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Tour du Mont Blanc Hotel Trek

from $4,149.00

Walk the classic circuit through France, Switzerland and Italy

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 14
All about the Tour du Mont Blanc Hotel Trek.

For those who like to enjoy the comfort of a bed every night we offer the Mont Blanc circuit as a fully accommodated walking holiday, with all nights spent in a variety of lodgings from family run 2 and 3-star hotels to basic inns or pensions. Again keeping to the ideal duration to complete the full route, we include 10 walking days and 3 rest days, in which time we cross the borders of Switzerland, Italy and France and enjoy unrivalled views of the Alps and Mont Blanc itself. The itinerary is essentially the same as on the camping version (trip code TWB); with your qualified International Mountain Leader (IML) guiding the way you still complete the famous circuit, and your baggage is transported for you by our support vehicle, but we offer the comfort of a bed in quaint, picturesque accommodations on route so you can enjoy your walking holiday in comfort. In most places we use a hotel for just one night, before moving on the next day, occasionally we settle in for a few nights and use local transport to take us to the next point of the circuit.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches, 12 hotel/restaurant dinners
* 14 nights hotels/pensions/village inns
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout (IML qualified)
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (not available on this tour, twin share only)

Highlights

  • Stay in a variety of small, friendly hotels and pensions
  • Walk in the shadow of Western Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc
  • Enjoy the spectacular scenery of this world-famous route
  • No camping
  1. Day 1 Start Chamonix.

    In the evening there is an introductory briefing by your leader.**

  2. Day 2 Follow Grand Balcon Sud, excellent views of Mont Blanc; return to Chamonix.

    From Chamonix  (1035m – 3400ft) we take a gondola to Plan Praz (2000m – 6560ft). The trail today is named the ’Grand Balcon Sud’ and is a must do trek for anyone visiting the area. The trail contours on the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc and has excellent views of the whole massif lying to the south. We walk from Plan Praz to Flegere (1,900m – 6230ft) and onwards to Montroc (1370m – 4500ft) where we finish our day. If timings allow we will climb to the picturesque lac des Cheserys (2200m 7220ft). This walk has been amended from our previously advertised walk that brought us up the cable car to Flegere from where we then walked to Lac Blanc. The Flegere cable car is being renovated during summer 2019. This amended trek is a little longer than the original and is equally beautiful.8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 380m – 1250ft up, 1050m – 3450ft down

  3. Day 3 Over Col de Balme into Switzerland; night at Col de la Forclaz.

    We travel back to Montroc at the top of the Chamonix valley where we begin our ascent to the Aiguillette de Posettes (2201m – 7200ft), descend a little and then climb towards the Col de Balme (2191m – 7190ft) from where we follow one of the paths across the border from France to Switzerland. Excellent views all morning of Aiguille d’Argentière and Aiguille du Tour and its glacier. After lunch we walk through to the small Swiss hamlet of Trient (1296m – 4250ft). Good views of the Trient Glacier. A sting in the tail today as we finish with a steep climb from Trient to our hotel at the Col de la Forclaz (1527m – 5010ft).8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 1190m/3900ft up, 1060m/3466ft down

  4. Day 4 Follow Bovine Route to Champex.

    We leave the Col de la Forclaz, where we can look directly down into the Rhône valley and the Swiss town of Martigny and follow an historic path used to take the cows to high pasture, the ’Bovine route’ (2049m – 6720ft). Our trail takes us through meadows and high alpine pastures before we descend to the charming town of Champex (1486m – 4880ft) set beside a picturesque alpine lake.7.5 hours walking, 680m – 2230ft up, 720m – 2360ft down

  5. Day 5 Head up the Val Ferret to La Fouly.

    Now on the east side of the main Mont Blanc Massif we walk south, descending through woods to the Val Ferret and on to Issert (1055m – 3460ft) and other small, pretty, alpine farming villages. This is quite a good day for flowers, including orchids. We continue up the valley to the remote village La Fouly (1600m – 5250ft). This is at the foot of Mont Dolent, whose summit is at the meeting point of France, Switzerland and Italy.6 hours walking, 440m – 1450ft down, 540m – 1780ft up

  6. Day 6 Follow river La Drance; climb to the highest point of the tour at Grand Col Ferret and into Italy. Overnight at La Palud.

    Still following the same valley and the river ’La Drance’, we climb to the ’Grand Col Ferret’ (2537m – 8320ft), the highest pass of the tour. Now in Italy, the valley is also called ’Val Ferret’. The mountain views from the Col are stunning with the Grandes Jorasses dominating the scene. We walk down the valley to Arp Nouva (1770m – 5800ft) then travel by bus to our hotel in La Palud near Courmayeur. (BLD)7 hours walking, 970m – 3180ft up, 800m – 2600ft down

  7. Day 7 Rest day.

    The nearby ex-spa towns of Courmayeur and Entrèves have picturesque older sections, which are worth a visit, especially for the keen photographer. There is a cable car from Entrèves to Point Helbronner (3461m – 11350ft) and on across the glacier to Aiguille du Midi (and in fact on down to Chamonix). This is a splendid (optional) excursion, which gives close-up views of all the big peaks. Alternatively you might wish to relax and recover in the Spa bathes at Pre Saint Didier a short bus ride from Courmayeur.

  8. Day 8 Climb to Bonatti refuge and traverse high above the spectacular Ferret Valley around Mont de la Saxe to Courmayeur.

    We start with a short bus ride to pick up the TMB and from the road (1675m – 5500ft) climb up to the Bonatti refuge (2025m – 6640ft). Today we follow beautiful contouring path around Mont de la Saxe to Courmayeur. The views of the south Mont Blanc massif are exceptional as are those of the towering, cliffy peak of the ’Grandes Jorasses’ and the glaciers which crowd the northern flank of the Val Ferret. In the afternoon we have a long, steep descent to Courmayeur (1230m – 4030m) where we can enjoy a delicious ice cream before taking a short bus ride back to our hotel.8 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc.  500m – 1640ft up, 900m 4400ft down

  9. Day 9 Cross the Col de la Seigne back to France, descend through la Ville des Glaciers to Les Chapieux.

    Today we are heading for the Val Veny and the start of our walk at La Vissaille (1660m – 5450ft). We’ll reach this by bus to then start climb gently along good paths beneath the massive glacier de Miage and pass Lac Combal before the gradient becomes steeper as we follow the old Roman road and head for today’s pass: the ’Col de la Seigne’ (2516m – 8250ft), which marks our re-entry into France. A fairly steep descent brings us through la Ville des Glaciers (1789m – 5870ft) and finally after quite a long walking day to Les Chapieux (1553m – 5090ft), a small remote hamlet inhabited only during the summer months.8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 870m – 2840ft up, 970m – 3180ft down

  10. Day 10 Ascend to Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, then contour across to the Col du Bonhomme.

    We have now reached the southwest corner of the circuit and turn north to climb once again. First we make a steep sustained climb to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2478m – 8130ft) and then contour around to the Col du Bonhomme (2328m – 7640ft). We then start the proper descent on a steep path, through meadows and over a Roman bridge and finally to the village of Les Contamines (1180m – 5900ft). A short bus ride down the valley takes us to the pretty village of St Gervais, the perfect place for a day off.8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 930m – 3050ft up, 1340m – 4400ft down

  11. Day 12 Over Col de Tricot to the Chamonix Valley; overnight at Les Houches.

    Today is a challenging day with plenty of ups and downs. From St Gervais we have a 10 min transfer to re-join our route before ascending to the Chalets de Miage (1560m – 5120ft). From here we take a trail that climbs steeply to the Col de Tricot (2119m – 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 – 5418ft) where we re-enter the Chamonix Valley and make our final descent to the village of Les Houches (993m – 3225ft).8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 1200m – 3980ft up, 1370m – 4500ft down

  12. Day 13 Best views of Mont Blanc today; long ascent to the Brevent, descend to Chamonix.

    We cross to the north side of the Chamonix Valley and climb steeply through pine forest and then on open mountainsides to reach the high point of the day at Brevent (2525m – 8290ft). This is a long walking day but will probably afford the best views of the French side of Mont Blanc and its neighbouring peaks that we shall have on the whole trek. We descend to Plan Praz (1970m – 6460ft) and take the cable car to Chamonix (1061m) for a well-deserved beer.7.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 1500m – 4921ft up, 520m – 1690ft down

  13. Day 14 Free day in Chamonix.

    Free day in and around Chamonix. There are several good walks in the Chamonix valley. Chamonix itself is also a great place to spend a day. The most popular excursions, weather depending, would be the spectacular ascent by cable car to the Aiguille du Midi or the Montenvers cog railway.

  14. Day 15 End Chamonix.

    **

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Where you stay

Hotels, Pensions, Inns & Auberges

Throughout the trek we use long-established family run 2 or 3-star hotels, except for 3 nights where we use local auberges. One of the hotels has a Jacuzzi and sauna for guests. Most of the hotels 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.

Please be aware that room sizes (twin, double or triple rooms) and facilities will vary from hotel to hotel and sometimes from room to room within one hotel. On 11 of the nights facilities are en suite whilst the others have the possibility, depending on availability and group size, of shared bathroom and toilet facilities ‘on the landing’. Couples will always have their own room but we cannot say whether this will be twin or double. Very occasionally a room will have bunk beds. Single clients must be prepared to share with one or occasionally two other members of the same sex. We are unable to accept bookings for single rooms due to the small size of the hotels used and the fact that we are usually staying only one night in each hotel. The Auberge does not provide soap and you may wish to bring a towel, as those provided by continental hotels are sometimes small. On rare occasions the group may be split over two different accommodations but these will be of the same standard and within walking distance.

Eating and Drinking

Included in the trip are all breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches and 12 hotel/restaurant dinners. On free days 7, 11, 14 and both transfer days lunch is not provided. On the free days 7 and 14 dinner is also not included and needs to be bought locally. We take our evening meals in the hotel in which we are staying or in a nearby restaurant. These meals are usually arranged as a ‘menu’ for the whole group and as they are based on special negotiations made by us represent better value than eating independently. Please note that should the times of flights change to arrive earlier, or depart later, additional meals will not be included. Please also note that no refund will be given for meals not taken or taken other than where designated.

Typical Meals

Continental Breakfast: Will normally include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, French bread, croissant and conserves.

Picnic-Style Lunch: Generally include bread, cold meat, cheese, tinned fish, fresh salad vegetables and fresh fruit.

Evening meal: 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. Beer, wine, bottled water, other drinks, coffee or tea are not included in the price of evening meals taken in restaurants.

Vegetarians: We happily cater for vegetarians but please inform us at the time of booking.

If you take a vegan diet you should expect that variety of food may be limited whilst on this trip. As this kind of diet is relatively uncommon in this region we cannot guarantee that the hotels and restaurants will provide meals that have the necessary variety to be considered satisfying when on a more restricted diet.

Drinks: Please note that drinks are not included and you will be expected to pay directly for any wine/tea/coffee taken at dinner.

This trip is graded Activity Level 4 (moderate/challenging) – it involves 10 days of walking; 2 days at a Moderate level and 8 days at a Challenging level. Most of the days are long, quite often involving an ascent of 900-1200m (or 3000 – 4000 feet), equivalent to 3 to 4 hours walking uphill, followed by a similar descent. Although the paths are well maintained there are sections that are rough underfoot. On day 2 there are 2 metal ladders to descend en route from Lac Blanc, these are secured against the rock, consist of approximately 12 steps and are not difficult to climb. The route throughout is non-technical however we will be walking mountain paths throughout and this trip is not advised for severe vertigo sufferers.

Please be aware on days 6 and 8 we take a short bus transfer to avoid trekking on busy roads.

Most people trek the TMB anti clockwise. From years of experience we have discovered that trekking the route clockwise allows for quieter trails and avoids a tough ascent of the first couple of days. The views and walks are still just as beautiful in this direction.

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. A Challenging graded day would be equivalent to walking up Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis in the UK and take between 3 to 5 hours of walking up hill and up to 9 hours in total depending on the pace. We recommend that you make a special effort to get in good physical condition for the trip.

If you are unable to walk during the itinerary and want to opt out of a day, please take note that this can sometimes be a little tricky dependent on where on the circuit you are. To reach the next point you will need to take a public bus (which run at limited times) or taxi (which can be expensive when in a more remote location). Our support vehicle is not suitable for taking passengers so please be aware of this when deciding to book this trip.

All ascents, descents and walking distances listed below are approximates. We have decided the most accurate method is to map the routes carefully using google earth. That said it is impossible to obtain a completely true figure of the distances walked. Regarding GPS – due to the inherent inaccuracies of defining an exact waypoint with a GPS and the cumulative overall inaccuracy this causes, you may find that our distances and GPS distances you obtain on trek with your personal GPS/phone, may differ by quite a margin. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Your main luggage will be transported for you between accommodations but please note that you will be expected to carry this to your room.

Please note: On this trip it is essential to have helicopter evacuation cover within your travel insurance.

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