Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Week

8 days
from
£1,199
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 22 reviews >
Challenging
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Trip code: 
TWP
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Multi-country
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–14

A fast and light way to complete the Mont Blanc Circuit

The Mont Blanc Circuit is deservedly one of Europe's classic walks, circumnavigating western Europe's highest mountain. This exciting itinerary concentrates on some of the most spectacular sections of the circuit, thus enabling us to produce a hard and exhilarating one-week trip for the trekking enthusiast. Overnighting in simple family-run accommodation, we trek clockwise around the Mont Blanc Massif, enjoying hearty local cuisine from three countries, phenomenal views and some of Europe's best walking.

Highlights

  • A 'fast and light' week of the Classic Mont Blanc circuit
  • Spectacular views of the Mont Blanc
  • Three countries in one week

Key information

  • 5 nights 2 and 3 star hotels, 2 nights Inns
  • 6 days point-to-point walking
  • Light backpacking; some steep ascent/descents
  • Altitude maximum 2537m, average 1400m

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation not available
  • Visas or vaccinations

5

Pace:

Approximately 8-9hrs walking per day

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 218.0km/11.0miles
Day 314.0km/8.0miles
Day 420.0km/12.0miles
Day 519.0km/11.0miles
Day 616.0km/9.0miles
Day 714.0km/8.0miles
Walking and Trekking Holidays

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Geneva; transfer to Col de la Forclaz.

    From Geneva airport we transfer to the start at the designated hotel at Col de la Forclaz, Switzerland. A short (unguided) walk to view the Trient Glacier is an option this afternoon, depending on arrival time. In the evening there is an introductory briefing by your leader and time to spilt bags between items to be delivered to the hotel in Chamonix, for the end of the trip, and things you will carry with you. Hotel at Col de la Forclaz, Switzerland.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Follow Bovine Route to the pretty village of Champex Lac and on to Orsières.

    We leave the Col de la Forclaz (1527m – 5010ft) from where we can look directly down into the Rhône valley and the Swiss town of Martigny. Following our path through the forest and up to high alpine pastures (great for flowers in the early season) the 'Bovine route' (2049m – 6720ft) affords dramatic views over Swiss peaks and valleys. After lunch we descend to Champex (1486m – 4880ft) and the east side of the Mont Blanc Massif. Walking south we descend through woods to the Val Ferret and on to Orsières (887m – 2910ft), a pretty alpine village nestled in the valley at the foot of the St Bernard Pass. Hotel in Orsières (Switzerland).

    8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 18km - 11 miles, 730m – 2400ft up, 1300m – 4260ft down

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Short bus transfer to La Fouly and climb to the highest point (2536m), Grand Col Ferret, and descend into Italy.

    We hop aboard the local bus to rejoin the TMB at the village of La Fouly (1600m 5250ft) dominated by the glaciated face of Mont Dolent, whose summit is the meeting point of the French, Swiss and Italian borders. Still following the valley and the river 'La Drance', we climb steadily to the 'Grand Col Ferret' (2537m – 8320ft), the highest pass of the tour. The mountain views from the Col are stunning with Grandes Jorasses dominating the scene. Now in Italy, we descend into the valley also called 'Val Ferret' (1760m – 5770ft ) then travel by bus to our hotel in La Palud. Hotel in La Palud (Italy).

    7.5 hours walking, 14km - 9 miles, 970m - 3180ft up, 800m – 2600ft down

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Trek from Val Veny over Col de la Seigne to Les Chapieux (1549m).

    We travel by bus to La Visaille (1,660m – 5450ft) then climb gently along the Val Veny beneath the massive glacier de Miage and pass Lac Combal. The gradient becomes steeper as we follow the old Roman road and head for today’s pass: the 'Col de la Seigne' (2,516m – 8250ft), which marks our re-entry into France. A fairly steep descent brings us through La Ville des Glaciers (1,789m – 5870ft) and finally after a long walking day to Les Chapieux (1,553m – 5100ft), a small hamlet inhabited only during the summer months. Auberge in Les Chapieux.

    8.5 hours walking, 20km - 13 miles, 870m – 2840ft up, 970m – 3180ft down

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    A tougher day over two cols; Croix du Bonhomme (2443m) and Col du Bonhomme (2329m); descend to Les Contamines. descend to Les Contamines. descend to Les Contamines. descend to Les Contamines.

    We have now reached the southwest corner of the circuit and turn north to climb once again. Today is a big day, first we ascend to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2,479m – 8130ft), then contour across to the Col du Bonhomme (2,329m) and then descend again on a Roman road into the Val Montjoie and the town of Les Contamines (1,175m – 3860ft). Our path continues through the village and finally arrives at our overnight stop and time for a well-deserved cold drink. Auberge in Les Contamines.

    8.5 hours walking, 19km - 12 miles, 930m – 3050ft up, 1340m – 4400ft

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Over the Col du Tricot to the Chamonix Valley.

    Another big day! Our route continues with a steady ascent to the Chalets de Miage (1,560m – 5120ft), a great spot to sample some home cooked delicacies. From here we take a trail that climbs steeply to the Col de Tricot (2,119m – 6950ft) before descending very close to the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay. Good views of the north side of the Mont Blanc Massif. Eventually we make another ascent to reach the Col de Voza (1652m - 5420ft) where we re-enter the Chamonix Valley, and then finally descend to the village of Les Houches (993m 3260ft) and take the bus to our hotel. Hotel in Chamonix.

    8.5 hours walking, 17km - 11 miles, 1200m – 3980ft up, 1370m – 4500ft down

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Final day trekking past Lac Blanc (2352m) before descending to Chamonix.

    Our final day presents perhaps one of our most spectacular walks; we trek a section of the Grand Balcon Sud route past the beautiful and photogenic Lac Blanc (2352m - 7715ft) with grand vistas over the Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc behind. Our route will then drop sharply down to Chamonix (1,030m) and the end of our trek. Hotel in Chamonix.

    8 hours walking, 16km - 10 miles, 900m – 2950ft up, 1330m – 4370ft down

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Geneva; fly to London.

    End Chamonix. Transfer to Geneva airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

  • 8 days land only/flight inclusive
  • 6 days point-to-point walking 
  • Light backpacking; some steep ascent/descents
  • Altitude maximum 2537m, average 1400m
  • 5 nights 2 and 3-star hotels, 2 nights auberges
  • All breakfasts and 6 dinners included
  • Single supplement not available

Visas

No visa required for British passport holders.

Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and dinners are included except dinner in Chamonix on day 7 of the itinerary.

Typical Meals

Breakfast: Will usually consist of coffee, tea, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bread, and conserves.

Evening meal: Generally consists of a first course of soup, salad or charcuterie, a main course of meat with one or two vegetables or rice or pasta, a dessert course. Drinks are not included in the price of evening meals.

Lunches: No lunches are provided but can easily be bought locally from either shops or the hotel/refuge.

Weather

From late June to early October fair weather is to be expected, but all mountain ranges create their own weather patterns and the Alps are no exception. It can and does rain and on the high passes especially it can be surprisingly cold at times. Expected daytime temperatures are in the range of 15 to 25ºC in the valleys (although it can sometimes reach 30ºC in July/August), 5 to 15ºC on the passes (though it will feel colder if wet and windy) and 5 to 15ºC in the valley at night; possibly a little lower early and late in the season. There is always the possibility of lying snow, especially in the early season, and snowfall even in August and September when we may find new snow on the passes. Please note that on late season treks (September) the days are shorter and we will need to make early starts to make the most of the available daylight hours.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is Activity Level 5 - Challenging. Some of the days are long, quite often involving ascents of 900-1200m (or 3000-4000 feet), equivalent to 3 to 4 hours walking uphill, followed by similar descents, amounting to 8 to 9 hours of walking each day (including rest stops and lunch). Although the paths are well maintained there are sections that are rough underfoot. As this is a group holiday you need to be confident that your fitness will allow you to enjoyably walk at a consistent and steady pace that matches the group average, therefore allowing the group to finish the day at a reasonable time. You will also enjoy the trek a great deal more if your fitness allows you to walk the route in relative ease. You will have to carry your own gear with you (there is no vehicle support), but this need not weigh more than 8 to 10 kilos if you pack carefully. On day 7 there are 2 metal ladders to climb en route to Lac Blanc, these are secured against the rock, consist of approx. 12 steps and are not difficult to climb. 

Accommodation

Hotels & Inns

Throughout the trek we use long-established family run 2 and 3-star (equivalent) hotels and inns. Most of the hotels/inns have stunning locations often with panoramic vistas over the mountains and culturally represent the countries and environment they are in. These hotels are a vital source of income to the local community. All are clean and well run and set up with the needs of the trekker in mind.

Single rooms not available

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed August 2016
    Chris Huet
    Jenny was a patient competent leader. The terrain was amazing and fellow hikers a lot of fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the steep steady uphill climbs and enjoyed when we were given free rain to climb straight for 2 hours. Also loved the experience on the top of Mont Blanc on the optional day. would love to go back to hike the glacier and possibly learn to summit the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jenny was great and worked well with the variety of needs within the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a good cardio base before going as well as bring hiking poles. the downhills can be steep and long so will be hard on weak knees.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Damian Riley
    Exhilarating views, good food, great guide, fabulous flowers, good company, hard exercise!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every time we reached the "Col" from one valley or country to the next, and had the fantastic views in both directions...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jenny was great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    These hills are high and the ascents are steep. You will climb 900-1200m per day and it can be hot. So pack really light. Our packs weighed about 6 kg [not including water]. Suggestions: take 2 walking T shirts and one evening shirt. Take 2 pairs of "zip-offs", 2 or 3 pairs of socks, one/two warm fleece, and waterproofs/windbreak. Each night wash your "smalls"/shorts etc in your room and they're usually dry by morning. Take headwear (something that will keep your head warm at altitude and something to keep your head shaded from the (very strong) sun. Carry two medium sized waterbottles. Take sunglasses, suncream and some travel wash. No need for insect repellent. Accommodation has hair dryers. Some places have wifi, some places dont, and one place has no mobile signal at all. Have shoes with really good grip - you can be on mud, on rocks, and on snow. Take flip-flops or similar for evenings in hotel. Most places give you a little soap or shampoo too. Most people brought walking poles, we didn't. Personal preference. Fine without but helpful on slippy areas. You can leave stuff at the first night's hotel and it will be ready for you on the Thursday on arriving in Chamonix. so then you can refresh clothing etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The views will blow you away. The abundant wild flowers are beautiful. Don't make any mistake though - this is hard walking, both going up and coming down. You do have do be confident you can manage the likes of Scafell Pike without too much trouble. Most days you can either get a packed lunch made up by the hotel but much cheaper and tastier is to buy some local produce from a local shop at the start of the day: some cheese , bread, fruit, chocolate etc. So carry a small knife to cut the bread. Final comment - Switzerland is expensive, so is Chamonix.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    James Emery
    Tough but doable. Like being with a group, but this particular trip would work just as well self-guided, and would have seemed more like a holiday (as opposed to a "forced march").

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Top of Col de Tricot, the end of the toughest climb on the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Quite capable, although sometimes more interested in adhering to overly rigid timetables than to accommodating the group's comfort.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect steep up and steep down, all day. Given the same guide and local organizer, expect brief, regimented breaks, and poor communications between the guide and local organizer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation on night four was in a mountain hut, below the standard advertised for the trip. Understandable, if circumstances beyond the tour organizer's control dictated same, however in this case even our guide was unaware of the change in accommodation. The manner in which this downgrade took place, not the facility itself, soured my opinion of this tour.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We are aware of the issues that James regrettably experienced during his trip; his concerns have been investigated and any necessary changes to the tour have been made. We have replied to James on an individual basis

  • Reviewed July 2015
    Michael Collins
    Very enjoyable trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Great mix of ages and nationalities in what soon became a tight group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Experienced and knowledgable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ruthless when choosing the kit you will carry. 8-9 hours of challenging walking every day. Long and often steep climbs and decent. Worth every step for the places and views you will encounter.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    First experience of Exodus. Good website to find a suitable package at a reasonable cost. Good experiences before and during the trip. Will certainly consider using again.
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Alan Gelson
    We were fortunate in having sunshine every day . We were able to see the Mont Blanc massif at its very best- a glorious vision of splendour . This is a journey i would urge anyone who enjoys walking in the mountains to undertake. It is challenging but with a good level of fitness it is not daunting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final day when we walked along Le Garnd balcon Sud and saw the Mont Blanc range slowly reveal itself as the clouds drifted upwards and away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnie Briggs was an inspirational leader who was a major contributor to the success of the Tour. He kept us in sight like a patient sheep dog allowing the free spirits amongst us to surge ahead but being there with the more plodding members of the party as they stomped up the hills using the Alpine amble he had taught us and which we found so useful. Lots of small steps and use of the gluteal muscles to pull the legs back at each extended stride. he was full of information about flora and fauna and history of the area.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You can travel with just one small to medium sized ruck sac taking merely waterproofs and a light alpine fleece washing things and hat gloves and maybe a change of clothes. Many of our party washed out quick drying clothes overnight .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have been on many such treks and rate this amongst the very best.
  • Reviewed August 2014
    eric winstone
    This trip lived up to all the expectations. The weather was mixed with heavy rain and sleet and three days of sunshine. Two things make a trip like this successful, the leader and the way in which the group gel together and interact. Both of these ingredients were very much in evidence and this made the trip an even better experience. The trekking was at the right pace and there was good support of each other throughout the 8 days. the accommodation and food were excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    by far the most inspirational moments of the trip were the magnificent alpine views of glaciers and soaring peaks. the snow level was very low and this added to the majestic landscape we saw. Also the fact that there were many other groups and individuals along the route and the friendships made were excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class. She had done her homework on the group and planned her day around supporting each individuals needs - quite difficult on a trip like this. She was informative about local issues and confident and clear with her directions and instructions. She also had a sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a tough walk and dont underestimate the fact that you will be walking over 70 miles with 6500m of ascent over 6 days. Travel as light as possible - about 9k max.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    i would have preferred to stay at the higher level huts and hostels rather than keep dropping down to the valley accommodation.
  • Reviewed August 2014
    (Belinda) Bridget Jacques
    This was only our second walking holiday after doing the Inca trail the year before so we are fsirly new to walking holidays. Found the first day fairly difficult but soon got into the swing of it and loved it!! The hardest part was walking with the pack on your back so pack light! However, being able to do the circuit point to point, experiencing a range of accommodation with such stunning views made this so worth while.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    How do you pick one moment! Achievement of getting to the top of a long upward climb, views, picnic lunches on mountain tops and in valleys, wildlife, flowers, eating wild strawberries and cherries on the go, good company, paddling in glaciers, swimming in a mountain top lake to name but a few...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant, helpful, knowledable. Very organised but relaxed at the same time. Nothing too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you for a great holiday. Will def go with Exodus again. Help and advice does not stop once you have booked, the company contact you before you leave with a contact for any questions you may have. Useful information is emailed to you. An excellent company. Our guide was very knowledgable, answering any question on the walk and the environment, pointing out things he knew would be of interest to us as a group and to individuals with particular interests. He was caring and ensured all things were sorted and straight forward for us so all we had to concentrate on was enjoying ourselves. On our last day one of the directors joined our walk, a really lovely man who did not intrude but became part of the group. He was genuinly interested in our thoughts of the holiday. Thank you for such a great holiday!
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous
    An excellent trip in an area I'd never visited before.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of Mont Blanc and associated mountains on the last day. It was clear, the sky was blue - you couldn't help but keep stopping to admire the view

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nick was a great bloke who was a very relaxed leader but willing (and able) to exercise control when necessary.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light and then remove half of what you've packed - honestly you don't really need that much for what is 4 nights away. You'll appreciate it going up those passes.
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous
    A wonderful week! Great walking, though quite hard work with a pack. You certainly need to be reasonably fit. Fabulous mountain scenery and every day different. The September sunshine added to the beauty. We were part of a lovely,varied group of people and had an excellent guide. We are already planning our next trip into the mountains!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Col de Ferret: beautiful weather, a lovely day's walk and incredible views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nick was superb. A light touch from someone with a great deal of experience and knowledge.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be quite fit to walk for 7 hours a day up and down mountains carrying your pack.make the pack as light as possible. Nowhere really to do washing. Washed hair once in hotel, but not in dormitory accommodation so no need to carry shampoo along.  Showers were sometimes busy so needed to queue and occasionally cold!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a really superb week and I would highly recommend the walk.
  • Reviewed July 2013
    Anonymous
    An excellent alpine walking holiday - lived up to all my expectations.  Fantastic scenery, wild flowers, characterful accomodation and excellently led.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to see so many alpine flowers in mid July - this was because the snow had stayed later this year - and having a leader who was as interested in identifyingand talking about wild flowers as I am!The baked apple stuffed with nuts and fruit, heated up in an aga at one of the refuges. Walking across snow bridges over glacial streams and seeing glaciers close up. Rupert's homemade dice game with the wooden dice he made - played on a pavement while waiting for the bus!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rupert was excellent in leading us all, excellent knowledge of alpine wild flowers, very relaxed approach, made sure everyone was OK in the group all of the timen.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Long walking days with over 1000 metres of ascent and descent most days are wonderful - but good to be reasonably fit before you come to get the most out of the trip.Think minimal when packing your rucsac - pack as little as you need - then rethink and pack less!Walking poles are really useful for both the descents and for crossing snow patches.Don't worry about the dormitory sleeping - its fun!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As a vegetarian I thought I might have a very boring diet - but no, the trip is fine for vegetarians - I really enjoyed the food.I enjoyed every minute!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936