How tough?

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a long distance walk and the difficulty lies not necessarily in the terrain but the sustained amount of distance, height gain and descent you will face each day over a period of 10 days. There is know doubt about it you need to be fit and well prepared for the TMB before you arrive in Chamonix.

 

Good and regular hill walking experience wherever you live in the world will stand you in good stead. We grade our treks from 1 to 4. Each trek receives a grade depending on the difficulty of terrain and numbers of days of sustained trekking. We have graded the full TMB grade 3 and the half stage tours grade 2. See individual trek for grading and visit our Essential Information page.

Daily statistics:

Distance, Height Gain & Descent

 

Day 1: 13km +700 -1500

Day 2: 13km +800 -1300 

Day 3: 14km +1300 -900

Day 4: 20km +1500 -600

Day 5: 15km +450 -900

Day 6: 20km +900 -1400

Day 7: 15km +420 -570

Day 8: 18km +750 -950

Day 9: 15km +900 -900

Day 10: 14km +1200 -1350

What about the weather?

Anyone with walking experience knows that weather in the mountains can be varied and even in summer the temperatures in the mountains can get very cold. On the Tour du Mont Blanc you can experience all seasons in one day. The temperatures can reach 30 degrees or go as low as 0. Even when the weather is stable the variation of temperatures from the Valleys to the Cols can be significantly different. This is why we ask you to take particular notice of the kit & equipment (see our kit list) needed for each trek.

 

What about the weather?

See our trekking holidays

We offer many different Tour du Mont Blanc trekking holidays. The full circuit 10 day trek or for those who perhaps haven't got time to complete the full tour, or dont feel they want to trek for 10 days a 'Best of' highlights trek and two half stage treks from Chamonix to Courmayeur and from Courmayeur to Chamonix. 

Guided or self guided trek, following the classic route and staying in hotels, auberges and mountain refuges. 

Hoilday duration: 11 nights

Trekking: 10 days

Dates: See 'Dates & Prices' page.

 

Self guided trek. Full TMB focusing on the highlights over a shorter period of time.

Hoilday duration: 7 nights

Trekking: 6 days

Dates: See 'Dates & Prices' page

Guided trek following the classic route staying in hotels, auberges and mountain refuges. 


Guided or self guided. Half stage TMB following the classic route from Chamonix to Courmayeur. The trek has a free day to explore Chamonix.

Holiday duration: 6 nights

Trekking: 4 days

Dates: See our 'Dates & Prices' page.

 

Guided or self guided. Half stage TMB following the eastern half of the tour from Courmayeur to Chamonix.  

Holiday duration: 7 nights

Trekking: 6 days

Dates: See our 'Dates & Prices' page.

 

TMB photos

Take a look at our Photo Gallery for photos of the Tour du Mont Blanc taken each day to give you an idea of what you have to look forward to.

 

Tour du Mont Blanc, Lac Blanc Col du Bonhomme, Tour du Mont Blanc Sun flowers in Contamines, Tour du Mont Blanc Col du Croix de la Bonhomme, TMB Catogne, TMB Fenetre d'Arpette
Our Treks

Tour du Mont Blanc

All you need to know about the Tour du Mont Blanc giving you background information about this long distance trek. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a challenging multi day trek and walking in this stunning environment is second to none. This guide will help you to be more informed before you arrive for your trekking holiday in the Alps. 

Zoom Tour du Mont Blanc path marker

Tour du Mont Blanc path marker

What's the trek called?

Just to clarify, the Tour du Mont Blanc is known by many names that might confuse you into thinking people are taking about something different. You will often see it shortened to TMB whether it's on the web, in magazines or on the TMB path markers. Other terminology used is Mont Blanc Circuit or Mont Blanc Tour. Sometimes often seen with a 'of' in the middle for those English speakers or 'de' for those who are not sure if Mont Blanc is masculine or feminine! Which ever way it's spelt or said it doesn't detract from the fact that the Tour du Mont Blanc is a truly spectacular trek that will challenge, please and surprise!

Zoom Balmat & Saussure Chamonix

Balmat & Saussure Chamonix

The History

Since the 18-century explorers, scientists, geologists have been drawn to this area of stunning beauty. The draw of Mont Blanc and all its neighboring peaks, aiguilles, glaciers and valleys was too hard to resist. Many of the routes through the alps and over the cols date back to the old trading routes of centuries past but the first circumnavigation of the Mont Blanc range was back in 1767 by Horace Benedict de Saussure who set out with a group of friends and porters from Chamonix on a scientific journey to gain further knowledge of Mont Blanc's geographical structure. During the Victorian age the Tour du Mont Blanc became a 'must do' with the rich and famous, albeit on the back of a mule. Since then the route has become one of the most popular long distance treks in the European alps.

TMB location in Europe

TMB location in Europe

The Mont Blanc Circuit situated in France, Italy & Switzerland

The Mont Blanc Circuit situated in France, Italy & Switzerland

TMB route map

TMB route map

Zoom Chamonix

Chamonix

Zoom Les Houches

Les Houches

Zoom Champex-Lac

Champex-Lac

The TMB in Europe

The Tour du Mont Blanc starting point of Chamonix is conveniently located within France and Europe. The Mont Blanc circuit is situated in the western alps and within Haute Savoie & Savoie regions of France, Italian Aosta and the Swiss canton of Valais. The TMB start point can be easily accessed from Geneva in I hour and via other major airports Lyon, Turin & Milan with slightly longer transfer times. Also rail & road networks make travelling to the area fairly straight forward and hassle free.

The TMB Statistics

Tour du Mont Blanc is the most popular long distance trek in Europe that covers a total distance of approximately 160 km depending on which route is taken (some variants can be sorter or longer than the original section). The daily height gain on the Mont Blanc Circuit can be substantial and overall the accumulation over the 10 days is in the region of 9,000 mtrs. The TMB route takes you over 8 mountain cols and through 3 alpine regions within France, Italy & Switzerland circumnavigating the Mont Blanc. The scenery is second to none, from the broken rocky lunarscape of the Aiguille Rouges to the pasturelands of the Contamines valley every day has something different yet has one common factor- the constant backdrop of the Mont Blanc range.

The Route in brief

If you look at a map of the area, the Mont Blanc range forms a compact mass of complex mountain structures, passable via a circular route making use of its surrounding valleys and relatively low level cols or mountain passes. Traditionally the Tour du Mont Blanc starts and finishes in the Chamonix valley and moves anti-clockwise via Les Houches, Contamines, Chapieux and then over the Italian border at the Col du Seigne, Val Veny to Courmayeur & the Val Ferret. From here the TMB moves across the border into Switzerland and passes through the villages of Ferret, La Fouly, Praz de Fort, Champex Lac & Trient before returning to France and the Chamonix Valley via the Col du Balme. 

 

Over time all manner of variants have been included. For example, Col de Tricot from Les Houches to Contamines or Fenetre d'Arpette from Chapex-Lac to Trient. Often these variants make the TMB more challenging with more height gain and descent and tougher terrain. Sometimes its worth including these because it make the route even more impressive. The Mont Blanc circuit is often undertaken in reverse and can seem very different when done in the opposite direction. 

Villages on the TMB

Chamonix, France: Steeped in history Chamonix is the mountaineering & off-piste skiing capital of the world. It is truly a stunning place tucked in under Western Europe’s highest peak. For centuries explorers, scientists & mountaineers have travelled here to get up close to this impressive environment

 

Les Houches, France: A much smaller & quieter village in the Chamonix valley and yet still shares the same stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif. Good facilities, Restaurants, bars, supermarkets and shops.

 

Les Contamines, France: A charming little village on the westerly end of Mont Blanc. Good facilities, Restaurants, bars, supermarkets and shops. Great views of the Aiguille du Bionnassay and Domes du Miage.

 

Chapieux, France: A tiny hamlet on the southwesterly tip of the circuit and probably one of the most remote places on the tour. The valley & hamlet is totally cut off in winter. Chapieux offers 1 auberge, 1 little shop and a campsite.

 

Courmayeur, Italy: Charming alpine town Italian style, definitely on a par with Chamonix with great food, wine & coffee. All facilities are available here.

 

La Fouly, Switzerland: Small little village in the Swiss Val Ferret with great views of Tour Noir & Mont Dolent. The village offers basic facilities, a shop and a few hotels with bars.

 

Champex-Lac, Switzerland: Situated at the easterly end of the TMB. This is a typical picture postcard Swiss village with beautiful lake. A lovely relaxing enclave with a range of bars, restaurants and shops.

 

Trient, Switzerland: A small little Swiss village with limited facilities. The village enjoys fabulous views of the Trient Glacier.

 

Argentiere, France: Situated at the easterly end of the Chamonix Valley and nestling under the famous Grand Montets off-piste & extreme ski area. Argentiere shares the same history as the rest of the Chamonix valley. A lively place in peak season it has a good range of restaurants, bars and shops.

Zoom Lac Blanc

Lac Blanc

Zoom Val Veni

Val Veni

Zoom Val Ferret

Val Ferret

Our take on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc treks use the traditional TMB route completing all sections and leaving nothing out. However we do make use of the odd cable car and shuttle bus to cut out the bits or road walking.


Take a look at our full itinerary in more detail on our Tour du Mont treks page.

 

Itinerary in Brief


Day 1 Chamonix to Les Houches: TMB route via the Col du Brevent, Brevent (2525m}.

 

Day 2 Les Houches to Contamines: Option 1 via Biaonnassay, Chapel or Option 2 Via the Col du Tricot  (2120m), Chalets du Miage to Les Contamines. 

 

Day 3 Contamines to Chapieux or Ville des Glaciers: Via the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) to Chapieux or over the Col des Fours (2665m) to Ville des Glaciers and the Refuge Mottets.

 

Day 4 Chapieux or Ville des Glaciers to Courmayeuri: Via the Col du Seigne (2516m), through the Val Veny and the option to take the shuttle bus to Courmayeur or continue the walk via the d'Arp Vieille and decend to Courmayeur.

 

Day 5 Courmayeur to Refuge Bonatti: Via Refuge Bertone and the fabulous high level Val Ferret traverse

 

Day 6 Refugio Bonatti to La Fouly: Via Grand Col du Ferret (2537m) and the Italian/ Swiss border to the beautiful Swiss Val Ferret and La Fouly (1610m).

 

Day 7 La Fouly to Champex-Lac: Through the Swiss villages of Praz de Fort and Issert and to Champex-Lac (1466m).

 

Day 8 Champex-Lac to Trient: Option 1 Via the Alpage Bovine (1987m), Col du Forclaz (2191m) to Trient (1279m) or Option 2 via the Fenetre d'Arpette (2665m) with stunning views of the Trient glacier.

 

Day 9 Trient to Argentiere: Option 1 via the Col du Balme direct from Trient or Option 2 Via Alpage of Tseppes, Catogne and on to the Col du Balme (2191m) and descend to the village of Argentierre.

 

Day 10 Argentiere to Chamonix: Via Lac de Chesery and the amazing scenery from Lac Blanc (2352m) and on to our final destination of Chamonix.