doing some practice hikes if you haven’t done a long hike before as it is challenging but the views are inspiring! Excited to do another MBA trip in the future!

Jonathan

Great trek with spectacular scenery every day.

Robin

A fantastic trip across the Tour du Mont Blanc! Would highly recommend it. Our local guide Nick was incredible and ensured we had an amazing ten days of hiking. Thanks, Nick.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 149kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This trip is suitable for experienced hikers in good shape. You'll need to be able to hike 15–20km on mountain trails, with as much as 1000m of elevation gain and descent, each day. You will be carrying your own overnight pack between the refuges, (unless you book the luggage transfer service - see Optional Extras), so should be confident hiking with a 30-50L pack for multiple days. Doing some practice hikes before the trip with your pack and boots is strongly recommended to help you prepare for this adventure!

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Summer around Mont Blanc is generally warm and fair, but the weather can change very quickly in the high mountains, bringing cold rain and wind. Average temperatures range from 6 to 26 °C. It rains roughly half of the days each month, but storms generally pass through quickly. Even in the peak of summer you can have very mixed conditions, especially when climbing over the high mountain passes above 2000m. Heatwaves have also been a feature of recent European summers. Our kit list is intended to guide you on what to pack for this trip.

Yes. Excess luggage not required on the trip can be stored. There is a storage fee of 25.00 EUR per bag which needs to be stored during the hike. This can be paid in cash at the time. Please let your host know in advance if you have excess luggage so that they can plan the logistics accordingly.

If you would prefer to just hike with a small day pack, don't want to think about your luggage and what to pack, there is a luggage transfer service available for a fee (See Optional Extras). The luggage transportation service is available on 8 out of 9 nights: this means you'll need to carry things for just one overnight stay, on the 5th night at Rifugio Bonatti as there is no road access (although you won't need to carry all your luggage, just an overnight bag). The rest of your luggage gets transported during the day to the next destination. You'll need to pack your luggage in a duffle bag, to prevent any damage or loss to your belongings. There is a size restriction of the bags but the weight is limited to 15kg per bag.

See Optional Extras for prices.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

June 2024

Friday • 7th June 2024

to Sunday • 16th June 2024
11 Booked • 1 Spot left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 14th June 2024

to Sunday • 23rd June 2024
8 Booked • 4 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 21st June 2024

to Sunday • 30th June 2024
Fully Booked
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 5th July 2024

to Sunday • 14th July 2024
Fully Booked
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 19th July 2024

to Sunday • 28th July 2024
9 Booked • 3 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 2nd August 2024

to Sunday • 11th August 2024
7 Booked • 5 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 9th August 2024

to Sunday • 18th August 2024
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 16th August 2024

to Sunday • 25th August 2024
6 Booked • 6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 30th August 2024

to Sunday • 8th September 2024
4 Booked • 8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 6th September 2024

to Sunday • 15th September 2024
2 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 13th September 2024

to Sunday • 22nd September 2024
6 Booked • 6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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