Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights

Destination: Chamonix, France

| Activities: Trekking, Hiking and Culture

Sitting astride the borders of three different countries (France, Switzerland and Italy) the Mont Blanc massif is massive! Mont Blanc, at 15,536 feet is the highest mountain in Western Europe. The rich alpine and cultural history of the area, the panoramic peaks, glaciers and alpine meadows, the windswept passes and the friendly small mountain towns all combine to make the circuit around Mont Blanc one of the premier hiking routes in Europe. The circuit is comprised of over 120 miles of trails which originally were trade routes and now link the seven valleys that surround Mont Blanc. Not surprisingly with this topography the hiking is challenging with long ups and long downs. The rewards are well worth the effort - breathtaking views, alpine hospitality and an international hiking community of which we are a part! We will not be trekking every single mile around Mont Blanc, but we will be completing the circuit and hitting all of the best highlights.

Highlights

  • Spending a week immersed in an area of incredible natural beauty, where the mountains and glaciers are both majestic
  • Riding the spectacular lift system to the stunning Aiguille du Midi
  • Exploring the charming towns of Chamonix, France, Courmayeur, Italy, and Champex, Switzerland - climbing and hiking villages of the world
  • Circumnavigating around the highest mountain in the Alps as we hike from France into Italy, Italy into Switzerland, and finally back into France
  • Staying at diverse Alpine accommodations, from historic hotels to small, locally run inns

Departures and Prices

July 08 to July 16, 2023
$4395.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • One Adventures in Good Company guide (depending on group size) and a local guide
  • Eight nights accommodation
  • All dinners and breakfasts from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 9 (water/coffee/tea included with breakfast). There are 5 lunches included, all other lunches will be your responsibility.
  • All transportation listed on the itinerary
Not included: Transportation to Chamonix (the nearest airport is Geneva, Switzerland and from there it is easy to arrange a shuttle), 2 lunches, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except water with meals), personal snacks, guide gratuities, emergency/evacuation/medical mandatory insurance, additional activities not listed on the itinerary.

Trip Documents

Trip Info

This trip is rated a 5, the most difficult rating AGC uses. It is appropriate for women who have hiking experience, are in excellent physical condition, have no significant knee problems and do not have a fear of heights or exposure issues. The trek is done without vehicle support over steep, often rugged terrain at elevations between 8,000 – 10,000 feet. Each day will see substantial altitude gains and losses in remote and mountainous areas. Participants need to be prepared to hike up to 9+ hours per day. There are no shorter options for any of the days (other than skipping a day and arranging transportation to the next lodging when possible) and you must be able to complete the hiking days in recommended times. If you have any question about your physical condition, please contact the office.Rating: 1 2 3 4 [5]

NOTE: For this trip, emergency/evacuation/medical insurance is required. This insurance can be added as an option after you have chosen your base insurance, and before the final payment section. This insurance should cover medical and helicopter evacuations.

This trip combines hiking in a spectacular alpine area with immersion in the world of high mountain hiking and mountaineering - offering epic alpine scenery — glaciers, mountains, rivers, lakes, meadows and wildlife. In addition to the sheer beauty of the trip, the TMB is also a living history lesson - along the way you’ll see churches still intact from the 18th century and walk the same paths that Roman soldiers used 2,000 years ago. And finally (and maybe the best part), experiencing the culture of the high mountains and the welcoming community of France, Italy, and Switzerland.

We will spend 8 nights in 2- and 3-star small tourist class hotels** that offer double rooms with private baths. Most of the hotels are family run, and therefore have a local, community feel. Regarding dietary issues/allergies: Please note that due to the ‘community’ aspect of meals in the smaller hotels, most dietary issues cannot be accommodated. Vegetarian is easily accommodated; all other dietary issues will need to be discussed with the office and bringing supplemental food along may be required. We will NOT be able to accommodate for food preferences, only allergies, as the family run (and very remote) hotels cannot provide for every single food preference.



**Due to the nature of the accommodation on this trip there will be two nights when you may be in larger rooms of more than two people with shared washing facilities. It may be that on at least one of those nights you will be in a larger dormitory style room. It cannot be ruled out that this may be mixed gender, although we strive to secure a room for the exclusive use of our group members.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
We will meet in the lobby of our lodging in Chamonix for a Welcome and Introductions before enjoying our first dinner together. We will be staying on the outskirts of Chamonix in a quiet and very beautiful location with stunning views of the glaciers from the terrace, but with easy access to the bustling town centre. This will allow you to get a good nights sleep and to get over your jet lag. Overnight Chamonix at Aiguille du Midi. (D)
DAY 2
There is so much hiking to do right in the Chamonix Valley that we'll spend a full day here before we leave for our trek. This time it’s an all-day excursion to the world famous Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace, the largest of Mont Blanc's glaciers! We start the day with a visit a local bakery (or grocery) to grab our picnic lunch before taking the lift to Aiguille du Midi to view Mount Blanc in all her glory. We then descend to the mid-station and begin our 'balcony' hike along the mountainside with the entire valley opening before us. While enjoying our picnic lunch, we'll gaze out over the spectacular Mer de Glace. After lunch, we will hike down to the glacier, and we will have the opportunity to actually walk inside the glacier. There we'll visit an ice grotto carved into the ice and view this magnificent glacier up close. Hiking: 5 - 7 hours. Elevation gain: 1432 feet. Overnight Aiguille du Midi (B, D)
DAY 3
We begin our Tour du Mont Blanc trek today with a short bus ride to Les Houches and then a cable car to the top of Bellevue. This is where we begin our trek on the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail. After crossing over a picturesque railroad crossing, we enter the forested side of Bellevue. Hiking along the trail we come to a gate - one of many we will encounter on this trek - just don't forget to close it! Shortly we will be at the bottom of the mountain and here our true alpine hiking begins as we pass the terminus of the huge Glacier. We continue up through alpine meadows to the Col de Tricot (6,995 feet) where we are rewarded with views of the Dome du Gouter and the entire Chamonix Valley. A steep descent brings us to the village of Miages and Truc where lunch awaits us under the inviting umbrella of the rifugio. After lunch we climb out of the valley of Miage and ascend another 'hill', heading to the village of Les Contamines, our destination for the night. Hiking: 6 – 8 hours. Elevation gain: 5,000 feet (cumulative). Overnight Les Contamines, Hotel Gai Soliel or similar (B, D)
DAY 4
From our hotel in the village of Les Contamines we will start the morning with a short shuttle to the Notre Dame de la Gorge, a famous 15th century mountain church that is worth a stop. Our trail today is up the broad Mont Joie Valley with a total elevation gain of over 4,000 feet. Initially our route climbs steeply alongside the Bon Nant River, on a path believed to be 2,000 years old, part of a link from Gaul to the Roman empire called the ‘Old Roman Road’. Crossing a small ancient Roman bridge, we continue upward, approaching the top of the ridge where we will take a welcome lunch break amid the high mountains, sheep, and local cows. From here we continue climbing until finally reaching the Col du Bonhomme for yet another spectacular view of the valleys below. We'll then continue along a ridge to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, our highpoint of the day. From here the path starts descending steeply and we ford several streams on our way to the charming little hamlet of Les Chapieux and the hospitable Auberge-Refuge de la Nova and a hot dinner! About 8 hours walking. Hiking: 7 – 9 hours. Elevation gain: 4,000 + feet. Overnight Auberge de la Nova, Les Chapieux. (B,L,D)
DAY 5
Today we continue this amazing trail. We will gain over 3,000 feet as we climb from Les Chapieux to the Col de la Seigne where we cross from France into Italy. From the Auberge de la Nova we get a short shuttle to 'the end of the road' and begin our hike at the bottom of Col de la Seigne. The climb is along a switchback trail where often enterprising locals offer donkey transports for backpacks up the top of the ridge! Arriving at the Col at 2,516 meters (8,255 feet) the view ahead is amazing. This is the Franco-Italian border, and we have our first view of the Italian side of Mont Blanc, including the entire Val Veny. On our left will see the Mont Blanc massif. This side of the mountain is more angular, rockier, and the snowy peak is easily visible in the distance. Descending from the col, we hike to La Visaille and take a short 30 minute bus ride to the gorgeous Roman town of Courmayeur, where we will stay for the night. Viva Italiana! Hiking: 7 - 9 hours. Elevation gain: 3,000 + feet. Overnight Hotel Edelweiss, or similar (B,L,D)
DAY 6
After sufficient food has been consumed, we jump on the local bus (a very Italian experience), which takes us up the stunning Val Ferret. We then set off on a lovely traversing path which leads us to a morning coffee/cake stop at the lovely Rifugio Elena. From here we climb the steady zig-zag path that leads us to Switzerland and the Grand Col Ferret at 2537m (8321ft). From this pass, there are views of the snow-capped Grand Combin and also Mont Dolent, the summit of which is rather unique as it is shared by France, Switzerland and Italy. The views in both directions from this Col are really spectacular. After lunch we enter Switzerland, no need for passports here, and discover that the terrain becomes less rugged and more meadow-like as we descend to La Peule. This small farm produces cheese throughout the summer months, and also runs a 'buvette' the name given to a 'snack bar/small cafe' in the mountains. Many farmers offer food and drink to the hikers as a way of supplementing their income. We always feel it is incumbent upon us to support them, though there is a limit to how much tea/coffee/cake we can consume in one day. A final traversing trail to the small village of La Fouly and it is here that we catch our private taxi transfer to our overnight halt in the beautiful lakeside village of Champex. Hiking: 12.5 miles, 6-7 hours
Elevation: 3700ft
Overnight: Hotel du Glacier, Champex (B, L, D)
DAY 7
Another morning of beautiful hiking through the Swiss Alps begins. Today’s trek is through the beautiful Bovine Trail, and in classic Swiss style, we will be walking through picturesque countryside filled with Swiss chalets, wildflowers, and a plenty of cows. After a steep ascent, we are rewarded with a coffee and cake break at a cafe. This cafe is owned by a local woman who also tends cows! Her herd is the Hérens cows, or the “Swiss Fighting Cow” variety. These strong and muscular ladies love to fight with each other- maybe we will spot a show! After our homemade treat break, we wander through the Rhone Valley until we reach our destination at Trient village. Hiking: 9.5 miles, 5 - 6 hours of hiking
Elevation: 2,542 ft
Overnight: Hotel de la Forclaz, Trient Village (B, L, D)
DAY 8
We will begin our day by dropping down to the Trient Valley, which is where we start the climb up through fine woodland to reach the border between Switzerland and France. Our route back to Chamonix, in France, can vary to take account of the prevailing weather conditions. The preferred route, via Les Tseppes, allows us to linger over views of the Trient Glacier and the rocky skyline ridge of the Fenetre d'arpette. After wandering through the flower meadows where there are often herds of sheep grazing tended by a 'berger', which means shepherd, we then climb on a limestone trail towards the border with France. Soon after passing the border we are greeted with amazing views of Mont Blanc which immediately tells us we have come full circle back to our starting point. It is this view that prompted English writer, Charles Dickens, to put pen to paper during the Victorian era and describe the immense beauty of Chamonix Valley and its mountains. We descend to the valley along the mountainside below the Aiguillette des Posettes ridge with stunning views leading us every onwards to our accommodation for the night. Hiking: 11.5 miles, 6 - 7 hours
Elevation: 3,936 ft
Overnight: Hotel Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix (B, L, D)
DAY 9
The trip officially ends this morning. After breakfast (or earlier if you have a plane to catch) we say adieu to Chamonix and take one last look at the beautiful Mont Blanc Massif. You can continue on to other explorations or, if you must, take the train or a shuttle to the Geneva airport to begin your journey home or to the next adventure. (B)

4.5

(6 reviews)
4.5 Food
4 Lodging
5 Safety
5
(3)
4
(3)
3
(0)
2
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1
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*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Jennifer M.
3 months ago

The trek was beautiful, guides were great-having Lindsey there to provide local info and guidance was unbelievably valuable I really think less ‘other’ activities and more of the TMB would be much better. Once you’re in Europe a couple more days is nbd

Eenee F.
3 months ago

The destination was EPIC. The weather = perfect. The Guides were excellent managers and very knowledgable about the area. All 12 of us got along great and supported each other. The lodgings (mountain Refugio huts) turned out better than expected. The scenery was breathtaking.

Karla H.
4 months ago

The participants on the trip were wonderful and the local guide was extraordinary.

Marie C.
4 months ago

Gina B.
4 months ago

Wow! This trip was amazing. The scenery on the trek was so beautiful I can’t put it into words and the hiking was challenging. Two of my favorite things! And I can’t go without saying that Sharon and Lindsay make it special too. They had a wonderful dynamic and went above and beyond to make this trip a huge success.

Patsy S.
4 months ago

  • What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Regarding dietary issues/allergies: Please note that due to the ‘community’ aspect of meals in the smaller hotels, most dietary issues cannot be accommodated. Vegetarian is easily accommodated; all other dietary issues will need to be discussed with the office and bringing supplemental food along may be required. We will NOT be able to accommodate for food preferences, only allergies, as the family run (and very remote) hotels cannot provide for every single food preference.
  • What do I do with my luggage during the trek?

    Your luggage will be transported from hotel to hotel for you. You will only hike with what you need during the day (water, layers, snacks, etc) and then you will be reunited with your bag once we arrive at the hotel in the afternoon.
  • I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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