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The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most spectacular treks in Europe. Hike 148 kilometres through France, Switzerland and Italy, across five major passes, staying in comfortable hotels and a traditional auberge along the way. Trek among breathtaking mountain scenery on the flanks of Mont Blanc, with views of some of the most dramatic peaks in the Alps.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights simple auberge
8 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 14 Explore average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
The trip starts today at our chalet-style hotel in the village of Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley.
Your trek Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 6pm for a welcome meeting and trek briefing. Afterwards, for those that wish, there will be the chance to dine together as a group either at the hotel or a nearby local restaurant. There are no other activities planned for today.
It's easy to reach our joining hotel in Les Houches independently; an arrival transfer is not included with this tour. We recommend using the Mountain Drop Offs shared shuttle bus service which departs regularly from Geneva Airport throughout the day and takes just over an hour. The shuttle will drop you at the door of the hotel, tickets cost €50 and can be booked online at https://www.mountaindropoffs.com/.
Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. Please note that the official check-in time at the hotel from 3 pm, although rooms will be allocated as soon as they are available. If you arrive earlier in the day and wish to explore, the lively centre of Chamonix with its many shops and pavement cafes is just 15 minutes away by local bus.
Hotel du Bois (or similar)
After breakfast we take a local bus for 20 minutes from Les Houches to Chamonix and walk along the River Arve for about 30 minutes to Les Praz (1065m/3494ft) from where we take the Flegere cable car up to 1900m/6234ft. From here we hike through open countryside for around 2 hours to Lac Blanc (2352m/7717ft). There are incredible views across the whole Mont Blanc range, including the Grandes Jorasses, Aiguille Vert and Le Dru. We then follow a beautiful path back through the forest to our hotel at Argentiere (1252m/4108ft).
Today's trekking will take approximately 6 to 7 hours with a cumulative ascent of 450m/1476ft and descent of 1110m/3641ft .
Dahu Hotel (or similar)
From the hotel we walk through Old Argentiere and hike up to the Col des Posettes (1997m/6552ft) for superb views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley. From here, we traverse to the Col de Balme (2191m/7188ft) and look directly into Switzerland. We then descend through open country with views of glaciers to Trient (1297m/4255ft) where we spend the night at an auberge. This is a traditional mountain inn that is clean, friendly, full of fellow trekkers and has a great atmosphere. At the auberge we aim to have twins, triples or quads, but you may be in a dormitory if it is a busy part of the season. The bathrooms are shared. All bedding is provided.You will have your main baggage delivered to the auberge tonight.
Today's trekking will take approximately 5 to 6 hours with a cumulative ascent of 1000m/3281ft and descent of 900m/2953ft.
Auberge du Mont Blanc (or similar)
Todays's hike starts with a short climb to the Col de la Forclaz (1526m/5007ft) from where we walk along the Bovine Route to Champex (1486m/4875ft). The route winds its way through meadows, forests and open country with views of the great Sion Valley and the mountains of Verbier. There are no great ascents today and we arrive at our hotel near Champex Lake where you can head to for a sundowner. You will not have access to your main luggage tonight.
Today's trekking will take approximately 6 hours with a cumulative ascent of 640m/2100ft and descent of 550m/1804ft.
Hotel Splendide (or similar)
From here it is a gentle 5 to 6 hour trek to La Fouly (1600m/5249ft) along the Val Ferret. We start our walk descending from Champex following the river along a pretty valley covered in trees to Praz-de-Fort. We then ascend in similar surroundings with wonderful views of Mt Dolent and the South Face of the Mont Blanc range. You will not have access to your main luggage tonight.
Today's trekking will take approximately 6 hours with cumulative ascent of 540m/1771ft and descent of 440m/1443ft.
Hotel Edelweiss (or similar)
We continue from La Fouly along the Val Ferret and cross the impressive Grand Col Ferret (2537m/8324ft). From here, the descent is slightly steeper but rewards us with outstanding views of two of the Alps most iconic mountains - Le Grandes Jorasses and Mont Blanc. We stay at La Palud (1350m/4429ft), 3 km/1.9 miles from Courmayeur and you will have your main baggage delivered to the hotel tonight. It's worth noting that it's possible to shorten today's walk by taking a bus for the final 7 kilometres/4.3 miles of the walk.
Today's trekking will take approximately 9 hours with a cumulative ascent of 970m/3182ft and descent of 1170m/3838 ft.
Hotel Astoria (or similar)
Today has been left free to take a rest from the trail and soak up the ambience of the Alps. Nearby Courmayeur is one of Italy's premier ski resorts and is full of pretty shops, cafés and restaurants. Close by, there is the hot spring spa at Pre St Didier, the Skyway cable car that revolves as you ascend and plenty of other walking opportunities.
We take take public transport for approximately 25 minutes and travel to Val Veny under the spectacular South Face and ridges of Mont Blanc. We trek along a wide glacial valley surrounded by glaciers and high peaks to the Col de la Seigne (2516m/8255ft) which marks the border between France and Italy. We then descend to Les Chapieux (1549m/5082ft). Today is quite a long day (it is possible to take a bus for the final 5 kilometres/3.1 miles if you wish) , although it is not steep. You will not have access to your luggage tonight, so you will want to pack accordingly.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the scarcity of accommodation on the Tour Du Mont Blanc the 19th June and 28th August 2024 departures will overnight in Bourg St Maurice rather than Les Chapieux. We will transfer to Bourg St Maurice by minibus at the end of the day's trek (approximately 30 minutes) and return to the same point to resume walking after breakfast the following morning. Accommodation at Bourg St Maurice will be in a hotel with twin share rooms and en suite facilities. Our Auberge at Les Chapieux is a traditional mountain inn that where we aim to have twins, triples or quads, but you may be in a dormitory if it is a busy part of the season. The bathrooms are shared. All bedding is provided.
Today's trekking will take approximately 7 hours with a cumulative ascent of 860m/2821ft and descent of 967m/3173ft.
Chambres du Soleil (or similar)
We make a steep ascent above Les Chapieux through marmot country and on through open meadows to more barren scenery. We cross two cols (2479m/8133ft and 2329m/7641ft) in wild surroundings with fabulous Alpine Flowers and marmots, weasels and chamois. We then head down through open country and a narrowing valley. Our destination is Les Contamines (1167m/3829ft) - a pretty ski village with an interesting church. We will stay approximately 1 km/0.6 miles before the village of Les Contamines. There will be no access to your main luggage tonight.
Today's trekking will take approximately 7 hours with a cumulative ascent of 930m/3051ft and descent of 1320m/4331ft.
Chalet Hotel La Chemenaz (or similar)
Leaving Les Contamines we follow the Tour du Mont Blanc, passing the pretty hamlets of Gruvaz, Champel and Bionnassay. We then make the short, 500 m/1640 ft ascent to the Col du Voza (1653m/5423ft) which forms part of the huge massif above Les Houches. This is a fitting end to our trek with the most outstanding views of the Chamonix Valley, the Chamonix Aiguilles and the Mont Blanc massif. We descend from the col to the road at Les Houches and either walk (20 minutes) or take the public bus back to the hotel in Les Houches where we started our trek 9 days ago. We are reunited with our luggage and will have a final nights meal in the evening, bidding farewell to our Leader.
Today's trekking will take approximately 7 hours with a cumulative ascent of 1120m/3675ft and descent of 550m/1804ft.
The trip ends today after breakfast at our hotel in Les Houches. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Les Houches at any time. If you are departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel.
It's easy to reach Geneva Airport independently; a departure transfer is not included with this tour. We recommend using the Mountain Drop Offs shared shuttle bus service which runs regularly throughout the day and takes just over an hour. Tickets cost €50 and can be booked online at https://www.mountaindropoffs.com/.
Total distance : 87 miles
Across France, from April - August, weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant with moderate rainfall; Autumn temperatures are a bit lower and the winter months (though colder) remain mild. The summer months on the Mediterranean Coast in the south tend to be warmer than the rest of France and have less rainfall, and also more mild winters; freezing conditions are nearly unheard of. The mountainous areas of the Alps, Juros and Pyrenees can be quite different. During summer the morning and evening temperatures are considerably cooler and it becomes much colder in winter with heavy snowfall. Western France, along the English Channel, there can be very strong winds and frequent rain during the winter months Nov - Apr. Wine harvesting takes place in late August/early September.
2 Pin Round
April/May and October/November are pleasantly warm. June/September are the hottest months. Showers are common in Autumn.
Summers are generally warm, or even hot, with a three-month period when rain rarely falls. When it does rain in this season, it is heavy and often accompanied by thunder. There are as much as eleven to twelve hours' sunshine a day in summer, but as with anywhere in mainland Europe it can occasionally be cold and wet. Early and late summer is generally the best times to visit this region.
3 Pin Round
Skyway Cable Car at Courmayeur - €40
The following are essential for your tour: Good quality waterproof jacket and trousers (e.g. Gore-Tex / e-Vent), a pac-a-mac is not good enough, fleece jacket, comfortable walking trousers, shorts, warm hat and gloves, sunhat, sunglasses and high factor sun cream. Please be aware that temperatures can change dramatically at altitude and at night.
You will need walking boots with proper ankle support and good tread. Trekking shoes are not good enough for the walks as they do not give ankle support. In addition, you should avoid cheap boots found in high-street shops that are merely trainers with a higher canvas side sewn on. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
One main piece of baggage and a waterproof daypack. A capacity of 40 litres is recommended as you will need to carry enough overnight clothes (spare underwear, T shirt and toiletries etc) for the nights when you will not have access to your main luggage (days 4,5,8,9). There are showers at every night stop.
You will need a resuable water bottle (preferably 2 litres), torch, insect repellent and high factor sun cream. You may like to bring trekking poles. It is a good idea to line your daysac with a good quality plastic bag. This will go a long way in protecting your gear from any rainstorms we encounter. Tap water is safe to drink from the hotels and auberges, but water sources along the trail may not always be drinkable. Using tap water rather than bottled water will help avoid creating plastic bottle waste. Energy snacks including chocolate and sweets are recommended whilst on trek as well as a lunch box/Tupperwear for picnic lunches. Towels are not provided at Les Chapieux though you can hire one for €1: we suggest that you bring an easi-dry towel as they are lightweight and easy to carry. You may also wish to bring a sleeping bag liner for the stay at the auberge. Equipment Hire and Trek Training Days - Trek Hire UK hire out a wide range of kit including quality sleeping bags, down jackets, therm-a-rest sleeping mats and walking poles http://www.trekhireuk.com. They also run regular trek training and preparation days from their base in the Surrey Hills, ideal for getting an indication of your overall fitness level and also covering advice on kit and altitude.
Bus, Public Bus
We stay at small, family-run hotels for eight nights and in a traditional auberge (guesthouse) for two nights. In the hotels you will be accommodated in twin rooms with private bathrooms, though occasionally, when demand for accommodation is very high, you may have the use of a shared bathroom along the corridor. At Trient and Les Chapieux we stay at an auberge: this is a traditional mountain inn that is basic, clean, friendly, full of fellow trekkers and has a great atmosphere. At the auberge we aim to have twins, triples or quads, but you may be in a dormitory if it is a busy part of the season. The bathrooms are shared. All bedding is provided. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the scarcity of accommodation on the Tour Du Mont Blanc the 19th June and 28th August 2024 departures will overnight in Bourg St Maurice rather than Les Chapieux. We will transfer to Bourg St Maurice by minibus at the end of the day's trek (approximately 30 minutes) and return to the same point to resume walking after breakfast the following morning. Accommodation at Bourg St Maurice will be in a hotel with twin share rooms and en suite facilities. Most meals are included at the hotels and auberges and will be a fixed three or four-course meal with vegetarian options available. Catering for a vegan diet is limited and unsophistcated whilst the hotels are unfortunately unable to cater for those requiring a gluten-free diet. Drinks are not included, but all hotels have a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
France: Visas are not required by UK, EU nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Italy: Visas are not required by UK, EU nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Switzerland: Visas are not required by UK, EU nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing required. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing compulsory; Tetanus recommended. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.