The Classic Trek through France, Italy and Switzerland in 6 Just Days!
Limited in vacation time? Try our "express" version of our classic Tour du Mont Blanc! It's four fewer days of hiking, but the breathtaking scenery, cultural attractions, and outstanding cuisine (especially our popular gourmet picnic lunches!) remain unmatched. Having led trips to the Alps for over four decades has given us more than our fair share of bias, but the Tour du Mont Blanc is one of our favorite itineraries. Mont Blanc is Western Europe’s highest and most iconic peak, and its idyllic views can inspire even the most jaded traveler. Travelling through France, Italy and Switzerland, you’ll wander up ancient trails through tall forests and grassy meadows, past enormous waterfalls and glaciers, and through charming hamlets in the shadow of some of the most awe-inspiring peaks in the world. While undoubtedly one of our more rigorous treks, the Tour du Mont Blanc never ceases to charm with days full of clinking cowbells, colorful wildflowers, mountain wildlife and genuine alpine hospitality.
6 days moderate to strenuous hiking (max. elev. 8,300')
- Trek the classic circuit of the Mont Blanc massif—a “must-do” for every hiker—in only 6 days!
- Explore an earthly paradise spanning three countries, three cultures, and three cuisines
- Enjoy mountain hospitality, hearty alpine fare, and the expertise of dedicated MTS guides
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Geneva End Location: GenevaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive, Transfer to Chamonix, France
Arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland. You will be picked up promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a group transfer by private van 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.
NOTE—We encourage you to arrive in Geneva or Chamonix a day or so early. This allows you to begin the trek well rested and gives you a chance to do a bit of sightseeing that isn’t on the itinerary. Information about booking extra hotel nights will be sent after you sign up for the trip.
Day 2 : Les Houches to Les Contamines (France)
Starting in nearby Les Houches, we climb in the forest, passing beautiful mountain farmhouses, and continue through the woods to the small pass of Bellevue overlooking the Chamonix Valley; in the other directions we see the hanging glaciers of the Bionnassay and Mont Blanc. Then it’s down through the thickly wooded hillside and typical alpine hamlets to the charming small town of Les Contamines (3,829'), a traditional mountain village with picturesque wooden chalets and a fine old church. (7 hours hiking ~ approx. 10 miles ~ 2,500' ascent/2,800' descent.)
Day 3 : Hike the Roman Road to Les Chapieux (France)
Today we make a long ascent on an old Roman road to the Plan des Dames, before the last ascent to the Col du Bonhomme (7,641') and Croix du Bonhomme (8,100') for lunch. In the afternoon, we hike downhill on a grassy trail to Les Chapieux (5,080'). Along the way we may see some recently reintroduced ibex and lots of marmots and beautiful wildflowers. (7 hours hiking ~ approx. 12 miles ~ 4,200' ascent/3,000' descent.)
Day 4 : The Vallée des Glaciers to Courmayeur (Italy)
We 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. Our dinner tonight is in town. (6 hours hiking ~ approx. 10 miles ~ 2,300' ascent/2,700' descent.)
Day 5 : Courmayeur to Champex (Switzerland)
We transfer 15 minutes to where we begin our walk up a nice 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 25 minutes by van through the Swiss Val Ferret with its forests and fields of wildflowers 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.)
Day 6 : Champez to Col de la Forclaz (Switzerland)
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.)
Day 7 : Back to Chamonix (France)
We transfer 15 minutes to our starting point to Le Col De Montets (4,800'), then 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'). Festive farewell dinner with the group. (5 hours hiking ~ approx. 8 miles ~ 2,700' ascent/1,500' descent.)
Day 8 : Return to Geneva - Fly Home!
Transfer to the Geneva airport. There will be one group departure for the airport at 8:30 a.m.* 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.
*Due to Switzerland’s commercial transportation laws, we are only able to provide one group taxi service to the Geneva Airport on Day 8, included in the cost of your trip. This transfer will be at 8:30 a.m. and will arrive at the Geneva Airport at 10:00 a.m. Private transfers can be arrange at an additional cost, and range between 43 Euros to 275 Euros (shared/solo).
DATES: Best time to go: June - September Departures: Jun 14 - 21, 2015 Jul 12 - 19, 2015 Aug 2 - 9, 2015 Sep 6 - 13, 2015
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 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...
Auberge de la NovaLes Chapieux, France
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.
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 …
Hotel du Col de La ForclazTrient, Switzerland
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.