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Tour du Mont Blanc: The Classic Trek

Les Contamines to Chamonix

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Tour du Mont Blanc (also known as TMB) is ‘the classic trek’ and one of the most popular long distance hiking trails in Europe. This spectacular trail in the Alps takes hikers around the Massif of Mont Blanc for up to 170kms and country hopping from France to Italy, Switzerland and back to France. It is a challenging trek as you have 10kms of ascent and descent.

The TrekkingBug.com travel specialists have prepared an itinerary that can be hiked in 7-10 days. Starting from Les Contamines in the Montjoie Valley (France); hikers head to Courmayeur (Italy), Champex (Switzerland) and finish in Chamonix (France). Our your way, the hiking trail takes you through seven magnificent valleys by the Mont Blanc Massif. This is a great adventure for both independent hikers and groups, talk to our travel specialists for advice.

Trip highlights

  • Trek Europe's best loved mountain trail
  • Be amazed by breathtaking views of the Alps
  • Reward yourself with hearty mountain delicacies
  • Cross three countries in just one hiking trail!

1 Les Contamines

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Today you will check in at your hotel in Les Contamines, the starting point for this Tour du Mont Blanc trekking adventure.

2 Les Contamines to Les Chapieux - 19km

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7h | +1418m / -1011m

On the first day of this Tour du Mont Blanc trek you will hike up to Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and then traverse to the slightly higher Col de la Croix de Bonhomme (2479m). The trail between the two might still have some snow early in the season. You will then descend to Les Chapieux, your stop for the night.

3 Les Chapieux to Rifugio Elisabetta - 14km

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5h | +1671m / -865m
After a steady ascent past Ville de Glaciers, you will then be crossing Col de la Seigne (2516m) into Italy. It is one of the most scenic parts of the trail, giving you breathtaking views of the impressive ‘Brenva’ face of Mont Blanc. There is no road access on this part of the hiking trail, so please take your overnight gear, as your luggage can’t be transferred today.

4 Rifugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur - 16km

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4h30 | +290m / -1452m
Some wonderful scenery on this section of the Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trail. The trail to Courmayeur is straight forward but involves a surprising, short uphill section to gain a balcony trail with stunning views of what is now called Monte Bianco. Lively Courmayeur is the Italian equivalent of Chamonix but has its own distinctive character.

5 Courmayeur to Champex - 14km

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5h | +55m / -140m
From Courmayeur, it is a short bus ride (40min, €3) to Arnouva (or Chalet Val Ferret), where you will resume your Tour du Mont Blanc trek. Switzerland beckons today as you cross into Val Ferret with its gentle meadows and picturesque alpine chalets, it is one of most idyllic Swiss valleys. Another linguistic and cultural border! Trekking down you will reach La Fouly, where, after a break, you can catch another bus to Champex (€5, 1h), your stop for the night.

6 Champex to Trient - 16km

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6h | +328m / -1321m
Today, the trail ascends through woods to reach the barns of Bovine (1987m; food and drinks usually available) and then descend to Col de la Forclaz (1,526m; refreshments available including the delicious local tarte aux myrtilles, blueberry pie, highly recommended! seasonal). You will then have the option to walk to the Chalet du Glacier and a bit beyond for fine views of the Trient Glacier before descending to the village of Trient in the valley. Basic accommodation in a simple alpine inn (auberge). An alternative route for those looking for an additional challenge is the strenuous and challenging but spectacular trail over the Fenetre d’Arpette (2665m).

7 Trient to Chamonix - 16km

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5h | +1079m / -1224m
On your last trekking day, you will be crossing back to France by the Col de Balme (2191m) revealing the Chamonix Valley below and the Mont Blanc massif. On the way up to the col there is a longer but very scenic and rewarding alternative by Les Grands. The best way onwards from Col de Balme is by the easy but spectacular Posettes ridge. At the end of the ridge you will tackle a steep descent on good forest tracks to Tre le Champ and Argentiere. In Argentiere you will take a bus (€2) to Chamonix, where you are staying tonight.

8 Chamonix

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Chamonix is the most famous and popular of the mountain resorts in the Alps; a classic destination for lovers of alpine sports in winter and summer since the 1800s. We hope you enjoyed your adventure!

Hotels and inns have been carefully selected for their location and character. They are subject to availability and if the hotel described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard, comfort and price. Please click on hotel information below.

Les Contamines - Standard

2* Hotel in the centre of Les Contamines. Room en-suite.

Les Chapieux - Standard

Stay in a small but welcoming auberge with 12 rooms, offering all essential services. No en-suite but towels are provided.

Rifugio Elisabetta - Standard

2* hotel in the centre of this lively resort town. Room en-suite. All facilities.

Courmayeur - Standard

2* hotel in the centre of this lively town. Room en-suite. All facilities.

Champex - Standard

3* hotel, room en-suite close to the lake and enjoying great views.

Trient - Standard

1* mountain chalet. Rooms en-suite or dorms of 4-6 people, depending on availability.

Chamonix - Standard

2* hotel in the centre of popular mountain resort Chamonix. En-suite room.

Average Temperature and Rainfall

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Flying IN and OUT

The most convenient airport for this tour is Geneva Airport, in Switzerland. Direct flights from many European capitals. Check out www.skyscanner.com for your most convenient flight connection.

Transfers to and from airport

To Les Contamines:
– You can share a minibus (1h, 40€pps), www.ski-lifts.com.
– Public bus: From Geneva airport to St Gervais le Fayet (2h, €20) + second bus from St Gervais le Fayet to Les Contamines (15min, roughly €7) www.sat-montblanc.com
– Train: From Geneva to St Gervais (1hr30) + second bus from St Gervais le Fayet to Les Contamines (15min, roughly €7) www.sat-montblanc.com