Every turn on the Tour du Mont Blanc brings you to a different landscape, a different experience — from lush Alpine meadows to snowy glaciers. The ten-day-long trek allows you to have a glimpse of the beauty of European terrain at close quarters, as you travel through little hamlets and villages of France, Italy and Switzerland; right up to the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the continent. Here’s what you can expect on this incredible adventure through the heart of Europe.
Day 1: A Scenic Beginning
Arrive at Chamonix: The Tour du Mont Blanc is 170 kilometres long with 10,000 metres of ascent. The trek begins in the picturesque town of Chamonix, France. The first day is all about relaxing, taking in the sights and indulging in some traditional Alpine specialties such as Raclette and cheese fondues, paired with the best of wines.
Day 2: Stay In Medieval Farmhouses
Chamonix-Mont Blanc/Les Contamines-Montjoie:
Travel to Les Houches, just south of Chamonix, where the spectacular views of the valley simply open up. In some stretches, tips of snowy mountains emerge from behind wispy clouds. You could take a cable car ride to Bellevue, from where, on a clear day, you can enjoy views of the Chamonix valley. A hike to Les Contamines, through pine-scented woodlands, brings you to shaky suspension bridges before entering into vast breezy meadows. At Les Contamines-Montjoie, there are numerous bed-and-breakfast options, housed in medieval farmhouses.
Day 3: Challenging Terrain
Les Contamines-Montjoie/Les Chapieux:
The third day marks the steep ascent to Col Du Bonhomme, followed by a hike to the Croix du Bonhomme, where you can stop for lunch. Spectacular views of the Vallee des Chapieux greet the eye. Descend to Les Chapieux. Steep routes and rough terrain en route can prove to be a challenge to the trekkers.
Day 4: Rendezvous With The Mont Blanc Massif
This stage begins with a climb and then swift descent to Rifugio Elisabetta. Open pastures and snowy vistas brings you to the Italian border at the Col de la Seigne. Picturesque glacier lakes await at Val Veni, after which you need to embark on a 45-minute descent to the little hamlet of La Visaille. En route, the Mont Blanc massif is revealed in all its splendour. Take a bus or taxi to the town of Courmayeur, Italy.
Day 5: Italian Fiesta
This bustling town has a noticeably Italian feel and ideal for a day of relaxation and sightseeing. Opt for a rejuvenating spa experience of partake of a feast at any of the atmospheric restaurants in Courmayeur and enjoy rustic Italian dishes like ravioli, lamb racks and genepi, paired with digestifs and wines.
Day 6: Rewarding Views
Get set for a steep climbing experience up to Rifugio Bertone. The challenging ascent is rewarded by some spectacular views of the Mont Blanc massif. A hike along the Mont de la Saxe is followed by a picnic lunch in the meadows and a descent to Rifugio Bonatti, overlooking Val Ferret.
Day 7: Cosy Stays In Switzerland
Val Ferret/La Fouly:
Bid Italy adieu and make your way towards Switzerland. There are no dramatic challenges on this route, but there are delightful climbs through bilberry, larch and alpenrose. Descend onto the hamlet of Ferret in Switzerland and take a bus ride to the village of Praz de Fort. Typical to Swiss landscapes; lush green meadows and meandering rivers leads you up to La Fouly, where you can kick your boots off and relax at one of the many cosy hotels and resorts.
Day 8: The Trek Gets Technical
Follow the “Bovine Way”, an age-old route filled with Alpine flowers to head downhill to Trient. This is when the trek gets technical, you have to negotiate long, steep uphill and downhill routes. There is an alternative route, which will take you through Fenetre d’Arpette, and involves walking through high, rocky terrain, which could prove tougher than the “Bovine Way”.
Day 9: The Final Lap
Move out of Switzerland towards the Chamonix valley, through large forests and alpine slopes. This is the last stretch of the trek. Wrap it up with the downhill descent into the Chamonix valley.
Day 10: It’s A Wrap
This is the final part of the Tour du Mont Blanc, which leads through rocky hillsides and high forests. You can take a cable car at Planpraz, connecting Chamonix up to Col de Brevent. Arrive at Les Houches to end your trek.
Fact File On Mont Blanc
Food & Drinks: Traditional Alpine delicacies, cured cheeses and Savoy wines
Time zone: GMT+1
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About The Author
Avantika Bhuyan is a freelance journalist who loves to uncover the invisible India hiding in nooks and crannies across the country.