The 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!
• Experience Chamonix
• Hike Mer de Glace
• Grotto de Glace experience
• Sea kayak Lake Annecy
• Explore Annecy Old Town
• Hike the Ville de Glaciers
• Visit Beaufort cheese factory
• Experience Courmayeur and Aosta Valley
• Hike into Switzerland
• Experience Upper Rhone Valley
• Bike L'Arve River Trail
• Aiguille du Midi experience
What's included in our Europe trips?
- 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.
Interactive Trip Map
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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No Forced Single Supplement:
Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement!
If you arrive on the first day of your trip, an Active Adventures Europe representative will meet you at the Geneva airport (GVA) at 2pm and take you through to your accommodation in Chamonix, France. If you’re already in Chamonix, you’ll meet your trip leader and the rest of your group in the lobby of our joining hotel at 6pm.
On the last day of your trip we’ll drop you off at Geneva airport in time for afternoon flights. You can book a flight home departing anytime after 12 noon on this day. If you’re staying on in Chamonix, we’ll be happy to book your extra accommodation. If you’re staying on in Geneva we’ll be happy to drop you off at the Geneva airport, which has regular transfer departures to central Geneva.
The ‘Tour du Mont Blanc’ is an active adventure trip around the Mont Blanc region of the European Alps. We stay in clean and comfortable accommodation all with ensuite bathrooms and amazing views.
We’ve designed this trip to be fun, challenging and varied. Our trips aren’t scenic bus trips where you observe from a bus window or stand on a touristy viewing platform to take pretty pictures. We’ll get you into the back country to experience the Mont Blanc region up close so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy yourself. Age and experience are not important, so you don’t need to be young or extremely fit but you should be in the habit of doing some regular exercise. So get out there with a daypack on a short hike from time to time and you’ll be ready to join us.
You’ll be getting around the Mont Blanc mountain range largely under your own steam on this trip, on foot, in a sea kayak and by bike! Occasionally, we’ll need to get to some areas and our accommodations in a vehicle. We have our own comfortable air-conditioned vans with plenty of room to stretch your legs. The great thing is, you needn’t expect to be spending long periods of time in a vehicle anywhere on this trip - getting around the Mont Blanc region will be largely up to you with your hiking boots on!
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