Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc
Classic Tour du Mont Blanc - the contrasting face of Mont Blanc on the Italian side
Italian Ski Breaks
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights
Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights

Richard's 'Demi' Tour du Mont Blanc


'Demi' Tour du Mont Blanc

A taster of one of the most famous walks in the world, the Tour du Mont Blanc, passing through two countries and experiencing two cultures. We meet in the Chamonix Valley in France, the mountaineering capital of the world, and begin a journey of discovery which takes in the history, culture, folklore and wildlife of the mountains. From remote farms and refuges to ancient Roman towns and beautiful lakeside mountain villages, it's all here!

Highlights

  • 4 days of hiking around the highest peak in the Alps
  • Visit two countries - France and Switzerland
  • Stay in characterful hotels and auberges along the trail
  • Experienced, knowledgeable and professional guide
  • End in the lovely Italian town of Courmayeur
  • Return airport transfers included

The best of the best! One of the most famous long distance walks in the world done in a long weekend. Two countries, two cultures, and glorious mountain views, including the highest in Western Europe, the mighty Mont Blanc. Sample alpine culture, folklore, wildlife, food and fill your lungs with fresh mountain air as you walk these ancient trails over high mountain passes taking you from France and into Italy.

For those with limited time, this 'demi' version of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers superb trekking from France into Italy, along with a wealth of unforgettable Alpine experiences.


Itinerary

  • airport
  • meet in
  • accommodation
  • route
  • bus
  • cable
  • route
  • transfer
  • Arrival to Geneva Airport and meet your transfer to the Hotel du Bois, Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley, France. Lying beneath the stunning north face of Mont Blanc, the views are amazing from the start!

    As you will be arriving late we have only booked bed and breakfast tonight. We will provide you with comprehensive 'Joining Instuctions' prior to your arrival so that you should have everything that you need prior to your arrival. The hotel bar will be open if you would like a drink upon arrival.

    Any clothing not needed whilst on your walk can be left at the hotel and be collected on your way to Geneva Airport. There are showers at Geneva airport so it's possible to freshen up on your last day prior to your flight.

  • After an early breakfast you will meet your guide for a short briefing and so that you can ask any questions about the days ahead. We begin this world famous hike walking from the hotel door and into Les Houches village at 1000m passing several shops and a bakery on our way to the Bellevue cable car station. We ease into the day making use of the lift and saving our legs 800m to arrive at a wonderful view point high above Chamonix Valley where you can pause for a few minutes to take those essential photos of this magnificent mountain valley.

    This is where the real walk begins! Dropping down to a trail which traverses the mountainside bringing us under the impressive Bionnassay Glacier with the Aiguille de Bionnassay towering above. Crossing the torrent via a suspension bridge, we climb steadily to reach our first ‘Col’ or mountain pass - the Col de Tricot at 2120m (6954ft). At the Col we have stunning views of the snow covered peak of the mighty Dômes de Miage, while below us is the idyllic hamlet of the Refuge de Miage. In the summer months this valley is home to herds of cows, flocks of sheep and usually quite a few horses. We will stop at the historic Refuge de Miage for a welcome drink. The Refuge has been in the Orset family for several generations, and family members played a major part in the French Resistance movement. To complete our day we make a short climb, followed by an easy descent into the traditional alpine village of Les Contamines where we will spend the night at the Hotel le Christiana. Les Contamines has many outdoor shops, a pharmacy, bars and cafes and don't forget swimwear as your hotel has pool!

    Ascent: 837m (2735ft) Descent: 1520m (4985ft) Distance: 15.6km (9.7 miles) Duration: 6h00-6h30

  • Leaving Les Contamines our the Tour du Mont Blanc trail continues along the side of a river to the ancient chapel at Notre Dame de la Gorge. Our trail then takes the tree-lined ‘paved’ Roman road steeply through woodland passing where you definitely feel as though you are following in the footsteps of history. Eventually we leave the forest and enter alpine meadows where the sound of cow-bells welcomes us. Each cow is given a 'tone' and throughout her life she will continue to wear the same bell with the same tone. Our first stop is at the Le Balme refuge, a good place to contemplate the climb to the Col du Bonhomme and enjoy a morning coffee. The route to the Col, which sits at 2469m (8098ft) is a long, steady climb and the pass itself often has snow patches early in the season. Arriving at the Col we have views right into the Beaufortain region and thankfully the climbing is almost over for the day as we traverse round to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme. We then drop steeply down to our remote WIFI free auberge at Les Chapieux. If you need fuel we can always stop for cake at the Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme before our descent!

    Ascent: 1350m (4428ft) Descent: 960m (3148ft) Distance: 19km (11.8 miles) Duration: 7h00-8h00

  • We leave the tiny hamlet of Les Chapieux by road and then pick up the riverside trail to reach the farms of Ville des Glaciers where Bernard, the farmer, is usually on hand to sell us some farm produced cheese. It's great to stop and chat about his Tarine cows who produce milk for famous Beaufort cheese. It really is lovely to be able to talk to the person who has created the local cheese we are sampling. We then stroll along the valley heading for the high point of our day at the Col de la Seigne which sits at  2513m (8242ft). This is a significant Col bordering France and Italy, and it is always tempting to do the classic photo with one leg in France, and the other leg in Italy! We then descend from the Col on a trail that gives superlative views of the infamous Peuterey Ridge on Mont Blanc. This is the hardest and most fearsome route to the summit of the mighty Mont Blanc with over 4500m (14,760ft) of rock climbing. An easy descent takes us past the Rifugio Elizabetta and down into Val Veny. Depending on availability our overnight tonight will either be at the Rifugio Elisabetta or Cabane Combal either option promise a hearty Italian meal, great coffee and fine views of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif.

    Ascent: 1000m (3280ft) Descent: 600m (1968ft) Distance: 18km (11 miles) Duration: 6h00-7h00

  • Leaving our last mountain hut in Val Veny we begin our final climb beneath immense rock walls and ice falls on the south face of Mont Blanc. Our trail first climbs steeply to reach the meadows and lakes of Arp Veille Superior. The higher you climb the more you gain a true impression of the vast scale of these mountains. The height gain is modest today but the undulating nature of the trail can still make this seem a fairly demanding day. Our last pass of the trip is the Col Chécrouit at 1956m where we can stop for a cappucino at the well positioned Rifugio Maison Vieille sat high above Courmayeur. We then begin our final descent, first through the cow meadows and then into the woods to reach the old cobbled streets of Dolonne, and then Courmayeur itself where we plan to stop for a celebratory lunch and obligatory gelato!

    After lunch you will be met by a private taxi to take you from Courmayeur to Geneva. A stop can be made on route to collect any left luggage at the Hotel du Bois in Les Houches.

    The last day of hiking is shorter allowing plenty of time to reach Courmayeur and transfer back to Geneva later in the day. If anyone would prefer not to walk today then there is a public bus available around the mountain to reach Courmayeur, and for anyone looking to saves their knees it's also possible to take a cable car into Courmayeur to save the knees from the last descent.

    Ascent: 600m (1968ft) Descent: 1000m (4232ft) Distance: 11km (7 miles) Duration: 5h00-6h00

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

On all of our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, comfortable, characterful, family run accommodation. 

We take time to research, update and view the best options available to us on every trip. Detailed below are examples of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable at the time of booking we will use alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

The trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. However on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee.

Due to the nature of the accommodation on this particular trip we use small hotels, often in tiny villages, and one remote mountain hut, the Rifugio Bonatti. If you are booking as a couple you can expect to be in a twin or double room, normally with en suite facilities. In some smaller hotels it's possible we may need to share the bathrooms. Depending on availability we may have to use larger rooms for one night at Les Chapieux where accommodation is very limited. At the Rifugio Bonatti we may be able to book bedrooms, rather than dormitory rooms, but this relies on early booking on the trip. Those guests who book first will be allocated rooms when they are available. A single room may be available for solo travellers in the hotels, but will incur a supplement and is dependent on early booking as the number of single rooms is limited. However, it will not be possible to have a single room at the Rifugio Bonatti.

Auberge de la Nova, Chapieux

Auberge

The Auberge La Nova sits at the end of a country road at one of the most remote areas on the Tour of Mont Blanc. It offers simple accommodation and is a very important link for those on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Where possible we book private rooms which are equipped with wash basins,  shared toilets/showers are available on each floor. Alternatively, when availability is limited it might be necessary to book triple rooms or small dormitories for our group here. Accces to luggage is still possible but note that there isn't any WIFI.

Hotel Christiana, Les Contamines

Hotel

Enjoy traditional meals, cozy rooms and the luxury of a pool and garden area in the centre of Les Contamines. The 2* Hotel le Christiana is a low key family run hotel within a few minutes walk of the shops and cafes.

Hotel du Bois, Les Houches

Hotel

The 3* Hotel du Bois is situated in Les Houches close the Bellevue and Prarion cable cars and walking trails making it the perfect location for those hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc. Enjoy excellent buffet style breakfasts, 3-course evenings meals, bar area and indoor pool.


  • Chamonix, France is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane.

    Geneva is the closest international airport, only 1 hour 15 by road which makes shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange.

    A range of travel options to reach the Chamonix valley can be found on the Chamonix Tourist Office website.

    If arriving via Geneva we recommend that you book a seat on a shared transfer which is a door-to-door service to reach your accommodation in the Chamonix Valley. We have included this transfer for you with Haute Pursuit at a preferential tour operator rate.

    Please contact us if you need further advice on your specific travel requirements.

  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity, including helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our 'Terms and Conditions' is below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses, not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc, shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd, or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd, to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres (9840ft), except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m (10,877ft). You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Summer mountain weather in the European Alps can vary considerably, and in this respect it is no different to any mountain environment where the terrain influences the weather and it can change from valley to valley. 

    However, in the summer months it is generally good in the Alps, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially, as with all mountain journeys, you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

    Even in mid-summer we can be faced with overnight snow especially when we have spent the night in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut at higher altitude. 

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • After we have processed your booking we will send you a comprehensive clothing and equipment list that is appropriate to your trip and activity. There will be some items on this list that we strongly recommend and others which are suggested. Our list is based on our experience of what is needed for any particular trip, but it is not the definitive article! If you have items you like to use then do bring them, but be aware of over-loading your 'day' rucksack with items that are heavy and therefore making the trip more challenging.

    Please contact us if in any doubt about what to bring.

  • For each of our trips there is a minimum number of guests required to book before we can 'guarantee' your trip will run. It depends on the particular trip in question, but it is normally 4. The maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our walking, family, and snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. For our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader, and an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    If you have booked on a cross country ski trip you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

  • This classic journey picks out the best of the daily stages and links them by short vehicle transfers. Please be aware this does not mean it is 'easier' than the full ten day version of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The trip takes in the highlights, while leaving out the easier valley walks. Our route will tackle several major pass crossings, such as the Col de Bonhomme, and the Col de la Seigne. We also spend a day on the stunning Mont de la Saxe ridge, followed by a night at the world famous Rifugio Bonatti, dedicated to the legendary Italian photographer and mountaineer, Walter Bonatti.

    This trip is graded 'Difficult'. It is suitable for those of you who consider yourself ‘hill-walkers’, these trips involve longer days at an altitude of up to 2800m (9184ft) on good paths and tracks. A good level of fitness is required as these treks can involve considerable amounts of ascent and descent and the occasional difficult day on rougher paths. There may be an occasional day with ascents/descents of up to 1350m (4428ft). We would expect you to have previous experience of walking on consecutive days in the mountains, and have experience of hiking in bad weather. Expect to walk 5-7 hours per day. 

     

  • We do not include lunches in your trip fee for various reasons. We have found our guests have particular tastes and requirements for 'trail' or 'hill' food and it is better you choose and buy what you require. Buying supplies and trying local specialities is a great way to inter-act with the local people and to practise your language skills. 

    Lunches on our trips are 'picnic' style lunches, in other words you take a packed lunch with sufficient snacks, food and fluid to sustain you throughout your day of activity. If there is the possibility of lunch being taken at a restaurant/farm/cafe beside the trail, your guide/instructor will advise you of this. 

    Each evening you can choose to order a picnic or a sandwich from the hotel, or your guide/instructor will advise you of other options such as a local shop or market and whether you need to purchase items in the evening or if the shop/market is open early enough the next morning not to delay your start. In all cases we would always ask you to settle any 'bill' for lunch or drinks in the evening before you depart, and not on the morning of your last day when there may be a queue.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.

  • Food

    On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free.

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water which is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    UK residents should obtain and bring with them the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

  • Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. These are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging other companies to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of one of our partners. 

    We guarantee that companies with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally they may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee, will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2020

Spaces available Book

What's Included

  • The guiding services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • 1 night bed and breakfast hotel accommodation, based on two people sharing
  • 1 night half board hotel accommodation: breakfast and dinner, based on two people sharing
  • 2 nights half board auberge accommodation: breakfast and dinner, based on three or four people sharing
  • Return airport transfers from Geneva to Les Houches, from Courmayeur to Geneva with a stop at the Hotel du Bois
  • Bellevue cable car from Les Houches at the start of the walk
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Transfers and cable cars which are not part of the itinerary such as the bus and cable car on the last day
  • Lunches; we find that our guests enjoy buying local food, or you can order a picnic from our accommodation
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Grade: Intermediate

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At a Glance

From Price £825
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 5 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 2670m (8757ft)
Countries Visited Italy, France
Meet In Chamonix, France
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Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
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