Complete the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc in its entirety
Hike 11 days across 170 kilometers of spectacular alpine beauty
Sleep in cozy mountain huts and boutique hotels and enjoy their authentic food
Travel on foot through 3 European countries — France, Italy, and Switzerland
The tour begins in the town of Les Houches. There, you can take a cable car to the top of Bellevue or hike up the mountain. From there, you’ll take a short walk to Col du Voza with stunning views of Bionnassay glacier, and soon cross the iconic Himalayan suspension bridge.
After reaching the grassy Col du Tricot, rest before the steep descent to Refuge Miage with great views of Miage Valley and a mountain pass on the horizon for tomorrow. Enjoy the view of the Dômes de Miage (3600m), before slowly dozing off to sleep.
This day can be made easier (but also a little bit less scenic) by sticking to the classic route and going down from Col de Voza to Val Montjoie and then straight to the resort village of Les Contamines. This also makes Day 2 a little shorter.
13 km; 1270 m of elevation gain and 720 m of elevation loss
The day will start with a relatively short climb over Auberge du Truc, where you will descend through the forest into the resort village of Les Contamines. After that, you can walk along the river in the valley or take a shuttle bus to Notre Dame de la Gorge, admiring this cute chapel, before starting to head upwards.
The ascent will take you up past the Refuge Nant Borrant (lunch stop), and then towards Col du Bonhomme. This is not the highest part of the day, as you’ll ascend further towards Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, where one of the most remote huts on the trail, Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme will be waiting for you. Good night!
Alternative Day 2:
In case hut availability forces us to opt for an alternative, you’ll spend the night at Refuge de la Balme, saving you 800 meters of climbing for the next day. You’ll finish the third day at Refuge des Mottets in this scenario. All huts offer a comparable level of comfort, meaning you won’t have it any worse in this situation.
18.5 km; 1550 m of elevation gain and 670 of elevation loss
Alternative (to Refuge de la Balme):
12.7 km; 740 m of elevation gain and 600 m of elevation loss
After a peaceful morning, descend down into the valley to Les Chapieux, where a steady climb starts. Past Les Mottets, enjoy the epic mountain scenery while hiking up to the Col de la Siegne — the border between France and Italy. Some of the best views of the route wait for us on the way down to Rifugio Elisabetta, looking over into the glacial Vallée Lee Blanche with epic views of the Mont Blanc massif, this time from the Italian side.
Alternative Day 3:
If you spent the last night at Refuge de la Balme, you’ll finish at Refuge des Mottets today, as hiking to Rifugio Elisabetta isn’t feasible in one day. All huts offer a comparable level of comfort, meaning you won’t have it any worse in this situation.
19 km; 1060 m of elevation gain and 1360 m of elevation loss
Alternative (Refuge de la Balme – Refuge des Mottets):
17 km; 1200 m of elevation gain and 1050 m of elevation loss
Instead of following the valley, we’ll climb to the scenic path on its right, with great views of Monte Bianco. The views can extend all the way back to yesterday’s Col de la Siegne. After reaching the now-green ski slopes of Maison Vieille, you’ll start the steep descent to Courmayeur — the Italian Chamonix. If you want to save your knees you can also take a cable car down to the alpine town.
15.5 km; 550 m of elevation gain and 1470 m of elevation loss
Alternative (from Refuge des Mottets):
22.5 km; 1160 m of elevation gain and 1830 m of elevation loss
After the morning espresso (which you can also save for the first hut), leave the town of Courmayeur for the mountains up above. When reaching Rifugio Bertone, the classic TMB takes you on the north flank of the mountains with great views of the valley and the massif to the left. Continuing past Rifugio Bonatti, the path eventually slowly descends into Val Ferret and then follows the last climb of the day which concludes at Rifugio Elena.
Alternative Day 5:
If Rifugio Elena isn’t available, we’ll accommodate you in Hotel Lavachey, situated below Rifugio Bonatti in Val Ferret. This will make your fifth day reasonably shorter and your sixth day longer. The hotel offers more comfort and better meal options than mountain huts but is located in the valley, meaning you’ll have to leave the TMB on a minor descent to access it. Your experience won’t be damaged in any way, as you’ll climb right back up on it in the morning.
19 km; 1500 m of elevation gain and 640 m of elevation loss
Alternative (to Hotel Lavachey):
14 km; 1000 m of elevation gain and 600 m of elevation loss
You have already been to Italy and France, and today, it’s time for Switzerland. You will ascend the Grand Col Ferret, where the landscape will start to look noticeably different. Following the trail on the right flank of La Dotse, you’ll slowly descend into Ferret Valley and towards the village of La Fouly.
12 km; 500 m of elevation gain and 950 m of elevation loss
Alternative (from Hotel Lavachey):
18 km; 920 m of elevation gain and 950 m of elevation loss
Without any cols to traverse, this is the easiest stage on the Tour du Mont Blanc. It will take you slowly through the valley, past green meadows and Alpine villages. It ends at the Champex-Lac, a pretty lake town that looks like something straight out of the Canadian Rockies.
17 km; 550 m of elevation gain and 710 m of elevation loss
It’s time to get back to the mountains! You’ll leave the relaxing valley and ascend the across the Bovine Route to Col de la Forclaz with great views of the Rhone Valley. There is also an alternative, crossing Fenetre d’Arpette pass, technically the most difficult part of TMB, but with more scenic and wild views around. Both trails at the end descend down to the Swiss village of Trient.
14 km; 800 m of elevation gain and 960 m of elevation loss
The first ascent of the day will be to Col du Balme, where the end comes into sight. From the refuge there, you’ll have some awesome views of the whole Chamonix Valley — the circuit is now almost complete. Continue on into France towards the Col des Posettes and the equally-named ridge that follows. Enjoy the great views of some of the most iconic parts of the massif on the left, while the descent takes you steeply down to Tré-le-Champ in the north of the valley.
15 km; 1130 m of elevation gain and 1070 m of elevation loss
There are still some awesome sections left in store for the last two days. This day will lead you toward the iconic ladders, one of the more interesting parts of the Tour du Mont Blanc. You’ll soon enter the Aiguille Rouge National Park, where plenty of wildlife can be seen.
Soon you’ll come to a junction where you can hike further up towards the lake of Lac Blanc, past Lacs des Chéserys and experience some of the most photographed views from this side of the Chamonix Valley. If you want to save your legs, follow the scenic route over the Grand Balcon Sud towards the end point of the day, Refuge La Flégère.
8 km; 880 m of elevation gain and 350 m of elevation loss
The last day is here! You will continue on the Balcon Sud until you reach Le Brévent. You have two options to get up to the peak — take it easy with a cable car ride or hike to the peak across some more technical ladder sections. Either way, amazing views of Mont Blanc await you at the top. Continue along the rocky trail to Refuge du Bellachat, where a long descent to the Chamonix Valley awaits you. You’ll finish in Les Houches, where you started, but we advise you to take a bus to Chamonix to celebrate the successfully completed thru-hike.
16.7 km; 790 m of elevation gain and 1650 m of elevation loss
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With all of its grandeur, Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most exciting and rewarding hikes in the world. Circumnavigating the massif of Mont Blanc, it leads through France, Italy, and Switzerland, passing valleys and mountainsides of each country along its journey around Western Europe’s highest peak.
11 stages and around 170 kilometers is the TMB’s official length, making this the classic self-guided version of the trail. It is for anyone who wants to take the full journey and experience this beautiful hike in its entirety.
The stages described in this 11-day itinerary of Tour du Mont Blanc are not set in stone, as many offer alternatives — some make it more leisurely and others explore additional gems in the area.
Although technically not demanding, hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc self-guided still requires a great deal of preparation and planning. You also must fit enough to be able to hike from 5-7 hours per day in diverse terrain for more than a week.
While we mostly leave the conditioning part to you, we take care of everything else.
Combining our off-trail research and hiking experience, we take your wishes and preferences to best advise you on which specific route to take. We then book all of your accommodations and other services that you need. And a few weeks before setting off, you’ll get the detailed itinerary with the planned GPS route, and you’re ready to go.
The Tour du Mont Blanc self-guided awaits you!
The technical difficulty is low as it is not a climb, but a walk, except for a few lone ladder sections that are pretty straightforward. But still, it is not easy. You need to have proper fitness to hike this many days in a row along with elevation gain. It also goes over wild and uneven terrain, so at least some basic experience with hiking is recommended.
The weather in the mountains is very changeable. Even if it is +25°C in the valley, it much colder on the mountain passes, especially if cloudy and windy. That’s why you should take clothing in layers, along with with a windproof and waterproof jacket (could be two), and waterproof trousers (in case of rain). You should also have a separate set of clothes for chilling in the refuges.
Check out our full packing list here.
Even though the views on the Tour du Mont Blanc are scenic and wild, the trail itself never goes more than a day of hiking away from the nearest road or civilization. In case you decide to stop hiking, you can always get to the nearest village or town, and use public transportation to get to your desired destination. If that happens during the hike, we are also here to help you plan this.
Should there be an emergency situation on the trail, you will always have access to the local rescue services on the number 112. We provide more information on that in our self-guided handouts.
The official starting point of the Tour du Mont Blanc is in the village of Les Houches, just south of Chamonix.
Although it’s not the only one hikers decide to take, it is the best. The main advantage of that is that you’ll always have the view of the Mont Blanc massif in front, and not behind your back. There will also be fewer steep downhills (saving your knees) than otherwise.
The trail is officially divided into 11 stages for 11 days of hiking. However, everyone has their own pace. Some prefer to hike a little more relaxed and leisurely, and some want to go faster. Fastpackers complete it in about a week, while some people decide to hike just a section of it for a few days, exploring the highlights of the trail.
Yes, but it is not recommended if they are too young (younger than 10). Either way, they need to have some previous experience with mountain hiking and know what it takes to complete a full day on the trail.
You should do it as early as possible because the spots at the accommodations along the trail usually run out fast. That means the longer you wait, the fewer options there are.
Yes, public transportation is available in most of the valleys, which can shorten some flat sections of the hike. Additionally, there are some cable cars that can take you up the mountains, reducing the amount of ascending you do on some stages.
Yes, but only through the valley. That means that it will be waiting for you at your next accommodation on the valley floor, be it a hotel or a chalet. If you are staying a night in between in a mountain hut, you have to take enough with you in the backpack to make it an extra day.
Yes, except at stages 10 and 11, where the nature parks prohibit them, so you’ll need to do a detour.
Some parts of the trail are exposed to thunder, so hiking them in that kind of weather is heavily unadvised. Still, you can make up for that lost time by taking public transportation when possible.
Most of them do not, which is why you should always have enough cash to pay for anything extra than what is included in our tours. Only one hut needs to be paid on the spot, of which we inform you in advance. Do not worry about the hotels and other private accommodations though — they mostly accept them. Still, it is recommended you always have some extra cash with you in case something goes wrong.
You’re going to be traveling through three countries — Italy and France use Euros (EUR) while Switzerland has Swiss Francs (CHF).
Some of them offer showers, but there might not be any hot water. In most, you need to buy a token to get a minute of hot water (if it didn’t run out already).
No. All of the huts have blankets, bedding, and pillows, but it’s nice to bring your own silk or cotton sleeping liner.
We can arrange it in the hotels and other accommodations in villages and towns along the way. As for the mountain huts, a rare few have that option, but it is usually the first one that is sold out, so you need to be really early if you want us to get it.
There isn’t in most of them. Enjoy the opportunity of disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature. But if you really need it, you can try to get some signal outside or wait until coming back to the valley. There, you should have no problem getting to the internet.
Vegetarian meals are readily available in most accommodations. On the other hand, vegan options are harder to be found, especially in the huts. But if you tell us enough in advance, we’ll contact the huts for you and try to accommodate you to the best of our abilities.
The whole trail is relatively not technically difficult, as most of it goes on well-maintained trails. The only technical part is in Stage 10 when it climbs some secure ladders over steep rock faces. Still, even on the trails, you might encounter some rougher terrain, where you’ll have to watch your step.
The tougher challenge is conditioning. You have to be comfortable enough to hike more than 1000 meters of elevation gain and loss on almost every stage for 11 days straight.
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