Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking

Hike one of the Europe’s classic treks – the Tour du Mont Blanc. Great food, wine, and hiking! You’ll encircle Europe’s highest mountain via the high mountain passes of France, Italy, and Switzerland.


This classic trail excursion will excite your senses for the entire week as you circumnavigate Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak at 15,780 feet.

You’ll visit three countries, starting the first day in famous Chamonix, France. Its world-class views of Mont Blanc and stunning cuisine will steal your heart.

Cast your eyes on the massive glaciers overcoming to high mountain peaks before pushing your hiking endurance over steep mountain passes and exciting your palate with famous French cuisine.

It keeps getting better with more views, hiking, fine food and wine as you move through Italy and Switzerland on this unforgettable adventure.

(Note – overnight baggage will be transferred ahead of you, so you will be hiking with only a daypack. Professional alpinist guides will help make this the adventure of a lifetime!)

Note: The Mont Blanc tour is a physically and mentally challenging adventure. You will be hiking up to seven hours per day on varying terrain with up to 3,500 feet of vertical gain or loss at times. 

Please contact us to discuss your level of physical fitness and if appropriate training is necessary to make the adventure more fun for you.


 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever. We’re exceptionally well-prepared to help you create a great adventure!

Day 1. Geneva to Chamonix shuttle

After clearing customs in Geneva you are met on the French side of the airport and driven to Chamonix, the alpine sports center of the French Alps. We encourage you to arrive at Geneva in the morning so you can explore the village of Chamonix and its hiking trails in the afternoon.

Getting outside and walking around the village will also help you recover from jetlag. At 6:30pm, you meet your bi-lingual, certified mountain guide and discuss the upcoming adventure over dinner at one of many great restaurants in Chamonix!

Geneva to Chamonix airport transfer (1 hour)

Day 2. Transfer to Fayet, hiking from Bellevue to Miage to Contamines

After a hearty breakfast, you transfer to Fayet and take the Mont Blanc Train to the Bellevue station. From there, the hiking begins! You descend the trail toward the glacial moraine (geologic term for the deposit of sand and gravel left by glaciers many years ago) of the Bionnassay glacier and then ascend towards Tricot pass (6,955 ft).

A quick break, then the descent over the other side of the pass will take you to the Miage country cottages for a well deserved lunch break where you can enjoy the Miage glacier hanging on the peaks in front of you. In the afternoon, a short ascent followed by a longer descent into the next valley takes you to the Contamine-Montjoie village and the Hôtel la Gélinotte, a family owned inn.

It’s famous for their home-cooked, family-style meals and by now you will have worked up an appetite! (B, L, D)

Chamonix to Fayet transfer (30 minutes)

Hiking (12km/7.5mi, elevation gain 550m/1800ft and loss 1190m/3900ft, 5-6 hours)

Day 3. Transfer to Notre Dame de la Gorge. Hiking Croix du Bonhomme pass to Chapieux

A short shuttle to Notre Dame de la Gorge brings you to the starting point of your hike toward Croix du Bonhomme pass. Following a route used by the Romans to invade France 2000 years ago, it involves a long climb to Bonhomme Pass (7641ft) and then a second push to Croix du Bonhomme Pass (8133ft).

After cresting the pass, you’ll descend and enjoy sack lunches at the mountain refuge while taking in the panoramic views. The afternoon trail descent leads you past green, lush pastures inhabited by cows, sheep, and maybe a donkey or two enroute to the quaint mountain village of Chapieux and the cozy hostel of Auberge de la Nova.

Auberge de la Nova is the social center of village, where you can meet and dine with other international travellers in a warm and inviting atmosphere. You’re already creating great stories and adventures! (B, L, D)

Notre Dame de la Gorge transfer (10 minutes)

Hiking (15km/9.3mi, elevation gain 1220m/4000ft and loss 915m/3000ft, 6-7 hours)

Day 4.  Seigne Pass hike to Courmayeur

You continue your hike around Mont Blanc with a short transfer to the high mountain village of Mottets, This is the beginning of the ascent to Seigne pass and entrance to Italy!

You’ll enjoy a photo op in the international pass framed by glaciated peaks and wide valleys. Then, descend into the Val Veny and to the Elisabetta hut while enjoying views framed by the jagged Italian peaks that make up this region.

Your descent concludes in Visaille where a short bus transfer takes you into Courmayeur, known as the “Pearl of the Alps”. Late afternoon is free to stroll around historic parts of the village, taste test gelato (Italian ice cream), nap, or relax in the comfortable accommodations of the Hotel Le View Pommier. (B, L, D)

Champiex to Mottets transfer (15 minutes)

Hiking (16km/9.9mi, elevation gain 735m/2400ft /loss 955m/2800ft, 5-6 hours)

Visaille to Cormayeur bus transfer (30 minutes)

Day 5.  Hike to Grand col Ferret and shuttle to Champex

After a delicious Italian breakfast, you shuttle via bus from Courmayeur to the meadow of Arnuva and the start of the trail leading to the Grand Col Ferret (8,320ft). Once again you traverse a splendid mountain pass, now headed into Switzerland.

Along your descent, you may hear the random symphony of Swiss cow bells ringing throughout the valley. When you arrive at the village of Ferret, you are shuttled to the quiet and family-owned accommodation of Relais d’Arpette, located on the trail to your next day’s hike. (B, L, D)

Courmayeur to Arnuva (45 minutes)

Hiking (13km/8.1mi, elevation gain 760m/2500ft  and loss 955m/2800ft, 5-6 hours)

Ferret to Champex transfer (40 minutes)

Day 6.  Hiking Fenetre of Arpette, shuttle to Argentière

Today, you step out the front door and onto the trail of Fenetre of Arpette, aka Window of Arpette (8743ft) (Since this hike can be treacherous in bad weather, “Plan B” is the classic route via Bovine and Forclaz passes).

With good weather, you’ll ascend a trail that increasingly gets steeper as you approach the “window” pass and are rewarded at the top with stunning views of the Trient Glacier as it sweeps down the valley.

The steep descent down the valley gives you changing views of the glacier and plenty of photographic opportunities to capture the moment. The trail ends in the town of Trient where you are then shuttled to the small village of Argentière. (B, L, D)

Hiking (13km/8.1mi, elevation gain 1100m/3600ft and loss 1400m/4600ft, 7-8 hours)

Trient to Argentière transfer (30 minutes)

Day 7.  Hike from Argentière to Lac Blanc to Chamonix

Even after six days of fun hiking, epic views, and great adventures, we’ve saved the best for last! From Argentière, you ascend the steep switch-backed trail until the route starts to parallel the Aiguilles Rouges on your way to panoramic views of the Mont Blanc summit.

Along the way, you’re rewarded with equally breathtaking views of the “Needles of Chamonix” and glaciated valleys intersecting with the Chamonix valley. The views are beyond breathtaking! Enroute you stop at the Lac Blanc hut for a leisurely lunch and to soak in this magnificent scenery.

The trail continues until you reach the La Flégère tram that will take you down to the town of Chamonix and back to your hotel. Wow! The adventure is fulfilled! You can conclude your day by buying last-minute gifts and enjoying another grand culinary experience at one of Chamonix’s fine restaurants. (B, L)

Hiking (8km/5.0mi, elevation gain 735m/2400ft and loss 257m/850ft, 3.5-4 hours)

Day 8. Chamonix / Geneva

Morning transfer to Geneva International Airport for flights home. (B)

Chamonix to Geneva transfer (1 hour)

Mont Blanc Climb Extension

If you want to explore more of the Chamonix valley or climb Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, we can arrange a fully-equipped and professionally-guided three-day climb at an additional cost. Three days is recommended to optimize the chance of success of the ascent.

We can also provide custom hiking and other adventures in the area, whatever you are looking to enjoy. Please contact us!

Note: This extension can be more physically demanding than the circumnavigation. Please consult with us about the necessary fitness level.

Extension Day 1. Saint Gervais-Le Fayet – Bellevue – Tête Rousse hut

You begin this alpine excursion by meeting your professional mountain guide at the Saint Gervais-Le Fayet train station (a 20 minute train ride from Chamonix) and then hop on a cog railway to ascend to the start of your hiking route at Nid d’Aigle “Eagles Nest” (2372m/7782ft).

From there, the hiking begins and you’ll spend three hours climbing 795m/2608ft. Then, you arrive at the warm and welcoming accommodations of the Tete Rousse hut (3167m/10390ft). Tonight, you’ll enjoy a hot, delicious meal at your first night in this alpine refuge. (L, D)

Chamonix to Saint-Gervais train (30 minutes)

Saint-Gervais Cog Railway to Nid d’Aigle Trailhead (45 minutes)

Hiking (elevation gain 795m/2608ft, 3 hours)

Day 2. Tête-Rousse hut – Goûter hut

This morning, you can sleep in and enjoy the morning. Trekking begins mid-morning for the ascent to the Goûter hut. Your climbing team of two guests with one guide will cross the famous glaciated “Couloir du Goûter,” followed by a steady hike up the ridge line to the Goûter hut.

Located at 3863m/12674ft, this comfortable alpine refuge is your warm shelter for the second night on the mountain. A hot dinner and good conversation precedes your “early to bed, early to rise” night before tomorrow’s summit day. (B, L, D)
Hiking (elevation gain 700m/2297ft, 4 hours)

Day 3. Goûter hut – Mont Blanc – Goûter hut – Nid d’Aigle – Saint-Gervais

Summit Day! Up at 2am and on the trail at 3am, you begin your our ascent with headlamps to first reach the Gouter dome. Your arrival at the Vallot shelter (4362 m/14311ft) is met with sunrise peeking over the eastern peaks of the Alps. As you climb, the temperatures get colder approaching the “Bosses” ridge (4547m/14918ft), the start of the “homestretch” of the last 800 vertical feet of the climb.  You reach the summit (4810m/15782ft) on an incredibly beautiful ridge around 7 or 8am – an unforgettable experience!

The unique panorama on the Alps is all around you – from the broad reach of the Mont Blanc massif to the Matterhorn and the Mont Viso! After the traditional pictures, you start the trek down to the Nid d’Aigle and the cog railway back to Saint Gervais-Le Fayet.

Yes, it takes just one day to descend, followed by another evening in Chamonix to celebrate your alpine accomplishment! (B, L)
Hiking (elevation gain 1000m/3281ft and loss 2450m/8038, 10 hours)

Cog Railway from Nid d’Aigle Trailhead to Saint-Gervais (45 minutes)

Saint Gervais-Le Fayet to train (30 minutes)

Mont Blanc Climb Notes: The strict and legal climbing standards for climbing Mont Blanc require one licensed high mountain guide for every two guests.

Advanced booking is highly encouraged because lodging availability at the high mountain huts is very limited

*(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

While the above information describes a typical itinerary, the tour’s actual itinerary may vary due to changes in transportation, weather, lodging availability, local events or safety conditions. We reserve the right to alter the tour due to these circumstances should the need arise.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever. We’re exceptionally well-prepared to help you create a great adventure!

Tour Dates:

(Custom dates available upon request)

Mont Blanc Climb Extension Prices (call us, advanced booking highly recommended)

Hiking Price Includes: Lodging (double occupancy unless otherwise indicated) for Day 1 through 7, airport transfers (at select times) Day 1 and Day 8 of the tour, transportation on tour, meals as indicated on the tour (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, does not include beverages), English-speaking guide, VAT and local taxes, activities as listed in the itinerary including necessary equipment and park fees.

Also included are:

–       Lunches from Day 2 to Day 7 are comprised of 4 pack lunches from the tour guide and 2 lunches in mountain hut (Miage and Lac Blanc). Snacks will provided by the tour guide.

–       Your tour guide is certified by the Union of International Mountain Leader Association (UIMLA) and speaks fluent English.

–       A taxi/support vehicle service transports your luggage to your lodging accommodations each afternoon.

–       Mont Blanc train from Le Fayet to Bellevue on day 2.

–       Cable car from La Flégère to Les Praz de Chamonix on day 7.

–       Transfers in private taxi from Chamonix to Le Fayet on day 2, from Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge on day 3, from Les Chapieux to La Ville des Glaciers on day 4, from Ferret to Champex on day 5 and from Trient to Argentière on day 6.

–       Transfer in local bus from Visaille to Courmayeur on day 4, from Courmayeur to Arnuva on day 5 and from Les Praz de Chamonix to Chamonix on day 7.

Notes:

–       If our airport transfer time does not match your flight itinerary you may contact ChamExpress (http://www.chamexpress.com) to schedule a shuttle to or from the airport. This service is an additional charge.

Hiking Price Excludes:Airfare, beverages (water, tea, soda, juice, alcohol, etc.), Dinner on Day 1 and 6 in Chamonix, airport departure taxes (approximately $25 per person), travel insurance, meals as indicated in the above itinerary, personal expenses in hotels (phone, laundry, room service, etc.), gratuities for guides and other gratuities, and costs incurred as a result of bad weather, delayed flight or other situations beyond our control.

Single Supplement Policy:  All tour pricing is based on double occupancy lodging. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. 

If you reserve your tour at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement of half the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever. We’re exceptionally well-prepared to help you create a great adventure!

Activities:  Hiking

Rating:  Moderately Challenging to Challenging

Group Size:  2-13 guests

Length:  8 days/7 nights

Meeting Time & Place:  Geneva International Airport (airport code GVA) on Day 1. After clearing customs, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in Chamonix. We strongly encourage you to arrive early to mid-morning in Geneva so you can explore the village of Chamonix.

Departure Time & Place:  Morning shuttle from Chamonix to Geneva International Airport (airport code GVA) on Day 8. In order to use the provided morning shuttle, do not book departing flights earlier than 11:00 am to be included in the morning shuttle.

Best Time To Travel:  Mid-June through mid-September

Weather and Climate: Due to the alpine environment, weather is variable throughout the day and by elevation. Dressing in layers will be essential to your comfort throughout the day. Rain is possible at any time and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so having rain gear is highly recommended.

At the same time, the sun is strong at higher elevations, and therefore adequate precautions should be taken to prevent sunburn, even on cool, sunny days. On average, the temperature in June through early September range from highs in the 70’s and 80’s Fahrenheit and lows in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit. 

More detailed weather information is available by visiting www.weatherbase.com.

Physical Preparation: This tour is designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and possess a positive attitude.

Most activities are 3-4 hours in either the morning or afternoon with a lunch stop in between. It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. All participants must be in good overall physical condition.

The more physically prepared you are for this tour, the more you will enjoy this unique adventure experience. We encourage you to call us and talk more specifically about any questions you have on the activities, your fitness, and any other aspects of the trip – please don’t be shy!
 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever. We’re exceptionally well-prepared to help you create a great adventure!

All accommodations have private rooms and private bathrooms unless otherwise indicated.

Day 1 and 7. Chamonix – Hotel Le Prieure (private bath)

This large Savoyard-style chalet hotel has great mountain-side views of Mont Blanc and is a couple blocks away from Chamonix’s center square. Guests receive free bus passes to use the frequent bus service to explore Chamonix Valley.

Day 2. Contamine-Montjoie – Hôtel la Gélinotte (shared bath)

This family-owned bed and breakfast is just a 5 minute walk from the main Contamine-Montjoie village. This quiet location and comfortable accommodations allow you to get a restful sleep after your first day on the trail.

Day 3. Champieux – Auberge de la Nova (Hostel, shared bath)

This family-run auberge (hostel) is the first one to greet hikers as they descend from the high country. A charming environment and hearty meals make encourage conversation with other travelers. The simple rooms have in-room sinks and shared toilets/showers down the hall. From the auberge, you have unobstructed views of the Aiguille des Glaciers (12,516ft)

Day 4. Courmayeur – Hotel Le Vieux Pommier (private bath)

Named after the old apple tree that used to stand near the main square, the Hotel Le View Pommier is located at the center of activity in Courmeyeur. Within a short walking distance to everything in Courmayeur, you can explore many corners of this Italian village in the short visit you have here.

Day 5. Champex – Relais d’Arpette (shared bath)

A family-owned accommodation located on the start of Window of Arpette trail, the home-cooked meals will win you over and fuel you for the next day’s adventure. With up-valley views of the Glacier d’Arpette, the quiet atmosphere will invite you to relax, soak in the sunset, or write in your journal.

Day 6. Argentière – Hotel de la Couronne

Located in the heart of quaint alpine village of Argentière, Hotel de la Couronne exudes traditional old-world charm while enjoying the modern conveniences of internet access. Enjoy excellent restaurants and specialty shops are within steps of your room.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever. We’re exceptionally well-prepared to help you create a great adventure!


 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever. We’re exceptionally well-prepared to help you create a great adventure!

Testimonials

I have traveled with Dean on more than one occasion and I cannot speak highly enough about his professionalism, friendliness and dedication to his guests. Dean is an excellent guide and he makes every trip an adventure. His excellent attitude ensures that every guest will have a great time. I am looking forward to traveling with Return On Adventure because I know any trip that Dean facilitates will exceed my expectations. — Janet H., San Diego, CA

Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout. — Andrea D. San Francisco, CA

I would like to express appreciation to Return On Adventure for an absolutely perfect ten-day trip to Guatemala a couple of years ago. The hotels, were very nice and the guides were always on time, provided excellent information, answered questions, and escorted me to wonderful sites in the country. I highly recommend this company, as my experience was wonderful! — Lee W. Fort Collins, CO

In 2010, Dean created a three week Alaskan tour for my two sons and me. For all the trips I`ve ever taken in my life, and I`ve traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most customized trip I`ve ever taken. He did a great job of challenging us and catering it to our desires. The whole thing was exquisitely coordinated. — David K. New York, NY


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