- Additional Info
- A rich and healthy lunch pack on each stage
- Accommodation (shared bedroom / dormitory)
- All planned transportation according to the itinerary
- Full qualified international mountain leader (IML)
- Half-Board (breakfast, 3 course dinner)
- Equipment rental
- Luggage Transfer (max. 15kg per unit)
- Pre- / post-trek accommodation
- Private expenses (souvenirs, drinks, etc.)
The Ultimate Long Weekend Escape
The Tour du Mont Blanc or TMB is one of the most beautiful and diverse long-distance trekking in the world and definitely a must do for every ambitious hiker. Hike this 4-day version of this world class hike by covering a distance of around 65 kilometers in 4 days. Circumnavigate the Mont Blanc massif passing through traditional and picturesque Italian, Swiss and French villages. Beside the Mont Blanc, you will hike close to so many other impressive 4000m peaks, huge glaciers and crystal clear mountain lakes. The Mont Blanc massif is one of the most beautiful spots on earth with a great natural environment full of animals, flowers, history and culture.
Along the trail there are plenty of opportunities to try out the local cuisine. The choice is great and you can select from a wide range of different meals. From a simple French blueberry cake to a traditional Italian polenta or a Swiss style Rösti with local wine, there is pretty much everything available on the trail. The great network on mountain huts on the trail do make it almost irresistible to stop for a treat along the way.
The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is considered one of the classic longdistance hiking trails. The circular route is normally walked in a counterclockwise direction in 10 days. It is also the route of an annual mountain marathon in which the winner normally covers the entire distance in less than 24 hours. The route passes through seven valleys around the Mont-Blanc massif, an anti-clockwise start in Chamonix would lead through the Chamonix (or Arve) valley, then Montjoie, Vallée des Glaciers, Italian Val Veny, Val Ferret, Swiss Val Ferret, and either the Arpette or Trient valley in Switzerland, dependent on the route chosen. The highest points on any variant of the trail are the Col des Fours in France and the Fenêtre d’Arpette in Switzerland, both at an altitude of 2,665 m.
The ‘official’ route has changed over the course of the years and many alternatives, or so called variants, exist to the standard route. Some of these take the intrepid walker onto paths requiring greater fitness, awareness and skill. Others provide less demanding options, which are often quicker than the accepted route, but provide lesser viewpoints onto the mountain ranges. For a part of the way, between Les Houches and the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, the route coincides with the European long-distance footpath GR5 as it makes its way from the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. A link can also be made with the walkers’ Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.
What to expect
The Tour du Mont Blanc – Highlights Tour is one of the most impressive weekend escapes in the Alps:
- Hike through France, Italy and Switzerland
- Spectacular views on the highest mountains of Europe
- Enjoy culinary specialties such as a real Swiss cheese fondue
- Swim in crystal clear mountain lakes
- Meet other interesting and like-minded people
- Cover more than 60km on foot in just 4 days
- YOUR ITINERARY
More about France
The Mont Blanc Valley
Chamonix is known as Europes outdoor capitol. Each year, it attracts thousands of extreme mountaineers and skiers from all over the world. Via the Aiguille Midi cable car, one can access the world’s most famous off-piste run, the Vallée Blanche. The run starts at 3842 meters above sea level and ends down in the center of Chamonix. The Mer de Glace is the biggest glacier in France and one of the biggest in Europe. You can visit a real ice cave which is underneath the glacier.Chamonix is also the town of the first winter Olympics ever held in 1924. In 1741, the two young English aristocrats, William Windham and Richard Pocock, visited the Mer de Glace above Chamonix. They had no idea that the recital of their visit to this small mountain village and its glaciers had such an impact on the whole of Europe. The first hotel opened in 1770 and marked the early development of the hotel trade and the first mountaineering exploits. The Mont Blanc was first climbed in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and the doctor Michel Paccard. The ascent had a great impact on Chamonix to become a popular mountaineering destination. In 1821, the Compagnie des Guides was created and tourism increased immensely. Only six years later there were already 39 hotels in Chamonix. Chamonix is surrounded by impressive peaks. The Aiguille Rouges on the north-west side and the MontBlanc massif with the famous Aiguille du Midi on the southeast side.
Located only 6 kilometer away from Chamonix, Les Houches is a relatively quiet and small town which makes it ideal as a family summer and winter resort. The village is located directly on the foot of Mont Blanc and many alpinists take the cable car up to Bellevue to start their ascent onto Mont Blanc. Most of them will spend the night at the futuristic looking Gouter refuge which is located on the edge of the Aiguille du Gouter at an altitude of 3835 meter. Les Houches is also home for the famous Kandahar slope. Since 1924 the world downhill ski championships take place here every other year in February.
The village is located on the foot of the Mont Joly (the pretty mountain) on an altitude of 1150 meter. It is surrounded by some impressive peaks such as the Domes de Miage, the Tré la Tête and the Mont Blanc. At the end of the valley along the TMB lies the beautiful baroque church which is named after the gorge next to it: “Notre Dame de la Gorge”. The church was once used as a sanctuary and it was and still is an important and spiritual location for pilgrims.
The village is located near the Italian border at an altitude of 1550 meter. In 1856 the first hotel was already built in Les Chapieux to accommodate the pioneering English hikers on the famous Tour du Mont-Blanc. During the 2nd world war the few houses in Les Chapieux where abandoned by their owners and used as refuges for soldiers. Today you can visit the war monument just next to the village. Les Chapieux has a small shepherds market where you can buy local cheese, sausages or other homemade specialties.
More about Italy
The valley starts from the Col de la Seigne which is the border between Italy and France. It was once formed by the two huge glaciers Brenva and Miage. The Miage glacier is with more than 10 km the longest in Italy. At the entrance of the valley lies the shrine of Our Lady of Healing (French: Notre-Dame-de-guérison)
The town is the base camp for many mountaineers. While the ascent from Chamonix up the Mont Blancis relatively easy the south face of the Mont Blanc is dominated by impressive ridge lines which are tough climbs! While Courmayeur is quite calm during the summer month it gets a very busy ski town in the winter. There are many nice cafés selling excellent Italian ice cream and of course not to forget the pizza. Courmayeur shares the administration of Mont Blanc with its neighboring municipality of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in France, and is consequently able to claim the title of highest commune in Italy. Close to the town there is the bottom station of the Skyway Monte Bianco. The construction of this new cable car with 360° rotating cabins was finished in 2015. A total investment of 110 million Euro was made. The top station is located nextto the point Hellbronner on 3450 meters above sea level. It offers access to the famous Vallée Blanche ski descent.
The Val Ferret is the name of the two valleys departing from the Col Ferret on the border between Italy and Switzerland, on the southern side the Mont Blanc Massif. To the northeast, the Swiss valley, which drains into the Rhône basin; to the southwest, the Italian valley, which drains into the Po basin. The two valleys are connected by a mountain footpath through the Col Ferret which is part of the TMB.
More about Switzerland
La Fouly and Ferret
The area around the small villages la Fouly and Ferret is also called the country of Saint Bernard. The huge Bernese dogs were once used to rescue victims out of avalanches. They we raised up at the Grand Saint Bernard hospice (named after the so called mountain pass) which is bordering Italy. Nowadays, they are a national symbol of Switzerland. In the town Martigny one can visit the Saint Bernard museum and the friendly dogs. La Fouly is located on the foot of the Mont Dolent which summit is exactly the border between Switzerland, Italy and France. The area is still dominated by several alpine farms producing delicious cheese and other farm products.
Issert is a small village with only 87 inhabitants. The decrease of the glacier left numerous boulders which were used to stabilize the houses and to build walls.
Praz de Fort
This peaceful village will give you the impression to go back in time. Many old raccards (attics to store the hay) turned into charming family houses, leaving the outside of the building still in its original. Praz de Fort means the meadow of the chalk kilns – have a closer look and you will see the remaining of some old chalk kilns.
Champex has a beautiful alpine botanic garden which is located on the south slopes of Mont Catogne. There is also an underground fortress which has been used by the Swiss army during the second world war in case of an attack of the Italian troops coming over the Grand Saint Bernard pass. It is possible to visit the fortress. You can also swim in the cold mountain lake, go fishing or hire a paddle boat.
The alpage along the TMB trail is a great place to rest. Not just the delicious cake but also the surroundings make it worthwhile to stop. The alpage is very proud of their black, strong cows.
Col de la Forclaz
The Col de la Forclaz is a mountain pass on 1500 meter. It is connecting Martigny with Trient. In 2016, the Tour de France passed over this pass.
Trient is located on the foot of an impressive glacier. In the 19th century huge ice blocks where transported by train and soled expensive in the big cities such as Paris. One of the steepest cog rail trains (87%) leads up to the Emosson dam. The water is used to produce electricity for the Swiss railway. Trient has a bright pink church and is also home for Raphael and Anja from Happy Tracks.
More about this tour
On the Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights tour we do not offer luggage transportation, for the simple reason that we want to protect our environment and that we believe that your backpack won't be too heavy just with the equipment for 4-days hiking. Of course we offer a free luggage storage for excess luggage which you don't need during the trek. You'll need to pack your excess luggage in a duffle bag, to prevent any damage or loss to your belongings. We do not have a size restriction of the bags but the weight is limited to 15kg per bag. Please note that loose single items or open bags (e.g. shopper bags) cannot be transported. Furthermore short-life food products (e.g. cheese, fresh meat etc.) are not allowed in your excess luggage.
A general note about the accommodation
On a long distance trekking, you will experience the mountain lifestyle and sleep in authentic places. Mostly you will be staying in mountain huts. The accommodation along the way offers a charming and friendly atmosphere in a mountainous atmosphere. You will experience both: accommodation high up in the mountains far away from civilization or located in a typical mountain village or even a small town. The accommodation offers many services such as a hot shower and running water. You’ll stay in bunk beds or similar with a pillow and blankets (a thin and light sleeping bag liner is advisable for hygienic reasons), In every place, there is electricity to charge your batteries for free. WiFi and phone signal are not available at each place.
Due to the nature of this trip, private accommodation is not available.
During the trekking, you will have the chance to taste the great variety of local specialities. The accommodations offer always half-board with your stay which includes a breakfast and a three-course dinner. The breakfast contains always coffee / tea, bread, butter and jam. Depending on the location of the accommodation there is also orange-juice, cereals, yoghurt, fruits, cheese and meat available for breakfast. The three-course dinner in the evening is hearty and the plates are quite big. A typical menu could be a soup for the starter, a main course with meat, vegetables and a side dish (rice, polenta, pasta) and a dessert which can be for example vanilla pudding, crème brulée or fruit salad. For the dinner only tap water is included, soft drinks such as wine or beer are on your own charge.
During the day we provide a rich, healthy and daily fresh prepared lunch-pack for you. We try to offer you a big variety of lunch packs so that it does not get boring after 4 days. Our lunch packs consist usually one big unit such as a sandwich, a wrap, a salad and of course a selection of fresh fruits, muesli bars, chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, juice, crackers, cakes etc. If you have any food restriction (vegetarian, vegan, gluten intolerance etc.) please let us know as soon as possible. It is no problem to arrange the meals and lunch packs according to your preference when we know this in advance.
To do a long distance trekking is a great challenge and a good physical workout. During the summer it can be quite warm in the Alps so it is important to carry enough water. We strongly recommend to take between two and three liters of water on such a trekking. We recommend taking at least two one-litre bottles (plastic or aluminium) or a camel bag (water bladder). The tap water is usually drinkable, but there are limited resources on the trails to fill up your bottle. Your guide will give you an advice for each day.
During the summer in the Alps (June – September) we experience usually fair and quite warm weather. It is often sunny and the temperatures can reach up to 30° Celsius, although it is a dry heat. The weather in the mountains can be sometimes quite unpredictable and meteorological situations can change very quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to be always prepared for such a change. Another fact is that you will be hiking in different altitude levels, so there will be a significant change between the valley ground and the high mountain passes. On a rainy day temperatures can drop quite low and it is necessary to have a good rain jacket and depending on the season even a hat and a pair of gloves. If you stick to our equipment list, you will be ready for any weather situation. Please do not hesitate to ask us if you have any questions about this topic.
Trail / Conditions
From the moment you start the trekking we highly recommend you to have a valid travel, medical & mountain evacuation insurance, which is a very important factor in case of an accident. You will need full travel & holiday insurance suitable for a trekking holiday. This will need to be organized by you before the trek starts. It is essential that you have the correct insurance in case of a medical emergency on the mountain, as rescue can be costly. Rescue in France & Italy is usually not charged, depending on the circumstances. In Switzerland however you will always be asked to pay and this could be several thousand Swiss francs, especially if a helicopter rescue is necessary. The cost of hospitalization and subsequent care is normally the most expensive part of any accident if you do not have the correct cover and are hospitalized without insurance. The cost could easily reach an immense level. It is your responsibility to take out the correct level of insurance and we accept no responsibility for any costs that occur as a result of inadequate insurance. If you have any questions about this topic please do not hesitate to contact us.
Along the TMB you will travel through France, Italy and Switzerland. It is always worth to have some Euros (EUR) and some Swiss Francs (CHF) in cash with you, if you would like to buy some drinks and souvenirs along the way. All of the places in Switzerland accept Euros but it is sometimes better to have some Swiss Francs as the conversion rate at the shops is quite bad. In the bigger villages (Chamonix, La Fouly, Champex, Argentière) or at the airport in Geneva there are also ATM cash machines. Most of the places also accept the most common credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, American Express), but please bear in mind that there might be a small commission fee or a minimum amount.
|Day 1||13.80 km||668 m||1344 m|
|Day 2||20.70 km||1650 m||1073 m|
|Day 3||12.00 km||828 m||460 m|
|Day 4||12.70 km||492 m||1274 m|