length

13 Days

difficulty

Strenuous

trip cost

from $4090 pp

Icons / stylised / time Created with Sketch.

length

13 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.

difficulty

Strenuous

Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

from $4090 pp

Self-Guided Trip

our walk expert

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Self-Guided
  • Walking App
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • LOCATIONS ON THE TMB
  • On the trail
  • Exclusive Guide
  • Similar walks

Overview

The Self-Guided Trip

The European Alps offer some of the most spectacular and enjoyable walkings in the world and this adventure offers the chance to combine three countries into one trip as we cross the rugged Alps from France to Italy and Switzerland. The trek around Mont Blanc is one of Europe’s best mountain walks and you’ll get a chance to appreciate the different cultures, foods, and people whilst you hike through glorious Alpine scenery.

This self-guided trip along the Mont Blanc circuit is an ideal way to have full flexibility with your dates if you are confident with walking in a mountain environment. We provide detailed track notes that will help you follow the track and choose between its variants each day. The Mont Blanc track is well signed, so between the materials we give you and the signage on the ground, it is not too difficult to find your way.

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Highlights

Get Ready For

  • Trek Europe’s most classic mountain walk
  • Trek through France, Italy & Switzerland
  • Culinary specialities from each country
  • Experience spectacular towering mountain scenery
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Self-Guided

Self-Guided Walking

Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.

App

Walking App

Finding your way

Our unique RAW Travel walking app has been designed to help you navigate easily on the trail. Simply download your map with the link we send you and you’ll be able to follow your route with ease, showing your location in real-time without any internet connection needed. The app has many great features; it shows you weather forecasts localised for each of your overnight stops, detailed information on each overnight stop and what facilities are available there. There are important reminders, safety information, videos and emergency contact information for your route. It also has a unique audio feature that can tell you about places and points of interest as you approach them on the trail. We also provide you with a Guide Book to fall back on for extra information and maps.

Itinerary

DAILY DETAILS

Week 1: CHAMONIX - ITALY
Day 1: ARRIVE IN CHAMONIX

Arrive today in the mountain town of Chamonix. Dependent on your arrival timing you will meet either tonight or tomorrow morning with with our expert local team member for a briefing on your walk and what to expect. The day is free for you to explore the town and its amazing mountain surroundings. Take a cable car up the famous Aguille de Midi for spectacular views over the Alps or relax in the many street cafes offering excellent cuisine.

Day 2: TREK CHAMONIX TO LES HOUCHES (13KM)

To start the trek what better viewpoint than the Brevent. You’ll get there via the Col du Brevent having taken the cable car to Planpraz. From the summit (2525 m), the view of Mont Blanc is incomparable. However, you have to descend and via Bel Lachat and Merlet.

5 hours walking – Ascent 525m / Descent 1400m
Meals: B D

Day 3 : TREK LES HOUCHES TO LES CONTAMINES (18KM)

Take a short cable car trip Col de Bellevue from where there are great views of the Aiguille du Gouter. A charming traverse passes right at the foot of the Bionnassay Glacier. A swing bridge across a river and we then ascend up to the Col du Tricot (2120m). A zigzagging path leads down to the Chalets de Miage before descending down to the Val Montjoie. In poor weather, an alternative route via Bionassay may be necessary instead.

Alternate route: Col de Voza – Les Contamines via Bionnassay

6 hours walking – Ascent 1478m / Descent 1318m
Meals: B D

Day 4: TREK LES CONTAMINES TO LES CHAPIEUX (19KM)

From the village of les Contamines, you will walk up to the Col du Bonhomme. The path at this stage leads gently up the valley and up the Val Montjoie to the beautiful church of Notre Dame de la Gorge. The track that was originally constructed by the Romans is roughly paved with large slabs and flagstones. Once past the church the path winds steeply through pines beside a narrow gorge, where the blue-tinged waters of the Torrent de Tré la Tête boil and thunder between smooth rock walls. You leave the Val Montjoie to cross over to the Beaufortain Valley.

Please note: Accommodation this evening is in a remote location and as a result, bathroom facilities will be shared.

Alternate route: Col de la Croix du Bonhomme – Col des Fours – Ref. des Mottets

7 hours walking – Ascent 1316m / Descent 929m
Meals: B D

Day 5: TREK LES CHAPIEUX TO VAL VENY (16KM)

Climbing steadily through a narrow steep-sided valley you reach the summer cheese-making hamlet of La Ville des Glaciers. You will reach the Val d’Aosta via the Col de la Seigne (2516 m) where you can stand on the border of France and Italy and be rewarded with superb views in all directions. A path leads you around the Limestone Pyramids to reach the moraine of the Estelette Glacier. Rifugio Elizabetta is in a very dramatic location with glaciers spilling down the mountain behind it and amazing views of the Val Veny before you.

Your accommodation tonight is in a remote location with no public road access so, for today only, there is no luggage transfer possible. You will be self-supporting for this one night and reunited with your baggage in Courmayeur tomorrow. Travel as light as possible – just a change of clothes and a toothbrush!

8 hours walking – Ascent 1004m / Descent 520m
Meals: B D

Day 6 : TREK VAL VENY TO COURMAYEUR (17KM)

Today is, without a doubt, the most spectacular. It begins with a small descent to reach Lake Combal. The way up to the Arp Vieille (2420 m) is easy and takes you onto a magnificent balcony. Mont Blanc sits enthroned above the Brouillard and Freney Glaciers and summits such as the Innominata and the Aiguilles de Peuterey – all epic names in alpinism. Descent to the col Checroui then to Courmayeur.

5 hours walking – Ascent 460m / Descent 1560m
Meals: B

Day 7: REST DAY IN COURMAYEUR

Today you have a full day to explore this Italian Alpine town, enjoy an espresso in one of the street cafes or take the incredible cable car ride from Le Palud to the point Helbronner at 3470m. There is also an excellent thermal bath and spa at Pre St Didier, just 5km away and easily reached by local bus. Or you could take a trip to the provincial capital of Aosta (1hr by bus) with its Roman remains and medieval streets.

Meals: B

Week 2: TREK COURMAYEUR - SWITZERLAND - CHAMONIX (12KM)
Day 8: TREK COURMAYEUR TO ITALIAN VAL FERRET (12KM)

Leaving from the hamlet of Villair (1340m) is a charming forested ascent to the Bertonne refuge, then over a crest dominating the Val Ferret before reaching Tete Bernada (2534m). Here you will find yourself at the summit of one of the most beautiful lookouts on the whole Tour du Mont Blanc. There is also an alternative path which runs on the flank of the mountain to Refuge Bonatti on a glorious contouring trail with flower meadows, milky streams, and clanging cowbells while descending into the Italian Val Ferret.

Please note: Accommodation this evening is in a remote location and as a result, bathroom facilities will be shared.

6 hours walking – Ascent 860m / Descent 700m
Meals: B D

Day 9: TREK ITALIAN VAL FERRET TO LA FOULY (20KM)

Today starts with an easy walk up the valley to Refugio Elena where the most demanding climb to the pass begins. The ascent to the Col Ferret (2537m) is steep but enjoyable. Crossing the Grand Col Ferret takes you out of Italy and into Switzerland along the eastern edge of the Mont Blanc Range. There are a few streams to cross today. The walk down into the Swiss Val Ferret is through pastureland and on a mixture of paths, tracks and through valaisan pastures to the charming village of La Fouly (1595m)  where you will stay overnight.

Please note: Accommodation this evening is in a remote location and bathroom facilities will be shared, you will need to carry a spare set of base layer clothes & toiletries as no luggage transfer

8 hours walking – Ascent 895m / Descent 1410m
Meals: B L D

Day 10: TRANSFER LA FOULY TO CHAMPEX, TREK TO TRIENT (16KM)

After breakfast transfer via local bus from La Fouly to Champex, which is famous for its lake and the distant views of the Grand Combin. The classic Tour du Mont Blanc takes the Bovine route. This part of the trail passes near meadows, forests and high alpine pastures up to the simple Alp building of the working dairy farm Bovine that overlooks the Rhône Valley. An hour and a half of easy walking followed by a rapid ascent in the forest and we are hanging over the Rhone valley and the town of Martigny. You will not be disappointed with this fabulous balcony and views of far-ranging mountains. Take a moment to enjoy spectacular views across to the Bernese Alps before a very pleasant and mostly downhill woodland walk that will take you to Col de La Forclaz.

There is a possible variation via the Fenêtre d’Arpette d’Arpette (2671 m). This is the highest pass of the Tour du Mont Blanc at (2665m) and a tough climb up a valley and rocky slopes to reach the pass – reckoned by many to be the hardest part of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Spend the night in Trient (1271 m).

Please note: Accommodation this evening is in a remote location and as a result, bathroom facilities will be shared.

5.5 hours walking – Ascent 742m / Descent 682m or 6.5 hours walking 14km – Ascent 1199m / Descent 1139m
Meals: B D

Day 11:  TREK TRIENT TO ARGENTIERE (13KM)

The hike up to the Col de Balme (2131m) via les Herbageres brings us back into France. A long but gradual ascent up to the Col De Balme with its picturesque refuge on the pass that marks the border with France. Superb Views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley stretched before you. Returning to the Chamonix Valley from here is a very pleasant walk. Col de La Balme is the furthest point from the summit of Mont Blanc enjoy panoramic views of lovely snow domes that will remain in sight for most of the descent into Argentiere.

5 hours walking – Ascent 1069m / Descent 1778m
Meals: B D

Day 12: TREK ARGENTIERE TO CHAMONIX (13KM)

The path climbs mostly across forested slopes to the base of steep granite cliffs where in places a section of iron ladders are used to help negotiate the track. It is a superb walk along the Grand Balcon Sud, which is one of the most popular and famed sections of the path in the Alps with views of Glacier d’Argentière and the rocky spires of the Chamonix Aiguilles. This is the best place along the trek to see ibex which can be spotted from the path. The option to walk to Lac Blanc is well worth the detour as the refuge there offers incredible views and the glacial lakes are beautiful to relax by on a sunny day.

Return to Chamonix by cable car in the afternoon.

4.5 hours walking – Ascent 1069m / Descent 1178m
Meals: B

Day 13: DEPART CHAMONIX

The trip finishes today and you are free to stay on or we can help arrange a transfer by a private vehicle this morning from Chamonix to Geneva airport (not included).

Meals: B

Important Note: The Tour du Mont Blanc is a very popular walk and refuges sometimes get overbooked. This is just a guide to route & details may change and the actual refuges booked may vary from what is written here, dependent on client numbers, wishes, and availability. This adjustment with refuges may alter the exact distance walked in a day so the above itinerary should be used as an indication to overnight stops/distances.

Accommodation: We use long-established family run 2 star (equivalent) rustic hotels and refuges which are chosen for their stunning location and most offer spectacular mountain views. Whilst representative of the country, culture and environment in which they are located, all are clean, well run and set up with the trekker in mind. The atmosphere is friendly and jovial as hikers from many nationalities gather to spend the night. Please be aware that room sizes (twin, double or very occasionally triple or quadruple rooms) and facilities will vary from hotels to hotel and sometimes from room to room in the same hotel. On some nights, facilities are ensuite whilst others have the possibility, depending on availability and group size, of shared bathroom and toilet facilities. Some nights you may be in triple or quad share dependent on tour selected, please refer to itinerary for full details.

Inclusions

What's included?

Included
  • 2 nights B&B accommodation in Chamonix
  • 10 nights accommodation in hotels & mountain refuges with private rooms or small dormitory
  • Meet and greet by local RAW Travel staff
  • Meals included – breakfast and dinner in refuges (with the exception of dinner in Courmayeur & Chamonix)
  • A detailed Tour de Mont Blanc guidebook
  • Real-time track navigation & notes with our own walking app
  • French phrasebook
  • Luggage transfers on all but one trekking day 
  • Prices quoted are per person twin share, based on a group of 4
Excluded
  • Flights to and from your destination
  • Lunches
  • Dinner in Chamonix Days 1 & 12, and Courmayeur Days 6 & 7
  • Luggage transfer to La Fouly in Switzerland ( day 9)
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement
AIRPORT TRANSFERS

“Mountain Drop Off’s” is our preferred partner and bookings can be made via their website: www.mountaindropoffs.com  Choose the super saver option and use promo code ‘RAWTR’.

This is pick up and drop off at the airport in Geneva to our base hotel in Chamonix.

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LOCATIONS ON THE TMB

Explore

CHAMONIX

This town is dominated by the mighty Mont Blanc massif with tumbling glaciers visible from the main street. There are many attractions including the Aguille Du Midi cablecar with its stupendous views and restaurant, the glacier express railway, and whitewater rafting right in the town. Plus Europe’s best selection of outdoor gear shops along its attractive streets.

 

LES HOUCHES

A small town situated at 1000 metres of altitude and lying at the foot of Mont-Blanc (4810m), Les Houches offers an exceptional panorama of the peaks surrounding Chamonix

 

LES CONTAMINES

Les Contamines is a small village which boast a beautiful Baroque church in the nearby wooded valley and a Roman Bridge on the TMB Trail which leads to the Col du Bon Homme.

LES CHAPIEUX

Is a tiny Hamlet consisting of a few buildings, which lies at the base of the Col Du Bon Homme and is one of the last stops in France before you cross to Italy

COL DE LA SEIGNE

This is the pass which straddles the border between France and Italy and give fantastic views of the flanks of Mont Blanc and the long valley descent to Courmayeur.

COURMAYEUR

The walk from the Col de Seigne 2516m down into Italy is truly breathtaking, passing the high Refuge Elisabetta and soaring mountain spires. The Italian ski town of Courmayeur provides a welcome taste of civilisation at the midway point of the trek.

RIFUGIO BONATTI

Named after the famous Italian Alpinist, Walter Bonatti, this refuge has an idyllic location on the flanks of the mountain perfect for a lunch time picnic.

 

 

 

LA FOULY

Your first stop in Switzerland lives up to the hype – the picture-perfect scenery of the Val Ferret is hard to overstate. La Fouly sits at the head of a verdant forested valley, populated by small hamlets of old Swiss wooden chalets. It is one of the most enjoyable sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

CHAMPEX

Champex is a village located in the French-speaking Swiss canton of Valais and one of our overnight stops on the TMB. The village lies at 1,470 metres on the shore of Lac de Champex, at the foot of the Mont Blanc Massif. It is a starting point for many hikes into the surrounding mountains and huts. 

 

 

 

TRIENT

Trient is a small village in the district of Martigny in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. The last stop in Switzerland before heading over the Col de Balme back into France. 

ARGENTIERE

Laid-back Argentière attracts hikers, mountain bikers and fans of all kinds of winter sport activities alike. Traditional architecture, baroque church and 19th century chapel but also to its amazing location at the foot of the impressive Argentière Glacier and legendary peaks such as the Aiguille Verte

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On the trail

The experience

The Mont Blanc circuit is a well-defined trail that has intermittent signposts at various junctions and offers some route variations on selected days. The terrain underfoot can vary from narrow dirt paths and rock trails on the mountain sections, to unsealed or tarmac roads in the valleys. The passes involve long ascents and descents but typically the gradients are fairly gradual with some steeper sections.  The day above Chamonix is an exception where steep climbing is required to ascend to the Grand Balcon and a reasonably good level of walking fitness to complete all the days of the circuit. It is spectacularly varied and no two days are alike in terms of scenery and conditions, and often weather!  Be sure to read our Training and Destination guides for more detail.

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Exclusive Guide

get inspired

Our comprehensive Destination Guide is bursting with inspiration, travel essentials, background information and more! Essential reading to help you plan, prepare and enjoy a memorable trip in the Alps.

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TRIP date selection

when would you like to travel?

Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed

SELECT PREFERRED DATES

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