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Tour du Mont Blanc: Guided Trekking Tour Itinerary

Europe's Ultimate Multi-Day Hiking Experience

Strap on your best pair of hiking boots – this is one for the bucket list! Spanning a total of 170 kilometres (110 miles) across France, Switzerland and Italy – the Tour du Mont Blanc is the crown jewel of Europe’s multi-day hiking trails. But not everybody has the time or ability to complete the trail in its entirety – so here’s where the local experts step in to help you maximise your time, and create a very achievable adventure trip of a lifetime.


Skip to: Best Time to Hike TDMB | Start and Finish Points | Hiking Difficulty | Detailed Itinerary | What’s included | Packing List | How to Book | Reviews

Remember, at any stage you can hit the buttons below to start a conversation with our Europe travel guru's!

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When’s the best time to hike Le Tour du Mont Blanc?

For the most detailed insight, head over to our dedicated page ‘The best time to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc’.

In summary, the best time of the year is in the height of summer – from June through September. July and August are the peak summer months in Europe, while June and September offer shoulder season hiking with quieter trails. See the infographic below for a visual summary:

Tour de Blanc Infographic Small


Les Houches – the Start and Finish Point of the Tour du Mont Blanc

The most popular way to hike the Mont Blanc Circuit is in an anti-clockwise direction, starting and finishing in the town of Les Houches, France. Geographically, Les Houches is located only 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from the popular town of Chamonix.

How to get to Les Houches

As we mentioned above, Les Houches is only a small leap from the famously tranquil mountain village of Chamonix – and you’re in the heart of some of the world’s most beautiful mountains, so why not take the adventurous route!

So we like to take a gondola from Chamonix up to Brevent (8410 feet), one of the highest peaks in the crystalline Aiguilles Rouges range, which stands opposite the Mont Blanc massif. From here we’ll hike across the Carlaveyron Plateau overlooking the spectacular Dioz Canyon. The views of the north face of Mont Blanc, the Fiz range and the Chamonix valley are second to none! We’ll drop down to the village of Les Houches, our home for the evening, before meeting our local hosts and settle in for a hearty French mountain meal.

Day 1 Hiking above Chamonix

Hiking above the Chamonix valley

For independent travellers, the most popular way that international visitors get from Geneva International Airport to Les Houches is either:

  • A 3.5 hour train ride. This train fare varies, but you can be expected to pay approximately 30 Euros.
  • Driving. This his 75 kilometre (47 mile) drive could normally be expected to take around 1 hour, in a private car. 
  • Bus. A number of public busses are available, which take a little under 2 hours and will cost approximately 25 Euros.

How difficult is Le Tour du Mont Blanc?

It’s no secret – the most spectacular views aren’t from the bottom of a valley – so the places we go on our trips aren’t exactly what we’d call ‘flat’. And the Tour du Mont Blanc is no exception – in fact we’d consider it one of the more physical trips in the Active portfolio.

But we understand that people of all ages and abilities have the Tour du Mont Blanc in their sights, so that’s why we keep our group sizes small, and there’s two expert local guides on every trip – so we make sure everyone can take their own pace along the way. We’ll keep you safe and up-beat, and take care of all the important logistics, so all you have to do is enjoy the incredible European Alps.

When you book on board an Active trip, we’ll give you a detailed fitness and training plan. If you’d like to look into this plan, get in touch with one of our travel guru’s today!

Trail Difficulty TDMB

Blue skies ahead, amazing hiking conditions on the Tour du Mont Blanc


Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking Itinerary, Elevation and Distances

Day 1 — Arrive in Geneva, head to Chamonix

We’ll pick you up in Geneva and head through the Swiss and French Alps to Chamonix – one of the most iconic mountain towns in the world. Nestled in the heart of a dramatic U-shaped valley, the views of the northern side of Mont Blanc are dramatic from anywhere in town, and especially from our accommodation in the heart of Chamonix. We’ll have time to rest up and explore town this afternoon, before meeting later for a welcome dinner.

Hotel Pointe Isabelle, Chamonix (Dinner)

Day 2 — Hike Mer de Glace, Grotto de Glace experience

Today we’ll hike just above Chamonix to the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice). As a warm up for our hike in the coming days, we’ll take a train up through the fir trees that flank the north side of the Mont Blanc massif, to Montenvers, overlooking this incredible glacier. From Montenvers we’ll hike further up through trees and boulder fields to Le Signal Forbes – a lookout point affording unsurpassed views of the Mer de Glace Glacier and huge granite spires that rise sharply from the moraine walls. On our descent we’ll have incredible views of the upper Chamonix Valley and the Aiguilles Rouges Mountains. Before boarding the train back down to Chamonix, we’ll take a gondola down to Mer de Glace’s Grotto de Glace (Ice Cave). Every year, a new ice cave is dug into the bowels of the Glacier, enabling us to walk inside the incredible sea of ice! After making our way back down to Chamonix, you’ll have this afternoon to relax in town, take in the views and dining highlights, or pick up any last minute items you might need for our hike.

Hotel Pointe Isabelle, Chamonix (All meals)
HIKING DISTANCE: 5.4 kilometres (3.3 miles)
ASCENT: 436 metres (1430 feet)
DESCENT: 436 metres (1430 feet)

Day 3 — Begin Mont Blanc Circuit hike – hike to Les Houches

This morning we’ll leave Chamonix by Gondola up to Brevent (8410 feet), one of the highest peaks in the crystalline Aiguilles Rouges range, which stands opposite the Mont Blanc massif. From here we’ll hike across the Carlaveyron Plateau overlooking the spectacular Dioz Canyon. The views of the north face of Mont Blanc, the Fiz range and the Chamonix valley are second to none! We’ll drop down to the village of Les Houches, our home for the evening, before meeting our local hosts and settle in for a hearty French mountain meal.

Hotel Les Campanules, Les Houches (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 14.4 kilometres (9 miles) 
DESCENT: 1500 metres (4920 feet)

Day 4 — Sea kayak Lake Annecy, visit old town Annecy

This morning we’ll drive a short distance to Annecy, the capital of the Haute Savoie region and one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. To kick off our day we’ll take to sea kayaks and circle part of this stunning crystal clear lake, exploring it’s numerous coves and beaches along the way. Later we’ll head back to Annecy town where you’ll have the chance to explore it’s narrow cobbled streets and 16th century gothic architecture. With an outlook to the French Alps and an unmatched elegance, Annecy is the perfect place to lose yourself or simply sit on the sidewalk and watch the world go by!

Lodgings, Saint Gervais (All meals) 
KAYAKING DISTANCE: 11.2 kilometres (7 miles)

Day 5 — Hike the Roman Road to Savoie and Beaufortain

We’ll return to the Mont Blanc Circuit this morning after a short drive to Val Montjoie where we’ll begin our hike on an old Roman road to Plan des Dames. After a short break, we begin a gradual ascent of the Col du Bonhomme – an iconic mountain pass and the gateway to the Beaufortain region, famous for its unique cheeses. After breaking for lunch here, we’ll drop down into the sweeping wildflower meadows in the valley below to Les Chapieux where we’ll jump in our vehicle and drive a short distance to our accommodation for the evening, in the hamlet of Bourg St Maurice.

Hotel Autantic, Bourg St Maurice (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 16 kilometres (10 miles) 
ASCENT: 1233 metres (4044 feet)
DESCENT: 678 metres (2224 feet)

Day 6 — Hike “Vallee des Glaciers” into Italy

After breakfast we’ll head back to Les Chapieux where we’ll visit a local family-run Beaufort cheese factory which has been making cheese for hundreds of years, having passed down their traditional methods of production generation after generation (please note, the cheese factory is not open during the month of June, so we will select an alternative activity at that time). After our visit, we’ll begin our ascent of the “Vallee des Glaciers” (Valley of the Glaciers). Our first destination is the Col de la Seigne – the pass that straddles the border between France and Italy and an amazing place to view the southern side of the Mont Blanc range. As you stand with one foot in France and the other in Italy, you’ll be confronted with astounding views of huge glaciers, massive rock spires and the broad ‘U’ shaped valley down into the Italian countryside. We’ll make our way down the valley, passing through green pastures and alpine streams. Our home for this evening is the village of Courmayeur, a picture perfect Italian village at the head of the Aosta valley. Welcome to Italy!

Hotel Croux, Courmayeur (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 16 kilometres (10 miles) 
ASCENT: 735 metres (2410 feet)
DESCENT: 836 metres (2742 feet)

Hikers fly the France and Italy flags

Hiking across into Italy!

Day 7 — Explore Courmayeur and Aosta Valley 

Roman monuments, medieval castles, vineyards, and quaint villages define the Aosta Valley as one of Europe’s quintessential mountain regions, all against an incredible backdrop of steep snow capped peaks. Today you’re free to explore Courmayeur and the surrounding area. Over hundreds of years the local people here have perfected the “l’art de vivre” (the art of living), through exquisite mountain cuisine, beautiful architecture and fine wine. A day exploring the eateries, art galleries and vineyards of Courmayeur will recharge your culture batteries well and truly! If you’re keen to stay active today, there are plenty of adventurous options available, including hiking, cycling and golf to name just a few. Enjoy!

Hotel Croux, Courmayeur (Breakfast)

Day 8 — Hike Mont de la Saxe

We’ll leave Courmayeur this morning and hike up through dense larch forest and onto alpine meadows leading up to Rifugio Bertone, where we’ll make a brief stop for an espresso and soak in the jaw dropping views of Mont Blanc. From here we’ll continue on to the Mont della Saxe balcony trail overlooking the Italian Val Ferret, looking straight across to some of the highest peaks of the Monte Bianco massif and the tumbling glaciers that descend the southern side of the range into the valley below. They look so close, you’ll feel like you can throw a stone and hit the highest peaks – it’s a sight you have to see to believe. After lunch, we’ll drop down into the Val Ferret and green pastures of the Lavachey where we’ll enjoy a classic home cooked Italian/French meal prepared by our local hosts.

Hotel Lavachey, Lavachey (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 15.2 kilometres (9.4 miles) 
ASCENT: 974 metres (3195 feet)
DESCENT: 586 metres (1922 feet)

Day 9 — Hike into Switzerland

Close to our accommodation, the trail to Switzerland begins, over one of the Mont Blanc regions’ most renowned passes – the Grand Col Ferret. The massive granite spires of the south side of the Mont Blanc range are our backdrop on the ascent to the Col Ferret, followed by the astoundingly beautiful views of the Swiss Val Ferret, the Glacier de l’A Neuve and the village of La Fouly that lies beneath it. We’ll hike down to La Fouly through classic Swiss pastures, before a short drive to Champex Lac, a picture perfect lakeside village and our home for the evening.

Hotel Sporting, Champex Lac (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 14.6 kilometres (9 miles) 
ASCENT: 748 metres (2453 feet)
DESCENT: 815 metres (2673 feet)

Day 10 — Hike Upper Rhone valley, Switzerland

Today is a proper “Swiss cow day” as we hike through some of the greenest and most picturesque valleys on the planet, all accompanied by the soundtrack of cow bells ringing out across the meadows. As we hike to Bovine peak, we’ll have great views of Wildstrubel, the hulking glaciated 9 mile wide peak that divides the Valais and Bern regions of Switzerland, and out to the north western mountain passes of the Oberland area. After our hike we’ll head down into the town of Vallorcine, nestled in a stunning mountain valley just across the French border.

Hotel du Buet, Vallorcine (All meals) 
HIKING DISTANCE: 14.7 kilometres (9.1miles) 
ASCENT: 770 metres (2525 feet)
DESCENT: 707 metres (2319 feet)

Day 11 — Bike L’Arve River Trail, Aiguille du Midi experience

This morning you’ll be fitted with a high quality front suspension mountain bike and we’ll ride all the way back down to Chamonix. The ride is spectacular as we bike through the small villages of the upper Chamonix Valley and the larch fir trees that flank the glacier-fed L’Arve River. We’ll finish our ride in Lac de Gaillands (Gailland Lake) where we’ll have a picnic lunch beside Chamonix’s iconic rock climbing wall. After lunch, we’ll take ourselves high above the valley to experience Aiguille du Midi – a cable car that leaves from downtown Chamonix and ends at a granite needle peak building at 3841 metres (12,604 feet). Aside from marvelling at this incredible feat of engineering, you’ll be blown away when you find yourself so close to the summit of Europe’s highest peak, taking in once in a lifetime views of the Alps from a high altitude perspective. Later, we’ll head back to Chamonix to spend the final evening of your trip together. 

Hotel Pointe Isabelle, Chamonix (All meals) 
BIKING DISTANCE: 16.3 kilometres (10.1 miles) 
DESCENT: 423 metres (1387 feet)

Day 12 — Head to Geneva, depart

Today is the last day of your trip around Mont Blanc. We’ll drive back to Geneva this morning in time for afternoon flights. If you’re staying on in Chamonix or Geneva, we’re happy to book extra accommodation for you and help out with suggestions on other things you can do in the area. Either way, you’ll go home relaxed and refreshed after your active journey around one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, and enjoying a quintessential European Alps experience in true Active style.

(Breakfast)


What’s included on Le Tour du Mont Blanc Trekking Tour?

All guiding services

- Two experienced guides per trip. In Europe you'll have a Kiwi trip leader and a team of local European guides.

All accommodations

- Local lodges chosen for their comfort, charm and sublime views.

All meals

- Breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'll be treated to a culinary experience, to rival any in the world.

All activities

- Hiking, biking, kayaking, via ferrata, historical sites and more.

All transport

- Airport transfers
- When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.

Lunch on the trail

Lunch on the trail, what a treat!


Packing list

Essential Items:

  • Main piece of luggage: a sports bag with wheels, a suitcase, a backpack or similar.
  • Daypack: used for day trips and on the bus. Must be well fitting with supportive shoulder straps and a waist-strap. Should be large enough for your water bottle, packed lunch, raincoat, fleece, camera and personal items. Size 30 litres (2000 cubic inches).
  • Hiking boots: required for most days of the trip. Sturdy boots with good ankle support and solid tread are required. They should be comfortable, well worn-in and waterproofed.
  • Trail runners/running shoes: for cycling, casual wear, and to wear when your boots are wet!
  • Light sandals: good to wear in the rifugio’s in the evenings
  • Waterproof rain jacket/shell: a breathable, unpadded shell jacket with a hood which keeps you dry when active. Ponchos are not suitable.
  • Waterproof rain pants: for keeping dry and active on rainy days.
  • Fleece/down jacket/wool sweater: one or two something nice and warm for cold days and nights
  • Shirts/T-shirts: two or three, some cotton, some quick-dry
  • Long-sleeve shirts: one or two, some cotton, some quick-dry, and for insect protection.
  • Lightweight trousers: one or two pairs, for cooler nights, higher elevations and insect protection. At least one quick-dry pair is recommended.
  • Shorts: one or two pairs, some cotton, some quick-dry.
  • Thermal underwear: two top and bottom sets of thermal/polypropylene underwear - you’ll be using these a lot.
  • Underwear
  • Pyjamas/nightwear: or similar.
  • Socks: three or four pairs. Some good quality hiking socks, some warm, some casual.
  • Swim suit/shorts: for kayaking, and also any swimming opportunities.
  • Travel towel: for sea kayaking.
  • Warm hat: wool/fleece ski hat, or similar.
  • Sun hat: baseball cap, or similar.
  • Sunglasses: with a retainer strap if you have one.
  • Warm gloves: wool/fleece gloves.
  • Water bottle/bladder: two litre volume.
  • Camera: memory cards and batteries/charger.
  • Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, facecloth, prescription medications, glasses/lenses, shaving gear, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, hand sanitiser etc (some accommodations provide some of these and some don’t, so it’s best to bring your own).
  • Personal first aid kit: for any essential items that you know you’ll need e.g. blister treatment if you are prone to blisters. Your guides also carry a group first aid kit.
  • Sun-block: maximum SPF UVA/UVB broad spectrum recommended.

Optional Items:

  • Hiking poles: not essential, though we highly recommend bringing one or two poles with you to support your knees during the hikes.
  • Hiking gaiters: not essential, though great for this trip to keep the tops of your boots and socks dry and they add warmth.
  • Cycling gear: cycling shorts and cycling gloves.
  • Alarm clock: for those mornings you’ll need to get up early.
  • Adapter plug: required for France, Italy & Switzerland, depends on your home country.
  • Casual clothes: if you’d like to bring a nice skirt/shirt to wear out to dinner.
  • Energy snacks and drinks: while snacks will be provided, you may like to bring some along too if you have special dietary needs.
  • Hairdryer: provided by most accommodations though not all so you may wish to bring your own as well.
  • Binoculars
  • Pocket knife
  • iPod/mp3 player
  • Reading material

How to Book

If you’re ready to get on board the Tour du Mont Blanc guided trekking tour, you can hit the button below to check the availability on board your desired departure, and one of our Europe travel guru’s will get right back to you to chat about the finer details.

If you’re still in the research phase of your trip, you can hit the other button below to request your free brochure! Either we’ll send one straight to your email inbox, or post one to you anywhere in the world!
Go ahead, there are no obligations!

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Reviews

Incredible Trip!

“Love everything about Active Adventures! Great planning and hospitality by amazing ACTIVE crew (Andrew and Fabien were so nice, knowledgeable, easy going and fun)! Tour du Mont Blanc is pure heaven on earth experience - so special to be in midst of mountains and glaciers so close and yet not so remote. We saw civilized world almost every night; chatted with local communities as we stayed in various places on the route. Kayaking in absolutely BLUE water was the cherry on top! I could go every year!”
Ohio, United States
Tour du Mont Blanc, August 2018
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  • Tour du Mont Blanc Mont Blanc Circuit

    • 12 Days
    • US$5899

    4.73 out of 5 (from 87 reviews)

    Tour du Mont Blanc

    Signature Trip Mont Blanc CircuitThe Mont Blanc massif is one of the most iconic and dramatically beautiful mountain ranges in the world and a must-see area of the European Alps. While most trips circumnavigate this iconic mountain range by foot, we’ve taken it a step further to not only experience its spectacular geography, but also explore the history, culture and cuisine of France, Italy and Switzerland with expert local guides. In 12 days you’ll explore Chamonix and some of the region’s oldest and most beautiful towns as you circumnavigate Mont Blanc on foot, in a sea kayak and by bike – a genuine and original Active Adventure!

Trip Reviews

  4.73 out of 5 (from 87 reviews)

IT’S THE GUIDES

Mt Blanc is a giant rock. And this trip is essentially you walking around it. Doesn’t sound too FIVE star does it? Well, as rocks go it’s pretty spectacular. And you get to go through three countries where they speak a bunch of non-English languages that I’m sure I was supposed to learn in high school and use TWO currencies … (Really Switzerland? With the Franc … Get over yourself). Although there are other trips and other providers that will guide you around this rock, the Active trip is better because the people that work for Active are awesome at what they do. We worked with Lynette in NZ to book the trip and although we never met, we are pretty much best friends now. I can think of no better indication of a good business than return customers. Of the twelve people in our group, ALL of them were return Active customers. Why? The Guides.

For this trip, we had three French guides from Companie des guides de Chamonix and one Kiwi from Active. The French guides were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and fun. I would recommend all of them without hesitation, especially Jean-Marie our driver (see below). But Kiwi Nick from Active was the Difference Maker. He is so incredibly nice that you know he has a wonderful girlfriend back in New Zealand. And they do all these wonderful couple activities that are super cool. Like paddle boarding. And you can’t wait to hang out with them because they’re awesome. And they booze, of course, because couples that DON’T booze should not be trusted #lifelesson. And you may say, ‘Well Neil that’s not appropriate saying that about a guide’s personal life’ ... but whatever. Lynette is not going to take it out of this review because we are best friends. Nick handles all his guide responsibilities extremely well but it feels like he is a part of the group. He’s experiencing and sharing this trip along with you rather than just showing you Mt Blanc. Rarely will a guided trip like this go EXACTLY to plan. Weather, injuries, construction, conflicting personalities among the group, etc. are just some of the problems the guides need to be prepared to deal with quickly. Thankfully we had few of these issues, but Nick was always attentive to our enjoyment. I’m still not sure how he put up with me. I know how horrible I am. I live me every day.

Beyond the guides, the trip is strong.
ACTIVITIES: Although you are hiking in a relatively compact area the hikes are varied and challenging enough to make that post-hike beer taste awful nice. The kayaking day was beautiful but marred by our decision to use a double kayak. Or as they should be known, “Murder Boats”, because after about 5 minutes in a double kayak you want to bludgeon each other to death. Get the single. The last day we did the rafting option because the rope course was rained out. Not only did we not die, we ended up having a lot of fun cruising on glacial water through downtown Chamonix. On the free day in Courmayeur, I did the via ferrates up Mont Chetif, which was fun. The hike to the top was the toughest hiking of the trip. I would recommend planning your off day before the trip rather than on the fly. The via ferrates does sell out.

MEALS: There was cheese LITERALLY everywhere. If you don’t like cheese like me, just keep quiet about it. Those French obsess over cheese like there is alcohol in it. The lunch spots were transcendent. That’s when you could feel truly present in the Alps. Whatever crap you had waiting back home, like say … Ellen in HR who is pretty much just the worst (don’t worry, she’ll never read this. I bet she drowns kittens on vacation. She. Is. The. Worst.), all that stuff melts away. The dinners were local and delightful.

HOTELS: The accommodations are essentially ski lodges. We had hot showers, warm beds and beers. A few places had pools & hot tubs. They were all close to our hikes which cut down on van time, which I’m sure disappointed my trip mates because they probably enjoyed my daily dissertations on the importance of hair metal in American culture #Cinderella.

Overall, these Active folks know what they are doing and you will have fun on this trip. Maybe I’ll get to meet you on one of their other trips I’m sure we’ll be signing up for in the future … Patagonia hmmm? I’ll be the one talking about David Lee Roth.

Best,
Neil C
~~~
Jean-Marie (Driver): I think they based the “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign on this guy. If he is a part of your group, sit next to him during meals and buy him wine. Get him to talk, his life is amazing. We had a guy on our trip that did 28 marathons, 33 triathlons, was a licensed pilot, spoke French, played hockey … ON ICE and that dude wanted to hear more from Jean-Marie. I shouldn’t even be allowed to read his biography (and there was a rumor he was going to write one)! He’s THAT interesting. One of the day off options should be, “Go drinking with Jean Marie”. I’d do the trip all over again if they added that. It was an injustice that he carried my bags. At least my bag was light #manpacking
Neil Crossan Review Image
– California, United States
Tour du Mont Blanc, October 2016
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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

Everything is Included

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

A Sense of Achievement

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

Small Groups

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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