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Journeys worth taking

France, Italy, Switzerland

Tour du Mont Blanc: In Comfort

The Alps

Around the Mont Blanc Massif in 11 Stages

Lodging

Hotels, Refuges

Nights

12

Trip Details

Self Guided

Price

$2,600 USD per person

Transport

Baggage Transfers

Pygmy miles

4,381

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

Looking down on the Chamonix Valley and, the village homes. you can almost grab them between your finger and thumb. The food on your journey has been hearty: melted cheeses, meat raised high in the mountains and red wine. As if you need the extra help. After each day, you are exhausted in a way that makes sleep a beautiful embrace. 

Standing on top of the world, you have a certain sense of accomplishment for hiking over 100 miles around the tallest mountain in Europe. And you did it by yourself. The stories shared by fellow travelers in the Alps will be missed, but the memories of your days in the Alps will live on. 

Pygmy Elephant's 12 night itinerary features a mixture of mountain refuges and boutique hotels, striking a balance of high mountain vistas and luxurious nights in the valleys. Depending on your preferences, experience and time constraints, we will customize the journey to your needs

Itinerary options

Adjusting the hike to your budget and preferences

BUDGET FRIENDLY

$1,600 USD per person
  • 11 NTS / 10 Stages
  • Three NTS at 3-Star Hotels
  • Eight NTS Dorms

IN COMFORT

$2,600 USD per person
  • 12 NTS / 11 Stages
  • Three NTS 4-Star hotels
  • All Private Rooms
  • Baggage Transfers

IN LUX AND STYLE

$3,575 USD per person
  • 13 NTS / 11 Stages 
  • Four NTS 5-Star Hotels
  • All Private Rooms
  • Baggage Transfers
  • Private Airport Transfers
  • One Rest Day
  • First Day Guide 

HALF TOUR: EAST

$1,750 USD per person
  • 7 NTS / 6 Stages
  • France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Great Infrastructure 
  • 4-Star Hotels and Private Rooms

HALF TOUR: WEST

$1,550 USD per person
  • 6 NTS/ 5 Stages
  • France and Italy
  • More Remote
  • 4-Star Hotels and Private Rooms
...an altitude gain and loss of over 6.2 miles (10 km), which is more than the height of Everest

Activities

Trekking

Trek 107 miles (170 km) around the largest mountain in Europe with an altitude gain and loss of over 6.2 miles (10 km), which is more than the height of Everest.

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 trekking trail passing through France, Switzerland and Italy. The complete circuit is approximately 107 miles and has an altitude gain and loss of 6.2 miles (10 km), which is more than the height of Everest. The trail can be completed by marathon runners, however, it is comfortably hiked in 11 days (for the very fit, 7 or 8 days will provide a decent challenge). 

 

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

Day-1

Overnight in Chamonix

Enjoy the onsite spa and pool during the day. Get plenty of rest, because tomorrow your journey begins. Overnight at Hotel le Morgane or similar 4-star hotel.

Day-2

Chamonix to Les Houches (5 HOURS | 12.9 KM / 8 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 2,104 M / 6,902 FEET)

Climb on the gondola to ride from Chamonix Valley to the top of Le Brévent at 8,284 feet (2,525 meters). On your very first day, weather permitting you will have a clear view of Mont Blanc. After savoring the view, you will make your way downhill to Les Houches (3,300 feet / 1,007 meters). At 5 hours, today’s hike is short in order to ease your body into the physical demands of mountain hiking.

Day-3

Les Houches to Les Contamines (6 HOURS | 17 KM / 10.6 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,626 M / 5,335 FEET)

Today’s 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-4

Les Contamines to Les Chapieux (8 HOURS | 20 KM / 12.4 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 2,520 M / 8,268 FEET)

The planned route is a 7 to 8-hour hike via a TMB alternative crossing over Col des Fours. This alternative provides superior views and avoids a long stretch of road in the Ville des Glaciers. If weather is bad or there is snow on the pass, the main route to Les Chapieux is the better option.

Day-5

Les Chapieux to Rifugio Elisabetta (3.5 HOURS | 7.8 KM / 4.9 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,053 M / 3,455 FEET)

The day starts with a gradual ascent in the Ville des Glaciers. There is a new trail off to the side of the road, located around 20 minutes from Les Chapieux. It takes about two hours to get to Refuge des Mottets. 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 down to Rifugio Elisabetta, which sits at 2,195 meters above sea level on the side of a mountain. Dinner is done in an early and late shift. Food is hearty, plus there is a good selection of beer and wine. Davide and Marta run the hut, so be friendly and they are sure to return in kind.

Day-6

Rifugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur (5.75 HOURS | 15.4 KM / 9.6 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,988 M / 6,522 FEET)

Ciao Bella! You are in Italy. Today's hike begins with undulating terrain and ends with a downhill section to reach Courmayeur in the valley. A stunning day of scenery awaits you, with views of Glacier de Miage, Lac Combal and Mont Blanc itself. 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-7

Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti (5 HOURS | 11.7 KM / 7.3 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 1,337 M / 4,387 FEET)

It keeps getting better—today’s views of the Monte Bianco from the Italian side might be the best of the tour. After an initial climb out of Courmayeur that gains most of your elevation for the day, the main route follows an easy route along Mont de la Saxe with views of Mont Blanc and ice of the Val Ferret. For the more hearty walkers, two higher elevation alternatives exist; however, the main route will take you about 5 hours to complete. Your day ends at Rifugio Bonatti, possibly the nicest and most well-equipped refuge on the tour.

Day-8

Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly (6.5 HOURS | 18.1 KM / 11.3 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 2,133 M / 6,998 FEET)

Do you hear those cow bells? 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-9

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-10

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 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). Total hiking time for this alternate route is 7 to 8 hours.

Day-11

Trient to Argentière (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.

Day-12

Argentière to Planpraz (8 HOURS | 16.3 KM / 10.1 MI | ELEVATION ⇅ - 2,040 M / 6,693 FEET)

We've saved one of the most interesting and perhaps most scenic treks for last. The main route uses a number of ladder and chain systems to ascend to Tête aux Vents. If you have vertigo or are jittery with heights, there is an alternative route via Col des Montets that avoids the ladder section. After reaching Tête aux Vents, the route levels off and descends gradually to Refuge de la Flégère (4 hours). The refuge is a nice spot to sit and take lunch and gather your strength for the final push to Le Brévent, where you started your hike. Le Brévent has long been considered the best view point of Mont Blanc and is where many people stood to witness the historic first climb of the mountain. The ascent to Le Brévent includes two ladders near the top; optionally, take the cable car down at Planpraz and avoid some 1,700 feet (518 meters) of climbing. Congrats! You've done it. Take the lift down to Chamonix and enjoy your evening.

Day-13

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
2375pygmy miles

Base Miles

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

1070pygmy miles

Hiking Distance

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

468pygmy miles

Ascend More Feet Than Everest

The complete circuit is approximately 107 miles (170 km) and has an altitude gain and loss of over 6.2 miles (10 km), which is more than the height of Everest. If you make it all the way to the end, Pygmy Elephant will reward you with a 25% bonus.

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

4381pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Hotel Le Morgane

Chamonix

In the heart of Chamonix, the style and the concept of the 4 star Boutique Hotel Le Morgane differs from traditional alpine hotels. Located in central downtown, Le Morgane will be your base for your first and last night on tour.

Hotel du Bois

Les Houches

Three star hotel in the heart of Les Houches offering a spa, restaurant and pool.

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.

Rifugio Elisabetta

Val Veny

Rifugio Elisabetta is located at a dizzying 2195 meters altitude, with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. You'll see the remnants of previous shelters below.

Hotel Lo Scoiattolo

Courmayeur

This small, 3-star boutique hotel offers 22 rooms divided into single rooms, standard double rooms as well as comfort double rooms with extended services and junior suites, all surrounded by spacious balconies. Lo Scoiattolo has a restaurant, bar and small spa on site.

Rifugio Bonatti

Rifugio Bonatti

Located at 6,640 feet (2, 025 meters) above sea level, this high mountain hut is a shining example of what a modern refuge should do. It features both dormitories and private rooms with en suite facilities. The food is grand and so are the views. Not everyone speaks English, but enough of the staff does to make it comfortable.

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.

Hotel les Grands Montets

Argentière

Hotel Grands Montets is a four-star hotel in Argentière. "Renovations began in 2000 and soon the inside pool was built as well as a fitness and spa area, including a sauna, hammam, and massage parlor. All shared areas were renovated using old wood, stone, warm shades and antique furniture in order to recreate the cozy and homely atmosphere of an alpine chalet." - Hotel Les Grands Montets

Hotel le Morgane

Chamonix

In the heart of Chamonix, the style and the concept of the 4 star Boutique Hotel Le Morgane differs from traditional alpine hotels. Located in central downtown, Le Morgane will be your base for your first and last night on tour.

Practical info

When

jan
feb
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apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
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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 $2,375 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

  • 3 nights at 4-star hotels
  • 5 nights at 3-star properties and inns
  • 4 nights at high mountain huts (in private rooms where possible)
  • 12 breakfasts, 9 dinners
  • Turn-by-Turn Guidebook
  • Maps for west and east portions of tour

Customizations

  • Convert to 3-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.