Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc Trek
Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc
One of the best treks in the world
Trek around western Europe's highest mountain
Visit France, Italy & Switzerland
Stunning scenery every day
Trip length and difficulty level tailored to you
Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure
We are the TMB experts
Off-the-beaten path on little-travelled variants
Flexible accommodation options
We can book your evening meals in advance
Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc Trek: Overview
The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the classic trekking journeys in the world, covering 166km with 10,000m of ascent and descent. Standing on the border of France, Switzerland and Italy, at 4810m above sea level, Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in western Europe.
On our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc we book all your accommodation and provide suggestions on the best places to eat or buy your lunches, and our favoured route options and recommendations. We can provide anything from Every Step of the Way over 10-12 days, our 10 day Classic trip with a couple of bus transfers, a 5-9 day Highlights trip, a Tour du Mont Blanc East, or West, or even a 3 or 4-day mini TMB from Chamonix to Courmayeur. We can add rest days to your itinerary wherever you like. And we can cater for all budgets - anything from luxury hotels, to a more budget trip staying in mountain huts, or a comfortable mix. You can choose whether or not to have luggage delivery, whether you'd like your meals included, and we can arrange airport transfers if need be.
The sample itinerary below is for the self-guided 10-day Classic TMB, but we can tailor a self-guided itinerary to you - the options are endless! For instance we can create a 3-day mini TMB, Family TMB, a 'TMB West', from Les Houches to Courmayeur, or 'TMB East' from Courmayeur to Chamonix/Les Houches. In length it can vary, and we can create a 'Highlights' trek over 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 days.
In terms of comfort you can opt for a budget trek, staying in huts, or a standard TMB staying in 3 hotels, right up to a more luxurious trek, favouring 4* and 5* hotels, with transfers to nicer hotels if you don't fancy staying in dormitories.
Other options include an 11 or 12-day "Every Step of the Way" trek, as well as a 6-day trail running tour du Mont Blanc, following the route of the famous UTMB. For those with a good level of fitness this can also be done as a "fast-packing" trip.
Our self-guided treks can be done with or without luggage delivery, and we can also deliver to a couple of the more accessible huts such as Nant Borrant and Les Mottets.
Which Tour du Mont Blanc trek is right for me?
As well as the self-guided trek we offer the Tour of Mont Blanc in a number of other options:
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc - The classic itinerary completes the circuit over 10 days' trekking and uses cable cars and occasional transfers to offer the most comfortable version of this trek. We take variants whenever possible in order to leave the crowds behind - and it is for this reason that we start on a weekday rather than at the weekend - it makes a huge difference.
Highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc - we use vehicle transfers to link up the Highlights of the TMB, enabling you to complete the circuit over 7 days. Perfect for those who are short of time but who don't want to compromise the best bits - our Highlights version still does some of the exciting variants, and we also stay in the Bonatti hut, a true highlight.
"Best of" the Tour du Mont Blanc - shorter and easier than our Highlights Trip, this version stays in hotels only, and takes 6 days. We use vehicle transfers to shorten some of the days.
Ultimate Tour du Mont Blanc - for fit, experienced trekkers only. This is the most challenging version of the Tour du Mont Blanc that we offer. We take little-known variants and climb optional summits on this truly exceptional 10 day itinerary.
Private Tour du Mont Blanc - If you would like an independent trip on dates to suit you, then just let us know. We can offer any number of itineraries for groups of all sizes and budgets from a luxury Tour du Mont Blanc to a budget trip staying entirely in huts, or a trek with a good mix of hotels and huts. You can travel clockwise or anti-clockwise, and take anything from 5 days to 2 weeks, with or without a rest day in Courmayeur, and be guided or self-guided.
AT A GLANCE
5-12 days' trekking
Nearest Airport: Geneva
Flexible options including hotels, guest houses, auberges
Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc Trek: Sample Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive in Chamonix
The trip begins in the famous mountain town of Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc.
Accommodation: 3* hotel
Day 2 - From Les Houches to Les Contamines
Starting in Les Houches with a cable car ride on the Bellevue lift, you then cross the spectacular suspension bridge at the foot of the Bionnassay glacier, followed by several route choices to take us to Les Contamines. Crossing the Col de Tricot, you can take a coffee stop at the Chalet de Miages at the foot of the mighty Dome de Miages. Overnight in Les Contamines.
Walking: approx 6 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +837m / -1520m
Day 3 - Trek from Les Contamines to Les Chapieux
Today you will trek up the old Roman road to the chapel at Notre Dame de la Gorge. From here it’s uphill, past the Chalet de Barme (if you're doing well for time, it’s a perfect coffee stop!) and up to the Col de Bonhomme (2328m) for a well-earned lunch stop. It's then a gentle climb to the Col de la Croix de Bonhomme (2478m), from where you have a great view towards the Vanoise National Park. Next is a 2 hour walk down to Les Chapieux, where you will stay for the night.
Walking: Approx 7 - 8 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: + 1348m / -960m
Day 4 - Trek over the Col de la Seigne to Courmayeur
Firstly you have the option to take a taxi to avoid walking the tarmac section up to the Ville des Glaciers. From here the route crosses the river and heads to the Refuge des Mottets, from where you start the climb up to the Col de la Seigne (2516m). From here the scenery changes again – you’ve reached Italy! There are fantastic views down into the Val Veny and over to the Val Ferret, and you start to see the Italian side of Mont Blanc and the other Chamonix giants. A descent past the Elisabetta hut takes you to La Visaille, where you can take a transfer down to the traditional Italian town of Courmayeur, and your base for the night.
Walking: Approx 5-6 hours
Altitude gain / loss: +867m / -1015m
Day 5 - Trek from Courmayeur to the Rifugio Bonatti
Today starts with a steep walk up to the Bertone hut and the Mont de la Saxe ridge. If the weather is good and there is not too much snow, you can take the lesser-travelled variant to the Mont de la Saxe ridge, up the Tête de la Tronche, and then down steeply to the Col Sapin. There is then a descent, followed by another climb to the Col Entre Deux Sauts: it’s a fairly long, but really stunning day – not many people, plus breathtaking scenery. You would overnight at the delightful Rifugio Bonatti, from where you can watch the beautiful sunset behind Mont Blanc. Tonight is the only night of the trip with no luggage access.
No luggage access
Walking: Approx 7 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +1584m / -940m
Day 6 - Trek from the Bonatti hut to La Fouly
Today you will trek over the Grand Col Ferret (one of the highest cols on the trip at 2537m), and are rewarded with stunning views of the Grandes Jorasses, the Grand Combin and Mont Dolent (the summit of which is on the border of France, Switzerland and Italy). At the top of the col our routes crosses over into Switzerland, where the scenery changes yet again. If you're doing well for time you can stop for a coffee at La Peule. The route then leaves the signposted TMB and heads to La Fouly via a higher balcony path. La Fouly is an alpine village with traditional Swiss “chocolate box” chalets, and a lovely place to spend a night.
Walking- approx 6-7 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +1128m / -1580m
Day 7 - La Fouly to Champex
A much shorter day today as the route winds through beautiful Swiss alpine meadows, tiny rural villages and finally up to the beautiful alpine resort of Champex, nestled alongside the lake that gives it its name. Here we usually book a traditional hotel, with wonderful food.
Walking - approx 5 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +711m / -855m
Day 8 - Hike from Champex to Col de la Forclaz or Trient
There are 2 options today. If you're feeling fit and the weather is good, you can take the Fenêtre d’Arpette, the highest col on the TMB at 2665m. It’s a fantastic route with stunning views of the Trient glacier. If you want to be a little more relaxed, you can take the normal route via Bovine to the Col de la Forclaz. You can either stay at Col de la Forclaz or at Trient, depending on availability. If you are staying in Trient you continue down to the valley floor for a further 30-40 minutes.
Walking: approx 6 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +1484m / -1760m
Day 9 - Forclaz or Trient to Argentière
Today we recommend another variant from the official TMB – a lesser-travelled route, either via Les Grands or Les Tseppes, depending on where you stayed last night. There are much better views from both of these routes, and there are usually not many people, so it’s worth the extra time and effort. If the weather is bad then you can just take the normal TMB. Either route takes you to the Col de Balme, where you head back into France at the head of the Chamonix valley. From here you have more options: either via the Aiguillette de Posettes down to Tré-le-Champ, or straight down to Le Tour, followed by the Petit Balcon Nord to reach Argentière.
Walking: Approx 7 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +1200m / -1500m
Day 10 - Trek from Argentière via the Lac Blanc to Chamonix
You make the short walk back to Tré-le-Champ and hike up to the Lac Blanc via the beautiful Lacs des Chéserys, with simply the best views of Mont Blanc. This is one of the best walks in the Chamonix valley, using a series of ladders and chains to skirt the cliffs – this is nothing to worry about and is not difficult! From the Lac Blanc you descend via the Flégère cable car to Les Praz and either walk along the river or take the bus or train to Chamonix.
Walking: Approx 7-8 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +1000m / -650m
Day 11 - Chamonix to Les Houches
Today you take the cable car back up the Flégère to resume walking at the same point you finished at yesterday, to start with the famous Grand Balcon Sud linking the Flégère with Planpraz. From here you climb up to the Col du Brévent and then up to the Brévent summit with excellent views of Mont Blanc. To complete your Tour du Mont Blanc, you descend via Bel Lachat and Merlet to reach Les Houches, and take a transfer back to your hotel in Chamonix. It's a long day but there are various places where you can take a cable car to ease the journey.
Walking: Approx 8 hrs
Altitude gain / loss: +870m / -1770m
All evening meals except Chamonix, Courmayeur & Argentiere
All cable cars and transport as detailed in the itinerary
Luggage transfers on all but one night
Personal drinks and snacks
Evening meals in Chamonix and Courmayeur
Self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc Trek: Book Online