Choose challenging hikes or leisurely activities each day, it's Mont Blanc for everyone!
Finally, the Tour du Mont Blanc for couples and friends with differing ideas of how to have fun! After years of observing hundreds of couples and friends traveling together on our classic Tour du Mont Blanc hiking adventure, we've designed a trip that allows you to travel together, dine together, and wake up each morning together—with the flexibility of two distinct daytime options for strenuous hiking or leisurely touring. Each day, you'll decide between the challenging hikes of the famous Tour du Mont Blanc, or enjoy a day of fully-guided easy to moderate activities including light hiking, touring, shopping, spa visits, museum visits, and more! At the end of the day, return to the same hotel as the rest of your group for lively conversations over dinner and in the delight of experiencing three countries—France, Italy and Switzerland—together, but with your choice of activities during the day.
10 days of strenuous hiking, easy-to-moderate hiking, touring, glacier walks, spa visits, shopping (all activities are optional)
- It's your choice: Hike the challenging trails Tour du Mont Blanc or be a tourist!
- Breathtaking scenery, charming hotels, and delicious regional cuisine at night
- Experience France, Switzerland, Italy, no matter which option you choose
- Easier options include exploring villages; visit to Aguille du Midi, the Beaufort cheese factory, painting exhibits, Pré St Didier spa and more!
- Hikers enjoy a 10-day circuit of the Mont Blanc massif, across three international borders on challenging trails
- MTS is the only company to offer this dual-activity adventure!
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Geneva End Location: GenevaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Geneva, transfer to Chamonix
Arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland. You will be picked up promptly at 2:00 pm for a group transfer by private bus to the mountain-ringed resort town of Chamonix, France. We suggest you arrive early enough (by 1:00 p.m.) to allow time to get through customs and immigration before the scheduled pickup. The transfer takes approximately 1½ hours, and once at the hotel, you'll have time to rest a bit or explore the town before orientation. After meeting the guides and the rest of the group, we will have a delicious welcome dinner at the fine restaurant at your hotel.
Day 2 : Chamonix
NOTE – On the following days, the group will divide into two groups. One group will hike the classic Tour du Mont Blanc, and the other will enjoy leisurely activities. Both groups will meet again in the later afternoon for cocktails and dinner, and will sleep at the same hotels.
Hiking group: In 1741, the first tourists to Chamonix were transported to Montenvers on the backs of mules in order to admire the glaciers. Today, most travellers take a bright red cog train up the steep slopes to reach the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), the second-largest glacier in the Alps. We begin our hike from the hotel (3,300'), crossing the town of Chamonix and entering the forest. We'll ascend a steep trail passing the Blaitiere farm to reach the “Grand Balcon,” from where we have a fabulous view of the Chamonix Aiguilles towering above us. We'll traverse below these towering peaks toward the Montenvers railway sitting high above the Mer de Glace glacier. We may see alpinists on the glacier. Return to Chamonix by the cog railway. Dinner on your own. (5-6 hours hiking ~ approx. 6-8 miles ~ 4,000' elevation gain)
Touring group: We'll visit of the town of Chamonix, stroll through its streets and discover the rich history of the village that became a famous ski and hiking resort. In the afternoon, we'll be lifted to Montenvers by cog railway, visit the massive glacier, and explore the ice cave. Here, we will also meet with the rest of the group and descend together to Chamonix.
Day 3 : Chamonix to Les Houches
Hiking group: We'll hike from the hotel to the start of the trail, beneath the Aiguilles Rouges, along the Petit Balcon to Merlet (4,921'), where we'll have magnificent views of the north face and glaciers of Mont Blanc. We traverse to Coupeau, then make an easy descent to the village of Les Houches (3,200'). (5-6 hours hiking ~ approx. 10 miles ~ 2,000' ascent/descent)
Touring group: In the morning, we'll visit to the famous Aiguille du Midi, the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, lifting you to the viewing station at 12,600 feet. From here, the summit of Mont Blanc appears to be only a stone's throw away, and you can watch the climbers making their ascent. Afterwards, we'll enjoy an easy to moderate hike above Les Houches in Samoteux (2 hours), overlooking the valley, and always facing the grandiose Mont Blanc massif.
Day 4 : Les Houches to Les Contamines or Baroque Trail
Hiking group: Leaving Les Houches, we hike into the forest passing beautiful mountain farmhouses, and continue through the woods to the small pass of Bellevue overlooking the Chamonix Valley; in other directions we see the hanging glaciers of the Bionnassay and Mont Blanc. Then it’s down through the thickly wooded hillside and alpine hamlets to the charming small town of Les Contamines (3,829'), a traditional unspoiled French village with picturesque wooden chalets and old churches. (7 hours hiking ~ approx. 10 miles ~ 2,500' ascent, 2,800' descent.)
Touring group: In the morning we'll transfer to St Gervais, where we'll explore the Sentier du Baroque, or Baroque Trail. Here, several remarkable churches and chapels of the Barocco style all run along the Val Montjoie. Afterwards, we'll transfer to Les Contamines. (3.5 hours easy walking, or option to transfer by vehicle instead)
Day 5 : Savoie and Beaufortain or Beauforst Cheese Factory
Hiking group: This morning, explore the baroque chapel of Notre Dame de la Gorge, a centuries-old pilgrimage site, and then connect to the ancient Roman route used for centuries by mountain travelers. Hike through evergreens, wildflowers, and the marmot-populated fields of Les Contamines Nature Reserve. After climbing up to the Col du Bonhomme, follow a trail along a wide ridge to Beaufortin region. At the end of the descent, we’ll transfer to Bourg St. Maurice. (7 hours hiking ~ approx. 12 miles ~ 4,200' ascent, 3,000' descent)
Touring group: We'll transfer to Beaufort in the morning, where we enjoy a guided visit of the Beaufort cheese factory. We'll then transfer to the Roselend Dam, have lunch at a local hut, then explore the local cheese products, tasting along the way. In the afternoon, we'll enjoy a light hike by the lake, to work off all that cheese, then transfer to Les Chapieux. (1.5 - 2 hours of easy hiking)
Day 6 : Into Italy!
Hiking group: We'll transfer 15 minutes to the end of the “Vallée des Glaciers,” enjoying a relatively easy hike over the Col de la Seigne (8,245'). Here the views of Mont Blanc are Himalayan in scale, as the mountain rises in a breathtaking abruptness from the Veny Valley to the summit 10,000 feet above. We then make a descent into Italy to Lac Combal and Visaille. Transfer to Courmayeur (3,800'), situated beneath the Grand Jorasses and Brenva Glacier, where we spend the night in a hotel. Dinner tonight is in town. (6 hours hiking ~ approx. 10 miles ~ 2,300' ascent, 2,700' descent)
Touring group: We'll start with a transfer to Bourg St Maurice. Here we'll visit the Filaterie Arpin, where the famous Bonneval fabric is produced, an all time favorite material among alpine climbers. In the afternoon, we'll drive across the Petit St. Bernard Pass and along the Franco-Italian border to the hospice, where we'll have an introduction to its history. We'll also visit nearby archeological sites before transferring to Courmayeur.
Day 7 : Courmayeur to La Vachey or Pré St. Didier
Hiking group: Today’s beautiful walk is along the side of the mountain with fabulous views of Mont Blanc, which appears opposite us as we climb the trail. Hanging glaciers and glacial moraines are on the menu for the day! The trail takes us through larch and alder where it’s possible to see deer and chamois. Continue ascending to the Rifugio Bonnatti with its unforgettable views. We descend the steep trail to the valley floor and continue to La Vachey (4,500'). (5 hours hiking ~ approx. 7-8 miles ~ 2,500' ascent, 1,500' descent)
Touring group: After breakfast, we'll visit Courmayeur and visit Pré St. Didier hot baths and spas. In the afternoon, we'll enjoy an easy hike along the Val Ferret towards Lavachey. (1-2 hours easy hiking)
Day 8 : Into Switzerland!
Hiking group: After a 10-minute transfer, we begin up a scenic trail past the spectacular Glacier de Pre-de-Bar with Mont Dolent above. This is the meeting point of the borders with France, Italy, and Switzerland. Cross the Grand Col Ferret (8,300') to enter Switzerland, and descend to the scenic village of La Fouly (5,280'), located beneath the Glacier de l’A Neuve. Transfer by van to Champex (4,808'), a small lake resort that features typical Swiss-style chalets and charming gardens. (5-6 hours hiking ~ approx. 9 miles ~ 2,500' ascent, 3,100' descent)
Touring group: In the morning, we'll transfer to Aosta, the Little Rome of the Alps. We'll spend the first part of our day exploring this charming town, then continue on to Switzerland via the Grand St Bernard Pass. Our destination is Champex, and we'll stop along the way to visit an old military fort beside the lake.
Day 9 : Champez to Col de la Forclaz
Hiking group: The classic route of the Tour du Mont Blanc takes the Bovine route. An hour and a half of easy walking followed by a rapid ascent in the forest brings us high over the Rhône Valley and the town of Martigny. You will not be disappointed with this fabulous view! An easy descent brings us to the Col de Forclaz (3,900'). (6 hours hiking~ approx. 12 miles ~ 2,400' ascent, 2,300' descent)
Touring option: We'll start with an easy hike along the lake of Champex, then visit the nearby botanical gardens. In the afternoon, we'll transfer to the town of Martigny, where we will visit of the Museum Giannada Foundation, which hosts a very famous painter's exhibition each year. After enjoying the museum, we'll drive on to the Col de la Forclaz.
Day 10 : Col de la Forclaz to Vallorcine Valley
Hiking group: The trail climbs steeply through the forest on an old smuggler’s path to the border with France. Here there is a simply wonderful view of the Mont Blanc massif with the Chamonix valley stretched out in front of us. We will make our way down to the Vallorcine Valley east of Chamonix and and to our hotel in Argentière. (5-6 hours hiking ~ approx. 10 miles ~ 2,900' ascent, 2,650' descent)
Touring group: After breakfast, we'll transfer to the Emosson Dam which offers an incredible panoramic view of magnificent Mont Blanc range. Here, we'll enjoy a nice hike around the lake, then visit the nearby village of Finhaut, before driving on to our hotel.
Day 11 : Back to Chamonix!
Hiking group: From Le Col De Montets (4,800') we will hike to Les Cheserys (7,130'), enjoying views of the Le Tour and Argentiere glaciers, and all the Mont Blanc range. After rejoining the Grand Balcon Route and La Flégère, we descend to Chamonix (3,300') (5 hours hiking ~ approx. 8 miles ~ 2,700' ascent, 1,500' descent)
Touring group: We'll start with a drive to the Col des Montets. Along the way, we'll stop at the Nature Reserve Visitors Center, and visit the village of Le Tour and Argentière. Afterwards, we'll enjoy an easy hike along the Petit Balcon towards Chamonix, which offfers outstanding views for all.
Tonight, we'll all enjoy a festive farewell dinner in Chamonix with all trip members.
Day 12 : Return to Geneva - Fly home!
Transfer to the Geneva airport. There will be one group departure for the airport at 8:30 am.* Please schedule your flight after 11:00 a.m. for inter-European destinations, after 12:00 p.m. for all transcontinental destinations. If you would like to depart earlier or later, the transfer is on your own.
DATES: Best time to go: August - September Departures: Aug 24, 2014 - Sep 4, 2014
Hotel Les AiglonsChamonix
Five minutes from the town centre, at the foot of the Midi summit, three star Les Aiglons Resort & Spa has undergone a full renovation.
Resolutely contemporary whilst breaking down the barriers of traditional mountain resort hotels, three star Les Aiglons Resort & Spa has undergone an audacious redesign and decoration, with warm and modern colours, natural materials, glass and light…
Hotel du BoisLes Houches, France
A warm, welcoming atmosphere and individual service makes the Hotel & Chalet du Bois a place that feels like home. We welcome you with a smile and offer you quality service, where the little things matter. A peaceful retreat to get away from the noise and stress of big cities.
Hotel La ChemenazLes Contamines-Montjoie, France
La Chemenaz chalet hotel is located in the french alps, in the Haute-Savoie at Les Contamines-Montjoie village resort (Village 1,100m - highest skiing 2487m), very close to the Lay ski lifts, which lead to the whole of the Contamines-Hauteluce ski domain.
All the comfort, services, and the specific hotel location to spend one of the best stay at Les Contamines-Montjoie, in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif country, in wintertime or summertime as well...
Hotel du Col de La ForclazTrient, Switzerland
Hotel Glacier and Sporting
Today, Isabelle and Yves Biselx continue the family hotel tradition and look forward with pleasure to receiving you! The fifth generation with their three sons, Adrien, Térence et Timothée, seems well prepared to assure the future.
The Hotel du Glacier and the family Biselx a happy couple for over 100 years. Therefore, don't miss to visit us, we'll tell you a lovely story …
The ancient residence of the Berthod and De Morò families, Hotel Berthod is owned and run as a family establishment, and guests can expect a customized welcome. Just steps away from Courmayeur's main street, outfitted with indoor spa facilities and cozy, personalized rooms.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Laurent Langoisseur hails from Normandy, France, having grown up in Argentan (a small village that became famous in August 1944, “tournai sur dives”). At the age of 12, Laurent read La Grande Crevasse by Roger Frison-Roche, and became fascinated by the guiding and climbing descriptions of the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area. At 16, Laurent visited the area and was hooked. At 19, Laurent joined the French alpine troops, and after a year of service, moved to Chamonix. In 1991, he obtained his European Mountain Leader certification, and in 1995 he was awarded the coveted patch of the Compagnie des Guides. An avid sports enthusiast and inexhaustible hiker, Laurent has hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc close to 100 times. He is also an accomplished mountaineer, having summited Mont Blanc three times, as well as several other mountains over 13,000-feet. When he is not hiking and climbing, Laurent can be found running long distances for fun. Laurent recently completed a 48-mile race in 6 hours; and has also finished 48 miles in 9 hours with 10,000’ of ascent/descent. Laurent has been guiding for MTS since 1995, and is a senior guide on our Tour du Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc Express, Mont Blanc to Matterhorn (Haute Route), GR5, Gran Paradiso, and French Riviera trips, as well as any other trip we can get him on! His knowledge of the culture, history, plants, birds, and the name of every single peak and glacier along the trail is a wonderful complement to his guiding skills. When he isn’t guiding for us, he teaches First Aid and Mountain Rescue to mountain and hiking guides; and during the winter, he’s a ski patrol monitor in the mountains above Chamonix.
Stéphane is a true man of the mountains, with a Savoyard father and Swiss mother. He grew up in Chamonix, then left the valley to follow his first love, architecture. But the call of the wild proved too strong: numerous travels in North Africa, Siberia, and the Himalaya opened a new door to him—the profession of hiking guide. Nowadays Stéphane lives in a chalet in Chamonix from where he escapes frequently to travel the mountain areas of the world. “Steph” has now been a member of the Compagnie des Guides for many years, with over 100 trips to the Alps under his belt.
A native of Chamonix, Florence is a descendant from two of the area’s oldest families. After growing up in the Chamonix Valley, “Flo” spent several years in the south of France, and then traveled abroad to South America and Asia. She returned to her ancestral home, where the mountains now form an integral part of her life. She has led nearly 50 trips to the Alps, not counting how many times she has done this trip for her own fun! In addition to being an accomplished hiking guide, Flo is a skier and climber. As a member of the Compagnie des Guides, she follows in the footsteps of her forefathers.
Beatrice is a native of Chamonix, France, and has been guiding professionally in the Alps since 1989. She comes from a family of mountain climbers. Her grandfather was also a professional mountain guide. Aside from being an expert hiking guide, Beatrice is also an avid climber and accomplished skier, and is a ski instructor during the winter months. She loves the mountains, and will share her enthusiasm and her great experience with you during your trip.
Native from Chamonix, Fabienne comes from a family of mountaineers and farmers. Her grandfather was a recognized mountain guide. A former cross-country ski champion, she raced in several Europa Cups, and has been coaching the Chamonix cross-country Ski Club for the last 20 years. Very involved in the city life, she has a passion for the history of the valley and the surrounding mountains. A guide since 1993, she is also keen in botany and proud to share her love and knowledge of the Mont-Blanc massif.