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Journeys worth taking

France, Italy, Switzerland

Tour du Mont Blanc: Best Of

The Alps

The Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

Lodging

Hotels, Refuges

Nights

8

Trip Details

Self Guided

Price

From $2,450 USD per person

Transport

Baggage Transfers

Pygmy miles

3518

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

The full Tour du Mont Blanc features stunning vistas, charming hamlets and a chance to commune with nature. A "Best Of" tour of the TMB should be no different. This itinerary features the highlights of the circuit packed into 7 stages, made possible by the region's extensive transit infrastructure. 

This Best of the TMB itinerary is perfect for hikers who can't dedicate a full two weeks, but would still like to visit all sections of the trek. After a night in Chamonix, take the bus to Les Houches to start your tour. You then will hike from Les Houches to Les Contamines via Col de Voza, which provides a great viewpoint of the Chamonix Valley. From there, you'll conquer Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, probably the most isolated section of the tour, en route to Les Chapieux, a tiny mountain hamlet with a smattering of buildings and farms. You will then cross the international border of France and Italy at Col de la Seigne, ending the day in the chic town of Courmayeur by way of La Visaille. After a transfer to Val Ferret, you will hike into Switzerland via the Grand Col Ferret, and overnight in the small hamlet of La Fouly. Continue your journey through pastoral Switzerland and end the day in Champex, which features a small mountain lake. It's then up and over Alp Bovine, before coming to rest in Trient, where its pink church adds a colorful hue to this small town. Cross the border again to your final country, France, passing over Col de Balme on your way down to Argentière, and then take a final transfer to Chamonix.

As always, we customize the tour to fit your budget and preferences, so we can add or subtract days, to create your perfect itinerary. 

Itinerary options

Adjusting the hike to your budget and preferences

BUDGET FRIENDLY

From $2,125 USD per person
  • 11 Nights / 10 Stages
  • Three Nights at 3-Star Hotels
  • Eight Nights in Dorms

IN COMFORT

From $2,800 USD per person
  • 12 Nights / 11 Stages
  • Three Nights at 4-Star hotels
  • All Private Rooms
  • Baggage Transfers

IN LUX AND STYLE

From $3,775 USD per person
  • 13 Nights / 11 Stages 
  • Four Nights at 5-Star Hotels
  • All Private Rooms
  • Baggage Transfers
  • Private Airport Transfers
  • One Rest Day
  • First Day Guide 

BEST OF THE TMB

From $2,450 USD per person
  • 8 Nights / 7 Stages
  • Six Nights at 3-Star hotels
  • All Private Rooms
  • Baggage Transfers

HALF TOUR: EAST

From $2,050 USD per person
  • 7 Nights / 6 Stages
  • France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Great Infrastructure 
  • 4-Star Hotels and Private Rooms

HALF TOUR: WEST

From $1,850 USD per person
  • 6 Nights / 5 Stages
  • France and Italy
  • More Remote
  • 4-Star Hotels and Private Rooms
Extensive transit infrastructure makes this itinerary possible.

Activities

Trekking

Trek 70 miles (113 km) around the largest mountain in Europe with an altitude gain and loss of 4 miles (6.4 km)

Wildlife Viewing

Along the trek, it is not uncommon to spot several species of wildlife native to the Alps. Of note are the chamois (a goat-antelope type species), and the marmot (looks a bit like a beaver).

And also

You will visit tiny hamlets hidden deep in the mountains, experience awe inspiring views and challenge yourself along the storied and picturesque Alps. 

Place

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a long-distance hiking trail that passes through France, Switzerland and Italy. This shortened circuit is approximately 114 km (70 miles) long and has an altitude gain and loss of 4 miles (6.4 km). 

 

 

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

Day-1

Overnight in Chamonix

Take the day to enjoy the facilities at your hotel and get plenty of rest, because tomorrow your journey begins. Overnight at Hotel de l'Arve or a similar 3-star hotel.

Day-2

Chamonix to Les Contamines (6 HOURS | 17 KM / 10.6 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,849 M / 6,066 FEET)

Start the day with a 25-minute bus ride from Chamonix to Les Houches. From here, the hike via Bionnassay will take between 5 and 6 hours and you will cross over your first col (or saddle) at Col de Voza (5,423 feet / 1,653 meters). Although there are some stretches of road walking today, you will be rewarded with a view of the spiky aiguilles that guard Mont Blanc and a view of Dôme du Goûter with an impressive glacier ripping down its side. For more experienced hikers, an alternative route via Refuge de Miage offers even more breathtaking high mountain views.

Day-3

Les Contamines to Les Chapieux (8 HOURS | 20 KM / 12.4 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 2,312 M / 7,585 FEET)

On this beautiful yet difficult stage, you will be heading over Col du Bonhomme. Please note that you are now entering a more wild section of the TMB - there will be no ATMs until you reach Courmayeur. Still, there are quite a few shelters along the way. After passing by Refuge Nant Borrant and Refuge de la Balme, you will reach Col du Bonhomme. From there, it is still another 2 km to go before you reach Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme. Stop in and have a Belgian beer or perhaps a home-made cake from Coco, to gather your strength. You then descend 5.3 km to Les Chapieux within 1.5 to 2 hours. Spend the night in Les Chapieux, or transfer to Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

Day-4

Les Chapieux to Courmayeur (6 HOURS | 16.9 KM / 10.5 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,522 M / 4,993 FEET)

If you spent the night in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, start today with a transfer back to Les Chapieux. The hike ascends gradually to the Ville des Glaciers. There is a new trail off to the side of the road, which will take you to Refuge des Mottets in about 2 hours. Afterwards, there will be a lot of elevation gain as you will be passing over Col de la Seigne, which has a height of 2,509 meters. At the top, you will have a view of both France and Italy, which is quite stunning! It’s then a steady descent past Rifugio Elisabetta, perched on the side of the mountain, and further into the Val Veny, along the waters of Lake Combal. Continue on the low route in the valley until you reach the bus stop at La Visaille, and finish the day with a 15-minute bus ride to Courmayeur. Courmayeur is the Italian equivalent of Chamonix and enjoys a rich history of alpine climbers, as evidenced by the varied sculptures hanging out by the central cathedral. Today, it is a high class resort town both in the winter and summer. You could do worse than spending an extra day here (available on request).

Day-5

Courmayeur to La Fouly (5 HOURS | 13.7 KM / 8.5 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,841 M / 6,040 FEET)

After taking the bus from Courmayeur to Chalet Val Ferret, you might hear cow bells in the distance. That's the sound of Switzerland. The high point of today's hike is the Grand Col Ferret (8,356 feet / 2,537 meters) and is a taxing climb that separates Italy from Switzerland. The TMB in Switzerland may lack some of the big mountain appeal of Italy and France, but it more than makes up for it with the idyllic landscape and quaint hamlets of the Val Ferret, the Swiss valley through which the TMB snakes.

Day-6

La Fouly to Champex (4.5 HOURS | 14.1 KM / 8.8 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,079 M / 3.540 FEET)

After your long hike up Col Ferret, you are rewarded with perhaps the easiest stage of the TMB. Today's hike is through a valley dotted with farms and pastoral life. It's a throwback to a different time. Take your time here and let a slower way of life fill your day.

Day-7

Champex to Trient (5.75 HOURS | 16.3 KM / 10.1 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,661 M / 5,450 FEET)

The main route snakes its way up to Alp Bovine and offers views of the Martigny valley below. Although not as hard as some sections, it is still a challenging stage. Consider climbing to the Fenêtre d’Arpette in clear weather. It is one of the highest points on the TMB at 8,743 feet (2,665 meters).

Day-8

Trient to Chamonix (6.5 HOURS | 16.4 KM / 10.2 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 2,439 M / 8,002 FEET)

Ah chérie, you have made it back to France! The trip from Trient to Argentière is not particularly difficult and you catch the first glimpse of the rounded peak of Mont Blanc since you left Italy. In France, you return to the Vallée de l'Arve, which appears at the foot of Mont Blanc, the Monarch of the Alps. From here, jump on the train or the bus to your accommodation in Chamonix. Congrats! You've done it.

Day-9

Chamonix

After a leisurely breakfast, you have the day open until your flight to enjoy the town. Alternatively, why not have a spa day? You've earned it. Ciao! Au revoir!

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
2350pygmy miles

Base Miles

You earn 1 Pygmy Mile for each $1 you spend with us.

700pygmy miles

Hiking Distance

You earn 10 Pygmy Miles for every mile that you hike. Get fit and get rewarded.

468pygmy miles

Benefit Local Communities

A 25% bonus is given for supporting the economies of small hamlets, villages and locally owned refugios that may otherwise be missed if not for making the trek.

Total Pygmy Miles

3518pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Hotel de l'arve

Chamonix

Located in the middle of Chamonix, Hotel de l'Arve lies among its shops and cuisine. This lovely three-star hotel has 37 rooms, a wellness area and a flower garden with a view of Mont Blanc. Hotel de l'Arve will be the base for your first and last night.

Hotel Gai Soleil

Les Contamines

You'll find Hotel Gai Soleil in a charming, old wooden farmhouse dating back to 1823, in the heart of Les Contamines. This three-star chalet-hotel offers a tasty breakfast, homemade pastries, and gourmet dinner at Maison Noêl.

Auberge de la Nova

Les Chapieux

This refugio sits serenely in the hamlet of Les Chapieux. It features both dormitories and private rooms with en suite facilities.

Hotel Bouton d'Or

Courmayeur

A family-run three-star hotel, Bouton d'Or is located close to downtown. A favorite among hikers, the hospitality is second to none. A great place for a rest day, if you are inclined.

Hotel Edelweiss

La Fouly

Hotel Edelweiss is a bed and breakfast hotel featuring a modern and updated lobby and dining area. Located directly on the TMB, the hotel strikes a good combination of hospitality, comfort and location. Wi-Fi is available downstairs. Dorms and private rooms with showers are available.

Hotel Splendide

Champex

Located next to a beautiful alpine lake, this three star hotel gets high marks for service and large rooms.

Hotel La Grande Ourse

Trient

La Grande Ourse has both private rooms with shared bathrooms and small dormitories of up to 8 people. The rooms have been refurbished and provide a comfortable night’s sleep. Dining is together in the communal dining area.

Practical info

When

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec
not available
average
optimal

The trek is only possible in the summer months, when the passes are clear of snow and ice. In late June, the Tour du Mont Blanc shows off its color with wild flowers, but there is no presence of snow and ice on the passes. Heavy travel periods are between the middle of July and the end of August. September can be a great time for the TMB, when the temperature is a bit cooler and there are fewer hikers on the road.

How

Self guided

Self guided does not mean you are alone. We help you coordinate and plan your trip beforehand. Once you are on the trail, we provide 24-hour customer service in case there are any urgent issues with your bookings.

Service Category

Pygmy Itineraries

PYGMY ITINERARY BENEFITS

  • Price Transparency: see where your money is going with line-item pricing
  • Never Lose Your Deposit Guarantee: 50% refund, 50% credit to future trip
  • Customized Handbook with Journey Details: maps, elevation profiles, tips and more
  • Destination Book Digital Travel App: everything in your handbook, in digital form
  • One Year Premium GAIA GPS Membership: your GPS routes, on your phone
  • Complete Itinerary Customization: build the trip you want to take
  • Special Meal Requests: we'll help you stick to your diet of choice
  • Before-You-Go Email Series: helpful emails to get you prepared for your trek
  • Transportation Options Information: timetables, routes and contact info
  • 24/7 Phone Support for Urgent Issues: give us a call if anything goes wrong
  • WhatsApp Support (9 AM to 5 PM, ET): rapid response to your inquiries
  • Email Support (24-hour turnaround): answers for not-so-urgent questions
  • Virtual Pre-Hike Briefing: one-on-one briefing with your travel consultant
  • Baggage Transfers (where applicable): your bags, delivered to your accommodation

Challenge Level

Technical Ability

Level : Medium

Mental Strength

Level : Medium

Physical Conditioning

Level : High

  • According to La Chamoniarde, a society dedicated to the conservation and rescue of mountain activities in France, the Tour Du Mont Blanc "... is adapted to any well-trained hiker used to hiking on mountain trails and familiar with carrying a backpack. This well-maintained and well-marked route can be tricky if hiked before the end of June/ early July, when mountain passes may still be covered in snow (light crampons, trekking poles, and ice axe may come in handy)". If you have little previous trekking experience, a group tour or privately guided tour is suggested. When the passes are free of snow, no technical mountaineering equipment is necessary. Still, you should be able to use a compass and a map. As such, the tour is rated as medium for technical ability.
  • Mental Strength is rated at medium because one must keep good spirits to complete the trip without transfers. Furthermore, the communal nature of the mountain huts can be loved... or hated. It depends on the mind frame of the traveler.
  • Lastly, physical conditioning is rated at high if no transfers are taken. Using public transport, ski lifts and private transport, the physical conditioning can be reduced significantly. We can provide a thorough explanation of transport options on the route.

Price

Approximately $2,450 per person, based on double occupancy

After initial consultation, we will customize your itinerary to meet your fitness level, budget, accommodation wishes and schedule. Depending on the journey, it might be possible to skip stages, rearrange their order, substitute accommodations, and add or subtract transfers. Find more information on the base itinerary and possible customizations below.

Base itinerary

  • 6 nights at 3-star properties and inns
  • 2 nights in high mountain huts (in private rooms where possible)
  • 8 breakfasts, 5 dinners
  • Turn-by-Turn Guidebook
  • Maps for west and east portions of tour

Customizations

  • Convert to 4-star or 5-star accommodation in Chamonix or Courmayeur
  • Convert private accommodation to shared accommodation
  • Include more nights in huts, either in shared or private accommodation
  • Increase or decrease number of hiking days, depending on fitness and motivation
  • Add public transport to shorten stages
  • Add in rest days

Optional Add-ons

  • First Day Guide (Planpraz to Les Houches stage)
  • Travel insurance
  • Rest days in Chamonix, Courmayeur, Champex, or other specific places in between
  • Extensions to Switzerland

Not included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Lunches
  • Dinners in Chamonix and Courmayeur
  • In-situ transportation fees

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Bolivia, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.