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Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc
Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc
Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc
Best of the Tour du Mont Blanc

Plan your Tour du Mont Blanc

Kandoo's View

A one week, hotel-based trip - enjoy the best sections of Europe's most popular trek, staying in comfortable hotels.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is known for being one of the most beautiful mountain routes, from its sweeping panoramas of the highest peaks of the Alps to grazing pastures where a traditional way of life continues. Follow a well-marked path throughout as we encounter some of the most spectacular landscapes the Alps have to offer. No wonder it’s the most popular trek in Europe!

From the Chamonix valley to the Courmayeur valley, from La Fenêtre d’Arpette to the wild Val Ferret, along the Swiss, Italian and French slopes, the path winds its way between pastures, glaciers and peaks, crossing passes and valleys. Every day offers spectacular scenery and extraordinary mountain landscapes that will be engraved in your memory forever. Nature really does pull out all the stops on this trek. 

About the route

Our trip starts with an overnight stop in the world capital of mountaineering, Chamonix. We begin this adventure by viewing the superb panoramas of the Chamonix balconies, in the the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, where we will be able to admire mighty Mont Blanc, reflected in the Lacs des Chéserys. As we head to the southern-most point of the trek, we will cross the Col de La Forclaz (1527m) to reach the village of Champex.

Hearing the bells ringing on the Hérens cows and seeing traditional village architecture, as well as the geranium window boxes, there is no doubt that we are now in Switzerland. It’s a straightforward and beautiful ascent over the Grand Col de Ferret (2537m) with views over to the Dolent (3823m), as we cross into Italy. The descent into the Val Ferret offers magnificent views of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif.

Enjoy a day in the picturesque town of Courmayeur. A short cable car ride will take us to the Punta Helbronner, taking us up close and personal to Mont Blanc. The afternoon is free to explore this beautiful Italian town, maybe go rafting in the Aosta Valley or just savour the Italian coffee. We finally lace our boots back up to follow our route towards the Col de la Seigne where we cross back into France. Our final ascent is the famous Col du Bonhomme, leading us to the heart of the Contamines-Montjoie nature reserve where we end this wonderful trek before transferring back to Chamonix.

Trip dossier, route maps and profile

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Detailed itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

The Kandoo team will meet you at Geneva Airport and transfer you to your pre-trek hotel in Chamonix. Later you will attend a pre-trek briefing with your Guide to prepare you for your tour. There are many typical Savoyard restaurants close to your hotel where you can sample some alpine specialities.

Day 2From Chamonix to Argentière

We will transfer to Les Praz village by either bus or train, and from here we will ride the cable car to La Flégére (1813m). The view of the Chamonix Valley and the Mer de Glace is breath-taking. We start our hike on a balcony path, climbing gently up and leading us to Lac Blanc (2352m) and its spectacular view of the Mont Blanc massif: the Drus, the Vert, the Aiguille du Midi and, of course, Mont Blanc itself. We head down through one of the most beautiful trails in France, bordering the Cheserys lakes, to Argentière where we will spend the night in a hotel in a peaceful, wooded setting.

  • Elevation: From 1035 metres to 1250 metres
  • Highest point: 2352 metres (Lac Blanc)
  • Trekking distance: 8 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 3From Argentière to Champex

After breakfast, we will take a short private transfer to cross the Swiss border via the villages of Châtelard and Trient to the Col de la Forclaz (1527m). From here, we start our trek through a pine and larch forest to reach the grazing pastures at Bovine. We will enjoy views of the valley and the impressive Coude du Rhônes below us, as well as the northern foothills of Mont Blanc. On the eastern side, the impressive Combins massif stays in our sight all day long and leads us to Champex, a charming lakeside village.

  • Elevation: From 1250 metres to 1468 metres
  • Highest point: 1527 metres (Col de la Forclaz)
  • Trekking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 4From Champex to Courmayeur

Today we transfer from Champex to La Fouly in a private minibus and begin our hike from the village of Ferret. We will cross the Grand Col de Ferret (2537m) from where we can enjoy an exceptional view of the Val Ferret and the Glacier de Pre de Bard. Italy opens its doors to us as we descend from the pass to Arnouva, where we will take a bus to our hotel in Courmayeur.

  • Elevation: From 1468 metres to 1224 metres
  • Highest point: 2537 metres (Grand Col de Ferret)
  • Trekking distance: 13 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 5Courmayeur

This morning we will take the Skyway Monte Bianco, which lifts us effortlessly to the Punta Helbronner (3466m). In just 10 minutes, we will find ourselves facing Mont Blanc and the highest peaks in Europe. Returning for lunch in Courmayeur, you will have chance to savour some famous Italian specialities. Taking a break from walking, you will have the afternoon free to explore this lively town. If you prefer, you can have fun rafting in the Aosta Valley or spend a relaxing afternoon at the thermal baths of Pré-Saint-Didier (additional charges apply).

  • Elevation: 1224 metres
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 6From Courmayeur to Les Chapieux

Climb aboard the bus and enjoy the ride to Visailles, at the foot of the Glacier du Miage. We will then stretch our legs, climbing up to the Lée Blanche Valley, where sheep graze during the summer. We will reach the Col de la Seigne (2516m) and cross the border to return to France once more. The south face of Mont Blanc is now behind us as we head down to Les Mottets. We will then transfer to the village of Les Chapieux where we will spend the night.

  • Elevation: From 1224 metres to 1549 metres
  • Highest point: 2516 metres (Col de la Seigne)
  • Trekking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 6 to 8 hours
  • Overnight: Hostel
Day 7From Les Chapieux to Chamonix

Our final day on the trek begins by heading up to the Chalet de la Raja, which marks the beginning of the slopes to reach the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme refuge (2443m), located right before the Col de Bonhomme (2329m). From the pass we will descend into a valley that will lead us to La Balme refuge and the Nant Borrant refuge. We continue our descent to Notre Dame de la Gorge and its small chapel before reaching Les Contamines. We will transfer by private bus to Chamonix where will spend our final night at the hotel and you can enjoy a leisurely evening in town.

  • Elevation: From 1549 metres to 1035 metres
  • Highest point: 2443 metres (Col de la Croix du Bonhomme)
  • Trekking distance: 20 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 8Departure day

Sadly, our fabulous week comes to an end.. You can spend your final morning exploring the wonderful shops, museums, and local food specialties found in this two-time Olympic village.

We can organize a transfer between Chamonix and Geneva for your return flight in the morning around 9am.

Please be aware of your departure time in Geneva airport to be able to join us for the transfer.

The itinerary may be modified regarding weather or participants physical conditions. At last, the accompanist remains the only judge of the program that he can adapt according to the situation. Trip time is indicative, as are ascent and descent inclines, they can be modified at the moment regarding the decision of the accompanist and the group’s speed. Please don’t pay much attention to that and enjoy your trip in the mountain.

 

Availability and prices

Last Updated December 5 2019
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Route
Arrival
Days
Price
Comment
 
 
Arrival: July 12 2020
Days: 8
Price: £1499 $1949 €0
Comment: Minimum of 6
Arrival: July 19 2020
Days: 8
Price: £1499 $1949 €0
Comment: Minimum of 6
Arrival: July 26 2020
Days: 8
Price: £1499 $1949 €0
Comment: Minimum of 6
Arrival: August 2 2020
Days: 8
Price: £1499 $1949 €0
Comment: Minimum of 6
Arrival: August 9 2020
Days: 8
Price: £1499 $1949 €0
Comment: Minimum of 6
Included
  • Full supervision by an experienced mountain guide
  • Luggage transfers
  • Accommodation in twin rooms at 3-star hotels or equivalent (except on day 6, which will be in a typical hostel)
  • Airport transfers
  • Full board every day, except for the first and the last night in Chamonix
  • Skyway Monte Bianco ticket
Not Included
  • Drinks, snacks and any personal expenses
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals on the first and last evening in Chamonix
  • Extra activities on day 5 in Courmayeur
  • Tips
  • Flights

Staff and Safety

Our trip is led by a mountain guide who will provide you with all the technical information needed for a safe and enjoyable trek. The guide may have to modify the programme in order to ensure the safety of the group, depending on mountain weather conditions or participant’s physical capability.

 

Accommodation

On this trek, you will stay in 3 star hotels in private twin rooms. Single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee (subject to availability).

Accommodation will differ on day 6 when we spend the night in the Chapieux Valley. Here you will stay in a tradition gite/auberge and you should expect to share a dormitory room with other trekkers.

Examples of hotels in Chamonix  : 

https://www.alpinachamonix.com/en/ 

https://www.prieurechamonix.com/en/ 

Examples of hotels during the trip : 

https://www.fouly.ch/en/

https://www.hotelsvizzero.com/en/

https://hotelmontblanc.icastelli.net/en/

For the Gite in the Chapieux Valley 

https://www.refugelanova.com/

 

Food and drink

 Staying hydrated and well-fed on your trek is absolutely vital, especially when conditions are such that you might not want to eat or drink as much as you should.

If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.  

A typical day’s meals on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Continental breakfast is usually provided in your hotel each morning.

Lunch picnics are made of mixed salads, fine meat, local farm cheese, crusty bread, pate, nuts, fresh seasonal fruits and other local sweet pleasures. The guide will prepare the food each evening for the following day; don't worry if he leaves you for a short time in the evening as he will be away sourcing some great food for you. The lunch is carried by the group, so each morning the food will be shared out to be carried in your daysack.Picnic lunch

Don't forget to take your own snacks for when you need a little extra boost - cereal bars, energy bars, nuts and dry fruits are all good options. And feel free to bring some local specialities from home to share with the group!

In the evening, dinner is taken either at the hotel or in a nearby restaurant. Drinks are not included with dinner, so please make sure you have some Euros and Swiss Francs with you if you fancy sampling some local wine or beer.

Drinking water

 Water at RefugeTap water is typically safe to drink in France so you can fill up your water bottle each morning at the hotel. On the trek itself, you will be passing many refuges where you will also be able to top up your water if needed.

Meals in Chamonix

Your hotel in Chamonix at the beginning and end of your trip is booked on a bed and breakfast basis only, and does not include any other meals. There are plenty of typical Savoyard restaurants in Chamonix where you can sample some local alpine delicacies, such as cheese fondue, tartiflette or raclette.

Transportation

We use a private minibus for all our transfers.

Your main equipment bag is transported between the hotels each day and will be waiting for you when you arrive at your next stop. All you need to carry each day is your daysack, containing only the items you need for the day along with any valuable items. The luggage transport cannot take any electronic items or camera equipment so please try to avoid bringing any bulky items such as laptops as you will need to carry them every day.

Fitness and training

Fitness and training for the Tour du Mont Blanc

One question we get asked a lot is 'how fit do I need to be to do the Tour du Mont Blanc ? Whilst a high level of fitness will make the hikes a lot easier it by no means requires super human fitness. We often take people who have left their fifties well behind them and are not in peak physical condition. That being said, a solid  training plan will allow you to better prepare for the hikes and enjoy yourself when you're on the trail. 

What all successful hikers share though is a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination. 

There is a lot of steep ascent and descent on this trek, so your legs will be getting a good workout. If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on the Tour. Think of it as climbing Snowdon or Ben Nevis every day for six days! Similarly if you can do a full hour spinning, a vigorous aerobics class or can jog at a decent pace for 45 minutes then there is no reason why you can't make the entire Tour du Mont Blanc.

Practice Hiking

The best training by far for the Tour du Mont Blanc is to get your walking boots on and get lots of miles under your belt. Whether this is two to three hours walking locally or full days away on your nearest hills, you just need to clock up lots of hours on your feet. More than anything else it is just walking every day for 6 days that people find tiring. And the best cure for this is to have spent lots of hours just walking.

Hiking practice allows you to understand the stress your joints will be put under and how well you can deal with this. It also allows you to wear in your boots as this takes some time and can often be uncomfortable. Start with a comfortable distance that suits you and slowly try to work your way up to a 5-6 hour trek. If you can do this a few times then you'll be in good stead.

Aerobic Training

Aerobic (or cardio) training will be a key factor in allowing you to make the Tour du Mont Blanc. Aerobic literally means 'requiring free oxygen' and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Aerobic exercise builds up your cardiovascular system allowing you to process oxygen in a more effective way. Unlike anaerobic exercise, aerobic exercise requires oxygen for elongated periods of time. Examples of aerobic exercise would be lane swimming, long distance jogging, walking and cycling.

Depending on fitness, we recommend a 3-6 month training plan.

Strength Training

Any Tour du Mont Blanc training plan should also include strength training. Although not as important as your aerobic training, strengthening your upper body, core and, in particular, your legs will greatly increase your chances of success. You'll be on your legs at least 7 hours a day on some steep slopes, you therefore need them to be strong enough to take the punishment.

To strengthen your legs we recommend doing the following exercises. Remember when doing these exercises to keep watch of your technique. Exercises done with poor technique will more often than not harm you instead of help you.

  • Squats
  • Front and reverse leg curls
  • Lunges
  • Step aerobics

Building upper body and core strength is also crucial as you'll not only be standing for hours, but you'll also be carrying your daysack. We recommend the following exercises to strengthen your upper body and core:

  • Shoulder presses
  • Back and shoulder flyes
  • Sit-ups
  • Kettle-bell rows / swings

Remember to stretch after all exercise sessions! Increasing flexibility will allow your body to recover more quickly overnight after trekking all day. No one wants to trek for 7 hours after waking up with stiff joints aching all over!

The importance of stretching

Most sports injuries occur due to poor stretching. This is particularly true on mountains where repetitive movements over tough terrain put a lot of stress on joints and muscles. To loosen your muscles and increase suppleness we recommend adopting a regular stretching regime. Spend 10 minutes every morning stretching your main muscle groups.

 

FAQ

How long is the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The length of the full Tour du Mont Blanc is 173 km, has over 11,000m of ascent and can take up to 10 days to complete. For this tour itinerary, we trek for around 70km, and use several vehicle transfers in order to complete the trek in 6 days. We will still cover around 4,000m of ascent

What is the maximum altitude on the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The highest point we trek to is 2537m, when we cross the Grand Col de Ferret between Switzerland and Italy. However, from Courmayeur we allow the Skyway cable car to carry us to a lofty 3466m.

Is any climbing required on the Tour du Mont Blanc?

There is no real climbing on any part of the Tour du Mont Blanc - it is a well-maintained trekking route. However, there is one fixed ladder that you encounter on the first day of the trek between Lac Blanc and Argentiere.

When is the best time to do the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The best time to do the Tour du Mont Blanc is between mid-June and mid-September. Be aware that in the early season (end of June – beginning of July) there can still be a lot of snow on the trail. From mid-July 14 to mid-August the itinerary is very busy. From the end of August until mid-September, the trail is much quieter, apart from when the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc) race comes to town!

 

 

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