4
moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 8 nights in mountain refuges/gîte-hostels
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 8 Breakfasts

9 Days£1340GBP

Overview

Trip Code: MBS

Trip highlights


  • Circumnavigation of Mont Blanc
  • Experiencing the exhilaration of trekking in the European Alps
  • Traversing high passes and walking through three countries
  • Enjoying the culinary specialties such as Raclette
  • Sharing stories with other hikers in the gîtes and mountain refuges

This itinerary circumnavigates Mont Blanc and explores the surrounding alpine region. Faced with picture postcard vistas from every vantage point, the scenery and landscapes that unfold before you are simply remarkable. This trek affords unsurpassed views of the different faces of the Mont Blanc massif along routes that traverse the Balme mountain passage and the highest point on the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Grand Col Ferret at 2537m. You may see Ibex, chamois and other wildlife as you descend through alpine meadows towards charming fairy tale-like villages. Crossing the foothills of the Alps through France, Italy and Switzerland provides an opportunity to encounter the alpine cultures and cuisine unique to these areas and staying in hotels, gîtes and refuges is a great way to soak up the warm hospitality for which this region is renowned.

Countries:

France, Italy, Switzerland

Starting Point:

Chamonix Valley

Finishing Point:

Chamonix Valley


Leaving from Le Tour in the Chamonix valley, you take the scenic high mountain path of Balme heading towards Switzerland. Weather permitting you will be able to take some wonderful photos of the Mont Blanc chain including the impressive “La Verte”, the Drus and the Needles of Chamonix. You will cross the border between France and Switzerland before making your way down to the village of Trient for overnight accommodation or continue to the nearby Col de la Forclaz. (9km, +700m/2297ft, -900m/2953ft)

Meals:  D

The trail continues through impressive forests with a strong ascent to the high mountain pastures of the Bovine Alps. The route takes you past shepherds huts and small farms always with views of impressive peaks such as Grand Combin to the south and later to the dramatic depths of the Rhone Valley. The Bovine hut is a great place to stop for lunch where you can spot Marmots playing in the slopes nearby. Descend along a forest trail to the pretty town of Champex located by the lake of the same name. An alternative route is via the “Fenêtre d'Arpette” (2665m), however due to the instability of this trail we do not recommend this route. (+900m/2953ft, -650m/2132ft)

Meals:  B,D

Although this is most definitely an easier day, it is also one that highlights some amazing natural beauty. Dry meadows, pools of fresh water, herds of cows and wonderful chalets surrounded by flower filled gardens greet us. Swiss village life is all around and whilst the dramatic scenery of previous days is not as apparent, it is a chance to experience the wonderful “Valais des homes”. Overnight in La Fouly. (15km, +500m/1640ft, -600m/1969ft)

Meals:  B,D

The route takes you out of Switzerland and into Italy by the Grand Col Ferret path. The sight of the Pre de Bar glacier is with you all the way as you make your way from the Col to the road head in the Val Ferret. Bus to Courmayeur. (13km, +900m/2953ft, -900m/2953ft)

Meals:  B,D

This morning you will need to pack your overnight requirements for the next two nights in your daypack. Your main luggage will be waiting for you in Les Contamines on the afternoon of day 7. From the centre of Courmayeur the walk heads steeply up a switchback trail to the Col Checroui. From here you continue the ascent to a steep spur at the top of the valley Veni where the views are spectacular. This balcony trail has some of the most dramatic views of the entire TMB trail. The descent is quite steep to the relatively flat valley floor. Skirting Lake Combal, the trail ascends at the head of the valley to the refuge. (18km, +1560m, -460m) Note: There are options to shorten by taking a bus in the event of poor weather or from around mid July to the end of August you can take a chairlift from Courmayeur (cutting out 700m of the ascent).

Meals:  B,D

From the refuge Elisabetta, the trail takes you to the border of Italy and France at the Col de la Seigne (2518m) in time for an early morning view which, in good weather, will be extraordinary with sweeping views of the Mont Blanc massif and surrounding glaciers and valleys. Descend via a switchback trail to the Vallee des Glaciers, passing by a cheese maker where you have opportunities (if open) to sample Beaufort cheese. A big ascent (949m) through alpine meadows and over small streams leads to your overnight refuge just below the pass of Col de la Croix. (20km,+1147m, -1004m)

Meals:  B,D

This morning the trail traverses mountain pastures to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2433m) where there are brilliant views southeast to the peaks of the Vanoise. The trail continues down to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and crosses the Contamines Natural Reserve. A sharp descent through a pine forest fringed gorge takes us to an ancient Roman Road and the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge, and further on to Les Contamines. Walking: approx 13km, +40m/131ft, -1316m/4317ft Note: Your main luggage will be waiting for you in your accommodation in Les Contamines.

Meals:  B,D

The trail takes you along the river valley and heads slowly to La Gruvaz before continuing to Le Champel and a fairly steep ascent via Bionnassay to the Col de Voza. A longer route can be taken following a combination of tracks and trails above Contamines before you ascend to cross a shoulder of Mont Truc followed by an ascent of the Col du Tricot (2120m) which forms the divide between the Miage and Bionnasay Valleys. From here you have some spectacular views of limestone cliffs and the pistes below. The descent follows a combination of gravel roads and tracks past some settlements to reach Les Houches. Alternate route via the Col de Voza (4.5hrs, +633m, -646m) (20km, +1318m/4324ft, -1478m/4849ft)

Meals:  B,D

This is a big day. Its possible to shorten the walk by descending the lift from Brevent instead of going all the way to Flegere. If you have the stamina the longer walk is well worth it. Cross the L’Arve River to continue up to the “Grand Balcon Sud” offering seriously good balcony trail views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley. The trail takes you all the way to the top of Flegere Lift. From here you can descend to Les Praz then continue along the River to reach the centre of Chamonix. Your luggage will be awaiting collection at your pre tour hotel from around 4.00pm.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 8 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which include regional specialties
  • 8 nights accommodation in mountain refuges / gîte hostels on a dormitory share basis. It is possible to upgrade to a double room on 5 out of 8 nights – additional cost applies (only possible for 2 people travelling together).
  • Luggage transfer (max 15kgs - soft duffel style luggage only) except on days 6-8 where you will need to carry your overnight requirements. Your main luggage will meet you at the accommodation in the Contamines Valley.
  • Information pack including Navigational App and TMB hiking map (1:50,000) per group of 1-4 people* – the route is waymarked.
  • *A group is the people in your booking party who you are travelling with, staying in the same accommodation.

  • Travel to and from the start/end point of your hike
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Items of a personal nature (on some nights showers may cost extra allow €2 per shower)
  • Storage of luggage - please ensure your pre tour hotel will store luggage before you book
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided walking trip
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Public transport including cable cars

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate to challenging

4

MODERATE to CHALLENGING – GRADE 4 The walking is moderate to challenging (4) grade with daily walks of around 5-7 hours, between 8 and 20km and maximum ascents of 1320 metres per day. The timing provided in the itinerary is a guide only and is for the walking components only – rest breaks are not included. There are some challenging stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good to excellent level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. You should also be able to navigate in alpine regions using a map. Whilst the route is very well marked and well trodden, adverse weather conditions may make navigation difficult without reference to a map and our navigational App. Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep and alter the grading of the trip to advanced. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds.


Departure dates

Daily except Sunday and Monday from 18 Jun to 12 Sep

Notes

DN1
A minimum of 2 people travelling together is required when booking the room option. Contact our team for more details. Room upgrade is possible on 5 out of 8 nights and is always subject to availability.
DN2
This itinerary is indicative only and will depend on accommodation booked. Hours indicated do not include rest stops. The itinerary you will follow will depend on the accommodation you are booked into and you will receive the appropriate details.
DN3
Note: you will need to carry your overnight requirements on two consecutive days. Your main luggage will meet you at the accommodation in the Contamines Valley. Please ensure you read the downloadable trip notes prior to booking.

Priceper person from

£1340GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • double room supplement - 5 nights double / 3 night dormGBP£200
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

Videos

Mont Blanc Guided Walk with UTracks