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unique travel experiences for the 20s and 30s
Machu Picchu, Peru
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France, Italy & Switzerland

Mont Blanc Self-Guided

from $ 1290

Hike through France, Italy & Switzerland at your own pace encompassing the highest point of the European Alps

Trip Dates

Trip Highlights

  • Trek through stunning alpine scenery, circling the highest peak in Western Europe
  • Experience the exhilaration of trekking through three countries in the European Alps
  • Enjoy the culinary specialties that the region has to offer
  • Soak up the atmosphere of Chamonix, an iconic chalet town
  • Sleep at authentic mountain refuges and gites in the company of other Tour du Mont Blanc trekkers from around the world
  • Trip departs daily except for Sundays from 20 June to 5 September

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Chamonix

Day 2 - Hike from Le Tour to Trient

Day 3 - Hike to Champex Val d’Arpette

Day 4 - Grand Col Ferret to Elena

Day 5 - Hike to Courmayeur

Day 6 - Seigne mountain path into France

Day 7 - Col du Bonhomme to Contamines Valley

Day 8 - Hike to Les Houches

Day 9 - Hike to Chamonix

Green is Good

  • Trek happily on a carefully thought out route that takes both the scenic wonders of Mont Blanc and the safety of our travellers into consideration
  • Our local agent has been certified at the highest level and their business contributes to the local economy

The Sweat Level

MODERATE

Fitness is an important aspect of our trips, and the fitter you are the more easily you will adjust and enjoy yourself. The trip has been assigned a Sweat Level of ‘Moderate’. Trips with this grading include activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking, canyoning and rock climbing for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace and may spend a short amount of time at altitudes above 4000m in elevation. These activities involve carrying a day pack for their duration and a good level of fitness and health is required. In preparation of the trip, we recommend you engage in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three for four times a week for two to three months prior to departure. If you are embarking on a trekking trip, training in variable weather is also recommended.

When To Go

The walking season in the European Alps is short - from mid June to mid September - and many of the mountain refuges are closed outside this time. In winter, parts of the trail are transformed into world class ski runs, evidenced by the comprehensive network of cable cars or téléfériques. Bearing in mind that much of the route is at altitutdes between 1000m to 2500m, the temperatures can vary significantly.

At the beginning of the season you may experience snow and therefore the walking can be harder and slippery underfoot. Temperatures in the summer range from around 6°C to 20°C during the day, and afternoon thunderstorms are quite common. At the higher elevations it is important to dress with layers as cold winds and possible snow falls can happen even in summer.

Trip Inclusions

  • 7 x breakfast, 7 x dinner
  • 7 nights in mountain refuges/gite-hostels in dormitories
  • 1 night hostel in Chamonix
  • Luggage transfers throughout
  • Information pack including route notes, guidebook and maps
  • Emergency support

Need help with flights?

For competitive airfares and stopover ideas to France, contact our expert staff today to receive a detailed quote.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Chamonix

Welcome to France! The trip begins in Chamonix, a village nestled at the base of the stunning

Mont Blanc, with panoramic views in every direction. The day is free for you to explore the area

and its nightlife before an early transfer to the trail head in the morning.

Meals: Nil

Day 2: Hike from Le Tour to Trient, walk approx. 5 hours

In the morning, transfer to Le Tour, the starting point of our Mont Blanc trek. From here, set off

on the scenic high mountain path of Balme heading towards Switzerland. Weather permitting,

the walk provides wonderful views including the impressive “La Verte”, the Drus, and the

Needles of Chamonix. Cross the border between France and Switzerland before making your

way down to the village of Trient for the night.

Meals: D

Day 3: Hike to Champex Val d'Arpette, walk approx. 6 hours

Today, choose one of the two routes between Trient and Champex. The first is via the Mountain of Bovine which involves crossing the Forclaz Pass (1527m) where there are beautiful lake views. The other is the "Fenêtre d’Arpette” (2665m) route, which is a challenging variant on the Tour du Mont Blanc and not recommended during adverse weather conditions. While the trail is not as well defined as the lower route, the rewards on a good weather day are the extraordinary views to the Trient Glacier. Descend to Champex for the night.

Meals: B, D


Day 4: Bus to Ferret and cross the Grand Col Ferret to Elena, walk approx. 4 hours
In the morning, transfer by bus (approx. 15 Swiss Francs) to the village of Ferret (1705m) to commence walking. From there, follow the route out of Switzerland and into Italy via the Grand Col Ferret pass (2537m). It's a steady climb and at the Col you will be inspired by the sweeping views of the Pre de Bar glacier. After some time taking in the panorama, amble down the steep track to your next accommodation in Elena, located at the base of the glacier and a great place to view the changing light on the alps.

Meals: B, D

Day 5: Hike to Courmayeur, walk approx. 6 hours

Today's walk takes you through the Val Ferret and along a balcony path with impressive views of Grand Jorasses, Mont Blanc and in the distance, the Col de la Seigne marking the border between France and Italy. On arrival at Refugio Bonatti, there are three options to reach Courmayeur. The newly routed TMB trail traverses the north flank of Monte de la Saxe, whilst the former official TMB route takes you along the crest of Monte de la Saxe. Both are high trails with fabulous views of the Brenva face of Mont Blanc and the dramatic Aiguille Noire. The alternative route is via the variante route over the Col du Sapin (2436m) with a quick descent to Courmayeur. This latter route is preferable in poor weather, and additionally you can take a bus from the road head at Arnuva. Tonight accommodation is in the atmospheric town of Courmayeur, nestled at the end of Italy's Aosta Valley and an excellent place to try the renowned and delicious Italian gelato.

Meals: B, D

Day 6: Cross the Seigne mountain path into France, walk approx. 8 hours

Make your way over the Col de la Seigne mountain path, which is overhung by limestone pyramids and the Estelette Galcier, until you reach France. The trail then descends across the high mountain pastures to the City of the Glaciers, giving you take the opportunity to purchase the famous Beaufort cheese from local farmers along the way.

Meals: B, D

Day 7: Cross the Col du Bonhomme to Contamines Valley, walk approx. 5 hours

The morning's walk takes you up mountain pastures to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) where there are good views to the peaks of the Vanoise. The trail continues down to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and crosses Contamines Natural Reserve. A sharp descent through a pine forest fringed gorge takes you to an ancient Roman Road and the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge. Continue walking to your next accommodation in the Contamines Valley.

Meals: B, D

Day 8: Hike to Les Houches, walk approx. 7.5 hours

The trail takes you along the river valley, heading slowly to La Gruvaz before continuing to Le Champel and a fairly steep ascent via Bionassay 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 Ricot (2120m) which forms the divide between the Miage and Bionnassay Valleys. From here, you have spectacular views of limestone cliffs and the pistes below. The descent follows a combination of gravel roads and tracks past settlements to reach Les Houches.

Meals: B, D

Day 9: Hike to Chamonix by the South Balcony, walk approx. 6.5 hours

Today is one of the toughest ascents of the trail, taking you through thick forest from the town of Les Houches up to the heights of Le Brevant. En route, there are some sections which are exposed and above the tree line, however the views of Mont Blanc are more than enough reward for your efforts. Reaching Brevant you can take the cable car down to the centre of Chamonix. It is important to note the last cable car returning to the valley is around 4-4:430PM (mid June to September). Alternatively, you can continue along the balcony trail for a further two hours to Flégère. The trail is one of our favourites, and if you have the energy to continue and the weather is agreeable, we highly recommend this option. The cable car from Flégère takes you to Les Praz, which is one train stop away from Chamonix or about a 30 minute walk along the river. Your luggage will be waiting for you upon your return to Chamonix, where the trip concludes.

Meals: B

Disclaimer

This itinerary may change at any time due to inclement weather, forces of nature and other circumstances beyond our control.

The Sweat Level

  • Moderate
Easy – these are pretty relaxed and are suitable for most fitness levels. Expect though to push a little outside of your comfort zone with the included activities, but they are not for lengthy durations.

Moderate - these will include cycling, walking, kayaking and other activities which will put a sweat on the brow. You should do some pre trip training like going to the gym, jogging, brisk walking or cycling at least 3 times weekly for months before you go to get your fitness level up.

Hardcore - these will include sustained walking or cycling over multiple days and that means you’ll need to get into a great fitness regime before your trip. The best preparation you can do is day walks or cycle trips one a fortnight that build your endurance fitness coupled with some hour long ‘cardio’ workouts up to 3 times a week, and continue this for 3 months before departure.

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